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August 20, 2022  |  Patio

6 easy-to-use pool vacuums

Using a pool vacuum does more than just keep your summer oasis looking tidy. Vacuuming removes heavy debris from a pool’s floor that, if left to accumulate and decay, could result in cloudy water, algae and bacterial growth. Too much mess in your pool will require you to use more chemicals to treat your water and may shorten the life of your pump.

Pool vacuum considerations

Pool vacuum types

Many types of pool vacuums are available with features that are designed to accommodate different situations and preferences. 

  • Handheld pool vacuums are operated manually in the same way as a household vacuum. They feature a brush-covered suction head attached to a long handle that is used to scrape the pool’s floor and suck up dirt. Some handheld pool vacuums feature a motorized filter, while others attach to your pump or even your garden hose. These models are the least expensive but take the most time and energy to use.
  • Automatic suction vacuums, also referred to as “side suction” vacuums, connect to your pool pump’s intake via a long hose and use its suction to operate and move around your pool independently. These vacuums require your pool pump to be on while they run, which results in increased energy usage.
  • Robotic vacuums are the easiest and most energy-efficient pool cleaners. These motorized appliances operate by themselves without needing to draw any power or suction from your pump. Many robotic cleaners climb the walls of your pool to scrape off the grime. These vacuums are available with many features, including remote control options for spot cleaning. However, they are the most expensive type.

Pool size

Regardless of which vacuum type you choose, the larger your pool is, the more time it will take to vacuum. While automatic and robotic vacuums operate in the background and don’t require your time or attention to keep your pool clean, handheld vacuums need to be physically pushed by someone in the pool or be able to reach the bottom of it from the side. Large swimming pools can take hours to clean with a handheld vacuum.

Pool type

Not every vacuum will work with every type of pool. If you own an above-ground pool that does not feature a pump and filter, you will be limited to manual vacuums that run off of battery power or attach to your garden hose. Automatic vacuums can be used with any pool that has a filtration pump installed, while robotic ones are the best for in-ground pools. Vacuums that climb the walls are only suitable for in-ground pools.

Cleaning frequency

Generally, pools should be vacuumed once a week unless windy weather or excessive use gets more debris into it than usual. However, if your pool is located beneath trees that regularly drop leaves, pollen and seeds into it, it needs to be cleaned more frequently. Consider how much buildup your pool accumulates and determine how much time you are willing to spend on maintaining it. 

Your physical ability

Vacuuming a pool manually is cost effective, but it also requires the strength, balance and physicality needed to push the appliance through the pool for extended periods.

Those who opt for handheld vacuums need to be certain that they will be able to operate them weekly. If you use a manual vacuum, you may also need to invest in a pool brush to scrub any stubborn algae it leaves behind.

Best handheld pool vacuums

Top handheld pool vacuum

Pool Blaster Max

What you need to know: This vacuum features powerful suction and a generous debris collection chamber.

What you’ll love: It can be attached to a telescopic pole to reach the bottom of pools of any depth. Cordless operation makes it easy to move around, and the battery can run for an hour on a single charge.

What you should consider: A pool pole is not included with the vacuum. Even though its collection chamber is spacious, it will have to be emptied frequently while cleaning large or especially dirty pools.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top handheld pool vacuum for the money

Pool Supply Town Pool Jet Vacuum

What you need to know: This economical vacuum attaches to your garden hose and captures debris in a large mesh bag.

What you’ll love: At less than $30, this vacuum is a great value for those who own pools that don’t accumulate much debris. It requires no charging, includes no electronics and uses your garden hose to create suction.

What you should consider: It requires some minor assembly, does not include a pole and is only suitable for small pools.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Best automatic suction pool vacuums

Top automatic suction pool vacuum

Hayward Aquanaut 400

What you need to know: This vacuum does the dirty work for you by propelling itself across your pool’s floor and walls using the pressure from your pump.

What you’ll love: Able to navigate obstacles and maintain suction on any material or surface, this vacuum will keep your pool looking professionally clean. Its rubber wheel treads and 40 feet of included hose make it great for large pools. Additionally, its anti-clog motor can handle even large leaves. 

What you should consider: This vacuum is for in-ground pools only.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top automatic suction pool vacuum for the money

Vingli Automatic Swimming Pool Cleaner

What you need to know: This cleaner attaches to your pump to automatically vacuum the bottom and sides of your pool. 

What you’ll love: Easy to assemble and use, this vacuum is an affordable way to keep your pool clean with minimal fuss. It includes hose sections that can be attached to reach 33 feet in length. An adjustable valve lets you choose the suction that works best for you.

What you should consider: Some users report that this vacuum tends to stick to the same cleaning pattern or get stuck in a certain area of the pool until moved manually.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Best robotic pool vacuums

Top robotic pool vacuum

Dolphin Nautilus CC Plus Robotic Pool Vacuum

What you need to know: With an automatic scheduling feature and two rotating brushes, this robotic vacuum provides a deep, thorough clean.

What you’ll love: This vacuum can clean pools up to 50 feet in two hours. It operates independently and does not require attachment to your pool’s pump. The filtered chamber is spacious and able to hold large items as well as small pieces of dirt and debris.

What you should consider: It offers superior cleaning and requires no manual labor, but it comes at a high price. It is also not suitable for above-ground pools.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top robotic pool vacuum for the money

Aiper Cordless Robotic Pool Cleaner

What you need to know: This vacuum offers an affordable way to enjoy the ease of a robotic cleaner with some compromises.

What you’ll love: This pool cleaner can run for up to 50 minutes before needing a charge. When battery life is low, it will park itself near a wall for easy retrieval with its included hook and pole. Because it does not climb, it can be used in any type of pool.

What you should consider: This cleaner only scrubs the floor of your pool. Its battery life is too short for some users.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon


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Derek Walborn writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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