How to Pick the Best Pool Cleaner

Published Categorized as Pool Care, Pool Maintenance
Robotic vacuum cleaner for pool
Cleaning the pool bottom with an underwater robotic vacuum cleaner.

We conducted tests and reviewed several automatic inground pool cleaners on various large and small pools.

Here are our TOP SELECTIONS for the best swimming pool cleaners. If you have a pool, you’ll need some sort of pool cleaner to maintain it clean and debris-free.

If you’re still unsure about which pool cleaner to choose among our picks, worry not because we will also give you some advice on how to choose the best one.

Table of Content show

Pool Cleaner Types

Let’s look at each automatic pool cleaner further and what they can do to clean up a swimming pool.

Manual vs. Robotic Pool Cleaners

A pool cleaner comes as both robot pool cleaners and manual types.

Top robotic pool cleaners clean your pool on their own. While pressure and suction types can be the best robotic pool cleaners, they make sure they get complete coverage.

It’s up to you if you want to use a robotic pool cleaner instead of a manual if your pool requires it.

Suction Pool Cleaners

The MOST POPULAR automatic pool cleaners are suction pool cleaners.

A suction-side pool cleaner uses the suction from your swimming pool pump and may be readily plugged into your pool skimmer or cleaner line.

A suction side pool cleaner’s primary function is to clean the bottom of your swimming pool, but some models can also clean the sides.

Pressure Pool Cleaner

A pressure pool cleaner attaches to your pool’s filtration system and propels itself around it using the water pressure.

They’ve grown in popularity as well. They are a LESS EXPENSIVE alternative to robotic cleaners.

However, a pressure-side pool cleaner requires a booster pump and needs to have the debris bag cleaned and changed.

This type of cleaner does its best work as a ground pool cleaner but can still clean an above-ground pool well.

Pressure Side Cleaner

Pressure side pool cleaners are amazing in attaching to the return jet and utilizing sufficient water pressure from the pool filtration system.

They also do not suck away the debris into the filter compared to suction side pool cleaners.

Rather, pressure-side cleaners let the water flow into the cleaner that powers the wheels using a turbine, then spray the water above to a filter bag found in the unit.

More about pressure side cleaners

A pressure-side cleaner’s price is usually at an AVERAGE RATE. It keeps the pool clean by relying on the booster pump to increase the pressure when cleaning.

The pressured water drives the wheels, which creates a suction that cleans the pool’s floor and walls. These cleaners frequently come with their bags, which is helpful for your pool filter.

Suction Side Pool Cleaners

A suction pool cleaner is believed to be the MOST COST-EFFECTIVE OPTION because its booster pump is KEY to its highly efficient way of suctioning debris with a long hose.

The filter system and skimmer are the parts that pool owners should spend time cleaning since suction side cleaners work in a random direction along walls.

Although the suction side pool cleaner is initially cheap, the energy cost won’t be. This is because this suction side pool cleaner pump is used A LOT when cleaning a swimming pool.

Suction-side pool cleaners utilize the pool’s filter pump to vacuum your pool. It connects to your pool skimmer and works much like a manual vacuum cleaner.

Furthermore, if the cleaner is stuck or accumulates huge dirt and jams the filtration system while you are away.

Robotic Pool Cleaners

This cleaner is driven around the pool by a built-in motor. They also contain an inbuilt water pump and a mesh filter bag that captures particles.

It’s a SELF-CONTAINED automatic pool vacuum that doesn’t require you to turn on your full filtration system to operate.

Pool floor cleaning is also possible while the filter system is turned off. It ENHANCES WATER FLOW and filters the water down to 2 microns through the mesh bag.

A robotic cleaner is an EXPENSIVE UNIT that can still make your life easier by being an impressive above-ground pool cleaner and an inground pool cleaner.

This pool vacuum also helps the filter last longer.

Manual Pool Cleaners

It isn’t as good as a pool robot cleaner at climbing the walls, but it cleans the pool bottom THOROUGHLY. Coming from all shapes and sizes, they can be of major use to you.

This can be used as an above-ground pool cleaner compared to other automatic pool cleaners than can only do so much when left on their own devices.

These are the BEST pool cleaners if you prefer pool cleaning by hand.

Choosing the Best Pool Cleaners

As pool owners, you might have encountered or have already seen three types of pool cleaners:

When choosing which of the automatic pool cleaners are the best in terms of budget, overall quality and popularity, consider the following:

  • The LOCATION of the pool
  • How the LAYOUT of the pool was done
  • How much TIME will be put into the pool cleaning

We also categorize our recommendations according to the following criteria, with the top three being the most important to clean your swimming pool:

  1. Best overall
  2. Best value
  3. Best budget pick

Best Automatic Pool Cleaners

We have rounded up each pool cleaner that EFFECTIVELY cleans up dirt and debris within a pool liner, an above-ground pool, and in-ground swimming pools.

