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Best Cartridge Pool Filters in 2022 – Reviewed

Although there are a ton of different types of pool filters available, one of the best pool filters for consumers to use are cartridge pool filters. These filters are capable of removing a ton of debris from the filter and are many times twice as effective at doing that job as an ordinary sand filter.

Another thing that makes the filters great for many pool owners is that they’re easy to maintain, and many of these filters allow access to the filter media so they can be quickly and efficiently cleaned out so they can keep on doing their job effectively.

We think so highly of these filters, that we decided that it was time to introduce our readers to them so they too can reap their benefits. With that goal in mind, we sought out the best cartridge pool filters and am now going to review them.

Quick Summary of Best Cartridge Pool Filters

 Editor’s Choice 
Hayward W3C3030 Swim-Clear Cartridge Pool Filter  (review)
 Also Recommended 
Hayward W3C1200 Swim Clear-Plus Pool Filter  (review)
 Also Consider 
Pentair 160301 Clean & Clear Plus Pool Filter  (review)
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Editor’s Choice: Hayward W3C3030 Swim-Clear Cartridge Pool Filter

Anyone looking for a quality cartridge filter that’s capable of cleaning a pool up to 325 square feet in size is going to want to take a closer look at this model from Hayward. This model is the W3C3030 SwimClear filter is designed to handle that size pool and to do it efficiently and effectively. It’s a well-made and extremely durable product that features a top manifold configuration and has filter tanks that are made from the most durable components available. This is most definitively a filter that should provide the pool owner with many years of service.Another thing that’s worth mentioning is that this product has a cleanable cartridge element that’s easy for the consumer to clean when it has become clogged. That makes it a lot easier for the consumer to maintain their pool—unlike a sand filter that requires a lot of backwashing to remove the debris from the filter media.

It’s also worth mentioning that this product is made with a high-capacity release air-relief valve that can bleed air out of the system quickly with just a quarter-turn of a lever. This is extremely helpful and helps the pool owner right their system quickly.

All of these features make this a handy pool filter that seems perfect for in-ground pools and is capable of filtering 120-gallons of pool water per minute. It’s equipped with a one-piece flange clamp that fastens the tank top securely but still allows the consumer to have access to the filter’s internal components.

It’s for these reasons that we’ve decided that this was one of the best cartridge filters currently being sold and a model that’s worth taking a look at. We feel that this pump will serve many of our readers well and help them keep their in-ground pools as clean as possible. We feel that this filter has distinguished itself from many of the other filters that are available.


  • This product can keep a 325 square-foot pool clean.
  • It’s heavy-duty and durable.

  • This filter isn’t inexpensive.

Also Recommended: Hayward W3C1200 Swim Clear-Plus Pool Filter

Since this is yet another filter from Hayward that has made it near the top of our cartridge pool filter list, we thought that it would be appropriate to talk a little bit about the company that makes these great filters. Hayward is a company that’s been in business for 80+ years and has recently become the leader in pool supply equipment. They are also a company that not only sells filters and other equipment all over the U.S. but sell their products all over the world. So needless to say, they are a company that knows what they’re doing.And this filter model is a perfect example of what people can expect from this company’s product. This filter is designed to be an extremely durable model that can hold up to harsh weather conditions. It’s a single element cartridge filter that’s been engineered with gasketed molded end caps that allow for extra flow and is designed to be extremely durable.

This model features a single locking knob that is designed to keep the filter head secured to the filter tank and to do it without having to resort to bolts or clamps. This model has a body that’s a single injection-molded piece, and this limits the areas where weak spots can occur.

This model has a rotatable filter head and gives the consumer easy access to not only the filter’s gauge but also to the cartridge element and the manual air relief valve. Although this model is only capable of handling the filtering needs of pools up to 120 square feet in size, we think that for people who have pools that fall into this category, then this filter is going to fit their needs perfectly.


  • This is a durable and long-lasting unit.
  • This filter does an amazing job of cleaning pool water.

  • It’s only for pools up to 120 square feet in size.

Also Consider: Pentair 160301 Clean & Clear Plus Pool Filter

The last filter that we want to talk about is this product from Pentair. This cartridge filter is the Pentair 160301 Clean & Clear, and it’s a filter that designed for pools up to 420 square feet in size and it has a flow rate of approximately 150 gallons-per-minute. This filter measures 22-inches long, 45-inches high, and is 22.5-inches wide. It’s designed with an injection molded tank that is designed with bulkhead unions and is equipped with a tension control clamp. This model is also designed to provide a balanced hydraulic flow.If there’s one problem that we can see with this model, it’s that it’s quite expensive for a model this size. However, with that being said, we do feel that this is a quality model that’s good for pools up to 420 square feet in size. It’s a model that’s equipped with a larger filter area, which helps it to filter out more debris from the water, and it has a drain clean-out port for easy maintenance. It’s a filter that’s capable of filtering water as well as some comparable D.E filters and way better than most sand filters.


