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Hayward Variable Speed Pumps

Hayward Variable Speed Pump This page is a Hayward variable speed pump review article that looks at the most common VS pump offerings from Hayward. Hayward variable speed pumps come in many different sizes, models and options however the main four series are the MaxFlo VS (SP2303VSP & SP23115VSP), the Super Pump VS (SP2603VSP & SP26115VSP), the TriStar VS (SP3202VSP) and the EcoStar VS (SP3400VSP). All of these are good pumps, and there is a lot of overlap as to which pump would be the "best" for any given swimming pool installation.


If you would prefer to compare all variable speed pumps, and not just the Hayward VS pumps, then you can start on the variable speed pump reviews page, or if you would like more information about the potential for cost savings you can read this article that breaks down how much can you save with a variable speed pump.


In my experience in the pool industry each equipment manufacturer has a specific market that they are going after. For example, I would describe Pentair as trying to make the most technologically advanced pumps on the market. Where I feel that Hayward excels more than any other manufacturer is in developing pumps that appeal to a wide audience. For example, if you have a small or medium sized pool then you would have one, perhaps two options to consider from Pentair in terms of variable speed pumps. From Hayward you would have no less than four options, potentially six, all of which would potentially be a good match for smaller and mid sized pools. It is clear that the entry level variable speed pool market is the one that Hayward is going after with their VS pump lineup. They offer multiple pump options for the entry level, small and mid sized pool market. They also have options for larger pools, such as with the EcoStar, but they have multiple options to choose from for smaller pools.


Hayward Max-Flo VS


Hayward MaxFlo Variable Speed Pump (SP2303VSP - 230 Volt)

US shoppers buy this pump from Amazon.com
Canadian shoppers buy this pump from PoolSuppliesCanada.ca


Hayward Max-Flo VS 115 volt


Hayward MaxFlo Variable Speed Pump (SP23115VSP - 115 Volt)

US shoppers buy this pump from Amazon.com
Canadian shoppers buy this pump from PoolSuppliesCanada.ca

Hayward Super Pump VS


Hayward Super Pump Variable Speed (SP2603VSP - 230 Volt)

US shoppers buy this pump from Amazon.com
Canadian shoppers buy this pump from PoolSuppliesCanada.ca


Hayward Super Pump VS 115 volt


Hayward Super Pump Variable Speed (SP26115VSP - 115 Volt)

US shoppers buy this pump from Amazon.com
Canadian shoppers buy this pump from PoolSuppliesCanada.ca


Hayward TriStar VS


Hayward TriStar Variable Speed Pump (SP3202VSP)

US shoppers buy this pump from Amazon.com
Canadian shoppers buy this pump from PoolSuppliesCanada.ca


Hayward EcoStar

Hayward EcoStar Variable Speed Pump (SP3400VSP)

US shoppers buy this pump from Amazon.com
Canadian shoppers buy this pump from PoolSuppliesCanada.ca


As you can see there are quite a few Hayward variable speed pumps to choose from. Now you just a little more information to help you make the right purchase decision. In order to do this you need to be able to consider the unique qualities of each pump, and apply them to your specific swimming pool installation. This can be a challenge for many novice pool owners since this involves calculations like knowing your pool volume as well as features about how you want the pump to function. In short, what you need to remember is that you want to be able to pump the entire volume of your pool three times through the filter every 24 hours. Even if you only run your pump 1/3 this much or less, as many pool owners do, you still want your pump to be able to pump triple the volume of your pool every 24 hours. You will also need to match your pump flow rate to be less than your filter maximum flow rate rating. For both information on calculating volume for your pool as well as matching filter and pump sizes, read this article on pool pump and filter sizing.


Hayward Variable Speed Pump Flow Rates

One of the very best ways to shop for (and compare) pool pumps is to look at the flow rates for each model. The flow rates will give you a good idea as to how powerful and capable each pump is, and it will help you to start to piece together an overall picture of the pump as it compares to similar models. Flow rates are not enough on their own to determine which is the right pump for your pool, but it is an important consideration that you need to look at. One of the most import and eye opening realizations when you start to compare flow rates is that "horsepower" means essentially nothing. The rated power of the pump is seldom a good indicator as to the actual potential of the pump and in a worst case scenario the rated horsepower can be specifically misleading. Things that are not misleading are electrical consumption and pump flow rate (Gallons Per Minute). These are hard numbers that you can make informed decisions based off of.


