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What Are The 3 Best Pool Leaf Vacuums?

If your pool is surrounded by trees and plants, you might notice a large amount of leaves find their way into it from time to time.

Leaf removal can be done using skimmer nets or vacuums, but the most effective way to get rid of them is by using a dedicated leaf vacuum – also called a leaf eater, leaf catcher, leaf gulper or leaf bagger.

Let’s talk about the best pool leaf vacuums available right now, and how to pick one that works for you.

Our Picks For Best Pool Leaf Vacuums

We looked high and low for the best pool leaf vacuums across numerous categories, narrowing it down the best three.

Best Overall (Recommended)

Poolmaster 28316 Swimming Pool Leaf...
Poolmaster 28316 Swimming Pool Leaf...
  • Large 15-inch ABS body with 8 high-pressure jets
  • 4 multi-directional swivel wheels and replaceable...
  • Durable mar-proof rubber bumper and features...

Best On A Budget

Poolmaster 28300 Big Sucker...
Poolmaster 28300 Big Sucker...
  • Specifically for removing large leaves and dirt...
  • Large, 15 inch diameter vacuum with handle made of...
  • Underside features 8 high-pressure water jets and...

Best Premium Pick

POOL BLASTER Water Tech Leaf Vac -...
POOL BLASTER Water Tech Leaf Vac -...
  • HELPS MAINTAIN PH LEVEL: Leaf Vac is a...
  • CORDLESS: Perfect for quick and easy cleaning on...
  • HIGH CAPACITY LEAF BAG: The Pool Blaster Leaf Vac...

Are Pool Leaf Vacuums Worth It?

Here’s a quick breakdown of the pros and cons:

Pros:

  • Only requires a garden hose to create suction (hoseless/cordless models are also available)
  • Various bag sizes allow for grabbing any amount of leaves without clogging the vacuum
  • Inexpensive, costing between $50 and $100

Cons

  • Requires you to manually use the vacuum
  • Only produces light suction for lightweight debris
  • Brushes on unit not adequate for scrubbing the surface of the pool

Pool Leaf Vacuums Vs Pool Cleaners

Pool leaf vacuums and pool cleaners are both used to remove debris from the pool, but leaf vacuums are specifically designed to remove leaves, while pool cleaners are vacuums that can handle a wider range of debris

Leaf vacuums are manually operated. Attached to the unit are a garden hose, long pole, and debris bag. Turning on the hose creates suction, while the telescoping pole helps move the vacuum across the surface of the pool, sucking up leaves into the bag.

Most pool cleaners are automatic (but not all). They’re designed to remove everything from leaves, to bugs, to fine dirt or sand, and even algae. These vacuums have stronger suction than leaf vacuums, and some come with rotating brushes that scrub the surface of the pool so you don’t have to brush it down.

Note: There are 3 types of automatic pool cleaners: suction-side, pressure-side, and robotic. Robotic cleaners work independently as a self-contained unit, while suction and pressure-side cleaners work with your pool system to clean out the pool.

With that being said, pool leaf vacuums are still better at handling large amounts of leaves without getting clogged, and also come at a much more affordable price point. It certainly doesn’t hurt to have both in your arsenal, however.

Types Of Pool Leaf Vacuums

We already touched on the different types of leaf vacuums, so let’s talk about the key differences and why you might choose one over the other.

Standard Leaf Vacs

Poolmaster 28300 Big Sucker...
Poolmaster 28300 Big Sucker...
  • Specifically for removing large leaves and dirt...
  • Large, 15 inch diameter vacuum with handle made of...
  • Underside features 8 high-pressure water jets and...

Standard pool leaf vacuums are the most common. Unlike a cordless model (see below), this vacuum needs to create suction to pick up the leaves.

Suction is created by connecting the vacuum to an outdoor garden hose. When the spigot is turned on, it sends water through the hose and out the underside of the unit. This creates a suction force strong enough to pick up leaves. 

A long, telescopic pole is also connected to the vacuum. This allows you to walk around the pool and move the cleaner over the various areas where leaves need to be removed. 

Finally, the leaves are caught in a removable mesh bag and its contents are then dumped out once the vacuum is taken out of the pool.

Pros:

  • Simple to use, and leaves can be removed in around 20 minutes
  • You can purchase various bag sizes. This allows for removal of small or large amounts of leaves.
  • Inexpensive with many models priced around $50. Mesh bag replacements cost between $20 and $30.

Cons:

  • Requires a time investment as its operated manually
  • Won’t scrub down the pool walls as it works
  • Garden hose can tangle or be too short
  • Suction power is good for leaves but won’t work well for heavier debris 

Cordless Leaf Vacs

POOL BLASTER Catfish Ultra...
POOL BLASTER Catfish Ultra...
  • CAPTURE MORE DIRT: Catfish Ultra features higher...
  • CORDLESS: Rechargeable Lithium Ion Battery. No...
  • VERSATILE CLEANING: Spot-Clean in seconds or clean...

The other leaf vacuum you can go with is a cordless version. 

