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What is the difference between a single speed and variable speed pool pump?

Conventional single speed pumps only have two settings: off or a high-speed operation. On the high-speed setting, the motor runs at a constant 2850 RPM, even if the filtration requirements of the pool don’t require that constant speed. 

High speed equals high power consumption, so if a pump is always running at high speed, it is always consuming a high amount of power. 

Variable speed pumps and multi-speed pumps are vastly different. Their advanced motors are designed differently so that the speed of the motor can run and vary speeds; from low speeds up to high speeds. 

You only need high speed operation when you are backwashing a media filter, operating spa jets or a waterfall, or running a suction pool cleaner for example. Therefore, for the bulk of the running time, you only need to run at low speed for adequate pool filtration. An energy efficient pool pump gives you this flexibility, and the ability to run at low speeds and lower energy consumption. 

Advanced variable speed pumps typically feature in-built timers so you can directly run the pump at specific times and durations, and their speeds can also be programmed and tailored to the specific filtration requirements of your pool, for optimal efficiency.