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The 5 Best Pool Vacuums (2022 Review)

Pool vacuums use powerful suction to pick up dirt and other debris that land in the water. In this review, the This Old House Reviews Team researched the best pool vacuums on Amazon.The products included in this article are available at various retail stores, local home centers, and online retailers like Amazon.

Backyard with an in-ground pool iStock

Pool maintenance can be an arduous task. However, with the right vacuum, you can keep your pool clean and swimmable with minimal effort on your part. To help you narrow down your choices, the This Old House Reviews Team researched the best pool vacuums on Amazon. Here are our top recommendations.

Best Pool Vacuum Comparison

Product Design Weight Pool Type
Product Design Weight Pool Type
Poolmaster Big Sucker Swimming Pool Leaf Vacuum Manual 1.8 pounds Above-ground and in-ground
Polaris In-Ground Pool Cleaner Automatic 14 pounds In-ground
Zodiac G3 Automatic Pool Cleaner Automatic 17.9 pounds In-ground
Intex Rechargeable Handheld Pool Vacuum Manual 6.5 pounds Above-ground
Hayward Navigator Pro Pool Cleaner Automatic 17.7 pounds In-ground

Best For Leaf Cleanup: Poolmaster Big Sucker Swimming Pool Leaf Vacuum

Pros and Cons

✔ Has a 15-inch diameter with a wide opening to capture large loads of leaves at one time
✔ Designed with a built-in adapter that fits standard garden hoses
✔ Sold with a reusable leaf collection bag

✘ Doesn’t come with a hose or extension pole, which are both required for operation
✘ May need replacement collection bags in the future

What Customers Are Saying

Customers were happy that this pool vacuum was lightweight and easy to use. They also appreciated how much debris it removed. However, some users struggled to control where it went. Others said that the bag sometimes fell into the pool once it got full.

Best Pressure-Side: Polaris In-Ground Pool Cleaner

polaris in ground pool cleaner

Polaris In-Ground Pool Cleaner 

  • $580
  • $700
  • 18% off

Prices taken at time of publishing.

This pressure-side vacuum doesn’t require a booster pump, as it’s powered by the water pressure coming from the pool’s return line. With its long 31-foot hose, it can tackle large in-ground pools and uses a jet stream to draw debris into its chamber.

Courtesy Amazon

Pros and Cons

✔ Equipped with three jets for superior power
✔ Has a 2.25-inch inlet to capture large pieces of debris
✔ Cleans your pool in three hours or less

✘ Can become unbalanced when the collection chamber is full
✘ Meant for in-ground pools only

What Customers Are Saying

Many customers found installing this pressure-side pool cleaner to be a breeze. They also said that it picked up large debris. Select customers left negative reviews because it couldn’t collect fine debris.

Best Suction-Side: Zodiac G3 Automatic Pool Cleaner

Pool Vacuum

Zodiac G3 Automatic Pool Cleaner

  • $324

Prices taken at time of publishing.

This pool vacuum works with a pump to remove both small- and medium-sized pieces of debris from your pool’s floor, walls, and steps by connecting to your pool’s infiltration system. It works on nearly any pool material, including concrete, tile, vinyl, and fiberglass.

Courtesy Amazon

Pros and Cons

✔ Comes with a scuff-resistant hose
✔ Designed with a 36-fin disc to increase the machine’s surface adhesion
✔ Equipped with a wheel deflector that helps with navigating tight corners

✘ Works best with a low-speed pump
✘ Can’t tackle large pieces of debris

What Customers Are Saying

Those who were happy with this suction-side pool cleaner said that it assembled quickly, operated easily, and suctioned powerfully. However, some unhappy customers thought that its bulky design made it difficult to maneuver.

Best Handheld: Intex Rechargeable Handheld Pool Vacuum

Pool Vacuum

Intex Rechargeable Handheld Pool Vacuum

  • $99

Prices taken at time of publishing.

This handheld pool vacuum weighs less than 10 pounds. It uses a rechargeable battery to operate without a power cord and a telescoping shaft to reach above-ground pools that are up to 18 inches in diameter. It can also be purchased with a hand skimmer or A Filter.

Courtesy Amazon

Pros and Cons

✔ Includes two interchangeable brush heads
✔ Uses an automatic shut-off feature to turn off when it’s not in the water
✔ Comes with a USB cable for recharging the included battery

✘ Not suitable for above-ground pools that are larger than 18 feet
✘ Has to be manually pushed along the pool’s floor

What Customers Are Saying

Customers said that this vacuum’s lightweight build made it easy to handle. They also liked how long it held a charge for. Some users did complain about how it took a long time to recharge and didn’t effectively clean larger pools.

