The Best Intex Pool Pumps for Above-Ground Pools
Perhaps, no other swimming pool equipment company managed to reach such repute as Intex. The brand produces literally every type of pool unit, from the pools themselves to the smallest hoses and skimmers. That’s why we consider Intex to be one of the best above-ground pool solutions. If you have an Intex pool or are planning to buy one, I also recommend you complement it with an Intex pool pump – they provide excellent performance, just like Intex pools. Besides, both your goods will definitely match.
Such a choice also saves you from the necessity to get into peculiar technical details. That’s tough when you have to look at technical factors like pump flow rate, system flow rate, filter type, and so on. Nothing can be as bad as buying a pump that is not compatible with the pool.
For that reason, I decided to review the top best Intex pool pumps for above-ground pools so that you get value for your money.
So, without further ado, here are our top picks for the best above-ground pool pumps.
The models we highlighted in the table won the highest customers’ attention. So, let’s scrutinize each product series separately with all its pros, cons, and modifications.
If you are looking specifically for a cartridge pool pump, the Intex Krystal Clear Cartridge series is our top choice. It is recommended for use with the 18ft. Easy Set, 18ft. Metal Frame, and 18 by 10ft. oval metal frames.
The Intex Cartridge Krystal Clear line is a great pool pump for families. Remember, pool water may have contaminants, and an ordinary sand filter won’t capture the tiniest particles. But these models have a cartridge filter that is known to have improved filtration efficiency.
Besides, they offer more freshwater than sand. You see, cartridge filters are replaced more frequently compared to sand; sand filter systems stay for up to 5 years. In addition to this, the series boasts the Hydro Aeration Technology that improves water clarity and freshness.
But on the downside, you will be required to replace the filters every two weeks for moderate use and weekly for heavy use. That said, if you are not a DIY enthusiast or a lady with little handy skills looking for a spa pump, I don’t think this will be a good idea.
Apart from the excellent filtration, there are other reasons why I love the Krystal Clear Cartridge. The models are less frequent cases of sediment, portability, easy installation, double insulation for cold weather.
The units also come with the ground fault circuit interrupter or GFCI to protect you from electric shock.Other features include an auto-timer, Hydro Aeration air release valve, and an extra cartridge filter.
The series includes several models with higher and lower performance that can satisfy all pool owners.
- Filters 10-15 microns
- Energy efficient
- Built-in GFCI
- Integrated timer
- More affordable
- Simple installation
- Two-year warranty
- Intensive maintenance
- You need to buy accessories
At the moment, the series is presented by four filter pump models. We have two powerful and smart products with the timer option – Intex 28633EG Krystal Clear and Intex 28635EG Krystal Clear. The manufacturer also produces two simpler models for customers on a budget and small pools – the 1000 GPH and the 330 GPH devices.
Some pool owners may think that the more powerful a pump, the better. Unfortunately, it’s a wrong conclusion. Pool water capacity and a pump flow rate must adequately match each other. Intex Krystal Clear 330 GPH is a perfect choice for small pools. If you’ve got something like Intex 10ft X 30in Prism Frame Pool, we don’t recommend more powerful filter pumps for such capacity.
Intex Krystal Clear Cartridge is a great pool pump series for domestic use. It can keep your water clean in areas where the water may be contaminated. If you are keen on your family’s health, this is a great option to consider. It is also very affordable now.
If replacing cartridge filters is becoming time-consuming and also expensive, we suggest switching to a sand filter pump. The best ones today in our list are the Intex Krystal Clear Sand series. The pumps are suitable for medium-sized above ground pools from 16 ft to 24 ft and more.
The manufacturers provide us with models both for slow and quick performance depending on your needs.
Being a person who hardly finds time for maintenance, I like sand filters. Remember, while a cartridge pump requires weekly replacement, sand filters may go up to 8 years.
However, since sand for sand filters don’t cost pretty much, I’d recommend changing it oftener than once per 5-8 years. On average, a sand pack costs about $70-$100. If we distribute it for 3 years, it will form $30 per year. Most users can afford a new pack that often, and fresh sand can significantly prolong the pump’s service life.
This unit also comes with a skimmer basket that captures large particles like leaves and prevents them from reaching the filter. In the autumn, when there’s maximum fall foliage, this feature comes in really handy, especially if you are in Oregon, Vermont, Maryland, New Hampshire, and other areas with lots of trees.
Apart from that, we note a 24-hour timer and integrated Hydro aeration technology that increases the water circulation, contributes to the cleaning, and enriches water with ions. All these allow for improving water quality even more.
GFCI UL/CSA standards are all met.
