Top 10 Best Pool Cleaners 2021 – Pool Vacuum Buying Guide

The summer is here and that hot sun has everyone thinking about jumping into a sparkling and refreshing swimming pool. The only problem is the large amount of dirt, bugs and other debris floating around your pool that prevent you from diving in.

Whether you have an inground pool or above ground pool, the best pool cleaners can mean the difference between hours of back-breaking maintenance or a few hours of hands-off cleaning. The following review will help you decide if a robotic cleaner, a pressure side cleaner or a suction side cleaner will be the best fit for you.

Best Pool Cleaners

Top 10 Best Pool Cleaners Comparison Table in 2021

IMAGE PRODUCT DETAILS

Dolphin Nautilus CC Plus
  • Weight: 19 lbs
  • Cord Length: 60 ft
  • Works in all in-ground pools
  • Cleans pools up to 50 ft. in length
  • Clean in just 2 hours
  • Filter cartridges to vacuum up dirt and debris
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BARACUDA G3
  • Weight: 20 lbs
  • Superior cleaning performance
  • Ensures maximum adhesion on all pool finishes
  • No flapper or hammer noise
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Polaris Vac-Sweep 280
  • Weight: 17.2 lbs
  • Hose Length: 31 ft
  • Works in all in-ground pools
  • Vacuums, sweeps and scrubs the floor and walls.
  • Note: Booster pump required
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Hayward RC9990GR TigerShark
  • Weight: 18 lbs
  • Cord Length: 55 ft
  • Cleans In-ground pools up to 20 x 40 feet.
  • No extra hoses, hookups or pumps required
  • Easy to handle, transport, and store
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Hayward Poolvergnuegen
  • Weight: 19.1 lbs
  • Hose Length: 33′
  • Pool Size- Up to 20 ft. x 40 ft.
  • Works well in all in-ground pools
  • Gunite, Vinyl, Fiberglass, pebble and Tile
  • Automatic Turbine Suction Cleaner
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Pentair GW7900
  • Weight: 14 lbs
  • Works well in all in-ground pools.
  • Maneuvers around tight corners, ladders and obstacles to assure fast, thorough cleaning performance.
  • Measures 13-inch length by 13-inch width by 13-inch height
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Hayward RC9740
  • Weight: 42 lbs
  • Scrubs and vacuums pool floor and coves
  • Easy to use, no tools required.
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Polaris Sport
  • Weight: 43.6 lbs
  • Cleans pools up to 50′ in length
  • Vortex Vacuum Technology captures more than four times the debris
  • 4WD technology cleans pool floor, walls, and scrubs tile line
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Pentair Prowler 830
  • Weight: 45 lbs
  • Best for Inground Pool
  • Scrubs, vacuums and filters
  • Easy control .
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Zodiac Ranger Vacuum
  • Weight: 15 lbs
  • Works well in above ground pools.
  • 32 feet of feed hose
  • Self-adjusting flow control valve automatically
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Best Pool Cleaners Review

1. Dolphin Nautilus Robotic Pool Cleaner

Dolphin Nautilus is a lightweight quality robotic cleaner that will scrub the entire surface of a pool up to 50 feet in length. All you need to do is drop the Nautilus into your pool and it will do the job for you within 3 hours while you sit back and relax.

Dolphin Nautilus Robotic Pool Cleaner Button

Some features and benefits of the Dolphin Nautilus are;

  • This cleaner comes with a 60 foot swivel cord that is designed to be tangle-free while you use it. This is a useful feature because you don’t need to worry about the plug accidentally getting pulled out of the socket due to a stuck cord.
  • The Dolphin Nautilus is easy to use. All you need to do is plug it in and drop it in the pool. This makes your life a lot easier because you don’t have to struggle with additional parts or watch to make sure it is doing the job
  • This cleaner will clean all pool surfaces within 3 hours which saves you time and hassle. You can put the robot into the pool first thing in the morning and enjoy the rest of the day swimming.
  • The filters are really easy to clean and just need to be rinsed out after a cleaning cycle. This is such a nice feature because it allows you to finish cleaning the pool quickly and easily and get on with your day.
  • This robotic cleaner is cost efficient because it uses an energy efficient power source that plugs into your home’s outlet and doesn’t put any additional strain on the existing pool’s filtration system. This benefits your pocket book in two ways, your energy bill will be lower and your pool’s system will last longer.