Pool owners have different preferences, so it’s up to you which are the best automatic pool cleaners, including the manual ones.

Polaris Vac-Sweep – Best Overall


For maintaining your in-ground pool, we recommend the Polaris Vac-Sweep 360.

This pressure-side pool cleaner is powered by hydraulic pressure from the pool’s return line and may be used on ALL in-ground pool forms and surfaces, like vinyl, pebble, tile, and more.

The vacuum cleaner’s three jets provide GREATER suction strength, and the 2.25-inch inlet helps gather large and small dirt.

Additional Features

Compared to every other pool cleaner with the same model, the 360 doesn’t need an extra booster pump. It is capable of cleaning the entire pool in three hours or less.

You must REGULARLY clean the mesh screen in the hose aperture; otherwise, the vacuum’s pressure will deteriorate.

Pros and Cons – Polaris Vac-Sweep

  • Installation is easy
  • Can catch big and small debris
  • Cleaning time only lasts for three hours or less
  • Keeps debris away from the filter system
  • Cleans staircases easily
  • This pool vacuum has three jets for better suction
  • Small filter bag
  • Clogs form on the mesh screen quickly

Dolphin Nautilus CC Plus – Best Robotic Pool Cleaner


The Dolphin Nautilus CC Plus detects your pool to determine the best path for cleaning your pool’s floor and walls.

Only a few cleaners accomplish this, so it is the right pool cleaner for in-ground pools.

Two scrubbing brushes are included in the Dolphin Nautilus, which you can use to scrub and climb walls.

It scrubs your pool’s floor while scooping up small particles. It works on ALL pool surfaces, including vinyl liners, concrete, and fiberglass.

The Dolphin Nautilus CC Plus’ built-in filter system can be taken out, drained, washed, and refilled easily, making the robotic pool cleaner work.

Pros and Cons – Dolphin Nautilus CC Plus

  • Easy to set up
  • Convenient usability
  • Efficient cleaning cycle
  • Has two filter sizes
  • Comes with a weekly timer
  • Shuts off automatically
  • Can be quite costly
  • Customer service mishaps

Dolphin Premier Robotic Pool Cleaner – Best Value


This pool cleaner is designed to work in pools up to 50 feet long, and the plug-and-play build makes it simple to set up and use, even as an above-ground pool cleaner.

It cleans not just the floor and walls of vinyl, fiberglass, and gunite pools but also the waterline, ensuring that every inch of your pool is SPOTLESS.

Two motors and double scrubbing brushes provide the necessary power, and it also uses 90% less energy than suction and pressure cleaners.

Pros and Cons – Dolphin Premier Robotic Pool Cleaner

  • Automatic pool vacuum that’s perfect for 50-feet pools
  • Pool vacuum cables do not tangle
  • Scrubs up the pool walls and waterline
  • Built-in weekly scheduler
  • Three different filters
  • This pool vacuum is super pricey

POOLWHALE Vacuum Cleaner – Best Budget Pick


This manual pool cleaning tool is a COST-EFFECTIVE and straightforward-to-use solution if you want to keep things simple.

All you have to do is connect the vacuum to a garden hose and use the brush head and mesh debris collection bag that comes with it.

The suction created by the water pressure from the hose sucks leaves and other debris into the bag when you turn on the water.

The vacuum may then be guided around the floor of your above-ground pool using the attached metal pole.

Pros and Cons – POOLWHALE Vacuum Cleaner

  • Affordable inground pool cleaner
  • Easy assembly and dismantling
  • Has a metal pole
  • The compact unit makes it easy to store
  • Doesn’t have a hose
  • Water sprays everywhere if not submerged

Zodiac Baracuda G3


This one is the best for in-ground pools. The Zodiac G3 Automatic Pool Cleaner can keep your in-ground pool sparkling clean.

The big 36-fin disc on this suction-side cleaner helps it grip the pool floor and walls and avoid getting trapped on lighting, drain covers, and fittings.

The cleaner works with either single- or two-or variable-speed pumps, and it controls water flow INSTANTLY, making it suitable for low-speed pumps.

This pool cleaner has only one working element, which reduces the risk of breaking and simplifies cleaning.

It connects to your skimmer or suction line without any tools, and it includes scuff-resistant hoses that won’t scratch your pool walls.

