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De Vs Cartridge Pool Filter

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Cons Of Using A Cartridge Filter

Should I switch from a DE filter to a Sand filter?
  • Cartridges need to be changed every 2 to 3 years which can be expensive.
  • The filter needs to be taken apart and deep cleaned a couple of times a year. This involves spraying it with water and possibly using muriatic acid to kill microbes living in the filter.
  • Cartridges are also not reasonable for larger commercial pools.
  • Fairly high initial cost set up.

When It Comes To Finding The Right Pool Filter For Your Pool Theres A Lot To Take Into Account

All filters keep your pool water clean, but whats the difference between them? How do they actually work and what can they do? We know that when it comes to your in-ground orAbove Ground Pool, you want affordable and efficient pool equipment. The most popular pool filter types are Cartridge Filters and Sand Filters.

Before breaking down the pros and cons of Sand vs. Cartridge, lets take a look at how the system works. Both types of Filters, as well as DE Filters, work in unison with your pool pump, filtering the water before it re-enters the pool. The media filter traps dirt, debris and other small particles. That being said, larger pool filters will allow you more time between cleaning.

Lets dive into a comparison of Sand vs. Cartridge Filters:

Pentair 160301 Clean & Clear Pool Filter

This Pentair residential cartridge pool filter system is made with 420 square-foot filter capacity. Its great for collecting a large amount of dirt and smaller particles in between cleanings without impacting the overall performance of the filter.

The larger pool cartridge capacity helps to reduce the frequency of cartridge cleanings necessary to maintain a clean pool. If you have an overhanging tree or any other source of a lot of debris, you may still need to empty it out more often.

However, the average pool owner will probably only need to clean the cartridge once or twice a month at most. This is a great convenience for low-maintenance pool management.

Best features:

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Hayward C5030 525 Square Foot Swimclear Cartridge Filter

Hayward has released this cartridge filter in 5 sizes: 225, 325, 425, 525, and 725 square-feet. Its a strong and heavy-duty filter that will resist heat, cold, and the elements to keep working well for you whenever you need it. Its outer shell is made from Noryl, a sturdy co-polymer reinforced with glass.

The filter debris area is large enough to keep you from having to service your filter system as often, because it can hold a fairly high volume of dirt and debris before it needs to be emptied. Once it comes time to wash off the filters, opening the system and removing the filter for hosing is very easy.

You can do any regular maintenance on this filter system without having to disconnect or mess with any pipes at all. The self-aligning top and bottom halves also make maintenance and setup easier for you.

Best features:

Sand Cartridge Or De Which Pool Filter Is Best

Differences Between DE, Sand, And Cartridge Pool Filters

Pool filters are essential to the operation of any pool. Without a pool filter, your pool wouldnt be able to remove contaminants from the water and would rapidly turn cloudy and become unusable.

There are three main types of pool filters sand, cartridge, and DE. Today, we will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of all three to help you decide which is best for your pool. First, however, we will discuss a term that comes up all the time when discussing pool filtration microns.

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Pros Of Using A De Filter

  • This is the most efficient filter option as it can filter out particles as small as 5 microns. For reference, that is smaller than a red blood cell!
  • It is very easy to add more DE powder because it can be added directly through the pool skimmer.
  • Great for larger pools and commercial pools, but it can be used in any sized pool.
  • You do not need to use heavy-duty chemicals when cleaning out the filter.

Cons Of Using A De Filter

  • This is the most expensive pool filter option to initially set up, and it is also the most costly to maintain.
  • You must clean and replace the DE every 1 to 2 months, which can be tiring work.
  • The fine powder can harm your lungs if inhaled. So always make sure to wear a safety respirator when replacing the DE.
  • The filter grids require replacing every 2 to 3 years because they will deteriorate.

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How A Cartridge Filter Works

A cylinder of pleated denim-type synthetic material is placed in a tank body. Water enters the tank body from the outside of the cylinder and then has to travel through the pleated material in order to get in the center of the cylinder where it exits out of the tank body.

As the water travels through the pleated material, particles get trapped in the material and water makes it back to the pool as filtered water.

Filter Purchase Cost New:

Pentair QUAD D.E.® Cartridge Style Filter Overview

Everyone can understand the logic of a large pool filter, but when faced with a price range of $500-$1,200, its hard to pay double the cost for something that will do pretty much the same job. DE filters cost the most, mainly because they have so many parts, but also remember that they do the best job at filtering the water. Cartridge filters are cheaper than DE filters, with fewer parts, plus no separate backwash valve to buy. Sand filters are the cheapest pool filter because they are the simplest type of pool filter, with few parts and a simpler design to fabricate. All filters should have the same installation cost however, the installation of a cartridge filter is usually the lowest degree of difficulty. This is because without a filter valve, the plumbing is less complicated, and because you are not hauling and pouring hundreds of pounds of filter sand.

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Cartridge Filter Pros And Cons

Lastly, lets talk about the pros and cons of cartridge pool filters.


