Keeping our pools clean is essential. Truthfully there is no point in having a pool if it is dirty and filled with leaves. Nobody will want to swim, and the pool with not be worth paying for. A great pool vacuum is worth the investment as it is a tool that you will use on a weekly basis.
With all the pool vacuum cleaners on the market, it is sometimes hard to find one that fits exactly what you are looking for. Luckily we have done some investigative work for you. We can tell you what the best pool vacuums are and how to use pool vacuums, and some tips for keeping your pool clean.
The Best Pool Vacuum Reviews
1. Best Dolphin Pool Vacuum: Dolphin Nautilus CC Automatic Robotic Pool Cleaner – Ideal for Above and In-Ground Swimming Pools up to 33 Feet
- Sit back and relax while the Dolphin Nautilus CC robotic vacuum cleans the pool for you. Ideal for small swimming pools, above or in-ground up to 33 feet. This easy to use, compact cleaner will have your...
- Efficiency is key when it comes to pool cleaning. Unlike suction and pressure cleaners, Dolphins are 8 times more energy efficient and do not rely on your pool pump or filter to get the job done. Ditch the...
- Dolphin does all the hard work for you. Agile and efficient, the Nautilus CC was designed to clean your pool, effortlessly. With superior scrubbing and filtering capabilities, you can relax knowing your...
- Clean your pool with the touch of a button. Schedule the Nautilus CC to automatically clean your swimming pool each week using 3 settings- every day, every other day, or every 3rd day
You will notice that Nautilius is one of the most popular names in the pool cleaning equipment sector. With this Dolphin Nautilus CC, you will get a dolphin robotic pool cleaner that is extremely energy efficient. The Nautilis is very good and climbing the walls of your pool, and you can set it to work three different ways. Choose between every day, every other, or every third day. For maintenance that you don’t have to think about, the Nautilis is a perfect choice.
- Quality brand
- Works in above or inground pool
- Fair price for automatic pool cleaner
- Won’t work on large inground pools; model is not large enough
2. Best Above Ground Swimming Pool Vacuum: XtremepowerUS Climb Wall Pool Cleaner Automatic Suction Vacuum-Generic
- 10 hoses included for up to 30' pool. Ideal for cleaning bottom surface and wall; does not clean stairs
- Require at least a 1 hp swimming pool pump or 1600 GHP to function properly.
- No tools required and no electricity needed; Attaches to your existing filtration system
When looking at pool cleaners, there can be power in numbers. This is one of the most popular selling pool vacuums there is. We really like the functionality that it has for an above ground pool. It is lightweight, simple to install, and large enough for a 30-foot pool. The only thing to remember about the Xtremepower US is that it will not climb the stairs; for most above ground pools, this won’t be an issue. This is an automatic suction model, so you will be able to set it in your pool and walk away.
- Very affordable above ground pool cleaner
- Good speed for section pool cleaners
- Climbs walls quite easily
- Need a high performing pump for suction side cleaners
3. Best Shark Pool Vacuum: Pentair Kreepy Krauly Great White Inground Pool Cleaner
- Automatic in-ground pool cleaner. SmartTrac Programmed Steering easily navigates around pool obstacles for uninterrupted cleaning. Adjustable to ensure the most effective cleaning
- Vacuum port door fitting has a spring-loaded cover for safety
- Cleans gunite, fiberglass, vinyl, and other specialty surfaces in a 15-inch path
- Unique turning mechanism allows escape from difficult areas
If you are looking for the Great White Shark logo on your pool cleaner, this Pentair GW9500 is a great choice to consider. This is an automatic cleaner that will make swimming pool cleaning enjoyable for a pool owner. You can use the Pentair GW9500 on gunite, fiberglass, and vinyl pools. We like the SmartTrac Programmed Steering that allows the vacuum to work its way around the pool. Sometimes you have to watch when pool vacuum cleaners go back and forth over the same spot over and over again. This should not be a problem with the Pentair GW9500.
