Best Pool Cartridge Filter

By Greg Jarvis | Last Updated: September 8, 2022

Owning a swimming pool does not come cheap. You need to invest a good amount of money in constructing a pool and, at the same for its maintenance, to keep it clean and sparkling all year round. Also, pool maintenance requires a lot of work. You must check all the moving pool’s moving parts regularly. The good thing is that by choosing the best pool cartridge filter, you can cut your work and complete them fast.

Cartridge pool filters might be just what you need to make it easier to take care of your pool. Let’s look at what choices are available. A good pool filter keeps the water in your pool clean and free of dirt and other things that could be harmful. We researched the best options, looking at suction power, compatibility with pool systems, and how easy it was to install and clean. Here are some of the best ones.

What Is A Cartridge Pool Filter

A cartridge filter uses a thin, cloth-like material to filter your pool’s water. After cleaning the cartridge once a year, you can replace it. Cartridge filters don’t need to be cleaned as often as sand filters. Because cartridge filters are more efficient, you’ll save money on cleaning water.

How We Chose the Best Pool Filters

For this guide, we evaluated dozens of pool filters based on various factors. The filter of a swimming pool should be easy to maintain and long-lasting. In order to protect ourselves from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays and the cold, we selected models made of durable, molded plastic. We opted for models whose designs make it simple for the end-user to do maintenance fast. Instead of needing to remove a lot of gear to reach the cartridge, we used cartridge filters with quick-release fittings. Sand and D.E. filters have multiport valves that allow the operator to switch between back-flowing and winterizing modes of operation effortlessly.

Top 3 Recommendation

Images Product Details Price
  • Material: Plastic
  • Weight: 50 Pounds
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  • Material: Glass-reinforced copolymer construction
  • Weight: 26 pounds
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  • Material: Glass-reinforced copolymer construction
  • Weight : 30.9 pounds
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What to Look for Before Buying Best Cartridge Pool Filters?

When searching for the ideal filter for one’s swimming pool, there are a number of aspects that one must take into consideration, including the filter’s type, flow rate, and compatibility. Continue reading to find out more information about these and other characteristics of pool filters.

Pool Filters Type

Buyers need to consider these three types of filters, each of which has a set of advantages and disadvantages.


A sand pool filter draws water into a sand-filled tank. The water collects any 20-micron-or-larger filth as it moves through the area. Even though it’s easier to maintain and cheaper than other filters, the best pool sand filter can’t remove microscopic particles.

Side-mounted and top-mounted sand filters exist. Top-mounted sand filters are cheaper and take up less space than side-mounted filters, but changing the sand in a side-mounted filter is easier because you don’t have to disconnect the pipes.

D.E. (Diatomaceous Earth)

D.E. filters, also known as diatomaceous earth filters, work similarly to sand filters, except they pump water through a fine powder that can trap particles as small as 5 microns. The D.E. filter is the most effective because it can remove minute particles from the pool. However, it’s more expensive than cartridges or sand filters and requires the most maintenance.


Filters that use cartridges have a removable filter and catch dirt and debris as it moves through the filter. Cartridge filters are an efficient filtration method because they may capture particles as fine as 10 microns in size. Maintaining a cartridge filter is not a particularly difficult task because it can be removed and washed clean with a hose.

Rate of Flow and Total Capacity

Filters come in different sizes for different-sized pools. Most filters measure GPM. A filter’s flow rate should equal or exceed the pump’s GPM output. The number of gallons per minute (GPM) a pool filter can clean indicates its capacity. A pool filter should take 8 hours to clean an empty pool. 50 GPM pool filters can filter 24,000 gallon pools (50 x 60 x 8). 

Pump Compatibility

Without a pump to force water through it, a filter will not function properly. It is essential to confirm that the pump and filter you choose are suitable for use together before purchasing. The pump must have sufficient strength to force water through the filter without being so forceful that it causes harm to the filter.

When choosing a filter, it is important to select a model with a slightly higher flow rate than the pump’s flow rate. It is imperative that you never pick a filter whose flow rate is lower than the pump’s flow rate since this might cause irreparable damage to the filter. It is expected that the pump and filter when working together, will be able to clean the entire contents of the pool in around 8 hours.

