Are Variable Speed Pool Pumps Worth It?

By Blue Cube Pools on Monday, 29th Apr 2024 in Tips & Tricks.

In the realm of swimming pool maintenance, the debate over variable speed pool pumps versus single speed pumps has been ongoing. With concerns about energy consumption and operational costs, pool owners are increasingly curious about whether variable speed pumps are worth the investment, and what their benefits are.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into the nuances of variable speed pool pumps, comparing them to single speed pumps across various factors such as energy savings, efficiency, and running costs.

Pool Pump Types

For a long time, there was only one type of pool pump. However, advancements over the years have led to more energy-efficient, quieter, and durable models.

  • Single Speed Pumps: The original single-speed pump operated at a fixed speed based on horsepower. While many are still in use, they are not very energy-efficient as they run at full power all the time, and offer no personalisation.
  • Variable Speed Pool Pumps: Enter variable-speed pumps, the top-tier choice for pools, providing flexibility and significant energy savings. Commonly offering 3-5 speed variable limitations for low, mid and high-speed settings. While a lower setting is quieter and consumes less energy, it will have a lower turnover rate. These lower settings are recommended for use over night when the pool isn’t being used and a high turnover rate isn’t needed. The high settings can be used for busy pool periods, when the pool needs to be filtering water quicker, and for backwashing.  These pumps are pricier upfront but offer long-term cost savings.
  • Inverter Pool Pumps: Newer to the market, these pumps come complete with a Permanent Magnet Sychronous Motor (PMSM). These pumps have integrated smart technology that establishes the maximum flow rate acheivable for your turnover and pool circulation requirements. Without the traditional set variable speeds these pumps offer ultimate control over the flow rate outside of set perameters. 

When replacing a single-speed pump, we recommend upgrading to a dual-speed or variable-speed model for improved efficiency.

Understanding Variable Speed Pool Pumps

Variable speed pool pumps are innovative devices designed to offer flexible speed settings, allowing users to adjust the pump’s speed according to their specific pool requirements. Unlike traditional single speed pumps, which typically operate at a fixed speed, variable speed pumps can adapt their speed to optimise energy usage and water circulation.

For home pool owners, this translates into potential energy savings, as variable speed pumps can operate at lower speeds during times of low pool usage or when the water is relatively clean. Conversely, during peak pool usage or when extra circulation is needed, the pump can be set to a higher speed, making the whole process more efficient and cost-effective.

Variable Speed Pump Basics: Key Features

Key technical features of variable speed pool pumps include:

  • Multiple Speed Settings: Variable speed pumps offer a range of speed settings, usually from 600 RPM to 3450 RPM, allowing users to dial in the perfect flow for their specific pool needs. The more settings available, the more precise your control over water flow and energy consumption.
  • Horsepower: The greater the horsepower, the more powerful your pump becomes. Consequently, with increased horsepower comes quicker turnover, allowing for shorter operation times. Yet, it’s crucial to factor in the capacity of your filter and system. Overshooting the water flow can overwhelm the filtration system, resulting in wasted resources and energy.
  • Mount: Is your pool pump mounted on the side or the top? How is it connected to the filter? If the filter intake is next to your pump, it’s a sidemount; if the filter is above, it’s a topmount. Also, consider whether your pool pump is above ground or inground. Typically, above ground pool pumps are less powerful and have lower flow rates.
  • Pool Chemical Management: When using a saltwater chlorine system instead of chlorine or bromine, it’s crucial to use a pump specifically designed for this purpose. Using the wrong pump can lead to rapid and excessive corrosion of certain internal components.

Once you have worked out what you need, you can start browsing for pumps. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact one of our team.

Saci E-Winner Pump | Blue Cube Direct

Saci E-Winner Eco Efficient Pool Pump

Comparing Variable Speed Pool Pump vs. Single Speed Pumps

Energy Consumption

Single speed pumps have a fixed speed, typically operating at a high RPM (revolutions per minute) constantly. This results in higher energy consumption, as the pump is running at full power regardless of the pool’s needs. 

In contrast, variable speed pumps offer the flexibility to adjust the speed according to demand, leading to lower overall energy consumption.

Running Costs

When comparing the running costs of variable speed pumps to single speed pumps, the difference becomes evident over time. While variable speed pumps may have a higher initial purchase price, their energy-efficient operation translates to lower monthly running costs. 

Over the lifespan of the pump, these savings can amount to a substantial sum, making variable speed pumps a cost-effective choice in the long run.

Pool Water Circulation

Effective pool water circulation is crucial for maintaining water quality and preventing issues such as algae growth and stagnation. Variable speed pumps excel in this aspect due to their ability to adjust speed settings to suit varying circulation needs. 

By running the pump at lower speeds for longer durations, pool owners can achieve optimal water circulation while minimising energy consumption.


One key advantage of variable speed pumps is their ability to be customised according to individual pool requirements. With multiple speed settings available, users have the flexibility to adjust the pump’s performance based on factors such as pool size, filter capacity, and water usage patterns.

This translates into a more efficient and tailored pool operation experience for homeowners, especially when compared to single-speed pumps that offer no personalization options. While single-speed pumps may suffice for basic pool needs, variable speed pumps offer a more fine-tuned and efficient solution.

The Case for Variable Speed Pool Pumps

Variable-speed pumps also provide a number of individual benefits to a pool system. In this section we’ll take a closer look at the case for variable speed pumps, and how they can help you optimise your pool setup.

Reduced Energy Costs & Long-Term Savings

Variable speed pumps are renowned for their ability to reduce energy costs over time. While they may have a higher upfront cost compared to single speed pumps, the long-term savings in energy consumption can offset the initial investment. 

