Swimming pools connected to pool filters will still have some debris that can’t be filtered out by the filter right away. These can be those that settle to the bottom of the pool or stick to the sides and can’t go through the filter. For these types of dirt, you need to a vacuum cleaner to clean out your pool.
The best above-ground pool vacuum cleaners are light-weight, come with quality brushes, clean dirt easily and quickly, fairly priced, and of the right size for your pool.
Below, we tested out many a few vacuum cleaners (of different types including manual, automatic and rechargeable) for swimming pools and came up with a list of the best 7 to try out. You can make your pick from the list.
Dolphin E10 Automatic Robotic Pool Cleaner
The Dolphin E10 is the best automatic AGP vacuum cleaner given its long list of features and ease of use. It works really fast as it can clean a sizeable pool in about 1.5 hours without much input on your end. You don’t need any extras to make it work.
No hoses or booster pumps or even installation is needed with this one. Simply plug it in the power socket, drop it in the pool and watch it clean your pool.
At the end of 1.5 hours (90 minutes), you can come back and pull it out of the water. You’ll be greeted by an evidently cleaner pool right away as it does a thorough job. It has a quick water release feature which allows water out but keeps in the dirt. You can safely empty the debris trapped to the right location.
- Cleans all types of pool surfaces hence convenient.
- Requires no input from the user thus convenient.
- Also convenient as it takes a short time to clean the pool floor.
- Light weight and small in size for ease of carrying around.
- Simple to use as it only has an ON/OFF switch and nothing complicated.
- Cleans pools up to 30 feet across.
- Doesn’t clean the sides of the pool.
Given that most debris will settle on the bottom of the pool, this is the best vacuum for your above ground pools.
Dolphin Escape Robotic Above Ground Pool Cleaner
The second entry from Dolphin is the Escape Robotic Above Ground Pool Cleaner. It comes with a sporty look and does a great job cleaning the bottom of the swimming pool no matter the material on the floor of your swimming pool. Like the first Dolphin on the list, it sucks the debris itself rather than simply disturbing it for the filter to clear it out.
It comes with a smart scanning and navigation software which ensures efficient cleaning. This technology is handy in sensing walls, ladders and drains to prevent getting stuck or damaging parts of the pool or the cleaner itself.
The Dolphin Escape also has the class-leading Hyperbrush Dual Scrubbing Brushes which scrub the floor of the pool freeing debris to be sucked up by the cleaner. The result is a sparkling pool each time you clean the pool with it.
- Has the SmartNav 2.0 robotic scanning for effective cleaning.
- Fast cleaning hence convenient.
- The brushes make it easy to clear off all debris from the floor.
- Requires little input from the use apart from turning it on and emptying the basket.
- Hypergrip Continuous Tracks make it stable when moving underwater.
- Small and lightweight for ease of movement.
- Some users report of sudden shutdowns.
We love how effective the brushes on this vacuum cleaner are in keeping the pool clean.
Intex Auto Pool Cleaner
The best AGP (above ground pool) for Intex pools is this Intex Auto Pool Cleaner given how suited it is to cleaning above ground swimming pools manufactured by Intex. This pump works quite differently from the rest on this list as it needs to be connected to inlet connector in the pool specifically with a 24’7” hose.
The cleaning results for this pool cleaner are some of the best given how efficient it is. As long as the filter pump has a flow rate of between 1600 and 3500 gallons per hour, and the hose fittings are between 1 and ½ inches, you’ll get an excellent job done to your pool.
- The best vacuum cleaner for most above ground pools made by Intex.
- Easy to use.
- Does a thorough job cleaning pools.
- A bit complex to use.
If you have an above ground Intex swimming pool with a flow rate between 1600 and 3500 GPH and hose fittings of 1-½”, this is the best vacuum cleaner to keep your pool clean.
Polaris Vac-Sweep 65 Pressure Side Pool Cleaner for Above Ground Pools
Wrapping up our list of the best above ground pool vacuum cleaners is the impressive Polaris Vac-Sweep 65 Pressure Side Pool Cleaner. It’s one of the simplest to use as it connects to the filtration system of the pool and has a floating part which is further linked to a sunken part that picks up the debris from the floor of the pool.
