Today more and more residential owners install swimming pools in their backgrounds. They would like to see crystal clear water without significant maintenance efforts. Unfortunately, every day they find in their pool debris, sand, leaves, and organics that definitely do not make the water cleaner.
So, several stages of the cleaning system are invented for all types of residential pools. It can include an overall constant filtration system, chlorination system, automatic cleaner for floor and walls, and a skimmer (manual or automatic).
In addition, you may have heating and lighting systems if you have a full-day working swimming pool. A pool control system was created to combine all automatic equipment on one control panel for the most convenience. One of the most trustable companies in the residential and commercial pools market – Pentair – produces two systems that will be compared in this article – Pentair EasyTouch vs Intellitouch.
Pentair EasyTouch vs Intellitouch – Comparison Table
Last update on 2023-12-04 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Main Differences Between the Models
Even though Pentair EasyTouch vs Intellitouch are both control systems for swimming pools and/or spas and are produced by one Manufacturer, they are not the same.
- The main difference is that Intellitouch is a customized system that the owner buys piece by piece to create precisely the product based upon the amount of automatic equipment that needs to be controlled in a pool and/or spa. With several expansion kits based on one Load or Power center, 38 auxiliary circuits (meaning 38 automatic pieces of any equipment) can be controlled and programmed.
Each Power or Load Center can support 5, 7, or 9 circuits with a mandatory personal kit. The particular type of dual personal kit for a pool and a spa supports 10 circuits for two sets of equipment. A system interface kit allows the creation of a system based on a PC/tablet/smartphone or panel (wireless or hardwired). Meanwhile, Easytouch can propose only 2 types of systems with 4 or 8 circuits. The choice for Easytouch is based on additional panels, remote or hardwired.
- The corresponding difference is that the owner cannot buy only the Pentair 521215 Intellitouch Load Center and wire it. All three components should be purchased – a personal kit and a system controller. While Pentair 520540 EasyTouch 8 already includes a Load / Power center and outdoor panel with sensors and actuators that can work without additional items. All other kits are bought to extend the functionality.
- Another difference between two systems Pentair EasyTouch vs Intellitouch is that EasyTouch is mainly for basic controls and if you have a primary pool or spa, Intellitouch can offer you advanced programming functions.
Even though there are core differences for these systems, their metal enclosure inside and outside looks the same. Both systems have different designs for the Canadian and American markets. Pentair Intellichlor cells also can be added to both. Pentair EasyTouch 8 – Pool/Spa and Intellitouch work with other Pentair products – UltraTemp, MagisStream, IntelliBrite, IntelliChem, etc.
Both systems EasyTouch and Intellitouch can be integrated into Intellicenter – the most advanced and upgraded automatic control systems from Pentair with different upgrade kits depending on your needs (pool and spa, only pool or spa, etc.).
Detailed Product Reviews
Pentair EasyTouch Systems are advanced automatic control systems that can daily control all automatic equipment 120 VAC/240 VAC in your spa or swimming pool. All service operations will be controlled automatically / manually from one control panel mounted outside or if required you can purchase additional remote wireless panels or indoor panels.
The supported equipment is automatic valves, pumps from filtration systems, lighting, solar or electrical/gas heater, chlorination system or any other chemical treatment system. Pentair EasyTouch 8 is a base system (auxiliary circuits) without ICP and with 2 motorized actuators.
Please be informed that the system can not control automatic pool cover.
This control system represents a metal box where all wires are connected to the control panel. It should be installed at least 5 feet from the inside pool wall. All electrical works should be performed by professional electricians under local and national standards, including connection to the power and to other pool equipment. The control panel is located in the upper part of this box and covered with a metal door. The owner can install the password. You can customize through this panel water and heat temperatures, chlorination value, change working time of your filtration pump, automatically set timers on your lighting and many others.
All changed parameters are shown on LCD display with four lines enough to view status messages or menu items. 12 programs can be created with this control panel – for automatically running your filtration system, switching the light, synchronizing its color and many more. All parameters are set using the push buttons. All detailed settings are described in the manual, that is part of the package or on Pentair website.
There are a lot of push buttons for control available, one control button for each circuit:
- Left/Right/Up/Down buttons for navigation through the menu.
- Menu/back button also for navigation and going back to the previous parameters.
- “F” button for filter pump control. Single or two-speed pumps can be controlled, also with this button freeze protection is activated with air temperature below 36oF.
- Mode button – for switching between Auto, Service (Manual) or Timeout mode.
- Valves control button – for switching between normal operation “Pool”, “Fill” (Spillway), “Drain” or “Service” modes.
- 1-7 buttons for other circuit control. Pentair also produces another model – Pentair EasyTouch 4 – only for 4 circuits.
- Button “Heater” to switch it (gas or electric) on or off in “Service” manual mode, in automatic mode the heater will be switched off with water temperature higher 104oF.
- Button “Solar” is for solar heaters only with the same function as the “Heater” one.
- “Reset” button for reinitializing the overall panel.
