Looking for a cleaner? Check out our top ten favorite pool cleaners and a review of each one.
Ah, the joys of summer. Lounging by the pool and enjoying the feel of cool, aquamarine water as you jump in and swim. But unless you have an adequate method to keep those waters clean, crystal clear becomes a pool of murk if you’re not careful. You can hire a service to keep the pool clean, and it’s a great way to do it. If you prefer to clean your pool yourself, however, then you want to keep a few things in mind.
How big is your pool? How much time do you have to clean it? How much do you want to spend up front on pool cleaning equipment?
Considering these three factors will give you a pretty good idea of the best pool cleaner for you. Read on to discover our ten favorite choices and discover a little bit about each one.
Spend some time with our guide to discover why endlessly clear, blue water is in your future!
If you have an in-ground residential pool that measures up to 50 feet long, try the Dolphin Nautilus. This easy-to-use robotic pool cleaner provides an effortless, sparkling clean in three hours or less
The BARRACUDA can manage small to medium debris sizes. It will clean the walls, floor, and steps of your pool.
This is a quiet, powerful suction cleaner. It works with pumps that have a lower speed for maximum cleaning efficiency.
The patented FlowKeeper Valve will automatically regulate the flow of water to keep optimal cleaning performance, regardless of the power of the pool’s pump.
The cleaner offers a durable, long-life Diaphragm made from reliable technology and the ease of a single moving part.
The cleaner comes with a series of scuff-resistant hoses. These have a long life and are designed to keep from leaving marks on pool surfaces.
The wheel deflector allows for sharp turns.
The 36-Fin cleaning disc significantly increases the adhesion to the pool’s surface. The design allows the tool to avoid getting hung-up on pool features like drain covers, lights, and fittings.
The G3 suction cleaner is designed to work in all in-ground pools. It can be installed in two simple steps: 1. Attach the disc, the wheel deflector and the hose 2. Connect the tool to the skimmer or the dedicated suction line. As a bonus, no tools or special plumbing is required for hookup and startup.
A versatile choice for small and medium pools with small and medium debris.
If you don’t have large leaves or seed pods, this will keep every surface of your pool looking great and feeling good. Cleaning is easy and the attachments are simple to assemble, disassemble, and troubleshoot.
Easy to assemble, troubleshoot, and repair on your own
36-blade cleaner is effective on almost any surface
Does have some parts that will wear out and need periodic replacement
This is the model that people buy when they’re unhappy with their current automatic pool cleaning robot. There are few recommendations that are stronger than this.
If you’re tired of your current pool robot because it just doesn’t do what you want, this is the model to buy. People purchase the Polaris F9550 sport because of many things. First, it is almost all plastic, which is a must for saltwater pools which will corrode with a steel unit. The lightweight of the robot also works great if you are small or you cannot handle heavy units without risk of injury.
Polaris offers everything you would want in a powerful robot, and it is the machine that people gravitate toward when they are unhappy with other models. A strong and powerful endorsement that may have you wanting to save time and buy the one that will work for you right away.
A safe bet for anyone looking for a powerful vacuum with a ton of cool features.
The Polaris does a great job with both fine particles and large pieces. Its 60-foot cord allows you to clean even big pools (so long as you don’t use an extension cord).
It offers a light body that corrosion-resistant, even in saltwateris . It will drive to the edge nearest you via remote control and then rise to the surface to make it as easy as possible to remove it. It comes with a cool, corrosion-resistant caddy for easy and stylish storage.
Heavy sand or fine pollen, this guy filters like nobody’s business
SO. MANY. COOL. FEATURES. Caddy, remote control, power lift…
Light and easy to use
Works great in saltwater pools with no risk of corrosion
Can work on any kind of pool material
Can climb sides and stairs
Extension cords void the warranty. Read the fine print.
Using the wrong filter type does not provide the results you may want.
Meet a pool cleaner that is as easy to love as the marine mammal!
If you have an in-ground residential pool that measures up to 50 feet long, try the Dolphin Nautilus. This easy-to-use robotic pool cleaner provides an effortless, sparkling clean in three hours or less.
Simply turn it on and stick it in the pool. The three-hour timer and power supply will ensure that it has completed its job by then. Underwater obstacles are no problem, as it has a swivel cable to turn without tangling.
