Last updated: August 7, 2021

Our method

11Products analysed

21Hours spent

15Evaluated articles

59User reviews

Welcome to our big cartridge filter test 2021. Here we present all the cartridge filters that we have tested in detail. We have compiled detailed background information and added a summary of customer reviews on the internet.

We would like to make your purchase decision easier and help you find the best cartridge filter for you.

You will also find answers to frequently asked questions in our guide. If available, we also offer interesting test videos. Furthermore, you will also find some important information on this page that you should definitely pay attention to if you want to buy a cartridge filter.




Summary

  • In addition to chemical cleaning, physical cleaning by means of a filter system is also necessary to keep your pool clean and to ensure good water quality.
  • In a cartridge filter, you can use a filter cartridge or so-called filter balls, which provide the filter effect and have to be replaced regularly.
  • The amount of water - i.e. the size of your pool - is the most important factor in choosing the right filter system.

The Best Cartridge Filter: Our Choices

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying a cartridge filter

What is the purpose of a cartridge filter?

If you want to keep your pool clean, you have to take care of a physical cleaning of the water in addition to the chemical cleaning (e.g. with chlorine).

With a cartridge filter that cleans the pool water, you can ensure clean water and long swimming fun. (Image source: pixabay.com / Pexels)

Cartridge filter systems are used to filter the dirt out of the water in your pool so that you can enjoy swimming for a long time and don't have to worry about dirty water.

Especially with a larger pool, there are enormous costs when the fresh water has to be replaced.

Therefore, it makes sense to purchase a cartridge filter that removes dirt particles from the water, also for cost reasons.

With the help of the cartridge filter, the water in the pool is circulated and completely recirculated once.

The filter system should ideally circulate the entire water volume 2-3 times a day.

Moderate, even fine pollutants, including small insects and leaves, are filtered out of the water.

Stones and sand as well as generally heavy soiling of the water, as occurs in large outdoor swimming pools, cannot be completely removed by the cartridge filter.

Since the filter cartridges clog very quickly due to excessive and coarse dirt, they also have to be replaced correspondingly frequently, so that a sand filter system is more suitable in such cases.

How does a cartridge filter work?

By connecting the filter pump to the pool, a circuit is created through which the water is set in motion.

Dirty water is filtered through a filter cartridge and returns clean to the circuit. (Image source: 123rf.com / 22128812)

A so-called skimmer floating on the water surface, which may be used in multiples, sucks in the water together with the dirt and sends it via a hose to a filter system with a filter cartridge that retains the dirt.

The water is fed through the filter cartridge and cleanly back into the pool via a hose. There are also hook-in filters that are simply attached to the edge of the pool.

The filter pump is connected to an external power source or, depending on the model, is powered by integrated solar cells.

For whom is a cartridge filter suitable?

Depending on the size and type of water pool for which you want to purchase a cartridge filter, different filter systems are suitable.

For smaller round pools, paddling pools or for a swimming pool that you will dismantle for the winter, we recommend complete filters that are delivered ready to be hooked up and for which you only have to connect the pump via a plug.

You simply hang such a filter system over the edge of the pool. A smaller unit with a flow rate of 2 cubic metres per hour is sufficient for small pools.

For aboveground pools with a larger water volume, larger filter systems are suitable, which have a higher delivery volume and are installed outside the pool.

One or more separate skimmers make sense if the water of a pool that is firmly embedded in the ground is to be cleaned.

These can be installed as required in the outer wall of the embedded pool at the level of the water surface. You connect them to the filter and pump unit via flexible hoses.

If your pool holds more than 10,000 litres of water, you should look for an alternative to the cartridge filter.

In this case, it is advisable to buy a more powerful sand filter - about which you will find information below.

What accessories do I need for my cartridge filter?

As a rule, you purchase a ready-to-use cartridge filter that you only need to assemble and connect to your pool.

The scope of delivery for cartridge filters that are not hung on the edge of the pool usually includes two hoses and usually also hose clamps for connecting the pump.

If this is not the case, you will have to get the appropriate hoses yourself. A transformer is also usually included.

Essential for the operation of a cartridge filter is the filter medium. Without the filter medium, you cannot filter the water.

A first filter medium is usually included in the delivery. If this is not the case - or at the latest when the filter medium has to be replaced - you have to buy new filter material.

To fill the filter systems, you can use the classic filter cartridges or, alternatively, so-called filter balls. We have briefly summarised what characterises the two filter media.

