Best Variable Speed Pool Pumps: Buyer’s Guide

If you are looking for the best variable speed pool pump, it is essential to consider its flow rate, motor, and horsepower, among other factors.  Below, I have handpicked my favorite products based on these features. Read on to learn why they should matter to you.

There is no doubt that a swimming pool is fun for the whole family. But like many consumers, I am often frustrated with the high energy costs associated with maintaining a pool.

That is why I made it a point to research the most effective ways to reduce energy costs for pools. Fortunately, I came across the benefits of upgrading to a variable speed pump. Variable speed pool pumps are more efficient, and can pump at lower flow rates while saving energy.

In this article, I have included the best variable speed pool pumps on the market today. I also discuss the factors to consider before buying one and added an FAQ section to help you make the best choice of pump for your pool.

Whether you are looking to install a new pump or upgrade your current one, read on for the best variable speed pool pumps.

A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites in 2022

IMAGEPRODUCT
  • Dimensions: 30.1 x 10.6 x 11.8 inches
  • Weight: 38.5 pounds
  • Brand: Hayward
View On Amazon →Read Our Review
  • Dimensions: 23.3 x 10.8 x 12.4 inches
  • Weight: 50 pounds
  • Brand: Pentair
View On Amazon →Read Our Review
  • Dimensions: 8.5 x 10 x 22.5 inches
  • Weight: 25 pounds
  • Brand: Hayward
View On Amazon →Read Our Review
  • Dimensions: 31 x 9.9 x 12.4 inches
  • Weight: 42.2 pounds
  • Brand: Hayward
View On Amazon →Read Our Review
  • Dimensions: 22 x 8 x 10.75 inches
  • Weight: 22 pounds
  • Brand: Harris Pool Products
View On Amazon →Read Our Review
  • Dimensions: 24.5 x 12 x 8 inches
  • Weight: 30.8 pounds
  • Brand: XtremepowerUS
View On Amazon →Read Our Review
  • Dimensions: 25 x 15 x 11 inches
  • Weight: 35 pounds
  • Brand: Harris Pool Products
View On Amazon →Read Our Review

Top 7 Best Variable Speed Pool Pumps

Below are the seven best variable speed pumps for your pool. Each standard pool pump can reduce your energy bills by up to 90%, making it an energy-saving pool equipment. At the same time, these variable speed pumps offer improved efficiency and durability, ideal for long-term use.

1. Hayward Super Variable Speed Pool Pump – Editor’s Pick

The first product on this list of the best variable speed pumps is the Hayward Super Variable Speed Pool Pump.

This industry-standard pump uses a heavy-duty and high-performance motor with a horsepower rating of 1.50. Thus, it can turn over the pool water faster, which means you can run it less often and for shorter periods. It is also more efficient than other variable speed pumps with a 1.0 HP maximum flow rate.

Additionally, this pool pump features a large see-through strainer cover and a super-size debris basket with extra leaf holding capacity. The former enables greater water flow at a lower cost and cooler operation. Meanwhile, the latter effectively prevents debris from clogging the pump impeller. It also extends the time between cleanings.

Moreover, it uses Super Pump variable speed technology to provide efficient, dependable, and silent operation. So there is no need to worry about the motor breaking down on you after a few weeks of use.

There is even a uni-bracket mounting base that offers stable and stress-free support. Plus, it offers versatility for any installation, perfect for both 48- and 56-frame motors.

On top of all these benefits, this variable speed model comes with swing-away hand knobs. These make it easier to remove the strainer cover without tools.

Most importantly, customer reviews for this item were overwhelmingly positive. However, some users noticed that this variable speed model is quite loud at 60 Hz, even when using at low speed. A few were also disappointed that there were loose bolts, which can lead to accidental spraying of water when you are not careful.

The pros far outweigh the cons, though. For this reason, I deemed the Hayward Super Variable Speed Pool Pump as the best variable speed pump on the market today.

Pros:

  • Heavy-duty motor with a horsepower rating of 1.50
  • Large strainer cover allows more efficient water flow meter at a lower cost
  • Super-size debris basket with extra leaf holding capacity 
  • Uni-bracket mounting base provides stable support

Cons:

  • Relatively loud 60 Hz pump, even when using it at low speed
  • There were loose bolts in the pump, which can increase the risk of accidental spraying of water

2. Pentair IntelliFlo Variable Speed Pool Pump – Runner-Up

Pentair IntelliFlo Variable Speed Pool Pump

Another excellent variable speed pool pump is the Pentair IntelliFlo.

