THE FILTERMASTER

Best Variable Speed Pool Pump 2017 – Buyer’s Guide

The pool season is here. Now is a good time to replace your faulty pool pump or install one that can be much more efficient than the one that you are currently using.

Having the right pool pump can save you more than $150 a month, so it’s definitely worthwhile seeking a good variable speed pool pump out.

These types of pumps filter our water and are typically much more efficient than the pumps of the past, which is why we created this guide so that you can know the ins and outs of the modern variable speed pool pump. Before we get to the review section, let’s take a look at the models that we’ll be reviewing.

Selecting the Best Variable Speed Pool Pump 2017

NameHorsepowerDimensionsWeightTypeVolts 
Hayward SP2610X15
(Editor’s Choice)
1.5 HP10 x 12.3 inches40 poundsSingle Speed220 Check Price
Pentair 011018 IntelliFlo
(Editor’s Choice)
3 HP 28 x 12 x 15 inches47 poundsVariable Speed 230 Check Price
Hayward SP3400VSP3 HP31.2 x 12.5 x 15.2 inches65 poundsVariable Speed 230 Check Price
Hayward SP2302VSP1 1/2 HP24 x 13 x 12 inches28 poundsVariable Speed230 Check Price
Hayward SP15932S Power1 1/2 HP23 x 10 x 11 inches4 ouncesDual Speed115 Check Price
Pentair 342001 SuperFlo
(Editor’s Choice)
1 1/2 HP28 x 15.5 x 12.5 inches52 poundsVariable Speed 115/208-230 Check Price
Hayward SP2303VSP1.65 HP24 x 10 x 11 inches41 poundsVariable Speed 115-230 Check Price
Sta Rite P6E6VS4H 209L3 HP1 x 1 x 1 inches1 poundsVariable Speed 230 Check Price
Hayward SP3202VSP3 HP32 x 13 x 16 inches52 poundsVariable Speed230 Check Price
Pentair 0230053 HP13 x 26 x 13 inches53.5 poundsVariable Speed 230 Check Price

1. The Hayward SP2610X15 : Best Pool Pump for a Stable Flow Rate

The Hayward Super Pump has been the industry standard for more than two decades. This single-speed pump provides a steady 3,450 revolutions per minute and can quickly circulate the water of your pool.

This is a centrifugal pump that has a self-priming functionality, which will eliminate any air getting to the pump via the suction piping. This means that the water source can be lower than the pump.

This is a single-speed pump, so you won’t be able to run it at lower speeds in order to save on electricity bills.
One of the best features of this pump is its reliability. Hayward Super Pumps have been popular for a reason, they simply are designed to last and can provide some great circulation. It is also advantageous that they are relatively inexpensive.

Final Verdict

The Hayward SP2610X15 is one of yesteryear’s greatest pool pumps, but unfortunately, this pump isn’t recommended for more than seasonal use. This is because it is a single-speed pump, which will add cost in electricity bills during the pool season.


Pros
  • It has a steady, reliable performance
  • It can quickly circulate a pool’s water
  • It’s easy to remove the strainer cover in order to get rid of pool debris
  • This model doesn’t take much to install
Cons
  • This model is a bit dated and only has a single-speed operation

2. The Pentair 011018 IntelliFlo : Best Variable Speed Pool Pump for Horsepower

With three horsepower operation, the Pentair 011018 Intelliflo pool pump has some powerful operation.

As an Energy Star certified product, this is a very efficient variable pool pump as well. Pentair also designed this product to also have a built-in diagnostic feature so that it’s an easy product to troubleshoot.

Sometimes, when trying to change the pump settings, the product gives errors. Also, the directions for programming the product are a bit confusing.
This pump has eight programmable speeds so that you have a wide variety of settings for its overall operation. Also, the keypad of this product is fully integrated, which is fairly convenient.

Final Verdict

As the first variable pump on our list, the Pentair 011018 IntelliFlo is an excellent product. It’s designed to last and has a sturdy three horsepower operation. It also functions very well at maximum RPMs.


