6 Best Variable Speed Pool Pumps of 2021

Last update: 2021-06-18

Here's the fact.

I save $150 to $200 on my power bill every month while maintaining my pool in proper conditions. It used to be bloody expensive when I was still engaging with my old single-speed pump.

But things changed when I switched to the best variable speed pool pump.

It's the answer to the nonsensical energy consumption expenses.

If you're like me, trying to save some hundreds every month for a new convertible Audi TT, it's reasonable to check out these pool pump models.

Here are the best variable speed pool pumps you can buy in 2021:

  • Best Overall: Hayward SP2610X15 Super Pump 1.5 HP Pool Pump
  • Best for Small Pools: Pentair 342001
  • Best for Temperature Extremes: Hayward W3SP3202VSP Pool Pump
  • Quiet Operation: Harris In-Ground VS Variable Speed Swimming Pool Pumps
  • Best for Above-Ground Pools: Hayward PowerFlo Matrix Above-Ground Pool Pump
  • Energy-Efficient: Pentair 011028 IntelliFlo VS Pool Pump
6 Best Variable Speed Pool Pumps
Best Overall
Hayward SP2610X15 Super Pump 1.5 HP Pool Pump
    Best for Small Pools
    Pentair 342001
      Best for Temperature Extremes
      Hayward W3SP3202VSP Pool Pump
        Quiet Operation
        Harris In-Ground VS Variable Speed Swimming Pool Pumps
          Best for Above-Ground Pools
          Hayward PowerFlo Matrix Above-Ground Pool Pump
            Energy-Efficient
            Pentair 011028 IntelliFlo VS Pool Pump

              Best Overall: Hayward SP2610X15 Super Pump 1.5 HP Pool Pump

              Hayward SP2610X15 Super Pump 1.5 HP Pool Pump
              Hayward SP2610X15 Super Pump 1.5 HP Pool Pump
              9.8Outstanding
              Pros
              • Durable construction

              • Self-priming

              • Large debris basket

              • Heavy-duty motor

              • Easy to install

              Cons
              • Take time to prime

              • Strainer cover is of dark plastic

              If you're not familiar with Hayward, it's kind of a big gold standard for go-to pool pump for many years. This model comes with excellent durability, quietness, and performance.

              Why do I think so?

              This well-made machine is rigged with a 1.5-HP motor with the power of the industry's workhorse.

              But the one thing that makes me buy this thing is power efficiency. While many models are not optimized for saving energy, Hayward makes this unit save you a bit of money on the bill.

              It's also noticeably quieter than a lot of pumps thanks to the good quality motor.

              On the side, it has a pretty large-sized catch bag. It doesn't need to be changed or cleaned out as often. More than that, you can easily remove the strainer using the exclusive swing-away hand knobs designed for easy loosening.

              The self-priming feature additionally makes this pump a worth investing unit. It saves you time clearing manually for the air before pumping.

              Hayward SP2610X15 Super Pump 1.5 HP Pool Pump Specifications

              Dimensions

              N/A

              Horsepower

              1.5 HP

              Pump Output (GPM)

              65

              Highlight Features

              Industry’s workhorse motor. Exclusive swing-away hand knobs for easy strainer cover removal. Oversized debris basket

              Verdict

              This pump is an exceptionally well-made pump designed to be your no-second-thought purchase.

              Best for Small Pools: Pentair 342001

              Pentair 342001
              Pentair 342001
              9.4Outstanding
              Pros
              • Quiet operation

              • Reasonable flow rate

              • Easy to install

              • Cost-efficient

              Cons
              • Hard-to-open strainer cover

              Even with a little pool, you need to maintain it right if you want to enjoy the water time for long. This Pentair is a match for any small pool.

              It runs at variable speeds, which will dramatically reduce your energy costs down the road. Particularly, it circulates water more effectively at a lower speed. Then, you'll have better control compared to a single-speed pump.

              This little guy runs more quietly than many models I know. It's a great entry-level variable-speed pump to introduce.

              For such a size, I didn't expect it to move more water. But when in operation, the 1.5-HP motor really shows off the capacity. It pumps water at the flow rate of 103 to 113 GPM, which is an impressive number via a 1.5" connection.

              That means you'll have your pool filled, drained, or filtered in the nick of time. At the same time, the pump saves you up to 80% cost of power. You can compare the bill of this month once it comes and see the difference.

              Pentair 342001 Specifications

              Dimensions

              28 x 15.5 x 12.5 inches

              Horsepower

              1.5 HP

              Pump Output (GPM)

              103

              Highlight Features

              Super energy-saving. Three operating speed settings. 24-hour memory retention. Intuitive user interface

              Verdict

              This pump is a remarkable pump to maintain your small pool and keep the budget as low as you expect.

              Best for Temperature Extremes: Hayward W3SP3202VSP Pool Pump

              Hayward W3SP3202VSP Pool Pump
              Hayward W3SP3202VSP Pool Pump
              9Outstanding
              Pros
              • Energy Star approved

              • Easy to program

              • Huge energy cost savings

              • In-built safety features

              Cons
              • Tricky at the installation

              • Noisy

              Here you go, this is a great model to handle pools with temperature extreme. The best about it is the Energy Star approval.