- Automatic cleaner
- Programs itself in the pool
- Works on a variety of surfaces
- Does not allow for programmability
4. Best Robot Pool Vacuum: Dolphin Premier Robotic Pool Cleaner with Powerful Dual Scrubbing Brushes and Multiple Filter Options
- Drop and go. Easy to use, single button plug and play in-ground robotic pool cleaner ideal for pools up to 50 feet; backed by a 3 year quality assurance.
- CleverClean delivers a smart and efficient clean using advanced algorithms for complete pool coverage. Anti-tangle patented swivel cable allows your Dolphin to move around your pool with ease.
- Powerful, dual scrubbing brushes forcefully attack tough dirt and debris leaving your swimming pool floor, walls and waterline exceptionally clean in 3 hours.
- Multiple filter options for an optimal clean pool. The Premier comes standard with three filter options: bottom-load fine cartridge filters, ultra-fine cartridge filters, and an oversized fine filter bag.
When it comes to automatic and robotic pool cleaner systems, you will see the Dolphin name come up quite a bit. This is a powerful cleaner with dual scrubbing brushes and several different filter options. Robotic pool vacuums have a tendency to get filled up with debris rather quickly. You can change the filter bags on this Dolphin Premier to match with the type of debris you have in your pool. With the Dolphin, there is a filter indication that lets you know when the pool vacuum is full and ready to be cleaned. This is an impressive vacuum cleaner that allows you to give your pool filtration system a break.
- Programmable robot pool vacuum cleaner
- Not a suction side pool cleaner
- Powerful scrubbing brushes
- Interchangeable filter bag
- Robotic pool vacuums are expensive
5. Best Small Pool Vacuum: U.S. Pool Supply Portable Deluxe Jet Pool Vacuum Underwater Cleaner with 5 Section Pole
- A complete professional deluxe jet pool underwater vacuum with a 5 section attachable pole (4 feet long total). The vacuum has 3 scrub brushes and a leaf and debris collection bag.
- The vacuum includes an attachment that allows you to connect your own standard 1-1/4" size telescopic pole of any length. (telescopic pole not included).
- Attaches to a standard garden hose (garden hose not included). The water pressure from your hose creates a venturi effect that will draw leaves and other debris into the collection bag. It is excellent for...
- This deluxe vacuum is ideal for cleaning spas, above-ground pools, ponds, fountains, inflatable pools, and spot cleaning large pools. Replacement collection bags are available for separate purchase.
When you have a small pool, there is sometimes no reason to have a large, expensive automatic pool cleaner. Sometimes the pools pump on a smaller pool will not have enough pressure to keep the pool dirt and debris free. This small US Pool Supply Portable Jet Pool Vacuum Cleaner is a perfect vacuum for a small pool. If you have an inflatable pool or a smaller above ground, this vacuum will help keep pool water free of debris. The small bag and easy to put together handle make this one of the more affordable products on the market. The only downside is that it is not all that good at picking up very small debris.
- Great for a weaker filtration system
- Uses water from the hose to greater enough pressure
- Won’t burn out the pool’s pump
- Not the best for larger pools
- Won’t pick up very small debris, best for leaves
6. Best Battery Operated Pool Vacuum: POOL BLASTER Catfish Ultra Rechargeable
- CAPTURE MORE DIRT: Catfish Ultra features higher debris capacity than the standard Pool Blaster Catfish to capture more leaves, dirt sand and debris.
- CORDLESS: Rechargeable Lithium Ion Battery. No hoses or cords needed. Ideal for In-Ground Pools, Soft-Sided pools and Above Ground Pools like Intex.
- VERSATILE CLEANING: Spot-Clean in seconds or clean the entire pool. Includes a removeable 10.5” vacuum head for general cleaning or simple remove to expose nose cone head for hard to get areas.
- RUN TIME: The lithium ion batter powered Catfish Ultra is designed to run up to 45 minutes.