The Polaris 65 works with pools above the ground and up to 5 feet deep. This means that you won’t be able to use for deeper pools or the deeper sides of most swimming pools. It also works with pools with vinyl floors and sides for the best results.
- Easy installation and usage hence very convenient.
- No complex mechanisms hence fewer failure points.
- The cleaner is powered by the pressure of the clean water entering the pool. This means the skimmer and the filter get maximum pressure for effective pool cleaning.
- It simultaneously cleans the bottom and sides of the pool.
- The uniquely designed filter bag can collect even the large types of debris which other vacuum cleaners may find hard to collect. These include twigs and large leaves settled at the bottom.
- Doesn’t require any complex parts to work.
Not enough for the sticky types of dirt on the pool’s side or bottom.
Aquabot AJET122 Pool Rover
The Aquabot AJET122 Pool Rover is one of the best vacuum cleaners since it works for both above ground and in-ground swimming pools. It comes with a swiveling cable that’s 50 feet long. This means that the cable won’t get entangled when the rover turns. It also means that can work for pools as long as 50 feet.
The best part about this vacuum cleaner is the Hydro-Robotic technology which reduces the number of moving parts the rover has it. For example, instead of moving with gears in the wheels, it’s propelled by water with the help of jet propulsion mechanism with the wheels acting as simple guides. Quite clever!
- Has a 50-foot cable that swivels to prevent tangling.
- The 50-foot cable means you can use it with large pools which is an advantage.
- Economical as the Hydro-Robotic technology reduces failure rates.
- Easy-access filters as they’re top-loading.
- Dynamic as it can be used with both above ground and in-ground swimming pools.
- Comes with agitating brushes which make the cleaning process more effective.
- The axle pins require frequent configuration hence inconvenient.
This is a do-it-all solution no matter the type of pool you have. In our trials, it did a great job cleaning the pool.
Zodiac Baracuda G3 W03000 Advanced Suction Side Automatic Pool Cleaner
If all you want is a simple cleaner without too many bells and whistles, the Zodiac Baracuda G3 is your best bet. It’s the best cleaner when it comes to cleaning the sides of the pool given that a lot of the vacuum cleaners only clean the floor of the pool leaving the sides dirty.
In our experience using it, we found it to be a thorough cleaner for the walls, floors and steps of the swimming pool. It also works great on vinyl, tile and concrete pool floors. The G3 has a steady grip of the pool surface thanks to its 36 fins which allow it to adhere to the wall properly.
- Easy to assemble and use.
- Convenient as it works on most pool surfaces.
- Also convenient as it works on the walls, floor and steps of the pool.
- Works quietly.
- Has a wheel deflector which makes it easy to move around tight corners.
- The hose included is scuff-resistant and it eliminates scuffs on the pool surfaces.
- Can be added other accessories such as pH testers and leaf skimmers.
- The vacuum cleaner has a FlowKeeper Valve which automatically regulates the flow of water to maintain peak performance when cleaning with low horsepower pumps.
- Efficient as it doesn’t have many moving parts. It doesn’t have gears or wheels or flappers which are mostly failure points.
- The hose can easily tangle.
Although it appears a bit small and not much, this is one of the most diverse vacuum cleaners for your above ground swimming pool.
Pool Blaster Max Cordless Rechargeable, Battery-Powered, Pool-Cleaner with Scrub Brush Head
One unique pool vacuum cleaner that won’t depend on the power outlet or the pool’s mechanisms is the Pool Blaster Max Cordless Pool Cleaner. It relies on a rechargeable lithium-ion battery with enough charge to last for a whole hour of endless cleaning. You can use it to clean the whole pool or a few spots either by hand or attached to a pool pole.
The inclusion of the Water Tech P30 Motor design provides more power to the vacuum cleaner allowing for better and quicker pick up of debris in the pool. The Max can be used for both in-ground and above ground pools without an issue.
- Convenient as it can be used for all types of swimming pools.
- High power makes it effective at cleaning the pool.
- Usable in cleaning the pool either partly or wholly.
- Large debris capture chamber allows for capturing lots of dirt in one go.
- Doesn’t have cords hence easier to work with.
- Can be used to clean swimming pools, spas and hot tubs as well.
- Using a pole to clean the pool can be quite tiring.
