Which is better - DE or Cartridge filter?


Apr 14, 2021
Novato, CA
My DE filter has a leak and my pool person is encouraging me to switch to a cartridge filter. I like the idea that the DE has a slightly higher filter rate/filters better. I've done searching on this forum but haven't come across a thread discussing what people prefer and why. My pool is a chlorine pool, 16 x 36 approximately 30,000 gallons I think. I was already planning to resurface and upgrade the systems since everything is pretty old.


Gold Supporter
Bronze Supporter
Jul 17, 2019
Prosper, TX (DFW)
Pool Size
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
I like my DE filter, but I believe the general consensus on here is that a cartridge filter is almost as good as DE and if you get a large cartridge filter you only have to clean it 1-2 times per year so the maintenance is a whole lot easier.


Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
Bedford, TX

Here is my story that I have shared before.. I have two rent house pools that had DE filter when I bought the houses.. A few years later we decide to install a pool at my house. I really,, really wanted a DE filter, but my City requires the back wash to go into the sewer which was almost impossible due to access.. I reluctantly accepted a large cartridge filter.

Now, 7 years later, I can't wait for my DE filters to die so I can replace them with large cartridge filters.

No messing with DE, no backwashing at all.. No multiport or backwash valve to go bad or leak. Dirt simple plumbing.. Low back pressure, so I can run my pump slower and still move plenty of water.. I clean the cartridges twice a year, but could easily go a whole year if I wanted.. Keep in mind we do no close pools here in Texas.

The idea that the DE filter can filter smaller particles is technically true, but just makes no appreciable difference in the water quality.

That is my story and I'm sticking to it... :mrgreen:

If you go cartridge get the biggest one you can afford..


Jim R.


Bronze Supporter
Mar 11, 2015
SE Virginia
Pool Size
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Hayward Aqua Rite (T-15)
I also like my DE filter. It’s oversized (very important for any type filter, IMO!) so I only have to clean it once a year at closing. I don’t see how this would be any harder maintenance wise than an oversized cartridge filter. Of course with a cartridge filter there’s no recharging with DE, which could be a benefit (not a big deal to me).

I don’t have first hand experience for comparison, but the consensus here seems to be it’s not likely you would notice a clarity difference between DE or cartridge.
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Active member
Jun 2, 2021
Austin TX
I agree that you're probably not going to see a difference in the clarity of the pool between cartridge and DE. With that said, I went with a Pentair Quad DE 100 - which is oversized for my pool - as it is really a cartridge filter that you charge with DE and clean just like a cartridge filter. My pool is new but I expect I won't be cleaning or even backwashing it more than 1 to 2 times a year. For me charging it with DE isn't a big deal.......but again.....I don't expect to see a difference in clarity so it's not a necessity to go DE over cartridge.
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