Similar to this other variable speed pump comparison review: EcoStar VS. IntelliFlo this pump review article uses data published from the California Energy Commission energy audit of consumer appliances. It may not be perfect as these pump values were mostly tested in 2016 and so changes in the design since this time might not be reflected in these numbers. This data shows the electrical draw, flow rates and motor RPM of each brand of variable speed pool pump and then calculates an "energy factor" based on these values to help you compare the energy efficiency of one pump versus the other. Each pump was tested on three separate systems that are intended to replicate real world plumbing conditions.


Curve A - A somewhat efficient plumbing system (2" suction, 1.5" return)

Curve B - A poorly designed plumbing system with a high resistance to flow (1.5" suction, 1.5" return, long plumbing runs)

Curve C - A moderately efficient plumbing system (2" suction, 2" return)


This information is simplified for the sake of making it easier to follow along with for the average pool owner. I have attempted to present this data in a real world way that can help you to apply the information from the Energy Commission appliance reviews to your specific pool requirements. If you want to learn about measuring pump performance without my simplified interpretation then you can read the performance curves published by the manufacturer for each pump and learn how to read pump system curves.


Hayward MaxFlo VS SP23115VSP
Motor RPM = 3450
Curve A = 50 GPM
Curve B = 32 GPM
Curve C = 64 GPM


Hayward MaxFlo VS SP23115VSP
Motor RPM = 600
Curve A = 9 GPM
Curve B = 6 GPM
Curve C = 11 GPM


Hayward Super Pump VS SP26115VSP
Motor RPM = 3450
Curve A = 48 GPM
Curve B = 33 GPM
Curve C = 58 GPM


Hayward Super Pump VS SP26115VSP
Motor RPM = 600
Curve A = 9 GPM
Curve B = 6 GPM
Curve C = 11 GPM


Hayward MaxFlo VS SP2303VSP
Motor RPM = 3450
Curve A = 52 GPM
Curve B = 33 GPM
Curve C = 66 GPM


Hayward MaxFlo VS SP2303VSP
Motor RPM = 600
Curve A = 9 GPM
Curve B = 6 GPM
Curve C = 12 GPM


Hayward Super Pump VS SP2603VSP
Motor RPM = 3450
Curve A = 55 GPM
Curve B = 35 GPM
Curve C = 70 GPM


Hayward Super Pump VS SP2603VSP
Motor RPM = 600
Curve A = 9 GPM
Curve B = 6 GPM
Curve C = 11 GPM


Hayward TriStar VS SP3202VSP
Motor RPM = 3450
Curve A = 64 GPM
Curve B = 38 GPM
Curve C = 85 GPM


Hayward TriStar VS SP3202VSP
Motor RPM = 600
Curve A = 11 GPM
Curve B = 7 GPM
Curve C = 14 GPM


Hayward EcoStar VS SP3400VSP
Motor RPM = 3450
Curve A = 71 GPM
Curve B = 42 GPM
Curve C = 98 GPM


Hayward EcoStar VS SP3400VSP
Motor RPM = 1000
Curve A = 20 GPM
Curve B = 12 GPM
Curve C = 28 GPM


This side by side comparison of Hayward variable speed pump flow rates shows just how similar (minimally different) the flow rates are in these pumps. Even though the EcoStar for example is rated as twice as powerful as the MaxFlo and Super Pump VS models, the actual flow rate is only, at most, 23 GPM different. This is why it is important to consider as many factors as possible about a pump as each piece of information will help to paint a picture of which one appeals to you most. The flow rate is a very important factor, but when you look at the power usage that the pump uses to attain these flow values you can get an even better picture of how capable a pump is.


Which Hayward Pump Is The Most Efficient?

Two different values can be considered to determine which Hayward pump is the most efficient. First, the wattage of the motor is data that was provided in the California Energy Commission appliance audit. Wattage is the measurement of power, and can be calculated by multiplying the voltage (Volts) times the current (Amps) in a system. If you are buying a variable speed pump then these are numbers that you want to be very concerned with. The amount of power that your pump uses directly equals how much you need to pay for the electricity to operate your pump.


The energy factor for these pool pumps is a calculated value that is equal to the flow rate (in GPM) multiplied by 60 and then this value is divided by the wattage of the pump. A low energy factor value indicates a less efficient pump where a higher energy factor number indicates that the pump is more efficient (because it either moves more water, uses less energy, or both of these variables combined).