If you have a power issue or simply prefer using battery and controlling the cleaning process yourself, this is the vacuum cleaner to go for. It is the best rechargeable AGP vacuum cleaner and the best manual AGP vacuum cleaner as well.
Any one of these vacuum cleaners will help you keep your pool clean and clear.
Types of Pool Vacuum Cleaners
As you might have noted, there are three main types of above-ground vacuum cleaners as follows:
These are self-contained pool cleaners which don’t rely on your pool’s mechanisms for anything. They have their own motor and other mechanisms to clean the pool as needed. They are often costly but worth the extra cost. When it comes to the cleaning process, they’re the best as they have various powerful mechanisms including brushes and motors to power them through the debris.
The suction-side cleaners rely on the suction power of the water being drawn out of the pool by the filter in order to clean the pool. For this type of cleaners, the water with debris flows through a hose which is attached to the cleaner before going into the pool filter.
These are usually the cheapest of the pool vacuum cleaners as they have fewer parts and require little maintenance. However, they’re not good for most types of debris such as twigs and large leaves. They also easily get clogged.
These are pool filters attached to the return port of the pool and it relies on the pressure of the water being pumped back into the pool after going through the pool filter. They work by agitating the debris from the floor and walls of the pool, making it float and thus making easier for the filter to filter it out.
They also pick up some of the debris and can work great for large types of debris. Often, they require booster pump for the best working. For this reason, they also use up lots of electricity.
Buy Guide: Features and factors to consider when buying
To get the very best vacuum cleaner for your above ground swimming pool, consider the following aspects:
Size and shape of the pool
The shape and size of the pool determine various decisions when it comes to the pool vacuum cleaner you’ll be getting. For example, they dictate the type of pump between the suction-side, pressure-side or robotic one with the robotic ones being economical for smaller pools as compared to the larger ones. These aspects also determine the strength of the pump, power needed and the time it’ll take to clean the pool.
Of the many types of vacuum cleaners for your pool, the suction-based ones use the least electricity. However, they’re not the most effective when cleaning pools thoroughly. The better cleaners such as the robotic and pressure-side ones use a significant amount of power. For this reason, you need to find a balance between power consumption and effective cleaning. In our expert opinion, the robotic ones provide the best balance.
Brushes and bristles
Having brushes and bristles is great when cleaning the inside of your swimming pool since some debris sticks to the bottom and sides of the pool and won’t be removed by the filter pump alone. Robotic vacuum cleaners tend to have good brushes and bristles for this task.
Pattern of movement
The best vacuum cleaners are those that move by themselves. These can be propelled by water jets or wheels on the flow and the sides of the pool. The movement can either be random or in a specific order with robotic ones mostly having random motions.
Swimming pool vacuum cleaners are quite delicate and will thus need the proper cover to serve you better. Without a warranty, it means the manufacturer has low confidence in the quality of their product and you shouldn’t trust it either.
The weight of the vacuum cleaner
The cleaner needs to be lifted into and out of the water and many other times. For this reason, you need to consider its weight to avoid tiring yourself out each time you carry it around. Also, it should be light enough to avoid dropping and spoiling it.
The effectiveness of the filtration system
As you might have already noted, the vacuum cleaners at the very top of our list are those with great filters. These are inbuilt filters which won’t let even the smallest of debris to pass through. This means you should go for the most effective filtration system to have water that is sparkling clean in your pool.
Ease of use
You should go for a vacuum cleaner for your pool that needs as little input from you as possible. Besides being easy to operate when cleaning it, you should be able to change the parts without the need for an expert to do it for you. Some vacuum cleaners even come with timers for when the pool will be clean and you won’t be around to stop it. This saves on power consumptions by a large extent.
Some cleaners, such as the manual handheld ones, will require constant input from the user. This can be a good thing if you want to do a thorough job with your pool but not always the best option.
Cords and hoses
You should consider the quality and length of the cords and hoses you get with your vacuum cleaner. Go for long ones that will allow you clean your pool thoroughly while also avoiding tangles and other such issues. You shouldn’t have to buy the cords and hoses separately since you might run into compatibility issues. Instead, go for ones with great cords and hoses already.
These aspects should help you make the right decision when it comes choosing the vacuum cleaner for your swimming pool.