Although it is possible to use a brush and manual vacuum to clean your pool, it’s not a task many pool owners have the time or desire to complete, especially given that a pool should be cleaned at least twice a week during the in-season.
A good suction pool cleaner makes pool maintenance easier by automating the cleaning process. This type of pool cleaner attaches to the pool skimmer via a 30- to 40-foot hose. It automatically moves around the pool bottom and walls, removing sediment, small leaves, and other debris, which is then sent to the pool filter and pump skimmer basket. Read on to learn what features one should consider in this type of pool cleaner, and find out why the models below are some of the best suction pool cleaners on the market.
- BEST OVERALL: Zodiac G3 Suction Pool Cleaner
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: XtremepowerUS Automatic Suction Pool Cleaner
- UPGRADE PICK: Zodiac MX8 Suction Pool Cleaner
- BEST FOR WALL CLIMBING: Hayward Poolvergnuegen Suction Pool Cleaner
- BEST FOR ABOVE-GROUND: Zodiac Ranger Suction Side Above-Ground Pool Cleaner
- BEST FOR INGROUND: Pentair Kreepy Krauly Suction-Side Pool Cleaner
- ALSO CONSIDER: Hayward AquaNaut 400 Automatic Suction Pool Cleaner
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Suction Pool Cleaner
When shopping for the best suction pool cleaner, it’s crucial to consider its compatibility with the pool pump as well as hose length and the type of pool surfaces it can clean. Below, learn more about these and other attributes of suction pool cleaners.
Suction pool cleaners work by using the power of the pool pump to suck up debris and propel them across the pool bottom and up the pool walls. Most manufacturers list the minimum flow rate required from the pump for the cleaner to operate properly. Suction pool cleaners typically require a flow rate of 1,600 gallons per hour (GPH) to 2,200 GPH.
Suction pool cleaners use a 1.5-inch hose that sucks up debris and transports it to the pool filter and pump skimmer basket. The range of the suction pool cleaner is limited by the length of the hose. Suction pool cleaners typically come with seven to 10 lengths of hose that can be connected to extend the hose length up to 30 to 40 feet.
To calculate the required hose length, measure from the skimmer to the farthest corner of the pool, then add the depth of the water. If the farthest point from the skimmer is 25 feet away and the pool has a depth of 6 feet, one will need at least a 36-foot hose to clean the pool.
Type of Pool Surface
It’s important to pay attention to the compatibility of the pool cleaner with the pool surface. Pool surfaces include concrete, Gunite, vinyl, fiberglass, tile, and pebble. A pool cleaner that is not compatible with the pool surface may not be able to achieve the proper suction to remove debris or capable of climbing the pool wall. The pool cleaner can even damage the pool surface. The best suction pool cleaner is compatible with most pool surface types.
Types and Amount of Debris
Pool cleaners also vary in the type and size of debris they can handle. Most pool cleaners are capable of sucking up sediment and small particles and leaves. While some pool cleaners may struggle to suck up larger debris, others have designs that allow them to remove larger leaves without clogging.
Pool size dictates what type of suction pool cleaner is best for the job. Smaller suction pool cleaners that can move nimbly around the pool are the best choice for small inground and above-ground pools that may be too tight for larger pool cleaners. Larger pools require pool cleaners capable of moving quickly around the pool, and they need long hoses to give them the range needed to reach the far corners.
Our Top Picks
The list below includes pool cleaners designed to suit a variety of pool types, including above-ground and small inground pools as well as large pools.
For its simple and effective maintenance-free design, the G3 is one of the best suction side pool cleaner options on the market. It uses a simple control valve that regulates water flow to maintain enough suction power for climbing walls even with less powerful pumps. A large 36-inch disk provides excellent suction to the pool walls and floor, allowing it to remove a large amount of debris with each pass, although it can struggle with larger debris.
Raised deflectors around the outside of the wheel facilitate vacuuming in tight crevices and corners. The Zodiac G3 has ample range for larger pools with its thirteen 3-foot sections of high-quality hose.
- Compatibility: 1,600 GPH
- Hose: 39 feet
- Weight: 21 pounds
- Maintains excellent suction even with a low-speed pump
- Pump hose sections easy to customize
- Disk fits into corners
- Struggles with large debris
Get the Zodiac G3 suction pool cleaner on Amazon or Leslie’s Pool.
