There are three basic types of swimming pool filters used to remove small particles of debris from the water: pool sand filters, cartridge filters and diatomaceous earth filters. Each type has specific benefits and drawbacks you'll need to consider in the context of your own situation to make the right choice.
All types of pool filters are installed in such a way that a pump draws pool water through the filter medium, removing impurities. The way in which the pool owner must service the filter varies with each type.
The least expensive type of pool filter is a sand filter. Sand filters have been proven, over many decades of use, to effectively cleanse water. Pool sand filters are generally about 2 feet in diameter and have a near-spherical shape. Particles ranging from 20 to 100 microns in size will be filtered. (Anything smaller than about 35 microns is invisible to the naked eye.) A sand filter will work slightly better when it has trapped some debris, but given enough time it will need to be cleaned.
Sand filters have few moving parts and are very reliable. However, the cleaning process can be a bit of a pain. The sand must be backwashed by forcing water from the pool back through the sand, removing trapped debris. This pool water – often hundreds of gallons – must then be replaced. Also, sand filters on older pools are often too small, requiring frequent cleaning.
Cartridge filters have cylindrical inserts which trap particles as small as 5 to 10 microns in diameter. Pool filter cartridges can easily be replaced; however, they are more expensive than sand filters. The good news is that a high-quality pool filter cartridge system may only need to be serviced once a year or less.
A third option is a diatomaceous earth filter, which can filter particles as small as 3 microns. Diatomaceous earth is comprised of the fossilized skeletons of ancient plankton. These filters are the most expensive, but will keep a pool the cleanest.
There are three big names in retail pool filters. Hayward pool filters are well-known. Hayward makes all three types of filters, and has been in business for over 80 years. They claim to provide completely hassle-free pool maintenance for customers.
Sta-Rite pool filters are also made in all three types. Their company provides equipment for all types of water delivery applications, not just pools.
Intex produces many different above ground pools for people on a budget, and Intex pool filters are suited for use in their products.