Additional Features

Most pool filters come equipped with features that simplify their operation. The pressure gauges determine the system’s effectiveness in extracting water from the pool. The user is provided with the information necessary to determine whether the filter cartridge should be changed (in the case of a cartridge filter) or if the sand or D.E. filter should be backwashed (in the case of a sand or D.E. filter). In most cases, filters come equipped with features that simplify the process of doing routine maintenance. The majority of them feature quick-release knobs, which enable the user to swiftly open the filter’s lid without having to disassemble a great deal of the associated gear. The filter can be winterized, rinsed, and backflushed with the turn of a knob on some models, while others have multiport designs with switches that provide these capabilities.

6 Best Pool Filter Cartridges in 2022

An in-depth look at pool filter models is provided, and recommendations for the finest ones to consider when making your purchase.

1. Blue Wave Cartridge Filter System with 1.5 HP Pump

Blue Wave 120-Square Feet Cartridge Filter System with 1.5 HP Pump

This powerful filter system will work well for many years without any problems. Hydro systems have set the standard for quality, flow rates, and water quality that can’t be beaten. The tough filter tanks are made of polymer resistant to weather and corrosion.

Extra Large Filter Elements

Extra-large filter elements in the filter tanks produce better water than sand. Due to their size, filter elements require little cleaning, which helps the system run smoothly.

Pumps with Massive Capacity

High-powered, energy-efficient pumps allow you to run your pump for less time while maintaining water clarity. The spin lock makes removing and cleaning the cartridge easy.

Large Spin Lock

Because of the huge spin lock, removing the cartridge and cleaning it is a piece of cake. Our Hydro systems are available in two sizes, allowing them to accommodate a wide range of above-ground pool dimensions. A warranty of one year is included with both of these systems.


  • The system is simple and easy to assemble.
  • Simple to put away during the off-season.
  • Easy and simple to remove and clean the filter.
  • Can remove particles as small as 10-15 microns.


  • Pumps may tend to fail.
  • No on and off switch.

Why You Should Buy This

The Blue Wave Cartridge Filter System with 1.5 HP Pump is the best choice when it comes to quality, flow rates, and water quality.

2. Hayward W3C9002 Cartridge Pool Filter

Hayward W3C9002 SwimClear Plus Cartridge Pool Filter, 90 Sq. Ft.

You can use the W3C9002 continuously or intermittently. PermaGlass ensures reliable, corrosion-free tank operation. You can remove the filter cartridge without tools. Star-Clear Plus filters can withstand extreme conditions.

Robust Construction

Single-element cartridge with engineered core and gasket molded with precision end caps for maximum flow in Hayward’s Swim Clear Plus 90 sq. ft. pool filter. This filter can handle 90-square-foot pools.

Corrosion Free

The base and the body are molded as a one-piece using injection molding, which provides additional strength for dependable, corrosion-free performance. The design of this single-knob attachment allows the filter head to be securely attached to the tank without the use of clamps or bolts.

Single-knob Design

This Hayward pool filter looks like a fire hydrant, but it’s durable. Weatherproof single-piece injection molding. It’s easy to maintain. A single knob release makes accessing the filter cartridge easy.


  • Single-piece injection molding for long-term use
  • Access to maintenance is made easier by a single knob-release
  • High rate of flow
  • Compact size


  • When tank pressure increases, physically clean the cartridges.

Why You Should Buy This

The Hayward Star Clear-Plus Cartridge filter can handle the toughest jobs. Because the filter element is bigger and can hold more dirt.

3. Hayward W3C1200 Cartridge Pool Filter

Hayward W3C1200 SwimClear Plus Cartridge Pool Filter, 120 Sq. Ft.

Hayward SwimClear Plus 120 Sq. Ft. Cartridge Filter is high-quality, easy to use, and affordable. SwimClear Plus has a glass-reinforced copolymer construction and a precision-engineered core to withstand in-ground pool and spa applications and climates. StarClear Plus has various plumbing connections and a single-locking knob that secures the filter head to the tank without bolts or clamps.

Available in Various Capacities

The Hayward StarClear filter system is available in various capacities to meet the specific requirements of your spa or pool. This in-ground pool filter system can handle up to 30,000 gallons of water and 120 square feet of filtration material when used with a single filter cartridge.

Gasleted Molded End Caps

This filter is built to withstand even the most intense weather conditions. Designed with gasketed molded end caps, this single-element cartridge filter provides increased flow while still being exceptionally durable.

Single-Lock Knob

With a single locking knob, this variant may be securely attached to the tank without the use of bolts or other fasteners. A single injection-molded piece forms the body of this model, reducing the number of potential weak points.