              This pump comes with a powerful engine that operates at 1.86 HP and can boost the power to 2.0 max HP. Soon enough, you will see a significant deduction on your electric bill.

              Yet better, the programmable digital interface offers simple operation to first-timers. There are 24-hour programmable clocks and up to 8 custom timer functions.

              Using this unit a few times, you will see how the on-board diagnostics and automatic protection mechanism works. This is the feature that prevents the pump from priming failures, temperature extremes, and voltage fluctuations.

              The only thing about this pump is you can hear it. But it won't be too noticeable to your ears.

              Hayward W3SP3202VSP Pool Pump Specifications

              Dimensions

              28.1 x 11.6 x 14.3 inches

              Horsepower

              1.86 HP

              Pump Output (GPM)

              80

              Highlight Features

              Approved for energy saving and efficiency. Smart programmable digital interface. totally enclosed fan-cooled (TEFC)

              Verdict

              You want a pump that survives the temperature extremes? You can definitely rely on this unit.

              Quiet Operation: Harris In-Ground VS Variable Speed Swimming Pool Pumps

              Harris In-Ground VS Variable Speed Swimming Pool Pumps
              Harris In-Ground VS Variable Speed Swimming Pool Pumps
              8.6Great
              Pros
              • Super silent operation

              • Easy to start and stop

              • Powerful

              • Sturdy construction

              Cons
              • A bit challenging programming

              • Lousy manual

              Need something that stays off grandma's ears? This Harris pool pump is the one you can trust.

              The first thing to mention is the unparalleled durability the construction offers. You will see this unit last long enough to your expectation because it's made of carborundum and graphite mechanical in the seals and components.

              Secondly, it is the advanced engineering that I need to mention. While exceeding all CSA and ETL requirements, this pump is crafted to be quiet and hard-working labor.

              Many users from my readers have complimented how quiet this thing is. Meanwhile, I approve there is no harassing noise during my use.

              It provides three scheduled programs ranging from 1500 RPM to 3250 RPM. On the control panel, you'll find all the indicators for speed and alarms for over-voltage, high temperature, current, and freeze protection.

              Harris In-Ground VS Variable Speed Swimming Pool Pumps Specifications

              Dimensions

              N/A

              Horsepower

              3 HP

              Pump Output (RPM)

              1000 - 3450

              Highlight Features

              Super powerful engine crafted to be high in efficiency and noise reduction. Made from reinforced thermoplastic to extend the lifespan

              Verdict

              Not only being a survival, but this pump is also a noise keeper, working hard in silence.

              Best for Above-Ground Pools: Hayward PowerFlo Matrix Above-Ground Pool Pump

              Hayward PowerFlo Matrix Above-Ground Pool Pump
              Hayward PowerFlo Matrix Above-Ground Pool Pump
              8.2Good
              Pros
              • Collect large debris

              • Heavy-duty motor

              • Super quiet

              • Save greatly on power bills

              • Motor protected by an integrated automatic thermal overload protector

              Cons
              • Confusion about the amp's

              Besides getting the jobs done well in circulating and filtering water, this pump will make you like it when using for an above ground pool.

              In application, I could feel the jet head pushing against the wall with high speed. And at low speed, it keeps the pool clean and free of debris like a charm.

              This pump features a high-performance impeller. What's good is the wide openings can block leaves and debris from entering to cause clogging. And because the strainer is of industrial size, it collects large debris without you having to worry about maintaining.

              One more special thing on this pump is the discharge orientation that can be converted from a vertical position to a horizontal one. That means if you don't feel comfortable opening the lid from the upright position, you can switch the discharge horizontally.

              More than that, it's a super quiet pool. On low, I couldn't really hear any sound unless I stood on the top near it.

              Hayward PowerFlo Matrix Above-Ground Pool Pump Specifications

              Dimensions

              9.5 x 23 x 11 inches

              Horsepower

              1.5 HP

              Pump Output (GPM)

              N/A

              Highlight Features

              Large debris basket. Convertible from vertical to horizontal discharge orientation. High performance motor

              Verdict

              So far, I'm very happy with the pump. It keeps my on-ground pool clean for the swimming season way too well.

              Energy-Efficient: Pentair 011028 IntelliFlo VS Pool Pump

              Pentair 011028 IntelliFlo VS Pool Pump
              Pentair 011028 IntelliFlo VS Pool Pump
              8.6Great
              Pros
              • Super silent

              • 90% energy-efficient

              • Easy to use menu structure

              • Multiple programs

              Cons
              • Costly

              • Challenging installation for beginners

              I had this Pentair as a replacement for my old squeaking 10-year pump. And guess what? This is the one that minus a big number on my bills.