At a cost that’s less than half the price of other suction pool cleaners, this model from XtremepowerUS is a great option for those on a budget. It features a simple design that makes it easy to use while requiring just 1,600 GPH to move around the pool and scale walls.
The cleaner’s ten 3-foot hoses give it enough range to serve small to medium-size pools. Its small size makes it suitable for both inground and above-ground pools. Although it’s a great budget option, it isn’t ideal for removing larger debris, which can clog the cleaner.
- Compatibility: 1,600 GPH pumps
- Hose: 30 feet
- Weight: 10 pounds
- A fraction of the cost of other suction pool cleaners
- Works with a flow rate of just 1,600 GPH
- Can climb walls
- Shorter hose length not suitable for larger pools
Get the XtremePowerUS suction pool cleaner at Amazon, The Home Depot, Target, or XtremepowerUS.
For those willing to pay for it, the Zodiac MX8 is an ideal choice for maintaining a larger pool. The Zodiac MX8’s cyclonic vacuum technology maintains as much suction power as other suction cleaners while requiring a flow rate of just 1,200 GPH. Its track-style wheels give it the capability to navigate sharp angles and odd nooks and crannies around the pool surface as well as vertical walls, minimizing the need to follow behind the cleaner with a pool brush.
The MX8 also works with a variety of pool surfaces, including concrete, tile, vinyl, and fiberglass, and it comes with 36 feet of hose, giving it excellent range.
- Compatibility: 1,200 GPH pumps
- Hose: 36 feet
- Weight: 17.5 pounds
- Capable of navigating tight angles and walls
- Works with a variety of pool surfaces
- Doesn’t require high flow rate
Get the Zodiac MX8 suction pool cleaner on Amazon or Walmart.
This versatile pool cleaner features a set of four wheels that are capable of crawling up the walls of a variety of pool surfaces, including granite, tile, vinyl, and fiberglass. Thanks to Hayward’s special tire treads this pool cleaner can grip all of these surfaces, and its hose length is a versatile 40 feet.
This pool cleaner is able to ascend walls, making it an excellent total pool cleaner. It uses self-adjusting turbine vanes that allow it to remove even larger dirt and debris without becoming clogged. With its adjustable roller skirt, the Poolvergnuegen maintains excellent suction power as it moves across the pool’s various surfaces.
- Compatibility: 2,100 GPH pumps
- Hose: 40 feet
- Weight: 19 pounds
- Compatible with a variety of pool surfaces
- Capable of climbing walls
- Can handle larger debris
- 40-foot hose range
Get the Hayward Poolvergnuegen suction pool cleaner on Amazon.
The simple design of this above-ground suction pool cleaner makes it nimble enough to clean the smaller confines of most above-ground pools. The key feature of this vacuum is its deflector shield, which prevents it from getting hung up on steps, ladders, and sharp corners that are characteristic of above-ground pools. The disk shape also allows it to navigate the walls as well as the pool bottom.
A self-adjusting valve maintains excellent suction, and since it only has one moving part, there are fewer moving pieces to maintain or replace. The vacuum comes with 32 feet of hose, giving it plenty of length for cleaning even larger above-ground pools.
- Compatibility: N/A
- Hose: 32 feet
- Weight: 15 pounds
- Design prevents it from getting stuck on ladders and steps
- Fewer moving parts to maintain
- Affordably priced
- Can get clogged by larger debris
Get the Zodiac Ranger suction side pool cleaner on Amazon or Walmart.
Pentair’s Kreepy Krauly is one of the oldest suction pool cleaners on the market, with the first version having debuted some 45 years ago. Over the years, Pentair has continued to improve on its technology. Today’s Kreepy Krauly comes equipped with a directional system that ensures it doesn’t miss sections as it moves across the pool bottom and walls.
A curved roller strap that maneuvers it around ladders and steps prevents it from getting caught up in those obstacles. Wings fixed to the top of the cleaner dish help channel debris into the pool’s filtration system. With 40 feet of hoses, it’s suitable even for larger inground pools.
- Compatibility: N/A
- Hose: 40 feet
- Weight: 15 pounds
- Roller straps allow it to work around ladders and stairs
- Long hose provides ample range
- Wing design helps channel debris into cleaner
- Doesn’t hold up as long as other suction pool cleaners
Get the Pentair Kreepy Krauly suction pool cleaner on Amazon.
