It’s no easy task keeping your swimming pool squeaky clean. It seems like every time you look away there are leaves, dirt and other junk collecting in the bottom.
But there’s a more natural solution than a never-ending battle armed with a giant pool rake. It’s called a suction pool cleaner. Arguably one of the most convenient pieces of pool technology, it’s your solution to keep the bottom of your pool perfectly clean.
Read on to discover what you need to consider before buying a suction pool cleaner, and I’ll share my insights on the best models for your pool.
We hand-picked the following suction pool cleaner products based on their popularity, price-points and differentiating features.
A more complete review of each can be found later in this article.
Think of a suction pool cleaner like an underwater vacuum cleaner for your swimming pool.
Once installed, it runs around the bottom of your pool to remove dirt, debris, leaves and all the other junk that has settled in the water. Using a series of hoses, the suction pool cleaner deposits all of this debris into your filter basket.
Typically powered by the pump and filtration setup you’ve already got in your pool, suction cleaners are a great option to keep your pool clean.
All you need to do is set it running, and empty the filter basket once it fills. It’s one of the most effortless ways to keep a layer of dirt building up on the base of your pool.
Of course, there are a few different variations of pool cleaners, of which the suction pool cleaner is just one particular type.
But let’s take a step back and talk about each type, and compare why you might choose a suction cleaner over any other.
As the most inexpensive option it’s no wonder the suction pool cleaner is a smart choice. You may have heard these devices referred to as a pool vacuum, or even a “creepy crawly” thanks to some clever marketing by a particular brand.
There are both manual and automatic types, powered exclusively by the pump you’ve already got set up in your pool. Because of this, they are one of the easiest to install and plug right into your existing filtration system.
When it comes to suction pool cleaners, there are many variations in design, some offering only a single moving part while others have wheels, brushes and more to better remove the dirt and debris from the base of your pool.
Pressure pool cleaners are another option for cleaning the water in your pool but work a little differently. Instead of scouring the bottom, these are designed to hang suspended in the water, using water pumps to agitate the water and pressure to suck it through a filter.
In addition to having their own filter bag to collect the debris (lowering the wear and tear on your existing pump and filtration system), pressure pool cleaners will increase your water quality by removing floating particles as well.
But it comes at a cost.
Pressure pool cleaners require the installation of a second pump (sometimes called a booster), to generate the water pressure needed to filter effectively, which will also increase your monthly energy bills because you’re running two pumps instead of one.
Robotic pool cleaners are essentially an underwater Roomba, but they are also the most expensive option for keeping the debris from building up in your pool.
Requiring an electricity source to power the two internal motors, robotic pool cleaners draw water in through a filter while scrubbing the tiles and base of your pool clean.
What makes these types of pool cleaners so effective is their ability to be programmed or follow a track, ensuring the entirety of your pool is scrubbed clean. Most are also quite adept at climbing stairs and the walls of your pool too.
Comparing your options for a pool cleaner, it’s important to consider price, effectiveness and ultimately what you’re trying to achieve, a clean pool.
Pressure pool cleaners work great, but their ongoing running costs are the most expensive of the three options. And the initial investment you’ll make on a robotic pool cleaner is rather high, which makes it a product you need to put significant thought into before you buy.
My advice is not to overcomplicate it, and choose a cheap and effective option that just works. The suction pool cleaner. Plus, they require the least on-going maintenance and are the most cost-effective option for keeping your pool clean.
Knowing which type to look for will narrow down your options, but it doesn’t help you measure the nuances that make or break a product.
Let’s go over some of the main criteria you should apply to your decision making process when looking for the best suction pool cleaner.
Before buying any type of cleaner, you need to ensure its suitability for the size of the swimming pool you’re trying to keep clean.
If your pool is smaller, you may be able to get away with a manual option, but for medium and larger pools, you definitely want automatic. There are also heavy-duty models designed to clean fast and effectively in larger pools.
The key to this is the hose. Because suction pool cleaners connect into your filter pump, you need to ensure the connecting hose is long enough to reach the furthest and deepest parts of your swimming pool.
Efficiency is fundamental to a good suction pool cleaner, you want a model that moves quickly yet has enough suction to climb the walls and other hard to reach places.
Oh, and make sure it’s been designed to avoid getting stuck in the corners of your pool. It’s annoying if you always have to put it back on track.
Some models even have programmable timers that you can set to operate at regular intervals while following a pre-determined track around your pool to ensure every surface is scrubbed clean. You just sit back and let your pool cleaner do the work.
I should mention here that while most suction pool cleaners will be fine with their rubber PVC and wheeled brushes, if you’ve got slippery tiles or a fiberglass pool, you may need to find a product with a super-grip PVA brush to ensure it cleans effectively.
While most suction pool cleaners require no external power source, they do need to plug into your pump and filtration system to operate.
Because of this connection, your pump will be working longer and a little harder while the pool cleaner is on, and you can expect a slight bump in your monthly electricity bill from the additional power draw.
But even with the slight cost, it’s still far preferable to use a suction pool cleaner instead of manually cleaning your pool.
Most suction pool cleaners are very easy to install and use. Just take it out of the box, connect the hoses into your pump, and in under 10 minutes, your cleaner is working away.
This is because most suction pool cleaners have very few moving parts, which is a good thing. You need fewer accessories to set it up, and there are also fewer things that can go wrong. Once it’s cleaning, all you need to do is empty your pool filler basket.
Like most accessories for your pool, you get what you pay for.
If you’re taking care of your suction pool cleaner, it can last several seasons, but some of the cheaper models may only last one or two.
You can extend your cleaners life with proper maintenance, and ensuring to give it a good clean before it’s put away.
So far we’ve covered what a suction pool cleaner is, why you need it, the different types available, and what features to look out for.