If you doubt your ability to get involved with your pool’s pump or the pool’s filtration system, then the Pool Blaster Catfish is a perfect choice. This is a pool vacuum head that is completely battery operated. You will be able to charge this vacuum cleaner repeatedly and use it over and over to keep your pool clean. All of the dirt and debris is collected in a small container. This container is simple to dump out and chance between cleanings.
We had no problem getting the Pool Blaster to pick up leaves, dirt, twigs, and more. The most important feature to look for on battery-operated pool vacuums is the run time. This Pool Blaster will give you 45 minutes of cleaning time.
- Easy to operate
- Won’t use the pool’s filtration system
- Have to remember to keep it charged
- Does not include telescoping pole
7. Best Hand Held Pool Vacuum: Intex Rechargeable Handheld Vacuum
- Suitable for use with all pure spas and above ground pools up to 18' Diameter
- Includes two interchangeable brush heads, USB cable for recharging, 94" Lightweight telescoping Aluminum shaft, & SHAFT adapter to fit longer/wider telescoping aluminum shaf
- Automatic shutoff feature when vacuum is not submerged in water, IPX8 waterproof switch for added protection against water submersion
- Keep pool water clean by vacuuming out dirt and debris
- Must be submerged to operate properly.
A handheld pool vacuum simply means that you won’t have an automatic or suction side pool cleaner to help you complete your work. However, the good thing about handheld vacuums is they are easy to use and much less work when dealing with a smaller pool.
This Intex 28620EP is great for anything up to about an 18′ diameter. You will get two interchangeable brush heads and a USB charger with the Intex. Although your run time on this pool vacuum cleaner will not be all that long, you should be able to get an 18′ diameter pool cleaned without having to recharge.
- Lightweight and easy to use
- Won’t need a booster pump
- Great way to keep your pool clean daily
- Won’t hold a charge all that long
8. Best Hayward Pool Vacuum: Hayward Navigator Pro Pool Vacuum (Automatic Pool Cleaner)
- SUPERIOR DEBRIS PICKUP: Designed for gunite surfaces, the unique wing design, wide vacuum inlet and constant suction power, make this cleaner more efficient on cleaning dirt and debris
- PROGRAMMED CLEANING: Exclusive SmartDrive preprogrammed steering pattern offering intelligent, complete pool coverage, covering pool floor, walls and coves while eliminating hose tangles
- SILENT OPERATION: Its advanced suction design cleans efficiently and quietly. And with no pulsating hoses or noisy parts, you're left with a more peaceful pool environment
- EASY MAINTENANCE: No more messy debris bags to empty, Navigator Pro is simple to use and requires minimal regular maintenance
- EASY INSTALLATION: Connects in less than 10 minutes to the skimmer or suction port with no tools required. And since its powered by your existing filtration system, it doesn't require a booster pump
Hayward is another quality name in the pool vacuum department. With this Hayward Navigator Pro, you will benefit from SmartDrive technology to help clean the pool floor, walls, and all those tough to reach places. When other automatic pool cleaner options leave complete areas of the pool dirty, Hayward will ensure that the entire pool is attended to. This Hayward does tap into the pool’s filtration system, but it should not need a booster pump to function properly. Overall you will find this to be an easy vacuum to set up and very efficient and pick up dirt on the pool’s bottom. Make sure to choose a model that works for your pool type.
- Smart drive technology to help guide around the debris
- Won’t put too much pressure on the pool’s filtration system
- *Skirt to help the suction pool cleaners efficiency
- Smaller vacuum head
- Need to choose the proper model for your pool type
9. Best Cheap Pool Vacuum: HydroTools by Swimline Weighted Half Moon Pool Vacuum Head
- Weighted design
- Fits both 1-¼" & 1-½" hose neck
- Classic half moon shape
- Keeps your pool thoroughly clean
- Durable and long lasting
The HydroTools by Swimline is a great pool vacuum head when you need a cheap solution. This particular model will not come with the pole, but you should be able to use one you have for your skimmer. This is a weighted design so that it will grab all the dirt from the bottom of your pool. The half-moon shape of the Hydro Tools vacuum head helps make sure that you can get into corners and on stairs. This is, of course, a manual pool vacuum head; however, it does make for quick work, and pool owners will be happy with the job that it does.