Filter cartridges

Filter cartridges are available in different sizes depending on the filter system. When buying a filter, you should make sure to check the correct designation of the filter.

Depending on the model of the cartridge filter, a certain type is used.

The filter cartridges work in a similar way to coffee filters. By pumping the dirty water through the filter, the dirt particles are collected and retained in the filter cartridge. The clean water is then pumped further into the pool.

The filter itself is usually made of PVC and fleece.

Filter Balls

Filter Balls are suitable for all cartridge filters and are reusable as you can simply clean them in the washing machine.

They are also easy to handle, very durable and made of 100% recyclable polyethylene.

How much does a cartridge filter cost?

The cost of using a cartridge filter is based on three factors that you should consider:

  • Acquisition costs
  • Electricity costs
  • Costs for the filter medium

The initial cost of a cartridge filter varies depending on the size and performance of the unit. Smaller filters can be purchased for as little as 25 €.

Particularly powerful cartridge filters that are designed for larger amounts of water can cost up to 80 €.

In addition, there are the running electricity costs for the active use of the cartridge filter.

To ensure that the water is circulated and filtered in a reasonable amount of time, the performance of the filter system should match the size of your pool.

Otherwise, you will have to expect higher electricity costs, as the filter system will have to run longer to clean the water.

As already explained, you can use filter cartridges or filter balls as filter media for your cartridge filter.

The filter cartridges for the filter system can be cleaned and used several times, but they must also be replaced regularly so that the filter quality does not decrease.

Since the paper filters clog, the manufacturers recommend replacing them after 2 to 6 months.

Depending on the model and filter size, you will pay between €3 and €8 per cartridge. If you buy a bulk pack, you get several filter cartridges for a small price.

Similar costs apply when using Filter Balls, which are actually somewhat more durable.

What are the alternatives to a cartridge filter?

The alternatives to a cartridge filter are limited. The only option is a sand filter, which we will briefly introduce here.

Sand filters differ from cartridge filters primarily in terms of how they work and their price.

How it works

The impurities in the water are filtered out by passing it through a kettle filled with quartz sand by means of a multifunctional 6-way valve.

The sand used has a fine grain size of between 0.4 and 0.8 mm and filters somewhat coarser dirt particles overall than a filter cartridge.

You can increase the filter effect by using a dirt-binding flocculant. This is not possible when using a filter cartridge, as the folds of the cartridges can otherwise stick together.

Filter medium

In addition to the classic quartz sand, filter glass - a granulate made of recycled glass - can be used as a filter medium.

Alternatively, Filter Balls can be used.

Filter performance

Sand filters are usually more powerful than cartridge filters. Depending on the unit, the filter capacity is between 2000 and 12000 litres per hour.

Cleaning

The collected dirt can be washed out again by backwashing the filter. You should clean the filter once a week. For coarse impurities, a pre-filter is also integrated, which may need to be cleaned.

From time to time, the filter medium must be replaced or a cleaned one reinserted.

Costs

If you want to buy a sand filter, you have to calculate with purchase costs between 90 and 130 €.

This makes the sand filter much more expensive than a cartridge filter.

However, the maintenance of a sand filter is relatively inexpensive and simple. After about 2 years, you have to change the sand, which costs a maximum of 20 euros.

The costs vary depending on the filter medium used.

Area of application

Since sand filters offer a significantly higher filter performance than cartridge filters, they are ideally suited for large pools and outdoor facilities with a larger water volume.

If there is a high intensity of use, the use of a sand filter makes sense in any case.

Here are the features of the sand filter at a glance:

Sand filter Description
Functionality Via a multifunctional 6-way valve, the polluted water is passed through a boiler filled with quartz sand and thus filtered. To increase the filtering effect, a flocculant can be used.
Filter medium filter sand, filter glass or filter balls.
Filter capacity Between 2000 and 12000 litres per hour.
Cleaning Backwashing the filter to wash out debris. Also cleaning the pre-filter and replacing the worn filter media.
Costs purchase costs between 90 and 130 € + depending on the filter medium, maintenance costs, for filter sand approx. 20 euros every two years.
Suitability/area of application large pools, especially outdoors with excessive soiling.

Whether cartridge filter or sand filter, the use of a filter system is an important part of general pool maintenance.

You should acquire basic knowledge about the care and commissioning of the pool after the winter so that your pool remains yours for a long time.

Decision: What types of cartridge filters are there and which is the right one for you?

