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Best Pool Pumps [Energy-efficient Pumps to Lower Your Electric Bill]

Best Pool Pumps [Energy-efficient Pumps to Lower Your Electric Bill]

Find the most reliable energy-efficient pool pump for your pool.

Thad Warren
Thad Warren
6 min read • Last update March 2023

Summer months mean higher temps. That means more air conditioning and big electric bills. If you have a pool you get an extra dose of energy costs. Yay! 

You have to keep your pool clean though. You can’t make the extra costs disappear but you can save energy by getting the right pool pump. A better bump usually pays for itself within a year. 

Don’t believe me. Check out the breakdown of costs below.

Jump to Our Top Picks:

Best Overall: WhisperFlo VST EC-011533 

Most Efficient: Hayward - TriStar VS : SP3206VSP

Best for Above Ground Pools: Hayward - SP1580X15VSP

Electricity Costs to Run a Pool

The average pool has a monthly electricity cost of $40 to $120 a month. That’s a wide range. To get closer to your actual cost, look at these variables. 

Type of pool pump ($50 - $300/mo)

There are two types of pumps when it comes to energy usage. Single-speed pumps, and variable pumps. Variable pumps are more efficient than single-speed pumps. 

The average variable speed pump costs about $10 a month to run. A single speed costs up to ~$50 per month.

Size of the pool 

The larger your pool the more pool pump you will need. Large pools need bigger pumps and longer run times. This means more electricity usage.

Heat pump ($0 - $300/mo)

Heating a pool can be expensive. In the southern states, like Texas it’s not an issue. In colder climates, you can spend hundreds of dollars to keep your pool warm.

Hot tub ($0 - $300/mo)

If your pool has a hot tub, it will also have its own blower motors and possibly its own pump. Expect to spend up to a few hundred a month if you use it often. It will cost even more if it has an electric heater.

Pool Pump Savings and Payback Period

This chart shows the savings and payoff period for Energy Star certified pumps versus standard pumps. 

Variable Speed Pumps = Energy Savings 

The Department of Energy studied different types of pool pumps. They found that a variable speed pool pump has an efficiency rating of 90%. Whereas single-speed pumps have a rating of 30% - 70%.  

Single-speed pumps can’t change their flow rate. They must be sized to run at maximum power anytime they are on. One problem. 90% of the time your pool doesn’t need the pump running at full speed. 

There are a lot of variables that will determine which pool pump is best for your pool. Pool size, geography, and more can play a role. For questions about your application, it’s best to contact the manufacturer or local installer. 

Best overall: Pentair - WhisperFlo VST EC-011533

 

 

See more data from Energy Star here

Our top pick for the best overall energy-efficient pool pump is the Pentair WhisperFlo VST. 

The WhisperFlo is designed to work with a lot of different size pools with various accessories. It’s powerful enough to run a waterfall or pool cleaner when at full power. When you just need to run the filter it can reduce power consumption to just run your filter. That’s the beauty of variable speed pumps. 

While it’s not the most efficient pump on the market, it is extremely reliable. Most people will appreciate not needing to buy a new pump every couple of years. If you’re coming from a single-speed pump you will save a ton of money on electricity. 

Here’s a video of what comes in the box:

 

Most Efficient: Hayward - TriStar VS: SP3206VSP (115V)

 

See more data from Energy Star here

Hayward is known for high-efficiency pumps. Energy Star and other third-party data show that the TriStar is the most efficient in-ground pool pump. 

If you are switching from an old single-speed pump you could save up to $1,500 a year on your energy bill. That's a chunk of change.  

Best for Above-Ground Pools: Hayward - SP1580X15VSP

 

See more data from Energy Star here.

Above-ground swimming pools don’t require a huge pump. That’s not a bad thing. Smaller pumps use less energy. A small pool can turn over their water in fewer hours a day. 

The above-ground pump market is flooded with low-quality pumps that typically are not very reliable. A little extra money gets you a high-quality pump that will pay for itself. 

That’s why we recommend the Hayward - SP1580X15VSP. It’s a high-performance pump in a small package. If your pool came with a cheap single-speed pump, this thing would pay for itself quickly.

Energy Star Certified Pool Pump Rebates

In addition to saving on your electric bill, many states offer rebates to make getting a better pump, even more, cost-effective. Some of these are a no-brainer. Also, who has a pool in Vermont? 

 

Our Research 

Our goal is to help you make an educated purchasing decision. The products we focus on in this article are based on energy efficiency data from Energy Star

We use efficiency data and pair it with other relevant data points like user reviews and prices. We then make recommendations we think will help people based on that data. We are brand agnostic. 

While we may receive affiliate commissions if you decide to purchase using one of our links. That commission does not affect the products we recommend. When new or better products are made available we update our recommendations. 

Attributes and Definitions

It’s easy to get decision paralysis if dig too deep into the data. In an effort to keep things simple and informative we focused on these variables:

  • Weighted Energy Factor (WEF) (kgal/kWh)
  • Percent Above Energy Star Requirement:
  • Hydraulic Horsepower (HHP) 
  • Rated Horsepower (HP) 
  • Motor Design
  • Energy Star Certified
  • Model Number

Weighted Energy Factor (WEF) (kgal/kWh)

DOE metric for measuring the efficiency of a pool pump. Accounts for changes in efficiency at various speeds. 

Percent Above Energy Star Requirement

Uses the Energy Star rating baseline to show how much more efficient the pump is. 

Hydraulic Horsepower (HHP) 

A measurement of the energy transferred to fluid flowing through the pump. 

Rated Horsepower (HP)

The power rating from the manufacturer for the pump motor.  

Motor Design

Variable speed, multiple-speed, or single-speed. 

Energy Star Certified

Indicates if the pump has met Energy Star efficiency standards. 

Model Number

Item number according to the manufacturer.