It features a robust and high-performing motor with a horsepower rating of 1.5. This pool pump also meets the strict energy efficiency criteria of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency & the U.S. Department of Energy. Thus, it can save energy and reduce up to 90% of energy bills in contrast to other traditional pumps.

Additionally, this energy-efficient pool pump offers eight programmable variable speed settings and a built-in timer. These ensure the motor operates at optimum speed.

Meanwhile, the totally enclosed fan-cooled design ensures that the pool pump is as quiet as possible compared to typical 1.5 HP single-speed pumps.

Furthermore, there is a field wiring compartment that is conveniently located at the top of the pump. Hence, it makes access and installation easier. 

Finally, this variable speed pool pump has an intuitive menu structure for convenient monitoring and programming. Plus, there is a rotatable control keypad, so you can easily relocate it if you wish to.

Despite these benefits, there are still a few cons to consider before buying this pool pump. First, some users experienced leaks from the pump housing. Second, a few were also disappointed with the limited warranty support. So if you ever installed or customized the pump yourself without the help of a professional, you risk voiding the warranty coverage.

Overall, though, the Pentair IntelliFlo is still among the best variable speed pool pumps. I highly recommend this to pool owners looking for a silent and energy-saving pump.

Pros:

  • 1.5 HP variable speed pool pump reduce energy costs by up to 90%
  • Eight-programmable speed settings and a built-in timer guarantee that the motor runs smoothly
  • Totally enclosed fan-cooled design for near-silent operation
  • Top-mounted field wiring compartment makes it easier to access and install
  • Rotatable control keypad for convenient orientation

Cons:

  • Limited warranty support
  • Some users said the pump began to leak from the housing

3. Hayward Power-Flo Variable Speed Pool Pump

Hayward Power-Flo Variable Speed Pool Pump

If you want to ensure that there are no leaks, consider getting the Hayward Power-Flo Variable Speed Pool Pump.

It features a double-sided seal that is 100% drip-proof. It can also resist heat to ensure a long motor life.

Meanwhile, the pump itself is designed to work with both above ground as well as in ground pools. The 60-cycle single-phase motor has a horsepower rating of 1.0 to 1.5, which ensures more efficient performance. But unlike your standard pool pumps, this model can guarantee a quiet operation.

Additionally, the Hayward Super Pump has an exclusive corrosion-proof reinforced thermoplastic housing. Hence, it can withstand bad weather and other harsh outdoor conditions. 

Moreover, this high-performance pool pump comes with a transparent cover. Thus, it allows you to see when the basket already needs cleaning. There is even a drain plug that makes it easier to maintain the pump.

On top of all these benefits, the Hayward Super Pump has automatic thermal overload protection. This feature automatically turns off the motor if there is any abnormal activity or condition detected. As such, it can prevent damage to the machine.

However, before buying this product, it is essential to know its downsides. First, a few users said the pool pump stopped working shortly after a year. Second, it does not have an on and off switch. Thus, it requires you to plug the motor in and out of the outlet if you want to start or stop the pump. Doing so carries a certain risk.

Nevertheless, I still think the Hayward Power-Flo LX Pump is among the best variable speed pool pumps on the market today. I recommend it if you do not want any leaks.  

Pros:

  • This high-performance pump can fit both above-ground and in-ground pools
  • A double-sized seal prevents leaks and heat from damaging the motor
  • Corrosion-proof and reinforced thermoplastic housing for all-weather performance
  • A clear cover to see when the basket already requires cleaning
  • Automatic thermal overload protection protects the machine from any damage

Cons:

  • Some users said that the pump only lasts for a year before breaking down
  • The lack of an on-off switch requires you to plug the pump in and out of the outlet

4. Hayward MaxFlo Variable Speed Pool Pump

Hayward MaxFlo Variable Speed Pool Pump

Is it your first time investing in a variable speed pool pump? If so, I recommend checking out the Hayward MaxFlo XL.

