Buying guide, Pool Care

Buying a new pool pump? Here are 6 Differences between a single-speed pump and a variable speed pump.

What is the Difference Between a Single Speed and a Variable Speed Pool Pump

Owning a backyard swimming pool offers homeowners a perfect way to beat the sweltering summer heat and relax, enjoy, and have fun by the poolside with the family. 

However, several responsibilities accompany swimming pool ownership. People have to take care of their pool and ensure it is adequately maintained to prevent expensive damages and keep it functioning efficiently. Ensuring efficient circulation is a crucial part of swimming pool maintenance. 

Why do you need a pool pump?

Pool pumps circulate water through the filters to keep the water clean and safe for swimming at all times. They are known as the heart of the pool’s circulation and filtration systems.

How does a pool pump work?

A pump pulls the water from the swimming pool and circulates it through the filter, heater, and chlorinator to treat, heat, and sanitize it before re-entering the pool cleaner, warmer, and healthier. It also increases the effectiveness of pool chemicals, essential to fight bacteria and algae growth.

When a pool pump is not operating at its optimal capacity, it negatively impacts the performance of other equipment and the water quality.

How long does a pool pump usually last?

A pool pump usually lasts 10-12 years before needing replacement. When looking to upgrade the old and outdated pool pump, the choice is primarily between a single-speed and a variable-speed pool pump. As pool pumps are among the significant energy consumers in homes with swimming pools, choosing an energy-efficient pump is crucial. 

Let us look at some of the differences between a regular and variable speed pool pump to facilitate decision-making.


The primary difference between a regular and variable pump is the speed at which they run.  As the name suggests, a single-speed pool pump always operates at a constant speed, and a variable-speed pool pump runs at different speeds.

Variable-speed pool pumps come with electronic controls allowing pool owners to manage the water flow rate through the circulation system. Variable-speed pumps consist of a permanent magnet motor that permits them to run at different speeds during different times. Single-speed pumps are the most commonly used and reliable form of pool filtration for long. 


Single-speed pumps have a significantly low upfront cost than a variable speed pump. It is the most inexpensive pump to buy, and its maintenance cost is lower. After installation, they are easy to use and need to be turned on and off through a timer.

Though variable-speed pumps are expensive, they can manage complex pool applications and automatically adjust the speed based on the different jobs they are performing. They prove cost-effective in the longer run, despite the high upfront cost, and usually pay for themselves in a year or two.

Savings on energy

Energy efficiency plays a vital role in choosing a pool pump that can affect the utility bills by hundreds of dollars. Various studies suggest that variable-speed pumps are up to 90% more efficient than traditional single-speed pumps. Several utility companies offer a rebate to households with variable-speed pumps.

Though there are technological advancements over the years that have increased the efficiency of single-speed pumps, they are still far from the energy savings offered by variable-speed pumps. Running the pump at lower speeds saves a significant amount of energy. It is essential to note, however, that if a variable-speed pump always runs at the highest speed, the pool owners will lose its energy-saving benefits. 


Another difference between single-speed and the variable-speed pool pump is the amount of noise they make. Variable-speed pumps motors are significantly quieter than the regular pumps when running at mid and low speeds as they are fully enclosed, restricting the noises from coming out. Even when running at a higher speed, the motor produces much less noise. A quietly operating swimming pool pump enhances the backyard experience as the sound is less distracting. 


Variable-speed pumps are more durable and have a longer life expectancy than single-speed pumps. The motor of variable-speed pumps is fan-cooled and sealed, while single-speed pump motors come with vents, allowing the entry of water and insects that may cause damage.

The enclosed variable-pump motor stays protected from the various outdoor elements and prevents overheating. These pumps also enhance the life of pool plumbing and other equipment. 


Unlike single-speed pool pumps, some modern variable-speed pool pumps are customizable and fully programmable and allow for remote adjustment, programming, and monitoring of settings at any time. Variable-speed pool pumps can also be integrated for use with pool automation systems. 

These are some of the fundamental differences between single-speed and variable-speed swimming pool pumps. An efficient and fully operational pump ensures swimming pool health and safety, making it essential to choose the right pump type. While the single-speed pump is inexpensive and reliable, a variable-speed pump is more convenient, energy-efficient, and quieter.

Get in touch with your local pool pros at Royal Pool Service if you are looking to buy a new pool pump or wanting to install a new pool pump and are unsure which one will best suit your pool needs. 

One thought on “Buying a new pool pump? Here are 6 Differences between a single-speed pump and a variable speed pump.

  1. Mia Evans says:

    Thanks for pointing out that energy efficiency is important when choosing a piece of equipment since they affect the utility bills we have. With that in mind, we should definitely look for energy-efficiency pool pump manufacturers now that we plan to have a pool in the backyard. It would definitely be a good option for us now that we might be spending almost all of our savings for the construction of it, so we would be confident that we will be able to manage the bills we’ll be getting after we start using them.

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