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Pool Filters

Sand vs. Cartridge Filters: Which is Right for You?

Which is Right for You?

Embarking on the journey to build a new pool, spa, or swim spa is an exciting step towards enhancing your lifestyle. One of the crucial decisions you'll face is selecting the right filtration system for your aquatic oasis.

Your pool's filter and pump form the heart of its circulation system. The filter's primary role is to remove debris, ensuring your pool remains clean and inviting year-round. Without an effective filter, your pool could become a breeding ground for bacteria, resulting in cloudy water that's less than ideal for swimming. Meanwhile, the pool pump circulates the water, directing it through the filter to remove particles before passing it to the heater or back to the pool.


Efficiency and Performance:

For those prioritizing optimal efficiency and crystal-clear water free from fine debris, the cartridge filter shines.

Cartridge filters can capture finer particles, ranging from 10-20 microns compared to 20-40 microns for sand filters. To put that into perspective, cartridge filters can trap ultra-fine debris like talcum powder and mold spores, in addition to larger particles such as beach sand and grit.

Unlike sand filters, cartridge filters eliminate the need for backwashing, conserving water by up to 92%. This translates to significant water savings, equivalent to approximately 60 laundry loads. Moreover, cartridge filters reduce energy consumption and minimize pump wear due to less water flow restriction.

Opting for glass media in a sand filter can enhance its debris-catching capabilities while reducing water usage during backwashing. We recommend discussing this option with your pool builder before starting construction.


Cartridge filters are gaining popularity over sand filters due to their easier maintenance.

To clean a cartridge filter, simply remove the cartridge and rinse it with a garden hose. The filter's gauge will indicate when cleaning is required, typically 2-4 times a year depending on pool size, and after significant storms.

In contrast, maintaining a sand filter involves regular back-washing, ideally once a week, to remove residual debris. This process may require adding extra water and chemicals to the pool.


Choosing between sand and cartridge filters requires careful consideration of your priorities. Are you focused on energy efficiency? How much time can you dedicate to maintenance? What's your budget? The size of your pool also plays a role in your decision. Armed with answers to these questions, you'll be well-equipped to discuss your options with your pool builder, allowing you to spend more time enjoying your pristine pool and less time worrying about maintenance.

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