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7 Best Pool Pumps for Inground Pools (2022 Reviews)

In-ground pools need high-HP pumps with 1.5” to 2” plumbing. Almost all in-ground pools have PVC pipes, which means your pump needs to have the proper fittings. You can choose from a variety of brands, speeds, and many other features to decide which pump is the best for you. However, some pumps are much better than others.

The best pool pump for in-ground pools is the Hayward MaxFlo VS Pump. This 1.65HP pool pump saves up to 80% of energy compared to single-speed pumps. It has multiple speed settings, boasts up to 160 gallons per minute, and includes unions for almost any in-ground swimming pool.

You could also try the following in-ground pool pumps:

In this post, I’ll cover everything you should know about choosing an in-ground pool pump. I’ll also include reviews of each of the best in-ground pool pumps on the list. Let’s get started!

What to Look For in an In-Ground Pool Pump

Finding the right inground pool pump in a sea of pumps can be difficult. There are countless specifications, brands, and other features to consider. However, I’ve narrowed it down to three must-have factors. If you want to know which pool pump is best for your inground pool, look for these three specs:

  1. Gallons per minute: Every pump has a label with its gallons per minute or gallons per hour. This measurement shows how many hours it’ll take for the pump to cycle all of the water in the swimming pool. Above-ground pools should go through two full cycles every day if possible.
  2. Horsepower: A pump’s horsepower determines how much power it provides. If you have a 2.5HP pool pump, it can move multiple water features, vacuums, and water through the system. However, large pools take up a lot of horsepower, so it’s important to find the right balance.
  3. Speed options: You can choose between single-speed, two-speed, and variable-speed pool pumps. VS pumps are the best choice for energy efficiency, low-noise output, and versatility. However, they tend to be a bit pricier than the other others. Two-speed pumps are quite rare these days.

I’ll dive further into each of these essential details below.

Gallons Per Minute (GPM)

Your new pump’s gallons per minute is one of the most crucial parts of the specs sheet. Every pool pump should have a similar GPM to the filter. For example, if your pool filter can operate with 150 gallons per minute, the pump should be around 120 to 180 gallons per minute. Too much of a deviation can cause the pool pump to make loud noises and overheat.

The best way to determine the gallons per minute that your pump needs are with the following formula:

  1. Multiply the (length x width x depth) x 7.5. This number will tell you how many gallons are in the pool. Write it down so you can know how much of each chemical you’ll need and what size equipment the pool calls for.
  2. Multiply the potential pump’s GPM by 60 to get the GPH (gallons per hour). This number will show you how many hours it takes to cycle the whole swimming pool. Aim for a total of three to four hours if possible.
  3. Find a pool pump that cycles the gallon total one to two times within 6 to 8 hours. For example, a 150 GPM pump cycles 9,000 gallons per hour. This means that you can cycle a 27,000-gallon swimming pool in three hours or twice in six hours.

Most inground pool pumps range between 70 to 200 GPM. Keep in mind that you don’t always need a higher GPM, so it could be a waste of money and energy. Instead, use the aforementioned formula for accurate results.

Keep in mind that using the incorrect or unlabeled plumbing size will alter the GPM. For example, if the pump is designed for 2” plumbing and you use a 1.5” adapter, you’ll reduce the GPM. Furthermore, the headway (also known as the space between the pump’s suction and the skimmer) can affect the GPM.

Some people prefer a lower GPM if they have a variable-speed pump. You can run the pump at slower speeds to reduce the GPM and keep the water moving longer. This process provides two benefits:

  1. It reduces your pump’s energy consumption.
  2. It prevents algae because algae has a harder time growing when the water is moving.

Horsepower

The next most important statistic is your pump’s horsepower. The horsepower is a measurement that shows how much power your pump can supply. You need more horsepower based on these two metrics:

  1. Your pool’s gallon total
  2. The number of water features and vacuums your pool uses

If you don’t have water features or vacuums, you can rely on a basic HP (1.5 to 2.5) for almost any inground swimming pool. Choosing the wrong horsepower can cause a lot of pool pump problems, such as not enough water flow, impeller cavitation, and shredding the filter media.

Review the following table to know which horsepower is right for your inground swimming pool.

Pool Gallon TotalRecommended Pump Horsepower
Below 5,000 gallons0.5 horsepower
5,000 to 10,000 gallons1 horsepower
10,000 to 15,000 gallons1.5 horsepower
15,000 to 25,000 gallons2.5 horsepower
Over 25,000 gallons3 horsepower

Pro Tip: If you have a lot of water features and heavy-duty pool vacuums, you could get a higher horsepower. For example, a 13,000-gallon pool with water features and a suction-side pool vacuum could jump to a 2.5-horsepower pump instead of the recommended 1.5-horsepower pump.

