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3 Different Kind of Pool Pumps

Your pool’s pump is the heart and soul of the entire water-circulating system. It generates the necessary waterflow rate needed to distribute chemicals evenly throughout your pool while simultaneously removing contaminants.

As the central component used for sanitizing and filtration purposes, it’s paramount that you get the right type of pump for your pool. There are three types available—single, two, and variable-speed—making finding the most appropriate pump a challenge. This guide aims to clear the air by defining the three different kinds of pool pumps and how they can benefit you.

Different Kind of Pool Pumps


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Single-Speed Pool Pump

You can tell a lot from a pool pump by how quickly they move water and how many waterflow rates they offer. A single-speed pump is exactly what it sounds like—a pump that moves water at a constant rate.

The thing about single-speed pool pumps is their inexpensive upfront cost. They’re easier to manufacturer and thus come with a cheaper price tag compared to two-speed and variable-speed models, but they actually cost more to operate. For instance, if a suction-side pool cleaner may not need more than 40 GPM for to achieve peak performance, but a single-speed pump cannot run at a lower speed.

The silver lining is that single-speed pumps are exceptionally good at what they do, namely providing a quick water turnover rate to power a wide range of pool cleaners.

Two-Speed Pool Pump

Two-speed models have a high and low gear to produce different turnover rates. These pumps require an entirely different automation device to shift between speeds.

The freedom to go up or down a gear means controlling how much or how little energy is used. The difference in costs between high and low speeds is astronomical—roughly an 80% disparity in energy consumption. This, of course, is assuming you’re running one speed constantly.

Having two different operating speeds offers flexibility at a reduced cost. The higher speed can be used to power a suction-side pool cleaner and enhance performance, and shifting down a gear with a timer can efficiently circulate water in residential pools.

Variable-Speed Pool Pump

This is pretty self-explanatory. Variable-speed pool pumps don’t have just one or two speeds but have a maximum and minimum waterflow rate. This means you can move water at a high speed for vacuuming or evenly distributing sanitizing chemicals, as well as drop to a lower speed for everyday filtration.

There are several more benefits of using a variable-speed pool pump over single- and two-speed machines. Some of the most prominent advantages can be found are as follows:

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1. Less power consumption

The most obvious benefit of variable-speed pumps is how little energy they use. Chances are you don’t need to run a pool pump at high force 100% of the time, so with a variable-speed model, you can adjust it to the correct speed for the task at hand. You can also make use of all-peak hours for more demanding tasks to cut maintenance costs.

You can increase power savings even more by investing in an Energy Star certified variable-speed pool pump.

2. Fine-tunability

Many variable-speed pool pumps have programming options to enhance their power efficiency even further. These pumps allow you to fine-tune their waterflow output to the exact specifications of your pool cleaner and chemical-distribution requirements without going overboard.

3. Less noise output

A slower the pump works, the less noisy it is. If you or a neighbor have every been jolted awake by a single-speed pump, then you should definitely consider upgrading to a variable-speed model or at the very least a two-speed.

Single-speed machines typically run at more than 3,000 RPM, whereas variable-speed models generally run as slow as 600 RPM. Running your pump with a timer will help keep noise levels down during the night and increase speed during busy daylight hours.

4. Possible rebates

Some power companies offer special rebates to pool owners with variable-speed pumps. The purpose is to incentivize pool owners across the city or state to reduce power consumption significantly by awarding rebates to consumers who invest is energy-saving appliances.

Our Recommended Pool Pumps


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Hayward W3SP1580X15 Power Flo Pool Pump, 1.5...
Pentair SuperFlo® VS Variable Speed Pool...
Polaris PB4-60 Booster Pump with 60-Hertz...
Hayward W3SP1580X15
Pentair 342001
Zodiac PB4-60
• 1.5 HP Pool Pump
• 115V
• Heavy-duty motor
• Extra-large debris
• Drain plug
• 20.5 x 6.5 x 8.5 in
• 24 pounds
• 1.5 HP Pool Pump
• 115-230V
• Digital control keypad
• Three programmable speeds
• Real-time, 24-hour clock
• 28 x 15.5 x 12.5 in
• 52 pounds
• 3/4 HP Pool Pump
• 115/230V
• Ergonomic drain plug
• Larger volute seal o-ring
• Quick and easy installation
• 17 x 9.5 x 14.5 in
• 31 pounds
The Hayward W3SP1580X15 is a high performance pool pump, featuring a heavy-duty motor, which provides dependable performance and quiet operation. An extra-large debris basket keeps pool maintenance to a minimum, letting you enjoy your pool more.
The Pentair 342001 Variable Speed Pump brings remarkable energy cost savings of variable speed technology to everyday pools that require up to a 1.5-HP pump. They dramatically reduce energy costs by moving water more efficiently at lower speeds.
Delivering the best combination of high-performance power and durability — this Zodiac Polaris PB4-60 Booster Pump is specifically designed to operate together with the Polaris pressure-side pool cleaners. Its compact, rugged design allows for maximum performance.
Best of the Best
Hayward W3SP1580X15 Power Flo Pool Pump, 1.5...
Hayward W3SP1580X15
• 1.5 HP Pool Pump
• 115V
• Heavy-duty motor
• Extra-large debris
• Drain plug
• 20.5 x 6.5 x 8.5 in
• 24 pounds
The Hayward W3SP1580X15 is a high performance pool pump, featuring a heavy-duty motor, which provides dependable performance and quiet operation. An extra-large debris basket keeps pool maintenance to a minimum, letting you enjoy your pool more.
Also Great
Pentair SuperFlo® VS Variable Speed Pool...
Pentair 342001
• 1.5 HP Pool Pump
• 115-230V
• Digital control keypad
• Three programmable speeds
• Real-time, 24-hour clock
• 28 x 15.5 x 12.5 in
• 52 pounds
The Pentair 342001 Variable Speed Pump brings remarkable energy cost savings of variable speed technology to everyday pools that require up to a 1.5-HP pump. They dramatically reduce energy costs by moving water more efficiently at lower speeds.
Less HP
Polaris PB4-60 Booster Pump with 60-Hertz...
Zodiac PB4-60
• 3/4 HP Pool Pump
• 115/230V
• Ergonomic drain plug
• Larger volute seal o-ring
• Quick and easy installation
• 17 x 9.5 x 14.5 in
• 31 pounds
Delivering the best combination of high-performance power and durability — this Zodiac Polaris PB4-60 Booster Pump is specifically designed to operate together with the Polaris pressure-side pool cleaners. Its compact, rugged design allows for maximum performance.


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Last Update: 2023-02-04 | Affiliate links/Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

About the author

Hi I’m Alex, founder of HouseholdMe.com and I’d like to say thank you for dropping by. Like most of you, the first thing I look at before buying something online is reviews or buying guides. By reading what other people say will help me gauge whether or not a product is good or not.  I am trying to help people find answers, solve problems, and get inspired.

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