One of the biggest costs associated with owning and operating a pool is the electricity used by running a pool pump. In recent years, we have seen a rise in the number of people interested in the use of solar power to lower their monthly energy bills, including for their pools!
Many pool owners find themselves hesitant to make the change to solar power due to the price of purchasing and installing a new pool pump, the knowledge required to tackle DIY installation, and a lack of information about the features that a solar pump provides.
Below, we will look at the best solar pool pump for your needs, as well as investigate the features to consider when shopping for a new pump. We have researched and reviewed the various pumps on the market and put together a list of the top options to help you decide.
The Backyard Boss Top Solar Pool Pump for Summer 2021
|PWS Solar Powered Swimming Pool Pump||Check The Price!|
|Pentair SuperFlo VS Pool Pump||Check The Price!|
|Hayward SP2610X15 Super Pump||Check The Price!|
|Intex Krystal Clear Cartridge Filter Pump||Check The Price!|
|Harris ProForce Above Ground Pool Pump||Check The Price!|
Why You Can Trust Us
Here at Backyard Boss, our team is made up of outdoor lovers that enjoy spending time in our yards and patio spaces. We recognize the value and fun that a pool can bring to an entertainment space as well as the work (and money) that goes into their maintenance and care.
In my own yard, I have an above-ground pool that we enjoy throughout the warmer months. However, the cost and drain on electricity have always been a point of concern for us. Recently, we started researching the option of using solar power to allow us to run our pool in an environmentally friendly and cost-effective way.
I have taken the knowledge and experience that I have gathered during this transition in our own yard along with the wealth of knowledge that exists on our team here at Backyard Boss to put together a list of the best solar pool pump options currently available on the market.
Best Solar Pool Pump Kit
Why We Like It: The PWS solar-powered swimming pool pump uses a three-phase brushless DC motor, which allows it to perform quietly and efficiently in all light conditions. It also uses the latest technology to protect the pump against overheating and low light conditions. The kit does not include the actual solar panels, but it does include all of the cords, pumps, and detectors to hook it up and get it operating.
To prevent accidental damage to the pump, it is equipped with water shortage sensors that recognize if the water source has fallen below the pump intake or if the header tank is full, automatically stopping the pump until that has been taken care of.
This is a variable-speed pump that will work in both chlorinated and saltwater pools, both at home and in industrial situations.
Who Should Buy It: This is a great all-around solar pool pump kit for those who are looking for an easy-to-install option that provides all of the necessary cables and accessories.
Best for Larger Pools
Why We Like It: This 1.5 HP pool pump has the power needed to circulate water through larger pools efficiently, while the variable-speed design works to cut down on the energy that it requires to perform. The easy-to-read digital keypad and real-time, 24-hour clock make it easy to monitor and program the pump.
The price tag for the Pentair SuperFlo VS Pool Pump is a little higher than many other pool pump options available. It is, however, a good investment for those who are looking for a highly efficient pump as well as those who may prefer an easier-to-understand programming system.
Equipped with a TEFC motor, the pump runs at a whisper-quiet level, allowing you to install the pump close to your pool patio or deck space without interrupting the peace with loud or high-pitched noises.
Who Should Buy It: Pool owners that are looking for the best performance for larger pools and willing to invest in a higher-quality product may find the Pentair SuperFlo VS Pool Pump to be the best investment.
Best for In-Ground Pools
Why We Like It: The priming feature of the Hayward SP2610X15 Super Pump is designed specifically to work with in-ground swimming pools with the ability to raise water and other particles above the pool’s water level by 10 feet. Operating at 1.5 HP, it has the power needed for most larger in-ground pools, making it a reliable choice for most at-home pools.
Fit with an industrial-size ceramic seal, it is heat-resistant and long-lasting; however, many users report that it does leak water slightly. For this reason, it’s recommended to install the pump somewhere where a little bit of water won’t cause any problems.
In the event that your pool pump does require maintenance or service, this pump is designed with a “service-ease design” that opens to give easy access to the motor and all other internal parts without removing the mounting connections or disturbing the pipe connections.
