The simple answer to this question is that one pump has a fixed speed that it always operates at while the other pump can run at various speeds. However, that only scratches the surface of what makes these two types of pumps different, or why it would even matter to you. Let’s look at some of the key differences between these two types of pumps, starting with the most obvious.
Like we said earlier, a single-speed pump works at one fixed speed and a variable speed pump can be programmed to run at many different speeds. Why does it matter? Won’t both of them pump water? Yes they will, and they will do it equally well (both set to the fixed speed of the single speed pump); however, depending on your needs, your pump isn’t always most efficient at its max speed. In order to allow for efficient filtering, it is often times better to be able to allow your pump to run at lower speeds. For more efficient heating, it is favorable to run your pump at higher speeds to meet the necessary flow of water to run your heater. An average residential pool is recommended to be turned over once per 24-hours, which can be accomplished at lower speeds.
With the ability to change speeds, the variable speed pump allows you to save up to 90% of your annual energy costs of the single speed pump. On top of that, some energy companies offer rebates to those who have variable speed pumps. While the initial cost of the variable speed pump is higher than that of the single speed pump, you will see that the variable speed pump will pay for itself in only 1 to 2 years while it continues to help save you money, month after month for many years to come.
Variable speed pumps can be integrated into advanced pool automation systems such as Hayward’s OmniLogic. You can set timers that allow the pump to run at different speeds throughout the day without you having to lift a finger. A single speed pump, as its name implies, can only ever run at a single speed.
To find out how much you can save in energy costs by switching to a new variable speed pump, check out Hayward’s energy calculator.
If you are interested in purchasing a new pool pump, check out our dealer locator to find a pool professional near you.