Pool Pump Reviews
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Hayward Super Pump
The Hayward super pump is the long-time best seller from the Hayward family. In many ways this pump is the de facto standard for a regular pool pump. It is a single speed pump with a cost effective price tag and reasonably good flow rates. It is not a specifically cost effective pump from an electricity useage standpoint. This pump is best suited for basic swimming pool installations without large resistance to flow such as a rooftop solar heater or a waterfall.
The maximum flow rate for the Hayward super pump is:
1/2 Horsepower = 48 GPM
3/4 Horsepower = 61 GPM
1 Horsepower = 74 GPM
1.5 Horsepower = 83 GPM
2 Horsepower = 122 GPM
The super pump is extremely common in North America easily being the most commonly installed pool pump over the last 25 years. The technology in these models is relatively unchanged during this time and much better pumps now exist for electrical savings however the low upfront cost and relatively good reputation makes the super pump series still one of the most popular pumps sold today.
Hayward Super 2 Pump
This is the most common high head application pump from the Hayward series. This pump is specifically designed for increased resistance to flow situations such as rooftop solar heaters, waterfalls, very large pools and is also very commonly used as a booster pump for jets where a high velocity of water is required.
**The maximum flow rate for the Hayward super 2 pump is measured under heavy load as this is the purpose of this pump (40ft head resistance vs 20ft head resistance like in the regular super pump):
3/4 Horsepower = 47 GPM
1 Horsepower = 63 GPM
1.5 Horsepower = 90 GPM
2 Horsepower = 115 GPM
Unfortunately many pool installers choose this pump for circulation systems based on the logic that super 2 must be better than super 1 right? These pumps are task specific and generally speaking you do not want to use a super 2 pump for a regular filtration pump. A super 2 pump will exceed the maximum flow rate for almost any size sand filter and even some cartridge filters. Having an oversized pump like a super 2 as your filtration pump is likely to cause early failure of your filter.
Hayward Ecostar Variable Speed Pump
The top of the line variable speed pump from Hayward has a 3HP motor and should be installed on systems with a 2" pipe size minimum. Since most older pools were built using 1.5" plumbing this makes this pump not ideal for retrofit installations. In theory you can still use this pump on 1.5" plumbing however the full potential of the pump can not be utilized. This pump requires 240 volts.
Hayward Ecostar VS = 51 GPM @ 40% output (1375 RPM) / 166 GPM @ 100% output (3450 RPM)
The Ecostar pump is the best pump for energy efficiency and is large enough to accomodate the biggest of pools as well as pools with in floor cleaning systems, water falls, solar heaters and other resistance to flow. If you have a sand filter this pump will likely exceed the maximum GPM flow rate for your filter head and are more commonly paired with cartridge filters.
Hayward Tristar Variable Speed Pump
Unlike the viariable speed super pump this tristar variable speed pump has the exact same technology as the larger Ecostar variable speed pump. The main advantage of the tristar VS is the smaller motor size. At 1.87HP the tristar has more than enough power for almost all pool requirements without being too large like the ecostar can be for some installations. The smaller size also makes this pump suitable for 1.5" pipe which is much more common than the larger 2" pipe needed for the ecostar.
Hayward Tristar VS = 31 GPM @ 40% output (1375 RPM) / 140 GPM @ 100% output (3450 RPM)
In my professional opinion the Hayward Tristar VS is one of the best pool pumps on the market utilizing the best technology Hayward has to offer in terms of energy savings paired with a more reasonable size motor than with the ecostar. This is the pump that I steer most of my customers towards when they ask about energy savings vs upfront cost and versatility of a pool pump. Highly recommended for both retrofit and new pool installations.
Hayward Variable Speed Super Pump
The varible speed version of the super pump is not really a true variable speed pump like the ecostar or tristar are. The Super VS could be better described as a 4 speed pump. Additionally this pump is fairly limited in terms of its ability to intergrate into an automated equipment pad without having a larger piece of control equipment such as a Goldline controller or aqua link panel. Still, even as a low investment four speed pump, a lot can be said about the benefits of this pump on the right equipment pad.
