The Best Pool Cleaners

Whether you’re having some friends over for a swim, or just enjoying time with your family, having a swimming pool on your property is a great way to relax and enjoy the weather, especially in the summer months. Unfortunately, a pool requires a certain measure of maintenance, even if it’s an above ground version.

The biggest maintenance task you’ll face as a pool owner is the constant need to keep the pool clean. Dirt, debris, and algae can all contribute to a messy pool that is anything but inviting. Having a good grasp on the best swimming pool cleaners available can help you keep your pool clear and clean every day during the season.

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You certainly have plenty of options, as swimming pool cleaners have come a long way over the last 100 years or so. Some options are more expensive than others, and each type has its own benefits and disadvantages as opposed to others.

Robotic Pool Cleaner Displayed Infront of a Pool

Before getting to our top picks, here’s a quick overview about each type of pool cleaner to give you a better idea as to what you may be looking for.

Suction Side Pool Cleaners

These cleaners are rather simple in build and operation. Suction side pool cleaners attach directly to your pool’s plumbing system, and clean by using suction power to pull debris from the pool’s floor and walls. The sediment passes through to your pool’s filtration system, where you can remove the filter and clean it.

Suction Side Pool Cleaner on a White Background

Pros

These cleaners are often the cheapest, and are a suitable choice for smaller pools. There are less parts to worry about eventually fixing as well.

Cons

The cleaner’s operation method can be very taxing on your pool’s filtration system. The pump needs to be used continuously as well, which can lead to higher energy costs.

Pressure Side Pool Cleaners

One of the more common pool cleaners you are probably used to seeing, pressure side pool cleaners drive around the wides of your pool and use water pressure from a booster pump to blast off debris from walls and floors. The debris is forced into a bag which you can then empty when full.

Pressure Side Pool Cleaner Next to Pool

Pros

These cleaners are simple to operate, and don’t give your pool’s filtration system extra stress. They are also on the cheaper side, and can be easily fixed with readily available replacement parts.

Cons

The water pressure required for operation means you’ll have to purchase an extra pump, or a booster pump. The extra pumping will raise your utility bills as well.

Robotic Pool Cleaners

Robotic pool cleaners are a more complex choice, operating fully on their own without any additional help from any pool system. These cleaners operate on low voltage power, and can scour the surface of your pool’s walls and floors collecting dirt and debris.

Robotic pool cleaners have their own filtration system and bag to store all of the sediment they collect. They are exceptionally better at cleaning pool walls, and often have the ability to actually drive across them while cleaning.

Working Robotic Pool Cleaner In Pool

Pros

These cleaners are better at cleaning overall than other choices. They are energy efficient, and add zero stress to your pool’s filtration and pump system. As a result, your energy costs are lower, and pool system maintenance is easier as well.

Cons

Robotic cleaners are more expensive in general, and are better off not being left in a pool for an extended period.

Why Robotic Cleaners Are Preferred

Robotic pool cleaners are obviously not the only choice on the market, but we believe them to be significantly better than other types. This is why our list below is comprised mostly of robotic cleaners.

While they may be more expensive, robotic cleaners operate in a much more efficient capacity, and leave you with a cleaner pool as a result -- and that’s the point, right? The initial costs may be higher upfront, but the energy savings and reduction of stress on your pools filtration and pump system will eventually balance things out.

For more information about robotic pool cleaners, please click here.

The Best Swimming Pool Cleaners Over $500

The following pool cleaners are among the best you can purchase if your budget is over $500. These cleaners provide significant cleaning efficiency, and have numerous extra features and capabilities that further enhance their value.

Hayward TigerShark QC Automatic Robotic Pool Cleaner

Timer:

Yes

Hose/Cord Length:

55 feet

Clean Cycle Time:

3 hours

Weight:

21.5 lbs

Warranty:

3 years

Hayward RC9990GR TigerShark QC Automatic Robotic Pool Cleaner

Hayward’s TigerShark line of robotic cleaners is among the best you’ll encounter. The RC9990GR is very efficient, and has everything needed to scour every inch of your pool, whether it’s scrubbing algae off the walls, or trapping loose dirt.

Speaking of scrubbing, the RC9990GR excels. While it does posses the ability to vacuum and brush as it moves along the pool, this cleaner can actually scrub as well, removing a number of imperfections from your pool while sucking up others.

Operation is incredibly simple, as the unit comes with the capability of assessing your pool’s size early into its cleaning, and then calculating a precise cleaning plan that makes the most use of its time within the allotted time frame. A standard cleaning cycle is 3 full hours, but there is a quick clean (QC) option that will clean your pool in 90 minutes with satisfactory results.