The specialized Pentair 520547 EasyTouch Wireless Controller allows control of the EasyTouch system from inside or outside the home area. It has a LCD display similar to the main LCD panel, the same 7 buttons for any type of circuits that you define; the Spa (Hi-Temp) Button for controlling high temperature settings of the spa (also switching the filter pump on, a heater and a rotate valve); and the Pool (Lo-Temp) Button for controlling low-temperature for the pool (also switching the same equipment as Hi-Temp button); navigation buttons (left/right/down) and power on button.
As you can see the full operation control is available with this small panel, you do not need to mount it, you can take it everywhere where the Bluetooth signal is working.
- All automatic equipment can be controlled with this system
- 12 circuits for connection to this system
- 12 programs can be created
- All functions are controlled with several buttons
- LCD display
- Self-diagnostic is available including diagnostic screen reports
- Diagnostic reports are available through special smartphone application and for PC web browsers
- Remote control is available but purchased separately
- Installation activities should be performed by a specialist
Pentair Intellitouch provides full automation control as well for a pool, spa, pump, cleaners, heater and other electrical equipment. The standard package includes an outdoor control panel, but wireless remote panel for control indoors can be purchased separately. This system also can be integrated in an overall automation solution for the whole home. The main difference of Intellitouch system is that all its parts you need to purchase separately based on the number of circuits, type of control (remote, indoor or outdoor) and number of water control objects (pool and spa, or only pool). That means you can customize it upon your needs.
So, basic Intellitouch system involves three parts:
- Load or Power Center (actually Pentair 521215 Intellitouch Load Center), where all electrical wires will be connected into circuits – this power center has 5 circuits.
- Personal kit selected on your actual needs of separate equipment (may include outdoor control panel, sensors, additional relays).
- System Controller. The options are – iPhone/iPad interface; in-wall table; indoor control panel, mobile touch LCD control panel, quick touch remote panel or SpaCommand remote controller. Pentair 520138 Intellitouch Indoor Control Panel is an example of such a system controller.
The Pentair Load Center 521215 includes a built-in sub panel for breakers, 110/240 V transformer, all necessary space for low and high voltage wiring needs and a place for an outdoor control panel. It should be installed also by a professional electrician with the same requirements as the EasyTouch 8 enclosure. Load centers can be expanded with addition of up to three additional expansion centers (special kits).
Personal kits have different configurations based on your pool/spa types. It differs by the number of circuits. Each kit includes at least an outdoor control panel, additional relays (in addition to 5 from Load center) if necessary, 2 actuators, temperature, freeze and air sensors. As you purchase one of these kits separately, you can exactly choose the one that has the required number of circuits (maybe plus one or two additional for future automatic valves).
The outdoor control panel provides only limited control as it has only a limited number of buttons, for settings programming you need to purchase a system controller of any type. The panel also has 4 LED indicators.
Outdoor control panel has the following push buttons (described the simplest one for pools only):
- buttons to change mode of operation (“Auto” / “Service” / “Time Out”).
- button “V” to control valves (circulation / filling the pool / draining the pull).
- button “F” for filter pump; buttons “1” – “8” to other automatic equipment.
- button “heater” to turn the heater on.
- button “solar” for turning on the booster pump or heating water through solar panels (if available).
- button “reset” – to restart the outdoor panel.
The special Pentair 520138 Intellitouch Indoor Control Panel is a 3.75” LCD control panel, connected to the Load Center.
It works in auto mode and disabled in service mode from the outdoor control panel. The control is executed with 24 buttons with status shown on the LCD display, 10 per each circuit and 4 (Menu/Heat/Display/Lights). It also has 10 LED green indicators (lighting, pump, automatic pool cleaners, jets, filter pumps) to show if the circuit is activated or not. From the program menu on this indoor control panel, you can set setup or advanced settings.
- High level of customization
- Load center includes 5 circuits
- The Load Center can be expanded with a lot of different expansion kits
- All automatic equipment can be combined in one system
- Easy control functions after installation of all 3 required parts of Intellitouch system
- Detailed manuals with description of all required wiring connections and possible problems
- Load Center enough space for all high and low voltage needs
- Personal kit with sensors, outdoor control panel, actuator purchased separately
- Indoor remote controller should be purchased mandatory or other type of system controller
- Outdoor control panel does not have full control functionality
- Installation activities should be performed by a specialist
After a detailed comparison of two control systems Pentair EasyTouch vs Intellitouch, for each owner the obvious question is what the overall pros and cons of any automatic control system are. And for sure Pentair’s systems will have them as well.
- The price is different and expensive, starting from around 2000 to 4000 $, depending on component and required size.
- Wiring requires professional electrician installation
- Some programming and installation features and not so easy to learn (mostly takes time to learn),
- Residential automation mostly cannot manage chemicals, only monitor them
- Too expensive for pools with one or two automatic devices.
Described advantages are promising and provide a lot of comfort and swimming pool maintenance. The last decision should be made on a detailed comparison of differences between these two models – Pentair EasyTouch vs Intellitouch.
Number of circuits
Pentair 521215 Intellitouch
This Load center has five circuits. Additional circuits can be purchased within mandatory personal kits if required.