Who Should Buy It: In-ground pool owners that are looking for an easy-to-install pool pump that is long-lasting and easy to service will find that this solar pool pump is a great option.
Best for Above-Ground Pools
Why We Like It: Designed originally for the Intex brand above-ground pools, the Intex Krystal Clear Cartridge Filter Pump is a simple and effective option for any brand of above-ground pool 15,200 gallons and under. It is easy to install, needing only to have the energy source and hosts attached and it is ready to operate. Running on 110-120V, the pump is an energy-efficient option and has an auto timer that can be set for two to 12-hour cycles.
The pump uses a filter that needs to be changed every one to two weeks. The filters are easy to remove and clean. However, the purchase of additional filters can add to the operating cost.
This pump is a single-speed pump, meaning that it may not meet the requirements in certain states. With a pump flow rate of 2,500 gallons per hour, it is surprisingly strong for its small size, easily keeping smaller above-ground pools clean and filtered.
Who Should Buy It: If you are looking for a lower-cost, easy to install solar pool pump for your above-ground pool, the Intex Krystal Clear Cartridge Filter Pump is a great option.
Best Budget Solar Pool Pump
Why We Like It: Don’t let the low cost fool you, the Harris ProForce Above Ground Pool Pump is a highly efficient single-speed pool pump designed to efficiently circulate water in any above-ground pool with little maintenance. The reinforced thermoplastic body is durable and stands up well over time, however, it is known to occasionally overheat. Therefore, it should be installed somewhere with adequate airflow and may occasionally need to be shut off for a short time to cool down after long ongoing operation.
The strainer can easily be checked under a large see-through cover and it is easy to remove and clean with the twist and lock lid design.
This pump operates with minimal noise, allowing you to install it closer to your pool patio or outdoor hangout space without worry about the noise interrupting your use of the space. It meets all CSA and ETL requirements, however, it may not meet local code requirements due to the fact that it is a single-speed pump.
Who Should Buy It: The Harris ProForce Above Ground Pool Pump is a great low-cost option for those who are looking to install a pool pump on a budget.
Features to Look for in a Solar Pool Pump
With so many different pool pumps and options available on the market, selecting the right one can be an overwhelming experience. To narrow down your list, you need to look at the different features offered by a solar pool pump and which options will best fit your needs.
A solar power pool pump works by harnessing the power of the sun and using that energy to circulate and filter pool water. You can purchase a solar-powered option for both aboveground and in-ground pools, meaning that the potential long-term savings are available to all pool owners. They are as efficient as traditional pumps and offer many similar features and options.
Some of these features are aesthetic, focusing just on the appearance and design of your pool. Other features will have an impact on the ability of the pool pump to circulate your pool water at the rate needed for proper filtration.
Inground or Above Ground
While the pumps used for in-ground and above-ground pools are similar, they do have some unique capabilities to operate properly when installed. For example, a pump that is designed for an inground pool has to have the capacity to lift the water vertically as they are often positioned above the water level while an above ground pool doesn’t have to account for that problem.
Pool Speed Types
There are three different types of pool pumps on the market: single-speed pumps, dual-speed pumps, and variable-speed pumps.
Single-speed pumps are the oldest of the three and are only able to operate at one speed regardless of what is happening at the time. For this reason, they require more electricity to operate over time. Most pool professionals will recommend upgrading to at least a dual-speed pump due to the lack of efficiency that they offer, and some states have even updated their building codes and regulations to require a more efficient option.
Dual-speed pumps have two different operating speeds, high and low. This allows you to adjust the rate at which your pump is circulating water. You can save electricity by operating the pump on the lower speed setting; however, this may not be efficient enough to keep up with the filtration needs of your pool.
Variable-speed pumps are the most expensive of the three, but they also offer the most options. Being the newest option of the three, they use a different (and more energy efficient) motor than the other two types of pumps. This gives you the flexibility to make the most out of your pool’s filtration system and any water features that your pool pump includes.