Hayward MaxFlo VS SP23115VSP
Motor RPM = 3450
Average Power = 917 Watts
Average Energy Factor = 3.67


Hayward MaxFlo VS SP23115VSP
Motor RPM = 600
Average Power = 29.33 Watts
Average Energy Factor = 26.15


Hayward Super Pump VS SP26115VSP
Motor RPM = 3450
Average Power = 1109 Watts
Average Energy Factor = 3.33


Hayward Super Pump VS SP26115VSP
Motor RPM = 600
Average Power = 29.33 Watts
Average Energy Factor = 26.79


Hayward MaxFlo VS SP2303VSP
Motor RPM = 3450
Average Power = 917 Watts
Average Energy Factor = 3.25


Hayward MaxFlo VS SP2303VSP
Motor RPM = 600
Average Power = 29.33 Watts
Average Energy Factor = 18.34


Hayward Super Pump VS SP2603VSP
Motor RPM = 3450
Average Power = 1109 Watts
Average Energy Factor = 2.83


Hayward Super Pump VS SP2603VSP
Motor RPM = 600
Average Power = 21.33 Watts
Average Energy Factor = 23.33


Hayward TriStar VS SP3202VSP
Motor RPM = 3450
Average Power = 1359.66 Watts
Average Energy Factor = 2.68


Hayward TriStar VS SP3202VSP
Motor RPM = 600
Average Power = 22.00 Watts
Average Energy Factor = 28.84


Hayward EcoStar VS SP3400VSP
Motor RPM = 3450
Average Power = 1933.33 Watts
Average Energy Factor = 2.06


Hayward EcoStar VS SP3400VSP
Motor RPM = 1000
Average Power = 88.00 Watts
Average Energy Factor = 13.38


The energy factor in particular is a very telling number as this takes into consideration the amount of flow in relation to the amount of energy being used to create this amount of flow. This is an excellent tool to help you see how a pump operates in comparison to other similar models available from the manufacturer. You can also use this information to compare pumps from different manufacturers to help you level the playing field when comparing pumps. What you might notice from this list is that the bigger the motor is, the less efficient it becomes. This is why you see the EcoStar with a lower energy factor than, say, the SP2603VSP. In reality the EcoStar is actually a more efficient pump and design, but the energy loss to friction and turbulence in the lines from faster moving water causes the energy factor to go down. This is how smaller plumbing lines undermine the potential efficiency of a swimming pool plumbing system and higher end variable speed pumps, especially the more powerful ones.


To get the most from a pump like the EcoStar on an average pool system you want to run the pump 24/7 at the lowest possible RPM. I would choose a larger pump running on a lower RPM versus a smaller pump that has to run at a higher RPM to equal the same flow rate. You still have the ability to ramp up motor speed for more power and flow when needed, and even at very low RPM the pump will move an impressive amount of water.


How To Pick The Best Hayward Variable Speed Pump

The first thing to consider when comparing Hayward variable speed pump options is that the EcoStar is much, much larger than the rest of the options, including the TriStar VS. The MaxFlo, Super Pump and TriStar models are all fairly close in size and capability, with the TriStar being slightly larger and more capable than the other two. The EcoStar is almost twice as large as the rest of the models. For this reason the EcoStar requires larger suction and return lines than you can typically get away using with any of the other pumps.


Ideally when it comes to suction and return lines bigger is better. The larger the pipes are the slower the water can travel through them. As the pipe gets smaller the velocity of the water increases to maintain a given flow volume. As the water increases in speed, the more friction against the pipe opposes the flow of the water. Additionally, when water is moving fast it is more inclined to become turbulent as it navigates through the twists and turns in the pipe. Turbulence is a direct efficiency loss and so slowing the water to reduce turbulence results in an increase in the efficiency of the system.


