An automatic pool cleaner uses a suction mechanism to remove dirt and debris from a swimming pool. A pool that is full of dirt and debris can be a very unhealthy place to swim. That is why a swimming pool needs regular cleaning. But the task of cleaning a pool can be tiring and time-consuming.
That is where automatic pool cleaners come into the picture. These devices make the task of cleaning a pool less tiring. They work on their own, leveraging the power of the pool’s main pump. But there are booster pumps in some models.
Automatic pool cleaners can be very good at removing sediment from the pool floor. This is an important capability, given the fact that other pool cleaning systems tend to struggle with sediment removal. Some automatic pool cleaners can also be effective at removing acorns, leaves, and (in some cases) even sticks.
There are suction-side automatic pool cleaners that rely entirely on the pool’s main pump system for power. Then there are pressure-side automatic pool cleaners that often supplement the pool’s main pump power with booster pumps. Both types of automatic pool cleaners trace random paths around the pools. They trap all the dirt they encounter in the process. Most use a top to bottom pool cleaning approach.
Because they work using the pump’s main filtration systems, automatic pool cleaners typically don’t require extra filters.
Suction side and pressure side automatic pool cleaners have one key advantage over robotic pool cleaners. That is in terms of cost. The suction side and pressure side automatic pool cleaners tend to be cheaper than the bots.
Best Automatic Pool Cleaner Reviews
1. XtremepowerUS Wall-Climbing Automatic Suction Pool Cleaner
This is an automatic pool cleaner that works directly with the pool’s main filtration system. This, therefore, means that it doesn’t require a separate electricity connection. It works with what is already in the pool system.
It is able to move quite fast within the pool. The pace usually ranges from 8 feet per minute to 12 feet per minute. This means that it can clean an entire domestic pool in a reasonably short period of time.
This pool cleaner doesn’t require a particularly powerful pool pump. A 1 hp pump should be enough to keep it working.
At around 12 pounds in weight, this is not a particularly heavy pool cleaner. It really makes the pool cleaning task less energy-sapping.
Assembly for this particular automatic pool cleaner doesn’t require the use of any tools. Neither does it require much plumbing expertise. It is something you should be able to do on a DIY basis with ease.
The pool cleaner comes with a total of 10 hoses. Through those, you should be able to easily cover a 30 feet pool.
Whether yours is an above-ground pool or in-ground pool, you can benefit from this cleaner.
Whereas it doesn’t have great pool stairs cleaning capability, it does a very thorough job on the pool’s bottom surface. It is equally thorough in cleaning the pool’s walls. The only parts it struggles with are the pool’s stairs.
2. Zodiac Barracuda Advanced Suction Side Automatic Pool Cleaner
The hoses with which this automatic pool cleaner comes are scuff resistant. They are therefore capable of ridding pool surfaces of a scuff. This is an important feature, as many other pool cleaners come with hoses that are not scuff-resistant.
The design of this pool cleaner is such that it only has one moving part. This reduces the possibility of it getting faulty. And should it ever get faulty, it means that its repair should be fairly straightforward.
This is a rather quiet automatic pool cleaner.
Most other pool cleaners have a tendency to get hung up on pool drain covers and lights. But this particular cleaner comes with a 36 fin disc. That reduces the tendency to get hung up on such pool fittings.
The pool cleaner’s diaphragm is sturdy. This should translate into great durability, with proper basic care.
Another remarkable thing about this automatic pool cleaner is its ability to work well even with low-power pool pumps. This is made possible by features like the FlowKeeper valve that is inside the cleaner. And whether yours is a two-speed or single-speed pool pump, this automatic cleaner works just as well.
Whereas it may have limited capability to handle extra-large size debris, it works perfectly for small and medium-size stuff.
3. Polaris Vac-Sweep Pressure Side Pool Cleaner (Editors Choice)
This automatic pool cleaner promises to serve you in three ways. The first is by sweeping your pool. The second is by scrubbing your pool. And third is by vacuuming your pool.
In spite of it being a pressure automatic pool cleaner, it can be used without a booster pump. In that mode, it relies entirely on the pool’s main pumping system. This gives you a chance to save money in a couple of ways. First, you save the money that you would otherwise spend on a booster pump. Secondly, you save the money you would otherwise spend on booster pump electricity bills. Of course, if you wish to use a booster pump, this automatic pool cleaner is still compatible with that.
It is very ideal for use in in-ground swimming pools. It really doesn’t matter what size or shape: as long as it is an in-ground pool, this cleaner works well.
