9 Best Variable Speed Pool Pump-Buying Guide in 2023

You may have heard that variable speed pool pumps can save you a lot of money, but you might be scared away by the prices and the relative difficulties of figuring out which model is right for your pool. You can’t just ask the pool company, as they’ll certainly charge you more than it’s worth to recommend and install a new pump.

Shopping online is supposed to solve that problem, but we all know that there are times when online retailers are no better than pool companies.

We believe that it doesn’t have to be that way and that a well-informed consumer can make a great decision for their pool and for their budget. We’ve created a list of some of our favorite variable speed pool pumps for the year 2020, and our reviews cover the good and the bad.

That way, you’ll know what you’re getting before you buy. We’ve also created a buyer’s guide which is designed to teach you what you need to know to evaluate these machines as an expert would.

Editors Pick

Pentair IntelliFlo Variable Speed Pool Pump

Check Price on Amazon

“Most energy efficient and solid pool pump in the market. Highly recommended”

Best budget

Hayward MaxFlo Variable Speed Pool Pump 

Check Price on Amazon

“Most inexpensive but functional pool pump”

Market best seller

Hayward SP2610X15 Super Pump -Best Budget Pool Pump 

Check Price on Amazon

“Most positive customer reviews in terms of quality and performance”

Best Variable Speed Pool Pump in 2022

1. Pentair IntelliFlo Variable Speed Pool$$$8.4/10
2. Hayward SP3202VSP 1.85 HP TriStar$$$7.4/10
3. Hayward MaxFlo Variable Speed Pool$$$9.8/10
4. Sta-Rite IntelliPro Pool-Pump 3 Horsepower.$$$8.5/10
5. Blue Pool Pump (Variable Speed) Swimming.$$$8.2/10
6. Hayward SP2610X15 Super Pump -Best.$$$9.8/10

1. Pentair IntelliFlo Variable Speed Pool Pump – Best Overall

  • Energy savings up to 90%.
  • 8 programmable speed settings.
  • Fully compatible with EasyTouch, IntelliTouch, and SunTouch Pool Control Systems.
  • Very efficient.

The Pentair 011018 IntelliFlo Variable Speed Pool Pump is the pump you want to get if you want to save money by taking advantage of a variable speed pool pump. This model comes with a massive eight speeds, so it can be programmed to run at the optimal speed for the operations that take place at different times of the day.

Consequently, users can achieve very high efficiencies and save a lot of money by running this pump at lower speeds when critical operations aren’t taking place. It also runs more quietly than many variable-speed pumps, putting out only 45 decibels, which the manufacturer estimates are four times as quiet as a comparable fixed-speed pump.

It is also compatible with control systems from other brands, including IntelliTouch, EasyTouch, SunTouch, and others. That makes this pump easy to integrate into your heating, lighting, spa jet, and other water feature control systems.

The big downside to this model is that it has complicated programming, which is difficult enough that many people will benefit from having expert installation just to get the programming done correctly. Still, the efficiency and savings this model provides are enough to earn it the top place on our list.

Product information

  • Product Dimensions: 28 x 12 x 17 inches
  • Manufacturer: Pentair – Distribution
  • Item Weight: 47 pounds

What our team likes and its benefits

  • Eight Speed Setting
  • Save money when running at a low speed
  • Does not make a lot of noise
  • Quiet operation
  • Eight speed settings
  • Very efficient
  • Compatible with multiple control systems
  • Programming isn’t straightforward

2. Hayward SP3202VSP 1.85 HP TriStar Variable-Speed Pool Pump

  • Fully programmable.
  • Prevent suction entrapment.
  • Speed Range: 600 – 3450 RPM.

The Hayward SP3206VSPVR 2.7 HP Variable-Speed TriStar VS is another great model for people looking to invest in a high-quality variable speed pump. The best thing about this model is that it’s Energy Star approved.

Not only do most users see real and meaningful savings on their electricity bill every month, but many electric companies offer rebates for installing pumps with that certification, which can save you even more money.

