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Sand Filter vs Cartridge Filter: Reasons Why You Should Change

air in pool filter tank

Sand Filter vs Cartridge Filter: Reasons Why You Should Change

Sand Filter vs Cartridge Filter is the most common question asked by pool owners. What you should know is that filters, keep your pool water safe and clean.

The function of the filter is to eliminate debris, dirt, other poisonous substances, and to limit the floating of particles in the pool. Pool filters play an important role in your pool wherein it provides healthy, and crystal clear water that every pool owner and swimmers wishes.

However, there are three kinds of pool filter that is available in the market. From these three options, many pool owners get confused about which to use between the sand and the cartridge filter. Many people have questioned the difference between these two filters. 

How does it work and what can they do? And what pool filter is the best? Before we go through the pros and cons of each filter let us know how this works. Both filters as well as the DE filters, work together with your pool pump and filter dirt and other impurities that re-enter your pool.

There are two types of pool filters in cleaning or sanitizing your pool, these are sand filters and cartridge filters. But some pool owners and pool maintenance choose the best and effective filters that fit their swimming pool. So, here’s the difference between Sand Filter vs Cartridge Filter and also the pros and cons of each filter.

Sand Filter vs Cartridge Filter

Sand Filter vs Cartridge Filter

The Sand Filter

Sand filters are solid and affordable options to filter in-ground and above-ground pools. This type of filter is ideal for larger residential and commercial pools with more powerful pool pumps. 

It is designed as a pool filter sand that eliminates the dirt and debris in your pool. Backwashing occurs in a sand filter once water spills out the pool waste line, instead back into the pool.

Furthermore, sand filters are the oldest filtration for swimming pools. They consist of a large spherical-shaped globe that contains silica sand, as water flows into the filter it passes through the sand. 

Backwashing the sand filter system is part of regular maintenance. As particles capture in the sand, it prohibits the water from flowing back to the pool.

The Cartridge Filter

While cartridge filters can remove twice as much dirt and debris as the sand filter. The filtration area permits the water to pass through the cartridge and remove tiny particles. 

The maintenance of this filter is very easy and doesn’t need a backwashing procedure. Expense-wise, it helps pool owners save as much by not removing the water and pool chemicals all the time. 

The only thing you need is to remove the filter cartridge and wash it off or either replace the cartridge.

Additionally, cartridge filters are also a popular filter that many pool owners said that works efficiently. Also, it demands a little maintenance which is essential for above-ground pool filter systems. 

When the pressure gauge of your pool extends up to 10 PSI, it requires cleaning of the cartridge. You should detach it from the tank and hose it down rigorously with your garden hose. The replacement time of the cartridge will last about 1 to 3 years.

The Drawbacks and Benefits of Sand Filter

Sand Filter vs Cartridge Filter

A sand filter works in a way that the water flows from the top to the bottom of a certain size pool depending on what people want to remove from the water. Several physical and biological processes can also occur in a sand filter that causes the elimination of components. 

For the sake to prevent a filter from clogging perform a backwash of the sand filter, through which the eliminated particles will flush out and the filter can be reused.

In using a sand filter here are the advantages and disadvantages that you should consider.


  • Removes down 20 to 40 micron sized dirt and debris
  • Easy to use and simple to operate
  • Has low maintenance
  • Easy backwashing
  • Sand and alternative filter media is comparatively inexpensive


  • Filters need replacement every 5 to 8 years
  • When you backwash it lowers pool water
  • Has lower filtering ability compared with cartridge filters
  • Continuous backwashing can get rid of your water balance 

The Drawbacks and Benefits of Cartridge Filter

Sand Filter vs Cartridge Filter

The cartridge filter is commonly used for spas and small pools. The main purpose of cartridge filters is to eliminate the debris, small particles, and other contaminants from your water supply. Furthermore, It uses cloth-type material as a filtering agent. 

Like sand filters, this cartridge filter also has advantages and disadvantages that you should consider.


  • Eliminated dirt particles 10 to 15 microns
  • Simple maintenance without backwashing needed
  • Best for filtering above ground pools
  • Save energy by utilizing lower pump pressure
  • Lessen wear and tear on the pool pump
  • Low water pool impact
  • Large surface area remove dirt particles


  • Higher maintenance cost compared to other filters
  • The cartridge needs replacement every few years
  • Not ideal for large pools
  • Need to wash filter cartridges at least twice a year, but it depends on the usage
  • Higher upfront price

Primarily, using a high-quality pool filter for your pool is the solution to maintain and create a healthy, clean, and sanitized environment. 

Typically, the recommended pool filter is the cartridge pool filter. It becomes a more popular pool filter and a budget saver to pool owners and pool maintenance. 

Additionally, cartridge filters are more flexible and have a higher max flow rate of gallons per minute especially when your pool pump is over 1.5 HP. 

Also, it will save you money and maintenance cost and to your pump. That is why most people tend to shift from sand filter to cartridge filter.


There will be a pool filter that is better than the other. However, it is still up to you which type of pool filter works for your swimming pool best. Once you noticed that your current pool filter is not doing as much, do not hesitate to replace it and try the other options available. Do this until you find the pool filter that suits your swimming pool’s needs best. 

Interested in a free quote and you live in Chandler, Gilbert, Queen Creek, Mesa, or Tempe please contact Aloha Desert Pools at 480-625-8794 or email us!  

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