When the temperatures start to rise and the heat becomes insufferable, millions of families begin to shop for their first above ground pool this time of the year, but to keep the pools clean, an above ground pool vacuum is required.
If you’ve never purchased a pool before, the options available for pool accessories can seem daunting.
What’s necessary and what is optional? Why do some options vary so much in price as well as power? Let’s review one of the most necessary requirements for your pool setup – an above ground pool vacuum.
While above ground pools often require very little maintenance compared to in-ground pools, they still require a routine cleaning and maintenance schedule to last through years of use.
While the debris or solar cover will assist in keeping out most unwanted large debris, your pool can become dirty quickly while in use, if not covered correctly, or with simple dirt and sand from the ground around the pool.
Flower petals and leaves from surround trees further add debris, as well as insects that fly down and become trapped in the water.
A pool vacuum works to remove any existing large or small debris and algae before these problems make their way into your pool pump or filter basket, especially debris found at the bottom of the pool or algae growing on the sides of the pool, where water may not move rapidly enough to prevent buildup.
Cloudy pool water is a sure sign that your above ground pool vacuum needs a good cycle run through. You also need to always vacuum your pool before shocking the water with chemicals.
With weekly and as-needed vacuuming, you will save yourself additional costs replacing the pool pump and filter system if it becomes overwhelmed with debris.
When properly vacuumed, the cleaning process can be easy, short, and carefree.
Pool vacuums can be automatic or manual and range in price from a hundred to to a couple of thousands of dollars depending on the features, power, and options included.
Above Ground Pool Vacuums Comparison Table
Table Of Contents
- 1 Above Ground Pool Vacuums Comparison Table
- 2 Manual Above Ground Pool Vacuums
- 3 Some of the best (manual) above ground pool vacuums
- 4 Hayward SP1068 Above Ground Pool Vacuum
- 5 Intex Handheld Rechargeable Above Ground Pool Vacuum
- 6 Water Tech Above Ground Pool Vacuum
- 7 Automatic Above Ground Pool Vacuums
- 8 Polaris Vac-Sweep 360 Pressure Side Pool Vacuum
- 9 Zodiac Ranger Suction Side Above Ground Pool Vacuum
- 10 Robotic Above Ground Pool Vacuums
- 11 Pool Rover Robotic Above Ground Pool Vacuum
Manual Above Ground Pool Vacuums
Manual above ground pool vacuums work much like a traditional home vacuum and consist of three main components: the vacuum head, hose, and pole.
The vacuum head works to suck up debris from the pool walls, floor, and surrounding water. The hose cycles this through and the pole allows you to hold on to the vacuum and use it in the way you would a vacuum in your home, using the unit only as needed.
The other end of the hose should be held in your hand, placing it in front of the water intake to fill the hose with water.
Once the water is flowing it will sink beneath the surface of the water. You have now created suction and may proceed to vacuum your above ground pool!
Try to vacuum small debris first, saving large items for last in case of any clogs, or retrieve any large debris with a pool skimming net first.
Once the pool is clean you can disconnect the host from the filter and store your pool vacuum. Because it requires no automatic motor or options, this is the most inexpensive option on the market for an above ground pool vacuum.
Manual vacuums are a great addition to the pool setup even if you have an automatic vacuum installed, as many times debris should be removed manually before clogging an automatic vacuum or pump system.
To clean with your manual above ground pool vacuum:
- Ensure that the pool pump is function and that the filter has been recently cleaned or changed. Turn off or unplug the pool pump to stop the flow of water.
- Attach the vacuum head to the pole, then attach the hose to the vacuum head.
- Lower the vacuum head into the water.
- Fill the vacuum hose up slowly with water by inserting 6” of hose at a time into the water. This ensures air will not be pushed through the pump system, leading to loss of water pressure. While filling the hose, lift the vacuum head up at least one foot away from the pool floor to assist any trapped air needing to escape. Once bubbles have stopped flowing from the vacuum head, you may bring the free end of the hose to the skimmer (continuing to hold the end of the hose under water).