Speed Options

Inground pool pumps come in the following speeds:

  • Single-speed pumps: Single-speed pool pumps are the most common type of pump on the market. They’ve been around longer than any pump type. These pumps have one speed, which is typically around 3,000 RPMs. While they’re great for vacuums and water features, they tend to use more energy.
  • Two-speed pumps: Two-speed pumps were the low-energy answer to single-speed pump problems. You can set a two-speed pump to a lower RPM (around 2,000 RPMs) or the traditional 3,000-RPM range. Every pump has unique speeds, but you can cycle between two options for the occasion.
  • Variable-speed pumps: Variable-speed pumps are the best option on the market. The best variable-speed pumps let you change to any RPM whenever you want. You can run a VS pump 24 hours a day at a lower speed or switch it into high gear for water features and vacuums. They also save tons of energy and produce less noise.

Single-speed pumps have the advantage of being much cheaper than VS and 2S pumps. However, they’re louder and don’t last as long. Furthermore, they use up to 80% more electricity, which means they cost more in the long run. Since two-speed pumps are overshadowed by VS pumps, there aren’t too many worthy options available these days.

Our Top In-Ground Pool Pumps

Best Overall: Hayward MaxFlo VS Pump

The Hayward MaxFlo VS Pump offers 1.65 HP with eight different speed settings. This VS pump is whisper quiet and comes with a built-in timer. You can set a schedule to run at any time of the day or night. Each schedule has a designated speed, allowing you to use automatic vacuum cleaners and water features without lifting a finger.

Another excellent feature of this VS pump is that it saves up to 80% of energy. Like most variable-speed pumps, this one uses rare earth magnets to maintain a steady power flow. You don’t have to worry about overworking the capacitor or running the motor into the ground. It also vibrates much less than single-speed pumps.

One of my favorite parts of this pump is the extended lid handles. You don’t need tools or gloves to open the pump. The handles point in the opening direction, letting you pry it open easily. Remove the lid to reveal the basket that comes with a built-in carrying handle. This package also includes the union, making it ready to install immediately.

Bottom Line: The Hayward MaxFlo VS Pump is one of the best pumps on the market in almost every category. It’s a great choice for a wide range of pools, and it’s easy to use for people of all experience levels. With four internal speeds and four button-operated speeds, it’s as customizable as it gets.

Gallons Per Minute160 GPM
Horsepower1.65 HP
Speed OptionsEight
VoltageAvailable in 115v and 230v

Pros

  • This pump has several speeds to help you run it whenever you want and as fast as you want it to go.
  • You’ll enjoy the bulky interface that displays the speed, time, date, etc.
  • These VS pumps save up to 80% on your energy bill compared to single-speed pumps.
  • There’s an internal cooling fan that reduces the pump’s noise output and prevents it from overheating.

Cons

  • The small pump basket needs to be cleaned a bit more often than the competition.

Best Budget-Friendly Pump: XtremePowerUS In-Ground VS Pump

The XtremePowerUS In-Ground VS Pump is proof that you don’t have to spend an arm and a leg on a variable-speed pump. Although it doesn’t come with a high-end brand name, this pump boasts over 5,000 gallons per hour with a 2HP motor. It’s air-cooled to prevent overheating and loud bearing rotations.

These pumps include unions to accommodate inground pools and spas. They provide more than enough power for pool-spa combos, too. It operates as a two-speed pump with a HIGH and LOW option. However, it provides similar energy savings and operates much like a traditional variable-speed pump.

Those who don’t want to deal with programmable timers and digital displays will enjoy this pump. The low-profile motor won’t disrupt the plumbing setup, and it plugs right into a wall-mounted pool timer. You can wire it directly to the same timer as your old pump. Feel free to use it on the timer or operate it manually.

Bottom Line: The XtremePowerUS In-Ground VS Pump combines affordability with simplicity to make a top-notch inground pool pump. It’s as easy as it gets for inground pumps. Despite the lower cost, it offers excellent energy savings, reduced noise output, and plenty of power with the 2HP motor.

Gallons Per Minute100 GPM
Horsepower2 HP
Speed OptionsTwo
Voltage220v

Pros

  • This pump is one of the most affordable VS/2S pumps on the market.
  • It has one button that controls all of the speeds.
  • The 2 HP motor is powerful enough to control optimal circulation and vacuum operation.
  • It comes with a large basket to limit the frequency of having to remove debris.
  • It’s designed to handle up to 104 degrees Fahrenheit, making it suitable for pools and spas alike.