Pros
  • It’s a very quiet pump, especially at higher speeds
  • It has eight programmable speeds
  • It has an LCD display for pool pump settings
  • It’s very efficient
Cons
  • The instructions are a bit confusing
  • Under lower power, it can be a bit louder than some other variable speed pool pumps

3. The Hayward SP3400VSP EcoStar : Best Variable Speed Pool Pump for Managing Debris

The seconds Hayward pool pump in this guide is the SP3400VSP EcoStar VS Variable-Speed pool pump.

This Energy Star certified pump has a fairly quiet operation and also includes a larger basket that can hold a lot of leaves or pool debris.

These pumps have been known to fail after a few years. While this isn’t the case always, it’s definitely worth noting.
The digital display on this pump is VERY intuitive. It is even designed so that you can change the pump’s output settings on the fly with a relatively small amount of physical space. It even has eight custom speeds for energy saving and efficiency.

Verdict

Despite the fact that the SP3400VSP EcoStar has had some problems with faulty components, this particular model does do a good job at saving money and being easy to operate. Also, if you do experience any faults, Hayward has a three-year warranty for the product if you get it installed.


Pros
  • It has eight speeds
  • It has a simple to use interface
  • This is a quiet pump
Cons
  • The drive has been known to fail

4. The Hayward SP2302VSP Max-Flo : Best Variable Speed Pool Pump for Easy Installation

The Hayward SP2302VSP is a very efficient pump that is Energy Star certified and is fairly quiet in operation.

Also, this Hayward pump has a built-in time clock that helps users make programming changes with ease.

Technical Specifications

ModelSpeed RangeVoltageUnion Connections
SP2303VSP600 - 3450 RPM230V Single Phase1.5" x 2"
SP23115VSP600 - 3450 RPM115V Single Phase1.5" x 2"
SP23510VSP600 - 3450 RPM115V Single Phase1.5" x 2"
SP23520VSP600 - 3450 RPM230V Single Phase1.5" x 2"

Overall Dimensions (inches)

While this is a very reliable and efficient pump, there is a tendency for the computer to develop faults over time. Additionally, over 2000 revolutions per minute, the pump has also been known to develop a slight squeal.
This product is known as one of the most energy efficient pool pumps on the market. Like most variable pool pumps, it uses a permanent magnet motor that runs whisper quiet at most speeds that is also very reliable.

Verdict

The Hayward SP2302VSP is a good option for someone looking for a reliable pool pump. It has a high degree of efficiency and can last for years of use.
Pros
  • It has a fairly quiet operation
  • Its control scheme is intuitive
  • The pump has an easy to connect and install design
Cons
  • The circuit board has been known to develop faults

5. The Hayward SP15932S Power-Flo Matrix : Best Two-Speed Pool Pump for Reduced Maintenance

As a two-speed pump, the Hayward SP15932S has the ability to be used at either 3,450 or 1,725 revolutions per minute.

This allows you to throttle down the pump’s flow so that you can use less energy when high-speed circulation isn’t needed.

The chief drawback of this product is that it’s not a variable speed unit. This means that the 1,725 might not have a high enough output flow for things like pool heaters to operate correctly, so you may have to run it at maximum like a single speed product.
This product can be quickly converted from horizontal discharge to vertical, which is great for those that need different orientations. Additionally, it’s easy to switch this from 3,450 to 1,725 revolutions per minute.

Verdict

If you need a quick and easy two-speed pump, then the Hayward SP15932S is a good option and can even save you a little cash. While variable speed units are typically better, this unit has its advantages such as a changeable orientation and ease of use.


Pros
  • It has an easy to install design
  • The pump can be installed horizontally or vertically
  • It is a very reliable unit that moves water well
  • It is very well-made and should last for years
Cons
  • You only have two speed settings with this product
  • It has a tendency to be noisy during operation

6. The Pentair 342001 SuperFlo : Best Variable Speed Pool Pump for Dependability

While this variable speed pump only has three speeds for its operation, it is a good choice for those that want a better overall efficiency.

This is because this is an Energy Star certified product that has a relatively easy-to-manage operation.

Some users prefer more operating speeds. While technically this is a variable speed device, the fact that it only has three speeds might be limiting for some.
This pump has self-priming functionality so that air won’t get into it as it draws water, even if the source is significantly lower than the pump itself. This pump even has memory, which means that if you experience a power failure, your settings will be maintained.

Verdict

The Pentair 342001 SuperFlo is a great option for those seeking a simplified pool pump that has an easy operation. The addition of memory is also very convenient.