Cons

  • This cleaner has a difficult time cleaning in corners and won’t do steps
  • The smart technology doesn’t work very well, so the cleaner tends to bounce around the pool haphazardly causing some spots to be missed.
  • Expensive at over $600
  • When the cleaner is full, it is difficult to lift out of the water without dropping dirt back into the pool

Tips

  • Lift the cleaner slowly with the cord until it hits the surface of the water to get it out
  • Turn the unit around in the water before lifting it out so dirt doesn’t fall out of the filter.
  • Sway the unit in the water before dropping it in to get rid of any air bubbles trapped underneath

2. BARACUDA G3 Suction Side Cleaner

The Baracuda is a suction side pool cleaner which uses your existing pool’s pump to propel itself around your pool. This particular cleaner will work with pumps that have less power which makes it a much more efficient machine.

BARACUDA G3 Suction Side Cleaner Button

Some features and benefits of the Baracuda include;

  • Works with low-speed pumps which means it doesn’t take a lot of power to work. This will save you money by not having to replace your existing pump too often because of extra wear and tear.
  • Cleans all surfaces of the pool including floors, walls and steps. This feature is a great benefit to you because it means you don’t have to do any extra work to make your pool sparkle.
  • “FlowKeeper Valve” regulates the flow of water so it works at peak efficiency even with a weaker pump. This is a great feature because it means you won’t have to buy a more powerful pump to get your pool completely clean.
  • The Baracuda G3 comes with a “Wheel Deflector” which helps the unit navigate easily around corners and tight squeezes like in behind ladders. This feature benefits you because you don’t need to check on whether or not the cleaner has gotten stuck and you can relax as it is working.
  • This unit has a scuff resistant feature that eliminates the potential for scuffing as it cleans along the pools surface.
  • The “36-Fin Disc” built into the unit ensures that it adheres to the pool’s surface and easily navigates around things that can block its movement like lights and covers.

Cons

  • Needs to use your pool pump which puts strain on existing equipment
  • Does not move around the pool freely if the suction line is not in exact place, so you need to constantly watch it
  • Instructions that come with unit are not very detailed
  • The hose has a tendency to leak when put together

Tips

  • Keep hoses on the cleaner straight when in storage so they do not crimp and remain easy to put together

3. Polaris Vac-Sweep 280 Pressure Side Cleaner

The Polaris is a pressure-side pool cleaner works that requires a booster pump to get the maximum efficiency out of the unit. This pool vacuum has its own filtration system so there is no additional wear on your pool’s filter.

Polaris Vac-Sweep 280 Pressure Side Cleaner Button

Several features and benefits of the Polaris include;

  • The Polaris has a dual jet system which provides greater power so it can clean an entire pool in a matter of hours. This is a great feature because you can set the cleaner to work for a few hours first thing in the morning and then have the entire day to enjoy a clean pool.
  • The Polaris can reach all areas of the pool because it can be connected to a dedicated pressure line. This is of great benefit to you because you won’t have to scrub certain areas of the pool that some other pool vacuums can’t get to.
  • This cleaner comes with a specially designed filter that allows the cleaner to catch large and small debris easily. This is a great feature because you won’t need to troll the water for large debris that can clog up traditional pool vacuums before setting the cycle.
  • The Polaris filter bag is designed to remove any large debris that can cause damage to your pool pump. This benefits you because it prolongs the life of your pool’s filtration system and saves you money in the long run.
  • The Polaris 280 a very rugged unit and the durability ensures that it will last along time. This saves you money on having to repair or replace the unit and you won’t need to spend any extra on pool maintenance while this unit is working.

Cons

  • The wheels have a habit of locking up and need to be adjusted often
  • The Velcro bag is difficult to clean out
  • Does not go in reverse very well and sometimes needs adjusting

Tips

  • When you are cleaning out the filter always take apart the wall connector and clean out the small debris basket. This will ensure the unit continues to work at optimal performance.
  • If the Polaris is on the bottom of the pool on its side that means that the rear float needs to be replaced with a new one.

4. Hayward RC9990GR TigerShark Pool Vacuum

The Hayward TigerShark brings the power of a robotic pool cleaner to a whole new level with the Quick Clean Technology. This cleaner will do the entire pool in the time it takes for you to barbecue up your favorite hamburgers.

