Top 10 Best Variable Speed Pool Pumps | A Comprehensive Guide for 2020


Are you looking to replace your old single-speed or dual-speed pool pump? Then a variable speed pool pump might be the type of pool pump you’re considering. 

If that is the case, read our comprehensive guide as to why switching to a variable speed pool pump makes sense, and which is the best variable speed pool pump you can choose.

If you are in a hurry and want to get a premium and high-performance pump, I Recommend the Hayward SP2303VSP MaxFlo. But If You are on a budget, then you should get The Harris ProForce 1.5HP Pump.

What Is a Variable Speed Pool Pump?

A variable speed pool pump is a fairly modern type of pool pump that lets you select different pool pump speeds. In short, this type of pump reduces the cost of electricity bills, is more efficient, and runs quieter than other types of pool pumps.

To help you get some perspective about pool pumps, let’s take a look at all the types of pool pumps and how variable speed pool pumps work. 

So what are the types of pool pumps?

Single-Speed Pool Pumps

This type of pool pumps is very common and popular with pool owners. They are entry-level pumps, so they cost the least amount of money upfront.

However, you only have one speed setting with this pump, so it will run at full capacity all the time. You can’t reduce it or increase it. This makes them inefficient and very noisy at the same time.

Dual-Speed Pool Pumps

Dual-speed pool pumps are slightly more advanced than single-speed pool pumps. They have two speeds to choose from: low and high. While this is a nice feature to have, you still have no option to adjust the speed and tailor it to your needs.

You can choose the low setting when you need to save money and power; and you choose the high setting when you want the maximum performance out of the pump.

Variable Speed Pool Pumps

These are the pumps we’ll be looking at in this article. Variable speed pool pumps allow you to control the speed any way you want – from low to high, and anywhere in between. 

They tend to be much more energy-efficient than the other two types of pool pumps, and they are also less noisy and have better performance. However, they do come at a slightly higher price point to begin with.

Variable speed pool pumps have a permanent magnet motor, which is more efficient than induction motors in single or dual-speed pumps. Some also come with advanced settings, which we will talk about more later on, so stay tuned.

Why Choose a Variable Speed Pool Pump? 7 Reasons!

If you’re unhappy with the running costs of single-speed pumps or if they keep you up at night as they are too noisy, then a variable speed pool pump is your option. 

However, many pool owners are hesitant to splash the cash for a variable speed pool pump. But let us show you why variable speed pool pumps are actually cheaper in the long-term than single-speed or dual-speed pumps.

1. They Save You Money in the Long-Term

There are four ways how variable speed pool pumps save you money in the long run as compared to other types of pumps:

  • They are more energy-efficient
  • They filter the water faster
  • You can avoid fines
  • You may even get rebates 

So let’s take a closer look at how variable speed pumps can save you money in the long term.

2. They are more energy-efficient

Variable speed pool pumps are far more energy-efficient than single-speed pumps. And even if the dual-speed pumps are more efficient than single-speed pumps, they still don’t come close to variable speed pumps.

On average, these are the power consumption numbers that each type of pool pump will need:

  • Single-speed pumps: 3,719 kWh/year
  • Dual-speed pool pumps: 1,682 kWh/year
  • Variable speed pool pumps: 632 kWh/year

That’s a jaw-dropping 83% energy consumption drop if we compare variable speed pumps to single-speed pumps! On average, variable pumps can be between 60-90% more efficient than single-speed pumps, and up to 30% more efficient than dual-speed pumps.

So how does this translate into money? 

Let’s say that you run your single-speed pump for 8 hours a day, and the electricity cost is at around 12 cents per kWh. This would result in around $3.5 per day, and if you run the pump for 8 hours every day, that’s $108 per month and $1304 per year.

So, a variable speed pool pump, if run it for 8 hours per day, will only consume about $0.6 per day, $18 monthly, and about $221 yearly. At most, you can save up to $1000 per year in electricity costs alone! So you can make your money back from the original investment in 1-2 years.

