Best Pool Filter Type: DE, Sand, or Cartridge

There are three types of pool filters known as DE, sand, and cartridge filters. Pool filters work the same as the kidneys do for the human body. Pool filters provide great help with cleaning the water and removing the contamination. If you love to swim in the pool, you have to use pool filters to clean it; otherwise, it will be a pile of debris. Sizing is really important because an undersized pool filter doesn’t perform well as compared to a bigger filter. Therefore, no one can deny the importance of these filters as they help you enjoy a great time in the pool.  

A pool filter is a part of the plumbing system of the pool. It consists of two drains; one large drain is attached to the bottom, and the small drains (called skimmers) are attached on the sides of a pool. Small and large drains collect heavier dirt, and lighter dirt, respectively. The water is first passed through these drains and then put back into the pool.

Best Pool Filters Among DE, Sand, and Cartridge Filters

As mentioned earlier, there are three different types of filter which vary in their functionality, filtration rate, replacement frequency, efficiency, price, and type of work.  The cleaning process for the pool also depends on these three available options.

Before going into the detail, you must be familiar with the term Micron. Micron is one-millionth part of a meter. For your general information, a human hair is 50 micron, bacteria 2 microns, and white blood cells are 25 microns in diameter. As all these filters vary in their characteristics; Let’s discuss each along with its notable features. 

Sand Filters

Sand filters are commonly found in the pools, and they are considered the oldest filters. These filters are easy to clean and manage. There is a tank, and there is sand in the tank depending upon its size. Ideally, there is 25% free space and 75% sand in the tank. The filter tank is full of specially graded sand, and you can easily find them in the hardware stores.

Sand provides a natural filtration process, whereby water enters the tank and passes through sand. Clean water then passed through sand and moves downward where it reaches the laterals. This clean water is then returned back to the pool. Sand filters can filter the impurities of 20-40 microns in size. If you consider this fact, they are as effective as the other two filters are.  


  • Sand filters are common, and they are available at a low price.
  • Sand filters are easy to use.
  • During backwashing, sand doesn’t wash out. 
  • These filters require less maintenance. 
  • Sand filters are durable as compared to other filters. They need replacement after 5-7 years. 
  • You can manually boost the filtration efficiency by additive and alternative methods. 


  • Sand filters usually filter at 20 microns, which makes them the least effective. Any impurities or bacteria larger than 20 microns will pass through it.
  • It filters out less debris. 
  • Constant backwashing results in chemical balance. 
  • It is the least energy efficient.
  • It has been seen that backwashing with sand filters wastes a large quantity of water.
  • Building pressure decreases its water filtering efficiency.

Cartridge Filters 

Nowadays, cartridge filters are gaining enormous popularity in the commercial pools because of many reasons, such as their environmentally friendly design. These filters have paper-like media that serve for filtration. These filters are available in different designs, such as a single element with one filter or a multi-element with two or more filters. For better performance, multi-element cartridge filters are preferred.

These are more effective as compared to the sand filters, and they can remove the impurities and debris as small as 10 microns. Water flows into the tank and passes through plaster-like media that captures debris.


  • Cartridge filters can remove debris up to 10 microns. This is how your pool will be clean from microscopic impurities. 
  • It doesn’t require a separate tank.  
  • It is an environmentally friendly filter.
  • As there is no backwashing in cartridge filters, there is less or no wastage of water. 
  • It performs great even with variable speed pumps. 
  • Its plumbing or installation is easy. 
  • It requires low energy for its work.


  • This type of filter lasts for 2-3 years. 
  • You have to do deep cleaning once or twice a year.  
  • It is more expensive than a sand filter.
  • Due to the low surface area, the maintenance of cartridge filters decreases.
  • It requires more work as compared to the sand filters. 

Diatomaceous Earth (DE) Filters

Diatomaceous or DE filters are the latest filters, and these filters can remove the particle as small as 1-2 microns. This aspect of the DE filters makes them the best and the most effective filters of all. It works like a sand filter, but the main difference is in the media. DE filters contain fingers or grids like structures that are coated with DE powder. When water passes through these structures, it doesn’t allow contamination to pass through it. And ultimately, you receive clean water, but the backwashing of DE filters results in water loss.  


  • These filters don’t require enough maintenance.
  • DE filters can remove impurities as small as 1-2 microns.
  • You can add DE powder through skimmers.
  • DE filters provide the highest water quality.
  • DE provides safer water for swimming. 
  • For cleaning, there is no need for caustic chemicals.


  • According to some evidence, DE has some health hazards. It can cause skin irritation and lungs problem if not disposed of properly.
  • DE filters require annual cleaning.
  • DE Filters are expensive as compared to sand filters.
  • Hard to find for above-ground pools
  • Grid replacement is expensive. 
  • In some US states, DE is considered carcinogenic, and it may cause cancer. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What Are the Services That I Can Expect from a Pool Cleaning Company?

Professional pool cleaning companies like Mccallum’s Pool Service and Repair offer scale removal, pool drain, heater diagnostic, weekly maintenance services, green to clean, and filter cleaning service.  

Q: How to Find and Contact the professional Pool Cleaning Company?

You can find Mccallum Pool Service and Repair at ‘1734 W Williams STE 9 Phoenix, AZ 85027’ or call the professionals on (480) 734-2495. You can also visit the official website or email them at

Q: Is a Professional Pool Cleaning Service Expensive?

Not at all. You can get the best pool cleaning service at affordable rates by contacting a professional company like Mccallum’s Pool Service and Repair and get affordable services in no time.  

McCallum’s Pool Service Can Help

Pool filters are one of the most important parts of a pool. There are three main filter types; known as DE filters, sand filters, and cartridge filters. These filters vary in their price, installation cost, cleaning cost, purification efficiency, and filtration rate. I have articulated all the pros and cons that give you a better idea about the best pool filter you should use for your pool.