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Best Pool Filter Sand in 2020 – Reviewed

If you have a sand pool filter for your pool, then you’re probably familiar with the sand that’s used in it. It’s the part of the filter that does all of the hard work of filtering out contaminants from your pool’s water. As such, it’s a vital component, and pool owners need to make sure that they buy the best pool sand possible to get the best results.

The problem many pool owners have is that they don’t even realize that there are different brands or varieties of pool sands available. They usually just grab whatever is recommended to them. However, if the consumer takes some time to do their research, they might find out that pool sand does matter, so they should buy the best ones possible. And that’s the task we’re here to help all of our readers do, so everyone can have a cleaner pool for swimming.

Quick Summary of Best Pool Filter Sand

 Best Overall 
Aqua Quartz 20-Grade Silica Sand 50-Pounds  (review)
 Best Value 
HTH Swimming Pool Filter Sand 50-Pounds  (review)
 Best Sand Alternative 
Zeo Sand Zeolite Filter Media 50-Pounds  (review)
 Best Multipurpose Sand 
Palmetto Filter Sand 50-Pounds  (review)

Reviews

Best Overall: Aqua Quartz 20-Grade Silica Sand 50-Pounds

As we searched high and low for the best pool sand, we discovered that this product is surprisingly deceptive. A person looking at sand would think to themselves that there’s no way that one variety of sand could be different from another variety, but that’s not true. As is the case with any other product, there are good varieties of this product and bad varieties. And we know because we came across our fair share of both. Fortunately, we were able to find out which pool sand was the best and this is that best product.

This ecologically-safe sand is 20-grade white silica sand that comes in 50-pound bags. It’s sand that is 100% all-natural and doesn’t contain chemicals. It’s a product that’s resistant to clogging and channeling, and backwashes as easily as a pool owner would want their sand to backwash. It’s also odorless and is capable of filtering out not just leaves, dirt, insects, dust, and hair from the pool’s water, but it’s also capable of removing suntan lotion, body oils, and algae as well. It’s these qualities that should make this product the go-to pool sand for most pool owners.

PROS:

  • It’s a chemical-free and is resistant to clogging.
  • It filters out a variety of contaminants.
  • It’s easy-to-use and doesn’t cost a lot.
CONS:

  • None.

Best Value: HTH Swimming Pool Filter Sand 50-Pounds

Another pool sand that we liked and thought did a good job of filtering pool water is this product from HTH. This high-value filter sand is designed to not clump up like some inferior-quality sand products, and that makes filtering or backwashing a pool a lot easier to do. This product is also a healthy choice for most pools because it has undergone a special cleaning process that has removed the impurities that can occur in the sand that’s been naturally-sourced. It’s also a product that’s graded to exact specification, so consumers know that they will get sand that will filter out their pool water perfectly.

This non-toxic sand can be used in either residential or commercial pools, and it can be used in sand filters for either in-ground or above-ground pools. It can even be used for filters that are equipped on spas. And finally, this high-quality sand can be used on both freshwater and saltwater systems, so just about anyone with a sand filter will be able to enjoy this product. Keeping all of this in mind, we feel that this is a quality product many of our readers will appreciate.

PROS:

  • This is a quality pool sand.
  • It isn’t very expensive at all.
CONS:

  • None.

Best Sand Alternative: Zeo Sand Zeolite Filter Media 50-Pounds

The one thing that we’re frequently asked is whether there is an alternative to pool sand and we’re here to say that this product is such an alternative. This product is designed to work like D.E media and costs less than regular sand. For most consumers, using 50-pounds of this product in their filter is the equivalent of using 100-pounds of a regular sand, so it’s easy to see how this product costs a little less than ordinary sand. It’s also a product that lasts up to 5-years, so the consumer doesn’t have to continuously swap it out.

As far as filtering, this product does an amazing job and can filter pool water quite well. It also doesn’t require as much backwashing as regular pool sand, which saves the pool owner on their water bills. However, with that being said, it should be mentioned that this product can be difficult to set up for the first time. Because it has a high level of silt, it takes a long time to backwash for the first time to remove it. If that silt isn’t removed, then it can cause the pool to have a bluish-green tint, so it can take a long initial backwash to clear it out. Once that’s done, however, this product will save the consumer on backwashing and will do an excellent job of filtering.

PROS:

  • This product lasts up to 5-years.
  • 50-pounds of Zeo Sand equals 100-pounds of regular sand.
CONS:

  • This product requires an extensive initial backwash.

Best Multipurpose Sand: Palmetto Filter Sand 50-Pounds

The final pool filter sand that we’d like to talk about is this one from Palmetto. This is a product that’s designed to be multipurpose sand that can be used in residential or commercial pools and can be used in just about all sand filter systems. It’s a product that’s 100% natural and has no chemicals added to it. It’s also a product that resists channeling and won’t clump up like lesser quality pool filter sands tend to do. And because this product goes through a thorough cleaning process, it meets the American Water Works Association standards for pool filter sand.