The built-in program estimates the pool’s shape and size to create a pattern. This ensures that the whole pool gets clean every time, without worrying about missing a spot. It may not be as cute and lovable as a real live dolphin, but it’s just as smart.
Bottom line, robots are awesome, and this is an awesome robot.
When it comes to robots, there are a few important things to consider.
How does it decide where to clean (random pattern versus programming based on detection of the area), how long does it clean (this is typically based on the length of the power supply and what it does when filters get full) and how well does it clean?
On all three fronts, the dolphin comes in strong.
Warranty is only 90 days and limited at that, but the wide array of positive reviews suggest that this shouldn’t be a major concern. The dolphin seems to keep the pool effortlessly clean for the bulk of users for about ten years.
Welcome to the aquarobot age! This is a great introduction that will have you smiling every time you dive into your clean water.
Shock your pool at least once every week by adding large quantities of chlorine to kill contaminants and remove cloudiness.
As easy to use as putting it in the pool and turning it on.
Multiple filter choices for light or heavy (spring) cleans
Easy-reach filter for cleanout
Three-hour clean with programmable pattern to assure everything gets cleaned out
Swivel cord to keep from tangling or twisting
Long life so the up-front cost ends up being quite efficient
More expensive than non-robotic cleaners
Dirty pools require multiple filter cleans during use
It can be tricky for some to safely get the robot when it is done cleaning as it does not return to a “home” position
A good manual vacuum that works well for irregular concrete pool bottoms.
The Poolvergnuegen is a great choice for pools that are irregularly shaped on the bottom and have features that can break the suction. It features skirts that can adjust in size to keep the vacuum seal while navigating rough terrain. It is designed especially for concrete.
It can be adapted for fiberglass pools if you purchase different wheels that won’t scratch the surface. The biggest draw for many about this particular model is that it is designed especially for low-capacity pool pumps. There are not a lot of great models on the market that service this type of pool, and this is a true winner.
Get your cleaning groovin’ with the Poolvergnuegen.
This is an excellent overall cleaner if you want a manual pool vacuum that will work on small, concrete pools. It is especially nice considering there aren’t a lot of great options in the low-flow pump category. If this is your situation, then you’re getting a quality instrument at a reasonable price. You can’t do much better.
This is an old trick used to remove surface oils caused by makeup, lotion, and other body oils.
Works with pumps that are low-flow, a rare and valuable asset.
Excellent manual cleaning capacity
Wheels are specially designed for concrete pool bottoms and sides
A favorite of many pool cleaning professionals
Some find it tricky to climb pool walls- it may take some instruction
A straightforward manual vac with a lot of great reviews.
The Kreepy Krauly Great White is a standard vac with a rubber skirt at the bottom to make sure it is sucking from the wall or ground and not the water around it. It is a very simple design, but this is the genius of it.
This makes it easy to assemble, use, and troubleshoot. The rubber skirt is longer than needed to allow you to keep suction while changing from the floor to the wall or navigating over lights and other uneven surfaces.
A strong, all-purpose contender.
If you don’t want to spend a lot of money, you want a light cleaner that’s not complicated to use yourself, and you don’t have a huge pool, this is a great choice. Its simplicity is a win because there are few major parts to repair or replace (the skirt being the main one) and there are many, many, many satisfied customers.
Simple, straightforward, easy to troubleshoot
Cleans most kinds of pool surfaces easily and without hassle
Light and easy to manually use
Rubber skirt enhances cleaning efficiency
Rubber skirt needs occasional replacement
cable length limits your pool to 16 X 32. This is not long enough to use on a 20 X 40 pool.