  • Sturdy, long-lasting unit.
  • The pool filter performs an excellent job of removing debris.
  • With four cartridges, it’s ready to go.
  • A simple 30-minute installation and no-hassle cleaning.


  • If left in direct sunlight for long, the manifold may tend to crack.

Why You Should Buy This

The Hayward StarClear Plus W3C1200 120 sq. ft. pool filter has a single-element cartridge that is extra-large to make it last longer and let more water through.

4. XtremepowerUS 24″ Above Inground Swimming Pool Sand Filter System

XtremepowerUS 24 Above Inground Swimming Pool Sand Filter System 7-Way Multi-Port Valve Pool Filter up to 29,400 Gallons with Stand

The cost of a pool filter replacement can easily spiral out of control, with prices ranging from hundreds to thousands of dollars. That’s why the Xtremepower sand filter is a great choice. Flowing at a rate of 40 gallons per minute, it can handle a 24,000-gallon pool.

Multiport Controls

The filter’s lid has multiport controls for rinsing, filtering, backwashing, and winterizing the flow. When backwashing the filter, check the unit’s pressure gauge. This cheap filter works in in-ground and above-ground pools.

One-Piece Molded Tank Core System

The one-piece blow-molded tank fits on a universal base compatible with most pumps. Top mount, 7-position multi-port valve, and large sand bed trap more debris and extend filter cycles.

Threaded Connections

Accompanied by threaded connectors, a filter base, and an instruction booklet for the user. This tank has a valve with seven positions and can store up to 300 pounds of media sand; Dimensions overall: 24 inches wide by 24 inches long by 35 and a quarter inches high.


  • Affordable in terms of cost
  • Compatible with both above-ground and inground swimming pools
  • The use of multiport controllers simplifies several aspects of maintenance.
  • Flawless filter for optimum flow rates.


  • Comparatively less capacity than other pool filters

Why You Should Buy This

The XtremepowerUS 24″ Filter is designed to have the best flow rates to help keep the water clean. The 7-Way multi-port makes it easy to use

5. Rx Clear Radiant Cartridge Pool Filter

Rx Clear Radiant Cartridge Pool Filter for Above Ground Swimming Pools | PRC90 | Pools up to 40,000 Gallons | Energy Efficient | Corrosion Proof | Filter...

The Rx Clear Radiant Sand Filter system, which was developed specifically for the purpose of filtering contemporary pools. As a result of its uncomplicated operation, that is both effective and simple to use, making it an excellent choice for keeping an above-ground swimming pool in pristine condition.

Labeled Filter Valve

This 24-inch sand filter is designed for inground pools, has a 33,000-gallon capacity, and is compatible with many types of pools. Labeled ports on the filter valve make this one of the best sand pool filters. These features make installation easy.

One-Piece Blow-Molded Tank

This model requires 300 pounds of silica sand, six RX Clear Luster Filter Media boxes, and 150 pounds of Zeo-Clear Filter Media. Each part is available separately. Sand pool filter systems have a blow-molded tank with laterals and inner piping.

Reliable Pool Accessories

Maintain your swimming pool or hot tub with dependable pool equipment and replacement supplies that you can trust. The RX Clear Radiant has everything you need to keep it running smoothly. It is the leading option for a dependable tool that will assist you in keeping your pool in the finest condition possible.


  • Fast installation
  • Durable construction
  • Simple assembly
  • Components that are compatible with machine cleaning


  • Additional costs for filter media and hoses

Why You Should Buy This

The Rx Clear Radiant Cartridge Pool Filter is made of polymer that is strong, weatherproof, and corrosion-proof. Maintenance is easy and doesn’t take much time. Pick up dirt effectively and keep your pool clean.

6. INTEX 28633EG C2500 Krystal Clear

INTEX 28633EG C2500 Krystal Clear Cartridge Filter Pump for Above Ground Pools, 2500 GPH Pump Flow Rate

The second-best pool filter is the Intex Krystal Clear. Hydro Aeration improves water circulation and filtration. If you have an Intex pool, use this product to enhance the water’s clarity and maintain its cleanliness.

Replaceable Filter

This pump is suitable for above-ground pools up to 15,200 gallons. It’s easy to assemble, clean, and swap out filters. This filter pump’s double insulation, sediment flush, and air release valves make it one of the best available.

Built-in Ground Fault Circuit     

The Intex Krystal Clear Cartridge Filter is safe because it has a built-in ground fault circuit. The extra interpreter and strainer basket extends pump life by reducing maintenance.