The RC9990GR’s energy efficiency is one of its best advantages. A 24-volt motor powers the cleaner during the either cycle, helping keep electric bills lower. The cartridge filter system makes cleanup quick and easy: Simply remove the filter, rinse with a hose, and you’re good to go for more cleaning.

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Dolphin Triton Robotic Pool Cleaner

Timer:

Yes

Hose/Cord Length:

60 feet

Clean Cycle Time:

3 hours

Weight:

18.75 lbs

Warranty:

2 years

Dolphin Triton Robotic Pool Cleaner

Dolphin manufacturers a diverse line of robotic pool cleaners, and the Triton is among the best for the price. The cleaner’s superior traction gives it the ability to comb every inch of your pool while scrubbing and vacuuming away all the debris it encounters.

The Triton operates off of touch navigation, so it basically feels its way around the pool before eventually committing it all to memory. Regardless, this means that you don't have to do anything other than set the unit into the pool, power it on, and walk away.

One of the biggest advantages the Triton offers is its energy efficiency. A full cleaning cycle will generally run you around $0.15 each time. That’s a little under $5 a month, which is far preferable to the amount you’ll pay when using a pump-operated cleaner that causes your pool system to work overtime.

If you are sick of dealing with tangled cords, the Triton has got you covered. Like most Dolphin cleaners, it uses a swivel cable instead of a standard cord, so don’t worry about coming out to check on it every so often to make sure it’s not tying itself in knots.

Other notable features include a convenient transport caddy, and a spring cleaning filter that is suitable for the dirtiest of pools at the beginning of the season.

It’s hard to find anything wrong with the Triton, but if anything, the motor replacement is quite expensive -- if you even have to deal with such a situation.

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Polaris 9550 Sport Robotic In-Ground Pool Cleaner

Timer:

Yes

Hose/Cord Length:

70 feet

Clean Cycle Time:

90-180 minutes

Weight:

43.6 lbs

Warranty:

2 years

Polaris 9550 Sport Robotic In-Ground Pool Cleaner

The Polaris 9550 is definitely one the more attention-grabbing pool cleaner units on the market. The highest-end model of Polaris’ 9000 series, the 9550 resembles a futuristic car of sorts, only it’s really an incredibly capable pool cleaner that is one of the best units currently available.

The 9550 is fully automatic in operation, so you can trust it to take care of itself and the task at hand after dropping it in the water. It uses deep cleaning brushes in conjunction with suction power to remove larger debris and smaller dirt, algae, and dander particles that have settled on the pool’s surface.

The 9550’s four wheels all operate independently, giving it optimal maneuverability in any pool, even irregularly shaped ones. It has no problem scaling walls and standard-sized steps.

A remote gives you the means to control its movements when focusing on certain spots in the pool, and any customized settings and programming is done via a control center mounted to the included caddy. A 7 day timer and 4 different cleaning modes gives you better control, and also the ability to add 30 minute cleaning time increments.

The 9550’s massive cartridge is four times larger than the average, giving it high capacity for dirty pools and long cleaning cycles. The fine mesh filter is easy to clean, and catches anything in its path.

The surfacing feature is pretty handy. When you’re ready to take it out, press the button, and the 9550 dumps water while rising to the surface. You can even use the remote to aim it towards the pool wall, which it will climb and await you to grab it.

This is one of the most feature-rich robotic cleaners you’ll find, so the price is a bit steep, but well worth it.

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Dolphin Nautilus Robotic Pool Cleaner

Timer:

Yes

Hose/Cord Length:

60 feet

Clean Cycle Time:

3 hours

Weight:

32.5 lbs

Warranty:

12 months

Dolphin Nautilus Robotic Pool Cleaner

Dolphin’s Nautilus robotic cleaner is a bit scaled down from its Triton cousin, but it’s still very much a viable and popular cleaner for those not looking to spend a lot of money. The Nautilus’ array of features and smooth operation are big reasons as to why it’s one of the best-selling pool cleaners around.

The Nautilus doesn’t use smart-reading technology, but it will learn your pool after about 2-3 cleaning cycles. It might look like it’s running around aimlessly every so often, but it knows what it’s doing. 3 full hours of cleaning comprises one cleaning cycle, and you’ll find the filter cartridge to be full of sediment you might not of even noticed beforehand.