3. They Filter Water Faster

Not only are they more energy-efficient, but they will also filter your water faster. That’s because these pumps tend to be more powerful than single-speed pumps.

This means that you can run it at lower speeds and get the same efficiency at the same time. It’s another helpful factor that you should consider.

4. You Can Avoid Fines

Did you know that certain states have prohibited the use of single-speed pumps? You don’t want to get caught using one, which can result in a fine.

And as it looks like right now, the Government will enforce a law that will make variable speed pool pumps mandatory in 2021. It’s not official yet, but even if you wanted to have a single-speed pool pump, it would have to be below 0.7 hydraulic horsepower.

So what better time to switch to a variable speed pool pump than now?

5. You May Even Get Rebates

Did you also know that some power companies will offer rebates if you have a variable speed pump? This incentive encourages people to buy energy-saving products that will help save energy throughout the whole country.

It’s best to check all the policies and incentives here to see if you qualify for one.

6. They Are Less Noisy

Single-speed pumps are notorious for being noisy. And that’s especially bothersome at night if you run it in the night. It might wake you or your family up.

What if you could set a timer and let the pump shut off automatically? That’s what these pumps offer to users. They are also much less noisy and will get the job done faster, which makes the whole experience more comfortable.

7. Better Pool Filtration and Water Circulation

There’s no secret that variable speed pool pumps tend to be more powerful than ordinary pumps. Of course, the filtration also depends on the type of filter you have, but the pump certainly does help improve the filtration massively.

If you’re looking for continuous water circulation, then variable speed pool pumps are fantastic. You can simply switch the power of the circulation and still have water flowing in the pool. No more stagnant water that can cause bacteria and algae to build up.

How to Choose a Variable Speed Pool Pump? 4 Factors To Consider

So now that we’ve taken a look at the benefits of having a variable speed pool pump, let’s take a closer look at how you can choose one for yourself.

1. Power

Firstly, you want to consider how powerful the pump is. Ideally, you want to buy a pump that will filter all your water in the pool in just 8 hours. And it’s fairly easy to calculate that.

First, you’ll have to know how many gallons of water you have in the pool. Then, you will need to calculate how many gallons per hour you’ll need to pump to achieve this. To do this, use this formula:

Your pool’s water (in gallons) / 8 = Total GPH needed

For example, if your pool has 20.000 gallons of water, this would be the calculation:

20.000 / 8 = 2500GPH

And that’s the GPH you need from your pump. However, some pumps will specify their power in gallons per minute (GPM). An easy way to calculate how many GPM you need is to divide the GPH result by 60.

2. Size of Filter

Many pool owners neglect the size and power of the filter. If the pump is too powerful for your filter, then your pump will burn out and the filtration might get wrecked as a result. 

Make sure your filter can handle the flow coming from the pump – it’s better to buy a more powerful filter compared to the pump.

3. Pipe Size

What are the sizes of your pipes? The smaller the pipes, the less water they can hold. And that’s why some pipes are too small for your pump.

For example, if you have a 1 ½” pipe, it will only support 60GPM. Make sure you have the correct pipe sizes for your pump.

4. Voltage

Most pumps will be 115V pumps or 230V. Pick the pump that suits your voltage needs.

Take a look at this video to learn more about how to choose the pump for your pool.

What is the Best Variable Speed Pool Pump? 10 Options

Now that you know all the details, your decision should be much easier. Let’s take a look at the best variable speed pool pumps available right now.

1. Hayward W3SP2610X15 Super Pump

The first product on this list is a product from Hayward, a company that’s well-known for providing some of the best pumps out there. This particular one is a 1.5HP variable speed pool pump, and it has several speeds that you can use to adjust the performance of the pump.

Last update on 2020-10-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

One thing that many people have noticed with this pump is its quiet performance. Once you buy this pump and replace your old single-speed pump, you’ll instantly notice the difference in performance, noise levels, and water circulation.

Setting up the pump is also quite easy. It has a 4 quick-bolt system that allows you to attach the pump quickly and it also allows you easy access to the internal components of the pump. The pump is designed for 1 ½” piping systems, so do keep that in mind.