- Very low pricing
- Good choice for manual pool cleaner
- Won’t need much water pressure
- Does not come with a telescoping pole
10. Best Polaris Pool Vacuum: Polaris Vac-Sweep Pressure Side Cleaner
- NO BOOSTER PUMP NEEDED: This advanced pressure-side cleaner is powered by the water pressure coming from the pool's return line, propelling the 360 to eliminate pool debris.
- FOR IN-GROUND POOLS: Safe for all pool shapes and surfaces including vinyl, fiberglass, gunite, pebble, & tile.
- Complete Coverage: The Vac Sweep 360 is equipped with 3 venturi jets that deliver greater vacuum power, while its large 2.25" inlet picks up large debris other cleaner types can't.
- CAPTURES LARGE DEBRIS: Equipped with a filter bag that captures debris before it reaches your pool pump basket or filter, prolonging the life of your filtration system.
This Polaris Pool Vacuum has lots of power and lots of efficiency. Obviously, water flow is a concern for keeping your pool clean, but this Polaris will fly through your pool. It is powered by triple jets, and it works on all pool sizes. The tail sweep is an additional feature that will help to stir up any debris that my stuck on the bottom. If you really want to make sure that your pool walls and bottom are clean, the Polaris can do it. You will get 31 feet of hose and a large filter bag to hold debris. The Polaris is one of the more stable models when it comes to traveling inclines and walls.
- Get’s around the pool with ease
- Good power
- Large bag for debris
- Won’t do well with stairs
What Is a Pool Vacuum?
A pool vacuum is a tool used to remove debris, dirt, and sand from a pool. A pool vacuum will aid in keeping the pool water cleaning however it does not work in the same way as a pool filtration system. With a pool vacuum, you can also use the brushes to keep algae from growing on the pool’s walls and steps. All pools are going to need to be vacuumed from time to time. A pool vacuum cleaner can be something that you use to clean your pool manually, or it can be done automatically as well.
How Does a Pool Vacuum Work?
Depending on the type of pool vacuum you have, the vacuum can work in several different ways.
With a traditional pool vacuum, there is a vacuum head that is pushed around the pool. The head sucks up any debris and runs it through the pool’s filtration system and into the bag on the pool vacuum. You will then be able to empty the filter debris when finished vacuuming.
However, other pool vacuum types will work without using the pool filtration system. These are typically battery operated and sometimes robotic cleaners that travel the pool independently of the pool system.
Types of Pool Vacuums
There are three main types of pool vacuums that pool owners can purchase. When you pick one of these types, you have to consider your pool, your personal dedication to cleaning, and the current set up of your pool pump and maintenance system.
Automatic Pool Vacuum or Suction Side Pool Vacuum
An automatic pool vacuum is exactly like it sounds, you will drop it in the pool, and it will clean for you. Most of these automatic pool vacuums have sections on them that allow them to climb up and down the pool’s walls. These automatic pool cleaners are good for both small and large swimming pools. They don’t do a great job of cleaning the stairs, but that can be easily corrected with a little help from a pool owner. Typically, just before we are finished using the vacuum, we manually place it on the stairs and do a good cleaning job.
- Generally affordable
- Much less need for manual maintenance
- Keeps algae off the side of the pool
- Sometimes, the pressure side cleaners fall of the edge
- Can have a hard time climbing some pool walls
Manual Pool Vacuum
A manual pool vacuum is a vacuum that will require a person to move it around the pool manually. The manual pool vacuum has an attachment on the vacuum head, and it pulls water using the pool pump. The manual pool vacuums are the cheapest of the bunch, but they require more of your time. One of the things that pool owners enjoy about manual pool vacuums is that you can easily work on certain areas of the pool and get them cleaned up quickly.