It also comes with smart technology which is designed to help prevent suction entrapment, even without the installation of extra safety equipment. This model is easy to install relative to most pumps, so it is a project that most people could tackle on their own. It’s also easy to program, which gives it a leg up over our top model in that area.

However, it runs much more loudly. If you already have an enclosure around your pump, you probably won’t hear much of a difference, but this pump’s noise is noticeable without one. Overall, this is a great pump to buy to save a lot of money, and if it were redesigned with some noise-reducing features, we could easily rank this model first on our list.

Product information

  • Product Dimensions: 32 x 14 x 16 inches
  • Manufacturer: Hayward
  • Item Weight:  48.3 pounds

What our team likes and its benefits

  • High quality variable speed pump
  • Energy star approved
  • come with smart technology that helps to prevent suction
  • Helps prevent suction entrapment
  • Energy Star approved
  • Easy programming
  • Easy installation
  • Loud

3. Hayward MaxFlo Variable Speed Pool Pump

  • Advanced hydraulics for increased priming ability and efficiency.
  • Features heavy-duty motor.
  • Energy star certification.
  • Self-priming suction

The Hayward SP2303VSP MaxFlo VS is less powerful than the previous pump from the same manufacturer, but it packs in many of the same great features. Like the previous model, this model’s highlight feature is its Energy Star certification.

This is a model you can use to dramatically cut your costs versus a fixed-cost model, and it’s one that could potentially earn your rebates from the electric company once it’s installed. It’s also very easy to program relative to most pumps, so you won’t need to call in an expert to get it done, and most people report that they can get finished quickly.

However, it also creates a lot of noise, especially when running at higher speeds. That’s going to annoy most people, but if you have an enclosure for the pump, the effect won’t be as noticeable. This model is cheaper than the previous one, but it doesn’t have the same durability.

A small number of units only last two or three years. That’s not enough time to get a return on your investment when it comes to energy savings and means that people who end up with those units will be disappointed with their buy.

Product information

  • Product Dimensions: 32 x 15 x 16 inches
  • Manufacturer: Hayward
  • Item Weight: 49.4 pounds

What our team likes and its benefits

  • Come with energy star certification
  • Has an easy step by step setting procedure
  • Affordable
  • Easy programming
  • Energy Star approved
  • Easy installation
  • Noisy
  • Questionable durability

4. Sta-Rite IntelliPro Pool-Pump 3 Horsepower, 230 Volt, 1 Phase – Energy Star Certified

  • Best for a large pool.
  • Genuine Pentair.
  • Save Money.

Check Price on Amazon

The Sta-Rite P6E6VS4H-209L IntelliPro Variable Speed pool pump is one of the stronger models on our list, so it’s one you should consider if you have a larger pool. It also runs more quietly than most models, so if you’re in a situation where every decibel matters, then this model might be the one for you.

While it doesn’t boast the same Energy Star certifications that come with the Hayward models and thus won’t qualify for rebates, the variable speed operation will save you money on your electric bill.

Unfortunately, this model suffers from quality control issues. Some units ship with problems, such as cracks and non-functioning parts which should have been sorted out at the factory. They also suffer from poor durability.

A significant number of pumps break down within the first three years. These would be less serious issues if the company was good about honoring its warranties.

Unfortunately, Pentair has a reputation for denying warranty claims on the slimmest of grounds, which means that most people will be on their own if something breaks. While this model will save you money in the short term, its other problems make it a bad purchase in the long run.

Product information

  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 1 x 2 inches
  • Manufacturer: Pentair - Distribution
  • Item Weight: 1 pound

What our team likes and its benefits

  • Speed Variable that saves money
  • Suitable for a large pool
  • Runs quietly as the most model in the market today

5. Blue Pool Pump (Variable Speed) Swimming Pool by Blue Torrent, In Ground Pool Pump

  • Permanent magnets designed to increase efficiency and longevity.
  • Affordable Price.
  • Lifetime Warranty.

