The Best Pool Pumps on the Market—And the Secret to Getting Your Money’s Worth

Owning a pool is like buying a house: moving in rarely happens without a little bit of work. And this work usually varies from small to large, from regrouting the tile in the bathroom to installing a new central air system.

But a pool pump to your pool is like the electrical wiring to your house. It’s a huge decision.

In fact, getting the right pump is one of the most important calls any pool owner eventually has to make. It’s what distinguishes a clean, efficient, and balanced pool from a mucky, money eating, and unsafe swamp of a pool.

Here are some of the top pool pumps on the market, and the clear way to get what your pool needs while saving big—now, and every month to come.

Why Your Pool Pump Matters

So why is your pool pump so important, anyway? It’s because your pump is the absolute hub of your pool’s cleaning system.

Your pump provides power that circulates your water, removing harmful dirty particles and distributing balancing chemicals in the process. It also pushes water through all the other equipment your pool needs to thrive. Everything that you hook up to your pool—from the filter to the water heater to most chlorinators and even manual vacuums—depends on your pump.

While you want a pool pump that you can rely on to get the job done, you should also cut costs—without shortchanging quality.

How to Save Money on Your Pump

Considering how important the pool pump is, it’s little surprise that the mainstream pool industry is bent on keeping one major secret from the average consumer: buying one doesn’t have to cost a fortune.

A pool pump can be reasonably priced without sacrificing craftsmanship, features, or efficiency. But the two companies with artificially-high prices that have historically dominated the pool industry don’t want you do know this. After all, they’re used to reaping huge profits from consumers who have no choice but to pay top dollar.

To save a significant amount of cash on your pump, get a quality pump with an appropriate price tag. Say no to the mainstream pool industry’s inflation strategy.

Thankfully for pool owners everywhere, times are changing.

The Blue Torrent 2 HP Variable-Speed Pump is ultra-powerful, comes with a lifetime warranty, eligible for rebates, and pays itself off in under a year by energy saved. As customer Bill Britton says, “Runs great. Super quiet.”

Top Pumps

The Cheapest Way to Operate Your Pump

The cost of a pool pump goes beyond the initial price tag—it also costs a significant amount of energy to run your circulation system for the approximate eight hours a day. And since a pump is what pushes water through the entire system, what type you choose is going to make or break your energy bill every month.

There are three types of pool pumps on the market: single-speed, dual-speed, and variable-speed. And they all have different levels of initial and ongoing costs.

Single-speed pumps, the oldest and most low-tech of all pool pumps, operate at a fixed speed. This speed is usually much higher than your pool actually needs, and is the costliest to operate as a result.

Dual-speed pumps are a hybrid of single-speed and variable-speed pumps, and operate at one of two fixed speeds. The lowest speed of the two options is still usually too high for the average pool. The amount you’ll spend in energy bills with a dual-speed pump is less than a single-speed pump, but more than a variable-speed pump.

Variable-speed pumps allow full control of the motor speed depending on your pool’s specific needs. They save you the most money over time. In fact, they usually pay off for themselves in energy saved within the first year of operation.

You read that right.

Variable-speed pumps save you so much money in energy that within the first year, your total cost is already lower than if you installed a single-speed model. That’s why the ongoing cost of a pool pump is even more important to consider than the initial cost of the pump.

It’s also the reason why we’re going to compare the top variable-speed pumps on the market. Because if you’re trying to make the best decision for you and your pool, a variable-speed pump is going to be it. Plus, owning one is virtually federal law as of this year.

What All Great Pumps Have

All the most popular, top-selling, recognizable, and mighty pool pumps have a few features in common:

  1. They’re variable-speed pumps. The top pumps available today all use the most advanced technology, which features what is called a permanent magnet motor, similar to what can be found in MRI machines and electric cars. The speed of this motor can be adjusted to you and your pool’s needs, and actually causes less friction than traditional motors—which means more energy saved.
  2. They have a strong horsepower. Not to be confused with speed, a pump’s horsepower is the measure of work the motor can do. The higher the horsepower of your pump, the greater volume of water can be moved quickly through your pool’s circulation system. And although most residential pools can do just fine with a 1 HP pump, keeping energy costs low is all about balancing the amount of time your pump is on and the power with which it is operating. A powerful job is no problem with these pumps.
  3. They’re easy and dependable to use. The whole point of variable-speed pumps is that you can control them to operate at exactly the speed your pool needs. That’s not going to happen if the programs are difficult to set, or don’t fire on when they’re supposed to. Not only are these pumps user-friendly, but they are known to do exactly what you ask them to do. Hey, in the world of technology, that’s valuable.
  4. They self-diagnose. What distinguishes a reliable pump from one that’s going to go kaput within the first few years? It’s called self-diagnostics, and it’s built into the pump’s internal computer. This feature automatically assesses and treats any electrical misfirings—before you even know they’re there. All top pumps should have self-diagnostics. Otherwise, the scathing reviews would stop them from becoming bestsellers.
  5. They have a totally enclosed design. Rain or shine—no pump worth its salt is going to be exposed to the elements. Even in the calmest of conditions, any electrical unit is going to be hit with debris large and small. These pumps are what is called totally enclosed fan cooled, or TEFC. Not only does this design keep pool pumps operating cleaner, but it also quiets the sound of the motor working. That’s a win-win.