Cons

  • You’ll be limited to two speeds rather than having a fully-customizable RPM range.
  • There’s no digital display to change the settings.

Best for Large Pools: Hayward TriStar Pool Pump

The Hayward TriStar Pool Pump is my all-time favorite inground pump for large swimming pools. It has a massive 2.7 HP motor that can handle over 30,000 gallons of water thanks to the variable-speed settings. You can crank it up to 3,450 RPMs to provide power to vacuums, water features, and more.

Another reason the TriStar is such a great choice is that it saves up to 90% of energy annually. You can attach this VS pump to the current pump’s wires to prevent lengthy installation times. There’s no need for an electrician if you know how to turn off the circuit breaker, remove three wires, and connect them to the colored nodes on the new pump’s motor.

The TriStar comes with four built-in settings and four button-operated settings. Each of these options is programmable to run at the desired time and speed. Furthermore, it includes a unique Quick Clean mode that allows you to clean the pool right before a busy pool party. You can also use it to rapidly remove algae and leaves from the water.

Bottom Line: The Hayward TriStar is a top choice for those with large swimming pools, lots of water features, and powerful vacuums. It’s second to none in power and speed, but it doesn’t create too much noise. It also saves much more energy (and money) than single-speed and two-speed pumps with the same horsepower.

Gallons Per Minute150 GPM
Horsepower2.7 HP
Speed OptionsEight
Voltage115V and 220V

Pros

  • This VS pump offers several customizable speeds to fit your pool’s needs.
  • You can use it for any voltage found on modern circuit breakers.
  • It can be used for pool vacuums, water features, and massive algae removal.
  • It’s designed to have a similar footprint to most single-speed pumps, making it an easy replacement installation.

Cons

  • This pump is a bit bulkier than most VS pumps since it has a large motor and a wide interface.

Best for Small Pools: Hayward Super Pump

Hayward makes plenty of single-speed and VS pumps. If you have a small swimming pool, I suggest the Hayward Super Pump. This low-cost pump provides enough power to circulate the water and dissolve the chemicals within a few hours. It’s simple and straightforward, making it an easy choice with those pools below 10,000 gallons.

One of my favorite parts of this design is the bolted lid. Two threaded knobs secure the lid. Loosen them to remove the lid and reveal the debris basket. The basket is significantly bigger than most pump baskets I’ve seen in the field. It can catch and hold leaves, algae, sticks, hair, and more. The larger basket prevents you from having to empty it too often.

The Hayward Super series is an easy choice for beginners and those who want a low-maintenance pool pump. It doesn’t have all of the fancy bells and whistles of some high-end pumps, but it makes for a much more hands-free, relaxed routine. It’s the ultimate pump for basic, compact inground swimming pools.

Bottom Line: The Hayward Super Pump is a best-seller for many good reasons. It’s very user-friendly, it doesn’t require too much maintenance, and it’s fairly quiet for a single-speed motor. While the primary size is designed for pools below 10,000 gallons, you can get a bigger motor to accommodate larger pools.

Gallons Per Minute74 to 120 GPM
Horsepower1 HP
Speed OptionsSingle-speed
Voltage115V to 230V

Pros

  • It has a large basket with two knobs to seal the pump’s lid.
  • This single-speed pump is more than enough for small, basic swimming pools.
  • You can choose from multiple horsepowers to fit your swimming pool.
  • It includes a motor stabilizer to prevent unwanted vibrations and excess noise.
  • This pump is available in two-speed models.

Cons

  • This pump doesn’t include unions, which means you have to use threaded pipes.
  • It’s not suitable for pools with suction-side or pressure-side vacuum cleaners.

Best Variable-Speed Pump: Pentair SuperFlo VS Pump

The Pentair SuperFlo VS Pump is one of my favorite pumps for inground pools. It’s the best variable-speed pump available for many reasons, including the 80% energy savings and complete display control. It includes multiple built-in speeds and timers, along with a date and time display. You can choose between a 12-hour mode or a 24-hour mode.

Perhaps one of the best features is the simple display. Those who haven’t used VS pumps will enjoy the SuperFlo’s user-friendly interface. There are very few buttons, all of which provide optimal control. You can quickly cycle through the time, speed, duration, and watt consumption with the menu button on the display.