It has an extra-large debris basket and swing-away hold knobs, which allows you to use the pump easier and without a hassle. Overall, a great pump that you’ll be able to use for your pool.

Why This Variable Speed Pool Pump:

  • 1.5HP performance.
  • 4 quick-bolt system for easy installation.
  • Extra-large debris basket.
  • Great performance.

Keep in Mind:

  • Might break down quickly.

2. Best Mid-Range: Pentair IntellFflo Variable Speed High-Performance Pump

Pentair’s IntelliFlo line of pumps is one of the most popular types of pumps that this company provides. It’s made of high-quality materials and it’s certainly one of the best pumps if you’re looking to decrease the electricity costs.

Last update on 2020-10-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Namely, the pump has 8 different speeds, which allows you to select the speed you want, increasing the efficiency of the pump massively. But you also have a built-in timer with this pump, which allows you to program the pump in any way you want it to work. This way, using the pump is very straightforward.

An additional feature of the pump is that it has a built-in diagnostics center, which will tell you exactly if there’s anything wrong with the pump and if you need to service it. It’s also compatible with a variety of different filters.

And this pump will also decrease the noise levels of your single-speed pump. The highest noise level that this pump will reach is 45dB, which is already much less than most pumps of a lower ranking.

Why This Variable Speed Pool Pump:

  • 8 different speeds.
  • Increases efficiency (up to 60% more efficient than some single-speeds).
  • Compatible with many filters.
  • Timer and diagnostics included.

Keep in Mind:

  • No warranty.
  • Again, might break down quickly.

3. Hayward SP3400VSP Ecostar Variable-Speed Pool Pump

Hayward’s Ecostar line of products is well-known for being energy-efficient. Some reports suggest that these products are up to 80% more efficient than single-speed pumps. That’s mainly thanks to its TEFC magnetic motor, which is cooled and enclosed safely so that it runs for longer.

Last update on 2020-10-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

This pump is fully programmable so that you can tailor it to your needs easily. You can set the timer on the 24-hour clock on the dashboard and let the pump run for as long as you need it to. There are also 8 custom speeds you can choose from, making the entire experience painless and professional.

It has a powerful motor, too – 2.7HP, which is very powerful for most pools and is appropriate even for larger pools. This also makes it ideal for several water features such as waterfalls and other types of water effects.

Installing this pump is also easy as you won’t need any additional materials or tools to do so. Ecostart is a friendly pool pump that will save you costs and make your pool much more efficient.

Why This Variable Speed Pool Pump:

  • Very energy-efficient.
  • A powerful performance of 2.7HP.
  • Great for larger pools.
  • Easy installation and use with the timer.

Keep in Mind:

  • Might not last for long.

4. Hayward SP2303VSP MaxFlo VS Variable-Speed Pool Pump

If you’re looking for a powerful yet energy-efficient pool pump, then this Hayward product is a fantastic choice. The MaxFlo vs pool pump brings the best of performance and efficiency to the table. It has 1.5HP and is appropriate for 1.5” or 2” tubing. It’s’ Energy Star compliant, meaning that it saves you money on the electricity bill.

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Again, this device was built with energy efficiency in mind. You’ll get up to 80% more efficient performance out of this pump. It can either be used as a standalone pool pump, or you can hook it up with competitor filters and pump systems and still see the great benefits of this pump.

You’ll also be eligible for rebates with this pump – that’s a big factor to keep in mind here. It’s also fully programmable and has several functions and features that will make your experience with the pump much better.

Overall, I think this variable speed pool pump is definitely worth the money. It’s the perfect combination of power and efficiency, and with the rebate eligibility that you get plus the easy settings on the dashboard, you’ll get your money’s worth with this pump for sure.

Why This Variable Speed Pool Pump:

  • Powerful performance.
  • Very efficient – Energy Star certified.
  • You’ll be eligible for rebates.
  • Fully programmable.

Keep in Mind:

  • Make sure you check your voltage, as this one is only for 230V systems.

