Variable Speed vs Single Speed Pool Pumps

The pool pump is the heart of your pool’s circulatory system. It pulls water from the pool and pushes it to other equipment to be heated, treated, and filtered, returning cleaner, healthier, and warmer pool water. When your pool pump isn’t operating at peak performance, it can have negative effects on the rest of your pool equipment and the water you deserve to enjoy. Before you can purchase a pool pump you need to know the differences between them. In this blog, I am going over the differences between single-speed and variable-speed pumps. Keep on reading to learn more! 

Single Speed Pumps 

A single-speed pump is a traditional choice that has been in use for years by pool owners. Because it is a relatively simple pump, it is also the cheapest. Single-speed pumps can be inefficient and noisy. The pumps are usually rated by horsepower. Less powerful pumps, suitable for smaller pools, can use as little ¾ horsepower. Once you turn it on, it will continue to run at one constant speed (usually 3250 RPMs). More horsepower requires more energy, making this one of the most expensive appliances in the home. 


Shown in picture is the Pentair SuperFlo High Performance Pump (1HP) (EC-348190)

Variable Speed Pumps 

A variable speed pump allows the user to pick the right flow rate they need for the pool and allows them to capitalize on the optimal pool circulation by going slower. Slower is better for circulation for 2 reasons, safety and energy conservation. Less suction reduces the chance of suction entrapment by a person or animal and lower speeds also reduce the flow rate of water which creates less friction. When there is less friction, the entire system is more efficient. One of the main benefits is that variable-speed pumps use a more efficient engine. Variable-speed pumps typically have digital controls and advanced diagnostic systems. If a problem occurs with the pump, the diagnostics can make it quicker and cheaper to find and repair it. 


Shown in picture is the Pentair IntelliFlo3 VSF 3HP with Touchscreen and I/O Board (011078)

What Are The Differences? 

The single-speed pump is traditionally the most commonly installed pump around the world. It is just that- a pump that runs at one speed until you turn it off. A variable speed pump, on the other hand, uses a permanent magnet motor, which can be programmed to run at different speeds at different times. One of the biggest differences you can notice right away is the cost. A single-speed pump is cheaper than a variable speed. However, the single speed will require more energy making you pay triple or more the amount in energy costs. Another difference is the noise difference in motors. The variable speed motor is quieter while the single speed can be super noisy. Variable speed pumps are fan-cooled and enclosed, keeping the motor cooler. This helps in preserving the motor windings and the bearings to allow these pumps to have a longer life. Single-speed motors are induction motors with vents that can sometimes allow in water and animals causing damage. 

In conclusion, a variable-speed pump is the best pump to buy for your pool no matter the size. Here at ePoolSupply, we have a wide range of variety of pumps for your pool. If you are not sure which one is best for you and your pool please give us a call at 602-854-9058 or send us an email at


Check out our YouTube videos our pool professionals have made about variable sped pumps! 

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.