The BLUE PUMPS  Variable Speed Pump comes at a very low price, but its value is low enough that most people will be better off with a different model. It does come with nice touchpad control, and unlike most models, there don’t appear to be problems with this part wearing out.

You can also get this model for about a third to a sixth of what you’d be paying for the other models on our list. However, like most products that are significantly cheaper than the competition, it appears that some corners have been cut.

The pump isn’t that powerful at the lower power settings, meaning it needs to run near its maximum to be effective, which offsets its power savings. It also has poor durability, and many customers report it wearing out within three years,

which is a huge problem. The manual is also confusing and incomplete, making it hard to correctly program this pool pump. Many people will be drawn to this model by its low price, but the fact of the matter is that the headache that this model cause makes it a poor choice for most people.

Product information

  • Manufacturer: Blue Torrent Pumps
  • ASIN:  B07LBXN816

What our team likes and its benefits

  • Affordable Price
  •  Good past record for a quality brand
  • Low price
  • Touchpad controls
  • Needs a lot of power to be effective
  • Poor durability
  • Poor instructions

6. Hayward SP2610X15 Super Pump -Best Budget Pool Pump

  • Low running costs.
  • Easy installation.
  • See-through strainer cover that helps eliminates guesswork.

As you know, there are lots of pool pumps on the market today, but few of them can go head to head with Hayward SP2610X15 Super Pump when it comes to endurance. One look at this pump and you’ll see it has endurance written all over it.

On top of that, you don’t have to part with an arm and a leg to buy this pump. The initial investment required is a fraction of what others are going for.

In fact, there are pumps that are inferior to this pump in terms of performance but cost double the cost.  Lots of buyers have said that they really love its efficiency and dependability. It virtually does not require any maintenance after you have installed it.

The Hayward super pump has such a durable design to run smoothly for many years. It has a large debris basket that can hold lots of debris, therefore, requiring less maintenance. I love the fact that it is super easy to install.

And if you’ve got a pump that is already installed right now can utilize the existing wiring because you have the option of choosing either the 1.0, 1.5, 2.0, or 2.5 Horsepower model depending on your requirements.

Product information

  • Item Weight: 40.7 pounds
  • Manufacturer: Pentair
  • Product Dimensions: 29.6 x 13.3 x 14.6 inches

What our team likes and its benefits

  • Durability and reliability: You can expect years of trouble-free service because of its durable design and high-quality materials.
  •  Affordability and cost efficiency: You’ll not have to spend lots of money when it comes to the initial investment. And the running cost is not high.
  •  Requires minimum maintenance as it comes with a large debris basket which doesn’t require frequent emptying.
  •  Easy installation and servicing.

Before we begin looking at the pros and cons, You should know that, although Hayward super pool pump is a single speed pump, it is such a great pump that is why it has remained a best seller for decades. It’s recommended by most pool experts. This pump has set the standard for other models on the market today. With that out of the way.

  • Not pricey
  • Durability
  • Low running costs
  • Large debris basket
  • Easy installation
  • Single speed setting

7. Pentair 342001 SuperFlo - Variable Speed Pump

  • Ideal for standard pools.
  • Quiet operation.
  • Real-Time clock with 24-hour memory retention.
  • Three programmable speeds setting.

As you probably know,  variable speed technology tends to be a bit expensive. Pentair 342001 SuperFlo makes this remarkable technology available to ordinary pools at a reasonable price.

If you’re looking for the best variable speed pump for money, you should definitely have a look at this model. The Pentair 342001 has tons of great features. I love that you don’t need to embark on expensive rewiring because it instantly adapts to 115 and 230 volts of power.

It comes with three programmable speeds and, it has an override capability. When I was researching the reviews I noticed quite a few customers reported that they loved that it’s ultra-quiet.

It’s used Totally enclosed fan-cooled TEFC motors; You can, therefore, be assured that it’s energy-efficient. Check a list of features and benefits you get from Pentair 342001.

