One of the great luxuries in life is a swimming pool in your home.
Whether it’s indoors or outside, an Olympic sized beast or a scaled-down version, relaxing poolside is unbeatable.
Like with all aspects of your home and garden, though, you’ll need plenty of hard work to keep your pool tip-top.
Cleaning by hand is a tiresome affair.
We’ll look today at some best pool cleaner reviews so you can keep things spotless without undue effort.
When you are faced with hundreds of seemingly similar appliances, choosing can be tough. We’re here to make that job a whole lot easier for you.
We selected cleaners from 3 distinct categories. Initially, we tested 5 products of each specific type.
Following these tests, we conducted more detailed investigation of the top 3 products to make your buying decision even easier.
If you’re impatient, head straight to the reviews.
For anyone new to pool cleaners, we’ll start first with a look at how to choose the best equipment for your circumstances.
Top 9 Pool Cleaner on The Market 2017
How To Choose Your Pool Cleaner
There are a few simple pointers to take into account before you launch into your buying decision.
Type of Pool
Obviously, not all pools are created equal. Expecting a one-size-fits-all solution will lead to disappoint.
Before anything else, think carefully about the dimensions and logistics of your pool.
While a manual cleaner might cut the ice with a very small pool, you’re in for a long slog if you have a much more substantial swimming pool. Think about how much time and effort cleaning will take and get the right type for your needs. We will outline the various options at your disposal shortly.
It also pays to consider the type of pool. For inground pools, you will understandably struggle with an above ground cleaner.
Type of Pool Cleaner
We will look at this in more detail in the next section but your first choice is whether to go for an automatic or manual cleaner.
Today, we’ll focus only on the 3 kinds of automatic cleaners so if you are looking for a cheaper manual option, start your search here.
What Gets Into Your Pool?
You need to analyze the kind of dirt and debris that makes its way into your pool. Think about the surroundings.
If you have a garden filled with trees and shrubs, your outdoor pool is pretty likely to suffer from leaves in the water.
Do you live somewhere dry and dusty with occasional gusts of wind? If so, you’re likely to be menaced by finer particles in the pool.
When we explore the 3 main types of automatic pool cleaner, we’ll point in the right direction. Generally speaking, though, suction side cleaners make light work of sand or grainy dust. Pressure side pool cleaners cope well with larger debris.
How Long Do You Want To Spend on Pool Maintenance
Only you know how much time you have spare to devote to pool maintenance and how much physical effort you want to expend.
As mentioned, manual cleaners are only really advisable for fitter individuals with smaller pools.
Installation can be fairly straightforward or a time-sucking nightmare. Pay attention to this before buying but installation is only a one-shot deal…
What’s far important is to look at how much set-up is needed pre-use. If you’re pressed for time, the last thing you want is a laborious ordeal before you even start cleaning.
Everyone has different needs so be honest and make sure you get the best pool cleaner for you.
It’s All About The Pump
If you have a swimming pool at home, you’ll already have invested in a pool pump.
Think about what kind of pump you have. Is it low or high pressure?
Some pool cleaners are designed to work with all pumps whereas others will stand or fail according to the pressure of your pump.
Price is a factor in any buying decision at all. You should not let it be the only or even the deciding factor, though.
Considering the price of a swimming pool and assorted necessities like pumps, cleaners are really not so expensive after all.
Think about how much you have spare and don’t overspend. Beyond that, look for the best cleaner you can afford that will do precisely what you expect it to. Don’t sell yourself short or go over the top when you don’t need to.
It’s also worth thinking of overall value for money rather than fixating on just the price tag.
Now you’ve got the more general pointers under control, we’ll look in more depth at the various options at your disposal.
What Type of Pool Cleaner Should You Buy?
Pool cleaners come in many shapes and sizes.
For the purposes of this study, we opted for the following 3 varieties:
- Robotic Pool Cleaner: Perfect for effortless, automatic cleaning
- Suction Pool Cleaner: Hook this up to your pool skimmer and kiss goodbye to sand and dust in the water
- Pressure Pool Cleaner: If you have fallen leaves or acorns causing a problem in your pool, pressure side cleaner work wonders with bigger pieces of debris
You can also get manual pool cleaners but we’re looking to save time and effort here. The last thing you need is a workout when it comes to cleaning! Since a larger pool could take hours with a manual cleaner, they are not suitable for many and we’ll leave you to explore those yourself if you think a manual would work.
We’ll take a glance now at each of these 3 styles of cleaner in a little more detail…
Robotic Pool Cleaner
At the top of the food chain are robotic pool cleaners.