If we discuss the drawbacks, many highlight relatively high prices, but I should say it’s just for such a level of performance. The unit will also require additional adapters for some pool models. And finally, it feels heavy.
- 6 valve functions
- UL/CSA standards
- Built-in GFCI
- Requires little maintenance
- 24-hour timer
- Strainer basket
- Hydro aeration
- Needs adapter
The Krystal Clear Sand generation includes three pump filters – the 12-inch, the 14-inch, and the 16-inch. The main difference between the models is the sand tank capacity and flow rate. Thus, if you liked the Krystal Clean series but need definite power, you can choose between the following devices.
If you want a carefree pool pump, sand filter pumps like the 14-inch are what you should consider getting. It has been built for medium size and large pools, and even though it is quite expensive, it is a worthy purchase considering you will change the filters again after five years. We recommend the series to the owners of above ground pools who need the ultimate performance for relatively decent money.
Let us conclude the review with one more peculiar Intex pool system – Intex Krystal Clear Saltwater System with E.C.O. Please pay attention that a model is a filter unit that needs a separate pump (the pump is not included). While the lack of the own pump makes the purchase more expensive, many consider it a worthy investment.
That’s why we still decided to include it at the top. Here are the reasons.
The Saltwater System was developed for pool owners who prefer chemical ways of water sanitation. This model boasts electrocatalytic oxidation or E.C.O. that deals with pollutions as well as improves water quality in terms of harshness. Thus, the filter eliminates the harmful influence of pool chemicals and keeps the useful only.
The item suits above ground pools up to 7000 gallons. It even offers 2 adapters to fit all Intex pools.
When it comes to a pump, the flow rate is the only limitation. The Saltwater system requires a 700-3000 GPH flow rate to process such pool capacities. The ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) is also supported.
Among additional technologies, the pump features a 24-hour timer and an extremely useful control panel.
Thus, on the one hand, we get a simple device without numerous valve functions, filter baskets. But on the other hand, few other sets can compare with its unique design, efficiency, and convenience of use.
- Suits medium-sized pools
- Unique E.C.O. system
- The best model for saltwater systems
- Smart and convenient control panel
- water flow sensor
- Built-in GFCI
- 24-hour timer
- Quite expensive
- Quite bulky
This is more than a decent purchase for small and medium-sized pools. In fact, you get a two-in-one tool for a nice price. The product provides you with much safer and more comfortable water to swim in. Besides, the control is a piece of cake.
In my opinion, Intex Krystal Clear 16-inch will better suit Intex Krystal Clear Saltwater System with E.C.O. They match in required pump flow rate, and the pump provides excellent water filtration.
Buying Guide – Read this before buying an above-ground pool pump
Now that we have given you our 3 best picks, it’s time we tell you a few things about buying pool pumps. Remember, it is important to always know how to choose a product, not relying on reviews only. So, before we go further, we need to look at Intex as a brand and see if it’s a top brand as most people say.
In case you are not convinced why should buy from Intex, here are reasons why Intex is the best brand in above ground pools.
Excellent performance – You can always trust Intex when it comes to performance. The company invests in R&D to be a market leader in innovation. Looking at the product ratings, you can easily tell that it is indeed the best.
Excellent aftersales – What if your pool has a defect? What if you don’t manage to install it? All these are common problems for new buyers. The good thing is that Intex has a great customer support team ready to help guide you. Above all, the warranty is genuine and you will be sorted in less than 3 working days. This sounds great bearing in mind there are a lot of brands that are not honest with their warranty.
Value for money – I have always trusted Intex and so far, I can say that it is one brand that will give you value for money. It comes with the best in class features and you will get a suitable pump without breaking the bank. Considering the performance and durability, that is real value for money.
Pool pumps and energy efficiency
With the rising awareness and even restrictions regarding energy efficiency, pool pumps have been on the spot in light of energy efficiency. This is because they run all day and considering almost every household has a pool, that’s a strain on our gross energy consumption so there’s need for it to be checked. In states like California, you must use an energy efficient.
But then, what’s an energy efficient motor. Basically, this debate revolves around the speed settings. There are tasks that require little power while others require high power. So, it is perceived to be wastage of energy when you use high power for small tasks and so single speed pool pumps are targeted here.
But the fact remains, the larger the pump, the more the energy consumption. But for the record, dual speed and variable speed pool pumps are considered the best because you use the speed you want so no energy goes to waste.
GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter)
I know summer is a good time to spend most of the time in your pool but do you know the dangers you are susceptible to when in the pool water?
