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3 Best Variable Speed Pool Pumps (roundup)

In this article I’m rounding up some of the best variable speed pool pumps, regardless of horsepower rating. A variable speed pool pump can save you a lot of money on your electric bill because it doesn’t need to run at its full power capability all the time.

Single speed or non-variable speed pool pumps can’t do this.

If they’re on, they’re on at one speed.

Because of this distinction, variable speed pool pumps can – over time – pay for themselves, saving you a ton of money on your summer electric bill.

Having replaced several pool pumps and been a pool owner myself for several years now, I’ve gotten familiar with the pool pump market. As such, this is my roundup of the best variable speed pool pumps available, focusing on units from Hayward, Pentair, and several other top manufacturers.

If you have questions, feel free to jump down to the comments section and I’ll be happy to address them there.

Our top 3 Variable Speed Pool Pump Choices

  1. Hayword MaxFlo
  2. Pentair SuperFlo
  3. Hayward TriStar
What are the best variable speed pool pumps? We have three top picks.

1. Hayward MaxFlo VS Variable Speed Pool Pump (W3SP2303VSP)

  • HP Rating: 1.65 HP
  • Voltage rating: 230V
  • Digital readout/control panel? Yes
  • Potential Energy Savings: Up to 80%

Hayward is the brand that the local guys I know all recommend, and it’s what we’ve used in our pool for a couple of years now. This unit is really quiet, especially at lower speeds, making it a good fit for pools where the pump is located close by where noise could be annoying.

This model is variable speed with its own digital control interface, and is capable of saving you up to 80% of whatever power you were using with a single speed pump.

If you don’t mind the money (the unit costs around $1000), it’s the best variable speed pool pump I know to recommend.


  • Digital interface
  • Tons of energy savings
  • 1 HP gives you power if you want it
  • Quiet operation


  • Crosses the $1000 Rubicon

2. Pentair SuperFlo VS Variable Speed Pool Pump

  • HP Rating: 1.5 HP
  • Voltage rating: 115-230V
  • Digital readout/control panel? Yes
  • Potential Energy Savings: Up to 80%

The Pentair SuperFlo is a 1.5 HP variable speed pump that, like the Hayward pump, can save you about 80 percent on the energy it would take to run a single-speed pool pump. It’s also compatible with 115V or 230V power, giving you some added flexibility if you’re replacing a unit and you don’t want to make changes to your electric panel.

This unit is a little more expensive because the digital interface is a bit more involved. It also has its own scheduler, which saves you from having to buy a separate timer.

Normally that would be an added electric expense of around $30-$50.

The SuperFlo is also extremely quiet, similar to the Hayward model.


  • Has its own digital interface and timer
  • Flexible voltage rating
  • Extremely quiet
  • Can save you up to 80 percent of the power used in a single-speed pool pump


  • Expensive (north of $1000)

3. Hayward TriStar VS Variable Speed Pool Pump 2.7 HP (best for larger pools)

  • HP Rating: 2.7 HP
  • Voltage rating: 230V
  • Digital readout/control panel? Yes
  • Energy savings: Up to 90%

At 2.7 HP, this is the pump I’d recommend for larger pools.

The other two pumps in this list were only 1.65 and 1.5 HP respectively, which is still enough for most pools, but we’d recommend the TriStar for larger pools that need to move more water. You still get the benefit of the digital readout and the variable speeds, but the added power is necessary, depending on the size of your pool.

Check with a local pool consultant if you aren’t sure whether or not you need the additional HP.

They’ll be able to tell you for sure, based on the size of your pool.


  • 2x as powerful as the other two suggestions
  • Plenty of control with variables speeds and digital panel
  • Saves you on your energy costs
  • Can handle larger pools


  • Expensive (north of $1500)

What do pool pumps do, exactly?

Pools pumps are a housed motor that attach to your pool’s filter.

The motor is designed to connect to tubes running from the pool that then draw water out of the pool, run it through the filter and then propel it back into the pool.

This keeps the water clean and moving constantly, or at least for as long as the pool pump is running.

The pump, though separate from the filter, is an integral part of making sure the filter can do its job. All pool pumps, whether variable speed or not, work in this fashion and are the main power source behind the movement of your pool’s water.

How many pool pumps do I need?

Some people with larger pools might wonder if they need multiple pool pumps.

Generally, that is not the case. Even for larger pools you probably only need one pump.

The metric to watch is the HP rating of whatever pool pump you end up getting. For larger pools, consider a pool pump in the neighborhood of 3 HP, or higher if your local pool professional recommends it.

Though in almost every case, one pump is going to be enough to do the job.

Is a variable speed pool pump worth it?

What about the variable speed pool pumps we’re recommending in this piece? Are they worth the added expense? The best variable speed pool pumps are often twice as expensive as their single-speed counterparts, but they do save you a lot of money in energy costs.

Since most variable speed pool pumps save you about 80% of the power you would run with a regular single-speed pump, they absolutely pay for themselves over time.

Even within one or two summers, they can potentially save you several hundred dollars.

In that respect, they’re definitely worth it.

How many hours should I run my variable speed pool pump?

I recommend running your variable speed pool pump for about 10-12 hours per day, perhaps on a timer where it turns on in the morning and then turns off at night. I have mine set to turn on around 10 AM and then to turn off around 8:45 PM.

While you should at least run your pump nine to 10 hours per day, the less you have it on, the less money you’ll spend on electricity to power it.

Running it for 10-12 hours per day is enough to keep the water clean.

What is the best Hayward variable speed pool pump?

Of all the Hayward variable speed pumps, my wife and I like the MaxFlo as it’s the one we use for the swimming pool at our house.

What HP pool pump do I need?

This is a tough question to answer without looking at your pool. Generally speaking, the larger your pool is, the higher HP pump I’d recommend. If your pool is larger, consult with a local pool expert and consider going with a pool pump rated 2.5-3 HP or higher.

Which is better: Pentair or Hayward?

Both Pentair and Hayward are well-respected brands in the pool pump market, but I personally prefer Hayward, and I know that’s the brand that most of the pool experts around here recommend.

What are the advantages of a variable speed pool pump?

A variable speed pool pump has a lot of advantages, but here’s a quick summary of the most common perks.

  • Quieter operation
  • 80-90% energy savings over single-speed variations
  • Typically have a digital control panel
  • Some have their own timers

Conclusion and Summary

We’ve had a lot of experience with Pentair and Hayward pool pumps, which is why I’ve limited my recommendations to these three. If you know of other variable speed pool pump brands that deserve a mention, let us know in the comments section below.

I’m particularly interested in pumps that you’ve owned or used in your own pools.

On the other hand, if you’re new to the pool ownership game and have questions, feel free to reach out in the comments section with those as well.

My wife and I will jump in and answer as best we can.

We’re not pros, but we’ve been doing the pool thing for awhile and we’ve learned a lot, so hopefully that learned experience can help some of you.

See you in the comments section.

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