Fully automatic, self-contained units, this is a stress-free way to take care of your pride and joy.
Robotic cleaners have a pump and internal motor. You’ll get an electronic control unit so you can take care of things from a distance.
Running on low voltage, there’s no danger at all.
Artificial intelligence is improving. Robots can learn their way around your pool. They become accustomed to the layout and dimensions. Cleaning becomes even more efficient.
The degree to which you can program the robot varies from brand to brand. Think about what sort of functionality would be useful for you. Don’t become obsessed with features that would hold no value. Think about your personal needs and buy accordingly.
The debris collected is stored onboard. Robotic cleaners use either a bag or a canister for this.
There are a few things to take into account when looking for the most suitable robot…
Do you have an in-ground or above ground pool? Not all robotic cleaners work effectively with all types of pool.
The size of your pool influences which robot would be best. Look for one specifically designed for the rough dimensions of your pool.
Pools come with a range of different surfaces.
Getting the right cleaner for the surface is crucial. Don’t buy blind and end up wrecking your pool rather than cleaning it.
Your robotic cleaner will work separately from your filtration system. They will filter and clean your water and so prolong the life of your filter.
Suction Pool Cleaner
Suction-side pool cleaners are a cheap and cheerful way to maintain your pool without taking out a bank loan.
These suction cleaners attach to your skimmer with a hose. They harness the suction of your pool pump and suck up any debris that would otherwise have clogged up your filter.
Suction models are perhaps the most popular automatic cleaners.
There are 2 varieties:
- Inertia-Driven: These suction cleaners operate in a random fashion. They’ll get the job done but the inefficiency means it takes a while
- Geared: Working to a pre-set pattern means geared suction cleaners will get the job done quicker. Accessing tight corners presents them with no problem. They work especially well with smaller pools and those with steps or ledges built in
A couple of things to watch out for with suction-side pool cleaners…
The dirt and debris will be dumped in the filter and basket. This can tax and overload them.
You also need to make sure your filter is clean enough or you’ll notice weaker results.
For most pool owners, a suction-side cleaner is at least worth considering.
Pressure Pool Cleaner
Rather than using the plumbing of your pool to pull themselves around, pressure-side cleaners are pushed by a pump.
This type of cleaner is more powerful than a suction model.
Take note that you might need a separate hose connection in the wall of your pool to accommodate the booster pump. Think very carefully about choosing a pressure-side cleaner if your pool is already built. It could be costly to make the alteration.
If you are hell-bent on one, consider one that doesn’t need an extra pump. Just bear in mind that the type without a booster pump will slow down when the filter starts getting overloaded. They are cheaper to install though, pretty much plug and play.
Pressure cleaners excel with larger debris like leaves.
What Else To Think About When Buying a Pool Cleaner
Steps and Walls
You need to think about how your pool cleaner will deal with the entire area not just the pool proper.
Look at the arrangement of steps. Think about the walls. Make sure the cleaner you have in mind can deal with what you’ll throw its way.
Length of Hose
You’ll need to ensure the hose is long enough to go from your skimmer box to the far extent of your pool. It pays to have some surplus hose too.
Don’t buy something that will leave you too close for comfort.
You can fine-tune most cleaners by tweaking the hose buoyancy or adjusting the incoming pressure.
This helps the cleaner deal with your pool more effectively.
While you can use some cleaners under a covered pool, others require you to remove the cover.
How important is that to you?
If it’s a non-issue, no problem. If you want to clean a covered pool, choose a suitable model.
Whatever type of vacuum you go for, manual or automatic, skimming your pool remains a core component of maintenance.
Pool skimmers have a long pole with a net attached.
Use your skimmer as a pre-emptive strike against debris.
Skimmers are extremely cheap. Pressing it into action on a regular basis will extend the lifespan of your filter by easing its load.
The steps and surface of your pool pick up all sorts of marks and stains.
A decent stiff brush to keep on top of things is essential.
Brushes also come in handy for agitating any particularly stubborn areas. Your vacuum can then take control and finish the job.
Now you know exactly what you’re looking for, it’s time for our pool cleaner reviews.
We’ve broken down the cleaner into the 3 categories mentioned above:
Having rigorously tested 15 products, we narrowed it down to 3 cleaners for each type.
So now we’ve done the hard work for you, check out the reviews. See which of these market-leading products best fits the bill for you…
Robotic Pool Cleaners: Our Top 3 Reviews
1. Dolphin Premier Robotic In-Ground Pool Cleaner
Dolphin are pool cleaning heavyweights.
Although the Premier is not cheap, when you think about the work it will do and the time it will save, it’s a relatively small investment.
