Last updated: September 3, 2021

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If you own a swimming pool, you probably already know that it is not a simple task to keep the water clean and in good condition for swimming. Cleanliness and water purity are essential for your pool. To achieve this, you must have the necessary equipment. If you want to safely enjoy your pool, you will need a sand filter.

Sand filters are one of the most important parts of a poll's  treatment system. Together with the pool cleaner and pool skimmers, it is the key tool for maintaining water cleanliness. Choosing the best sand filter for your pool is not always easy, so we have gathered all the information together for you in this guide to help you choose the best one for your pool.

Key Facts

  • Sand filters are part of a pool's treatment system, so they cannot work by themselves. Sand filters are somewhat more expensive than cartridge filters, however, they require much less maintenance, which makes them the best option in the long run.
  • To choose the best sand filter for your pool, you must calculate the volume of water and its rate of flow.You should keep in mind that the water purification process of your pool takes some time. Normally a complete cycle will be about 8 hours.
  • After you have calculated the volume and flow of your pool, you can choose a filter with a somewhat larger capacity than you need, as it will be better if you have a bit too much capacity in your filter than to not have enough.
  • Changing the sand in your filter is a very simple and inexpensive task, which you can do yourself and which you should do regularly.
  • Silica sand, unlike diatomaceous sand, is corrosion-resistant and is not harmful to humans.

Ranking: The Best Sand Filters

In the market today, you can find a wide variety of sand filters for your pool, each with its own set of features. To choose the best filter for your pool, you will need to look at certain key factors. To make your decision easier and save you time, we have researched and selected the best sand filters for your pool.

Shopping Guide: Everything You Need to Know About Sand Filters

Sand filters are one of the most important components of a pool's water treatment system. It is the main mechanism for the cleaning and purification of pool water and a very important part that you should understand. To help you choose the best sand filter for your pool, we have created the following buying guide.

swimming pool

Depending on the type of pool you have, you can select the sand filter you need.
(Fuente: Yanlev: 45903157/

What exactly is a sand filter?

Sand filters are the most commonly used type of equipment for water filtration with low or medium loads of pollutants, or loads with particles up to twenty microns in size. The suspended particles carried by the water are retained during their passage through a sand filter.

Once the filter has been loaded with impurities, reaching a preset amount, it can be refreshed by backwashing. The quality of the filtration will depend on several factors, among which are, the shape of the filter, the height of the filter bed, the characteristics and granulometry of the filter mass as well as the filtering speed.

What are the different cycles of pool water?

What we mean by “cycle” is the passing of all of the water from the pool through the filter, a process whose duration depends on several factors: the size of the pool (in other words, the volume of water in the pool), the power of the pump and motor, as well as the filter capacity.
When choosing the components for your pool's maintenance, all of these factors must be taken into account, so that the duration of the filtering cycle is not excessive. The most common cycle duration is about 8 hours and is what is recommended by experts for a residential pool.

How do sand filters work?

Sand filters quite simply clean the impurities from the water that passes through them. In this way, the water is filtered of microbes and dirt. The water passes through pipes to the treatment section and once filtered, it is sent back to the pool via a pump that drives the entire mechanism.

Sand filters work as a closed circuit. Pool water flows through the channels on the sides and the bottom and is conducted through the pipes. Water passes through the sand filter, particles are trapped in the silica crystals and the water exits the filter clean. Once purified, only clean water enters the pool since the dirty or contaminated water has been eliminated.

What types of pool filters are available?

Sand filters are the most commonly used filters on the market. In this article we have focused on this type, however, there are other types of filters and treatment systems that you should know about and understand so that you can choose the best model for your particular pool. Below is a table with the types of pool filters that exist:

Sand filter Glass filter Cartridge filter Diatomaceous filter
Maintenance Minimal.

Change sand filter every 3 or 4 years.


Change glass filter every 5 years.

The crystals are not compacted like sand.

The cartridge must be changed every year.

Needs major maintenance, since it must be cleaned often.

The filter must be cleaned annually.

The remains must be deposited in special containers for this type of materials.

Useful life Between 6 and 10 years. Up to 10 years. Up to 1 year. Up to 10 years.
Features Thanks to its low maintenance is one of the commonly used. Saves energy.

No chemcial products used.

Filter capacity less than with sand. More expensive.

Maintenance is very expensive.

Diatomaceous earth is harmful to health if inhaled.

Which sand filter should I get for my pool?