The Pool Rover Jr. comes with several accessories. This includes floating cable that can stretch to 40 feet, a power supply transformer, and a built-in filter bag that is reusable and sifts to 2 microns. The power supply has a pair of options which come in 2-hour or 3-hour option varieties
This robotic cleaner is fully automatic. It vacuums any shape of the flat-bottomed pool. This includes oval, rectangular, irregular, and round. It requires no hoses and can clean an above-ground pool in under an hour
Powered by a pump motor that provides a combination of 24 volts of vacuum power. This offers excellent suction and powerful propulsion through its jet drive. The cleaner starts and runs independently. One-button activation is all you need
Cleaner comes with an automatic shut-off timer that lasts 2 hours. This feature reduces extraneous water usage, chemical additives, and the cost of electricity. The motor offers a limited warranty for one year
Please refer to the provided or online user manual. This provides instructions regarding troubleshooting, typical use, and care
Built-in pump offers a powerful suction rate of more than 70 Gallons per minute
Cleaner works best with flat bottom above-ground pools
Filtration system has an access panel located on the bottom
Safe cleaning for all surface materials, including vinyl liner pools
Another strong contender in the pool robot category. Read on to see what sets this particular model apart from the crowd!
This little blue pool Aquabot looks a lot like the robots that landed on Mars, and are just as useful. It can manage the surface of any pool with its four-wheeled design, regardless of shape and material. Filters are simple to change out with a bottom access filtration system. (A common user error is to open this underwater or when it is not upside down, which drops the dirt out. It is a less messy endeavor to clean when you avoid this.)
It can suck up to 70 gallons per minute and works for a predetermined time based on the power source, which can be bought in a 2-hour or 3-hour version. The cable stretches to 40 feet, which means that you can clean a pool up to 40 by 40 feet in dimension.
One pool user suggests cutting a pool noodle into sections and putting them around the pool cleaner. This helps to keep the cable from tangling and allow it to float.
This pool robot is designed to make your life easier and it lives up to the hype.
Pools of any shape and surface type are no match for this wily robot, which works with the push of a button. It is cute, blue, and ready to go. It is easy to fix when the occasional part needs service, and the customer service department is very helpful and responsive regarding troubleshooting your robot.
It collects a large number of items (even small toys, which can be collected through the filter bag at the end and rinsed off) and is a great addition to any home that fulfills the promise of no-worry, low-effort pool cleaning.
A robot who can truly make your life easier. Excellent.
Gives a good clean at the push of a button
Snap-out filter bags make it easy to clean the filter system without backflushing
Works great on all sizes and weights of debris
Vacuum bag holds even the tiniest particles and keeps the water sparkling clean
Some users will run it for more than a 2 to 3-hour cycle to get a better clean
Parts will need occasional replacement (but there is a great customer service program who can help you to troubleshoot and obtain the replacement parts you need).
This amazing unit is easy to operate, and can clean all pool surfaces in less than two and half hours! This means that you can always keep your pool clean while saving enough time to attend to other chores.
Tangling is not a problem as it features a patented swivel cable that ensures obstacle-free cleaning. Furthermore, with its smart navigation function, you can always be sure of a spotless pool floor
A lightweight robot that pushes above its weight!
In this case, the fact that it really sucks is the highest compliment!
The consistent comment about this cleaning robot, in addition to how easy it is to use, is how well it cleans. Many other robots clean at about 80%, and this is good enough to run all day and to save lots of work with a bit of compromise. But this simply offers a higher level of clean with the same amount of ease.
There is some maintenance required after a couple years, but if you keep it well-tuned and you examine parts for replacement a few times per year, you can stay on top of it the same way you would a car or a lawn mower. All in all, a great model that is light enough for anyone to use.
One of the strongest contenders in the group. An excellent cleaner for a lower price than many other robots.
Clean your pool at least once every week to keep it in top shape.
Extra large top load filter capacity
Can rotate 360 degrees without tangling
CleaverClean Technology for smart navigation and deep cleaning
Recommended by many pool cleaning professionals
Does not clean cement pools exceptionally well
Some customers have reported that the power supply is not powerful enough
Hayward has found a way to create an incredibly efficient, nearly trouble-free automatic pool cleaning robot. For those who hate replacing parts, tuning up machines, and troubleshooting worn mechanical parts, there is no higher praise.
The one complaint that users of this pool robot seem to have is that it has a filter compartment, not a bag, and it doesn’t have nearly the capacity they would like to have when cleaning pools. But if you’re willing to trade occasional filter cleanouts for never having to get a new part, then this is the cleaner for you.
It runs on a surprisingly low amount of energy and offers a faster clean cycle than many competitors. This means that you can run it twice if you want to be extra clean with a filter purge in between. The solid, well-engineered design and hefty construction mean that there are no flimsy parts to break on you, which can be a huge relief. Best of all, it does a great job cleaning.