One of the key selling points of this robot is its flexibility. It can take care of pretty much anything that finds its way into your pool. From sand or fine particles right through to leaves and anything falling from trees, the Premier makes light work it all.
This is achieved through multimedia functionality. You can choose between 4 modes and deal with a range of materials fuss-free.
- Fine debris
Whether it’s the micro-filter or the jumbo debris bag, Dolphin has your back. You’ll get these provided free of charge.
There’s an extremely capable motor running at up to 3000RPM. This motor is also incredibly energy-efficient. At 24V, it will use much less power than a booster pump. These ongoing costs are always worth checking out.
Thanks to powerful SmartNav software, the Dolphin won’t thrash around wildly. The Premier swiftly calculates the ideal cleaning pattern and gets straight to work.
Cables getting snarled up is one of the inbuilt problems of working underwater. Dolphin pioneered a 360 degree Anti-Tangle Swivel. Say goodbye to tangled cables.
A pair of hardworking scrubbing brushes guarantee a deep clean. They will get started on any marks to the surface and the robot will vacuum up afterward.
Although it stops short of cleaning the tops of steps or ledges, the Premier avoids them nicely with its intelligent navigation. All manual cleaning is reduced to the very bare minimum.
Note that the instructions leave plenty to be desired. There are plenty of videos available to give you more of an idea. This detailed guide should give you a decent overview.
The only other negative point we found was that twice during testing, the light came on to indicate the bag was full. When we checked, there was not much debris in the bag at all. Resetting the unit helped temporarily. Later, the same thing happened again. Be aware of this happening and don’t panic if the same happens to you. It’s a harmless glitch in the overall scheme of things.
Dolphin offers a strong 3-year guarantee. If you need any repairs, they’ll be taken care of in a timely fashion. If you are in any doubt about reliability, this market-leading warranty gives you real peace of mind.
For a first-class robotic pool cleaner, the Dolphin Premier is almost unbeatable.
2. Dolphin 99996403-PC: Dolphin Nautilus Plus Robotic Pool Cleaner
Another great robot from Dolphin is up next, this time the Nautilus Plus.
Slightly cheaper than the Premier, the Nautilus Plus is still a highly capable cleaner perfect for even large in-ground pools up to around 50 feet. It will take care of the waterline, floors and walls of your pool so you don’t have to.
CleverClean technology makes sure that your robot doesn’t dart off in random patterns. It will establish the best method of cleaning your pool and do so in short order.
If time is of the essence, the Nautilus Plus will not disappoint. You can have your entire pool looking shipshape in no more than 2 hours.
Simply program your Dolphin to go through its 2-hour routine however many times you want over the week. That’s where your involvement with cleaning the pool can end! With a cleaner like this, all you need to do is oversee things.
You don’t need to worry any pre-installation. There is no need to hook it up to your pool system. Your robot will arrive pre-programmed. Pop it in your pool and it will take of business alone.
Since the cables are able to rotate through 360 degrees as the robot cleans away, you won’t be plagued by a tangle of underwater cables. This will also help prolong the life of your cleaner.
You access the filter system through the top. The extra-large opening on the Plus is one of the things that sets this model apart from the cheaper original Nautilus. You’ll get 2 sets of filter cartridges. You can eliminate all debris, big or small, with this superb robot.
Operating independently from the pump and filter, the Nautilus Plus will save you a fortune in power bills over time.
With a 2-year limited warranty, Dolphin has you covered.
For a truly comprehensive robotic pool cleaner at a price you will love, think long and hard about the Dolphin Nautilus Plus. You could spend much more for far, far less.
3. Hayward RC9990GR TigerShark QC Automatic Robotic Pool Cleaner
To round out our trio of robotic pool vacuums, we chose the Hayward TigerShark.
You can choose from 3 different models:
- Quick Clean Technology
- Standard with Remote
There is a fair price difference between these different versions so look at each and decide which best fits your needs and pocket.
The Standard model has a 3-hour cleaning cycle. It will shut itself down automatically when it’s finished. The Quick Clean version defaults to a 90-minute cycle. You can override this and allow it to continue a full 3 hours. Simply hit the Full Cycle button.
This cleaner is ideal for home swimming pools of between 20 and 40 feet. This should be adequate for most residential pools. If in doubt, check the measurements of yours.
The nifty cartridge filter system works better than filters in many ways. It’s also much easier to remove and replace than a large bag.
You should be fine with all types of debris up to small or medium leaves. If your pool is prone to much larger leaves, you might find these block the intake port. This drastically reduces the effectiveness of the cleaning.
