Swimming Pool Filter Types
Swimming Pool Sand Filters
For the majority of in ground and above ground pools, sand pool filters are generally the most common. It's not much of a challenge to figure out why these sand filters are the most common: they're the cheapest.
Essentially sand filters are a big tub full of sand and the water is pumped through the sand. As the water is forced through the sand, the sand filters out the bad things from the water. Keep in mind that this is a very, very basic explanation of how it works. You couldn't just hook up your pool to a bucket full of sand and expect it to work. Well, you could try but you'd have a mess on your hands.
There's nothing wrong with the way sand filters work, but they can be a hassle to clean and maintain. You'll have to mess with the filter every so often to keep things running optimally, by turning the pump off, switching to backwash (it's a setting that will kind of clean things up in the filter), turning the pump on, waiting, and then doing the process again for rinse (rinse moves the sand around a bit, kind of like rotating the tires on a car). It's not hard work, just a bit of a hassle.
Changing the sand in the filter is the real nightmare. You'll buy sand in 25 pound bags and then use maybe 50 pounds on up to 200 pounds of sand depending on the size of your pool. You'll have to empty the filter of the sand that's in there and then dump the new sand in (all without breaking anything). It's a lot of hard work and you'll have to change the sand once every year or so (depending on how clean you keep the pool).
The only advantage of a sand filter is that it's the cheapest.