There are not many cases where you can truly buy peace of mind. This, however, is one of them.
If you want to spend your time cleaning but not maintaining, the Tiger Shark is definitely the product you want to buy. As an automatic robot, it already saves you time by doing the cleaning for you.
However, you save additional time in the fact that you rarely if ever need to worry about a broken part or an unresponsive customer service department. With all of this time, you can take up a new hobby. Or you can just sit back, sip your mojito, and watch your Tiger Shark do all of the cleaning for you.
A great automatic cleaner that is miles ahead when it comes to customer satisfaction. Gotta love it.
One of the most trouble-free cleaners on the market when it comes to parts not breaking or needing replacement
The Intex Auto Pool Cleaner is specifically designed for Intex above ground pools. Unlike other cleaners that come complete, this unit requires a separate filter pump with flow dynamics of up to 3,500 GPH.
It has a simple design that features a 24” 7 hose that attaches to the inlet connector. Unfortunately, this cleaner does not work with in-ground pools, but makes up for this shortcoming with great performances on other types of pools.
Spend your time at the pool swimming in sparkling clean water and touching down on immaculate surfaces rather than searching for the spots that the automated robot missed. Your family will find it much more relaxing, and so will you.
A great little workhorse that has a lot of versatility.
If you are a looking for a simple, affordable cleaner for your above ground pool, then consider the Intex Auto Pool Cleaner. This cleaner offers great value for money considering that it is less than 100 bucks. The fact that it does not clog or lose suction during cleaning makes it the perfect choice for anyone with an above ground pool.
Whether your reason is well-researched or whimsical, you can feel safe in the fact that this is a well-loved, reliable machine that comes with the kinds of options that satisfy just about anyone.
Less time worrying and more time lounging by or swimming in your spotless pool. Nothing wrong with that.
Lets you run an automated cycle or run it via remote control
Comes with two sets of filters, depending on whether you are cleaning large or fine items
Comes with its own storage caddy
Great at climbing walls and stairs
May get stuck on underwater obstacles like lights and drains
Using the wrong filter will not give you the level of clean you want
You’ve made the rest of your pool sparkling. What about the floaties on the surface?
PoolSkim Pool Skimmer should not be used so much in place of the other pool cleaners on the list but in conjunction. It is an automatic skimmer, so it sits at the water level and creates a big whirlpool. This sucks everything on the surface of the water toward the whirlpool and pulls the floaty debris out of the water. This can include bugs, leaves, grass, and seed pods.
If your pool’s built-in filter is a booger to clean, this not only saves you that tedious chore but it also offers an easy-clean alternative in the form of the nylon mesh bag that collects all of your pool’s new found treasure.
Run it all the time, it can be connected right to your pool’s regular system and takes little energy to run. This can save you peace of mind and prevent your kids from pulling out the telescoping manual skimmer only to engage in a dangerous poolside light saber battle as a result.
If you have the right kind of pool with a threaded return to get it to work, it is a time and effort saver.
Bottom line, if it works with your pool style, it works really well. If you don’t have the right style, then don’t buy it.
However, if you do, you’ll be happy to have it constantly and quietly humming along, creating circulation on your pool surface and sending all of the little floaties to Davy Jones’ Locker through its built-in whirlpool. Or at least into the handy mesh bag attached to the unit.
Light and easy to use
Can be used all the time
Bag is way easier to clean than a pool’s built-in filter
Adds an extra layer of clean to the robotic or manual pool cleaner of your choice
Endorsed by the self-proclaimed “laziest man on the planet” for ease of use
Designed for large items, not tiny particulates
Only works if you have the correct threading on your pool pump. Otherwise, you must find a connector and install it.
How We Tested
All reviews are based on a culmination of user reviews. We looked through the best and the worst of each tool from actual users to see what makes each of these machines stand out and what they could be doing better. Each of the pool cleaners in the review has hundreds to thousands of reviews to consider, most of which is positive.
We looked for the most common problems, the most common compliments, and the kinds of issues that regularly happened. We used a large number of reviews to try to account for one-off problems and problems caused by user error, which we discounted as these are not problems that you should have to consider.