Best Robotic: Hayward Navigator Pro Pool Cleaner

Pool Vacuum

Hayward Navigator Pro Pool Cleaner

  • $379

Prices taken at time of publishing.

This vacuum is powered by your pool’s existing filtration system, taking less than 10 minutes to get connected. It uses programmed steering for intelligent and complete pool coverage. Its winged design also picks up debris while avoiding hose tangles. 

Courtesy Amazon

Pros and Cons

✔ Installs to your pool’s filtration system in less than 10 minutes
✔ Operates while making nearly no noise
✔ Available in models that are designed for vinyl and gunite pool surfaces

✘ Not meant for pools that are larger than 20 by 40 feet
✘ Weighs over 17 pounds

What Customers Are Saying

Those who gave this robotic pool vacuum positive reviews said that it was durable and long-lasting. They also praised its programmed steering that kept it from getting stuck. On the other hand, customers didn’t like how difficult it was to clean.

Buyer’s Guide

To purchase the right pool vacuum, you must understand how its features and specifications impact its performance and user experience. Here are three factors to consider as you continue your search.

Vacuum Type

Pool vacuums are either manual or automatic. With a manual pool vacuum, you have to push the vacuum head across the pool’s floor and walls to collect debris. While manual pool vacuums are more affordable than their automatic counterparts, they’re usually less powerful.

Automatic or robotic pool cleaners, meanwhile, are attached to a power supply that propels the machine along the pool’s floor and walls for hassle-free cleaning. Automatic vacuums are usually equipped with adjustable cleaning settings.

Pool Size

Some vacuums aren’t compatible with deep or long pools. For example, one model may work in above-ground pools that are no bigger than 18–20 feet, while another can clean pools that are as large as 50 feet long.

Hose or Cable Length

Make sure your selected model comes with a hose or cable that’s long enough to reach your pool’s floor. An automatic vacuum comes with its power cord, while a manual one may or may not come with the telescopic pole that’s needed to maneuver it.

How To Keep Your Outdoor Pool Clean

Having an outdoor pool can be a nice treat for you and your family in the warmer months, but make no mistake—it takes a lot of work to maintain. The reality is, ignoring your pool for even a few days can make it unswimmable. However, with your vacuum and a few other simple steps, pool owners can keep their pool water clean.

Cover Your Pool

You can keep your pool uncovered during peak summer when you plan to use it multiple times per week. However, once the temperature drops, cover your pool to minimize how much work you have to do when next season rolls around.

Scrub Your Yool

Scrub your pool every day or every other day to help avoid algae buildup along the walls. A vacuum can be a big help with scrubbing, but you may also need to occasionally scrub tough grime manually.

Shock Your Pool

Shocking is when you quickly increase the water’s chlorine level to kill bacteria, algae, and other pathogens. We recommend shocking your pool once a week and after heavy use, such as a child’s birthday party.

Check Your Chemical Levels

Check your pool’s pH level daily to ensure that it’s between 7.2 and 7.6. Also be aware of the cyanuric acid level (between 30 and 50 milligrams per liter) and the calcium hardness level (between 220 and 350 parts per million or lower for pools with vinyl siding).

Clean your pool filter

Check your pool’s filter routinely to ensure that there isn’t anything clogging it and preventing it from doing its job. Clean the filter once a week and its pipes once a month.

Frequently Asked Questions

How often should I run my pool vacuum?

If you use your pool daily, we recommend cleaning it once a day or every other day. If you use your pool infrequently, you can vacuum it once a week. The type of pool you own can also help determine its cleaning cycle.

How do I remove floating debris from my pool’s surface?

You can use a skimmer to remove floating debris. A skimmer is a net with a long pole that reaches the center of the pool from where you’re standing on the side.

Should I brush my pool before vacuuming it?

Yes. Brushing your pool’s floor and walls dislodges any stuck-on algae and debris for easy vacuuming.

Why Trust The This Old House Reviews Team

This Old House has empowered homeowners for more than four decades with top-notch home improvement content in the form of television programs, print media, and digital content on its website and social media platforms. The This Old House Reviews Team focuses on creating in-depth product and service review content to help inform your purchasing decision for just about any item or resource that you might need for your home. The This Old House Reviews Team has written over 1,000 reviews on products in the home space, from cordless drills to kitchen trash cans, lawn mowers, and dining room decorations.

We recommend products in each review using an intensive research process, spending hours combing through the best available models on Amazon. For a product to make our list of top picks, it must hold a solid sales record on Amazon, have consistently positive customer reviews, and offer unique features, among other factors. After narrowing down our list of recommendations, we conduct additional research and sometimes in-person testing to ensure that the products meet our standards. Once we conclude the research phase, we craft a well-rounded, user-friendly article that includes our recommended products and additional information to help homeowners like you make the right purchase.

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