- Low pricing
- Easy to move around the pool
- Simple setup
- Will require more time
Pool Vacuum Robot
The robotic pool vacuum is usually a stand-alone model that will allow you to vacuum your pool without even turning your pool filter on. These robotic vacuums use an internal motor and an electrical cord to work to cover the entire pool area. With robot pool vacuums, a bag collects debris as the vacuum works its way around the pool.
- Does an excellent job of cleaning the pool
- Easily programable
- Won’t put pressure on pool filter or pump
- Priced higher than other vacuum choices
Related Article: Aquabot Pool Rover Review
Inground Pool Vacuum vs. Above Ground Pool Vacuum
Some pool vacuums are designed to work in both above ground and inground pools. When choosing a pool vacuum, you must make sure it is compatible with your pool type. Inground pool vacuums need to be able to reach depths of at least 8 feet. Therefore if you are using a manual vacuum, you will need a telescoping pole.
Smaller battery-operated handheld pool vacuums are made for above ground pools only. They typically don’t have the ability to handle the water pressure or depth of the inground pool. When you use a robotic pool vacuum cleaner, make sure that the cord is long enough to handle your inground pool size.
Although most of these vacuums will be able to work in both above and inground pools, you will have to verify before purchasing.
Reasons a Swimming Pool Vacuum Is Necessary
Although a filter can do a great job of keeping pool water clean and swimmable, it is still not enough to complete all of your pool maintenance. In fact, filters will keep pH levels on track, alkalinity, and even reduce algae; however, they can’t clean up leaves on the bottom of your pool. If your pool tends to get dirty, you will need a swimming pool vacuum to clean up this debris.
When you leave debris on the bottom of your pool, it will eventually throw off your pool water chemistry. Debris can also end up leaving stains on your pool floor or side. The bottom line is that you will need a pool vacuum to maintain water clarity and make the pool more inviting.
Considerations for Buying a Pool Vacuum
As you can see from our list of the best pool vacuum cleaners, there are quite a few choices on the market. Many of these options will be suitable, making your choice a bit more difficult. Let’s look at a few of the things that will help you decide which of the best pool vacuum cleaners is the right choice for you.
Type of Pool
When you purchase a pool vacuum cleaner, you need to consider if you have an above ground or an inground pool. In addition, you must consider the construction of your pool. For instance, with some vinyl pool liners, the pressure side cleaners do a better job than the suction side.
Some pool cleaners will become damaged from running across the more rough surfaces if you have a gunite pool. Check the vacuum information about the type of pool that it is acceptable to be used in.
Size of Pool
Pool vacuums come in a variety of sizes. If you have a very large pool, make sure that the vacuum that you purchase is approved to work in larger pools. Some of the robotic pool cleaner vacuums only come with a certain length cord. Therefore it will leave areas of your pool filled with debris.
Pool Vacuum Cleaner Type
The types of vacuum cleaners include pressure side pool vacuums, suction side, and robotic pool cleaners. Each of these has its pros and cons. Choose something that works for your budget and the amount of time you want to invest in cleaning your pool.
Pool vacuum cleaners tend to vary considerably in price based on features. You can spend anywhere from $20 to $1500 or more for the best pool vacuum cleaners. Keep in mind that the more expensive cleaners are going to require less work from the pool owners.
With automatic and robotic pool cleaners, you can sometimes program the unit to run every day or every other day. This is a nice feature and takes the hands-off approach even a step further. The only thing you need to remember is to clean the filter bag with the best pool vacuum options.
Related Article: Wanda the Whale: Suction Pool Cleaner Review
How to Vacuum a Pool
Pool vacuum cleaners should not be all that difficult to use. As long as you follow these steps, you should have no issues with getting your pool one hundred percent clean.
