What's better, pool sand filters or cartridge filters?

4 Minute Read

There are two answers to this question, subjective and objective. Objectively, we only have to look at the filtering capabilities to each and we can come to the conclusion that pool cartridge filters do a superior job at filtering your pool water as it filters out particles down to 10 microns in size as compared to pool sand filters that filter out particles only down to 20 microns in size.

At this point, people will assume that there are more pool cartridge filter users than pool sand filter users, but that’s not the case. There are actually a lot more pool sand filter users out there than cartridge filter users, the reason? There are a number of reasons why many people still prefer pool sand filters over cartridge filter.

Before we dive deeper, here's a quick recap from Mr Pool Man himself on the basic differences between sand pool filters and cartridge filters

Pool Filter Costs

This is the first major factor that people will consider when choosing their pool filter system. We’ve taken our most popular filter from each category and have laid out a comparison of the costs in maintaining the filter over the course of five years.

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Cost Water TechniX Pool Filter Aspire Davey Cartridge Filter Easy Clear

Year 1 + Installation

$699 Unit Cost + Approx $160 for Sand Filter Media

$449 Unit Cost + $84 Filter Cartridge + $44 (2x filter cleaner)

Year 2

None

$84 Filter Cartridge + $44 (2x filter cleaner)

Year 3

None

$84 Filter Cartridge + $44 (2x filter cleaner)

Year 4

None

$84 Filter Cartridge + $44 (2x filter cleaner)

Year 5

Approx $160 for Sand Filter Media

$84 Filter Cartridge + $44 (2x filter cleaner)

Total:

$1,019

$1,089

As we can see, the costs for both pool sand filters and pool cartridge filters are roughly the same when we look at it over the span of five years. After five years, the maintenance cost of pool cartridge filters easily overtake that of the sand filter’s cost. Now we’ve included filter cleaners in the cost of maintenance to make sure that our filter cartridges are at their peak and they don’t break ahead of their time. We’ve also used our Water TechniX branded filter cartridges in order to save up on costs, they’re as durable and effective as the original filter cartridges at a fraction of the cost. Which one is better? First five years, it’s a draw. After five years, pool sand filters are the clear winner.

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Pool Filter Ease of maintenance

This is another factor that contributes to the answer of which pool filter is better. For pool sand filters, maintenance is a breeze. Backwashing only takes a few minutes and a few turns of a lever to clean out the filter completely. With cartridge filters, you have to take our the cartridges and give them a good and thorough clean with a garden hose where you have to make sure that every area in-between pleats is cleaned thoroughly.

To make this process simpler, people will usually get a cleaning wand like the Water TechniX Waterwand Cleaning Wand to rinse out 8 pleats per pass, essentially cutting down filter cleaning time by over half. Every few months (or as required) filter cartridges need to be soaked in a filter cleaning solution to melt away tough particles that may have lodged themselves in your filter media. Which is better? Hands down pool sand filters.

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Pool filter water clarity

Now this is an issue that never ends with when we’re talking about pool filters. The clarity of the water. This is a very subjective matter as what is clear and acceptable to many people isn’t enough for some people. But suffice to say, cartridge filters trap smaller particles than pool sand filters and does objectively produce clearer pool water. But for many home pool owners, the visual quality is negligible and their decision is greatly affected by the ease of maintenance and the running costs. Which is better? Objectively pool cartridge filters. Subjectively, it’s a draw.

Pool filter water usage

Pool sand filters use a lot more water than pool filter cartridges when cleaning. The backwashing cycle will use anywhere between 300 to 600 liters of water. This is one big thing that cannot be ignored and, in this category, pool filter cartridges are the clear winner.

Conclusion

While each type of pool filter has their own strengths and weaknesses, the main factors that really determine what’s better for most people are the ease of maintenance and long-term operating costs. This is why in the eyes of many people, pool sand filters are better than pool cartridge filters, and we tend to agree with this assessment.

Products Featured On This Blog

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Do you have any questions about this topic or the featured products? No worries, we're here to help! Drop us a question down below and we'll get back to you ASAP.

Happy swimming :)

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Post author:

Tom Hintze

Head of eCommerce & Operations at Mr Pool Man,
Co-Founder at Water TechniX

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