In fact, one source states that replacing fixed-speed pumps in booster sets with those having variable-speed drive can deliver a 50% reduction in energy consumption.

By running the pump at lower speeds for extended periods, variable speed pump owners can enjoy substantial reductions in their monthly energy bills.

While the initial cost of purchasing a variable speed pump may be higher than that of a single speed pump, the long-term savings in energy costs make it a worthwhile investment. Pool owners can expect to recoup the additional upfront expenses through reduced energy bills over time, ultimately saving money in the process.

Environmental Impact & Energy Efficiency

Quora user describes energy efficiency benefits of variable-speed pumps

In addition to saving money, variable speed pumps also offer environmental benefits. By consuming less energy, these pumps help reduce carbon emissions and minimise the ecological footprint associated with pool maintenance. 

For environmentally-conscious individuals, investing in a variable speed pump aligns with sustainability goals while ensuring a clean and efficient pool environment.

This makes energy efficiency one of the primary advantages of variable speed pool pumps. By offering multiple speed settings, these pumps can operate at lower speeds for routine tasks such as filtration and higher speeds for activities like vacuuming or running water features. 

This versatility enables significant energy savings compared to single speed pumps, which often run at a constant high speed regardless of the task at hand.

Regulatory Compliance

With increasing emphasis on energy conservation and sustainability, regulatory bodies may enforce stricter requirements for pool equipment in the future. In fact, over in the United States, the Department of Energy has already enacted a new set of minimum performance standards for homes and businesses. The regulation does not require variable speed, however, variable speed is the only current technology that meets the DOE requirement.

Variable speed pumps, being inherently energy-efficient, are likely to meet or exceed new regulatory standards, ensuring compliance and avoiding potential penalties or fines associated with outdated equipment.

If buying a new pool pump, regulatory compliance should be a consideration, as it can impact the long-term cost of owning and operating a pool. By choosing a variable speed pump, pool owners can future-proof their investment and ensure continued compliance with any potential regulations.

3 of the Best Variable Speed Pool Pumps in 2024

Certikin AquaSpeed Pumps

AquaSpeed Pump | Blue Cube Direct

The new Certikin Aquaspeed swimming pool pump serves as a direct replacement for the original Aquaspeed, seamlessly fitting into existing pipework. Constructed with a single-piece fibreglass pump body, it boasts exceptional durability and strength, along with anti-corrosive properties suitable for salt chlorinated pools.

Featuring an easily inspectable design, it incorporates a hydraulically efficient impeller and diffuser for optimal hydraulic performance with minimal turbulence. The Aquaspeed 100 Eco-V is designed to minimise energy usage through its variable speed brushless motor, enabling adjustable water flow rates.


• Clear pump lid allows for easy inspection
• Enhanced pump motor protection with a secondary seal
• Includes 2″ quick connect unions for convenience
• Simple installation process
• Features a 316 high-grade mechanical seal for durability
• Designed for salt chlorinated pools
• Optimises hydraulic output while minimising turbulence
• Pump body is resistant to corrosion and UV rays
• TUV approved for quality assurance
• 1.5″/2″ suction and delivery options available

Hayward Super Pump VSTD

Hayward Super Pump VSTD | Blue Cube Direct

The Hayward Super Pump VSTD stands out as a highly energy-efficient pool pump, providing an eco-friendly solution for your pool system. With 3 variable speed programs, you can select the optimal flow rate for your specific requirements. It is ideal for both new installations and replacements and can be seamlessly integrated with other pool equipment like robotic cleaners, heat pumps, and covers.


• Exceptional energy efficiency
• Economical operation
• Eco-conscious design
• Whisper-quiet pump
• 2-year warranty period
• Variable speed functionality

The New PPG Pump Deluxe Eco VS

Upgrade your pool experience with the PPG Pump Deluxe Eco VS, setting the benchmark for efficiency, performance, and reliability in pool pump technology.

This is a cutting-edge offering from the Pollet Pool Group, meticulously crafted by Speck to tackle two prevalent challenges in swimming pool pump technology. This innovative pump addresses the imperative need for hydraulic efficiency to optimise electrical consumption while ensuring whisper-quiet operation, setting a new standard in pool pump design.

The PPG Deluxe VS boasts an enhanced wet-end configuration, facilitating seamless installation with aligned inlet and outlet ports. Its redesigned impeller and diffuser deliver a remarkable 5% increase in efficiency and a notable 17% surge in flow rate compared to its predecessor, the PPG Pump Deluxe Eco VS.


  • Minimalistic Timeless Design: Seamlessly blends into any pool environment with its sleek and timeless aesthetic.
  • Revolutionary Waterflow Optimization: Engineered to revolutionise water circulation, ensuring optimal performance and efficiency.
  • Whisper-Quiet Operation: Experience tranquillity by the poolside with its exceptionally quiet operation, allowing for undisturbed relaxation.
  • 100% Quality Control – Made in Germany: Crafted with precision and excellence, each component undergoes rigorous quality control measures, guaranteeing superior reliability and durability.

Closing Thoughts

In conclusion, variable speed pool pumps offer a multitude of benefits that make them worth considering for any swimming pool owner. 

From significant energy savings and reduced operational costs to enhanced water circulation and environmental sustainability, variable speed pumps outperform single speed pumps in almost every aspect.

While the upfront investment may be higher, the long-term advantages far outweigh the initial expense. By opting for a variable speed pump, pool owners can enjoy a more efficient and cost-effective pool maintenance experience while contributing to a greener future.