Sand filters are probably one of the most affordable ways to clean an in-ground or above-ground swimming pool. They are extremely easy and simple to use. For backyards with plaster finish pools, very little to no vegetation, it could very well be the best filter for you. Sand filters only filter down to 20-40 microns so for your basic swimming pool that doesn’t require a lot of maintenance…sand filters work great. Be careful to always watch the pressure in the filter and backwash when necessary. Back-washing a sand filter is easy but always watch for sand in the pool because that is a common sign of a cracked lateral in the filter which means they need to be replaced. The only major complaint with sand filters is when it comes time to changing the sand because it’s a pretty time consuming job.
Diatomaceous Earth (DE) Filters are probably your best bang for your buck especially if you’re prone to algae growth or have lots of vegetation in your backyard. The filters are coated with DE powder by way of the skimmer. The powder is made up of skeletons of a microscopic animal called the diatom. The powder coats the grids and allows it to filter down to 3 microns. DE can filter the largest surface area out of all three filters. One thing to be very careful about is when the pressure gets high and it’s time to backwash is remembering to add DE powder upon completion. If this filter runs without enough DE powder on the grids they can tear. One other important note is if you see white powder flowing into the pool you might have a ripped grid and it would be time to replace them.
In conclusion, all three filters will keep your swimming pool clean but it ultimately depends on the amount of surface area needed to be cleaned and vegetation in the backyard. Be sure to do your research and talk to a pool professional about these different options because every pool and backyard is different so you will want to make sure you purchase the one that is right for you.