We’ve gone over the different types of pool filter systems, compared them against each other, but we’ve never really focused on cartridge filters alone. That’s all going to change today! On this blog post, we’ll focus exclusively on cartridge filters and what differentiates them from sand and D.E. filters.

Who are cartridge filters for?

In a nutshell, cartridge filters are for those who don’t mind going an extra mile in pool filter maintenance to get pool water that’s much clearer. Cartridge filters can filter down to 10 microns while pool sand filters can only filter down to 20 microns in size. It’s hard to visualize just by numbers alone so here are some micron size examples so we’ll know what gets filtered out by cartridge filters that may just pass through pool sand filters. Know more about the difference between sand filters and cartridge filters by clicking here.

  • Dust – Dust averages anywhere from 10 to 20 microns. This will mean that all dust is filtered out by cartridge filters while only the larger particles of dust are trapped by pool sand filters.
  • Mold and Plant Spores – Mold and plant spores are sized around 5 to 10 microns. This means that larger spores can get trapped by cartridge filters while the really small ones just flow on by. Sand filters can’t totally catch spores due to their microscopic size, but don’t worry too much as your pool chemicals will kill these off and won’t really be a danger.
  • Lint – Yes, lint. Just like dust, lint is around 10-20 microns so any and all lint in your pool will be filtered out by cartridge pool filters while sand filters will allow all but the largest lint particles to pass through. This is also one of the reasons why a pool filter cleaner like the Zodiac Pool filter cleaner is needed for filter cartridge maintenance, to melt off stubborn lint that clings on to your filter elements.
  • Pollen – pollen ranges from 10 to 200 microns, this means that all pollen is effectively filtered out by cartridge filters while sand filters will allow the smallest pollen particles to slip through. So if you or someone in your family is really sensitive to pollen, then your best bet is to go with pool cartridge filters.

As you can see, cartridge filters can filter much more than pool sand filters and this leads to them needing more maintenance and cleaning than pool sand filters.


READ MORE: Choosing the Cartridge Filter Size


Cartridge filter maintenance

To keep your pool cartridge filter in tip-top shape, you need to give it a thorough cleaning at least one a month. To clean your filter cartridge, you need to take out the cartridge and give it a good wash or soak it in some filter cleaning solution to remove stubborn bits and pieces that cling to the elements. To make this task much simpler, we recommend getting a waterwand attachment for your pool hose. This allows you to clean up to eight pleats of your filter cartridges in a single pass (as opposed to spraying in between each pleat individually). Read more on how to keep your filter cartridges clean by clicking on the button below.

Filter Cartridge Replacement

Another reason why a lot of people get turned off by filter cartridges is the cost of replacement cartridges. Cartridges need to be replaced once every few years and the price of original cartridges can be quite high. Good thing we have our Water TechniX branded pool filter cartridge replacements! They work as well as the originals and they only cost a fraction of the cost. Read more about the Water TechniX filter cartridge replacements by clicking on the button below.

When is it time to replace your filter cartridges? There are a lot of of reasons why filter cartridges have to be replaced and we’ve gone through the signs you need to look out for in another blog post, so feel free to check out that article by clicking on the button below.

Cartridge Filter Water Savings

One of the biggest pros for having a cartridge filter system is probably the water savings afforded by the system. It only takes a few liters of liters to rinse off your filter as opposed to hundreds of liters of water being flushed out when you backwash a pool sand filter. This not only saves you money on your water bill but this also translated to chemical savings as well. When you backwash a sand filter, not only are you flushing out water, but chemicals as well, which means that you’ll have to use more chemicals to rebalance your pool. With cartridge filters, you don’t need to rebalance your pool after cleaning your filter as no water is taken out from the pool.


So there you have it. Pool cartridge filters have different pros and cons, much like sand filters. It’s all about your tolerance for maintenance tasks and what you consider important. If you place water clarity over frequent filter cleaning then cartridge filters are for you. If you prioritize water and chemical savings over ease of filter cleaning then cartridge filters are for you.

I want a cartridge filter, what do you recommend?

If you’ve decided that you want a pool cartridge filter then we recommend getting a Davey Cartridge Filter Easy Clear, they’re built like tanks and they’ve proven to be reliable over the years. Read more about the Davey Cartridge Filter Easy clear by checking out our filter answering the question “What is the best pool cartridge filter?” by clicking the button below.


More acticles about pool filters down below:


Do you have any questions about this topic or the featured products? No worries, we're here to help! Drop us a question down below and we'll get back to you ASAP.

Happy swimming :)

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