Size of Pump or Horsepower
There are many factors to consider when selecting the correct size of pool pump that you will need including your pool’s total volume of water, the minimum and maximum flow rates (or how fast the water is recycled and turned over using the pool), and the feet of resistance that the pool pump must overcome.
These can all be calculated manually using mathematical equations, however, pool pump manufacturers generally make this process easier by providing charts to help determine which pump is the right fit for your pool.
The turnover rate refers to the number of hours that it will take for your pool pump to circulate all the water in your pool. This is important as your pool needs to circulate the full volume of the pool at least once a day in order to keep your pool water clean and properly filtered. Most pool professionals recommend that the optimal turnover rate is at least eight hours.
Each pool pump will have a specified flow rate in GPM or gallons per minute. This is how quickly that specific pool pump can move water. To calculate whether the GMP is high enough for your pool specifically, you can enter the pool volume in gallons and desired turnover rate in a turnover/flow rate calculator.
Additional Water Features
In addition to their role in maintaining the water quality of your pool, some pool pumps include additional aesthetic water features. These options can add to the experience in your pool, giving it that fun and special touch. The most common options include waterfalls and jets or fountains.
Pros and Cons of Solar Pumps
Pro: Electricity Savings
One of the bigger costs associated with operating a pool is the electricity cost needed to run the pool pump throughout the season. By switching from an electrical pump to a solar pool pump, you can significantly cut back on the electricity used which will, in turn, lead to savings on your electrical bill.
Pro: Environmentally Friendly
There has been a lot of discussions recently in our society about our impact on the environment and how we can make changes in our lives to minimize this. Some of the more common examples include opting for reusable tote bags in place of plastic grocery bags, recycling, composting, and limiting our driving to cut back on emissions.
By switching from an electrical pump to a solar pump, you will be using a cleaner energy source. This means a source that doesn’t directly contribute to the emissions produced by electricity generation. It may seem small, but if everyone were to cut back slightly on their electricity needs, it will add up.
Con: Upfront Cost
The cost of a solar pool pump is considerably more than a comparable traditional pool pump. This can be a challenge to overcome when first considering making the change. However, if you can invest the money upfront, it won’t take long for you to start earning it back with the electricity savings.
You can also apply to receive part of your initial investment back as part of the renewable energy tax credits under the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021.
Con: Space Requirements
In addition to needing space for your pool pump, you will also have to consider the space required for the solar panels that power it. In many cases, these panels can be mounted on a nearby garage or shed roof. However, if you have a more elaborate pool patio set-up, it may add an additional challenge. You also need to consider whether or not the appearance of solar panels in your backyard pool or deck space will bother you in any way.
How We Picked
With a large number of solar-capable pool pumps available on the market, trying to select the best pool pump can be overwhelming. Starting with a long list of high-quality solar-powered pool pumps, we narrowed our options down based on their reliability and performance. We then dug into the specific features that each pump had to offer in order to identify which pumps stood out above the rest.
Each of the pumps on this list offers great value, effectively circulating the water in your pool. We considered the size and power of each pump, their expected lifespan, the need for ongoing maintenance (and how easy it is to carry out this maintenance), and the efficiency of each pump. This allowed us to narrow down the list to the five options that you see featured.
Which Solar Pump Stood Out Above the Rest?
Selecting the right pool pump for your pool begins by identifying your most basic needs for the pump to function properly. This includes choosing a pump for your style of pool (above-ground vs. in-ground, saltwater vs. chlorine) as well as a pump that has the power to handle the volume of your pool specifically. There are some great pump options that are versatile and capable of supporting a wide variety of different pools.
Our top choice falls into this category, easily adjustable to work for all styles of pool. The PWS Solar Powered Swimming Pool Pump is a great option for those who are looking to install a solar-powered pool pump. It comes not only with a reliable and efficient pump but also with the various cords and accessories needed to hook up your solar panels quickly and easily.
Feature Image Credits: PWS via Amazon<&small>