The 6 Best Pool Cleaners to Buy for Your Home in 2018
UPDATED JANUARY 2018 | BY JONATHAN HOYTE
When you first dreamt about installing a home swimming pool, chances are you weren’t dreaming about the maintenance. Pools are a joy for kids and adults alike, but they require a few critical tools to stay that way: a reliable pool cleaner sits at the top of the list.
There are three different types of pool cleaners that homeowners can choose from, and which one you buy depends on your budget and pool type. Pressure and suction pool cleaners use your existing pool pressure or suction lines to power their cleaning, while robotic cleaners rely on an extension cord from your house.
The best robotic cleaners are the most effective and simple models to maintain, especially for larger pools, but also the most expensive. Top pressure cleaners can provide a comparable and less costly alternative to robots, especially if you choose one that doesn’t require an extra booster pump. Suction cleaners are the most affordable but can put stress on your pool filter, and have a harder time with large debris and weak pool pumps. Read on to find the right pool cleaner pick for your specific needs.
If you’re looking for the most effective and reliable pool cleaner on the market, the Dolphin Nautilus 99996323 is our pick. The Nautilus’ upfront cost is higher than the competition, but many owners save money in the long run due to its acclaimed durability. This robot cleaner makes pool maintenance a breeze – the only work you have to do is plug it in.
The Nautilus can clean pools up to 50 feet long, including walls, stairs and other pool features. From the moment it’s plugged in and gets to work, it takes a maximum of three hours to quietly filter, sweep and vacuum your pool. It doesn’t tax pool resources like your suction or power lines, and beyond hooking it up to power the only maintenance it needs is an occasional emptying of the cartridge filter.
The Nautilus is a well-regarded top seller, with owners raving about its reliability and cleaning prowess. Dolphin offers a 12-month warranty to back up that promise, which ensures that buyers of our best overall pick won’t be disappointed. Check Amazon Rating >>
The Polaris Vac-Sweep 360 is our favorite pressure cleaner, and a strong alternative to the Dolphin Nautilus for owners looking to save money or avoid the hassle of plugging into the house.
The Polaris 360 works off of your pressure line, using three jets to propel itself around your pool and clean any surface effectively. Unlike most other pressure pool cleaners, however, it doesn’t require an extra booster pump and works with your existing pressure line and pool pump. The Polaris 360 also has a special filtration bag that removes large debris before it can reach your filter and cause any damage.
The Polaris 360 rivals the Dolphin Nautilus for happy buyers. Owners do say it has a few more limitations, as it’s more likely to need maintenance and isn’t as good at climbing walls, but overall it’s a great and less expensive bet. Check Amazon Rating >>
The Baracuda G3 is an outstanding value for buyers with smaller pools, low-speed pumps or smaller debris.
Not all suction cleaners are made equal, and many have flow issues when paired with low horsepower pool pumps that can’t create enough pull to suck up debris effectively. The Baracuda G3 is quiet but surprisingly powerful for a suction cleaner, and plays well with low horsepower pumps, thanks to a Flowkeeper Valve that automatically regulates water flow. The Flowkeeper also allows it to easily skim leaves and insects off your pool surface with the flip of a switch.
The G3 has fewer moving parts and is less likely to break down than many of its wheeled suction competitors. Happy buyers report running it for twelve hours at a time or throughout the night without a problem. While it’s not the right tool for a large pool with significant debris, it will definitely do the job for most situations. Check Amazon Rating >>
The Xtremepower Kreepy Krauly Pool Cleaner is an amusingly named and much cheaper generic brand suction cleaner alternative to the Baracuda G3. It’s not as effective or durable, but will do a solid job of cleaning most small pools, which makes it an attractive option at less than half the price.
Like the G3, the Kreepy Krauly hooks up to your suction line and uses it to pull in debris. Unlike the G3, it requires a pool pump of at least 3/4 horsepower, but if you have that it should be powerful enough for pools of up to 32 feet in length. The Kreep Krauly walks up walls like the G3 as well, but loses steam once it gets too high.
Many users prefer to operate the Kreepy Krauly manually as a pool vacuum, and report great success doing so. Regardless of how you prefer to use it, the Kreepy Krauly offers the basic pool cleaning capabilities that small or seasonal pools need, without the features that your wallet doesn’t. Check Amazon Rating >>
Above-ground pools are notoriously hard for pool cleaners to maintain. They tend to have weaker pumps and filters which mean most pressure cleaners won’t work, and many suction cleaners will require an extra booster pump as well. Many above-ground pools owners resort to manual pool vacuums as a result. The Hayward 500 Acqua Bug offers a great automated alternative in an adorable design that the kids will love.
The AquaBug is a suction cleaner that works with your existing filtration system, even if it’s on the weaker side, by using a unique turbine system to circulate water in a steady flow.
Its SmartDrive patented technology will make sure it circulates intelligently around the pool rather than wandering in an aimless pattern. It takes 10 minutes to set up and does a good job of removing small and medium-sized debris like leaves and insects.
Some owners have reported that the Aqua Bug has a hard time with sharp corners and very high walls, which may require manual intervention. Overall, however, this is the best affordably priced cleaner for most above-ground pools, and will ensure you don’t have to vacuum on your own all summer long. Check Amazon Rating >>
The Dolphin Premier Robotic Pool Cleaner is Dolphin’s signature high-end pool cleaner, and the most high-performing and intelligent we’ve seen on the marketplace. It costs a pretty penny, but buyers who have sunk considerable capital into building a beautiful in-ground home pool will find it worth the price to keep that pool pristine.
The Dolphin Premier has four cleaning moods for any type of debris, from algae and fine dirt or sand to large leaf or even twig falls. You set the mode. It has SmartNav robot cleaning technology that detects the surface area and shape of your pool and sets the most efficient and comprehensive cleaning pattern. And it does this with a highly-efficient motor that Dolphin claims results in energy costs of just 5 cents an hour, meaning huge long-run cost savings if you clean your pool regularly.
The Dolphin Premier has all the bells and whistles, even sporting a 360 degree swivel to ensure its cord never tangles. It offers a three-year warranty, 3x that of the Dolphin Nautilus robot that tops our list. At over a thousand dollars, it is one of the most expensive premium cleaners out there, but it will solve all your needs if you’re looking to protect your home pool investment with limited hassle. Check Amazon Rating >>
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