11 Best Pool Filter Media for Sparkling Clean Water and Worry Free Swimming

Do you want the cleanest pool on the block?

Are you interested in using a sand or diatomaceous earth filter to make that happen?

Do you want to know more about the many different options available to you when choosing the right type of filter media for one of these popular filters?

If so, you’re in the right place! In this article, you’ll be introduced to a few different types of filter media that you can use with either a sand filter or a diatomaceous earth filter. You’ll be able to determine which style is right for your needs, and you can then move on to our list of great product reviews.

Here, you’ll explore 11 of the best pool filter media choices on the market today. Whether you’re looking for sand, earth, or something entirely different, you’ll find it on this list, and you’ll be able to compare and contrast it to other types of filter media to figure out which one is best for your specific needs.

By the time you get through this article, you should be ready to purchase the perfect filter media for your pool to help keep it running smoothly and cleanly for a long time to come. So let’s get started!

SPOILER ALERT... Here are our FAVORITE PICKS:

OUR FAVORITE PICK
Pool Filter Sand #20 Grade Silica Sand - 50 lbs. by Fairmount Minerals
ZeoSand Alternative Pool Sand Filter Media - 50 Pounds by "Zeo, Inc"
Diatomaceous Earth Pool Filter D.E. 25 LBS.
HTH 61308 Pool Filter Sand, 50-Pound
EZ-DE Swimming Pool Diatomaceous Earth DE Filter Media Powder (48sqft)
$29.99
$37.95
$38.23
$40.67
from $11.99
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-
-
-
296 Reviews
143 Reviews
122 Reviews
55 Reviews
37 Reviews
OUR FAVORITE PICK
Pool Filter Sand #20 Grade Silica Sand - 50 lbs. by Fairmount Minerals
$29.99
-
296 Reviews
ZeoSand Alternative Pool Sand Filter Media - 50 Pounds by "Zeo, Inc"
$37.95
-
143 Reviews
Diatomaceous Earth Pool Filter D.E. 25 LBS.
$38.23
-
122 Reviews
HTH 61308 Pool Filter Sand, 50-Pound
$40.67
-
55 Reviews
EZ-DE Swimming Pool Diatomaceous Earth DE Filter Media Powder (48sqft)
from $11.99
37 Reviews

Last update on 2017-12-14 at 07:35 Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on [relevant Amazon Site(s), as applicable] at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.

Swimming Pool Filter Media

When you’re looking for the best swimming pool filter sand sale items, you might feel a little overwhelmed by all the alternatives out there. Below, you’ll be able to explore a few sand filter media options as well as several DE filter media options to help you find the best fit for your pool setup.

pool filter media options

Sand Filter Media

Below are three of the most common pool sand filter media choices: pool sand, filter glass, and ZeoSand. Each of these products has its own strengths and weaknesses that you’ll need to consider before choosing the one that’s best suited to your pool’s specific needs.

Pool Sand

Pool sand has long been used as a great way to provide clean, filtered water for swimming pools as well as other water-based recreation. This is the most common type of media you might find for use in a sand filter, but you don’t have to be limited to it if you prefer to work with something different. Pool sand is readily available, but it might not offer the amount of filtration you need in your pool.

Advantages

  • Very easy to find at any pool supply or home repair store, and very affordable as well.
  • Easy to use since sand filters are designed with this product in mind.

Disadvantages

  • Often washes into the pool water, making it cloudy and gritty.
  • May need to be replaced much more frequently than other types of sand filter replacements.

Filter Glass

Although you might be surprised to hear it, filter glass really is made of glass! It’s usually made from recycled glass materials that are repurposed into swimming pool filtration alternatives. You can use it in much the same way you would use sand in your filter, but you generally won’t need nearly as much of it. In fact, the ability to cut back on the amount of this filter media needed is one of the biggest selling points for this particular product.

Advantages

  • Great for the environment and a wonderful choice for anyone who wants to live an eco-friendly lifestyle.
  • Great at clearing up the water much more quickly than other types of filtration.

Disadvantages

  • More expensive and harder to find than traditional pool sand.
  • May not be compatible with all types of filters or pumps.