One of them is electric shock and statistics show that fortunately, Intex builds their pumps with a technology called GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter). This technology monitors the electricity flow in the circuitry and in the event there is a small surge, it will automatically switch off the current. Considering the increased cases of pool electrocution, it would be a caring idea to buy an Intex pool pump just to make sure your family is safe always.
Buts still, even if you get an Intex pump, always make sure your electrician just to be sure it’s done the right way.
Sand filters vs. Cartridge filters
I know by now, you are not sure whether to go for sand filters or cartridge filters. There has always been the debate of sand vs. cartridge when it comes to pool filters and in this segment, we want to put the matter to rest.
Sand filters – This is a filter system made out of special sand which filters any debris that may be in the water. I like sand filters because they require very little maintenance and one you replace the sand filter, you can go for 5 years before you replace it again.
This makes sand filter pumps best for pool owners with tight schedules or those with no handy skills. But on the downside, they are not the best when it comes to efficiency when compared to cartridge filters. Also, sand filter pumps are bulky because of the sand.
Cartridge filters – On the other hand, cartridge filters are more efficient and will capture smaller particles. Sand is known to catch particles as small 20-40 microns but when it comes to cartridge filters, the larger surface ensures they catch particles as small as 10-15 microns. But then, you need to find the time and a few bucks to carry out the frequent maintenance and replacements. When buying, it is important to know the size of filter you need. Look out for the filter type; often defined in letters.
When it comes to filtration efficiency, cartridge filters are the best. The can filter much smaller particles and keep the water fresh and clean always. But then, if you want something with little maintenance, sand filter pumps are not that bad also.
Factors to consider before buying an above-ground pool pump
Now, let’s discuss a little bit about what you need to consider before buying a pool pump. Yes, you have settled on Intex, a top brand but still, there are other important aspects to look at. So, without wasting more time, here are important considerations when buying Intex pool pumps.
1. Above-ground or in-ground?
This is another hard question you will need to ask yourself. Where will your pool be installed? You have to know that in-ground pools are permanent, durable and more expensive. On the other hand, above-ground pools are portable, easy to install and cheaper.
But most importantly, it is important to decide what type of pool you will have as it will determine the filter placement.
2. Plugged in vs. in-wired pump
There are two types of pumps you can choose from depending on their power orientation. We have plug-in and hard-wired pumps. Hard-wired pumps can be easily hardwired directly to the power line while plug-in pumps use inlines to get power.
But the most important thing is to get it right when it comes to the power voltage. You need to determine what voltage goes in the pump; 110 V or 220 V.
The speed of the pool pump greatly determines the time it will take to fill the pool. If you have less leisure time, I recommend that you look for a pump with high speed. In the market, you will find a variety of pumps with different speeds.
For starters, most pool pumps around are single speed and these ones revolve in one speed depending on the hp. On the other hand, dual speed pumps have low and high while variable speed pumps have more than one setting. But note that, in as much as single speed pumps are popular, they have been prohibited in some states like California. This is an energy efficient single speed pump but Title 20 still puts it out of California just because it’s a single speed – Title 20 Law requires two speed or variable speed.
If you are not interested in much details, here’s what you should know. The speed will be indicated in GPH (Gallons per Hour) which is simply the amount of water in gallons per hour the pump can handle. The higher the GPH, the faster the pump is.
How to calculate the right GPH
I know it may be such a tall order to work your way out when finding the right GPH. To make things easy and straightforward for you, here’s how you calculate the correct GPH when buying pool pumps.
4. Size of pool
You will also realize that these pumps can handle certain pump capacities.
It is important to make sure that the pump you have settled on can handle the tank capacity you have. This is very important lest you end up with a less powerful pump.
I had to trade my first two pumps because they were too small for my pool. Since then, I learned the lesson; make sure it has enough power. On the other hand, it may also be an unwise idea to spend too much on a powerful motor when you have a small pool.
To help you choose your perfect pool size, the below tables will guide you.
Pool size in gallons
Turnover in hours
Flow rate in gpm
5. Sand or cartridge filter
As we discussed earlier, we have sand and cartridge filters. You must know the pros and cons of each before settling on any pump.
If you want easy maintenance, get a sand filter pump like Intex Krystal Clear 12, 14, or 16-inch and for a more efficient filtration, cartridge filter pumps like Intex 28633EG Krystal Clear and Intex 28635EG Krystal Clear are the best. Also importantly, check on the availability of each and also, mind the cost of replacement when weighing in between the two.
If you have an Intex above ground pool, then it will be a great idea to buy an Intex pump for compatibility. Also, if you have any other similar model from another brand, Intex pumps will also serve you well.
Remember, they are reliable, durable and affordable; what else could you want?
That said, get any of the above pool pumps and remember to carefully analyze compatibility before checking out.