Product information

  • Product Dimensions: 29 x 15.5 x 13.5 inches
  • Manufacturer: Pentair - Distribution

What our team likes and its benefits

  • A way to save up to 80% in energy costs as a result of its energy efficiency.
  •  Avoid the expensive rewiring cost because it automatically works with your 115 volts or 230 volts
  •  Comes with three programmable speed settings with an override ability
  •  Super easy to use control keypad.
  •  Very Quiet operation because it uses a TEFC motor.

I’m not saying that Pentair 342001 is the perfect pump, it does have some issues as I come across a customer who complained that sometimes it has some difficulties priming after staying overnight. Bear in mind that most people who installed this unit did notice a substantial reduction in the electricity bill. Check out the pros and cons of Pentair 342001 below.

  • Easy to program and operate.
  • 3- operating speed settings plus override capability
  • None

8. Hayward SP2303VSP MaxFlo Variable Speed pool pump

  • Fully programmable user interface.
  • Incredible energy efficiency and reliability.
  • Hayward maxflo is available in both 115V and 230V.

The Hayward SP2303VSP MaxFlo VS is one of the best entry-level variable speed pumps on the market today. Unlike other variable speed pumps, like Pentair  011028, which are 3.0 horsepower, this is a 1.5 horsepower pump. It’s, therefore, more suitable for small pools.

Due to its electric motor being enclosed such that it doesn’t allow air to freely circulate through and through the motor, it’s very energy efficient.  I love the fact that it’s available in both 230V and 115V.

Its user interface is fully programmable. And it’s able to move around 360 degrees and can also be affixed on top of a wall. Giving the user lots of conveniences.

What our team likes and its benefits

  • Uses variable-speed technology which results in reduced energy costs. Because of the saving in energy costs, it is able to pay for itself.
  •  It’s available in either 115V or 230V variant
  •  Uses a technology known as TEFC which stands for Totally Enclosed Fan Cooled which adds to its energy efficiency.
  •  A user interface that is fully programmable and easy to handle.
  •  80%  energy saving

The Hayward SP2303VSP is for those looking to have the best entry-level variable speed (VS) pool pump. It doesn’t come cheap, but in all fairness, the amount you save in reduced energy costs will pay for it quickly. Let's now jump in and look at the pros and cons of this model.

  • Variable speed settings
  • 80% energy saving
  • Available in 115V or 230V
  • Fully programmable user interface
  • Control can be mounted on a wall for ease of access
  • A bit pricey

9. The Hayward SP15932S Power-Flo Matrix for Above-Ground Swimming Pool Pump

  • Self-priming functionality.
  • High-performance impeller.
  • Heavy-duty motor with integrated automatic thermal overload protector for durability
  • Industrial-size strainer basket.

The Hayward Super Pump has been the industry standard for more than two decades. This single-speed pump provides a steady 3,450 revolutions per minute and can quickly circulate the water of your pool.

This is a centrifugal pump that has a self-priming functionality, which will eliminate any air getting to the pump via the suction piping. This means that the water source can be lower than the pump.

Also, this Hayward pump has a built-in time clock that helps users make programming changes with ease.

What our team likes and its benefits

  • Self-priming functionality
  •  A built-in clock that easy to use
  •  Easy suction piping
  • It has a fairly quiet operation
  • Its control scheme is intuitive
  • The pump has an easy to connect and install design
  • The circuit board has been known to develop faults

Buyer’s Guide

Our reviews may already have led you to the model which is right for you, but we know that some people still won’t have the information they need to feel like they’re making a great decision. If that’s you, don’t worry.

This buyer’s guide is designed with you in mind. We cover a couple of key areas you’ll need to understand before you buy so that by reading this guide you can look at these machines like an expert would.

We’ve also included some advice on maximizing the value you get when you buy, so if you’re looking for a great deal, make sure you check out this buyer’s guide.


