If you have a pool in your backyard, then you probably already know that the pool cleaner is king. Owning a pool comes with the duty of keeping it clean, and these days, not too many pool owners would have the time to spend cleaning a pool by hand. So, your choice of swimming pool vacuum can be the deciding factor that makes owning a pool a joy or a burden. In this article, we compare swimming pool cleaning systems to help you choose the best pool vacuum.
Even if you hire a professional pool cleaner from a pool cleaning business to take care of your pool every few weeks, it’s a good idea to have some type of automatic system to keep it sparkling.
Most pool owners have a standard type of automatic pool cleaner but if it’s time to upgrade, it’s worth thinking about a robotic pool cleaner. Whether or not you need a robotic pool vacuum depends on what kind of pool you have and how much you’re willing to spend.
There are many swimming pool vacuum cleaners on the market and choosing the right one can be daunting. Read our pool vacuum reviews to save time and help you make the right choice.
- 1 How to choose the best pool vacuum
- 2 Inground vs above ground
- 3 Best pool cleaners compared
- 4 Best Pool Vacuum Comparisons
- 4.0.1 Intex Auto Pool Cleaner
- 4.0.2 Polaris Vac Sweep 280 Pressure Side Pool Cleaner
- 4.0.3 Baracuda Advanced Suction Side Automatic
- 4.0.4 Zodiac MX6 Automatic In-Ground Pool Cleaner
- 4.0.5 Dolphin Nautilus Robotic Pool Cleaner
- 4.0.6 Above Ground Pool Vacuum – Aquabot Pool Rover Junior Robotic
- 4.0.7 Dolphin Triton Robotic Pool Cleaner
- 4.0.8 Polaris F9550 Sport Robotic In-Ground Pool Cleaner
- 5 Automatic pool vacuum
- 6 Suction Pool Cleaners
- 7 Pressure Pool Cleaners
- 8 Robotic Pool Cleaners
- 9 The Best Pool Cleaners
- 9.1 Best above ground pool vacuum
- 9.2 Best pressure side pool cleaner
- 9.3 Best suction pool cleaner
- 9.4 Best inground pool cleaner
- 9.5 Best robotic pool cleaners
- 9.6 Best above ground robotic pool cleaner
- 9.7 Best cheap pool cleaner
How to choose the best pool vacuum
Inground vs above ground
Why does an inground pool vacuum cost more than an above ground pool vacuum? Inground swimming pool cleaning equipment in general, such as inground pool filters and swimming pool pumps need to handle larger volumes of water and higher flow rates.
It’s not surprising an average inground pool vacuum can be more expensive than most above ground pool cleaners.
Don’t think of the above-ground swimming pool vacuum as a scaled-down models of the inground pool vacuum cleaner. Above ground pool vacuum cleaners are designed completely differently.
The main difference is an automatic above ground pool vacuum doesn’t need to climb walls or navigate curves, steps, and deep ends. They also have shorter hoses and cords capable of covering smaller pools.