This unit doesn't have the scrubbing ability of other cleaners on this list, but the Nautilus’ suction power is plenty strong enough to effectively remove most of what’s in your pool. Again, you’ll be impressed with what you find in the filter cartridge afterwards. Like the Triton, the Nautilus includes a spring cleaning, high-capacity cartridge as well.

One of the only drawbacks is the fact that the Nautilus cannot’ handle bigger items like a twig or large leaves, so be sure to remove those on your own before using the unit.

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The Best Swimming Pool Cleaners Under $500

Shopping for an in-ground cleaner with a smaller budget? These robotic cleaners are excellent choices.

Aquabot ABTTJET Turbo T Jet Robotic In-Ground Pool Cleaner

Timer:

Yes

Hose/Cord Length:

50 feet

Clean Cycle Time:

1-2 hours

Weight:

32 lbs

Warranty:

Full warranty 1st year, limited 2nd year

Aquabot ABTTJET Turbo T Jet Robotic In-Ground Pool Cleaner

Aquabot is an established and trusted pool cleaner manufacturer, and the ABTTJET is a perfect example as to why. Relatively inexpensive, yet very effective and efficient, the ABTTJET is easy to use, and also one of the more versatile robotic cleaners available.

One of the biggest advantages of the ABTTJET is its ability to clean algae and other small particles from a pool’s surface. The cleaner’s standard filter bag is suitable for larger debris and particles, but an included fine mesh filter bag is perfect for trapping the smallest particles in the pool, whether it’s dirt or the aforementioned algae.

Although the ABTTJET doesn’t use a scrubber, its patented Power Washing Jets aim at the pool’s surface as it travels, blasting any settled debris and dirt off the surface and into the filter.

The ABTTJET operates with a single motor, and hardly uses any electricity. In fact, most cleaning cycles will only cost you around $.05 per use, which is hardly even worth mentioning. All of this while saving your pool’s pump and filtration system from any extra work.

Tangled cords are out of the question with the ABTTJET thanks to a swivel cord. This makes it more convenient, and allows you to leave it in the pool without having to constantly check the cord for twists and knots.

The ABTTJET is a popular in-ground pool cleaner, but it’s perfectly fine for above ground as well thanks to its operation.

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Smartpool NC22 SmartKleen-Robotic Pool Cleaner

Timer:

Yes

Hose/Cord Length:

40 feet

Clean Cycle Time:

2 hours

Weight:

18 lbs

Warranty:

1 year

Smartpool NC22 SmartKleen-Robotic Pool Cleaner

While the NC22 may be the most inexpensive pool cleaner on this list, it certainly doesn’t perform like one. Opting for the tank-like design that many of the top robotic cleaners utilize, the NC22 can easily handle all surfaces in any type of pool making quick work of stubborn debris.

The NC22 comes with a in-built tracking technology that works on dirt spots by switching direction without the aid of walls or steps. This allows it to be much more efficient, cut down on cycle time, and concentrate on some of the more persistent areas that need extra attention -- all on its own.

With a cycle time of two hours, the NC22 is 33% faster than most robotic cleaners, and includes an auto shut-off feature that kills operation right when the cleaning is complete. The NC22’s quick drain feature expels any excess water when the unit is ready to be taken out of the pool, cutting down on the weight.

While the NC22 is popular for in-ground pools, it can be used in any pool, regardless of size, shape, or surface. The only real complaint with it is the lack of a swivel cord, which means you may have to babysit it from time to time making sure it doesn’t get tangled.

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The Best Above Ground Swimming Pool Cleaners

Not all in-ground robotic cleaners can be used in above ground pools, as these pools often need their own specialized cleaners. These four cleaners will each get the job done.

Aquabot APRVJR Pool Rover Junior Robotic Above-Ground Pool Cleaner

Timer:

Yes (Auto shut-off)

Hose/Cord Length:

40 feet

Clean Cycle Time:

1-2 hours

Weight:

26 lbs

Warranty:

2 years

Aquabot APRVJR Pool Rover Junior Robotic Above-Ground Pool Cleaner

Robotic pool cleaners made specifically for above ground pools are few and far between. Fortunately, Aquabot stepped up to put out the APRVJR, a smaller, less complicated version of many of their other, larger robotic cleaners.

The APRVJR is suitable for both oval and round pools, and has a cleaning cycle time of either one or two hours with an automatic shut-off. Simple, push-button operation makes it incredibly easy to use. Just set the cycle time, push the on button, and drop it in the pool.

The APRVJR is also equipped to handle the smallest of sediment particles in the pool thanks to its fine mesh 2 micron filter. Cord tangling is kept to a minimum due to the adjustable axle pin, allowing you to leave it in the pool without worrying about monitoring the cord for tangles and knots.