It is available in either single-speed pumps or dual speed pumps that are best suited for entry-level applications. There is also a selection of voltage and horsepower ratings to choose from. So feel free to pick the one that is ideal for your intended purpose and your pond filter’s maximum flow rate or maximum speed.

Additionally, the MaxFlo XL features advanced hydraulics. These allow for increased energy efficiency and priming ability to save energy. In fact, this particular model is among the most energy-efficient pumps in its class.

What’s more, this variable speed pool pump offers a clear strainer cover. Thus, it is easier to see if the basket needs cleaning. 

Plus, this dual-speed pump is compatible with the original Hayward MaxFlo pump to guarantee seamless retrofit installation.

Lastly, this energy-savings pump comes with 1.5” x 2” union connections. These ensure quick and easy installation as well as optimum efficiency for small to medium pools.

Despite these benefits, there are still a few downsides to this dual-speed pump pool equipment. First, some users noticed that it produces a loud vibrating sound. Second, the shaft does not rotate, which increases the risk of tripping the breaker.

With that said, the Hayward Super Pump MaxFlo XL is still among the best dual-speed pumps on the market. I highly recommend it to first-time swimming pool owners.

Pros:

  • Advanced hydraulics offer increased energy efficiency and priming ability
  • Available in single speed or dual speed pumps
  • A clear strainer cover allows you to see when the basket already needs cleaning
  • Quick and easy installation for small to medium-sized swimming pools
  • ENERGY STAR-certified pool pump offers local utility rebates and ensures energy savings operation

Cons:

  • A few users noticed a loud grinding sound, which is not ideal for quiet operation
  • The shaft would not rotate, which can cause the breaker to trip

5. Harris ProForce Variable Speed Pool Pump

Harris ProForce Variable Speed Pool Pump

If you are not picky about brand names, the Harris ProForce Variable Speed Pool Pump is worth considering.

This pool pump runs on a stainless steel motor shaft with a horsepower rating of 1.5. When paired with the reinforced thermoplastic body, this model offers high efficiency and quiet operation.

Additionally, it features a clear strainer that makes it easy to see if you already need to clean the basket. And speaking of, this particular model also includes a large filter basket, so you can easily maintain the item.

There is even a twist-and-lock lid to provide further convenience when cleaning the pool pump motor.

Moreover, it includes 1.5-inch connection sizes on both suction and discharge ports. So if you ever need to add accessories to the pump, these allow you to do so.

Most importantly, this pool pump meets and even exceeds all CSA and ETL requirements. Thus, you can ensure that it is safe and efficient to use in your backyard pool, hot tubs, and other water features.

But before purchasing this product, it is also best to know its downsides. First, some users cannot properly close the seal, which can lead to leaks. Second, a few customers noticed that it is not as powerful as most pool pumps with a 1.5 high-speed rating, meaning that it is not as close to the advertised horsepower rating.

Nevertheless, the Harris ProForce Variable Speed Pool Pump is hard to beat, especially for its price and other handy features. It is one of the best single-speed pool pumps on the market.

Pros:

  • Stainless steel motor shaft with a reinforced thermoplastic body ensures durability
  • Advanced engineering design ensures high efficiency and reduced motor noise
  • A clear strainer and a large filter basket make it easier to clean the pool pump
  • This best pool pump meets CSA and ETL requirements for its safety vacuum release system

Cons:

  • It is hard to properly close the seal, which leads to leaks
  • The motor is not close to 1.5 HP power

6. XtremepowerUS Inground Variable Speed Pump

XtremepowerUS Inground Variable Speed Pool Pump

The XtremepowerUS Inground Variable Speed Pump is another product worth considering for your swimming pool.

It features a heavy-duty and high-performance motor with air-flow ventilation. Thus, this pool pump ensures cooler and more silent operation. 

Additionally, it is compatible with solar heating and in-floor cleaning systems. So whether you need to replace your pool or build a new set-up, this model might meet your needs.

Furthermore, this variable speed pool pump includes a large strainer basket with a transparent pump lid. The basket is the largest among its class, which makes it a low-maintenance machine.

There is even an internal inlet fitting and a separate union fitting in this single-speed pump. These are ideal for attaching suction and discharge ports.

As for the build, this variable speed pump uses a corrosion-proof polymeric material that can last you a long time.