- The suction created will hold the hose in the skimmer hole and form an efficient seal, though adapters are sometimes necessary to seal any large hoses or holes. You may now vacuum your pool – walls, floor, steps, and corners or crevices should all be covered. Always keep the head of the vacuum under water to maintain suction and prevent air from entering your pool vacuum or pool pump system.
- Clean the filter immediately after completing the vacuum process.
Some of the best (manual) above ground pool vacuums
Sold for really cheap, the Hayward Triangular 3-Brush System is a very inexpensive, yet highly efficient manual pool vacuum.
The triangular head ensures maximum cleaning in corners or around circular pool walls and the see-through design ensures you can see any large objects or debris that you may want to remove before clogging the cleaning system.
Brushes quickly rough up algae growth and the swivel connector spins 360 degrees, making cleaning easy for any above ground pool owner.
The vacuum hose is not included and must be purchased separately for a small amount too, and you’ll need a separate vacuum pole as well.
- Ergonomic design ensures cleaning nooks, crannies, and corners of all pools
- See-through design allows the user to view any large debris before clogging the system
- Brushes known to break after limited usage
- Vacuum head does not come with pole or hose
When you add in the cost of purchasing additional hoses and poles for the previously mentioned above ground pool vacuum, it is easy to see the Intex Handheld Rechargeable Above Ground Pool Vacuum is a great buy for its price.
This pool vacuum runs on battery power for strong suction and can be used with any above ground pool up to 18 feet in diameter. The brush heads and shaft are all included.
This pool vacuum also features an automatic shutoff feature when the vacuum is not submerged, saving precious battery life.
Because this vacuum runs on battery power, there are no cables or hoses to worry about! The unit charges via USB and the charger is included at the time of purchase.
- Can retrieve large debris including sticks and leaves as well as small debris such as sand
- Rechargeable, hoseless system
- Lightweight with shaft to easily reach all areas of pool
- Must be charged before use
- Light does not indicate when the unit is fully charged
- Small bag may need emptied several times while using
Most new above ground pool vacuum shoppers may be wondering why some manual vacuums are so much more than others.
Firstly, many items in your search may solely be the vacuum head, so always double check to see what additional items you may need to purchase before assuming it is a good deal.
Secondly, ease of use is always a bit more expensive, which is why this independent unit (not needing any hoses or cords) runs a bit more expensive than other options.
This pool vacuum is also battery powered and rechargeable, offering great suction for both large and small types of debris in your above ground pool.
The filter is multi-layered, yet all in one bag, eliminating the need to use obnoxious multiple bag systems.
The Poolbuster Max CG utilizes a high flow output pump and provides 33 percent more suction than the original Poolbuster.
It also features a corner cleaner to ensure every single inch of your above ground pool is clean. The filter is also reusable, simply needing cleaned after each use.
- Reusable, washable filter means no purchasing filters every week
- Rechargeable battery
- Cordless and hoseless independent unit
- Limited suction power compared to plug-in systems
- Long charge time (8-10 hours) for little vacuum time (less than 1 hour)
- Sand or dirt may cycle through and rest back on pool floor
Automatic Above Ground Pool Vacuums
Automatic above ground pool vacuums can sore muscles, sunburn, and leisure time by cleaning your pool solely on their own with no manual labor needed. In the automatic pool vacuum family, there are further options to consider.
Pressure Side Automatic Pool Vacuums
Pressure-side automatic pool vacuums are powered by water pressure and skim the surface to collect debris in a separate bag or filter.
Pressure-sided pool vacuums are great for removing large debris, flower petals, insects, and leaves but do not adequately remove dirt or sand from the pool.
A booster pump may be added to a pressure sided pool vacuum for maximum efficiency.
The Polaris Vac-Sweep Pressure Side Pool Vacuum is one of the best above ground pool vacuums on the market.
Powered by triple jets and advanced cleaning technology, this pool vacuum works in all in-ground and above-ground pools of any shape, size, or capacity.
This vacuum sweeps and scrubs the bottom and walls of your above ground pool by operating through the pressure created by your pool pump – no booster pump required.
The package includes 31 feet of hose and a single chamber filter bag for capturing large debris such as leaves, flower petals, sticks, pebbles, and large insects falling into the water when uncovered or in use.