The vacuum inlet in this automatic pool cleaner is 2.25 inches, which is quite remarkable.
At the core of the pool, cleaner is triple jets, which are responsible for the device’s cleaning capability.
It has a mechanism through which RPM speed can be controlled (a feature that many automatic pool cleaners lack).
Another remarkable feature of this automatic pool cleaner is its in-line backup valve. Thanks to this valve, the device can keep on cleaning even when its internal 360 components is cornered.
4. Pentair GW7900
What sets this automatic pool cleaner apart from the rest is the fact that it doesn’t do random-style cleaning. Instead, it does its cleaning in a methodical manner, foot by foot. The end result is a much more thorough cleaning result than you could get with a random-style pool cleaner. At the very least, the methodical cleaning approach ensures that the cleaner doesn’t miss any spots.
Users of automatic pool cleaners often complain about the devices’ tendency to skirt around obstacles and tight corners. This cleaner is different: in that, it even cleans the ladders, besides the tight corners and obstacles.
It is a fairly compact but powerful pool cleaner.
It works particularly well on in-ground swimming pools.
At 14 pounds, it is not particularly heavy. The low weight and compact size mean that carrying it around isn’t too much work.
If your budget is low and is looking for a low-cost pool cleaner, this may be the best device. It helps that the manufacturer doesn’t seem to have compromised on too many features to achieve the low pricing. Thus it is a low-cost automatic pool cleaner that nonetheless has decent features.
The said features include the Smarttrac steering system, which gives the cleaner excellent maneuverability. Another one is the spring load cover for the vac port door: which enhances the device’s safety.
5. Zodiac MX8 Suction-Side Cleaner (Best Value)
One of the most remarkable things about this automatic pool cleaner is the set of X-Trac tires it comes with. Thanks to these, it is able to access all parts of a pool and to even climb vertical walls. Further, thanks to its X-Trac tires, it is able to serve pools of all shapes. And in can access even the tightest of corners.
There are two options in terms of how you can connect this automatic pool cleaner. The first option is that of connecting it to a skimmer (directly). The second option is that of connecting it to a 1.5-inch vacuum line.
The type of pump you use in the pool isn’t likely to be a hindrance to using this cleaner. Whether yours is a single-speed pool pump or a double-speed pool pump, this cleaner connects seamlessly with it. It can even work with some solar swimming pool pumps.
Whereas most automatic pool cleaners have limitations on the surfaces they can clean, this one doesn’t. Whether the surface is concrete, tile, or fiberglass this pool cleaner works just as well. Most remarkably, it is also capable of cleaning vinyl surfaces: which most other pool cleaners seem to struggle with.
This is also one of the automatic pool cleaners that come with flow regulator valves. This helps to limit the excess high flow of water. For the user, it translates into greater reliability.
The fact that it is a suction side cleaner means that it is particularly good at removing sediment.
6. U.S. Pool Supply Professional Automatic Pool Vacuum Cleaner (Best Budget)
Whereas most automatic pool cleaners are only suitable for use on in-ground pools, this one serves all pool types. Thus besides in-ground pools, it is also suitable for use in self-supporting and above-ground pools.
Its working requirements are modest. For instance, a 1/3 hp pool pump should be enough to run it. This is remarkable, given the fact that most automatic cleaners would require a minimum of 1 hp pump to run. Some actually require 2 hp and above. But for this particular cleaner, 1/3 hp is adequate.
The 35 feet hose length you get with this pool cleaner is adequate for most professional needs. More remarkable is the fact that the hose has sections, which makes length adjustment quite easy.
Assembly and installation for this pool cleaner are quite simple. It is not the sort of pool cleaner that you have to bring in an expert to help with assembly. The installation is even easier.
This is an automatic pool cleaner that covers the entire pool: from its floor onto its walls and steps. This is an important feature, given the fact that most vacuum pool cleaners don’t seem to climb pool walls effectively. More remarkable is the fact that it is not prone to get stuck. That is a frustrating problem we commonly see with these sorts of cleaners.
7. Intex Recreation Corp (Best Budget)
This is a unique automatic pool cleaner in the sense that it is ideal for above-ground pools. Many of the automatic pool cleaners in the market have designs that make them better-suited for in-ground pools. Above-ground pool owners often feel left out. But thanks to products like this one, above-ground pool owners can get to tap into the benefits of automatic pool cleaning.
