Pool Cleaner Buying Guide

When the time comes to purchase a new pool cleaner there are a few options to choose from.  With this guide you will hopefully have a better understanding of each type of pool vacuum and be able to select the model best suited for your needs. We know in order to maintain that clean sparkling pool water it takes work. Some of the cleaner models help you keep your work load to a minimum.


Reminder: Once you select your cleaner type, ensure the cleaner will work with your pool type, size and shape. Many In-Ground models specify the surface type (ie. vinyl/fiberglass or concrete).Many Above-Ground models will only clean a flat bottom pool.


Types of Cleaners

Suction-Side Cleaners are the most popular type of cleaners for both in-ground and above-ground pools. This cleaner requires no extra power, no booster pump and is powered by your existing filtration system.  You can either attach the cleaner hose through a dedicated suction line or the skimmer. Dirt and debris picked up by a suction-side cleaner will travel directly to your pool pump and filter.


Suction Cleaner Pros and Cons

· Pros

In most cases they also act as a scrubber since they are suctioned to the wall/floor

No Power Required

No Booster Pump Required

Inexpensive Cleaners in General

Automatic - No Manual Operation Required

· Cons

You will need to clean filter more often

Not the best option for heavy leaf debris

Loses efficiency if pool filter is dirty


Pressure-Side Cleaners are powered by your existing pool pump or a separate booster pump.  The hose will attach to a dedicated pressure line or a return jet. Dirt and debris picked up by a pressure-side cleaner will be stored in the cleaner’s bag.


Pressure Cleaner Pros and Cons

· Pros

Self Contained Debris Bag

Cleaners have a “tail” to stir up smaller debris for easier removal

Great at removing larger debris

Many models have different bag options for finer filtration

Automatic - No Manual Operation Required

· Cons

Some models require an extra booster pump

Cleaning of the walls is less effective than other options


Robotic Cleaners are fully self-contained and do not require your pool equipment to be on in order for the cleaner to operate. Robotic Cleaners have their own motors, one for moving and another for cleaning. They do not require any vacuum hose and simply plug into an electrical outlet near the pool.


Robotic Cleaner Pros and Cons

· Pros

Fully Self-Contained – will not dirty your filter

Extremely efficient when cleaning small debris and leaves

Automatic - No Manual Operation Required

Does not require separate booster pump

Many models will clean floors/wall/steps

Many models have a water circulation feature to help keep your chemicals distributed throughout the pool

Some models feature remote options

· Cons

Higher price range

Recommended to be removed when cleaning is complete


Manual Cleaners are a much less expensive option and require a hose that connects to the skimmer or suction line (just like the suction-side models). The person cleaning the pool using a manual cleaner would hook the vacuum head to the hose and also to a telepole. Manual cleaners often include vacuum heads, skimmers,and scrub brushes, all of which attach to a telescoping pole for accessing the deepest reaches of the pool.


Manual Cleaner Pros and Cons

· Pros

Easy to Spot Clean

Less Expensive Options

No Power Required

No Booster Pump Required

· Cons

Requires Pool Vacuum Hose

Requires Use of Telepole

Loses efficiency if pool filter is dirty

Manual Cleaning


Vac-Heads have wheels, attach to hose and pole, and are ordered based on the type of pool you have.

Skimmers are used to remove debris from the pool’s surface.  They are also used to help pick up the larger debris that can cause some cleaners issues.

Swimming Pool Brushes are used to target specific areas of the pool and also to loosen the algae that may form on the sides of pool walls, steps and floors.

Battery Powered Cleaners are a great addition for smaller pools and spas. They are self-contained, run off of batteries, and many have the option to attach to your telepole for deeper cleaning.


Swimming Pool Cleaner Accessories are used to improve the use of your pool cleaner. The most common accessories out right now would be the Polaris Ladder Guard, Polaris Unicover, and the Hayward Leaf Catcher. There are a variety of bags for Pressure Side and Robotic Cleaners too; however those are normally product specific.

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