If you want to buy a cartridge filter for your pool, you have the choice between two types of filters or filter media:

  • Cartridge filter with filter cartridge
  • Cartridge filter with Filter Balls.

Both types are compatible with the filter system and can therefore be used according to your preferences.

We have compared the properties of the two filter media to make your decision as easy as possible.

What distinguishes a cartridge filter with filter cartridge and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

A cartridge filter with filter cartridge has various advantages and disadvantages. Here is an overview of the most important advantages and disadvantages of the filter cartridge:

Advantages
  • Can be used several times
  • Easy to use
  • Reliable quality from the biggest manufacturers, as it has been on the market for a long time.
Disadvantages
  • Regular replacement of filter cartridges can be costly
  • Not suitable for excessive and heavy soiling.

What distinguishes a cartridge filter with Filter Balls and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

A cartridge filter with Filter Balls has various advantages and disadvantages. Here is an overview of the most important advantages and disadvantages of Filter Balls:

Advantages
  • Reusable
  • Durable. Can be used for several seasons with good quality and care
  • Can be cleaned in the washing machine
  • Material is 100 % recyclable.
Disadvantages
  • Less durable with low quality. May fluff if necessary.

With regard to the recommended performance, you can exchange the filter media 1:1 if you want to switch from filter cartridge to filter balls or vice versa.

The filter quality can certainly be influenced by the choice of filter media used. However, a sufficient pumping capacity of the cartridge filter is also important to achieve a good filtering result.

Purchase criteria: You can use these factors to compare and evaluate cartridge filters

Here we help you compare cartridge filters - regardless of their filter material - and find the right one for you.

The following criteria have proven to be useful in assessing which cartridge filter is best for you:

  • Filter performance
  • Power source
  • Power consumption
  • Running time
  • Pool hose size

In the following, we show you what is important in the different criteria and what you can look out for.

Filter performance

Depending on the size of the cartridge filter systems, the performance of the devices also differs.

When choosing the right cartridge filter, the inner and outer diameter as well as the height of the pool whose water you want to clean are decisive key figures.

The size of your pool therefore plays an important role in the choice of filter.

Depending on the size and corresponding water volume, a minimum pump capacity is required to ensure satisfactory filter quality.

The usual filter capacity of a cartridge filter is about 2 cubic metres per hour. Such devices are sufficient for swimming pools with a water volume of 6000 litres.

Larger pools require correspondingly more powerful filters. Depending on the size of the unit, you can purchase filter units with a flow rate of between 1 and 6 cubic metres per hour.

The information provided by the manufacturer on the filter capacity of the unit will help you with orientation and should always be observed.

It is advisable to choose a filter unit that is too powerful rather than one that is too weak. If the capacity is too low, you have to expect a lower filter quality. Consequently, the running time of the filter system will also be longer.

A guideline is that the entire water volume should be circulated 2-3 times per day. This is where the daily running time of the cartridge filter comes into play, which should be within a reasonable range and for which we have written a separate paragraph below.

Power source

There are two possible power sources for cartridge filters:

  • external power supply via socket
  • integrated solar cells

Before buying a cartridge filter, you should have decided on a power source that you prefer, as you will choose a device accordingly.

You can also flexibly position cartridge filters that are connected to the socket via a cable or an interconnected transformer.

As we will show you in the trivia section, it is not necessary for the pool to be in the immediate vicinity of the power source to connect the filter pump.

Power consumption

Since the cartridge filter is in operation for several hours a day, you should also take a look at the power consumption of the device.

It is worthwhile to choose a power-saving model.

Note, however, that the filter performance of the pump is inevitably related to the power consumption.

You should not compromise on performance because of the power consumption.

Running time

The running time of the pump is adjusted to the water volume and filter performance. So when choosing a cartridge filter, orientate yourself on the filter performance of the unit and the amount of water your pool holds.

You can find out how to calculate the running time of the filter system in the trivia section below. It should not be more than 10 hours per day. During this time, the cartridge filter should circulate the water 2-3 times.

Pool hose size

Especially if you want to use the cartridge filter on a free-standing pool and the selected cartridge filter is not a complete filter ready to be hooked in, the size of the pool hose plays an important role.

The filter system must be compatible with the hose so that you can connect the pump without problems.

Therefore, before buying, find out the diameter of the pool hose and choose a cartridge filter with the right connection.

Facts worth knowing about cartridge filters

How do I attach the cartridge filter to my pool correctly?

