Sand Filter vs Cartridge Filter for Above Ground Pools

Last Updated on August 11, 2020 by admin

Sand Filter vs Cartridge Filter for Above Ground Pools

All filters keep your pool water clean, but what’s the difference between them? How do they actually work and what can they do? We know that when it comes to your in-ground or Above Ground Pool, you need efficient pool equipment. There are types of filters one is Cartridge Filters and another one is Sand Filters. In this article, we present comparison Sand Filter vs Cartridge Filter for Above Ground Pools clearly.  

Before breaking down the pros and cons of Sand Filter vs Cartridge Filter for Above Ground Pools, let’s take a look at how the system works.

Both types of the best above ground pool filters work in unison with your pool pump, filtering the water before it re-enters the pool. The media filter (Sand, D.E., and Filter Cartridges) traps dirt, debris, and other small particles. That’s why people are saying, larger pool water filters will allow you more time in cleaning.

Sand Filters: How its work and what is the best

Sand filters are the oldest form of filtration for a swimming pool. These consist of a large spherical-shaped globe. It contains silica sand and may be referred to as simply ‘filter sand’. As water flows into the filter it passes through the sand. 

The dirt and other particles go trapping in the sand. And it is allowing clean filtered water to return back into the pool. Sand filters can remove particles that may be under 20 microns, no matter. The filter sand can last 5-10 years between changes giving you a very cheap filtration system.

Backwashing a sand filter system is part of the regular maintenance of the system. It is because of becoming trapped in the sand. It restricts the water from flowing back to the pool. 

Your pressure gauge will start to increase as the filter sand clogs up with dirt and debris. This is your signal to perform a backwash. Backwashing will send out the dirty water through another port on the valve usually labeled “waste”.

  • Easy-to-use and simple to operate

  • Low maintenance
  • Backwashing is easy
  • Sand Media can hold longer than Filter Cartridges
  • Sand and alternative filter media is relatively inexpensive
  • Requires replacement sand every 5-8 years

  • Backwashing lowers pool water
  • Lower filtering ability than Cartridge Filters (20-40 microns vs 10-15 microns)
  • Constant backwashing can throw off your water balance

Best Sand Filters for your pool

Our research team finds the best sand filters for your above ground pool filter, you can choose it for your pool.

Intex 28645EG Krystal Clear: It would say you valuable Money

Check latest price on Amazon

Though not best for large pools. But it offers value for money because it has integrated the pump and filter. When you are going to buy this pool filter, you don’t need to purchase any pump again. Retailing at around would be $130. 

The Krystal Clear boasts a steady with the 2,100 GPH flow rate. It is suitable for 16’ to 24’ above ground pools. People are using this with several pools including Intex Ultra Frame and Coleman Power Steel. They are getting crystal clear water.

One thing I like about it is the convenience. First, it allows pool owners to do more. The 6-function valve allows filtering, backwashing, rinsing, recirculation, draining, and closing the system.

Remember to check the local regulations on filter backwashing. You will find this one needs frequent backwashing. In addition, you would find in this, Intex that this filter pumps with a 24-hour timer to serve you. It allows you to concentrate on other stuff.

But then, the GPH is very low. This is not the best with sand filters. So, after time gone it will be ineffective with very small particles. It may be 20 microns and less.

But still, if you are an above ground pool owner on a budget, this is a great deal. The Intex 28645EG Krystal Clear is ready to pump water and to work as still filter. It will keep your pool water fresh and clean always.

Cartridge Filters: How its work and what is the best

Cartridge filters consist of a simple 2-piece tank with a cartridge inside of that tank. The cartridge is very similar to the air filters you can find in your car. In its water is pushed into the tank from your pump. And water flows through the cartridge membrane. 

Particles and debris are trapping in the fabric and clean water returns back into the pool. From the cartridge filter, you can expect the cartridge to filter down to 10 microns.

Cartridge filters require very little maintenance. You would find It is a huge pro for the ground pool filter system. When the pressure gauge reaches 10 Psi above its normal reading, it’s time to clean the cartridge. 

You should remove it from the tank and hose it down thoroughly with your garden hose. Backwashing is not necessary with cartridge filters. It is able to eliminate water and chemical loss. The cartridge inside the filter will usually last about 1-3 years before any replacement.

  • Removes dirt particles as small as 10-15 microns

  • Simple maintenance & no backwashing
  • Perfect for filtering Above Ground Pools
  • Less wear and tear on the pool pump
  • Larger surface area screens out more dirt particles
  • Maintenance costs can be higher than other types of filters

  • Cartridges need to replace every few years
  • Not practical for very large pools
  • Need to wash filter cartridges at least twice a year, depending on usage
  • Higher upfront price

The Best Cartridge Filters

Our research team finds the best cartridge filters for your above ground pool filter, you can choose it for your pool.

Intex 28633EG Krystal Clear – For Above Ground Cartridge Filter

Check latest price on Amazon

The C900 works exactly like the Krystal Clear. It has a larger filtration area. At 90 ft2, SwimClear Plus you can turn over more water. In another way, it’s ideal for medium-sized pools. You would like its performance.

It’s is better than its competitor does, the Hayward S210T Pro Series does work well. You also don’t need to worry about the local regulations. The impact of backwashing is as you are the only need to change the filter.

It is a little expensive to maintain this filter. But it is not as expensive as people say. Sit down and do the math of refilling the pool and adding chemicals after backwashing. 

You will realize that it’s cheaper and offers more value for money. It is because the filters down to 10 – 15 microns while ProSeries will filter 20 – 40 microns.

One unique thing you would like about this filter is the design. It stands quite high. So you don’t have to bend. The pressure gauge and air relief are positioning at the top for easy access.


A high-quality Pool Filter for your pool is necessary to maintain a healthy swimming environment. When comparing Sand and Cartridge Pool Filters, we are recommending Cartridge Filters. They catch smaller dirt particles, clean more rapidly, require less pump pressure. And it is easy to maintain. When purchasing a new Cartridge Filter, bigger is always better.

Sand Filters are still great options. It is especially for larger residential and commercial pools. Actually the thing is that where you need more powerful Pool Pumps. Unlike Cartridge Filters, Sand Filters need to be sized according to your pool pump.

If your pool pump is over 1.5 HP, we are recommending choosing a Cartridge Filter over a Sand Filter. Cartridge Filters are more versatile. Generally, it is having a higher max flow rate of GPM (Gallons per Minute). This will end up saving you money in upkeep costs and savings to your pump.


About Neharash

I am Neharash, A product reviews writers. I had started my writing career in 2016. Now I am an experience writer about water purifiers.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *



Check Also

How much water to drink every day

How much water to drink every day

How much water to drink every day: About 80 percent of the ...