Automatic Timer

This pool pump can clean your pool at 2,500 gallons per hour, and the automatic timer allows you to set two to twelve-hour cycles. Its durable plastic construction makes it ideal for above-ground pools.


  • Simple assembly
  • Use less energy
  • Convenient timer feature
  • Performs well


  • It might not work with non-Intex swimming pools.

Why You Should Buy This

Hydro-aeration technology in the Intex 28633EG C2500 Krystal Clear Cartridge Filter improves circulation, filtration, water clarity, and the amount of negative ions on the surface. It is compatible with Intex pools up to 15,200 gallons.


After evaluating the market’s six best pool cartridge filters, we recommend Hayward W3C9002 Cartridge Pool Filter. Aside from being reliable in cleaning your pool, it can also last longer because of its sturdy construction. Also, it is lightweight and does not cost you that much. The tool is easy to use and install, so you don’t need to hire a professional to set it up. To make sure you will buy the right pool cartridge filter, keep in mind the factors we mentioned above.

What Types Of Cartridge Pool Filters Can You Buy?

Cartridge pool filters all do the same thing despite their different shapes and sizes. You can use many cartridge pool filters with in-ground and above-ground models. Pool volume is most important—above-ground cartridge filters clear less water than their in-ground counterparts.

What Size Filter Do You Need?

Determine your filter size before shopping to avoid buying the wrong one. Check your pool pump’s GPH (Gallons Per Hour) capacity. One hundred square feet of cartridge filter for every 10,000 gallons of water. So, a 25,000-gallon pool needs a 250-square-foot filter. Choose properly sized cartridge filters to avoid clogging. If the size is correct, you may not need to clean a cartridge filter all season.

How Often Do You Have To Replace The Filter?

Above-ground cartridge filters must be replaced weekly or every two years. Read the manufacturer’s instructions and consider replacement filters before buying. A cartridge pool filter can last up to two years. Sunscreen, hair treatments, and deodorants reduce the filter’s lifespan to one year.

What type of above-ground pool filter is best?

Above-ground sand filters like the Rx Clear Radiant Cartridge Pool Filter have high flow rates of 20 gallons per minute and valves with six positions to make maintenance simple.

How long does a cartridge pool filter last?

It is recommended that you replace your cartridge filters about every three to five years. If the pressure gauge rises by 8 PSI more frequently than every six months, you may need to change your cartridge filter. This is another sign that it needs to be replaced.

Frequently Asked Questions – (FAQs)

Is a cartridge or a sand filter better?

Only 20 microns can be filtered via a sand filter, whereas 10 microns can be filtered through a cartridge filter. In other words, a cartridge filtration system will be able to remove more dirt and debris from your pool, resulting in a cleaner, more dazzling environment. The days of a foggy pool are over.

Are foam pool filters better than paper filters?

Foam pool filters cost less than paper filters. Foam filters have a lifespan of about two months instead of one to two weeks of paper filters. Foam filters can be restored to service after being cleaned with a garden hose.

Which pool filter system will remove the smallest particles?

D.E. filters, which may trap particles as small as 3 microns in diameter, remove the tiniest particles of the three types of filters.

How do I change the sand in a pool filter?

Draining the tank by opening the drain cap at the bottom of the tank is the first step in replacing the sand in a pool filter. Unscrew the hoses from the filter’s multiport valve. When you’re done cleaning out your pool, you’ll want to tape the top of the pipe shut to prevent any sand from going inside. First, remove the lateral assembly and pipe to clean the tank, then use a garden hose to rinse it. Replace the lateral assembly and pipe with new sand and reinstall the sandbox.

Can I use any pool filter in an above-ground pool?

No. You’ll have to make use of an above-ground filter. Due to the fact that the vast majority of above-ground pool pumps are constructed so that they can carry water up to a level higher than the pump, just a few inground pool pumps are.

How to Buy the Right Pool Filter Cartridges?

You need a filter flow rate at least as high as your pump’s GPM. It’s always better to go with a larger pool filter so it can handle the pump’s power. In general, one square foot of filter area per 10,000 gallons of pool capacity is a good starting point.

Is there a difference in pool filter cartridges?

The amount of microns that various types of pool filters can capture varies. Even though chlorine effectively kills bacteria, it is still necessary to remove the dead bacteria from the water. A faulty filter can cause cloudy water.

How often should I clean my pool filter cartridge?

The frequency of cleaning your pool filter cartridge will depend on how often you use the pool. You can clean it weekly, monthly, or less frequently.

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