ZeoSand

ZeoSand is a natural product that works on the principle of ion exchange to filter your pool water perfectly every time. It’s made of zeolite, which is a great replacement for sand because of its similar texture and grain. This product has recently become very popular among swimming pool owners, and more and more pool techs and installation crews are recommending it for use in sand filters to extend the life of the filter as well as the pool.

Advantages

  • Capable of getting rid of ammonia in your swimming pool water, which some other filter media types can’t do.
  • Even better at filtration overall than traditional sand filter media.

Disadvantages

  • This is a much more expensive product than pool filter sand, and may not fit into everyone’s budget.
  • This product may not work well with all types of pool filters, so you’ll need to be sure yours is compatible.

DE Filter Media

If you prefer to use earth for pool filter products or opt for an earth-like alternative, these great options can help you find the right fit for your pool. Choose between diatomaceous earth, cellulose fiber, and perlite to make your pool clean, clear, and safe for swimming all season long. Be sure to pay special attention to all the advantages and disadvantages of each of these products so you can be sure the one you choose is going to work for your setup.

Diatomaceous Earth

Diatomaceous earth is the most common material found in DE filters. This is the type of filter media these filters are designed for, and it works in a fairly simple manner. All you have to do is fill the filter basket with the right amount of media, turn it on, and let the laterals push the media around until they’re coated for perfect filtration.

Advantages

  • DE is readily available from any pool supply store and is fairly inexpensive compared to other alternatives.
  • It’s very easy to purchase bulk quantities of DE and store them carefully until they’re needed.

Disadvantages

  • Exposure to diatomaceous earth can cause irritation of the skin, eyes, nose, and throat, and if you breathe it in, you may notice shortness of breath or severe coughing.
  • Some people believe that diatomaceous earth can contribute to the risk of cancer, although there haven’t been any major scientific studies to prove this.

Cellulose Fiber

Cellulose fiber is both non-toxic and biodegradable, which makes it a very popular choice for swimming pool owners. It provides clean, clear water without having to resort to harsh chemicals or substances you’d rather not be exposed to.

Advantages

  • This is a very green product that’s safe for the environment as well as for swimmers with sensitive skin.
  • You don’t need to use as much cellulose fiber in your filter as you do with traditional DE.

Disadvantages

  • This can be a very pricey product that may be well over the budget of some pool owners.
  • Since this product isn’t as popular as other alternatives to DE, it may be more difficult to find.

Perlite

Perlite is similar to silica in its look, feeling, and creation. This is a common product used in gardening, but in recent years, it’s become more and more popular in pool filters as well. Although perlite might not be for everyone, it definitely does have its place among swimming pool filter media.

Advantages

  • This is a very lightweight product that moves through your filter efficiently.
  • You don’t need to use as much perlite as you do DE in your filter.

Disadvantages

  • Backwashing may cause you to lose a lot of perlite every time.
  • In extremely rare circumstances, this product can contribute to silicosis, a lung disease that can also be caused by pool sand.

Best Pool Filter Media

In this section, you’ll be able to look for the perfect pool sand filter replacement or alternative to DE for your pool filter. Check out the many options available to you and don’t be afraid to compare and contrast your favorites to help you choose.

Sand Filter Media

1. Pool Filter Sand #20 Grade Silica Sand

Pool Filter Sand #20 Grade Silica Sand - 50 lbs. by Fairmount Minerals

This Pool Filter Sand #20 Grade Silica Sand is a great swimming pool filter media alternative to traditional pool sand that doesn’t deviate too far from the normal standard in this type of filtration. This natural sand is always free from any chemicals that could potentially harm you or your swimming pool, and it’s capable of intense filtration that can help you get rid of even the most difficult to fight contaminants and bacteria in your pool water. Best of all, since this sand is very fine grained, it won’t back up or clog in your filter, which is sure to make you happy as your pool water will stay clean and clear without any potential issues arising.

Pros

Cons

  • Very clean sand is well-packaged in a durable bag that is almost always in great shape on arrival.
  • #20 sand is meant to work with just about any type of pool filter, which makes it great for universal use.
  • This filter media can even be used in some aquariums to provide great filtration and even a substrate.
  • Some very fine particles may drift into your pool water, but this will usually stop after a few cycles.
  • May not work well with very low-budget pool filters that cannot handle the finer grain on this sand.
  • May be more expensive than some of the other products listed here.