The installation of the cartridge filter is uncomplicated and can be done by any pool owner without technical know-how.

By means of a transformer connected between the filter system and the power source, the usual cartridge filter is connected to a power socket.

The pool does not have to be in the immediate vicinity of the power source for the connection.

The filter system itself should be placed close to the pool - preferably protected from strong sunlight and no more than 2 m above the water level - otherwise the pumping performance can be negatively affected.

Connect the filter to the pool with two suction hoses. The dirty water is sucked in through one hose, passed through the filter medium and returned clean to the pool through the second hose.

This creates a circuit that allows the water to be completely circulated.

In addition, we have selected a video for you in which the start-up of a cartridge filter is shown step by step and explained in an understandable way.

You can follow the instructions when connecting your filter pump.

How long can I use the filter cartridge?

You can clean the filter several times before you have to replace it with a new one.

Since cleaning can only remove the coarse dirt, you should follow the manufacturer's instructions and replace the filter cartridge in good time.

Otherwise germs can form that are difficult to get rid of and can have a negative effect on the water quality.

How do I clean the filter cartridge correctly?

You clean the filter cartridge with the help of tap water by simply rinsing it thoroughly with a garden hose.

Alternatively, you can buy a special cleaner that uses less water and at the same time achieves an even more thorough cleaning.

It is also important to know:

With a cartridge filter, backwashing is not necessary as with a sand filter.

How do I change the filter cartridge in my cartridge filter?

The filter cartridge resembles a roll and has a hole inside. This locks it into place in the pump.

By means of a simple turning mechanism, the filter unit can be easily opened so that you can insert the new filter cartridge without any effort.

How long does the cartridge filter have to run?

A guideline is that the complete water volume should be circulated 2-3 times per day. This usually corresponds to a filter running time of 6-8 hours per day.

With the help of this formula, you can easily calculate how long your cartridge filter needs to circulate the water once:

Filter running time = pool content m³: pump capacity

To calculate how long the cartridge filter needs for 3 circulations, multiply by the number 3.

Example: Pool with 6 m³ pool content; cartridge filter with a pump capacity of 2 m³.

Filter capacity = 6 : 2 => Filter capacity = 3

For a pool with 6,000 litres of water and a capacity of 2,000 litres per hour, you need 3 hours to circulate the entire amount of water. The filter pump therefore runs 6-9 hours a day.

In order for the filter to work efficiently, the operating times should be correct. It is a good idea to use a timer with which you can set fixed time windows in which the cartridge filter works.

The filter then switches on or off automatically at the appropriate time. Especially if you use the pool intensively in summer, it is worthwhile to purchase such a timer.

Thanks to it, you don't have to operate the filter pump manually and you can also save electricity.

What can I do if my cartridge filter no longer works properly?

If your cartridge filter no longer works properly, this can manifest itself in various ways.

Here we have summarised the most common problems and explain what the cause is and how you can fix the problem:

Problem Cause Solution
Dirt is no longer filtered out of the water properly Clogged filter cartridge and/or too much dirt in the pool Clean the filter cartridge and replace it with a new one if necessary, if it has been in use for more than two weeks or the water is very dirty. Then, if necessary, remove stones and leaves from the water by hand or with a vacuum cleaner.
Cloudy or milky pool water Clogged filter. Lack of disinfectant (e.g. chlorine) due to excessive organic debris, accumulation of algae in the pool, residues of sunscreen and grooming products, sweat or urine that the chlorine fights. Evaporation of ions from the disinfectant due to strong sunlight clean or replace filter cartridge. Eliminate causes of excessive disinfectant consumption. If necessary, increase the use of disinfectant.
Cartridge filter does not draw water pump is placed higher than 2 m above the water level, clogged filter, air in the suction line, defective non-return valve place pump at a lower height. Clean or replace the filter. Check that all valves are cleanly closed and that the pipe is completely tight. If necessary, replace brittle plastic hoses with 100 % leak-proof rubber hoses. Bleed the cartridge filter. Check the non-return valve.
Cartridge filter draws air leakage on the suction side. Check all valves and seal the screw connections separately if necessary.
Loud noise air in the suction line or bearing damage check whether the circuit is really tight. Bleed the cartridge filter. If the bearing is damaged, you must replace the pump.

Again, as a hint for you:
You cannot use a flocculant with a cartridge filter because it will clog the filter.

Picture source: 123rf.com / 22128812

Why you can trust me?

Reviews