Which Pool Pump Should I Buy?
Most pool owners asking "which pool pump should I buy?" have probably started the process of looking for a new pump only to be completely overwhelmed by the amount of options, brands, models, sizes and technical specifications for pool pumps. There are so many different options to consider when getting a new pump, and getting the wrong pump could result in the pool not being filtered enough, or worse, damage to your other equipment. Consider this page as a short cut or cheat sheet to help you (quickly) choose a suitable pump for your pool.
If you want to do all of the research yourself, which you really should, a good place to start would be this article that talks about how much money can you save with a variable speed pump. In this you will learn about why the technology of controlling motor RPM is critically important if you want to have an energy efficient swimming pool. Considering that a typical single speed pool pump installation could account for up to 50% of the electricity used in an entire home every month. There is no other appliance that you would allow to be this remarkably inefficient in your home, and it is only because single speed pumps are grandfathered into almost every home with a pool that they are used at all. One day all swimming pool filtration pumps will be variable speed, so you might as well start saving money on electricity now.
Which pool pump should I buy? - In order to keep things as simple as possible, and to avoid having this article being too long and bloated, I will just jump right to the chase and give you the options that the vast majority of shoppers will end up choosing. There will be a lot of great pool pump options for every pool application. Rarely will one pump be "the best" versus other potential options.
The Pentair SuperFlo VS is one of the most versatile and popular pool pumps currently available. In specific Pentiar enjoys a very solid reputation as a quality pool equipment manufacturer, and even more specifically for their pump technology. The SuperFlo VS is rare in that it offer a capably sized 1.5 HP motor that is able to be wired at either 120 or 240 volts, where most entry level variable speed pumps from other manufacturers are voltage specific and not able to change. A very large limiting factor for variable speed pool pumps is that they are typically very powerful and the majority of them on the market are actually too powerful for systems that use 1.5" plumbing lines. The Pentair SuperFlo VS is able to be used on either 1.5" plumbing systems as well as 2" or larger systems, again providing versatility that is rare among competing pumps. There are other great pumps on the market, including ones that are even more efficient than this one, but pool owners tend to like the combination of reliable name, variable speed efficiency, as well as the versatility to be adapter to all but the most demanding pool and spa systems.
Pentair SuperFlo 342001
Flow Rate - 104 GPM @ 30ft head / 95 GPM @ 40ft head
Voltage - Dual 115 / 230 Volts
Pipe Size - Compatible with 1.5" and 2" pipe size
Motor Type - TEFC Variable Speed
Buy From Amazon: Pentair 342001 SuperFlo VS
Buy From PoolSuppliesCanada: Pentair SuperFlo 342001 VS
The variable speed SuperFlo from Pentair is suitable as the main filtration pump for almost any size swimming pool, both of the most common sizes of pipe, and can be used at either 120 or 240 volts depending on what you have available. In theory this pump would be suitable for achieving commercial standards of three filtration turnovers per day in pools up to approximately 48,000 gallons (assuming near to 100 GPM @ 24 hours per day of running). While most pools will filter far less than this it is important to know the high end of what the pump is capable of doing. For the average residential pool which is much smaller than 48,000 gallons and usually filtered less than three turnovers per day, the Superflo VS is probably your easiest and safest option.
Top Pool Pump Brands
The top pool pump brands available today are the same ones that have been at the top of the industry for decades. When you start listing out manufacturers of high quality swimming pool pumps you will hear the same names repeated everywhere. Pentair, Hayward and Jandy (also Sta-Rite and Zodiac) take top honors with Waterway, Speck and Jacuzzi sharing a lesser market share than the big three. Aside from these recognizable names I would be very hard pressed to recommend a pool pump.
When a customer comes to me and shows me an off-brand pool pump, or a name that is a knock off of a well known pump brand I always advise against it. It is hard to build a quality pump and the big manufacturers have been working on developing quality pumps for years. If you go with an inferior product there is not a chance of early failure, from my perspective I see early failure as a foregone conculsion. Avoid off brands and go with what is popular when it comes to buying a pump for your pool.
Pools with attached spas - If you have an attached hot tub that has jets that runs from your pool filtration pump then you will likely need to have a larger pump. the 1.5HP SuperFlo VS will likely not be powerful enough for booster jets. If you have an attached spa that uses the filtration pump to run your hot tub jets then you would need to have 2" pipes and go with the larger Pentair 011018 IntelliFlo. If your hot tub jets have their own independent jet pump and you only need a filtration pump for your pool and spa then the smaller SuperFlo VS would be suitable.
Pools with waterfalls - If you have waterfalls in your pool that operate from your filtration pump (there is not a separate waterfall pump) then the SuperFlo VS might be too small for your needs. Waterfalls take a LOT of water in order to create that beautiful, arcing water than everyone likes to have...if you have 2" plumbing on your pool then you might want to upgrade to the larger Pentair 011018 IntelliFlo.
Pools with in-floor cleaning systems - If you have an in-floor cleaning system on your pool then you need to be aware that these require a great deal of flow and pressure in order to operate. If your pool uses your filtration pump to operate the gear assembly for your in-floor cleaner system then you might find the SuperFlo VS to be too small for this application. If you have an in-floor cleaning system then you should also have 2" pipe size (at minimum) and you should look at a larger pump like the Pentair 011018 IntelliFlo.
Aside from these specific examples where a larger pool pump is needed, the Pentair SuperFlo VS is versatile and suitable for a wide variety of applications. You can always contact a local pool and spa expert in your area to help you with finding the perfect pump for your application, but if you are just searching for some fast answers then Pentair SuperFlo VS is going to be the best option for most pool owners reading this.
One thing that all pool owners should keep in mind when looking for which pool pump to get and that is pool filters have a maximum flow rate that you need to stay below. It is hard to judge flow rates on a pool system on paper, which is why pool flow meters are a good idea. If you have a cartridge filter or a DE filter these both are able to handle higher flow rates than sand filters and are usually able to be paired with any pool pump. Sand filters and especially smaller sand filters with 1.5" plumbing need to be careful about exceeding the maximum design flow rate. You can check your filter maximum design flow rate on this page of pool filter reviews.
Pentair SuperFlo versus IntelliFlo
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