Swimming Pool Sand Filters vs. Cartridge Filters: Pros and Cons

Posted by Karl Ueckermann on



Swimming pool filters play a crucial role in keeping your pool water clean and clear. They remove debris, dirt, and other impurities from the water to ensure that you can enjoy a safe and healthy swimming experience. When it comes to pool filters, two popular options are sand filters and cartridge filters. Both have their advantages and disadvantages, and in this blog post, we will explore the pros and cons of each to help you make an informed decision for your swimming pool.

Swimming Pool Sand Filters:


  1. Effective Filtration: Sand filters are known for their excellent filtration capabilities. They use a thick bed of sand to trap particles and debris as small as 20 to 40 microns. Sand filters (Aquamax sand filters, Speck Aquaswim sand filters, Quality sand filters)are particularly effective at removing larger debris like leaves, grass, and bugs from the water, making them ideal for pools located in areas with a lot of surrounding vegetation.

  2. Low Maintenance: Sand filters require minimal maintenance compared to other types of filters. The sand bed only needs to be replaced every 2 to 3 years, making it a cost-effective option in the long run. Backwashing, which involves reversing the water flow to flush out debris from the silica filter sand bed, is the primary maintenance task for sand filters and can be done easily by the pool owner.

  3. Durability: Sand filters are typically durable and can withstand high pressure and frequent backwashing without losing their effectiveness. They are made of sturdy materials like fiberglass or plastic, which are resistant to corrosion and can last for many years with proper care.


  1. Lower Filtration Capacity: While sand filters are effective at filtering out larger debris, they are not as efficient at removing smaller particles from the water. Sand filters may not be the best option for pools that require a high level of water clarity, such as pools used for competitive swimming or those with high bather loads.

  2. Higher Water Consumption: Backwashing, which is necessary for maintaining the efficiency of sand filters, requires a significant amount of water. This can result in higher water consumption, which may not be environmentally friendly in areas where water conservation is a concern.

Swimming Pool Cartridge Filters:


  1. Superior Filtration: Cartridge filters are known for their superior filtration capabilities, capable of trapping particles as small as 10 to 15 microns. They are highly effective at removing both large and small debris from the water, making them ideal for pools that require high water clarity.

  2. Lower Water Consumption: Cartridge filters do not require backwashing, which means they use less water compared to sand filters. This makes them a more environmentally friendly option in areas where water conservation is a concern.

  3. Easy to Clean: Cartridge filters are easy to clean and maintain. When the cartridges become dirty, they can be removed and hosed down, or soaked in a cleaning solution to remove debris. This simple cleaning process can be done without the need for backwashing, saving both water and time.


  1. More Frequent Maintenance: Cartridge filters may require more frequent cleaning compared to sand filters, as the cartridges can become dirty and clogged more quickly. This means more regular maintenance tasks for pool owners, which may be time-consuming.

  2. Higher Initial Cost: Cartridge filters are typically more expensive upfront compared to sand filters. However, they may provide cost savings in the long run due to their lower water consumption and fewer replacement parts needed.

  3. Replacement Cost: Cartridges have a limited lifespan and need to be replaced every 2 to 5 years, depending on the usage and water quality. The cost of replacing cartridges can add up over time and should be factored into the overall cost of owning a cartridge filter.


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