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Which Pool Filter is Best? Sand or Cartridge?

Everyone has a different opinion on which is best, and truthfully both are excellent - as long as you have the right size for your pool. The difference is in how much dirt, grass trimmings or leaves get into your pool and how easy/hard it is to clean each pool filter. You may also want to consider how often you will need to replace your pool filter, and the cost.

Pool Filter Efficiency

Pool filters measure efficiency based on the size of particles they can remove, measured in microns. If a filter removes particles under 10 microns, it is more efficient than a pool filter that removes particles under 20 microns.

Thus, the lower the number of microns, the better.

  • Sand filters remove particles under 20-40 microns.

  • Cartridge filters remove particles under 10-15 microns.

Sand Filter vs Cartridge Filter Replacement Cost

The initial cost of a pool filter is a big decision making factor for most, but don’t forget the replacement cost of your pool filter -and how often you have to replace them!

Sand Filters

The sand in a sand filter should be replaced every 4-6 years, at a cost of $10/50lbs. On average, that’s $100.

Cartridge Filters

Cartridge filters wear out over time, and need to be replaced more frequently, every 3-4 years, with an average cost of $120.

Pool Filter Cleaning

Sand Filter

With a sand filter, water is cleaned by being pushed through the sand, which traps particles. When it’s time to clean the filter, a pool owner will reverse the flow of water (backwashing) to flush the trapped deposits out. The process is fairly quick, and requires very little effort.

Cartridge Filter

A cartridge filter uses a pleated fabric in cylindrical cartridges to trap dirt and particles as pool water is pushed through, almost like an air filter in a home traps particles when the air is pushed through. Cartridge filters are taken out and hosed down thoroughly every 3-6 months.

Because cartridge filters screen out twice as much dirt and debris as a sand filter, they are the best choice for pools that have lots of dust and debris. In addition, some areas have pool water use restrictions, with cartridge filters preferred in drought stricken areas because they are not backwashed. It takes less water to thoroughly hose a cartridge filter clean, than to backwash a pool of the same size.

Which Filter Is Best?

When asked which pool filter is best, sand vs cartridge, we always look at how much debris is expected and talk with a pool owner about how much effort and cost they are willing to put into maintenance. Every homeowner is different, and that’s how we make our recommendations.

sand filter vs cartridge filter for your pool

If you would like Sunset Pool Care to come out and clean or replace your filters, give us a call: 480-682-7986

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