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What Horse Power Pump Should I get for my Pool?

When I first started in the pool business in 1976 most pools had 1/2 horse power or 3/4 hp pumps. Today most pools have a 1-1/2 hp or 2 hp pumps. Arrr Arrr Arr as Tim Taylor says, but is a larger hp pool pump always better? The pump manufacturer can manipulate the pump horse power by changing the service factor rating of the motor. You can actually have the exact same motor on a 1-1/2 hp pump as on a 2 hp pump.

Pool pumps should really be rated by the gallons per minute of water flow instead of the motor’s hp. You need a pump that will be able to pump all the water in the pool through the filter in 8-10 hours. Which is 40 gpm for smaller pools and 80 gpm for larger pools. When replacing a pool pump you should check the flow rate of the existing pool filter. The gpm of the pump will go down the farther away from the pool the pump is located. Valves and PVC turns will also restricts the pumps gpm.

Today in our green energy efficient world it is even more valuable to get the most gallons per minute from your pool pump with the least horse power motor. Increasing the PVC pipe size from 1-1/2″ to 2″ will increase any pumps gpm. Other options to make your  pool pump more efficient include a pump timer, 2-speed motor and the newer variable speed pumps. intelliflo

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  1. mikey g says:

    My pool 2hp pool pump just died after 15 years of maint free service Yes I said maint free Im looking for a replacement and a few sales people have told me that todays 1 1/2 hp motors are better and more efficient than a 15 yr old 2hp is this true?

  2. Rich Landucci says:

    I have an in-ground, 10,000 gallon, pebble tec pool built by Shasta Pools in 1997. We also had Shasta build us a 7 ft. diameter x 3 ½ ft. deep (approx.) spa and a good size water feature. We have two single speed pumps. A 2 HP runs the pool and spa, and a 1/ ½ HP pump runs the water feature.

    With that said, a couple days ago, the 2 HP pump started “screaming” almost immediately after start up. Icleaned- out every skimmer and checked the system for proper water flow, obstructions, etc……all okay. I had the pump. This pump was last replaced about 4 years ago.

    While surfing the net for pumps, I came across your sight and found it very informative, well written, and seemingly with honest and unbiased. I’m hoping that with the information I have provided to you that you could help me determine #1. What type pump (variable or single speed) I need. #2 What HP would be appropriate #3 What manufacturers have better track records #4 Who sells them with reliable competitive prices. And, #5, and other information that would be helpful to buyers in these terrible financial times.

    I hope that I am not asking for an exceedingly large amount of information and whatever you can pass along to me is very gratefully appreciated. I would like to thank you, in advance, for your help with any information you can provide me with. It is greatly appreciated.


    Rich Landucci

  3. Scott says:


    The answer is it depends on several factors but most often it is best to go back with the same HP.

  4. Maria Williams says:

    We are new home/pool owners to a 13 year old approx pool. We have a 14 x34 3 to 5 ft fiberglass in ground pool with a 1 hp 110 volt Pentair pool pump. We live in south texas, have no trees in the backyard but do have a lot of dirt from the local area from farming. We bought a Kreepy Krauly sandshark pool cleaner and do not see it move in the pool. We have suction on the wall and in the 1 and only skimmer but not enough for the pool cleaner. We ordered a new DE filter since we were not sure when they were changed. Any help would be appreciated. I don’t think we have an air leak in the hose since we don’t see any bubbles, but please help. Something we can figure out or get professional help locally?????

  5. Pearl Mary says:

    I had a leak at the pipe just above the pump. The repairman told me that my pump was going out and I needed to replace it. So I did. When I asked if the pump was 1 1/2 HP he replied 3/4. He then said that my pump was too big and a 3/4 was better. Not knowing any better I didn’t question him. However, after more thought I was became very concerned.

    Seven Years ago, after hurricane Katrina, I had to replace the pump. So I purchased the same kind of pump that was there. There was a 1 1/2 hp. My pool is 15,000 gal. and it is 3ft to 6ft deep. It is a kidney shape. My questions: is it really good to have a smaller pump? Will I have to run the pump longer? Will it save money?

  6. Greg says:


    A smaller pump really is better. A 3/4hp or 1hp pump will allow you to run the pump longer while increasing your energy savings. It will also allow you to push water through the filter more slowly which will allow the water to filter more thoroughly and efficiently. There are other things to consider when purchasing a pump for your pool though. If you have water features such as a slide, waterfall, deckjets, or other things, you may need a bigger pump in order to get the right performance out of those water features.

  7. Greg says:


    Congratulations on your new home and pool! I know keeping your pool clean can be quite a task. On page 13 of the installation manual for the sand shark (Click here for Installation Manual) there is a troubleshooting guide that may help you. If it does not help, Pentair may be able to assist you in pinpointing why the cleaner is not operating properly.

  8. Lee Ann says:

    Our pool pump made a very loud humming noise when we first turned it on this summer. I was moving some leaves from around it and it was so hot I burned my hand. I contacted our pool store and he said it sounded like the pump was getting ready to go out and it was ok to keep it running until then. Someone gave me a Dayton Pool pump-brand new- that is 1/2 HP. Our pool hold approx. 25,000-30,000 gallons of water. The shallow end is about 3 ft deep and deep end is about 10 ft deep. Do I need a motor with a high hp on it?

  9. Greg says:

    Lee Ann, a smaller HP pump like the 1/2 hp would probably be a little bit undersized for a pool that is 25,000 to 30,000 gallons. However, that pump would probably work just fine for the pool!

  10. Sheila says:

    I have a 5 foot 28 round intex pool, and I am wanting to upgrade it alittle. I wanting to put a 1 hp pump & 16″ sand filter on it will this work.

  11. Laci Carnes says:

    Hello Sheila!
    The best upgrade filter system that will allow for easy upgrade on the intex pools would be the 12″ Bluewave Sandman! You can read more about it here-

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