Finally, it passes both ETL and UL safety standards. Thus, this swimming pool pump is safe to use in your home. 

However, there are still a few cons to consider before buying this single-speed pool pump. First, some users had difficulty setting up the pool pump and wish that it had clearer product manuals. Second, it lacks a strainer ring, which means that there is no suction. Thus, the gasket is prone to leakage.

Overall, though, the XtremepowerUS Inground Variable Speed Pump is among the best variable speed pumps on the market.

Pros:

  • Heavy-duty, high-performance motor with a horsepower rating of 1.5
  • Air-flow ventilated design ensures more efficient and quieter operation
  • The large strainer basket uses a transparent and quick-lock lid for easy cleaning
  • It meets UTL and UL safety standards

Cons:

  • The product manuals can be clearer
  • No strainer means that there is no suction, which increases the risk of leakage

7. Harris Inground Variable Speed Pool Pump

Harris Inground Variable Speed Pool Pump

The last product on our list is the Harris Inground Variable Speed Pool Pump.

It might not be as fancy or feature-full as other branded pool pumps, but this single-speed pump still packs several robust features.

First, this variable speed pool pump uses a stainless steel motor with a horsepower rating of 1.0. It provides greater efficiency and lower energy costs when the machine is running.

Additionally, it uses a reinforced thermoplastic body with carborundum and graphite mechanical seals. These materials offer durability and minimal operating noise.

Plus, the strainer has a large and easy-to-clean filter basket. Meanwhile, a twist-and-lock and transparent lid allow you to see the strainer immediately. This way, you have an idea about when you should clean the machine.

Furthermore, this single speed pump includes two-inch union connections that are compatible with both suction and discharge ports.

Lastly, it meets and exceeds all CSA and ETL requirements. Thus, this variable speed pool pump is safe to use on your property. 

Despite these advantages, there are still a few cons to keep in mind before investing in this single-speed pump. First, the filter basket is notched on one side, which makes it difficult to take it in and out. Second, the lid seal appears to be only ⅛ inch in diameter, resulting in leakage if you are not careful.

Nevertheless, the Harris Inground Variable Speed Pool Pump is one of the best single-speed models and inground pool pumps on the market. Get this particular model if you do not need a 1.5 HP high-speed rating. 

Pros:

  • Stainless steel motor with a 1.0 HP rating
  • Advanced engineering ensures durability and minimal operating noise, even when the pump is running at high speed
  • Large and easy-to-clean filter basket
  • A twist-and-lock lid gives you an idea about when to clean the cartridge filter
  • CSA and ETL-certified variable speed pool pump

Cons:

  • The orientation of the cartridge filter basket makes it difficult to take in and out for cleaning
  • Relatively small lid seal results in leakage if you do not properly close it

How to Choose the Best Variable Speed Pool Pump

When shopping for variable speed pumps, there are several factors to consider to ensure that it meets your needs and personal preferences. Below, I will briefly discuss these features and why they matter.

Pool Volume

The first factor to consider is your pool itself. You must be familiar with its volume or the amount of water it can hold. 

It is essential that you invest in pool pumps that can handle your pool capacity and give a 24-hour turnaround.

If you do not know the volume of your pool, you can use a conventional formula. For one, the volume of rectangular pools can be measured by multiplying their length, width, and average depth. The product is the volume in cubic feet.

Once you know this information, you can now start looking for the right pump that can run your pool efficiently.

Flow Rate

After learning about the volume of your pool, the next thing to consider is the appropriate pump size. It will determine the maximum flow rate or, simply put, the amount of water the motor can turn over per a given period.

In general, you should have at least two turnovers once a day to ensure pool hygiene. If not, you can expect the build-up of debris and algae infestation, which can harm swimmers.

With that said, look for a robust pump to circulate twice the capacity of your pool. So if you have a 15,000-gallon pool, the pump must be powerful enough to move 30,000 gallons daily.

When buying a pool pump, consider the minimum flow rate and maximum flow rate, which are expressed in gallons per minute.

The former refers to the minimum amount of water your pump needs to move, so you can circulate the pool water twice a day. Meanwhile, the latter is equivalent to the maximum amount of pool water your pump can handle in a minute or hour.

Motor

The motor is another essential aspect to consider when buying a variable speed pool pump.

There are various kinds of motor, and each one has its own pros and cons.