Hayward Super Pump VS = 30 GPM @ 40% output (1500 RPM) / 87 GPM @ 100% output (3000 RPM)
If you have a fairly basic pool installation and you do not expect and automation functionality with your pump but still want to benefit from reduced electricity bills then the super pump VS may be right for you. The four speed operation allows you to run the pool filtration 24 hours per day at a very low cost. The pump can not automatically increase speed should you have a call for heat from the heater but you can use the built in timer programs to allow the pump to increase speed periodically to allow the pressure switch in your heater to activate and begin heating the pool. A great overall pump if you understand what you are getting.
Sta-Rite Supermax Pump
The Pentair owned Sta-Rite supermax pump is a drop in replacement pump for the popular Hayward superpump. This makes retrofitting this pump in place of existing super pumps as easy as it can possibly be should you like to change brands from Hayward. With a single speed motor this is not an electrically efficient motor when compared to higher end variable speed drive pumps but if you are looking for a basic pump installation this pump is a great option.
The maximum flow rate for the Sta-Rite Supermax pump is estiamted at 20ft head pressure so as to be most comparable to the numbers above for the Hayward super pump
1 Horsepower = 85 GPM
1.5 Horsepower = 102 GPM
2 Horsepower = 108 GPM
Pentair Superflo Pumps
While Pentiar and Sta-Rite are two different names and two different colours, they are owned by the same company. The different colour pump lines were continued to allow for distribution to multiple vendors after the merger of Pentair and Sta-Rite.
1/2 Horsepower = 59 GPM
3/4 Horsepower = 70 GPM
1 Horsepower = 85 GPM
1.5 Horsepower = 102 GPM
2 Horsepower = 108 GPM
Pentair Whisperflo Pump
The Pentair whisperflo pump is a popular pump that could be described as high end in terms of conventional single speed, medium efficiency pumps. It falls short of the latest variable speed technologies however in its time this pump was a front runner in terms of quality and performance for its class. It is considered to be both heavy duty and durable.
1/2 Horsepower = 82 GPM
3/4 Horsepower = 95 GPM
1 Horsepower = 113 GPM
1.5 Horsepower = 134 GPM
2 Horsepower = 166 GPM
The 1/2 Horsepower whisperflo in particular is a great value and very versatile pump due to its impressive flow performance despite its small motor size. This pump will easily meet and exceed most residential pool filtration requirements with room to spare and the modest motor size allows for the lowest possible electrical running costs outside of variable speed or multi speed pumps. The 2" connection ports are a big advantage to the flow dynamic for this pump and overall is highly recommended.
Pentair Intelliflo Pump
The Pentair intelliflo pump was the first variable speed pool pump widely available and outsells all other brands and models of variable speed pool pumps. Similar to the Hayward ecostar it comes with a very large 3 horsepower motor which is able to provide enough flow for almost any pool application, and even too much for may pools like small pools or pools with 1.5" plumbing lines.
Pentair Intelliflo VS = 36 GPM @ 750 RPM / 148 GPM @ 100% output (3450 RPM)
How To Choose A New Pool Pump
From a professional point of view I am inclined to say purchase quality items and get what you pay for. There are so many different models of pool pumps and ratings of pool pumps it can be very difficult for the average pool owner to know what to buy. All too often shoppers will go to a pool store and buy one off the shelf that was recommended to them by the in store staff.
First of all, having worked in the swimming pool industry my entire life I can easily say that the average employee of a swimming pool retail store knows far less about swimming pools than the average pool owner. You can also count on that the purchase and the well being of your pool is far more important to you than to them.
This is not to say that you can not encounter an extremely helpful and wise pool store employee, but more a reflection on the industry as a whole that has a strong tendancy to staff busy stores with an army of teenagers with little to no pool experience.
Pool stores are staffed with summer students making minimum wage and very rarely will you find valuable advice from these store associates. You will be sold the pump that the management has told them to sell you, which is likely the pump with the highest markup and profit margin attached to it.
The pool pump with the highest profit margins are very likely to also be a poor purchasing decision. Further to this each pump is built with specific qualities that makes it better at some things than others. Some are built to be efficient and move a great deal of water for a given amount of power. Others are designed for maximum flow but cost more to run. There are also pumps that are designed to be quiet and others designed for high head applications like pushing water to the roof for a solar heater.
You can buy a more expensive pump in hopes of getting better quality but ultimately you are just gambling with your money. The best bet is to know what you want from a pool pump and which models of pumps will satisfy that requirement. Choose the quality that you are seeking in a pool pump: