Maintaining clean and clear water is essential for any swimming pool, regardless of size. Finding the right filtration system for small pool owners can be challenging, as many standard pool filters are designed for larger volumes of water. This is where small pool filters come into play.

In this article, we’ll explain what small pool filters are and how they work. We will introduce you to the top brands offering efficient and reliable filtration solutions for your compact swimming pool.

Small Pool Filter

What is a Small Pool Filter?

A small pool filter is a compact filtration system designed specifically for smaller swimming pools, such as above ground pools, inflatable pools, or small inground pools. These filters are engineered to efficiently remove dirt, debris, and other contaminants from the water, keeping it clean, clear, and safe for swimming.

Small pool filters typically use one of three filtration methods:

  1. Cartridge Filtration: Cartridge filters use a pleated, cylindrical cartridge to capture contaminants as water passes through the filter. They are known for their efficiency and ease of maintenance.
  2. Sand Filtration: Sand filters use a bed of special-grade sand to trap debris and impurities. Contaminants are captured as water flows through the sand, allowing clean water to return to the pool.
  3. Diatomaceous Earth (DE) Filtration: DE filters use a fine powder from fossilized algae called diatoms. This powder coats a grid inside the filter, creating a highly effective filtration system that can remove even the smallest particles.

How Small Pool Filters Work

Regardless of the type of small pool filter you choose, the basic principle remains the same. Your pool pump draws water from the pool and pushes it through the filter, where contaminants are trapped and removed. The clean water is returned to the pool through the return jets, ensuring continuous circulation and filtration.

How Small Pool Filters Work

The efficiency of a small pool filter depends on several factors, including the size of the filter, the type of filtration media used, and the pump’s flow rate. To ensure optimal performance, choosing a filter that is appropriately sized for your pool’s volume and compatible with your pump’s specifications is essential.

Top Brands for Small Pool Filters

When choosing a small pool filter, selecting a product from a reputable brand known for its quality, reliability, and performance is crucial. Here are some of the top brands offering small pool filters:

1. Intex

Intex is a well-known brand in the above ground pool market, offering a range of small pool filters designed for their pool models and other compact swimming pools.

Top Intex Small Pool Filters:

  • Intex Krystal Clear Cartridge Filter Pump
  • Intex Krystal Clear Sand Filter Pump
  • Intex Krystal Clear Saltwater System

2. Hayward

Hayward is a trusted name in the pool equipment industry, providing high-quality filtration solutions for pools of all sizes, including small filters for compact swimming pools.

Top Hayward Small Pool Filters:

  • Hayward W3EC30 Perflex D.E. Pool Filter
  • Hayward W3S166T ProSeries Sand Filter
  • Hayward W3CC15093S SwimClear Cartridge Filter

3. Pentair

Pentair is another leading pool equipment manufacturer, offering a range of small pool filters designed for efficient and effective filtration in compact swimming pools.

Top Pentair Small Pool Filters:

  • Pentair 160301 Clean & Clear Cartridge Pool Filter
  • Pentair 160332 Quad D.E. Cartridge Style Pool Filter
  • Pentair 140212 FNS Plus D.E. Pool Filter

4. Bestway

Bestway is a popular brand known for its inflatable and above-ground pools and accompanying filtration systems, including small pool filters.

Top Bestway Small Pool Filters:

  • Bestway Flowclear Sand Filter Pump
  • Bestway Flowclear Cartridge Filter Pump
  • Bestway Flowclear ChemConnect Chemical Dispenser

Choosing the Right Small Pool Filter

When selecting a small pool filter, consider the following factors to ensure you choose the best option for your pool:

  • Pool Size: Ensure that your chosen filter is appropriately sized for your pool’s water volume. Consult the manufacturer’s guidelines to determine your pool’s recommended filter size.
  • Filtration Method: Consider the pros and cons of each filtration method (cartridge, sand, or DE) to determine which one best suits your needs and preferences.
  • Pump Compatibility: Make sure the filter you choose is compatible with your pool pump’s flow rate and specifications. An improperly matched filter and pump can lead to inefficient filtration and potential damage to the equipment.
  • Ease of Maintenance: Consider the maintenance requirements for each type of filter, such as cleaning or replacing cartridges, backwashing sand, or recharging DE. Choose a filter that aligns with your preferred maintenance routines and time constraints.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How often should I clean or replace the filter media in my small pool filter?

The frequency of cleaning or replacing your filter media depends on your filter type and the amount of debris in your pool. As a general guideline:

  • Cartridge filters should be cleaned every 2-4 weeks and replaced every 1-2 years.
  • Sand filters should be backwashed every 1-2 weeks, and the sand replaced every 3-5 years.
  • DE filters should be backwashed every 1-2 weeks, and the DE powder should be recharged after each backwash.

Can I use a small pool filter for a larger pool?

While it may be tempting to use a small pool filter for a larger pool to save money or space, it is not recommended. Small pool filters are designed to handle specific water volumes. Using them for larger pools can lead to inefficient filtration, poor water quality, and potential damage to the filter and pump. Always choose a filter that is appropriately sized for your pool.

How long should I run my small pool filter each day?

As a general rule, you should run your small pool filter for at least 8 hours per day, or long enough to circulate the entire pool water volume once. However, during heavy pool use, hot weather, or after a rainstorm, you may need to run your filter for longer to maintain optimal water clarity and quality.

Can I use a small pool filter with a saltwater pool?

Yes, many small pool filters are compatible with saltwater pool systems. However, it’s essential to choose a filter specifically designed for use with salt water, as the corrosive nature of salt can damage some filter components over time. Look for filters labeled as “salt-resistant” or “saltwater-compatible” to ensure longevity and performance.

What should I do if my small pool filter is not working properly?

If you notice a decrease in water clarity, flow rate, or an increase in filter pressure, your small pool filter may not work properly. First, check for any visible signs of damage or leaks in the filter housing, hoses, or connections. Next, following the manufacturer’s guidelines, clean or replace the filter media as needed. If the problem persists, consult a professional pool technician for further assistance.


Small pool filters are crucial in maintaining clean, clear, and safe water for compact swimming pools. By understanding how these filters work and selecting a high-quality product from a reputable brand, you can ensure that your small pool remains a source of enjoyment and relaxation for years.

Remember to choose an appropriately sized filter for your pool, compatible with your pump, and suits your preferred maintenance routines. With proper care and regular maintenance, your small pool filter will work efficiently to keep your pool water sparkling clean and inviting.