  • You dont need to use a multiport valve with a cartridge filter.
  • Filter better than sand filters resulting in clearer water.
  • You can also avoid backwashing with a cartridge filter, which helps you maintain your pool chemistry for longer.
  • The average lifespan of a filter cartridge is three years.


  • For faster-flowing pools, the water can travel through a cartridge filter so fast that the filter doesnt even work.
  • Youll have to clean a cartridge filter regularly. It can be time consuming to do.
  • Replacing filter cartridges can be costly in some cases especially if your filter uses multiple cartridges.

De Filters Versus Cartridge Filters

New coupons for Poolman services are now available. In Phoenix and San Diego, you can save $50 on a new diatomaceous earth or cartridge filter. Both have unique pros and cons. Let’s go over the three different types of filters so you can decide which is right for your pool.

DE FilterA DE filter uses diatomaceous earth the fossilized remains of diatoms to filter your pool. According to Pool Center, it can collect particles as small as three microns because of the how fine this powder is. The DE acts like a filter in itself as it is made up of microscopic hollow shells.

When the powder is added to directly to your pool’s skimmer, it reaches the grid a nylon fabric. The DE then covers the grid and it only allows water to get through, trapping the dirt on one side. When the filter cannot clean anymore which should be about a year you may notice a slower flow rate. At this point, the system is backwashed and you add more DE powder to the skimmer.

Diatomaceous earth filters give the cleanest water out of the other filter options, according to Pool Supply World. Along with the cleaner pool, you may also have to pay a higher price, but DE powder itself is relatively cheap compared to other pool chemicals.

When determining which pool filter works best for your pool, consider the types of debris your pool collects. A DE filter will work better on smaller particles while a cartridge filter will work more efficiently with larger types of debris.

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Sand Cartridge Or De Filters

Your filter is your last line of defense in trapping debris on a constant basis and keeping it out of your pool. Thats why it is so important to use the right type and keep it operating as cleanly as possible. Each filter type has its advantages and disadvantages. The clarity you desire, the environment and your willingness to maintain the filter and its equipment will determine which type is best for you.

What is a micron?

A micron is 1 millionth of a meter. In comparison, a human hair is about 70 microns across.

There are many factors that determine how effectively each filter can do its job, including filter area, water pressure and the size of the particles that it can trap. This ability is based on micron size. A filter that traps particles about 5 microns wide will collect more material than one that traps particles between 25-30 microns.

Below is a breakdown of the different types of pool filters and their benefits.

1. Clear Water:

What is a Sand Filter?

Sand filters use 20-grade silica sand capable of trapping particles as small as 20-30 microns.

Maintenance: Sand filters are considered to be the easiest to maintain. Sand filters are backwashed when the pressure reads 10 psi over the normal operating level. With proper water chemistry, you can expect your filter media to last 5-10 years.

2. Clearer Water:

What is a Cartridge Filter?

Cartridge filters can trap particles as small as 10-20 microns.

3. Clearest Water:

What is a Diatomaceous Earth Filter?

Diatomaceous Earth Pool Filters

Sand Filters vs. Cartridge Filters: Choosing the Right ...

Diatomite, or diatomaceous earth , has a very small particle size, a high porosity, and crystalline structure, making it an excellent filtration medium. It is an effective, common choice for pool filters, and has been commercially sold as a filter media for over a century. Diatomaceous earth pool filters filter down to an impressive three to five microns. The human eye can only see particles 35 microns, so its no wonder this filter aid is said to make your pool crystal clear. This pool filter option does remove algae, amoebae, bacteria, and other foreign matter that some other filters miss.

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Do You Have An Above Ground Pool

The majority of above ground pools use sand filters, most likely because above ground pool owners are usually on a tighter budget, and a sand filter fits that budget well.

It could also be that above ground pools are smaller in size and dont require as much cleaning.

Whatever the reason, a sand filter isnt set in stone for these pools, and you can use any filter youd like.

How Do De Pool Filters Work

DE pool filters use a combination of fabric grids and DE powder to capture particles as they flow through the filter system. A DE pool filter cartridge works best with the help of an added layer of DE powder that lines each filter grid and helps it capture a wide range of particles as water passes through.

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Time Cleaning Or Maintaining:

In the ease of use category, sand filters are the undisputed winners. They are easy to operate and understand and easy to backwash, and you hardly ever need to go inside the tank for any reason. DE filters, by contrast, require adding a fresh charge of DE powder after each backwash, and every six months they will need to be opened up and hosed thoroughly and inspected for missing parts or damage. Cartridge filters can be very low maintenance when they are big enough, with cleaning needed only every three-four months, but if small, you could be opening up the filter every few weeks. Cleaning cartridges is not hard, but its going to be a while expect to spend at least 10 minutes per cartridge, hosing it carefully top to bottom. For best results with all filter types, use a pool filter cleaner annually to remove minerals and oily deposits.