Hayward MaxFlo VS - 1.5" plumbing minimum

Hayward Super Pump VS - 1.5" plumbing minimum

Hayward TriStar VS - 1.5" plumbing minimum

Hayward EcoStar VS - 2" plumbing minimum


Any of the smaller pumps can also be installed on 2" plumbing systems with the only difference being that they will perform better than the same system if it were 1.5". What most pool owners do not appreciate is that even 2" pipe is the main limiting factor as to why these pumps are not even more efficient. You could easily upgrade the entire plumbing system of an EcoStar to 3" or 4" in size and the pump would be more efficient than one installed on a 2" plumbing system. So why are more pools not built using 3" or 4" (or even larger) plumbing systems? Well, actually, many are...but most commonly these would only be "high end" pools that have upgraded plumbing size. The main reason for this is cost. There is a gigantic increase in costs when you start to look at PVC pipe and fittings that are any larger than 2" in size. This is a simple supply and demand equation where huge quantities of 2" PVC products are manufactured and sold, where anything larger than 2" in schedule 40 or schedule 80 PVC is much harder to find, and much more expensive when you do find it. In addition to the pipe being more expensive when larger than 2" another consideration is that the equipment, pump, filter and heater will all have 1.5", 2" or possibly 2.5" plumbing ports that you must adapt to regardless of the rest of the plumbing size. If not for these reasons, all pool plumbing systems would benefit from larger plumbing lines in terms of flow rates, electrical usage and overall system efficiency.


Super Pump VS MaxFlo - The EcoStar is easy to choose. If you have two inch plumbing lines and want the most flow then the EcoStar wins. If you want as much flow as possible but you do not have 2" suction lines then the TriStar is the next best. The Super Pump versus MaxFlo question is a little trickier since the pumps are essentially the same (the same motors) with slight differences to the wet-end design which results in marginal flow differences and efficiencies. In general the MaxFlo slightly outperforms the Super Pump on 1.5" plumbing systems however the most noticable difference is simply in the lid and basket design. The lid on the MaxFlo is round with a screw top style. The Super Pump uses the traditional square lid and twist knob tightening system. The union connectors on the MaxFlo are also better than the female threads (FPT) that the Super Pump VS has.


How To Install A Hayward Variable Speed Pump

Hayward Variable Speed Pump Installation Installing a Hayward variable speed pump is no different than any other brand of pump installation. What is different is the costs that you will pay if you install your pump incorrectly. A pump that is installed incorrectly, or poorly, will almost certainly operate less efficiently and ultimately fail earlier than a similar pump installed with better flow dynamic in mind. If you are interested in seeing examples of pool pumps installed correctly versus poorly installed pool pumps then you can watch my 50 part series where I review pool equipment installations for deficiencies. If you are going to pay twice as much or more for your pump because you want the energy saving potential of a variable speed pump, then you had better be sure you install it correctly so that you get the maximum service life possible from it.


Suction Pipe Size - As discussed in the section above, 1.5" plumbing lines are limiting from an efficiency perspective since the water needs to travel faster in the smaller diameter pipe which compounds friction and energy losses in the lines. If you starve a pump for water, such as with an EcoStar on 1.5" plumbing, it will make the pump less efficient, to a point, beyond which physical damage can actually happen to the pump due to cavitation.

Suction Pipe Orientation - A very common mistake in the world of pool pump installations is to restrict the flow of water right at the point where it enters the pump chamber. In order to maximize flow efficiency you want to have a straight, unobstructed run of pipe that is 5x to 10x the pipe diameter entering the suction side of the pump. Having a valve, union or fitting directly in front of the pump suction port causes the pump to operate outside of the most efficient operational range.

Adequate Air Flow - These pumps are built for year round outdoor use however there are some things that you can do to help your new pump to weather as well as possible. The first would be to install a pump motor cover which allows air flow while keeping the heat of the sun off of the motor. Pump motors that are covered will almost certainly last longer than a pump that operates in direct sunlight. If you choose to locate your pump in an enclosed room be sure to have a lot of passive air flow in the room.

Match Flow Rate For Pump & Filter - One of the most important considerations when you upgrade to a new variable speed pump is to make sure that you filter can handle the flow that your new pump generates. Look up the maximum design flow rate for your filter on this page of pool filter reviews and compare this to the flow rate examples on this page. This will help you to estimate how much flow each of these pumps will produce on your system to see if your filter can handle this volume. In a real world setting you can calculate the potential flow rate for a pump using a pressure gauge, a vacuum gauge and a calculation however this only provides a snap shot of the momentary system conditions. These values will all change as the system variables change due to the filter becoming dirty over time, or the valve orientations changing at all. In a real world environment the best way to actually know the flow rates of your system is to just install an inline flow meter.


You can continue to the variable speed pump reviews article to see which other brands of VS pumps might be a good option for your pool. You can also look at some of the other comparison articles that I have created such as the Pentair SuperFlo VS IntelliFlo, the EcoStar VS IntelliFlo and the Hayward Super Pump VS Pentair SuperFlo. If you are simply too overwhelmed and can not decide which pump would be the best variable speed pump for your pool then feel free to contact Steve directly to help you decide.





Swimming Pool Steve

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