This pump also includes an optional bolted base. The base platform limits vibrations and prevents the pump from cracking during an earthquake. You can use cement bolts to secure the pump’s motor to the ground. I highly recommend using the base, whether or not you use bolts. It’s worth reducing the noise output.

Bottom Line: The Pentair Superflo has been one of the most popular variable-speed pumps in the industry. It’s the affordable, widely used version of the Pentair Intelliflo (the 2.5 HP variant). The Superflo’s compatible unions slide over 1.5” piping or inside or 2” piping. It’s one of the easiest VS pumps to install.

Gallons Per Minute110 GPM
Horsepower1.5 HP
Speed OptionsThree
Voltage115V or 230V

Pros

  • This pump includes unions for 2” and 1.5” PVC plumbing.
  • You can program it to start and stop whenever you want.
  • It has the same footprint as almost all Pentair pumps, making it an easy installation.
  • You can use the pump with 115V or 230V electrical wiring.

Cons

  • The Superflo has a small basket that needs to be emptied frequently.
  • There are only three programmable speed options, which is far less than most VS pumps.

Best Single-Speed Pump: Hayward PowerFlo Pool Pump

The 1.5 HP Hayward PowerFlo Pool Pump is the best single-speed pump for its powerful motor and impressively large debris basket. The basket only needs to be emptied once per week during the spring, summer, and fall. Most people only have to empty their debris basket twice per month during the winter, though.

Hayward created a long-lasting, resilient shell to protect this pump. Heavy rainstorms, direct sunlight, and snow are no match for the PowerFlo’s durable casing. It also has a metal base that supports the motor, reduces vibrations, and comes with holes for an optional earthquake-proof mount.

The ultra-large debris basket has an ergonomic handle to remove without tools. If the lid gets jammed, you can place a metal bar under the handle and turn it to open it immediately. At the bottom of the basket assembly sits a wide drain plug. You can remove all of the water from the pump in a few seconds with the drain.

Bottom Line: The Hayward powerful is durable, beginner-friendly, and versatile for a single-speed pump. The massive basket and drain plug provide additional conveniences not found in most pumps. Furthermore, the metal motor base won’t crack, corrode, or shed fiberglass from direct sunlight and chemicals.

Gallons Per Minute1.5 HP
Horsepower86 GPM
Speed OptionsSingle-speed
Voltage115V

Pros

  • This pump is powerful enough for most above-ground pools.
  • It’s built to last throughout the years through rainstorms, sunlight, chemicals, etc.
  • The basket is big enough to remove leaves, algae, hair, and other debris.
  • It’s one of the most energy-efficient single-speed pumps available.

Cons

  • This single-speed pump doesn’t come with unions, so you’ll need threaded pipes.
  • You can’t change the speeds, which means it’s always going at full power (and volume).

Best Low-Noise In-Ground Pump: Pentair WhisperFlo Pump

Pool pumps are notoriously loud. Pentair created the WhisperFlo Pump to combat this common negative notion. The WhisperFlo is significantly quieter than any single-speed pump you’ll come across. This pump runs at a low hum without reducing the maximum speed. Despite the low noise output, it runs around 3,450 RPMs.

This 1.5 HP pump also comes in 1 HP, ¾ HP, and 3 HP variants. Choose the size that best suits your swimming pool with the previously mentioned chart. Everything from the air-cooled motor to the vibration-reducing motor mount makes this pump much less obnoxious than traditional single-speed pool pumps.

The Pentair WhisperFlo also has a unique impeller design that lowers its volume while saving energy. Pentair’s special design pulls water through the impeller without forcing the PSI higher than it needs to go. It also prevents cavitation, which keeps the pump from pulling air into the system. Furthermore, you’ll save quite a bit on your utility bill.

Bottom Line: This single-speed pump is easy to install and doesn’t require very much maintenance. It’s quiet, powerful, and built to last. Pentair’s incredible impeller design is one of the best I’ve seen in the industry. It’s also used in their variable-speed models, including the aforementioned Pentair SuperFlo.

Gallons Per Minute150 GPM
Horsepower1.5 HP
Speed OptionsSingle-speed
Voltage230V

Pros

  • This pump is ultra-quiet, making it the best choice for people who want to reduce their single-speed pump’s volume.
  • It includes an incredible impeller design that reduces energy consumption and noise output.
  • It’s available in four sizes to suit almost any swimming pool in the world.
  • The ultra-clear lid is shaped to prevent cloudiness and fog.

Cons

  • You’ll need threaded PVC plumbing since there aren’t any unions.
  • The pump basket isn’t very big, so it needs to be emptied more often.