              First of all, this pump is insanely quiet. Second, it's straightforward to use with an intuitive control panel. Most of the time, it's automatic. That means, you just need to put a little setup of the 8-programmable speed settings and built-in timer.

              The biggest thing is electricity. I can tell it's 90% more energy-efficient than any standard pool pump. I used to spend around $500 for my pool costs alone. But it went down to under 100 bucks. So, this pump pays for itself in months.

              This unit also supports a manual vacuum. Just plug the unit in and use it as normal.

              You'll also get a design of the enclosed fan made to last. Accessing to the compartments is as well easy thanks to the top-mounted field wiring.

              Pentair 011028 IntelliFlo VS Pool Pump Specifications

              Dimensions

              23.3 x 10.8 x 12.4 inches

              Horsepower

              N/A

              Pump Output (RPM)

              From 100 to 3500

              Highlight Features

              8 programmable speed settings. Super quiet. Pentair automation systems easy to set up

              Verdict

              If your electric bills are getting too high, this pump will be an insanely wise replacement that will pay for itself just in months.

              How To Choose The Best Variable Speed Pool Pump?

              Buying a variable speed pool pump is not just about looking at the brand and price. There are many things to look out for. I hope a little knowledge and experience of mine will help.

              Efficiency

              It means the performance of the pump in water. Efficiency comes in the way the pump works at low and high speed.

              At high, the pump is supposed to clean, filter, drain, or any water running application. When operating at low speed, the pump should collect debris and keep the pool clean while not wasting too much power.

              Pumps with high efficiency can pay for itself in a year or two by cutting off numbers on your bill.

              An efficient model should also be programmable so that you can leave to work without exceeding the required power.

              Also, to ensure a pump that saves electricity, you should pay for ones that are Energy Star approved. They are models qualified for rebates from the electric company.

              Flow Rate

              Take note of the GPM because you need to know how much water the pump can move in a certain time. This factor affects energy use.

              You also need to size your pool to get the right capacity of the pump. Its revolution per minute depends heavily on the gallons of water in your pool.

              Durability

              Of course, you want your pump to be there as long as possible to keep the swimming time active. Do pay attention to the material made up the unit. If there are many rustable parts, you may think twice.

              Most durable variable speed pumps are made from thermoplastic, which is engineered to endure water particles, temperature extremes, and power fluctuation.

              Which Brands Make The Best Variable Speed Pool Pump?

              Pentair

              Pentair is a giant in the water treatment industry. No doubt, they produce only high-efficient pumps for pools at a wide range of quality and cost. In particular, variable speed pumps from Pentair offer practical solutions for not only keeping swimming water safe but also saving dollars on bills.

              Hayward

              Pumps from Hayward are always powerful, cost-saving, and long-lasting. Those models always come with top-notch technology known in the pool industry to make sure your life with the swimming water is safe and enjoyable. Hayward pumps often pay for themselves after one year and will serve you in more years.

              FAQs

              When should you run the pump?

              Pools are more vulnerable during the day because the heat of the sun draws chemicals to activate. So, you should run the pump at day time, best during the hottest time of the day.

              Can you run the pump at night?

              Yes. But only do this when you do a major chemical treatment like adding chlorine.

              How long do I run my pool pump?

              That depends on seasons. In winter, I recommend a run of 6 to 8 hours. Summer requires a longer operation. It can range from 10 to 12 hours.

              With a variable speed pump, you can run the unit at high in those ranges. Then, set it to low mode to save energy. But unless your pool is in constant use, you don't need to filter it all the time.

              You can schedule the operation once every 24 hours. When the pump is not working, you should check the clarity of the water and chemical balance in it.

              How do I know if my pool pump is bad?

              There are 3 signs you can read when you pool went bad:

              • Poor readings on the pressure gauge

              • Leaking

              • Constantly fail to prime

              • Becoming noisy

              How many horsepower pool pump do I need?

              Before answering this question, you need to size your pool first.

              Typically, the pump size depends on pool gallonage, shape, and type. For example, a round above-ground pool with less than 15k gallons requires a pump of at least 1 HP.

              Any pool larger than that size, you need more power, a 1.5 to 2 HP pump, for example.

              Please take reference following the chart below:

              What is the average life of a pool pump?

              A pool pump can last approximately from 8 to 12 years, depending on how it wears due to labor and weather. You will need to replace the pump when you start hearing noises or screeching sound in the front and rear bearings.

              Most pump manufacturers will recommend an average swimming pool pump should run for about 7 years. But not all pool owners find their pumps survive that long. This usually has to do with the improper installation of the pump.

              If the pump has a suction restriction or the pump has not been appropriately sized to the plumbing system and pool, you may be overworking it and reducing the lifetime that you can expect to get from it.

              Conclusion

              Finally, I hope you found one that fits you best. If you are considering more factors, please let me know, and I'll answer in the comment box.

              I will keep this list of the best variable speed pool pump updated according to my use of new models. That way, you'll always have new models to consider.

              Don't leave without sharing this post. Thank you for reading.

              Harry Ramos
              Harry Ramos

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