Sand Filters vs. Cartridge Filters: Which filter is right for you?

Cartridge or Sand?

John Zambito Photography

Ahhh, the most debated question in pool history! Which is better a Sand filter or a Cartridge filter? Each type of filter has its pros and cons.  The result is really up to the consumer, as to which is most suitable for their lifestyle and budget.

Sand filters generally cost slightly less money to operate and tend to be less time consuming to clean. Water runs through the large particles of sand trapping debris as it filters.  In order to clean the filter a  system called back washing is performed.  To do this, you simply turn a valve which cleans your filter for you.  The sand inside your filter generally needs to be replaced every 5 to 8 years, depending on the size of your pool and the amount of debris it filters daily.

Although sand filters are generally more cost effective and easier to clean there are several ways cartridge filters win the race.  Cartridge filters are able to filter smaller particles than sand filters.  The cartridge filter is slightly more effective and tends to keep your water clearer.  With Tampa Bay’s high temperatures and rainy summers, our pools tend to produce high amounts of algae.  Thus cartridge filters will have to be cleaned more frequently in order to keep them functioning at high capacity.  This can be time consuming for people that service their own pool.  Additionally, the harder your filter works the more often it needs to be replaced.  On a positive note, cartridge filters put less stress on your pump equipment.  Pumps with cartridge filters tend to have a longer life span than pumps with sand filters.

From a professional stand point, we would recommend a cartridge filter,because it does in fact keep your water cleaner.  However, if you prefer easy maintenance to cleaner water you should definitely go with a sand filter.  You be the judge!

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