One thing to watch out for is a small trail of dirt that can leak out when you remove your robot from the pool.
The other downsides are equally minor…
It’s essential to clean the filter after every use. This adds to the time you’ll need to spend cleaning your pool.
If you opt for the quick cycle, the robot skips cleaning the walls properly. Manage your expectations reasonably if you’re going for an express clean.
The 24V motor has overload protection and auto-shutoff so you don’t need to concern yourself with safety.
The 3-year limited warranty takes the sting out of any pre-purchase jitters.
For a no-nonsense pool cleaner that’s not too hard on the budget, check out Hayward’s TigerShark. It punches above its weight.
Suction Pool Cleaner: Our Top 3 Reviews
1. Baracuda G3 W03000 Advanced Suction Side Automatic Pool Cleaner
We’ll move now to suction-side cleaners.
After testing 5 of these, we narrowed the choice down to the leading 3, the first of which is the Baracuda G3.
This type of cleaner is much friendlier on the pocket than a robot while still delivering ample cleaning power. The differences between these cleaners are outlined above so check again if you are not sure which would be the best fit for you.
If you have a low-speed pump and your pool tends to accumulate small to medium-sized debris, the G3 is tailor-made.
Thanks to a FlowKeeper valve, water flow is automatically adjusted. This means that you can keep the cleaning power ratcheted up even if your pump is not so capable.
The Baracuda buffs up everything in your pool including the steps and wall.
Long hoses are scuff-resistant. Not only will you have plenty of room for maneuver, you’ll avoid any unsightly marks on the surface of your pool.
The G3 gets round even tight corners with ease courtesy of its wheel deflector. This is a highly maneuverable cleaner.
Maintenance is an absolute breeze. There’s a quick release cassette to make your life easier.
There’s no noise at all when your cleaner is working away. You can relax poolside while it does its job without being disturbed.
Installation couldn’t be simpler. Attach the wheel deflector, hose and disc. Connect to your skimmer or to a dedicated suction line. And you’re good to go!
A comprehensive warranty means you’re in safe hands if anything goes wrong.
For a cost-effective and highly efficient pool cleaner from a brand you can trust, the Baracuda G3 is hard to top.
2. Pentair GW9500 Kreepy Krauly Great White Inground Pool Cleaner
Like many pool cleaners, the GW9500 from Pentair has a striking name. It’s otherwise known as the Kreepy Krauly Great White.
This in-ground automatic pool cleaner has been a best-seller for years and with just cause.
The 15-inch cleaning path is adequate for a brisk enough pace. You’ll still want something like 4 to 6 hours for a full clean. You won’t need to spend that time monitoring the Kreepy Krauly. Just sit back with a drink and let it do its thing.
Although it’s reasonably efficient, the random nature of the cleaning mean it’s not got the same vision or programming present in more expensive robots. What you will get is a thorough clean while barely needing to lift a finger.
Whether you’ve got vinyl or a fiberglass finish to your pool, the Pentair copes admirably. Its ability to clean specialty surfaces is a key selling point.
If your cleaner gets traps in a tight spot, the specialized turning mechanism guarantees it will be free in no time.
The one major disadvantage of the Pentair is that it spends rather too much time cleaning the deep end while neglecting the shallow end.
Big leaves and other large objects will block the suction so think about what type of matter lands in your pool.
Pentair offers a 2-year limited warranty so you can buy stress-free.
For an all-rounder that will keep your pool spotless at a very keen price, road test the Kreepy Krauly today. We are confident you’ll be as happy with it as we were.
3. Hayward 900 Wanda the Whale Above-Ground Automatic Pool Cleaner
The final suction-side cleaner on our shortlist is Wanda the Whale, another memorably-named pool vac from Hayward.
The Hayward is an above ground style of cleaner unlike the first 2 suction cleaners we tested out. We chose this so there is something for everyone rather than a narrow band of very similar products.
Installation takes no more than 10 minutes. You won’t need any tools or specialist skills to be up and running almost straight out the box.
A turbine system means that water flow is nicely balanced. You’ll get smooth and gentle movement without any troublesome noise.
32 feet of hose supplied should be lengthy enough for most requirements. If you have a larger pool, this is not the most suitable cleaner for you anyway.
SmartDrive steering means you’ll get a little more finesse than with purely random cleaners. Water circulation is given a further boost as the cleaner pulls water up from the bottom as it does its work.
Whether it’s dirt or seeds, bugs or leaves, Wanda sucks up everything without breaking stride. Your water will be left crystal clear ready for you to dive on in.
If your pump kicks out less than ¾ HP, this cleaner is not for you.