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Features and benefits of the Hayward TigerShark include;

  • The Hayward will clean in-ground pools up to 20′ x 40′. This is a great feature for you if you have a large pool. It will save you so much time and effort, letting the machine do the work for you.
  • The Quick Clean cycle on the Hayward will do your entire pool in 90 minutes which is huge difference over other traditional pool cleaners. This is a great benefit for those times when you want to start enjoying your pool right away and be swimming after only 1 hour and a half.
  • The Hayward has an energy efficient 24-volt motor. This motor will save you money on energy costs and also cleans the pool faster so you don’t need to spend as much on longer run times.
  • The pump built into the unit is designed to give superior vacuum power to suck up any large or small debris that it finds in your pool. This is a great feature when you live in a heavily wooded area and you find that leaves and branches fall into your pool on a regular basis.
  • The filtration cartridge system is really easy to clean because you just need to run it under water. You will love this feature because you can just turn on your garden hose to clean it out quickly and easily.

Cons

  • Expensive at close to $1000 for the unit
  • Doesn’t get 100% of the pool area when cleaning
  • Has a tendency to get stuck in certain places which means you need to keep checking it
  • Cleaning the filters is a difficult task if you want to get all of the debris out

Tips

  • If your pool collects a lot of dirt in one end, then switch the unit from quick clean to full clean to make sure the corners of that area are covered.

5. Hayward Poolvergnuegen Suction Cleaner

The Hayward unit is unique because it comes with 4-wheel drive that helps it navigate the entire pool in a short amount of time. This suction cleaner has all the feature of a more expensive unit but is attractively priced for the budget-conscious.

Hayward Poolvergnuegen Suction Cleaner Button

Some features and benefits of the Hayward PoolCleaner are;

  • The Hayward PoolCleaner has 4-wheels that give the unit the power to clean large in-ground pools with dimensions of up 20’ x 40’. This is a great feature because you don’t need to adjust it all the time so it cleans the whole pool. You can just set it for the maximum cycle and go do something else while it cleans.
  • The tire treads on the wheels of the Hayward are patented and designed to provide the maximum climbing capability and ability to drive over any obstacles. You will really appreciate this feature when you find that you don’t need to keep checking your pool vacuum to make sure it isn’t stuck somewhere.
  • The Hayward has a patented “adjustable roller skirt” which allows for optimal suction when the vacuum is on bumpy or uneven surfaces. This feature will benefit you quite a bit if you have uneven surfaces in your pool because you won’t need to worry that they are being neglected.
  • The Hayward runs multiple programs that control steering of the unit and learn the shape of the pool. This is a great benefit because you don’t have to worry that only a portion of your pool will be clean because the unit hasn’t “learned” your pool’s dimensions.

Cons

  • Has a difficult time climbing the walls of some pools
  • Difficulty in cleaning stairs in the pool
  • The flapper wheel has a tendency to stop working and need adjusting

Tips

  • If you want to stop the cleaner from getting stuck on steps, you may need to purchase larger wheels.

6. Pentair GW7900 Kreepy Krauly

The Pentair Kreepy Krauly is synonymous with quality and technology. The patented features on this automatic pool cleaner make it a quiet and efficient machine that makes your pool clean and inviting.

Pentair GW7900 Kreepy Krauly Button

Some features and benefits of the Pentair are;

  • The Pentair is designed to clean large in-ground pools quickly and quietly. This feature is great because you don’t have to wait long to start enjoying your pool and you can still entertain while it is cleaning because the noise won’t be bothersome.
  • The patented “smarttrac” technology means that the cleaner is programmed to maneuver its way around tight corners and obstacles. You will love this feature because it means you don’t need to keep checking your vacuum cleaner to see if it is stuck in one spot, giving you more leisure time with the family.
  • The Pentair will “learn” your pool so it can effectively clean faster and clean all spots in your pool, even corners that traditionally get neglected. This benefits you greatly because it saves you the extra time scrubbing the spots that a traditional pool vacuum would normally miss.
  • This pool vacuum comes with added safety features by providing a sprint loaded cover for the port door that can only be opened with a special tool. This will give you piece of mind that a member of the family won’t accidentally hurt themselves by playing around with the unit.

Cons

  • The unit has a tendency to float up to the surface despite the weights on the hose.
  • Can get stuck in small places like under ladders which means it needs to be checked often.

Tips

  • Wrap some lead fishing weight around the part where the hose weight sits to prevent the unit from floating up to the surface during operation.