Pros
  • It’s easy to program
  • It has 24-hour memory retention
  • The pump is very quiet
Cons
  • It only has three speed settings

7. The Hayward SP2303VSP MaxFlo : Best Variable Speed Pool Pump for Overall Efficiency


This variable speed Hayward pool pump has the ability to set the speed of flow output in 50 RPM increments.

Additionally, it’s fairly easy to install and is Energy Star certified.

ModelPercent Output10ft20ft30ft40ft50ft
SP2303VSP100%9685735940
SP23115VSP100%9684725836
SP23510VSP100%9684725836
SP23520VSP100%9685735940
You can’t control the salt cell power directly from this pump because it uses a digital timer.
The controls for this pump are very easy to operate; in fact, you can simply flip down the covering in order to operate it. Also, you can set up to eight timers for this pump so that you can have a varied operation for different times of the day.

Verdict

This pump is a very reliable product that has a good amount of versatility and lets you vary the flow rate greatly. It’s a great option for those that want to have several timer settings as well.


Pros
  • It has eight timers
  • The controls are simple
  • It has a digital display so that you can monitor the settings
  • It can be used safely in the elements
Cons
  • The fans can seem a bit undersized for some conditions

8. The Sta-Rite P6E6VS4H-209L IntelliPro : Best Variable Speed Pool Pump for Quiet Functionality

This Pentair Sta-Rite pump has a great combination of whisper-quiet operation, efficient running, and reliability.

It has eight programmable settings that will help you manage the flow rate and your electricity bills.

 

The Sta-Rite has eight-speed options, but for some reason, the bottom is somewhat hidden in the menu list and can only be accessed when you are setting up scheduled times.
This product comes with an integrated keypad so that you won’t have to purchase an external one. Additionally, the pump is very responsive; it’ll produce the needed flow in real time.

Verdict

The Pentair Sta-Rite P6E6VS4H-209L IntelliPro is a good option for those looking for a fairly quiet-running pool pump. It has multiple settings and also will save you a good amount of money during its operation.
Pros
  • It has a freeze protection feature that shuts it down at certain temperatures
  • It’s quiet in operation
  • The Sta-Rite P6E6VS4H-209L IntelliPro has a good flow rate
Cons
  • It takes a bit of work to access all of the speed settings

9. The Hayward SP3202VSP TriStar : Best Variable Speed Pool Pump for Positioning

The Hayward SP3202VSP TriStar is a good product for those that need overall versatility.

The pump has the ability to cycle through several presets and includes a user interface that is positioned on top of the motor.

This model can’t be wired to a Hayward/Goldline software control, which may be inconvenient for some users.
The user interface can be mounted in impressive four different ways. The interface can also be installed remotely by using a communications cable and mounting hardware. This versatility lets you install the pump nearly anywhere without losing functionality.

Verdict

This product has a great control scheme that provides some excellent versatility for your pool setup. You can set the control panel in a variety of positions, and you can even wire it for even more positioning.
Pros
  • It’s easy to install
  • The control scheme is intuitive
  • This is a pump that has a three-year warranty if installed by a Hayward installer
Cons
  • You’ll need tools to switch up the user interface

10. The Pentair 023005 : Best Variable Speed Pool Pump for Easy Scheduling

The Pentair 023005 is one of the easiest to schedule pumps in this guide.

 

Scheduling flow changes are done through a digital display that has several settings for a varied circulation profile for your pool.

For some reason, while the motor and other components are shielded from the elements, the digital display isn’t. This means that you will have to get a replacement should it get wet.
One of the better features of the Pentair 023005 is its ability to be scheduled quickly and easily. This is also a well-built machine that should last for years of use.

Verdict

While the lack of waterproofing on the display is a bit annoying, the overall design of the Pentair 023005 is more than adequate for years of use.
Pros
  • It’s easy to schedule with
  • It has great design and ease of use
  • It’s fairly easy to install
Cons
  • The display isn’t waterproof
  • The packaging is a bit thin, which means that it can be damaged in transit

Best Variable Speed Pool Pump – Buyer’s Guide

How One and Two Speed Pumps Work

While this guide is primarily about variable speed pumps, it’s important to understand the alternatives. Firstly, our very first pool pump, the Hayward SP2610X15 is actually a single-speed pump and has been one of the most popular for decades.

