If you’re reading this, you made a pretty smart call: instead of blindly trusting what a commission-driven sales rep might say, you’re conducting your own research. Choosing a pool pump based on cost is just not ideal while staring at a shelf full of pumps, reading the packaging, and shrugging your shoulders. It’s a decision that will affect your savings account moving forward—and in a big way.
Whether you’re thinking about getting a pool or considering giving your existing pool a leg up, a pool pump is one of the most essential pieces of equipment you need—and will be the heart of your ongoing costs. The right one will save you enough money to pay itself off and then some, and then some more. I’ll explain why getting a pool rules, why you need a pump, the cost of all pool types, and why you should go with a variable-speed pump. Because you really, really should.
What a Pool Can Do For You—And Your Home’s Value
If you’re looking at pump costs to scope out getting a pool, let’s break down why a pool is always a good idea. And if you already have a pool and your pump has gone kaput—this is probably a good time to remind you why your pool is well worth the hassle.
A swimming pool gives your daily lifestyle an upgrade by promoting family bonding time, creating an ideal location for social events, building an oasis of relaxation, and providing a healthy alternative to other non-active everyday activities—swimming is low-impact, helps you stay cool, gives you a full-body workout, boosts your heart health, and can help you both build stamina and become more flexible.
But the benefits of a pool go beyond your daily life and your physical health. It also looks great in your backyard, is less expensive than big family vacations, and actually increases the value of your property. When I say having a pool can really pay off, that’s exactly what I’m talking about.
Looking for the best variable-speed pump on the market with strong horsepower, and an affordable price tag? Try the 1.5 HP Variable Speed Blue Torrent Thunder In-Ground Swimming Pool Pump—it pays itself off in under a year, is eligible for rebates, and also comes with a warranty. As pool owner Eric D says, “Day one, I fired this pump up and it ran clean and fast.”
Yes, You Need a Pool Pump. Here’s Why
Without a pool pump, you don’t have a pool—you have a nasty swamp full of algae, slime green water, and what is potentially harmful bacteria. Everything you do to keep your pool clean, balanced, and safe for swimmers requires a pump.
So why is your pump so essential? It’s the heart of your circulation system, so it’s what physically pushes your water through a series of cleaning processes—as well as makes sure the chemicals to add to your pool, including your sanitizer, are evenly distributed throughout your water. Think of your pump as the spoon you might use to stir sugar into your morning coffee. Without that spoon, you’d have pockets of coffee that is under-sweetened and pockets that are way, way too sweet. Now imagine those pockets are concentrated chemicals. Yeah, no thanks.
There’s no argument about it—you need a pool pump. But the cost of a pump will vary depending on pump type, craftsmanship, and power. Let’s dive in.
Pool Pump Costs: The Short Answer
A pool pump can cost anywhere from $200-$1,500—though if you Google this question elsewhere, you might read that the cheapest pump you can buy is around $900. Not to brag, but because of independent sellers like PoolPartsToGo, that unnecessarily high number no longer stands.
Now let’s break it down by pool pump type. A single-speed pump is going to cost you anywhere from $200-600, a dual-speed pump from $500-$800, and a variable-speed pump from $500-$1,400. Just to point it out: the lowest-priced variable-speed pump is in the same price range as that single-speed model. Interesting, right?
Let’s go deeper and get into what varies exactly within that range. And if you want yet another short answer, that exact variable is simple: it’s all depends on quality.
Choose Your Type: Single-Speed, Dual-Speed, and Variable-Speed Pumps
The first choice you’re going to have to make is your type of pool pump—and I have some serious opinions on the matter. But first, let’s visit exactly what makes each pump type different from the others—it all goes down to the pump’s RPMs, or rotations per minute.
The RPMs of a pool pump determine the flow rate, or how quickly it pushes water through the pool’s greater circulation system. This measurement is not to be confused with horsepower, which determines how much strength the pump will use to push water. RPMs are simply the speed at which the pool pump operates.
Single-speed pumps come at a fixed speed, meaning that you can’t adjust it for your pool’s needs. Dual-speed pumps are in the same electrical category as single-speed pumps, but they have an option for “high-speed” and “low-speed,” which are both fixed speeds without flexibility in-between. Variable-speed pumps are fully-adjustable, meaning that you can tailor them to work perfectly for your pool—and continuously save yourself a chunk of cash as a result.
If an especially large horsepower will turn over your water volume at a sufficient rate—and won’t overwhelm your filtration system—then a unit like this Blue Torrent 2 HP Variable-Speed Pump is the one to try. You can’t argue with that price. As pool owner Dave Schmidt says, “My pool has never looked cleaner. I am pleased with my new pump!”
The Cost for Single-Speed Pumps
Single-speed pumps were the first modern pool pumps to enter the market—and they reflect that same old technology. Installing one today is sort of like having dial-up internet instead of 5G WiFi. The lower cost just doesn’t make it worth the time (and money) you’ll be spending on it for years to come. But hey, it’s your choice in the end.