The most important thing to remember about this sand, however, is that it does an amazing job of filtering pool water. This product removes dirt, dust, insects, leaves, sunscreen oil, and a variety of other smaller particles to leave the consumer’s pool clean and clear. And because it’s packed in a 50-pound bag that’s packaged with a 6.5mm heavy bag that’s resistant to tearing, the sand is easy to transport to the filter when it’s needed. All of these considerations make this sand one of the best multipurpose pool sands currently available for purchase, although it does cost a bit more than other types of sand.

PROS:

  • This product can be used in all sand filters.
  • It does a good job of filtering out contaminants.
CONS:

  • It costs a little bit more than other types of filter sand.

Pool Filter Sand Guide

To keep your water pure, it can be important to buy the best pool filter sand available. It can come in different forms and when you buy a quality product, it can help the sand filter work smoothly, ensuring clean water for you to enjoy. When you get this right, it traps the unwanted debris so it doesn’t make its way into your pool but some are better for filtering tiny particles than others.

This is why we have created the following buyer’s guide. By the end of it, you’ll know how to make a smart decision.

What To Look For In Pool Filter Sand

Size

The size fo the pool filter sand will determine how effective it is. Look for a product that is 0.45 – 0.55 mm. This will ensure it can hold onto the finer debris and anything too big will mean too many particles are escaping and finding their way through.

Jagged Edges

Most sand in this variety should be known for its jagged edges, but they should also stay that way for longer. When they start to smooth, they cannot keep hold of the small particles that are supposed to.

Over time, this will naturally happen but you should get 3 years as a minimum before you need to consider changing the sand.

Non-Toxic Formula

Although you aren’t going to get this with natural sand, some alternatives are often used instead. Even if it is made from crystalline silica, it still needs to be safe from contaminating your water.

Multi-Purpose

Although it sounds obvious, most brands are fine to use for above ground sand filters and in-ground pool filters. Both filter types need sand to be effective and although they cannot tell the difference, differences like the flow rate and tank size mean you need to check the sand is right for your filter.

Some brands can also be used in a fish tank since it is clean and appropriately sized. This is useful since it means you can use the leftover sand and not leave it for 5 years although you should check that it is fine to add to a fish tank first.

Benefits Of Using a Sand Filter

One of the main reasons a lot of people use a sand filter is that they are easy. Maintenance is low when they are up and running so you don’t have to be an experienced pool cleaner to get to grips with them.

The sand doesn’t need to be changed often so when you have the right level you don’t have to touch it for years. This makes it an affordable way of keeping the pool water clean.

Another benefit is that they are good at their job of keeping small particles out of the water. No one wants a dirty pool and a sand filter is one of the most effective methods of keeping it clean.

How Long Does Sand Filter Sand Last?

When you have added it, pool filter sand lasts around 3 – 5 years. Several factors can make it last longer, most notably how frequently you have your filter running.

If it is constantly on, then you might find that you. need to change to pool filter sand sooner. It loses its effectiveness when the edges of the sand become smooth instead of jagged which is how it manages to trap tiny particles.

How Much Pool Filter Sand Do I Need?

This depends on the size of the filter and the pool. Also, the model you have will determine the amount of sand you should use. It is usually easy to find out which is best as the manufacturer’s manual will tell you how much is ideal to keep the water clean.

Ideally, there will be a minimum of 6 inches between the top of the sand and the roof of the filter but again, it is best to consult the manual before filling it up.

Can You Put Too Much Sand In A Sand Filter?

You can, water should have plenty of space to flow through the sand or it won’t be able to do its job. This is where you will find your rinse cycles to not be as effective and the water will not be as clean as you might expect.

What Is Pool Filter Sand?

Basically, it’s sand! However, there is a difference. Pool filter sand has been carefully selected to ensure it traps ultra-fine debris and stops it from entering the pool.

It is pricer than your regular sand-box brands which can make it tempting to go cheaper and use, pool filter sand is a lot finer for a reason and you cannot switch to another type.

Traveling through the filter, pool water flows through sand, and because they are so fine, it traps small particles and is filtered out. A regular sand particle is larger and will not trap the tiny particles as small as 20 microns sometimes.

Does Pool Filter Sand Remove Algae?

Yes, the good news is that algae will be trapped by the sand when you buy a product that can block particles of around 20 microns. This is because algae tend to be approximately 30 microns.

Still, this doesn’t mean that algae spores cannot find their way into your pool water if you aren’t on top of the chemical levels. Even a small amount can spread fast which is why it is important to stay on top of the maintenance of your pool.

Why Do People Use Sand Filters?

One of the main reasons they are so popular is because they are affordable. There are fancier models available that use different methods but are more expensive.

A sand filter is low maintenance yet effective way of keeping minute particulars out of your pool water on a budget.

Can I Use Normal Sand In A Pool Sand Filter?

In short, no! Because pool filter sand is finer, it will trap the small particles. This is something that larger sand will not be able to do and you could even end up damaging the filtration system when using the wrong product.

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