2. Arch Chemical 61308 HTH Pool Filter Sand

HTH 61308 Pool Filter Sand, 50-Pound

You can’t go wrong with good old-fashioned cheap pool filter sand in your sand filter. With this large bag of Arch Chemical 61308 HTH Pool Filter Sand to help you get started, you’ll be well on your way to a cleaner, healthier, much more well-filtered swimming pool experience in no time. Simply add the proper amount of this easy to use pool sand to your filter, let it cycle a couple of times, and get ready for comfortable swimming without having to worry about replacing pesky cartridge filter media over and over again all summer long. This 50-pound bag is sure to help you keep your water clean for a long time to come!

Pros

Cons

  • This is the best-selling product in terms of sand pool filter media on the market today, so you know you’ll be getting a great item when you purchase this sand.
  • Great for interchangeable use between hot tubs, swimming pools, and even home aquariums.
  • This is a very easy to use product that provides a perfect starting point for newcomers to the world of sand filters.
  • Packaging may be weak and has been known to arrive broken and leaking.
  • Sand may be very heavy, which can increase the price due to the cost of shipping.
  • Storage may be difficult, as some rodents and insects will find their way into sand when not kept in an airtight container.

3. Filter Glass Alternative Filter Media for Pool Sand Filters

FilterGlass Alternative Filter Media for Pool Sand Filters - 50 Pounds

While filter glass isn’t as sharp and painful as it might sound, it is a great product that’s designed to offer even more excellent filtration for your swimming pool than other types of sand might. This product is made of silica just like other types of pool sand, but it’s put through different processes to make it slightly different in terms of texture and filtration. This makes it better than most types of filter media at removing waterborne illnesses like E. coli that may be difficult for other types of media to effectively get rid of in your water. You can find this product anywhere you find pool filter sand for sale.

Pros

Cons

  • Incredible product that gets even the dirtiest of water crystal clear with just a few cycles.
  • This product often cleans pool water well enough that you won’t need to use harsh treatment chemicals any longer.
  • You will only have to buy about half the amount of FilterGlass as you would pool sand.
  • Can be much more expensive than some of the other products listed here, especially for long-term use.
  • Your filter must be completely cleaned out before you use this media, and you cannot have a trace of traditional pool sand in the filter or it won’t work properly.
  • Backwashing may take a little longer with this product than with traditional pool sand.

4. In the Swim Filterballs Blue Advanced Replacement Filter Media

In The Swim Filterballs Blu Advanced Replacement Sand Pool Filter Media - 1 Pound

In the Swim Filterballs Blue Advanced Replacement Filter Media additives are a new product that have been taking the world of pool filtration by storm. These excellent little balls can be added to your filter and are designed to do all the work a larger and bulkier style of filter media can do without having to spend a lot of money or waste a lot of space on storage, either. These filterballs are designed to last for several years at a time without needing to be replaced, and best of all, a single pound of them is capable of being used as an alternative to a full 100 pounds of traditional pool sand! If you prefer not to buy pool filter sand in huge quantities, this solution might be right for you.

Pros

Cons

  • This lightweight product makes it easy to pick up the bag as well as the filter tank as needed.
  • Cycles through very quickly and provides very clean water without a long wait time.
  • Backwashes and cleans the same way as traditional pool sand, so there’s no difficult learning curve with this unique product.
  • Only lasts for a part of the season and will often need to be replaced before your swimming season is done.
  • Filterballs often wash out during backwashes, which may end up costing you more in the long run.
  • May not work with all types of filters, pumps, or salt generators.

5. ZeoSand Alternative Pool Sand Filter Media

ZeoSand Alternative Pool Sand Filter Media - 50 Pounds by 'Zeo, Inc'

When you want a great swimming pool filter sand replacement option that won’t take up nearly as much space in your storage, you need this ZeoSand Alternative Pool Sand Filter Media right away. ZeoSand is an excellent product that can be used in place of pool sand and is capable of reducing the amount of filter media you need by half. This means that if you usually purchase 100 pounds of pool sand, you’ll only need to stock up on 50 pounds of ZeoSand to do the same job even better. With this large bag, you’ll be good to go!

