What’s the Difference Between a Pool Pump and a Pool Booster Pump?

If you’re thinking of building a backyard swimming pool in the future, there are two types of pumps you need to be aware of; namely, the pool pump and the pool booster pump. Both are essential for circulating and filtering pool water, but what is the use of each type of pump? And can you get away without purchasing a pool booster pump?

What's the Difference Between a Pool Pump and a Pool Booster Pump?

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What is a Pool Pump?

A pool pump is the heart and soul of the water circulation system. The pump takes water from the pool and passes it through a skimmer and water heater (if available) before pushing it through a filter where it ultimately returns to the pool. Ideally, the turnover rate (the amount of time needed to cycle through all of the pool’s water) should be once every twelve hours.

Pool Pump

As the single most important component in a pool system, it is vital that every pool is equipped with a pool pump. Without the pump, there is no filtration, thereby allowing algae to grow and debris to accumulate at the base.

What is a Pool Booster Pump?

Pool booster pumps are an entirely different beast altogether. Booster pumps do exactly what the name suggests: it boosts. They increase the flow rate of water circulating through your pool, filters, and heaters when regular pool pumps aren’t sufficient.

Pool Booster Pump

Unlike pool pumps, booster pumps do not come with a strainer basket that could inhibit the rotation of the impeller fan. It’s essential that your pool already have an existing filtration system set up before installing a booster pump.

Do I Absolutely Need a Pool Booster Pump?

It depends on your unique situation. There could be several reasons why your home or pool is experiencing a reduced water flow rate, including but not limited to the distance between the source of water and your pool, gravity, and plumbing issues.

Pool Booster Pump vs Pool Pump

You may also want to consider your automatic pool-cleaning options. There are a couple of them to choose from, such as robotic pool cleaners, suction-side pool cleaners, and pressure-side pool cleaners. The first two types don’t require a boost in water pressure to operate, and thus, a pool booster may not need.

As for pressure-side pool cleaners, a booster pump may be a necessary purchase. Pressure-side pool pumps require a lot more water flow pressure than most main pool pumps can produce—around 30 PSI or so—in order to move, turn, and scale walls. These cleaners are typically much more effective than the previous two cleaner options by picking up most large-sized pool debris like acorns.

Granted, the cost of the booster pump on top of the pressure-side pool cleaner can be steep, but if you use your pool frequently and throughout the year, it’s a worthwhile investment.


To put it simply, a pool is inoperable without the main pool pump but may be in need of increased water flow pressure to meet the ideal turnover rate. In this case, and if you plan on picking up a pressure-side pool cleaner in the near future, then a booster pump is not only mandatory but also an incredibly invaluable tool to have.

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