However, keep in mind that this cleaner works best with little and medium-sized debris, and it will clog if it comes into contact with several leaves or branches.

Pros and Cons – Zodiac Baracuda G3

  • A pool cleaner for walls, floors, and steps
  • Functions well with slow pumps
  • Huge fin disc for optimal suction
  • The risk for breakage is minimal
  • Quiet machine for a ground pool vacuum
  • Not good for large debris
  • The extra hose is needed for larger pools
  • This ground pool vacuum tends to get stuck

Aquabot Rover S2-40


The GREATEST automatic pool cleaner for above-ground pools is the Aquabot Pool Rover S2-40.

It helps clean far better than robotic pool vacuum or pressure-side cleaners and does NOT require additional setup.

It is far MORE AFFORDABLE than other above-ground pool robots while maintaining the same level of cleaning performance.

The free-spinning wheels move the Pool Rover S2-40. They are not connected to a motor, which requires complex mechanical linkages and many damaged or broken components.

Other Pool Cleaner Features

Since it often deteriorates, it conserves energy and makes the S2-40 considerably EASIER to repair.

The S2-40 exceeds perhaps some huge in-ground robotic pool cleaners with an 80 gallons per minute vacuum rate.

The additional suction force is crucial for cleaning because this robotic pool cleaner lacks scrubbing brushes, especially when particles have accumulated in the filter bag.

Pros and Cons – Aquabot Rover S2-40

  • Its filter bag is highly capable of containing smaller particles.
  • This robotic pool vacuum is easy to set up
  • Performs better than typical robotic pool cleaners
  • Doesn’t have dual scrubbing brushes
  • Filter bag needs to be in a constant cleaning cycle

XtremepowerUS Automatic Suction Pool Cleaner


This XtremepowerUS automatic pool cleaner is a GREAT CHOICE for above-ground pools since it comes with a hose that can reach up to 30 feet.

The suction-side cleaner cleans the walls and floor of the pool and is compatible with all pool materials, including concrete and vinyl.

The device connects to your existing filtration system and requires a pool pump with at least 1 horsepower to work effectively.

This cleaner’s hose is made up of ten pieces that you can change to meet your pool’s length, and it navigates around your pool on its own, decreasing your workload.

Other Features

The cleaner is EFFECTIVE against dirt, algae, and other small particles, but it is not designed to remove larger waste like leaves and sticks.

It can also be difficult to set up because the deflector and vacuum power may need to be adjusted.

However, after you’ve got everything set up correctly, you can just sit back and enjoy it clean itself.

Pros and Cons – XtremepowerUS Automatic Suction

  • Cost-effective
  • Good for 30-feet pools
  • Efficient in every pool surface
  • The dedicated suction line is adjustable
  • Not suitable for cleaning up leaves and other large debris
  • Hard to assemble

Poolmaster 28300 Big Sucker Swimming Pool Cleaner


This model is BEST for leaves capturing and other large debris within the pool.

Several pool cleaners, as you’ve seen, struggle with huge debris. If your pool is close to a tree, you might consider purchasing the Poolmaster Big Sucker Leaf Vacuum.

This AFFORDABLE DEVICE is made specifically for leaves and other heavy debris, and it’s a perfect supplement to a standard pool cleaner.

The Big Sucker is 15 inches wide and has eight high-pressure jets below it.

When connected to a garden hose, the hydraulic pressure drives leaves into the detachable, all-purpose collection bag, which is simple to dump.

Turn off the hose before removing the vacuum from your pool; water will fly out if the device isn’t immersed.

Pros and Cons – Poolmaster 28300 Big Sucker

  • Affordable pool cleaner
  • Efficient in covering the pool ground
  • Catches large debris
  • Easy to use, even on above ground pools
  • Doesn’t have a pole

Hayward W3PVS20JST Poolvergnuegen Pool Cleaner


Suction-side pool cleaners, such as the Hayward Poolvergnuegen use the pool’s pump to suck particles into the skimmer via a hose.

This common version is perfect for gunite, vinyl, fiberglass, pebble, and tile surfaces and may be used on in-ground pools up to 16 x 32 feet.

Attach it to a pump with at least a half-HP for best performance.

The Poolvergnuegen cleans the floor and walls more thoroughly by AUTOMATICALLY NAVIGATING around them.

Its textured wheels let it go over drains and up walls, and its retractable roller skirts keep it suction-free on rough ground.