Best pool cleaners compared
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Best Pool Vacuum Comparisons
Intex Auto Pool Cleaner
|view pricefull review||Intex||Above Ground||Requires filter pump with a flow rate between 1600 - 3500gph, attaches to inlet connector||$|
Polaris Vac Sweep 280 Pressure Side Pool Cleaner
|view pricefull review||Polaris||Automatic Pressure Side Inground Pool Cleaner||Two jets, single chamber debris bag||$$$$|
Baracuda Advanced Suction Side Automatic
|view pricefull review||Baracuda||Automatic Suction Side Pool Cleaner||Durable diaphragm, 36-fin disc, wheel deflector||$$|
Zodiac MX6 Automatic In-Ground Pool Cleaner
|view pricefull review||Zodiac||inground pool cleaner||Suctioning cleaning, Advanced twist lock hose, X-Trax traction, cleans tile, vinyl, concrete and fiberglass.||$$|
Dolphin Nautilus Robotic Pool Cleaner
|view pricefull review||Dolphin||Robotic Pool Vacuum||ActivMotion Sensor Technology, Vortex Vacuum Technology, patented 60ft swivel cable, seven-day programmable timer, handheld remote control||$$$$$|
Above Ground Pool Vacuum – Aquabot Pool Rover Junior Robotic
|view pricefull review||Aquabot||Above Ground Pool Cleaner||40 ft cord, 180watts, non-marring wheels, bottom loading filter||$$$|
Dolphin Triton Robotic Pool Cleaner
|view pricefull review||Dolphin||Robotic Pool Cleaner||PowerStream technology, active brushing, timing system, large basket||$$$+|
Polaris F9550 Sport Robotic In-Ground Pool Cleaner
|view pricefull review||Polaris||Robotic Pool Cleaner||4 wheel drive, active motion sensor, hand held remote, Vortex vacuum technology, 7-day programmable cycle||$$$$$+|
Automatic pool vacuum
There are two kinds of automatic pool vacuums
Suction Pool Cleaners
Suction pool cleaners are the more popular of the automatic pool cleaners. A pool suction cleaner works off the existing suction of your swimming pool pump, and can easily be plugged into your swimming pool skimmer or cleaner line.
The main purpose of a suction side pool cleaner is to clean the bottom of your swimming pool, but some can also clean the sides of the walls.
It isn’t as good at climbing the walls as a pool robot cleaner but does a thorough job as a pool bottom cleaner.
Pressure Pool Cleaners
A pressure pool cleaner connects to your pool’s filtration system and uses the pressure of the water to propel them around the swimming pool.
They have become more and more popular thanks to Polaris. They are a more affordable option than robot pool cleaners.
However, a pressure side pool cleaner requires a booster pump and also needs to have the debris bag cleaned and changed.
This type of cleaner does its best work as a pool floor cleaner.
Robotic Pool Cleaners
The advantage of a pool robot vacuum is they clean the entire swimming pool, including the side walls.
A pool cleaner robot will climb your pool walls to clean most all debris.
Robot pool cleaners are cleaning machines you can set and forget, however, they do have a pool vacuum bag that needs changing when full.
The best pool robot is one that is a “hands-off“ low-voltage automatic pool vacuum cleaner that cleans the floor, steps, and walls of any salt- or fresh-water swimming pool.
Robots appear to be moving into many aspects of our daily lives. We are now seeing robots used in manufacturing, industry, home and leisure activities.
For those of us who are lucky enough to have a home swimming pool, keeping the pool clean is a regular and important task.
So what’s the difference between an automatic inground pool cleaner and a robotic pool vacuum cleaner?
A robotic pool cleaner runs from a power source outside your pool’s filtration system.
Think of it as an aquatic Roomba that runs on wheels or tank treads.
A significant benefit is they are not connected to your swimming pool’s water pump and filtration system, removing the back pressure on your pool’s system.
How does a robotic pool cleaner work?
The cleaner is an electric pool vacuum that runs on a low voltage of 24 volts, supplied via a power cable from a transformer connected to a standard wall outlet.
The transformer reduces the mains voltage from 110/220 volts to a much safer 24 volts.
The 24 volts power the two electric motors of the electric pool cleaner. One motor drives a water pump that sucks up dirt and debris from the pool into the unit’s filters. The second motor moves the pool cleaner vacuum around the pool.
A pool vacuum robot is computer controlled and automatically learns the most efficient path to clean each pool.
This learning or memory function is magic that ensures all parts of the pool are effectively and efficiently cleaned to save on the cost of power and chemicals.
Non-robotic cleaners randomly wander around the pool with the help of the swimming pool pump’s water circulation system.
A robotic pool vacuum with remote control enables you to drive the system manually and can be a benefit when needing to remove a stubborn stain or dirt spot.
All robotic pool cleaners are highly efficient swimming pool filters that are easy to clean. Many come with extremely efficient filters – a mesh down to 2 microns is not uncommon – so they can catch the finest particles.