Hundreds to thousands of actual owners can’t be wrong.
How To Buy Pool Cleaner
Pool cleaners can be bought a number of ways. You can work through a pool supply company, where you may even have the opportunity to demonstrate the equipment. You can lift it to see how heavy it is, how easy it is to repair the filter, and how to start and program the cleaner.
You can also buy the cleaner online through a number of distributors. This has the advantage of being shipped directly to your home. You can’t try them out before you buy or heft them when you do this, but it allows you to look at many stores at once and compare prices directly.
All Types Of Pool Cleaners
What kind of pool cleaners are there? How are they alike and how are they different?
Manual Telescoping Pole
This is the traditional tool used by pool cleaners. It consists of adjustable brushes and skimmers that clean the pool. It is time-consuming and it’s an upper body workout to remember.
However, if you’re looking to get (or stay) in great shape, this is one fantastic way to do it. It is typically used to scrape algae buildup along the sides and on the floor of the pool. The skimmer then shifts the debris out of the pool water.
Pros: Cheap, does a good job
Cons: Takes time and muscle to use
This is another manual tool that is commonly used. Instead of just scrubbing and skimming, you can scrub and immediately vacuum anything you get. Manual vacuums like this are a good choice for tricky pools where you need to do a little bit extra in some areas, as you’re the one fully controlling the vacuum.
These are relatively inexpensive, low-maintenance tools. It takes a long time to vacuum, though and requires at least one filter clean out per job.
Pros: Faster than a brush alone, one of the most inexpensive choices, doesn’t require hookup to a pool pump
Cons: Takes a lot of time to use and some muscle
These handy devices use a pool’s own filter system to pull debris out of the water. They function like skimmers but work by creating a whirlpool on the surface to pull floating items out of your pool.
This is a good addition to pools that have their own built-in filter systems and pumps, provided they are big enough. They are one of the easier systems to use, but they require more electricity to use than other cleaner styles.
Adding a side suction cleaner to your pool will mean you need to clean your pool filter much more often as well. They are good for small to medium pools. People who really love them are typically those who have leaves that regularly fall in the pool, or who live in an area where there are gnats or other bugs that occasionally drop out of the sky.
Pros: Low cost, not a lot of parts, easy maintenance
Cons: More filter pressure, requires pool pump attachment
Robotic Pool Cleaners
These handy little vacuums are essentially the rooms of the pool. They are discussed in further depth below.
Pros: Better clean, no pressure on pool pump, energy efficient
Cons: Expensive, requires filter changes
Pressure Pool Cleaners
These large pool cleaners attach themselves to the sides and move by means of the jet propulsion of the vacuum pump. They are a good choice for very large and very dirty pools. They are mounted on wheels and easy to move, and come with their own filter bags.
Pros: Easy to use, self-propelled, no pressure on filter for pool
Cons: Requires pool pump, may need additional pump power
In-Floor Cleaning Systems
This is a built-in water jet system that comes out of the floor and funnels the dirt out through the filter. It works with a flick of a switch and keeps things effortlessly clean.
They are one of the most expensive choices and retrofit is very difficult (you pretty much need to tear up the bottom of the pool and start over) so they are not for everyone.
Pros: Cleans really well, can be set up for autoclean without spending much time worrying about it.
Cons: Very expensive, can’t be retrofitted
Pool Cleaner Robot
Using the waterline as a guide, pool cleaner robots will scrub and remove debris from walls and sides up to the water lines of most pools. They are ready to go at the flick of a switch and need minimal supervision. They occasionally need a filter clean out, but other than this, they are very hard working and often do a better, more consistent job than manual cleaners.
If you don’t want to spend a lot of time cleaning your pool and you don’t want to hire a pool cleaning company, this is about as good as it gets. It is more expensive than many other options, but when compared to a monthly fee for a pool cleaning service, it works out to be pretty economical.
Maintenance And Cleaning
How do you take care of a pool cleaner?
The way to maintain a pool cleaner depends on the style of cleaner. There are a few parts that must be cleaned. The most important thing to clean is the filter. This must be cleaned, replaced, or even backflushed to remove larger particles. This needs to happen every time you clean, and if the filter is particularly dirty, you will need to flush the filter multiple times in a single cleaning session.