Pros and Cons – Hayward W3PVS20JST Poolvergnuegen

  • Great for small to medium pools
  • Jagged wheels help the unit climb well
  • Consistent suction on uneven surfaces
  • The throats of the unit can be switched
  • This ground pool cleaner is bad at cleaning corners

Pool Blaster Max Cordless Rechargeable Pool Cleaner


The Pool Blaster Max is a wireless, rechargeable alternative that comes at a fair price if you don’t mind moving a pool cleaner around.

This one-of-a-kind rechargeable pool cleaner has no hoses or cables, and its battery lasts up to an hour per charge, which should be enough to clean even the larger pools.

The vacuum cleaner has a 10.5-inch vacuum head for large areas and a crevice nozzle for reaching into small spaces.

It’s an EXCELLENT CHOICE for scrubbing pool stairs and other difficult-to-reach areas.

This pool cleaner may be used manually or attached to a regular telescopic pool pole.

Pros and Cons – Pool Blaster Max Cordless Rechargeable Pool Cleaner

  • User-friendly ground pool cleaner
  • Doesn’t require hoses and wires
  • Runs for an hour with battery
  • Perfect for scrubbing pool stairs
  • Doesn’t have a pole

Best Overall – Polaris Vac-Sweep

The Polaris Vac-Sweep 360 Pressure Side Pool Cleaner is perfect for a pool cleaner that is suitably priced that can thoroughly clean up large and small debris.

Keeping inground pools clean WITHIN THREE HOURS is now convenient; the inground pools’ maintenance will be made easy compared to regular pool cleaners.

The filter bag blocks the debris away from the pool filter. Other pool cleaners don’t have the maximum pool coverage that Polaris Vac-Sweep has.

Best Value – Dolphin Premier Robotic Pool Cleaner

It has an ANTI-TANGLE CORD that keeps it from becoming tangled up while cleaning, and its sophisticated navigation software guarantees that it cleans every inch of your pool.

Furthermore, the weekly scheduler of this automatic pool cleaner initiates cleaning at the specified time and day.

Best Budget Pick – POOLWHALE Vacuum Cleaner

This is the BEST automatic pool cleaner for anyone looking for the most efficient model but under a tight budget.

The downside to this automatic robotic pool cleaner is it has to be operated manually, and water might get splashed all over the place if it’s not completely submerged.

Frequently Asked Questions

If you want to know other information regarding automatic pool cleaners, check these FAQs below.

What Is the Duration of an Automatic Pool Cleaner?

The way you manage and store your pool cleaner is one of the many elements determining its longevity.

Long-term exposure to chlorine and other pool chemicals can affect the life of a robotic pool cleaner. You can also clean your pool without chemicals.

Most manufacturers recommend removing the cleaner from the pool after every cleaning cycle.

You might be able to use the same pool cleaner for five years or more if you’re willing to change parts like the foot, cleaning disc, head, and other pieces of hardware.

Which One Is Better, a Robotic Pool Cleaner or a Normal Pool Cleaner?

Robotic pool cleaners include onboard filtration and link to their power supplies.

Standard automatic pool cleaners rely on your pool’s skimmer system or a dedicated suction line.

This makes them a SUITABLE ALTERNATIVE for a pool that doesn’t have a strong pump to drive the cleaner.

Or if you don’t want to worry about backwashing your filter system to eliminate the dirt the pool cleaner fits snuggly up.

How Does a Pool Cleaner Keep the Pool Clean?

Dirt, dust, pollen, leaves, bugs, algae, and other particles that influence the water’s clarity and sanitation are caught.

Automatic pool cleaners come with hoses that link to your pool’s skimmer or, if one is available, to a built-in vacuum line.

The pool vacuum travels around the pool, sucking up trash and transferring it to the scrubber or the vacuum line via the hoses.

Others differ in steering patterns and mapping ability, with some units following a randomized cleaning pattern and more complex models following a pre-programmed route.

If you don’t like to clean your pool as often, you can read through our related articles on pool coverages:

Final Thoughts

Pool maintenance involves investing in TOP-QUALITY best pool vacuums and other cleaning equipment that can clean inground swimming pools, above ground pool, etc.

In choosing the one, pool owners are looking for ways to clean their pool surfaces EFFICIENTLY, especially those who own a ground pool and an above-ground pool.

This guide presents you with different kinds of pool vacuums, from the robotic cleaner to the ground pool vacuum with dual scrubbing brushes that can help you keep your pool clean.

By Christine Newton

Hi, I’m Christine. I’m a swimmer and the Lead Editor of YourPool. I’ve been working with content for as long as I can remember, and I really enjoy finding inspiration for our readers. Right now, I’m living in a small pool (literally), but my dream is to have a complete oasis one day. Stay tuned—I’ll make it happen!


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