Here are 5 good reasons to buy a robotic pool cleaner
1- The best robot cleaner is usually maintenance friendly
2- Lower running costs as they use less energy and less chemicals than other types of pool vacuum systems
3- This type of cleaner can climb and scrub walls
4- Simple to set up and install
5-Quiet to operate
The Best Pool Cleaners
Here’s a summary of our automatic pool cleaner reviews and our top picks of the different kinds of pool cleaners.
Best above ground pool vacuum
Intex Auto Pool Cleaner
As far as automatic pool cleaners for above ground pools go, the Intex pool vacuum is a cost-effective above ground automatic pool cleaner that works off the swimming pool’s filtration system.
It’s easy to use (you can install and connect this pool cleaner without having to pore through the manual) and does a pretty decent job of cleaning the bottom of the pool. It uses water pressure to create suction and to drive the vacuum. Debris is collected inside the vacuum that even acts as a pool sand filter.
As the wheels are not powered, there’s no need to worry about damage to the pool liner if the vacuum happens to get stuck in one part of the pool. The vacuum and hoses are well built, making it our pick for the best above ground pool vacuum.
However, one disadvantage of the Intex pool vacuum is it does have the tendency to lift out of the pool as the hose is pretty long.
Based on performance and reliability, it’s the best above ground pool cleaner for budget-conscious pool owners. Actually, for the money, this auto pool cleaner is a steal.
Other above-ground pool cleaners to consider are:
- Pentair 360100 Kreepy Krauly Lil Shark
- Hayward W900 Wanda the Whale Above-Ground Pool Vacuum
- Hayward 100 Penguin Suction Above-Ground Pool Cleaner
Best pressure side pool cleaner
Polaris Vac-Sweep 280 Pressure Side Pool Cleaner
The Polaris Vac-Sweep 280 Pressure Side Pool Cleaner is powered by double jets for fast cleaning. This swimming pool vacuum cleaner sweeps, scrubs and vacuums the bottom of in-ground pools of any size and every shape.
It has a single chamber filter bag capable of capturing large debris and works well as a pool leaf vacuum. The filter prevents large debris from clogging up the pool vacuum pump.
This Polaris comes with a 31-foot hose and has an in-line back-up valve that will automatically free the cleaner if it gets cornered.
This cleaner is powered by water pressure, leaving the filter and skimmer to do the work of eliminating the contaminants.
Other pressure-side pool cleaners to consider are:
- Pentair 360228 Kreepy Krauly Racer Pressure-Side Inground Pool Cleaner
- Polaris Vac-Sweep 65 6-130-00 Pressure Side Automatic Pool Cleaner for Above Ground Vinyl Pools
- Polaris Vac-Sweep 3900 Sport pressure side pool cleaner
Best suction pool cleaner
Barracuda G3 Advanced Suction Side Automatic Pool Cleaner
There are several contenders on the market for the mantle of best suction pool cleaner but none that compare with the Barracuda G3.
This vacuum pool cleaner is such a time saver. The unit is well built and the parts are easy to replace without having to call in the professionals.
There are no gears, wheels or flaps that need to be replaced.
As it only has one operational moving part (the Long-Life Diaphragm), maintenance costs are low.
The Barracuda G3 is one of the quieter pool vacuums for inground pools and the suction cleaner works well with low-speed pumps. Think of it as an efficient swimming pool sweeper that will keep the floor clean by sucking up small and medium-sized debris.
It has a Wheel Deflector that helps it to navigate around the pool’s corners and comes with sturdy scuff-resistant hoses.
Other suction pool cleaners to consider:
- Poolvergnuegen PV896584000013 Hayward 896584000-013 The Pool Cleaner Automatic Suction Pool Vacuum
- Hayward PHS41CST AquaNaut Suction Pool Vacuum
- Hayward 925ADC Navigator Pro Suction Pool Vacuum
Best inground pool cleaner
Zodiac MX6 Automatic In-Ground Pool Cleaner
The Zodiac MX6 is a compact suction side pool cleaner that is efficient and user-friendly.
The sleek design of the Zodiac automatic inground pool vacuum has an innovative low-flow design and doesn’t consume a great deal of energy.