The Initial Cost
Initially, single-speed pumps are the cheapest on the market—just $200-$600. Combine that with the fact that they’re the original, “standard” pool pump, and we can start to see why they’re still widely sold today. But initial cost is just a drop in the bucket for how much these pumps will be charging you.
The Monthly Cost
Let’s imagine you have a single-speed pump, so your initial cost was lowest. That’s where the good news ends. What many potential and new pool owners don’t take into account is operational costs—which will be the bulk of your spending. We’re talking energy bills here. Because a single-speed pump will often rotate faster than your pool actually needs, you’ll be paying top dollar every month just to run the thing—and that adds up quick. In the end, going with single-speed pumps is the costliest route—and all for a far less superior pump.
The Long Term Cost
Depending on timing, you’ll need to cross even the possibility of this pump type off your list. As of 2021, federal law states that you cannot install a single-speed pump. If you already have one and it breaks, you can’t replace it or its parts. So what type of pump is permitted? That would be variable-speed pumps, since they’re the most energy-efficient.
The Cost for Dual-Speed Pumps
At every step of the way, dual-speed pumps are just about in the middle of single-speed and variable-speed. However, that doesn’t mean they’re the perfect medium—they’re in the same electrical category as single-speed pumps for their wasteful energy practices. Let’s face it: the option of two speeds just isn’t enough for all the variables at play in your pool.
The Initial Cost
Initially, you can expect to pay between $500 and $800 on a dual-speed pump—one on the market is even just $200. Keep in mind that other than that $200 model, the lowest cost in the range matches the lowest cost of a variable-speed pump—you might as well get the pump that costs the same amount and will save you money each month. Am I right?
The Monthly Cost
The monthly cost of a dual-speed pump is comparable to that of a single-speed, but a little better. You’ll still be spending way more than you would on a variable-speed pump, and with each month that passes you’ll be losing a little more money. It’s just not necessary.
The Long Term Cost
You might know that some dual-speed pumps do fulfill requirements of the Energy Star program. So they must be legal according to federal law in 2021, right? Actually, wrong. Dual-speed pumps between .7 and 2.5 horsepower are about to be outlawed, too. And that Energy Star program? It’s likely going to raise its standards accordingly.
If you’re going to opt in for a dual-speed pump, you should get one that is cost-effective, reliable, and quiet—the 2020 Maxi Force 1.5 HP Two Speed Above-Ground Pump is for you. As pool owner Mark Wallace said, “Just hooked the pump up yesterday. Extremely quiet—I can’t hear mine but I can hear my neighbor’s. I’m very satisfied.”
The Cost for Variable-Speed Pumps
Ah. The one, the only, variable-speed pump. There is nothing on the market like this cost-saving, high-tech pump—it features a similar design as electric cars. And it actually pays itself off in energy saved, often in under a year. If you’re looking to save a buck, as you always should, the variable-speed pump is for you. In my opinion, it’s actually for everyone. A variable-speed pump is easily the smartest choice any pool owner can make.
The Initial Cost
The initial costs of high pool tech, including variable-speed pumps, have long been artificially inflated thanks to a virtual monopoly in the pool industry by a few household-name brands. Thankfully, that era is over. Now you can find a variable-speed pump for as low as $500, depending on your pool’s needs. The most mind-blowing part? Many pool owners spend that much on single-speed pumps.
The Monthly Cost
This is where the variable-speed pump starts to really shine. Because it can be adjusted for your pool’s variables, such as how many gallons it contains and the size of your plumbing, variable-speed pumps use a ton less energy than all other models, all while getting the job done right. With these pump types, you can expect a quieter, slower, and more thorough filtration—and the lowest energy bills.
The Long Term Cost
Remember, variable-speed pumps will be virtually federal law starting in 2021. What exactly does that entail? Basically, it’s the only pump type that is legal to install, replace, or repair. Get one now or get one later, but you’re eventually going to need this type of pump. Better to get it now and save yourself the pricey hassle.
Other Major Expenses: Installation and Replacement Costs
Unfortunately, there are additional expenses to add in—but they’re going to be fairly rare, as long as you get an ultra-reliable pump like the Blue Torrent Cyclone Variable-Speed Pump. It’ll cost about $1,500 to install a new pool pump, and $500 to replace an old one. It’s a bummer, but you do want to make sure that everything is put in just right. After all, your pump is one of the most important parts of your greater circulation system. Did I mention that yet?
Final reminder that as of 2021, the switch to variable-speed pumps will virtually be federal law. Thankfully, the Blue Torrent 2 HP Variable-Speed Pump is cost-effective, ultra-powerful, comes with a warranty, is eligible for rebates, and pays itself off in under a year with energy saved. As pool owner Robert Tafoya says, “Pump works quietly, efficiently, and is easy to install.”
Ready to Make the Plunge?
I’d say the numbers are pretty clear: get a variable-speed pump! Don’t be fooled by the initial cost, because your pump has a monthly and long-term price tag, too—and variable-speeds will cost the least, all while providing the most efficient and advanced technology. Plus, it gets even better: your pool itself is going to pay off, too, with healthy, fun, and relaxing swims. Enjoy.