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above ground pool with a wooden deck around the left side. There is a pool pump near the bottom left of the pool.

What’s the Difference between Single and Variable-Speed Swimming Pool Pumps?

When purchasing all necessary equipment and pool supplies, you will need to decide what kind of pool pump is right for you. There are two primary types of pumps, single-speed and variable-speed. While they both serve the same purpose, there are some key differences that may make you prefer one over the other. 

Single-Speed Pool Pump

It is essential that your water is filtered through all of the necessary components of your pool each day. A single-speed pool pump is designed to circulate large amounts of water fairly quickly, ensuring that your pool’s water is being cycled through effectively. 

As you may have assumed, a single-speed pool pump only runs at one speed – it’s either on at full speed or off completely. The benefit of running at a high speed is that you should only have to run your pool pump for four to eight hours per day depending on the size of your pool. 

The pool cycling process doesn’t have to be done during the day, you can opt to have your pool pump work overnight to avoid any noise it produces. 

Variable-Speed Pool Pump

A variable-speed pool pump works in a similar way to a single-speed pump, but you have more options. With a variable-speed pump, you can choose to run it on a higher setting for a lesser period of time, or you can choose to run it on a lower setting for a longer period of time. 

You may be wondering – “Why would I want to run my pool pump longer than necessary?” – there are a few reasons. The first reason is that running your pool pump at a lower setting, even for a much longer period of time, is more energy efficient. The second reason is that running your pool pump at a lower setting is much quieter than at a higher speed. 

Things to Consider When Choosing a Pump

Here are a few things to consider when deciding which type of pump is best for your pool. 

Size of Pool

One thing to consider when choosing a pool pump is the size of your pool. For smaller pools that don’t take long to filter, a single-speed pump should do the trick. If you have a large pool that already takes more than eight hours to cycle through with a single-speed pump, you may want to consider a variable-speed pump that can run at a lower setting more consistently. 

Efficiency Concerns

If you have efficiency concerns with your pool pump, a variable-speed option is the way to go. These pumps are more efficient and can be run for longer periods of time using less energy than a single-speed pump would have. 


While there are benefits to choosing a variable-speed pump over a single-speed pump, take your budget into consideration. A variable-speed pump will be more costly in upfront costs, and in some cases – such as with a smaller pool –  may not be necessary in the first place. 

On the other hand, investing in a better pump from the start can save you money in the long run in energy costs. With a more efficient pump, your utility bill should be lower each month. 

Where to Purchase a Pool Pump

Once you’ve decided which type of pump is better for your situation, head over to Bonnie & Clyde’s Pools and Spas to get your pool pump along with any other pool supplies you need. The experts at Bonnie and Clyde’s are also knowledgeable in all things pool and would be happy to answer any questions you may still have. 

Come into any of their Fort Worth Dallas store locations or contact here to get started on your pool ownership or pool updating journey.