Rapid growth processing of KDP crystals was improved by employing continuous filtration to eliminate bulk defects. The performances of the KDP crystals, including scattering defects, laser damage resistance and transmittance, were measured and analyzed. Compared with rapid-grown KDP without continuous filtration, the transmittance in the near-infrared was increased by at least 2%, almost all of ‘micron size’ defects were eliminated and ‘sub-micron size’ defects were decreased by approximately 90%. Laser damage testing revealed that the laser-induced damage thresholds (LIDTs), as well as the consistency of the LIDTs from sample to sample, were improved greatly. Moreover, it identified that ‘micron size’ defects were the precursors which initiated laser damage at relative lower laser fluence (4–6 J cm−2), and there was a lower correlation between smaller size scattering defects and laser damage initiation. The improved consistency in the LIDTs, attributed to elimination of ‘micron size’ defects, and LIDT enhancement originated from the decreased absorption of the KDP crystals.