The first factor to check is the voltage it requires. Some models work with 115V AC, while others are only compatible with 230V. It is best to get one that can run on both 115V and 230V without requiring any electrical wiring.

Under motor, you also have to think about the speed settings. There are one-speed and two-speed options. But for variable speed pool pumps, it is common to encounter three, four, and eight-speed settings. The best choice for me is a motor with the most speed calibrations.

Horsepower

You should also consider the horsepower of the pool pump. It determines how fast and efficient the machine can turn over a certain amount of water.

The most common HP rating includes 0.05, 1.0, 1.5, and 2.0.

In other power tools, the highest horsepower rating is often the best choice. However, that is not the case with variable speed pool pumps.

A more powerful pool pump is often a waste of energy. It can also overwhelm other systems in your pool.

I suggest assessing your needs first before choosing the highest horsepower. For instance, if you have a small pool, a 1.0 or 1.5 HP rating might be more than enough. 

Control and Safety Features

Variable speed pool pumps often have digital controls that make it easier to operate the machine.

Get a model with the most speed settings to have more flexibility when it comes to the speed of the water being pumped. You may also want to consider its compatibility with intelligent pool systems, such as IntelliTouch and SunTouch pool control systems.

Besides the control panel, it is also best to think about the safety features. Some pumps have an automatic shutdown setting, which protects the motor from damage like electricity short. Other models even have onboard diagnostics that can alert you in case there is a problem with the motor. This way, you can immediately fix the issue instead of letting the motor run and cause further damage.

Brand

Although not as important as the other factors, the brand is still something that you should think about.

I highly suggest investing in the top brands like Hayward, Pentair, Intex, and Harris. These manufacturers guarantee the durability and efficiency of their products. They also offer a reliable after-sales service. So if you ever encounter any problem with the pump, simply contact their customer service.

Warranty

Finally, get a variable speed pool pump with a warranty. It covers you in case the pool pump has defects or any problem that is not related to careless use.

It is best to invest in a model with the longest warranty coverage. That means you can ensure that you can ask for a replacement for the item or free service for a long period of time.

Just make sure to read the terms of the warranty. Some brands may require you to hire a professional or an accredited installer when installing the pump. If you do not adhere to this policy, you risk voiding the warranty.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does a variable speed pool pump last?

Variable speed pool pumps can last you at least 12 to 15 years. Of course, the longevity of the machine will depend on the brand. That is why it is essential to invest in top brands because they offer products that last longer than those from cheap manufacturers.

You also have to consider how often you use the pump. The more you use it, the faster it will wear.

Finally, think about the maintenance of the pool pump. It does not matter if you have a top-of-the-range device. If you do not properly maintain and take care of it, it will probably die out in a year or so.

When should you run your pool pump?

In general, you should run the variable speed pump 24 hours a day because it keeps your pool water clean. However, for many people, it is not a practical solution as it significantly increases your electricity bills.

So, the real answer lies in how you, as a pool owner, intend to run your pump. You can always try to find the most efficient speed settings and run the motor at lower speeds for at least four hours a day. Or, to put it simply, ensure that each cycle is long enough, so you can turn all the water in the pool. Doing so can also help you reduce electricity bills and ultimately save money.

How long should you run your pool pump?

It depends on your filtration requirements and the chemical demands of the pool and plumbing system.

For instance, your chemical demands as a pool owner may be at their highest during the summer when more people are using the pool. That means you have to filter more dirt and debris, which results in longer periods of filtration.

If you want to guarantee the cleanliness of swimming pools in the summer, you can run your filtration pump for at least 12 hours daily. Of course, you can reduce the operation time during the winter. In general, a five-hour running time is more than enough for pool owners.

Conclusion

There you have it—my top picks for the best variable speed pool pump. I highly suggest each one if you intend to save on energy costs while ensuring your pool still stays clean.

But if I only have to pick one product, it would be the Hayward Super Variable Speed Pool Pump. It features a heavy-duty and high-performance single-speed motor with a horsepower rating of 1.50 to provide better efficiency. Plus, it includes a transparent strainer cover for greater water flow rate. This same pump even has a super-size debris basket to prevent the need of a plumbing system. Finally, the exclusive Super Pump technology ensures durability and near-silent operation.

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