5. Hayward SP15932S Power-Flo Matrix 1.5HP

If you’re looking for a great pump that will both save you money and provide you with a powerful performance, then this Hayward product is certainly a great choice. It features a two-speed design, and it’s great for above-ground pools mainly. It’s a great pump for both larger pools but also for relatively small pools.

Last update on 2020-10-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The debris will collect in the extra-large basket, which enables you to use the pump easily without too much maintenance involved. This thing will also run for ages – with the thermal protector for the engine, you can be sure that it will run safely and will protect the engine from thermal overload.

For simple installation and maintenance, the pipes can be easily disassembled or reassembled, making the whole process painless and easy. It’s great for pools of up to 15.000 gallons or even for larger pools.

It runs super quietly, which is another great advantage of this pump. No more waking up in the middle of the night because of the loud pump.

Why This Variable Speed Pool Pump:

  • Great performance.
  • Powerful engine for larger pools.
  • Super quiet.
  • Easy assembly.

Keep in Mind:

  • Maintain it well or it might not work for long.

6. Pentair SuperFlo VS Variable Speed Pool Pump

The Pentair Superflo variable speed pool pump is a fantastic pump if you’re looking to save money in the long run. It can save you up to 80% in costs compared to single speed pool pumps. With the 1.5HP motor, you can also expect a very good performance from the pump and is great for even larger pools.

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You get several helpful functions with the pump. To start with, you’re getting a 24-hour clock and timer settings retention, which allows you to set up the pump in such a way that it works repetitively. The user interface is also brilliant and very simple to use, too.

You’ll have access to three operating speeds with this pump. This is much better than single-speed or dual-speed pumps, as you’re getting that “middle” speed where most of those pumps are missing. You’ll be able to access electrical connections easily and set up the pump with the filter in no time.

Overall, this is a fantastic product that even owners of bigger pools will appreciate. It has fantastic settings for easy control and set up.

Why This Variable Speed Pool Pump:

  • Saves you money in the long-term.
  • Powerful performance.
  • Easy to use and set up.
  • Several timer functions for easy control.

Keep in Mind:

  • Poor warranty.

7. Best Overall: Hayward SP2303VSP MaxFlo

We return to Hayward for this next product, and it’s a great one again. This one is for bigger pools, as it’s a slightly more powerful pump. So you can expect exceptional performance from this pump. It’s available in both 115V and 230V versions, so you can choose between the two freely.

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You have 8 speeds and 8 timers at your disposal. This allows you to set up the pump easily and without too much hassle. It can run on anywhere between 1750rpm and all the way up to 3450rpm. 

One of the biggest selling points of this product is just how silent it is, despite being a powerful pump. It’s just fascinating that you’ll almost not notice that the pump is running but at the same time, you’re still getting a premium level of performance from it.

Sure, the price of this product is slightly steeper, but after you buy this product, you won’t need to purchase a new one for years or even decades!

Why This Variable Speed Pool Pump:

  • Very silent performance.
  • Incredibly powerful.
  • Easy to use with 8 timers.
  • 8 different speeds.

Keep in Mind:

  • Slightly more expensive.

8. Sta-Rite IntelliPro Variable Speed High-Performance Pump

The Sta-Rite pump is often overlooked, but you just can’t deny the quality it brings to the table. You should definitely be considering this product because it’s Energy Star certified, and it enables you to filter your water in even the larger pools.

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It has a 3HP motor, which is a very powerful motor, but at the same time, the pump makes sure that you won’t consume that much energy over the long-term. Installation is a breeze, too, and you can get everything set up in a matter of minutes. 

You’re definitely getting your money’s worth with this product. So if you’re worried that it might be too expensive for you, consider how much money it will save you in the long-term. It’s very energy-efficient, too. 

It also has some very useful settings that will allow you to use this pump easily and get the most out of it in the long-term.

Why This Variable Speed Pump:

  • Powerful performance.
  • Multi-speed engine.
  • Useful settings.
  • Energy-efficient.