The Polaris 360 also features an in-line back-up valve which will automatically free the unit if it is cornered or trapped within the pool while cleaning.
- Three jets equip the system with maximum pressure for movement and efficiency
- In-line back-up valve frees the unit if stuck in a corner
- No booster pump required
- Plastic parts may not provide years of use
- Unit may get tangled in long chord
Suction Sided Pool Vacuums
Suction sided pool vacuums connect to your existing above ground pool pump and filter system, taking advantage of the suction from your pool pump to pull in water from the pool and collect debris.
This technology comes with a couple of downsides: if your existing water pressure is weak, it may not move the suction side pool vacuum adequately around your pool, and because it is connected to the existing filter system, you may need to clean out the pool pump basket and skimmer more frequently, or change cartridges in cartridge filters at least weekly.
You can usually adjust the settings on your pool pump or water intake to increase water flow and make it more efficient.
Much more affordable than the pressure side pool vacuums mentioned in even the best above ground pool vacuum reviews, the Zodiac Ranger can be purchased on Amazon for a very reasonable price.
This unit cleans above ground swimming pools quietly and efficiently by utilizing Flowkeeper Valves and Insta-Skim Compact self-adjusting flow controls, automatically regulating water flow for peak performance and efficient cleaning.
The deflector wheel helps prevent the unit from getting caught in corners or on steps and ladders and includes 32 feet of hose.
There is only one moving part, the diaphragm, eliminating any gears, wheels, and flappers from the picture (and maintenance or replacement routine spending).
- One moving part ensures less maintenance and replacing parts
- Self-adjusts water flow for maximum efficiency
- Cleans crevices and pits in existing settled pool liners without losing suction
- Does not include an adaptor for Intex pools
- May miss large sections of pool without assistance
- Does not clean as well as higher powered moving parts pool vacuums
Robotic Above Ground Pool Vacuums
Robotic above ground pool vacuums require no human interaction and work to remove both large and small debris from the pool.
Robotic pool vacuums are the most expensive above ground pool vacuum due to the value of saving time by requiring no human interaction to effectively clean the pool.
The system propels itself across the bottom, sides, and steps of your above ground pool, sucking up any debris and scrubbing any remnants of algae as it maneuvers.
With its price, the Pool Rover Robotic Pool Vacuum is one of the least expensive robotic automatic above ground pool vacuums on the market.
It is designed for pools of all shapes and sizes up to 40 feet in diameter and filters 80-85 gallons of water per minute.
The 40 foot hose included as well as the EZ swivel cable. The filter is located on top of this unit, making it easy to reach and clean after vacuuming.
It is rated amongst the best above ground pool vacuum reviews due to its ability to filter both small and large debris, from sand to pebbles and large leaves, with ease.
Filtering 85 gallons of water per minute ensures ultimate suction power for maximum cleanliness. The filter bags are reusable and even machine washable for complete ease getting set up for the next vacuuming!
Pool Rover claims to save the average user up to 30% of total chemical usage by offering better water circulation, and up to 40% on total electric usage as the Aquabot costs just about five cents per hour.
Cleaning time is typically two hours or less, once per week, depending on the amount of debris collected natural in your pool.
- Truly automated – no interaction required after installing
- Lightweight and easy to store
- Powerful enough to attract both large and small debris
- Any pool vacuum on long hoses may be stuck or trapped around steps or ladder occasionally
Setting up a new above ground pool and finding the best above ground pool vacuum for your system can feel overwhelming, but it does not have to be complicated or difficult.
Now that you know the difference between manual and automatic pool vacuums, as well as the different types of technology used for automatic pool vacuums, you should be able to know quickly which type of technology is the best for your needs.
Additionally, it is helpful to own one of each – both manual and automatic pool vacuums – for maximum cleanliness and easy routine cleaning.
A manual vacuum is a great option for cleaning out large debris before running an automatic vacuum.
The best above ground pool vacuums will require limited human interaction and work as intended without constantly having to clean the vacuum filter or untangle any hoses or wires.
Pool vacuums offering reusable or washable filters will save money in the long run as no replacement cartridges or bags are needed for routine cleaning, and you may find that robotic pool vacuums are the best choice of spending as they require such little supervision or interaction on your behalf.
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