For direct comparison of these particular models of Pentair EasyTouch vs Intellitouch EasyTouch is the winner, as more circuits are included in the standard package. But as for Intellitouch you need anyway to buy a personal kit, it is easy to increase the number of circuits.
Pentair 521215 Intellitouch
The standard package includes only a load center with relay. Personal kit with actuators, additional relays, sensors and outdoor control panel should be purchased separately. But the choice is big.
If you want to buy all in one, without thinking of additional details then EasyTouch is a better solution. This system perfectly works without any purchased separate kits. Pentair Load Center requires additional personal kit to fit closer functionality as the EasyTouch system.
Outdoor control panel
Pentair 521215 Intellitouch
Intellitouch outdoor panel (from personal kit) has a button for each circuit, then a button for mode, heater and solar, and a reset button on a panel. No LCD display and navigation buttons, so it has less functionality.
Outdoor control panel of EasyTouch 8 has enough push buttons to provide the full programming cycle for all circuits and diagnostics, while Pentair 521215 Intellitouch provides only simple control functions and change of control modes.
Pentair 521215 Intellitouch
All controllers are the mandatory additional purchased part of Intellitouch control system. That provides the full programming and diagnostic functions. But you can use the similar types of controllers (indoor panels or remote ones for spa and pools), use special Touch Screens or Tablets or buy interfaces for PC or smartphone.
The choice and functionality of remote controllers for Pentair 521215 Intellitouch system is significantly higher and you anyway need to buy such controllers for full system functionality. Remote controllers of Intellitouch allow you to program in detail all equipment, EasyTouch is more simple.
Additional kits for extension and upgrade
Pentair 521215 Intellitouch
The extension kits for each item of the system including Load /Power centers allows it to have up to 38 circuits. It makes this system fully customized.
In comparison Pentair EasyTouch vs Intellitouch EasyTouch, the second one is a winner as you can make this system fully customized, while EasyTouch can have 4 or 8 circuits.
As described the differences are quite significant and should be considered for choice of best suitable automatic control system.
How to choose the best pool automatic control system?
If you still cannot understand what basic parameters should be considered to have the best automatic control system, such a small list will be a good help.
- You need to determine the number of elements that need to be controlled (lighting, pumps, heaters, water features, jets, valves etc.). Not all systems can manage pool chemistry. This will affect the number of circuits and the price of the control system.
- You need to determine if you want to control only a spa, or maybe both a pool and an integrated spa. This will also affect the size of the system.
- The required place of control – outdoor panel, remote panel, or smartphone. Each automation system differs on availability of supported panels for control.
- If you are traveling a lot, the smartphone app is a mandatory option that helps you to maintain your pool and spa.
- The required level of control. Some automation systems have more complicated programming with more features.
- Some variable speed pumps and pool lights already have their own automation system including smartphone application, it may be enough for you. Otherwise, you need to check if these systems can be integrated in one automation system.
- Check the requirements for installation and maintenance of the control system if you can fit them.
- Warranty. The longer warranty is always a plus. Keep in mind only safe installation by an electrician will keep your warranty, otherwise it will be limited.
Please keep in mind that an automatic pool and spa system is a tool to make your life easier, but during installation you need to spend some time defining the best parameters for each element of your pool and spa.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which sensors can be connected to the Pentair EasyTouch 8 Panel?
Does Pentair have a technical a.m. till l support for Pentair EasyTouch and Intellitouch load systems?
Which system Pentair EasyTouch vs. Intellitouch supports Intellichlor chlorine generator better?
Does Pentair Intellitouch control an automatic pool cover?
There is no obvious winner in comparison of Pentair EasyTouch vs Intellitouch, both equally good in controlling the pool and spa equipment. The choice between these systems should be based on their differences: number of required circuits, available budget (three items for Intellitouch could be more expensive than standard package of EasyTouch), possible future extension and upgrade, and required level of programming. Both systems support the same Pentair and other Manufacturers automatic equipment including chlorine systems. More sophisticated and complicated system mainly should be based on Intellitouch, while EasyTouch is a simple solution all-in-one.
Hi! I’m Markus Robertson, and water is my passion.
Five years ago, I graduated from the University of California-Los Angeles and was going to become a professional marine biologist. However, my fate had other plans for me, and due to family problems, I had to find a more stable and well-paid job. I had only one wish for my job to be connected with water.
During this period of my life, I worked as a sales manager at Olympic Pool & Spa Supplies. The job helped me learn everything about swimming pools and related pool equipment, as well as how to choose the best option and what to pay attention to.
Having worked there for three years, I decided to start my own blog about pools, where I can tell people about the best new pool equipment models and share my knowledge and experience.
A marine biologist by education, I became a pool blogger by trade. Now I’m glad I can help the guests of my store and the visitors of my blog know a lot of exciting things about pools, their types, best pumps and filters, necessary equipment maintenance, and so on.
I welcome all people who want to choose a proper basin and the stuff to my blog! Hope you’ll find this information interesting and useful!