Pros

Cons

  • Excellent customer service and quality control that work together to ensure that your questions are answered and your experience is a good one.
  • Lasts for up to 5 years without needing to be replaced completely.
  • Easy to pour into your filter and use without having to take anything apart.
  • You will need to completely backwash your old pool sand out of your filter until it’s clear before you use this product, or you’ll have cloudy water.
  • Has been known to arrive in boxes that are damaged or leaking.
  • This is a very expensive product, although you won’t have to replace it as often and will save money in the long run.

Earth for Pool Filters

6. Fiber Clear 4009DC Cellulose Fiber Media DE Alternative for Swimming Pools

Fiber Clear 4009DC Cellulose Filter Media D.E. Alternative for Swimming Pools, 9-Ounce

This affordable little bag is a great way to get all the benefits of using a DE filter with none of the hassle or health concerns associated with diatomaceous earth. With this product, you can easily add the Fiber Clear 4009DC Cellulose Fiber Media DE Alternative for Swimming Pools to your filter and never again have to worry about using something potentially harmful and toxic in your pool water. This small bag is a great way to give this product a try without necessarily having to commit to a large size until you’re ready.

Pros

Cons

  • You can use this product with cartridge filters as well as with sand or DE filters to provide incredibly clear, clean water no matter what.
  • Less likely to clog up your filter than traditional diatomaceous earth may be.
  • Very easy to use by simply opening the bag and pouring it directly into your filter without having to take anything apart.
  • May not be a great product choice for long-run use, since it’s a small bag intended for a single dose.
  • May cause water to become filmy or cloudy for a few days, especially after the first use.
  • This product has been known to cause rare issues with older model pool pumps.

7. EZ-DE Swimming Pool Diatomaceous Earth Filter Media

EZ-DE Swimming Pool Diatomaceous Earth DE Filter Media Powder (48sqft)

Do you often find yourself struggling to find the right amount of DE to put in your filter after every backwash? Is it getting to be too complicated keeping track of the measurements and volumes you need to be concerned with? If so, the EZ-DE Swimming Pool Diatomaceous Earth Filter media is the best product for you. This great bag of DE is available in individually packaged sizes to make it easier than ever before to add the right amount of earth media to your filter every time you clean it. Just open the bag and pour it in, and let EZ-DE do the hard part for you!

Pros

Cons

  • Available in three different sizes to help you find the right amount for your pool: 36 square feet, 48 square feet, and 60 square feet.
  • Easy to pour directly into your filter without having to worry about covering up your skin or taking care not to breathe in the DE powder.
  • Cuts back on the need to store potentially dangerous DE powder that has already been opened somewhere children or pets could find it.
  • Since each bag is an individual dose, this product may be more expensive in the long run than many others listed here.
  • After the first use, this product may wash into the pool water slightly and cause cloudiness that will go away over time.
  • Some bags have been known to arrive torn and leaking.

8. Diatomaceous Earth Pool Filter DE

Diatomaceous Earth Pool Filter D.E. 25 LBS.

When all you need is a great box of high-quality DE to help your diatomaceous earth filter get its job done correctly, look no further than this product. This easy-to-use box of DE filter media is available in a 25-pound option to help you save money by buying it in bulk. Depending on the size of your pool, you may not need to use much of this filter media at one time, so if you have a smaller pool, this can help you save even more money in the long run! When you want to run your DE filter the way it was intended to be used, this product is sure to help you do that efficiently.

Pros

Cons

  • Produced by the HTH brand, which is well-known among pool filter products.
  • Very easy to add to the filter by pouring it into the filter basket and letting it cycle a couple of times.
  • Able to clear up a murky swimming pool in only one 24-hour cycle.
  • Packaging may be difficult to handle and hard to measure appropriately.
  • Boxes have been known to arrive ripped and torn, which can cause product leakage.
  • When kept in storage for a very long period of time, these boxes have been known to become damaged and weak.