Hayward’s AquaNaut 400 uses a four-wheel design to crawl across the bottom of the pool and scale walls to clean every inch of the pool surface. The wheels use preprogrammed turning sequences to ensure the AquaNaut 400 covers as much of the pool bottom and walls as possible. Similar to other Hayward suction cleaners, the AquaNaut 400 uses V-shaped fins to improve water flow by allowing even larger pieces of debris to pass through to its 1.5-inch hose.
The AquaNaut 400’s spiked tires make it compatible with a variety of pool surfaces, including concrete, Gunite, vinyl, fiberglass, tile, and pebble. With its whopping 40 feet of hose length, the AquaNaut 400 is suitable for large pools of up to 20 by 40 feet.
- Compatibility: 2,100 GPH
- Hose: 40 feet
- Weight: 21 pounds
- 4 wheels allow it to maneuver and climb walls more easily
- Works with a variety of pool surfaces
- Compatible with large pools
- Can struggle to climb walls if not properly weighted
Get the Hayward AquaNaut 400 suction pool cleaner at Amazon, Leslie’s Pool, or Walmart.
A simple, low-maintenance design coupled with the ability to maintain ample suction even at low pump speeds makes the Zodiac G3 suction pool cleaner the best all-around option on the market. Those looking for a high-end pool suction cleaner ideal for large pools should consider the Zodiac MX8 suction pool cleaner with its superior ability to scale walls and maneuver through tight corners.
How We Chose the Best Suction Pool Cleaner
We used several criteria to narrow the field of the more than 20 suction pool cleaners we researched. A good suction pool cleaner should make pool maintenance easier by automating it to some degree. With that in mind, we chose models with proven designs that prevent them from flipping over or becoming hung up on obstacles such as ladders, corners, and steps. Since pool walls make up a significant part of pool cleaning, we stuck with suction pool cleaners that are capable of cleaning the wall as well as the pool bottom. Understanding that budget is always a concern, we included a mix of affordable suction pool cleaners as well as high-end models for those willing to pay for better performance. Finally, our list covers pool cleaners for both inground and above-ground pools.
Suction Pool Cleaner Use and Maintenance Tips
In order for that new pool cleaner to do its job, it’s crucial for it to be maintained properly. Make sure to remove it after each cleaning cycle. The chemicals used to treat pools can damage the pool cleaner if it’s exposed to them for too long. Make sure to clean the pool cleaner after each use. Clean any dirt that accumulates inside, and check to make sure that any wheels or moving parts aren’t clogged with debris. It’s also a good idea to rinse the cleaner with fresh water to prevent pool chemicals from damaging it. Any algae growth on the walls will prevent your pool cleaner from being able to climb. To get the most out of your pool cleaner, control algae growth by making sure your pool chemistry has the proper pH and chlorine levels.
- Remove the pool cleaner from the pool after each use.
- Regularly remove any debris from the pool cleaner.
- Control algae growth in the pool to ensure the pool cleaner can climb.
If you’re wondering how suction pool cleaners work or if they require electricity, then read on for more information about this type of pool cleaner.
Q. How do suction pool cleaners work?
A suction pool cleaner works by connecting directly to your pool’s skimmer via a 1.5-inch hose. As the pool cleaner moves around the pool, it sucks up dirt and debris, sending it to the pool filter and pump basket.
Q. How much electricity do suction cleaners use?
Since pool cleaners are powered entirely by the suction force of the pool pump, they do not use any electricity.
Q. Why do people like suction pool cleaners?
Suction pool cleaners are the most affordable type of cleaner. They also have fewer moving parts than other types of pool cleaners, making them easier to maintain, and they don’t require a booster pump.
Q. How often should I use my suction pool cleaner?
Use the suction pool cleaner about twice a week during the in-season when the cover is off the pool. During the off-season, remove the cover and run the cleaner about once a month.
Q. How long will a suction pool cleaner last?
A good suction pool cleaner will last from 5 to 7 years when properly maintained.
Q. What is the difference between a suction pool cleaner and a pressure pool cleaner?
A suction pool cleaner attaches directly to the pool skimmer and removes debris by sucking it through a hose to the pool filter and pump basket. A pressure pool cleaner attaches to the return jet of your pool’s pump and filtration system. It works by sucking up debris and depositing it into a bag attached to the cleaner itself.