Depending on what you need for your pool, any type of filter can be a good value. Most experts recommend a cartridge filter if you want to have a clean pool with little maintenance. Unfortunately, this type ends up being more expensive in the long run, since the filter must be changed more often than a sand filter. Cartridge filters are also more costly to the environment.

If you want to find a good filtering system, as inexpensive as possible, sand treatment systems are excellent in quality/price ratio. They are cheaper and require very little maintenance. You will only need to buy new silica sand about every 5 years. You can backfilter the sand to clean it for five years before it needs replacing.

What type of sand filter do I need for the size of my pool?

It is not the same to have an above-ground pool as an in-ground pool. Above-ground pools tend to have less water volume capacity, and for them, it is best to go through the easiest to maintain filtering system: sand filters or cartridge filters. Both are simple to assemble and usually incorporate fairly quiet motors.

If you need a water treatment system to filter a large in-ground pool or a pool in a neighborhood or community pool, it is a good idea for you to select a sand filter. If you have your own pool, in your usual residence and want to have clean water every day, the best option is still the sand filter, since it requires less maintenance.

What size filter do I need for my pool?

A very common mistake made with sand filters for pools is to look only at the size of the filter and not to the volume of the pool. This can cause you to choose the wrong filter, one that you don't need and can't use. To make the proper choice, we recommend you follow these steps:

  • Calculate the total volume of the pool. Multiply the length by the width and height of the pool in yards and you will get the capacity in cubic yards.
  • Calculate the filtration of the pool water. This process is vital for good maintenance.
  • To perform an exact calculation, we need to know the cubic capacity of the pool. The flow rate (square yd) will be divided by the hours of operation that the pool needs (between 6 and 7 hours for private pools).
  • For example, a pool of 5x6x3 = 90 sq yd with a recirculation of 6 hours, will need a flow of 90/3 = 15 (sq yd/h). It is advisable to always do the calculations with a bit of excess.
  • If you buy a pump with more flow, nothing happens. But if you buy one with less, you will have trouble cleaning the water.

What type of sand is used in sand filters?

Sand filters employ a special silica sand, manufactured specifically for this type of pool cleaning equipment. It is a material with excellent resistance to corrosion by chemical products, very hard and insoluble in water. All of these properties can combine to create the ideal system to filter and clean the pool water.

For how long should I leave purifiers in my pool?

The power of the treatment plants in which you will install your water filter is measured in square yards/hour or its equivalent in gallons. As you know, 1 square yard is equal to about 200 gallons of water.

Therefore, a pump with a flow of 8 square yards/h will be able to filter and move up to 1600 gallons every hour. You just have to calculate the volume and divide it by the flow rate.
In this way, a pool of 8 x 4 yards, with a depth of 1.5 yards meters, will have a total capacity of roughly 10,000 gallons. At higher capacity, you will need a pump with more power.

What are the best brands for sand filters?

In the market you will find a wide variety of pool accessories for sale and many brands that are dedicated to their production. As usual, some brands are recognized for manufacturing better quality products, using better materials. In our opinion, these are the best brands of sand filters:

  • Intex: The leading brand in the production of swimming pools and accessories for pool maintenance. They manufacture the most advanced and best-performing sand filters on the market and their value for money makes them a favorite of consumers.
  • Bestway: Another brand specializing in the manufacture of accessories for pool maintenance. The sand filters from this brand are among the best in the market.
  • Gre: Another brand highly specialized in the manufacture of swimming pools and accessories for pools.

Why is it important to change the pool filter's sand?

  • It is important that you understand that in order to keep your pool water clean and crystal clear, two simultaneous cleaning processes must be carried out. The first is the chemical process, which has nothing to do with the filter, but consists of adding chemicals to the pool that are needed to keep the water clean, such as chlorine or active oxygen.
  • The other process is that of filtration. This is done through the sand filters incorporated in the treatment system. In this step, the impurities are retained within the filter and the water comes out clean. If the sand loses its cleaning properties and cakes up, it loses much of its filtering functions, so the water will return to the pool dirty.
Did you know that the most commonly used materials to fill filters are glass and sand?

How do you clean a sand pool filter?

