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Updated November 2021
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Buying guide for best pool brushes

Cleaning your pool requires several different tasks that necessitate owning several pieces of equipment and possibly a couple of machines. One of the most important tasks, regularly brushing down your pool, is accomplished by using one of the most affordable pieces of equipment in your pool-cleaning arsenal: a pool brush.

There are only three different types of pool brushes, but not all will work for every type of pool. It is essential that you purchase the right one, otherwise you can damage your pool. Pool brushes also come with various features, such as curved ends and bumpers, that may make cleaning a little easier.

If you'd like to learn which pool brush is best for your pool and get some tips to make you more efficient at cleaning, keep reading. If you already know what you need and you are ready to purchase now, consider one of the quality pool brushes we've spotlighted in this article.

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Don't forget, pool brush handles are sold separately. If you don't already have a pole, you'll need to purchase one.

The three types of pool brushes

Pools can be constructed using concrete (shotcrete or gunite), fiberglass, or vinyl, and each one requires a specific type of pool brush.

Stainless steel: This type of pool brush is the most aggressive cleaner. The stainless steel bristles are tough enough to wear away even stubborn black algae, which not only has deep roots, but it also has a hard outer shell that protects it from sanitizing treatments. You should only use a stainless steel brush if you are certain your pool was constructed using gunite.

Nylon: This is the safest pool brush to purchase because it can be used on any surface. Ideally, this brush should be used regularly as a maintenance brush, helping to prevent any potential problems. It may be used for brushing away stains, if the need arises, but it will require more elbow grease and diligence to eradicate algae with nylon bristles.

Combination: In the middle is the combination pool brush, one that has both nylon and stainless steel bristles. Even though the abrasiveness of the stainless steel bristles is diminished by the nylon ones, this type is still only recommended for unpainted concrete pools.

Other considerations


The longer your pool brush is, the greater the area you can cover in a single sweep. An 18-inch brush is the most desirable size, but if you have any tight spots, such as behind a ladder, it could be difficult to maneuver in those areas. Additionally, some algae brushes are designed to be shorter so you can focus your brushing on a smaller area.

Curved ends

The corners of a pool are especially tough to clean. In order to reach deeper into those corners, many pool brushes feature slightly curved ends. Alternatively, some models feature longer bristles on the ends of the brush, which can also help get the bristles into the corners of your pool.


This is a swooping design like you might find on the back of a sports car. The purpose is to guide the water during your stroke so it applies additional downward force on the bristles. This design is only found on a few brands, but users seem to appreciate the extra help when sweeping.

Backing material

Lower-end pool brushes feature a plastic backing. Plastic can become brittle over time, especially with exposure to sunlight. Higher-end models feature an aluminum backing that makes for a more durable pool brush.


Even if you are using a nylon-bristle brush on your vinyl pool, if the backing has well-defined edges and corners, you can accidentally scratch or tear your pool. Most models feature rounded edges to help protect your pool. The best models may also have rubber bumpers to offer additional protection.

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Did you know?
Although the type of algae found in swimming pools is not harmful to humans, the bacteria that feed on it may be.

Pool brush prices

Inexpensive: On the lower end, from $8 to $12, you will find budget models with nylon bristles and plastic backing that may be as long as 18 inches. Additionally, you might discover some stainless steel algae brushes that are approximately five inches long as well as models that you hold in your hand, as opposed to the standard types of pool brushes that attach to a telescoping multipurpose pole.

Mid-range: In the $12 to $20 range, you will find higher-quality nylon brushes that feature aluminum backing. You will also have longer stainless steel brushes as well as combination brushes in this range.

Expensive: From $20 to $30 is where you get the bells and whistles. Some features are selling points, which may or may not impact the user experience. However, others include tweaks to the design that make the brush easier to use, more effective, and longer lasting.


  • Skim, skim, skim: If you can get a majority of the debris out of the pool while it is still floating on or near the surface, it will mean less brushing down the road.

  • Brush often: The more often you brush, the easier it will be to stir up the algae and dislodge unwanted materials from the walls of your pool.

  • Twice per week: The minimum you want to be brushing your pool is twice each week. Once may get you by, but two times will be much more effective.

  • Go easy: Unless black algae has already taken hold in your pool — because you weren't brushing regularly — you do not want to be scrubbing. The more effort you apply, the more likely it is you will accidentally damage your pool.

  • Start with the walls: Starting with the walls and working your way down is simply a more effective cleaning strategy than starting at the bottom and trying to work your way up.

  • Brush to the drain: If you brush the debris toward the bottom drain in the deep end of your pool, it will make vacuuming easier.

  • Rinse after using: To prolong the life of your pool brush, always be sure to rinse the pool water off your brush before storing. The chemicals in the pool water can hasten the deterioration of your brush.

Other products we considered

If you are looking for a powerful little brush that you can use to focus in on those stubborn spots in your gunite pool, Poolmaster’s Five-Inch Aluminum-Back Algae Brush may be just what you need. Or try SweepEase's AquaDynamic Pool Brush, which is 18 inches long and features a spoiler shape that not only uses the water to help with the sweeping, but also makes it easier to push. There is a mixture of bristles on this model that includes stainless steel bristles, so it is not safe on fiberglass, vinyl, or painted pools. If you're looking for a name associated with quality, Poolmaster has the Stanley 18-inch DLX Aluminum-Back Pool Brush. This high-end model is a durable nylon-bristle workhorse that features a rubber bumper to help protect the surface of your pool.

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If you don't want to do the cleaning yourself, a pool service will gladly perform the chores for $75 to $100 (or more) per cleaning.


Q. Why do I need to brush my pool?

A. Brushing is a little bit like dusting your home. If you don’t do it, the tiny particles build up gradually, turning into dirt and filth that is much harder to clean off. In a pool, besides being harder to clean off, the grime that builds up can be food for bacteria. Your pool filter and vacuuming can do little to remove the buildup in trouble spots. If left undisturbed, it won't be long before your swimming pool becomes an unhealthy environment to enter.

Q. How often should I brush my pool?

A. Even if you have an automatic pool cleaner, you will want to take a brush to your pool at least once, if not twice, every week. As with most maintenance, if you keep up with it, the work required will be minimal — you just need a light brushing to keep algae, calcium, or other minerals from gaining a firm foothold on any pool surface. Additionally, once you stir up the algae by brushing it off the walls, the sanitizer in your pool will be much more effective.

Q. I have a new pool. Does that mean I can brush it less often?

A. Not at all. Actually, the opposite is true for most pools. The materials used in the construction of your pool will continue to cure, even after water has been added. The calcium and other minerals that are in your water will not only stain your pool, they may also create areas of plaster that easily fall off or chip away. Newly constructed in-ground pools should be gently brushed up to three times every day for at least two weeks.

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