If a larger 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. As customer Dave Schmidt says, “My pool has never looked cleaner. I am pleased with my new pump!”

The Top Inground Pool Pumps on the Market

When it comes to pool pumps, expensive does not mean better. Our first pick here outshines the rest—and is priced the way all exceptional pumps should be.

Because artificially high prices? They should be a thing of the past.

top inground pool pumps on the market

  1. Blue Torrent Cyclone Variable-Speed Pump, 1.5 HP: $625

This is our top pick, and not just because the price is right. In addition to having the features listed above, customers say that it’s even quieter and faster than other mainstream pumps on the market. Plus, it was crafted by longtime experts in the pool industry to have a simple installation, unparalleled reliability, and a user-friendly design.

  1. Pentair Intelliflo Variable-Speed Pool Pump, 1.5 HP: $1,895

This pump certainly does the job. But it doesn’t have any additional features, and its craft is comparable to the other models here. The decision is yours—but in my opinion, a price tag like that should be justified.

  1. Hayward Super Pump Variable-Speed Pool Pump, 1.65 HP: $1,000

This variable-speed pump was the upgrade to the already existing Super Pump, which was previously single-speed. It has traditional roots, but doesn’t surpass the other models in innovation.

The Top Above-Ground Pool Pumps on the Market

For above-ground pumps, the game is a little different. Hate to say it, but variable-speed pumps for above-ground pools aren’t quite a thing yet.

It’s not that the technology isn’t here. It just hasn’t caught up yet. And that’s a major bummer for above-ground pool owners. They should be able to reap the savings of a variable-speed pump just as much as their inground counterparts, right?

For now, the best option is a dual-speed pump.

top above ground pool pumps on the market

  1. Blue Torrent Maxi Force Dual-Speed Pump, 1 HP: $240

The Blue Torrent Maxi Force Dual-Speed Pump operates at 1 HP for one very good reason: to cut energy costs. Because you can only choose between two speed when using a dual-speed pump, a lower horsepower means more energy efficient settings. No dual-speed pump is as energy efficient as a variable-speed pump, but this expertly-designed unit is reliable, simple to install, and gets the job done.

  1. Hayward PowerFlo Matrix Dual Speed Pool Pump, 1.5 HP: $445

This pump is similar to the Blue Torrent Maxi Force pump, complete with a large strainer basket and horizontal and vertical discharge functions. It’s just not enough to justify the difference in cost.

  1. That’s all, folks!

Variable-speed pumps for above-ground pools aren’t quite on the market yet. But even dual-speed pumps are hard to find from major brands. That’s why there are only two on this list.

The shortage of above-ground variable-speed pumps is sure to change soon, since having one is virtually federal law. And when the tide does turn, we’ll all be glad it did.

If your pool has the capacity—and a need for a powerful job—consider the Blue Torrent 3 HP Variable-Speed Cyclone Pump. As customer Andy Craig wrote, “Because of the fires in Northern California, by the time I got my new pump, my pool was a giant mud hole! I installed the new pump and fired it up. In 24 hours I had a clean pool. The pool was so bad I had to clean the filters twice during that time. I cannot overstate the value of my new Blue Torrent pool pump, I’m totally impressed. The best part, the price, best value around. And no, they didn't pay me to say this!”

Your Pool and Cash Flow is Set!

Your pool pump will be the most important piece of equipment for your pool—simply because everything that happens to your water depends on it. But don’t be fooled by the price tag. A higher cost doesn’t actually mean a better pump. Thankfully for us all, the pool industry is diversifying. Artificially-high prices are no longer going to cut it.

Now that you’ve seen the comparisons, you can make the right call—and get back to focusing on why you have a pool in the first place.


Ahhh. Enjoy.


Should you run your pool pump 24 hours a day? Learn more by reading this article. What size pump do you need for your pool? Learn more here.

*Hayward® and Hayward® Pool Products are registered trademarks of Hayward Industries, Inc. Asia Connection LLC has no affiliation with Hayward Industries, Inc.

*Pentair® and Pentair® Pool Products are registered trademarks of Pentair® Ltd. Asia Connection LLC has no affiliation with Pentair® Ltd.