Keep in Mind:

  • Might break down quickly.

9. Best Budget: Harris ProForce 1.5HP Pump

If you’re looking for a more affordable variable speed pump, then the Harris pump won’t disappoint. Expect to be stunned at just how effective this pump can be, despite being far more affordable than some pumps from big brands.

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To start with, you’re getting 1.5HP engine with the pump, which is already reasonably powerful. Although you can’t expect it to cope with the largest of pools, it’s certainly enough for mid-sized pools and also for smaller pools.

The pump is made from high-quality materials – stainless steel on the outside, preventing the pump from corroding, which can make it last for longer. At the same time, the pump will run quite silently, which is crucial since some pumps can be incredibly loud.

Overall, this is certainly a pump you should consider if you’re looking for an affordable option. It’s powerful and it saves you money in the long-term, what more could you ask?

Why This Variable Speed Pool Pump:

  • 1.5HP engine.
  • Energy-efficient.
  • Great for all sizes of pools.
  • Affordable.

Keep in Mind:

  • Poor warranty deal.

10. XtremepowerUS 1.5HP Variable Speed Pump

If you appreciate a product made in the US, then this product is the one you should consider. It’s a self-priming variable speed pump for pools with 1.5HP at your disposal. Firstly, let’s talk about the build quality – it’s exceptional. The product is made from corrosion-proof materials which ensure the product will last longer without corroding.

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The pump is also very easy to install, as you get all the wiring, and you can just connect it and start pumping. Although it lacks some features that some other products have, you’ll still be presented with an amazing choice when it comes to performance.

You can select the desired pumping times easily with this pump. That’s crucial since you don’t want the pump to be running all the time, and instead, make it run only when you need it. It’s also very quiet, which makes the use of the pump much more satisfactory.

Although the instructions could be improved for setting up the product, you’ll still be able to do this very easily. It’s easy to program it, and while it’s not from a major brand, this product certainly won’t disappoint.

Why This Variable Speed Pool Pump:

  • Made from corrosion-resistant materials.
  • Very easy to install.
  • Powerful and efficient.
  • Good settings.

Keep in Mind:

  • The pump does suck air into the system sometimes.

FAQ

Here, we answer your most common questions related to variable speed pool pumps to make sure everything is perfectly clear and that you’re able to make your pick easily.

What are the best settings for a variable speed pool pump?

We don’t recommend you to use the pump at its full capacity at all times. That’s why variable speed pool pumps are so popular – they allow you to use them at the lower settings and get the same efficiency as with some single-speed pumps.

As you might know, the price of electricity will fluctuate throughout the day. The highest price will be at noon and throughout the afternoon, and the lowest prices are usually at night. So we don’t recommend that you run the pump for 24 hours – only run it at off-peak times.

The second thing to keep in mind is the running speed of the pump. Now, for the first few days, you might need to experiment a little here. You can start with 2500RPMs for the first few days and see how the pool looks after this. Then, you can try to lower to around 1600RPMs and wait for a few days. Find your sweet spot and remember it well.

What is the best schedule for a variable speed pump?

As we’ve already mentioned, the prices of electricity will fluctuate throughout the day. So it makes sense to schedule your pump in such a way that you decrease the costs as much as possible.

This is the electricity pricing throughout the day:

Generally, you can expect to run your gear for 8-10 hours per day. This means that you’ll do well to do most of the pumping in the morning or during the night, and then decrease the power in the afternoon.

An example schedule could be like this:

  • From 3 PM to 8 AM – high speed
  • From 8 AM to 12 AM – low or medium speed
  • In the afternoon – off or low speed.

During holidays, it might make sense to use higher speeds since electricity costs are low.

Wrapping Up

Variable speed pool pumps are becoming increasingly popular for pool owners. They will save you money, and they can also run quieter and make your pool cleaner faster.

We think that the Hayward SP2303VSP variable speed pump is the best you can get right now in terms of performance and quietness. It is slightly more expensive, but you can be absolutely sure it will save you money in the long-term.

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