It works well for pools that have two-speed or variable speed pumps and has powerful suction as well as an articulating turbine blade for aggressive wall-climbing.
This pool cleaner is easy to assemble. It has swiveling hoses and a regulator to control the water flow. Overall, this compact model punches above its weight when it comes to keeping your pool clean.
Other good inground pool cleaners to consider:
Best robotic pool cleaners
Robotic pool cleaners are the future of pool cleaning and is where the industry is heading. At this point in time, it’s difficult to choose just one best robotic pool cleaner. Below are several we like.
Dolphin Nautilus Robotic Pool Cleaner
There are so many new self-cleaning pool vacuum cleaners on the market that it’s difficult to choose the best. If we had to pick one best pool vacuum robot, the Dolphin Nautilus would be our choice.
Although it has several features that enable it to do a good job of cleaning your pool, the good news is you don’t need a college degree to use it.
This Dolphin pool cleaner is easy to install. You just have to fit the filters into the body and plug the swivel power cable into the low voltage socket of the transformer, connect the transformer to a standard wall outlet and the cleaner is ready to go.
It has all the features you need to clean your pool efficiently, such as filters, 60ft swivel power cable, step down transformer, and mains power cable.
Once it’s in the pool, it switches into learning mode and has the intelligence to investigate the best way to clean each pool. But depending on the size, depth, and how dirty the pool is, the Dolphin pool vacuum may not get your pool looking sparkling in one cycle.
Overall, it’s one of the best robotic pool cleaners as it does an excellent job of sucking up both fine and larger dirt particles.
Dolphin Triton PS Automatic Robotic Pool Cleaner
This groovy machine is also a super-efficient workhorse with awesome scrubbing power and a strong grip on vertical surfaces through its PowerStream technology. So, if you hate scrubbing walls, put this robotic pool cleaner to work.
Another good reason we like the Dolphin Triton PS Automatic Robotic Pool Cleaner is that it has a super large filter basket that is top loading to catch leaves and debris. >
You’ll also love the way you can just set it up and forget about it and it will just automatically clean your swimming pool at intervals of your choice, no pumps or hoses required.
Dolphin Oasis Z5i Robotic Pool Cleaner
The Dolphin Oasis Z5i has a powerful dual drive-motor that enables it to perform 360-degree pinpoint turns, making it an impressive and highly maneuverable robotic pool vacuum. ing for maneuverability and maximum pool coverage, regardless of shape.
With industrial scrubbing brushes, this machine will have your pool and walls looking brand new in under three hours.
Other features are strong suction and superior filtration through massive cartridge filters.
It’s extremely simple to use and set up and you can connect via smartphone to your Oasis Z5i to set the robot in motion at your whim.
Best above ground robotic pool cleaner
Aquabot Pool Rover Junior Robotic Above-Ground Pool Cleaner
Compared to inground pools, there aren’t as many above ground pool vacuum robot choices around. The Aquabot Pool Rover Junior stands out as the best pool cleaning robot for above ground pool cleaning.
It cleans flat-bottomed above ground swimming pools efficiently and is simple to use.
It has an internal pump, reusable filter bag, and 40-ft cable. Its patented swivel system stops it from getting tangled and has a strong vacuum action.
The reusable filter bag collects soil, sand and leaves down to 2 microns. Compared to pump-driven cleaners, the Aquabot will reduce the cost of pool maintenance and chemicals. This compact and light unit (weighing 10.5 pounds) is fast too. It can clean an above ground swimming pool in about 30 minutes.
Best cheap pool cleaner
XtremepowerUS Automatic Suction Vacuum
With the increase in robotic pool cleaners coming onto the market, some of the best pool vacuums for sale are the simpler models. If you’re on a budget and you’re looking for cheap pool cleaners for sale, the Xtremepower US Automatic Suction Vacuum is worth considering.
This budget automatic suction pool cleaner works on most inground pools and can work as an above-ground vacuum too. You’ll need a 1 hp pool pump (the equivalent of 1600 GHP) for this cleaner to function properly.