9. Pro Guard 23793BPG Cellulose Fiber

Pro Guard 23793BPG Cellulose Fiber Replaces D.E. Filter Media for Swimming Pools, 3-Pound

Sometimes, you may find yourself having some problems with diatomaceous earth. In some places, this product is considered to cause health risks and potentially dangerous waterborne illnesses. Even if you don’t believe DE is dangerous, you still might not want to use it simply because it costs quite a lot and a large amount of it is required every time you clean your filter. If this is the case, give the Pro Guard 23793BPG Cellulose Fiber media a try instead. This excellent media provides a great alternative to DE for your filter that won’t cost you a fortune.

Pros

Cons

  • This is a very easy to use filter media that you can simply pour in and cycle once to get it started.
  • This is a less toxic type of filter media that isn’t damaging to people or to the environment.
  • The product is completely biodegradable, which is even better for eco-friendly pool operation.
  • May take several days to completely clear up your pool water, as this product can cause a hazy film in the water at first.
  • Some filter pumps are not compatible with cellulose fiber and may stop working shortly after use.
  • Backwashing may take longer and require more hands-on work with this product than with traditional DE.

10. Perlite 4212 Filter Powder DE Alternative for Swimming Pools

Perlite 4212 Filter Powder D.E. Alternative for Swimming Pools, 12-Pound

Do you prefer to work with a product other than diatomaceous earth for your DE filter? If so, you might want to go with perlite instead. With the Perlite 4212 Filter Powder DE Alternative for Swimming Pools, you’ll be able to clean your pool water quickly and efficiently without having to use a huge amount of the product every time. Best of all, this filter media is capable of filtering down to 3 microns when you use it with a compatible filter, which makes it a great alternative for anyone looking to steer clear of the issues sometimes associated with diatomaceous earth.

Pros

Cons

  • Perlite is much less likely to cause blockages in your filter media, which means smoother cycles and cleaner water all around.
  • This media only takes an overnight cycle to completely overhaul even the murkiest of pool water.
  • It usually takes about half as much perlite as it does DE for these types of filters to run properly.
  • Can be a little more expensive than traditional DE for your filter.
  • This product has been known to arrive with rips or tears in the bag, causing leakage.
  • If you happen to accidentally spill the perlite, it will be difficult to clean up.

11. Splash 4025SPLASH Diatomaceous Earth Filter Media for Swimming Pools

Splash 4025SPLASH Diatomaceous Earth Filter Media for Swimming Pools, 25-Pound

Are you searching for a high-quality product that works great with just about any type of diatomaceous earth filter? Do you need something you can store safely without worrying about potential spills or damage happening to the product over time? If so, you need the Splash 4025SPLASH Diatomaceous Earth Filter Media for Swimming Pools right away. This media is designed to clean up your water almost instantly when you add the correct amount to your DE filter. Put it in the skimmer basket in your filter and watch it get to work for you right away!

Pros

Cons

  • This media comes in either a ten-pound box or a twenty-five-pound box to make it easy for you to choose the right amount for your needs.
  • Very easy to install by simply adding it to the skimmer basket without having to take apart complicated filter parts.
  • This high-quality product comes from a well-known brand name that is committed to great service and items.
  • This is one of the more expensive types of diatomaceous earth filter media available on the market today.
  • Some boxes have been known to arrive damaged or with torn bags inside.
  • Bags of DE are not individually packaged but instead arrive in one large bag you’ll have to measure out on your own.

Conclusion

Now that you’ve seen just how many excellent types of pool filter media you have to choose from for your sand and DE filters, it’s time to pick your favorite! Choosing the right type of replacement sand for pool filter use or DE alternative doesn’t have to be a difficult process. Just pick the one that seems like it would work best with the way you use your pool, and be sure to choose something that fits your personal preferences, such as eco-friendly alternatives.

But how do you know when it’s time to change your filter media in the first place? Do you know if you need to be thinking about this already, or does your media have a lot of life left in it? Follow these simple tips to determine when it’s time to change your filter:

  • Change your filter if your water is visibly dirty.
  • Change your filter if your water feels gritty or slimy.
  • Change your filter if you hear your pump making strange lurching or gurgling noises.
  • Change your filter if you can look inside and see the media blocking the laterals or building up too much during operation.

When you know it’s time, one of these excellent pool filter media options will help you make the most of your swimming pool by offering you clean, clear, safe water all season long.

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