Self-guided cleaning capabilities make the APRVJR versatile and suitable for any above-ground pool size or shape. The robotic cleaner quickly learns the size of the pool, and adjusts accordingly to fit the cleaning cycle within the time frame.

No, the APRVJR doesn’t have any scrubbing attachments, but the water propulsion system used helps to blast dirt and debris off the pool’s floor, while also saving on energy costs.

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Pentair K50600 Kreepy Krauly E-Z Vac Suction-Side Above Ground Pool Cleaner

Timer:

No

Hose/Cord Length:

40 feet

Clean Cycle Time:

Varies

Weight:

14 lbs

Warranty:

2 years

Pentair K50600 Kreepy Krauly E-Z Vac Suction-Side Above Ground Pool Cleaner

Modeled after the original Kreepy Krauly pool vacuum, the Pentair K50600 is a simple and inexpensive above ground pool cleaner for those that don’t want to go the robotic route. The vacuum features a familiar design, and has an extended handle to allow for easier handling when needed.

The K50600’s unique hydraulic design allows provides superior suction power for a more efficient cleaning process. There is only one moving part, which means less maintenance, and things to go wrong or replace.

The vacuum’s skimming valve automatically regulates water flow to lock in proper cleaning speed and simultaneous skimming of surface debris while cleaning. The K50600 prefers random pattern while cleaning, just like its predecessor. This actually makes the cleaning quicker and more efficient, while ensuring fuller cleaning coverage overall.

While the K50600 does all the right things when it comes to cleaning, like the original Kreepy Krauly, it can be a bit loud due to the clicking noise during the actual cleaning process. Still, it remains one of the most affordable and viable ways to quickly clean your above-ground pool.

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Zodiac Ranger Suction Side Automatic Above-Ground Pool Cleaner

Timer:

No

Hose/Cord Length:

32 feet

Clean Cycle Time:

Varies

Weight:

15 lbs

Warranty:

2 years

Zodiac Ranger Suction Side Automatic Above-Ground Pool Cleaner

Zodiac’s Ranger above-ground pool cleaner can be considered a modern upgrade to a classic, time-tested suction side cleaner design. The AG Disc lets the cleaner easily glide along the bottom of your pool, as well as up the sides and around steps, making it a true total-pool cleaner.

The Ranger’s deflector wheel helps it avoid getting caught on ladders and steps, something that is common with most non-robotic pool cleaners. A Flowkeeper™ Valve and Insta-Skim Compact self-adjusting flow control valve regulates water flow on its own, giving the cleaner a more efficient performance that also saves on energy costs and stress to the pool’s systems.

Perhaps the most popular aspect of the Ranger is the fact that it avoids the noise issues that plague similar models. It’s almost completely silent. This is a big plus to many users. If you want to be able to run the vacuum while in the pool or near it outside without disturbance, the Ranger is likely your best choice.

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Hayward 500 Aqua Bug Above-Ground Automatic Pool Cleaner

Timer:

No

Hose/Cord Length:

40 feet

Clean Cycle Time:

Varies

Weight:

13 lbs

Warranty:

2 years

Hayward 500 Aqua Bug Above-Ground Automatic Pool Cleaner

Hayward’s Aqua series provides a fun spin on an otherwise boring design for most pool vacuum cleaners. This particular model is shaped like a bug, and there are other characters you can choose from as well for the same price. Consider these cleaners the most kid-friendly and least obnoxious.

The Hayward 500’s unique turbine/gearing system ensures balanced, consistent water flow while also assuring quiet operation and gentle movement across the pool bottom. Since most above-ground pools tend to have a wrinkle or two in the bottom, this is certainly an essential aspect, as lower quality cleaners will either get stuck or ignore certain sections.

SmartDrive program steering keeps the Hayward 500 on track, even if encounters obstructions or bumps into the side of the pool. A rubber ring around the unit protects both the pool and the Hayward 500 itself from any damage when coming into contact with pool walls or steps.

The Hayward 500 can sometimes be a bit slow for larger pools, and you’ll need to make sure the filtration system is as clear as possible, as the cleaner requires lots of water pressure in order to create a powerful enough vacuum effect.

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Conclusion

As you can see, there are plenty of quality options available for both in-ground and above ground pools. While robotic cleaners are preferred, you can still get your money’s worth when using automatic pool cleaners and vacuum pool cleaners.

Always make sure to check the specs beforehand to ensure the cleaner is right for your pool. Have any questions or comments? Feel free to sound of below!