Cartridge Pool Filters vs. Sand Pool Filters
How To Choose The Right One
When it comes to deciding on the right pool filter there are many variables that need to be taken into consideration. For starters, cartridge filters and sand filters are two of the most popular pool filters currently available. Both of them, generally speaking, do the same thing. Keep your pool water clean. But, there are differences between the two and regardless of whether you have an in ground pool or an above ground pool you want to make sure that you get the best and most effective equipment at an affordable price.
Before we dive into the pros and cons between cartridge pool filters and sand pool filters we’ll first take a look at what these filters actually do. Your pool filter has a crucial role in the process of keeping your pool clean of debris and particulate. Whether you have a sand filter, cartridge filter or DE filter they all generally work the same. And by “the same” we mean that these filters all work in unison with your pool pump to filter the water prior to it reentering the pool. The media filter consisting of the actual medium whether that be sand, DE or a cartridge and is responsible for capturing any debris or large particulate that may be in the water. With that being said having a larger filter will allow for longer durations of time between cleanings.
Let’s Take A Deeper Look Into Sand Filters
When it comes to finding a cost-effective yet robust filter most people turn to the sand filters. Generally speaking they’re the most compact and affordable option when it comes to pool filters for both above and in ground pools. The sand used in a sand filter is not your generic beach sand. It is specially designed pool filter sand and its sole purpose is to clean out any debris or particulates from your pool water as that water passes through the medium. Once cleaned, the water will then flow back into the pool through the bottom of the filter. In sand filters there is a thing called backwash. Backwash will occur once the sand filter has been completely filled with water and that water is then allowed to flow out through the waistline. This process of back washing cleans the filter of collected debris. As this type of filter ages the water flow pressure will decrease. This in turn will increase the pressure rate of the filter. This is something that can easily be noticed when it begins to occur and is an identifier to the pool owner that it is time to backwash the equipment. It’s highly recommended that the filter sand be replaced every 5 to 8 years but that is also based upon the overall usage of the pool and its filter.
- Pool filter sand lasts longer than filters
- Sand is relatively inexpensive
- Easy maintenance and operation
- Removes debris down to 20 – 40 micron
- Back washing the filter is easy
- Sand requires replacement (5 to 8 years)
- Back washing can leave decreased water levels
- Can’t remove debris smaller than 20 micron
Let’s Take A Deeper Look Into Cartridge Filters
Cartridge filters are extremely good filters when it comes to filtering out pool debris. These filters can screen out approximately twice as much dirt and debris relative to a sand filter. Because of its larger filtration area it allows the water a greater area to be processed which allows for the removal of smaller particulates. Cartridge filters can clean debris between 10 – 15 micron in comparison to the sand filter which can only get down to 20 – 40 micron. Maintenance on cartridge filters are also extremely easy. The reasoning behind this is due to the fact that these filters do not need to be backwashed. This in turn can help the pool owners lower the cost of chemicals needed as well as purchasing additional water because they will not be removing water from the pool in order to backwash the filter. In order to clean this filter you simply need to remove it, wash it off and install the cleaned cartridge or a replacement cartridge. Another added bonus to this type of pool filter is the fact that it lowers the price of energy needed for operation because it utilizes lower pump pressure. But in turn for all of these great features there is a higher upfront cost, but in conjunction with this higher cost is also a prolonged life because of the lower water pressure used with this filter.
- Removes particulate down to 10 – 15 micron
- No back washing required
- Extremely easy to maintain and operate
- Cuts energy costs
- Lowers water replacement needs
- Filters more debris with larger surface area
- Expensive upfront cost
- Cartridge filter maintenance is a periodic task
- Maintenance costs can be higher
- Impractical for larger pools
Our Final Thoughts
Having a pool filter that is both high quality and efficient is one of the key elements to helping any pool owner ensure that their pool maintains not only the highest level of clarity but also a sanitary swimming environment. When asked which pool filter we recommend we say that it is always up to the pool owner to make that decision but if we were to put in our professional (two cents) we would have to go with a cartridge filter. This is solely due to the fact that it does a much better job of cleaning relative to a sand filter. This does not mean the sand filters are bad because they do have their place but generally speaking we will always lean towards a cartridge filter. And when purchasing a cartridge filter, the bigger the better.
Like we said, sand filters are not a bad option and they do have their place. A large residential or commercial pool with an extremely powerful pool pump is an ideal situation for a sand filter. But always keep in mind that cartridge filters are much more versatile and can do a better job of cleaning your smaller more residential pools and can end up saving you money in the long run through lower energy costs, less wear and tear on the pool pump and its lower rate of flow.