Which Pool Filter Is Best

Sand, Cartridge and DE Filters Explained

Every swimming pool needs a pool filter. Without a functioning pool pump and filter, your water will inevitably turn green. However, which pool filter is best: sand, cartridge, or D.E. filter? We often encounter pool owners who are struggling to decide whether to keep their cartridge filter or to switch to sand or D.E.

Each filter has its own pros and cons and each pool owner has his/her own list of priorities, as well. Its important to keep your personal pool priorities in mind when choosing your filter.

The best pool filter for you is one that aligns best with your pool needs.

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Can You Switch From One Type Of Filter To Another

What if you want to go from a cartridge filter to a sand filter or a sand filter to a diatomaceous earth filter? Can you switch between them as desired?

Yes you can if you are willing to adjust the plumbing and possibly upgrade your pump. Even though pool filters and DE filters work similarly, there are enough differences between these two filter types that you cannot use them interchangeably. Cartridge filters dont really slot in that easily either.

Unfortunately, its not a simple DIY job like taking out the cartridges and adding sand in. Or taking out the DE and adding sand.

If you want to change the filter you use, youll need to buy a new filter, upgrade your pool pump and change the plumbing around, then you can switch pool filter types.

Pro filter hack: Adding a small amount, about ½ to 1 cup of DE to a sand filter after backwashing can work wonders. Do this can greatly improve your sand filters filtering ability. But dont add too much.

Jandy Cs250 Single Element Cartridge Filter

A compact and easy-to-use system, the Jandy Pro CS 250 provides great water filtration by means of a single element cartridge. Its compactness makes it ideal for smaller areas. It also features an ergonomic, easy-grip handle that allows for easy lid removal. Easy to clean, this filter covers pools that are up to 250 square feet and has a maximum flow rate of 125 gpm. Additionally, a pressure gauge with a clean and dirty indicator is included, as well as a 2-inch drain port and high-impact thermoplastic tank body.

Best features:

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Hayward C4001575xes Easyclear Filter

From a trusted name in the pool industry comes the Micro StarClear. This little Hayward filter is just right for above ground pools under 24,000 gallons. It offers easy access to the cartridge for changes, and you can rotate the head so the pressure gauge and manual air relief valve are right where you need them.

Which Pool Filter Is Right For You

ð¥Sand Filters vs Cartridge Filters

There are multiple types of pool filters to choose from for your pool. The two most commonly used are cartridge and media filters. Cartridge filters use a surface filtering method, while media filters use a depth filtering process. Although different filtration systems, both can adequately filter microscopic contaminants from your pool to keep it clean.

Regardless of the type of filter you have, it’s vital to maintain it to ensure it works consistently to its fullest potential and to extend the life of the product.

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Pentair 188592 Quad Cartridge Style De Pool Filter

Designed with easily detachable cartridges, the Pentair Quad makes maintenance a bit easier. Its four, large-capacity cartridges provide plenty of surface area so that your pump uses less electricity to get the water as clean as other DE filters.

The increased surface area also implies it takes much time to clog, so you can clean it less frequently. Its all contained inside a durable, fiberglass-reinforced polypropylene tank.

Best For Easy Maintenance: Hayward W3c1200 Swimclear Plus Cartridge Pool Filter

A cartridge pool filter requires minimal maintenance to keep your pool clean and looking great all season long. While some other types of pool filters require backwashing or other regular maintenance procedures, a cartridge-style filter just needs a periodic rinse with a hose in between filter replacements. The Hayward StarClear Plus pool filter has a bolt-free lid that makes it easy to access and maintain the cartridge without a struggle.

This cartridge pool filter is often favorably compared to DE pool filters, but without the multi-step care and maintenance that DE systems require. The result is clear, sparkling water with less work. You can get the Hayward StarClear filter system in various capacities, depending on the needs of your pool or spa. This version with a single filter cartridge offers 120 square feet of filtration media and filtration rates up to 120 GPMmaking it ideal for in-ground pools with a capacity up to 30,000 gallons of water.

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Sand Filters Pros And Cons

1 PRO Cost less In comparing equal quality, sand filters cost considerably less than D.E. type filters.

2 PRO Regular filter cleaning is easy Sand filters only require backwashing to clean them. This is the easiest cleaning method.

NOTE:Some will have a long backwash hose that will need to be run out into the yard with every backwash. This will make it harder and take longer to clean the filter.

3 CON Its a closed system When backwashing, a sand type filter doesnt need to be opened. This means that you will never know the true filtering status of the filter on the inside.

A sand filter can be partially clogged or caked up, and because you never need to open it, you will never know. This means that maybe only a portion of the sand is filtering inside instead of all of it.

The only way to know the real filtering status of a sand filter is to take the top off and feel the inside with your hand and arm. This is a pain to do.

4 CON It doesnt filter as well The micron rating for a sand filter is much higher than both the cartridge and D.E. type filters. This means it doesnt filter as small-sized particles as the other two types.

With a good quality sand filter, a pool owner may not notice the difference during normal operation. But if the pool ever turns green, a sand filter will have a much harder time getting the water back to clear and clean.

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