Pumps are probably low on the list of things people love to window shop for. When it’s time to look for a replacement or upgrade, the informed consumer makes better choices. This is particularly true when shopping for any of the three general types of swimming pool pumps. Factors to consider include:

  • initial price
  • longevity
  • operating efficiency
  • user friendliness

Single Speed

The single speed pump is an induction motor dinosaur still found in spas and pools across the country. A popular choice for dozens of years, it’s inexpensive to buy and easy to repair. It lasts from 3 to 8 years. Operating efficiency is so shockingly bad that California and Arizona have passed legislation prohibiting the pump on newly installed spas and pools. Energy use is off the charts.

Families have been going crazy trying to trim electric bills on the inside of the home not recognizing the culprit is poolside. Its one constant speed circulates the water fine. It just doesn’t have the power to run extras like the pool cleaner, causing it to consume more energy to compensate for the problem. Years ago consumers expected pumps to be noisy, rather than the quieter ones of modern times. The single speed creates quite a racket.

Two Speed

Pool owners got a break with the two speed pump. It also uses an induction style motor, but is more efficient because of its low speed option. The price is significantly higher than that of the one speed at the outset, but with energy savings of 50 percent and more, the final cost may be much less than its inexpensive predecessor. Longevity is the same for both types.

The lower speed is the optimum setting for constant use. Switch to the higher speed if accessories like a waterfall, heater, vacuum or sweeper are in use. Then switch it back to the quieter sound of low.

Variable Speed

The sophisticated variable speed pump uses a permanent magnet motor. It’s pricier than the induction motor varieties, but is worth the difference. It has a longer life. The desired rate of water circulation is digitally controlled to yield a wide range of speeds.

The variable speed pump runs cooler, which increases its energy efficiency. It is 90 percent more efficient to operate than a one speed and significantly quieter to operate.