A remarkable feature of this pool cleaner is its capability to reverse automatically. It is unlike other pool cleaners that seem to get stuck when they get to dead ends. It reverses automatically, then starts to clean in the opposite direction.
This pool cleaner’s wheels may not look particularly sturdy, but they are actually of good quality. And they have excellent maneuverability.
The hose with which this machine comes attaches very easily to pool inlets. You don’t have to tweak either the pool inlet or the hose for them to fit together. The hose simply goes into the pool inlet, and yours is simply to tighten it and start cleaning. The hose is not particularly long (at 24 feet). But it serves the purpose. And it is adequate for most Intex pool owners – especially given the fact that these are above-ground pools. More attractive is the fact that the hose is not prone to tangling.
8. Hayward Poolvergnuegen
With this automatic pool cleaner, you get a set of highly robust tires. These give it the capability to move with ease throughout the pool: including on the areas where drains are located. These are not the sorts of wheels to get stuck easily. They also give the pool cleaner some advantage when it comes to climbing. And given their sturdy structure, chances are that they may never require replacement for the device’s entire life.
This particular pool cleaner has a stable cleaning effect. This is on account of two things. First is its ability to maintain constant suction. The second is the steering sequences it uses to move about the pool. It is not one of those pool cleaners that just move about randomly. It uses specific steering sequences to ensure that all pool corners get coverage.
While most automatic pool cleaners come with only one un-detachable suction throat, this one comes with three. And they are easily interchangeable, depending on certain factors. Those are factors like the conditions in the pool that is being cleaned and pool pump speed.
Obviously, the big wheels with which this pool cleaner comes give it the capacity to move fast. That ultimately translates into efficient cleaning. Using this machine, you may be able to clean within an hour a pool that would otherwise require two.
Another noteworthy thing about this pool cleaner is its self-adjusting turbine vanes. Thanks to these, the pool cleaner is able to maintain maximum flow, even with heavier debris.
9. Zodiac Polaris Turbo Turtle Pressure Side Pool Cleaner
This particular pool cleaner has a design that makes it look like a turtle, hence its name.
It is one of the most affordable automatic pool cleaners. Yet its low price belies several premium features it has. First is the fact that this pool cleaner has a ‘just sweep’ assembly. On account of this, it is able to loosen tough debris, after which it then sucks it in. This feature sets it apart from other automatic pool cleaners. Most other cleaners only seem to be capable of sucking in debris that is already floating loosely in the water. They have very little capacity to dislodge debris (which means that their cleaning effect is often not very thorough). This pool cleaner first sucks in the debris that is floating loosely in the water. Then it goes further, to loosen stubborn debris and then suck all of it in.
The power that this pool cleaner operates on is that which the water generates as it returns to the pool. So after the water has been pumped out, it returns to the pool with some pressure. It is that pressure that this automatic pool cleaner takes advantage of. It, therefore, doesn’t interfere with the pool’s skimmer or filter, as other pool cleaners tend to do.
In this automatic pool cleaner, there is a clear separation between the filter bag and the pump basket. Thus, the chances of debris actually ruining the pump basket are very low.
Another attractive feature of this pool cleaner is its capacity to suck in larger debris – things like leaves and pebbles. This is important because most other automatic pool cleaners are often unable to handle these types of debris.
10. Pentair 360042 Suction-Side Inground Universal Pool Cleaner
Using this automatic pool cleaner, you can rid your swimming pool of all sorts of sediment, leaves, and dirt. Most suction-side automatic pool cleaners tend to lack the capability to handle leaves. But this one is able to do so: by channeling the leaves directly into the filtration system. Remarkable is the fact that it doesn’t end up clogging in this process. It also handles pollen quite well.
This automatic pool cleaner is able to navigate around the pool using its Dive Float directional system. Therefore if you give it enough time, it will cover each and every area of your pool’s floor and walls.
Many cleaning faults that people experience while using these sorts of devices are due to irregular water flow. To solve that problem, the makers of this automatic pool cleaner have put in place an automatic valve. This valve regulates water speed, to ensure that the cleaning gets done in a stable manner.
Another area where automatic pool cleaners tend to have difficulties is that of dealing with pool steps and ladders. Aware of that, the makers of this pool cleaner set up a roller strap maneuver mechanism. This gives the device the capability to clean even the pools steps and ladders. That is something which most other pool cleaners are simply unable to handle.
This is an in-ground universal pool cleaner. That means that it can clean any swimming pool, as long as it is of the in-ground variety.