These pumps operate, as you might have guessed, at a single speed; usually, this is around 3,450 revolutions per minute. This is a consistent speed and makes for a pretty effective pump and provides great circulation at its one-speed setting.

These pumps tend to be very cheap, but it’s important to remember that at one consistent, high speed, operating costs, especially electricity, can be high. These also have a tendency to be significantly louder than variable or even two-speed pumps.

Two-speed pumps, on the other hand, work with a high speed that matches the single speed, but also will have a low-speed setting. This lower speed is usually somewhere around 1,725 revolutions per minute and is usually used to circulate the water in the pool when it is not in heavy use. This can save you a bit of electricity because you won’t always have to have your water moving at a high rate of circulation, and when you need more water movement, you can just set it to 3,450 revolutions just like a single-speed.

With this type, you won’t be able to run most pool heaters while the circulation is set to low. As a result, many people end up using two-speed pumps as single-speed pumps.

The New Kid on the Block: The Variable Speed Pump

Simply put, there’s a lot of advantage to using a variable speed pump. As the name suggests, there are multiple speeds to choose from, which will make the variable speed pump a much more economical choice. This really is the “new kid on the block” offering; variable speed pumps have only been out for a few years now, but they typically outclass both single and double speed pumps.

Let’s find out why:

Efficiency: Since variable speed pumps can be adjusted minutely, they are much more efficient than the other two types. This is because you can actually select the flow rate based on your pool needs, which means that you save. Consider this, with a variable speed pump, the motor that handles the pumping will be a permanent magnet motor, which runs more efficiently and more cool than the other pump systems, which means less electricity used for an operation.

Noise Level (PMM Motor): Speaking of the permanent magnet motor used by variable units, this motor type is significantly less noisy than either single or dual speed pumps; in fact, even under 3,450 revolutions per minute setting, the variable speed motor will be almost inaudible.

Element Resistance: PMM motors are sealed, so this means that they are much better when exposed to the elements. This makes these types of pumps exceptional for aboveground or on-ground pools.

Versatility: As mentioned earlier, one of the most annoying problems with dual speed pumps is their inability to be used on a lower setting while keeping pool warmers on. This is less of a problem with variable speed units because you can set the revolutions between the low and high setting so that you can run the heater while the water flow is being reduced by the pump.

Additionally, these simply allow for better flow because you can adjust the flow lower than maximum so that you can have a better circulation experience.

Compatibility with Constant-Flow Software: This technology is very useful for your pool. It allows for software to monitor and change the settings on the pump when a new task is initiated. When you need extra flow for something like a water feature, the constant-flow tech will automatically raise the flow of the pump without a need for extra input. When your pool no longer needs the extra 40 gallons per minute because you’ve turned the water feature off, it’ll adjust the flow of the water appropriately.

Safety Vacuum Release Systems (SVRS): This is a very useful feature that can help you prevent clogs. SVRS is a system that prevents materials from getting entrapped inside the workings of the pool. While not every variable speed has this feature, those that do will automatically shut down when a foreign object is sensed.

These pumps are very advantageous when it comes to savings, but one of the biggest complaints about variable speed pumps is their tendency to be much more expensive than the other types. While this is definitely the case, it’s important to consider savings over time because in energy expenses averted, a variable pump can save you up to $400.00 annually since you won’t have to run the pump at as high an RPM.

Gallons per Minute (Flow Rate)

This is the amount of water that the pump can process and circulate in a set amount of time. Of course, this flow rate will heavily depend on the revolutions per minute of the pump and this will, in turn, vary based on the size of the pool.

Turnover

This is the minimum time it takes a pool pump to fully circulate the water through the onboard filter. For the most part, the average pool will take anywhere from six to eight hours to fully circulate. Ideally, with a good pool pump, you’ll want to consume as little energy as possible during the circulation process.

Final Thoughts

Variable speed pool pumps provide some great, efficient performance that makes owning a pool much cheaper. In fact, this relatively new technology is even experiencing some amazing innovations like the ability to control the flow rate through a smartphone. In any situation, if you need a pump that can help manage the flow of one of the world’s most popular luxury items, then the items that we’ve featured in this guide will all serve your needs admirably.