In this section, we’ll be looking at specific products, each of which were hand-picked for review based on the same criteria I’ve outlined in this guide.
Let’s get right into it.
Designed by Hayward, this suction pool cleaner is ideal for above ground pools.
Featuring a programmable steering pattern to keep your entire pool clean, the bumper ring helps it from getting stuck against the walls. Plus, you can install it in under 10 minutes, as it plugs right into your existing pump system.
What I like best is the look. It’s one of the only pool cleaners designed with the customer in mind, as you’ll be staring at your pool cleaner for much longer than you’d imagine. The biggest downside is how fast it moves, it’s rather slow in navigating a pool.
- Bumper ring to reduce friction against the walls
- Comes with a 1-year warranty
- Not recommended for use with soft-sided pools
- Designed to be permanently installed
Designed by Intext, this pool cleaner has been created explicitly for Intex above-ground pools, and is one of the most effective options for you.
Requiring a connection to a pump with a flow rate between 1,600 and 3,500 GPH, it comes with all the fittings to easily install into your existing Intex pump system.
The best feature of this suction pool cleaner is how fast and efficiently it cleans, but some users found that it will sometimes abruptly stop its programming, before rebooting and moving off again.
- Excellent flow rate provides fast and efficient cleaning
- Not suitable for use in-ground pools
- Hoses can be troublesome to connect properly
Designed by XtremepowerUS, this pool cleaner is the best option if you’re seeking speed. Moving at a rate of 8 to 12 feet a minute, it’s lightning fast compared to other pool cleaners.
For this suction pool cleaner to work, you will need a pump providing 1,600 GPH or higher, and it’s quick and easy to connect into your existing pump system.
What I like best are the additional hoses that come with the product, giving you the option to clean up to a 30-foot pool. The biggest downside is it’s rather poor at climbing over steps, and it can get stuck once it hits these.
- Versatile suction pool cleaner that works on all pool types
- Will experience trouble once it hits steps or walls
- Gets clogged more easily than other suction models
Designed by Zodiac, this compact yet powerful suction cleaner uses its programmable navigation to clean every inch of your swimming pool.
Featuring an articulating turbine blade to help it climb pool walls, the cyclonic suction effect helps provide a much more effective clean.
What makes this model unique is it stores the collected junk in a filter inside the cleaner, and it’s relatively simple to empty. The only downside is this can fill fast, especially in a larger pool with lots of debris, so you’ll be emptying it rather frequently.
- Smart programming allows the cleaner to reverse and reach every corner of the pool
- Easily scales the walls and stairs of your pool to clean every surface
- Comes with a 1-year warranty
- Large amounts of debris will clog this smaller cleaner fast
- Comes with a hose to only service pools under 25 foot
Designed by Pentair, the unique aspect of this suction pool cleaner is the guided float directional system to help it cover every inch of your swimming pool, along with the programmable automatic steering.
Featuring a simplistic design to keep it as maintenance free as possible, you get a 32-foot hose to help you reach even the deepest corners of your pool. There’s also an automatic valve to better regulate the water flow.
I like that this cleaner doesn’t have a whole bunch of moving parts, and it’s quite good at maneuvering around the ladders and steps which tangle other models. The biggest downside though is the speed, it’s not quite as fast as some other models.
- Great at scrubbing the walls of your swimming pool
- Few moving parts reduce the chances of something going wrong
- The best option for cleaning pools with a pebble tec finish
- Can take up to 6 hours to totally clean a pool
#6. Hayward Poolvergnuegen 896584000-020 The Pool Cleaner Automatic Suction Pool Vacuum, 4-Wheel, White
Designed by Hayward, the Pool Cleaner is a smart choice for owners of larger swimming pools who need a heavy-duty solution for keeping their pool clean.
Featuring a patented 4-wheel drive, the unique tread wheels help this suction pool cleaner overcome obstacles that typically stop other models dead in their tracks. Perfect if you’ve got a pool with a large amount of debris.
What I like best is twofold. In addition to being made in the USA, you can actually program the angles you want this cleaner to follow in its own steering system. Though some users have experienced problems getting this particular cleaner to operate consistently, it will tackle pretty much any cleaning task you need.
- Heavy-duty option for large pools with lots of debris
- Uses its own filter bag to reduce wear and tear on your filtration system
- You will need to swap the tires for use on vinyl or fiberglass based pools
Designed by Baracuda, this suction pool cleaner follows a tried and true look, with only one moving part, the diaphragm.
This ensures it’s a highly durable piece of pool equipment, though it will move at a slower speed than many of the other competitors in this review.
It also features a self-adjusting flow valve to ensure consistent suction, and works well, even on pumps with a lower flow volume.
What I like best is the durability of the simple design, and that this model will clean all areas of our pool. The downsides are that larger bits of debris can clog the intake, and it’s not particularly quick in getting a clean done.
- Works on pumps even with a lower flow volume
- Will not scuff your pool or leave wheel marks
- Durable and reliable construction will last many seasons
- Larger leaves and debris can clog the intake
Overall, the Zodiac automatic pool cleaner is the best buy for most pool owners. Featuring technology to help it scale walls and perform a fast and effective clean, if you’re looking for a quick and reliable way to keep the dirt and leaves from collecting in your pool, this is it.
If you’re looking for a more cost-effective option, the Baracuda G3 W03000 is your best bet. Not only is it highly durable (with only one moving part), it’s a reliable cleaner that will continue to help keep the junk from collecting in your pool for many years to come.
Buying a suction pool cleaner is a smart investment as a pool owner, as it’s the most efficient way to keep the debris from collecting at the bottom of your pool.
Don’t try to scoop it out yourself every morning. Get the right tool to get the job done.