7. Hayward RC9740 SharkVac Cleaner Reviews

The SharkVac is a relatively new addition to the Hayward brand of products. The design of this pool cleaner is superior because of the unique filtration system but also because of the top loading filter that eliminates the need to turn the unit upside down when cleaning.

Hayward RC9740 SharkVac Cleaner Button

  • The Hayward technology makes it one of the most energy-efficient pool vacuums on the market. This feature benefits you because you will pay less in energy costs and it will give you a superior clean with a minimum of effort.
  • The container that collects the debris from the pool can be accessed at the top of the unit. You will really appreciate this feature when you need to do a quick clean up of the filters and are able to get to them easily and quickly.
  • The patented design of the Hayward means that it easily vacuums and scrubs pool floors, walls and coves. This provides you with peace of mind that your are getting the maximum clean your pool vacuum has to offer and also gives you the freedom to go out and do other things.
  • This cleaner has a microprocessor that “learns” the patterns and shapes of your pool so it can create the most efficient pool pattern for cleaning. This benefits you because it will clean the most surface area in a short amount of time and leave you to spend the rest of the time swimming in your spotless pool.

Cons

  • The wheels have a tendency to crack which makes the unit sit too low along the bottom and sides when cleaning.
  • Takes some time to clean the filters.
  • Will become quite heavy after it does a cycle which makes it cumbersome to take out of the water

Tips

  • Always check the filters and make sure they are positioned correctly so you don’t have any debris escaping the filter.

8. Polaris F9450 Sport Robotic Cleaner

The Polaris F9450 is the new and improved response to the needs of pool owners. This unit will clean the entire pool more efficiently than its predecessor because of the unique design features like the 4 wheel drive and the vacuum technology.

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Features and benefits of the Polaris are;

  • The Polaris Sport is an improved version of the old Polaris robotic pool vacuum. This swimming pool cleaner comes with 4 wheel drive to propel it around your pool for greater speed and accuracy.
  • The “Vortex Vacuum Technology” gives the unit the power to capture up to 4x times more large and small pieces of debris than other pool cleaners with similar features. This is a great feature if you live in an area that has a lot of trees because the abundance of leaves will be cleaned up effortlessly from the surface of your pool.
  • The filter canister can be accessed from the top which makes it easier to clean and eliminates leaking dirt back into the pool. You will love this feature because you will no longer have to tip the unit over before removing it from the pool to prevent dirt and algae from falling back into the water.
  • The “4WD technology” built into the Polaris makes it very effective at scrubbing the pool floors and walls efficiently. You will like this feature because it means there will be no extra cleaning after the cycle is finished.

Cons

  • This cleaner is not good at getting steps, seats or ledges clean.
  • Has difficulty climbing walls.

Tips

  • Do not use this unit for above-ground pools as it is only made for the materials found in inground-pools.

9. Pentair Kreepy Krauly Prowler 830

The Pentair Prowler is a cut above its predecessor because of the new design that provides superior cleaning and suction power. This unit has some new bells and whistles to make you smile like a remote control and faster cycle time to clean the entire pool.

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Features and benefits of the Pentair Prowler include;

  • This unit is advanced in the design of the scrubs, vacuum suction and filtration system. This equates to a much faster clean than most pool vacuums in a full cycle. It will do the entire pool in 2½ hours. This feature is great for when you are in a hurry to get the pool clean because you want to swim yourself or are expecting guests over for a pool party
  • The remote control that comes with the prowler is a special bonus that allows you to pre-set certain controls like regular maintenance. This feature just makes pool cleaning that much easier because you are able to schedule regular cleanings at the touch of a button.
  • The robotic pool cleaner runs its own filtration system and is self-propelled so you don’t have to use any existing systems on your pool. This is a great feature because it eliminates additional wear and tear on your pool’s filtration system, making it last longer and saving you money in the long run.
  • The powerful vacuum power means that small and large pieces of debris will be whisked way effortlessly. This is good for you because it means that you don’t need to sweep the area first for large branches and leaves before setting the pool cleaner cycle.

Cons

  • Unit is heavy after a full cleaning cycle
  • Needs to be turned over to clean filters and prevent dirt from getting back into the pool when removing it from water.

Tips

  • If you want the unit to reach above the waterline then set it to the 3 hour cycle.

10. Zodiac Ranger Suction Side Pool Vacuum

With a few exceptions, the Zodiac is one of the few automatic pool cleaners that is specifically designed for above-ground swimming pools. This is a great feature if your pool is above ground and you want the added convenience of a robotic pool cleaner.