It is an extremely light pool cleaner (in weight). And the fact that it is based on ‘one moving part’ design means that it has durability and stability.
Do Automatic Pool Cleaners Really Work?
Yes, automatic pool cleaners are really effective at removing mid-size debris from the pool. They are especially good at collecting sediment from pool water. Therefore if your pool seems to have too much sediment in it, an automatic pool cleaner can serve you well.
Automatic pool cleaners’ ability to remove bigger debris such as leaves, sticks and acorns vary from model to model. Some have more capability in that regard, while others have less. But when it comes to removing sediment, all genuine automatic pool cleaners seem to have the good capability.
Some automatic pool cleaners work by first drawing water inside (using skimmers or drains). The dirt that is in the water – including sediment – is sucked in by the pool cleaner. That dirt remains in the pool cleaner, even as the water is released back into the pool.
This is how suction-side automatic pool cleaners work. Other automatic pool cleaners stir up the water, causing it to be turbulent. This forces the debris onto specific parts of the pool. The automatic pool cleaner then proceeds to suck in such debris through parts known as skimmer inlets. So the dirt remains in the cleaner, even as the purified water is let back into the pool.
Buying guide: Is an Automatic Pool Cleaner a Worthwhile Investment?
An automatic pool cleaner can be a worthwhile investment: if you find an appropriate one for your needs. It can help you automate the otherwise very arduous task of cleaning your swimming pool. It can help you reduce the amount of energy, time, and money you spend on pool cleaning. And it can help you keep your swimming pool in a hygienic state.
The automatic pool cleaner is almost always cheaper than the robotic pool cleaner. Yet it performs almost as well in regards, except with regard to chemical contaminant removal. Thus for things like sediment and debris removal, the automatic pool cleaner’s performance is similar to a bot’s. On another note, the automatic pool cleaner is simpler in design than the robotic pool cleaner. This means that it is less likely to develop faults. And should it develop the faults, repairing it/replacing the faulty components would be easier?
Which Features Matter in an Automatic Pool Cleaner?
The hose length is one of the features that matter in an automatic pool cleaner. This determines the size of a pool you can clean using the machine.
The speed at which it is able to clean a pool is another important feature. This determines how long it is likely to take to clean a given pool size.
Yet another important consideration is the amount of power the machine consumes. Related to this is the question of whether the pool cleaner requires booster pump usage or not. These determine how expensive it is likely to be to maintain the automatic pool cleaner.
It is also important to look at the types of debris the automatic pool cleaner is capable of sucking in. For instance, there are some pool cleaners that are capable of removing leaves.
Others would clog up if they were to suck in leaves. There are some pool cleaners that are capable of removing sticks from the pool. Others would ‘choke’ upon sucking in sticks… Ultimately, a pool cleaner’s usefulness depends on which types of debris it is capable of handling.
How is automatic pool cleaner installation done?
The first step in installing an automatic pool cleaner is usually that of connecting its hose to the pool’s inlet. So you first identify the pool’s inlet. Then you connect one end of the automatic pool cleaner’s hose to that inlet. The second step is to connect the other end of the hose to the pool cleaner to complete the installation.
What does automatic pool cleaner maintenance entail?
The most important aspect of automatic pool cleaner maintenance is that of emptying the bags/flappers where sucked in debris goes. Also, ensure that the hoses are in good condition. Further, ensure that no components are interfering with the moving parts.
Some automatic pool cleaners may also require frequent calibration.
How does an automatic pool cleaner work?
An automatic pool cleaner removes debris from a swimming pool using a suction mechanism. The water that has been pumped into the pool is made to go through the automatic pool cleaner. The pool cleaner then skims the water, checking for any debris. It sucks in any debris it finds while allowing the rest of the water to recirculate into the pool.
What is the price of an automatic pool cleaner?
An automatic pool cleaner can cost as little as $300. It can also cost as much as $1,000 – depending on its quality and features.
Do automatic pool cleaners come with warranties?
Most automatic pool cleaners come with one-year warranties.
The best automatic pool cleaner is one that is capable of cleaning the pool thoroughly. It should have the capability to suck in various types of debris: including sediment, acorns, pollen, and leaves.
And it should be capable of cleaning the entire pool: including the pool floor, walls, and stairs.
It should also have the capacity to work fast and thoroughly. All the 10 automatic pool cleaners we have reviewed here have those capabilities, and we endorse them. Choose the most ideal one for your specific needs.