1. Choose a Vacuum and Prepare Pool
Your first step in this process will be to choose a vacuum from our list above. If you choose a robotic pool cleaner or an automatic cleaner, your process may vary slightly. We will look at how to clean the pool with a manual cleaner, traditional pool vacuum cleaners.
When you have your vacuum setup and ready to use, we first recommend clearing the pool of anything that may be in the way. Take all floats and toys out of the pool, and skim the top of the pool. Removing these things will make it easier to vacuum.
2. Lower Vacuum Into Pool
Next, you will take the vacuum head and lower it completely to the bottom of the pool. One end of the vacuum hose will be connected to the head. The other end should be in your hand. Next, you will fill the vacuum hose with water to ensure that the head and the hose have enough weight to be pulled to the pool’s bottom.
Once the vacuum hose is filled with water, you can then connect it to your skimmer suction vent. Of course, your pool filter will have to be on for this process to work. When you place the end of the vacuum hose over this suction plate, it should grab hold of the hose and initiate the vacuum process.
4. Clean Pool
As you are vacuuming the pool, you will want to move the pool vacuum cleaner’s head around the pool rather slowly. The head of the vacuum will tend to stir up dirt and make it harder for the vacuum to grab it. Move slowly, and you will have much better success.
5. Finish Process
Once you have completed vacuuming, you will need to remove the vacuum hose from the filter return and place the skimmer top back on. Drain your vacuum completely and drain the hose as well. Ensure that when you store the hose that you wrap it carefully so that it will unwind itself.
Pool Vacuum FAQ
What Is the Best Pool Vacuum?
The automatic pool vacuum seems to be the most popular amongst pool owners. With the automatic cleaners, you can leave them in the pool and set them to run every other day. They do a great job of climbing the pool walls and keeping algae and bacteria out. The pricing on the automatic filters is a bit lower than the robotic cleaners.
Are Pool Vacuums Worth It?
Pool vacuums are worth the money. If you pay to put a pool in and keep the water clear, you may as well keep it clean enough to swim in it. When you consider what it would cost to have someone come to your home each week to vacuum your pool, pool vacuum cleaners are a great value.
How Much Do Pool Vacuum Cleaners Cost?
Pool vacuum cleaners tend to cost anywhere from $40 to $1400. The features vary greatly between the different models. Pricing for robotic and automatic cleaners tends to be higher than manual pool vacuums.
How Long Do Pool Vacuum Cleaners Last?
Plan on your pool vacuum lasting about five years. If you take good care of the vacuum and your pool chemistry is typically accurate, you may get a vacuum that could last closer to eight or nine years. People with pools that are used year-round may see their pool vacuum deteriorate quicker.
Can You Use a Shop Vac to Vacuum a Pool?
You can use a shop vac to help you empty a pool, and you can use it to vacuum out an empty pool, but you can’t use it to clean the bottom of your pool. Although shop vacs are used in wet/dry locations, they are not equipped to clean the bottom of a swimming pool.
Recap: Best Pool Vacuum
The best pool vacuum cleaner will help you to enjoy your time spent in your pool this summer. In addition, you will have a much easier time keeping your water chemistry balanced. Pool vacuums come in many different styles, and it may take a bit of research to find the best one for you. The Dolphin Nautilus CC is one of the best pool vacuum cleaners on the market. With this model, you can truly leave the pool cleaning and maintenance in the hands of your vacuum. Although an automatic cleaner like this costs a bit extra, it will keep your pool crystal clear.
For over 15 years, Sean Moore has been sharing his love and enthusiasm for swimming pools and hot tubs with everyone he knows. His goal is to help everyday people DIY their maintenance to save money by teaching how to properly take care of your equipment, safely and correctly balance chemicals, and extend the life of your water oasis.
Pricing on this page was last updated on 2022-10-01