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  • The Zodiac only has on moving part which means it is quiet and less likely to break down. This feature is great because you will still be able to have people over while it is cleaning silently.
  • The unit comes with a “Deflector Wheel” which stops it from getting caught in tight corners like ladders and steps. This is a great benefit because it means you don’t need to keep checking on it to make sure it is still moving like you would with traditional pool cleaners.
  • The zodiac is pre-assembled out of the box so there is very little effort in getting it to start working. This is a great feature if you have had to struggle with pieces on an old pool cleaner in the past.
  • The Zodiac “AG Disc” makes the cleaner propel effortlessly along the bottom of the pool, up and down the steps and along the walls surface. You will love this feature because your whole pool will get clean and you won’t have to get out the elongated brush and start scrubbing yourself.

Cons

  • Unit has a tendency to stop in the middle of a job which means you need to check on it often during the cycle.

Tips

  • If you find your unit stops running after only cleaning for a short while, replace the O-ring and you might find that clears the problem

Types of Pool Cleaners

Robotic pool cleaners

These are by far the most popular of the best pool vacuums because they do the work for you and use less power. The robotic cleaner will run off of an outlet attached to your house rather than your pool hose, which eliminates strain on your existing pool system. This type of cleaner will also scrub the sides and bottom of the pool in addition to catching debris and dirt from the surface. This means you don’t have to spend extra hours scrubbing the sides of your pool and can go and enjoy a nice pool-side barbecue while the robot does its thing.

Pros

Cons

  • Cleans the entire pool top to bottom
  • Doesn’t use the pools filtration system
  • Energy efficient
  • More expensive to buy

Pressure Side pool cleaner

The pressure side cleaner uses a separate filtration bag to collect debris and dirt it picks up while cleaning. This means that there is less strain on the filtration system in your pool. This type of cleaner uses a pressure side line to push the cleaner across the pool. In some cases, an additional booster pump is required to give the cleaner enough power to propel.

Pros

Cons
  • Costs less than other pool cleaners
  • Takes very little effort to maintain
  • Doesn’t use the existing pool filter
  • Will use the pool’s pump to run
  • Extra accessories are sometimes required
  • Suction side pool cleaners

Suction side pool cleaners

The suction side cleaner uses your existing pool filtration system to propel itself across your pool as it cleans. This system will clean the surface of your pool efficiently and costs a lot less than most of the other pool cleaning systems.

Pros

Cons
  • Lower cost to buy
  • Durable because it has few parts
  • Takes very little effort to maintain
  • Lightweight
  • Will strain existing filtration system
    and pool pump

What To Consider When Looking For The Best Pool Cleaners

Selecting a pool cleaner is a challenging task because of how many factors need to be taken into consideration. The best pool vacuum needs to meet certain criteria before it can be deemed suitable for the majority of pool owners. Some of these criteria considered include;

  • The average size of the in-ground and above ground pool needing a pool cleaning system. Some units will clean up to 60” but if your pool is only around 30” then there is no need to spend the extra on a higher capacity cleaner.
  • The area the pool is situated in. If you live in an area surrounded by oak trees, then having a pool cleaner only capable of skimming the water surface is not very helpful or efficient.
  • Does the design promote independent cleaning with little to no supervision? If the unit is designed in such a way that it gets stuck over every light and bump over the pool’s surface, then you will be spending a lot of time checking on its progress which is not an effective use of your leisure time.
  • Does the price of the unit match the quality of the features? You may think that a unit in the $1000 range should work perfectly and independently, but if the features on that unit don’t match the price tag, then you have wasted your money.

Read More
Keeping A Pool Free Of Algae With And Without Vacuum
Best Above Ground Pool Vacuum
What is the Best Way to Get Leaves Out of Pool?
Best Inground Pool Cleaners

Which Pool Vacuum is Right for You?

The best pool vacuum cleaner in my opinion is the Hayward RC9990GR TigerShark QC Automatic Robotic Pool Cleaner with Quick Clean Technology because it does the job the quickest out of all the other cleaners in this category.

The Hayward technology is superior to other systems because it is easy to clean, energy efficient and able to pick up large pieces of debris as well as fine particles that can be easy to miss. If you have an in-ground pool and you want a worry free and easy-to-use cleaner, then you can’t go wrong with the Hayward TigerShark.

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