Be sure to give the cleaner a tune-up at the beginning of each new season. Follow the instruction manual to cover all parts and the motor.
These simple steps will add years to the life of your cleaner.
How do these warranties work?
Warranties are a great way to protect your cleaner against manufacturer defects. Most of the warranties are limited, and if you read the fine print, you will be able to see which parts are specifically covered. Typically this will cover the motor and main components, but it will not pertain to things like normal wear.
In addition to a manufacturer’s warranty, there are a number of different ways to get buyer protection. It can be a part of a store warranty package that you purchase. Some stores, like Costco, offer a generous return/replace policies that go above and beyond the warranty.
A number of credit cards offer generous return policies as well. Using one of these cards to purchase your pool cleaner is a great way to hedge your bets when it comes to having a way to return a pool cleaner if something happens to it.
The right choice for you should be based on a few different things. You need a cleaner that will fit the size of the pool that you have, and that will work in the style (above ground versus in-ground) of the pool. It must also work based on the shape of the pool bottom.
It must work with the facilities that you have, including the built-in jets and filter, if you are choosing a model that must use one. It must fit your ability to use it, including the amount of time and muscle that you have.
Any of the styles of cleaner can do a good job if you have the time and the know-how, provided that you have chosen the right style of cleaner to work with your pool. That said, the more manual cleaners require more time and personal diligence, where the robot cleaners allow you to push a button and walk away.
There are three basic things that you can do to clean a pool. Chemicals, when adjusted to the right proportions, will keep algal growth from coming into the pool while maintaining a clean, safe environment for you and your family. This must be tested and regularly adjusted, though it is easy to do.
Manual cleaners cover dirt, leaves, and other items that have fallen to the bottom or collected on the sides of the pool. These are under review in this article. Finally, a skimmer will take all the floating items on the pools surface, most commonly leaves and bugs, and allow you to pull them out of the pool for a sparkling surface. And that’s all it takes.
The biggest trick to being able to clean to the waterline is the amount of vacuum power that the machine has. This can pull it onto vertical surfaces if it is cleaning with a method that keeps it tight to the ground.
Rubbery wheels will increase stickiness, which also helps to keep it going well (just don’t use black rubber or it will scuff). While there are some robotic cleaners that don’t do so well on fully straight, vertical sides, others manage just fine.
If you have concerns about whether any of the cleaners on this list can manage your style of pool, both regarding shape as well as material, head to YouTube.
You’ll be surprised at how many great video demonstrations you can find, both from the manufacturers as well as online reviewers. This can help to put your mind at ease and also allow you to get the perfect cleaning machine for your individualized pool needs.
The recommended method for dirty, cloudy pools is to start big and then go small. Start with a large-mesh filter that is designed to pull out large debris like sand, leaves, and seeds. Then move on to a lower-gauge filter that will pull the cloudy water through and pull out suspended algae, pollen, and anything else.
Filters that go down to the micron level will also pull out a lot of bacteria and algae, which gives you a cleaner, more sanitized pool. It’s important to note that these critters typically don’t survive in chlorinated water, but it’s pretty nice to get them out of there regardless.
So what’s the best pool cleaner?
To be honest, all of these cleaning devices will do a great job for you. You really can’t go wrong with any one of them. However, there needs to be a winner.
The Polaris F9550 Sport Robotic In-Ground Pool Cleaner was our favorite. Every single robotic cleaner did very well in most categories. What put this cleaner over the edge for us was the combination of cool extras like the remote, the power lift, and the caddy. Also, the light weight and plastic design made it more versatile, as it could also be used in saltwater pools– a huge plus.
A long lifespan was great as well. Finally, what we really found intriguing was that when we read bad reviews about just about any other pool cleaner, we then found a comment about how the user got so frustrated that they went out and bought a Polaris… and they loved it.
This is the kind of bonus review that we rarely find in this gig, and it really says a lot about the machine from people who may not give many positive reviews at all. Of course, at prices ranging from $1100 to $1300, it is a definite investment that is not for everyone. But that’s why we try and review a variety of fantastic units and give you as much information on them as we can.
Was the Polaris your favorite too? Do you have experience with these pool cleaners?
Leave us your comments below. We’d love to hear from you!