In order for the sand filter to fulfill its function correctly, periodic maintenance must be carried out, which in most cases, consists simply of washing the tank and the sand. The frequency of this procedure will vary depending on the use of the pool, although the best indication for this will be the appearance of the water. Here are some steps to keep the sand filter and purifier clean and in great condition:

  • For sand filters, the pressure must be set correctly, observing the pressure gauge. The manufacturer's instructions should be followed to wash the filters and should be done only when the pressure drops by sealing.
  • Sand filters usually have the option of backwashing, that is, pumping backward, which makes cleaning much easier.
  • With backwashing, the direction of the water circulation in the filter is reversed and, with it, the filtered materials are expelled out the drain.
  • The maintenance frequency of the filter will be set by the conditions of the pool. Pools surrounded by grass, sand or earth will need more filter cleaning than those surrounded by concrete or cement.
  • Backwashing is very simple: the pump is deactivated, the position of the valve is reversed, the pump is restarted and the water is allowed to run until it is cleaner.
  • Once the backwashing is finished, it is mandatory to rinse to resettle the sand and evacuate the water with impurities through the drain before the start-up.
  • Once the operation is finished, it is necessary to purge the air contained in the filters.

Shopping Criteria

Now you know what sand filters are and how they work. There are many models on the market, so choosing the best one is not always easy, but we want to help you with your purchase decision. So here are the shopping criteria that you should look at before buying your pool filter.

Type of Pool

The type of sand filter you choose to purchase will depend upon the type of pool you have, and your budget. For residential swimming pools, sand filters ranging between 12 and 24 inches in diameter are the most suitable. For small, portable and inflatable pools, you can opt for smaller capacity sand filters.

However, you should keep in mind that it is always preferable to choose a filter with slightly greater capacity than needed, because if you do not have enough capacity you will not be able to use it.

Modern villa with pool

Don't forget--you need to change the sand in your sand filter.
(Fuente: Alexandre Zveiger: 28488843/

Recirculation Time

This is one of the questions that usually arises when you buy a sand filter for your pool treatment system: how long should I run the treatment system, to filter the water? The answer will depend on your flow rate and the total water volume in your pool. In this way, to calculate the answer, divide the volume in square yards by the flow rate.

The most common cycle for the average pool is about 8 hours. Of course, at lower volume and higher flow, less time will be needed by the pump to clean. Considert this factor: the longer the recirculation time, the more energy used.

Ease of Assembly

Most sand filters for swimming pools are very easy to assemble. It is important that you look at this factor if you are not an expert in DIY. Most filters, however do not require much assembly, you just have to connect the tubes and make sure they do not lose water. Also, you of course connect the power outlet.

Some filter models are more complicated to install and you will need the help of a professional. Although they not require specialized knowledge, it is important to remember in what position the filters should be placed inside the treatment system, as well as the valves and the pressure gauge that will indicate when to change the sand.

Did you know that the first sand filter was made in 1827? The invention has been attributed to James Simpson by his idea for the purification of drinking water.


Maintenance will depend, to a large extent, on your pool. If it is surrounded by grass, sand or trees, you will have to clean the filters much more often, as larger dirt particles will strain in and the filters will get much dirtier. On the other hand, sand filters require less maintenance than other types of filters.

Maintenance for sand filters is really quite simple, as you won't have to change the sand for years. The internal pressure gauge will tell you when you should maintain the pool. To clean the filter you just have to give it some water with the hose and let it clear.

Flow Volume

You shouldbe aware that the recommended pool water filtration time is about 8 hours per day, that is, you should have the equipment turned on for about 8 hours each day. To find the most appropriate filter, you must know in advance the flow rate of the water to be filtered. To calculate the flow rate, you must divide the volume of water to be filtered by the filtration time.

The pump drives the water towards the filter, so it must be able to move the same amount of water per hour as the filter can process. If the pump is more powerful, it will send more water than the filter can filter in its time, creating wide filtration channels inside the filter and allowing water to pass through without being cleaned.

happy man enjoying vacation, while standing in pool water, top view

There are many types of sand filters, varying by price, durability or features. (Fuente: Olesia Bilkei: 41118479/


The volume of water in the pool is an essential factor in choosing a suitable sand filter. Just like knowing the type of pool you have, you should also know what volume of water it has. To calculate the volume, you must multiply the length by the width and the average depth.

Once you have a clear flow and volume amount identified, you will understand the filtration capacity necessary for your pool. Once you know those, the manufacturer will easily tell you which filter and pump are best for you.


As you have seen throughout this article, finding a suitable sand filter for your pool is a decision that must be made judiciously and carefully, since it can be be the reason your pool is the haven of peace and fun that we want it to be. The filter your pool's treatment system will allow you to have clean water at all times.

There is a great variety of sand filters on the market, each with specific characteristics. Buying the most suitable for your pool is not a simple task, you must take into account certain factors such as flow, volume or ease of operation.

If you liked this article, leave a comment or share with your friends and family on social media to help them find the best sand filters on the market..

(Featured Image Source: Hxdbzxy: 15137152/