The number one reason you should buy a variable speed pool pump is efficiency. By running at a high speed when demanding operations, like cleaning and or running water features, are going on and running a low speed the rest of the time, a variable speed pool pump can save you dozens, or hundreds of dollars per month in electricity savings. That means that even expensive models will pay for themselves in a year or two.

Of course, in order to get those savings, the pump needs to be able to get the job done without too much strain, and it needs to be programmed correctly so that it will run at the correct times for cleaning cycles and other events.

If it’s not programmed correctly, you’ll either not save money, or your pool will start to get gross. That’s why it’s very important that you get an efficient model.

More efficient models can run at more speeds, and the most efficient models come with Energy Star certifications. Those models sometimes qualify for rebates from the electric company, which can lead to further savings.

Ease of use

Most pool pump companies require that you have a professional install the system. If you don’t, the warranty will be invalidated. However, some companies and some models don’t have that requirement in the small print.

The fact of the matter is that if you’ve been maintaining your own pool, you already probably know enough to change out the pool pump on your own. If you don’t mind voiding the warranty, you can save a lot of money by installing the pump yourself.

However, something you have to keep in mind is that variable speed pool pumps need to be programmed to work correctly. Some brands make this very easy, but most don’t. In fact, a good word to describe the programming on variable speed pool pumps would be “infuriating.”

So, if you’re going to install one yourself, make sure you invest in a brand and model which has a reputation for being easy to program. If you don’t, you may find yourself having to call the pros to finish the job.

Which variable speed pool pump is right for you?

There are a lot of decent ways to go about shopping for a variable speed pool pump. However, if you want to get the best value for your money, you need to be strategic in how you shop.

You need to know your pool’s needs, and you need to figure out what secondary features you’d like to see on your pump. If you’re going to be installing it yourself, make sure you invest in a model which is easy to program.

Start your buying process by making a short list of pumps with those features. Those will leave you happy with your purchase, no matter the price.

Of course, saving money will leave you the happiest, so choose the cheapest model from that list. That pump provides all the features you need for a good experience at the lowest overall price, making it the best overall buy for the money.


The Pentair 011018 IntelliFlo Variable Speed Pool Pump is our favorite variable speed pool pump due to its quiet operation, eight speed settings, and great efficiency. The Hayward SP3206VSPVR 2.7 HP Variable-Speed TriStar VS is another good choice, with features that help prevent suction entrapment, easy programming, and a money-saving Energy Star certification.

The Hayward SP2303VSP MaxFlo VS also comes with an Energy Star certification, as well as easy programming and installation, though its noisiness drops it to third place. The Sta-Rite P6E6VS4H-209L IntelliPro Variable Speed runs quietly and is very efficient, but its poor durability and quality control issues mean it can take no better than fourth place. Last is the SPLASH PUMPS VAR 1500 Variable Speed Pump, which comes at a low price, but has issues with efficiency and durability.

How One and Two Speed Pumps Work

While this guide is primarily about variable speed pumps, it’s important to understand the alternatives. Firstly, our very first pool pump, the Hayward SP2610X15 is actually a single-speed pump and has been one of the most popular for decades.

These pumps operate, as you might have guessed, at a single speed; usually, this is around 3,450 revolutions per minute. This is a consistent speed and makes for a pretty effective pump and provides great circulation at its one-speed setting.

These pumps tend to be very cheap, but it’s important to remember that at one consistent, high speed, operating costs, especially electricity, can be high. These also have a tendency to be significantly louder than variable or even two-speed pumps.

Two-speed pumps, on the other hand, work with a high speed that matches the single speed, but also will have a low-speed setting. This lower speed is usually somewhere around 1,725 revolutions per minute and is usually used to circulate the water in the pool when it is not in heavy use.

This can save you a bit of electricity because you won’t always have to have your water moving at a high rate of circulation, and when you need more water movement, you can just set it to 3,450 revolutions just like a single-speed.

With this type, you won’t be able to run most pool heaters while the circulation is set to low. As a result, many people end up using two-speed pumps as single-speed pumps.

Related Post

James Smith