  • It cleans pools up to 420 square feet in size.
  • It has a flow rate of 150 gallons per minute.

  • This unit is quite expensive.

Cartridge Pool Filter Guide

To keep your pool looking its best, you need to use a quality pool filter. One of the most popular and efficient options is a cartridge pool filter. They are usually reasonably priced and easy to install and can remove particles as small as 15 microns. Still, this is only when you buy a quality product.

With plenty of options out there, they aren’t all worth considering. To help make this purchase easier, we have created the following buyer’s guide.

What To Look For In A Cartridge Pool Filter


As we mentioned, a typical cartridge pool filter will be able to remove particles as small as 15 microns. Since the human eye cannot detect anything below 40, you get a sense of how fine this is.

Not every product is going to be able to remove particles this small but any more than 20 and it might not be efficient enough for your pool.

Pool Size

A cartridge pool filter has to be suitable for the size of your pool. Some people neglect this stage and end up with a pool filter that cannot clean such a large area.

Make sure the tank sure is big enough for the number of gallons you have in your pool.


The material in the cartridge will determine how long it lasts. Some are made for short term use and are defined to be replace more frequently. These might be cheaper but a cloth cartridge will last longer and can be washed numerous times before you need to replace them.

Flow Rate

To find out how quickly the cartridge pool filter you are considering can clean the water, look at the flow rate. Match the flow rate to that of your pump, or slightly higher. A flow rate of 25GPM should take 8 hours to clean a pool of 3,000 – 8,000 gallons.

Look to the manufacturer’s guidelines as an indicator of how quickly it can clean your pool.

As we’ve just mentioned, the cartridge pool filter needs to be able to keep up with the rate of your pool pump so check on this before you click buy.

Ease Of Installation

Thankfully, these filters don’t take long to install. An above-ground pool is going to be easier than an in-ground and can take as little as 15 minutes to hook up, with the maximum being an hour.

Although you don’t always need a professional with an in-ground pool, it can be useful as it will protect the warranty. If you install it yourself, you might not be able to get your money back if something goes awry.


This is where the quality of the materials and the company’s reputation come in. With a cartridge filter, you will need to remove the cartridge to clean it from time to time, but this will prolong the lifespan of the filter.

Expect a well-maintained cartridge pool filter to last up to 5 years.

What Does A Pool Filter Do?

The chemicals in your pool are good for keeping the water hygienic and free from bacteria and algae, and a pool filter is good for keeping it clean.

They will not remove large debris so sticks and leaves will require the use of a pool net or vacuum to remove. For everything else, including those tiny particles we cannot see, a pool filter helps to keep the water clear.

Cartridge Pool filter Vs Sand

Although a sand filter is often a more affordable option, in terms of quality, a cartridge pool filter is hard to beat.

Because they have a larger filtration system, a cartridge filter can remove smaller particles which will mean your water is always cleaner.

Because you do not need to backwash the water to clean it, a cartridge pool filter is also easier and more efficient.

Do I Need A Pool Filter?

Every pool that you use recreationally requires a pool filter.

Without one, the water will be full of small particles that are difficult to remove otherwise. A pool net is only capable of getting rid of certain particles so for the finer ones you cannot see, a pool filter system is essential.

How Long Should I Run My Pool Filter For?

A general guideline for removing the small particles from your pool water is to leave the filter on for 8 hours every 24. This is assuming you have the appropriate filter for your pool size.

How Much Does A Cartridge Pool Filter Cost?

This varies depending on the brand but most are available for around $400 and above. an in-ground cartridge filter might cost you less depending on the product and pool size.

How Long Does A Cartridge Pool Filter Last?

This is one of the main downsides to a cartridge pool filter as it does not offer as much longevity as other types of filters for your pool.

Still, an average filter will last a few years and you can get over 5 years of use out of a well-maintained cartridge filter. Remember to hose it down every now and then to make sure it is fully operational.

Certain things can cause it to deteriorate faster such as sun lotion, chemicals, and hair-care products that have been in the water.

How To Maintain a Cartridge Pool Filter

These products are not designed for long term use but with the right amount of care, you can extend their lifespan by a few years.

Remember to remove the filter and hose it down regularly or replace it altogether if you have opted for a cheaper version with a short lifespan. Some products are made to last longer so you can wash them time and again before they are no longer able to do their job sufficiently enough.

If you notice that the pool is not as clean as it has been and you have been using the same cartridge pool filter for some time now, check that it doesn’t need a clean. If this still doesn’t work, it is time to replace it.

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