A cordless pool leaf vacuum works pretty much the same as a standard leaf vacuum, except you don’t need to attach a garden hose to it to create suction.

So where does the suction come from on a cordless model? 

Well, these vacuums are battery-powered and have a fan blade designed into them which sucks up the leaves. 

Everything else is exactly the same – they still require a pole to push the unit around and everything is caught in a mesh bag.

Pros:

  • Doesn’t require use of a garden hose. Sometimes a hose can get tangled or be too short, limiting the range you can use the cleaner.
  • Battery powered with around 3 hours of run time
  • Relatively inexpensive at under $100, with replacement bags between $20 and $30

Cons:

  • Battery operation means you’ll eventually have to replace the batteries (usually takes 8 “AA” batteries)
  • Won’t scrub down the floor and walls as it cleans

Features You Need To Consider

Now let’s talk about the most important features to consider when it comes to choosing a leaf vac for your swimming pool.

Suction Strength

The amount of suction on pool leaf vacuums isn’t going to be anything out of this world. They are designed to pick up leaves, which have an average weight of 5 grams (or 0.01 lbs.) – so don’t expect Hoover quality.

If using a standard leaf vacuum, the suction strength will also depend on the water pressure coming out of your backyard spigot. 

Cordless models seem to have a bit more suction strength due to their fan design.

Pole Length

For a product that requires a long pole in order to use it, you might find it odd that most leaf vacuums don’t supply one. However, this is because they’re designed to be used with the pole from your skimmer net or pool brush. 

In some cases, the pole you already have may not be the correct size. Consult the product packaging or listing to find out the proper pole size, and pick one up at any pool shop.

A telescoping pole is the best kind to get, as they can range from 1.8 feet to 21 feet, allowing you to use it with various pool depths.

Bag Quality

Most leaf vacuums will include at least 1 bag with the unit, however, you should always double check so you know what you’re getting. These stock bags are usually a bit more delicate in construction than a third-party option. 

Having said that, you should still get a lot of life out of a debris bag, but it really depends on how often you’re using them.

Some people can get away with using a single bag for multiple years, while others replace them every 6 months or so. 

There’s also common complaints that bags can disconnect mid-cleaning. This is because they’re secured with only a drawstring. You can rectify this by tying a rubber band around it so it doesn’t float away.

ABOAT 3 Pack 24 x 16 Inch Fine Mesh...
ABOAT 3 Pack 24 x 16 Inch Fine Mesh...
  • One size fits most: the bag length is 24 inch and...
  • Fine mesh bag: made of durable nylon material,...
  • Pull-N-Lock cord: mesh leaf bags come with pull...

Run Time

If using a standard leaf vacuum which attaches to a water line from your house, you have unlimited run time. Unless of course, you didn’t pay your water bill, and then you’ll have a different problem on your hands.

As for cordless leaf vacuums, you can get around 3 hours of run time from the batteries they operate on. Keep in mind they take 8 “AA” batteries, which will add up fast if you’re frequently cleaning the pool.

Either way, you’ll be spending a decent amount of money on your water bill, or on batteries. The choice is yours.

Vacuum Weight

The weight of these vacuums is very minimal and unless you have a disability, you should have no problem using them. 

Their light weight allows you to easily push them around the pool and lift them out when finished, all without throwing out your back at the same time.

Other Things To Consider

Let’s finish on a few final things you should take into consideration when deciding on the best pool cleaners.

Pool Sizes And Shapes

With pools available in different shapes and sizes, should that play into the pool leaf vacuum you decide to buy?

Yes and no.

Most leaves settle on the bottom of the pool rather than stick to the walls or in corners, so the shape of the pool really isn’t a major issue as long as the vacuum can reach the floor.

This is where it’s important to have the right length pole for your pool’s depth. Cleaning leaves out of a 4 foot shallow end is a lot different than cleaning from an 8 foot deep end. You’ll have to adjust accordingly.

Pool Types And Finishes

Pools are available in various types and finishes. Concrete pools have plaster, aggregate, or tile finishes, fiberglass pools use a gel-coated finish, and vinyl liner pools use a vinyl liner.

Leaf vacuums are lightweight, gentle, and should be fine for all pools. However, if you have a vinyl liner pool you should be aware of how delicate the liner is, and make sure you’re not being too aggressive when using the leaf vacuum.

Inground Vs Above Ground Pools

Sometimes forgotten with all the luxurious inground pool models are their more affordable cousins; above ground pools.

The good news is, you should have no problems using a leaf vacuum with an above ground pool. They’re just as viable.

However, you should be aware that an above ground pool liner or Intex pool wall can be more delicate than a standard pool finish, so take care not to damage them while removing leaves.

Our Top Pick

Poolmaster 28316 Swimming Pool Leaf...
Poolmaster 28316 Swimming Pool Leaf...
  • Large 15-inch ABS body with 8 high-pressure jets
  • 4 multi-directional swivel wheels and replaceable...
  • Durable mar-proof rubber bumper and features...

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