The limited 1-year warranty is less generous than that offered by much of the competition. Take this into consideration when looking at the cheaper price tag. Sometimes value is about more than the numbers on a label.
If you’re looking for an extremely cost-effective method of keeping your pool immaculate, you could do far worse than unleashing Wanda the Whale.
Pressure Pool Cleaner: Our Top 3 Reviews
1. Polaris Vac-Sweep 360 Pressure Side Pool Cleaner
The final set of pool cleaners we tested were all pressure-side models. From the 5 we initially tried, we took a closer look at our top 3. Leading the pack is the Polaris Vac-Sweep 360.
The 360 is an in-ground pressure-side cleaner. You won’t need to worry about an extra pump. This cleaner runs on a separate pressure liner from your pool pump. This means you can cut costs both on installation expenses and running costs. If your pool is already built and you don’t want a robot, this is a smart choice.
The dirt and debris collected by the Polaris is stored in a filter bag. This is a single chamber.
A nifty hose scrubber at the rear makes sure your cleaner doesn’t leave a dirty trail behind it.
With 31 feet of hose, you should have enough freedom to operate without restriction.
An in-line backup valve soon frees up the Polaris if it gets stuck. It will flip and continue its duties without interrupting the cleaning cycle.
Since this vac is powered by the pressure of water returning to your swimming pool, the filter and skimmer will be freed up to do their jobs without intereference.
There is a limited warranty but look out for the restrictions. It’s better than nothing but you’d expect more from a company of this stature.
Pressure-side cleaners are not for everyone. If you think this type of vac would best fit your requirements, the Polaris 360 is tough to outflank.
2. Polaris Vac-Sweep 380 Pressure Side Pool Cleaner
As we near the end of this comprehensive guide to the best pool cleaners, another product from the pool cleaning titan Polaris.
A triple-jet pressure-side cleaner just like its smaller brother the 360, this vac does need a supplementary booster pump. Make sure you factor this into the equation when you’re budgeting.
The 380 will remove all marks from the walls of your pool all the way down to the bottom.
You’ll get all of the functionality of the 360 and more with this uprated 380 model.
31 feet of hose is generous.
The filter bag is made to prevent debris hitting the filter or basket. This makes life easier on your filtration system.
Heated water is dished out throughout the pool so you can get back into it without delay.
You’ll be able to get a large pool clean in 3 hours with the Polaris 380. That’s a very rapid turnaround time for such a deep clean.
It is inconvenient that the 380 will not clean the stairs of your pool. Take this into account.
You’ll need to swap the filter bag on an annual basis. The tail scrubber will also need replacing.
If you’re prepared for the stiff price tag, ongoing investment and the booster pump, the Polaris 380 is a class-leading pressure-side cleaner. It did nothing to let us down during testing. We really can’t recommend it highly enough.
3. Pentair LL505G Kreepy Krauly Legend Pressure-Side Inground Pool Cleaner
Wrapping up our pool cleaner reviews, another Kreepy Krauly from Pentair, this time the Legend.
Again, a pressure-side cleaner, this is suitable for paler in-ground pools.
Pentair products are not cheap but they represent great overall value. It is a brand you can rely upon.
You’ll need to buy the booster pump separately as with the Polaris so give this due though.
4 wheels stop the Legend from toppling over. Front-wheel drive helps it to climb the walls with speed and ease.
The back-up valve kicks in every 3-½ minutes. This will deliver coverage of the whole pool and discourage the cleaner from loitering on the steps.
A large throat allows plenty of debris to enter and it’s stashed in a bulky filter bag.
The standard tail hose scrubber means you won’t see a trail of marks in its wake.
You can choose between gray or white to suit the color scheme of your pool.
For a rugged workhorse of a cleaner that will get the job done without any ceremony, the Kreepy Krauly Legend is worth an honorable mention.
We trust you’ve found this look at the best pool cleaners has helped you on your way.
As always, feel free to reach out with any questions or feedback. We’re always delighted to help in any way we can.
Now go and relax by the pool without worrying about dirty water.
You know where you stand with a brand like Polaris. They have been dominating the pool cleaning market for decades so you can buy into a company you trust.
Last update on 2018-06-21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Table of Contents
- Top 9 Pool Cleaner on The Market 2017
- How To Choose Your Pool Cleaner
- What Type of Pool Cleaner Should You Buy?
- What Else To Think About When Buying a Pool Cleaner
- Robotic Pool Cleaners: Our Top 3 Reviews
- Suction Pool Cleaner: Our Top 3 Reviews
- Pressure Pool Cleaner: Our Top 3 Reviews