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!
- Features a 24 ft. hosepipe
- Supports flow rates of between 1,600 and 3,500 GPH
- Costs less than 100 bucks
- 13.4 X 12.2 X 23.4 Inches
- Weight: 15.3 Pounds
Simple, yet effective!
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
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
- Handheld Vacuums
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
- Suction Cleaners
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
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.
Hedging your bets is always a good idea.
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 two main reasons to do this. To save money and to be able to understand and care for your own pool when you need to.
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!