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Beach Ball in Pool
  • Writer's pictureChris Perez

Choosing the Right In-Ground Pool Vacuum for Easy Maintenance

what is the best pool cleaner to buy

Selecting the ideal in-ground pool vacuum is crucial for effortless maintenance and ensuring your pool's water remains crystal-clear. However, it's important to remember that not all vacuums are suitable for every pool; the plumbing of your in-ground pool plays a significant role in determining the right choice. Pressure-side, suction-side, and robotic cleaners are the top choices among in-ground pool vacuums, but their suitability depends heavily on your pool's specific plumbing setup.

Pressure-side in-ground pool vacuums typically require an additional booster pump, while suction-side vacuums conveniently work with your pool's existing filtration system. Both types come with their unique set of pros and cons, and finding the best fit depends on the specifics of your in-ground pool.

In this guide, we demystify the world of in-ground pool vacuums. You'll learn how each type functions, what each requires, and how to choose the perfect in-ground pool vacuum for your specific needs. Ready to make stress-free decisions about your pool care? Let's dive in and transform pool maintenance from a chore into a breeze with the right in-ground pool vacuum.

Understanding Pressure-Side In-Ground Pool Vacuums

When it comes to automatic pool cleaners for in-ground pools, pressure-side models are often a favored choice. They are known for their effective cleaning abilities and low maintenance requirements. But how do they operate, and how can you determine if a pressure-side in-ground pool vacuum is the right choice for your pool?

How They Work

Pressure-side pool cleaners utilize the power of water pressure to move around your pool and collect debris in a bag. Here's the catch: they require a dedicated booster pump, which enhances water circulation and drives the cleaner, giving these devices the 'pressure-side' moniker. The process is pretty straightforward:

  1. Water propelled by the booster pump creates a jet stream.

  2. The cleaner harnesses this jet stream to glide across the pool's surfaces, stirring up debris.

  3. Debris is then whisked away into a dedicated collection bag, preventing clog-up in your pool's filter.

This method not only ensures thorough cleaning but also distributes clean, filtered water around your pool, improving water circulation.

Identifying If Your Pool Supports One:

If you're wondering whether your pool is compatible with a pressure-side cleaner, here's what you need to check:

  1. Plumbing Setup: Look for a dedicated return line, which is essential for connecting the booster pump.

  2. Booster Pump: Check if your pool has this separate pump. It's usually located near the main pool equipment and is integral for powering the cleaner.

  3. Cleaner Port: Some pools have a specific side port or a pool deck fitting that's designed for attaching these cleaners.

If you're unsure, consulting with a pool specialist or your pool’s original construction plans can provide clarity.

Top Pressure-Side Cleaner Picks:

A reliable, powerful choice that offers a thorough clean for all pool surfaces and shapes.


Pool Cleaner Comparison
  1. Efficient Cleaning: Captures large debris, cleans quickly.

  2. Durable Construction: Long-lasting materials, reliable performance.

  3. Comprehensive Coverage: Thorough, obstacle-avoiding navigation.


  1. Booster Pump Needed: Extra cost, maintenance.

  2. Higher Initial Investment: Pricier setup compared to others.

  3. Periodic Maintenance: Replacement of worn parts necessary.

Known for its high-speed scrubbing and wide cleaning path, making short work of dirt and debris.

How do I choose a pool cleaner?


  1. Strong Debris Removal: Efficiently captures large and small debris.

  2. Wide Cleaning Path: Covers more area, reducing cleaning time.

  3. Energy Efficient: Operates effectively without excessive power use.


  1. Booster Pump Required: Additional equipment needed, increasing costs.

  2. Occasional Missed Spots: Sometimes overlooks certain areas of the pool.

  3. Hose Issues: Potential for tangling or twisting during operation.

Known for its wide coverage area, unique backup system for uninterrupted cleaning, and gentle operation suitable for all pool surfaces.

What is better robotic or suction pool cleaner?


  1. Low Maintenance: Easy debris removal, less frequent upkeep.

  2. Advanced Backup System: Prevents corner trapping, ensures full coverage.

  3. Gentle Operation: Works well with delicate pool surfaces.


  1. Booster Pump Needed: Extra installation, higher energy consumption.

  2. Cost: Higher upfront investment relative to some alternatives.

  3. Debris Size Limitation: Struggles with larger debris, causing possible clogs.

Understanding Suction-Side In-Ground Pool Vacuums

Suction-side vacuums are another popular type of in-ground pool vacuum, standing out for their efficiency and user-friendliness. If you're considering a suction-side vacuum for your in-ground pool, it's essential to understand how they function and whether they are compatible with your pool's setup.

How They Work

Suction-side pool cleaners attach to your pool's existing filtration system and use the suction power created by the pool pump. They move around the pool, guided by the hose and the water flow, effectively vacuuming dirt and debris off the pool's floor and walls. The collected debris is then sent through the hose to the pool's skimmer basket or filtration system. These cleaners are energy-efficient and easy to maintain, making them a popular choice for pool owners who prefer a straightforward cleaning solution.

Identifying if Your Pool Supports a Suction-Side Vacuum:

  • Existing Skimmer or Suction Line: Your pool must have a skimmer or a dedicated suction line that the vacuum can attach to.

  • Pool Pump Capability: Ensure your pool pump has enough power to provide the necessary suction for effective cleaning.

  • Pool Size and Shape: Consider if the random cleaning pattern of suction-side vacuums is suitable for your pool’s design and size.

  • Debris Type: These vacuums are ideal for pools that typically accumulate smaller debris like sand, leaves, and dirt.

Top Suction-Side Cleaner Picks:

Pick 1: Hayward Poolvergnuegen 'The Pool Cleaner'($399) Renowned for its strong suction power and ability to navigate around obstacles. It comes in both 2-wheel and 4-wheel models to suit different pool sizes.

What is the best inground pool vacuum to buy?


  1. Effective Navigation: Excels in passing larger debris

  2. Customizable Steering: Efficient cleaning on varied surfaces.

  3. Durable Construction: Made with high-quality materials for increased longevity.


  1. Struggles with Large Debris: May have difficulty handling very large debris.

  2. Hose Tangling: Occasional hose tangling can disrupt the cleaning process.

  3. Dependent on Pump Strength: Cleaning efficiency varies with the pool's pump power.

Pick 2: Zodiac MX6 ($349) A highly efficient cleaner known for its quiet operation and low-speed pump compatibility. It's effective at cleaning small and medium-sized debris and is easy to set up.

How do pool vacuums work


  1. Energy Efficient: Works well with low-flow pumps.

  2. Advanced Navigation: Excellent wall and floor coverage.

  3. Compact and Light: Easy to handle and use.


  1. Limited with Large Debris: Struggles with bigger debris.

  2. Wall Climbing: May not effectively climb some pool walls.

  3. Regular Maintenance: Parts may need frequent upkeep.

Pick 3: Pentair Kreepy Krauly 'Great White': ($584) Known for its wide cleaning path and powerful scrubbing brush, making it great for pools with larger debris. It's also designed to maneuver over uneven surfaces easily.

which type of pool cleaner is best


  1. Wide Cleaning Path: Covers large areas efficiently.

  2. Powerful Scrubbing Brush: Effectively dislodges tough debris.

  3. Good Maneuverability: Handles uneven surfaces and obstacles well.


  1. Random Cleaning Pattern: May miss some spots.

  2. Size and Weight: Bulkier than some other models.

  3. Debris Size Limitation: Less effective with very fine particles.

Understanding Robotic In-Ground Pool Vacuums

In the world of in-ground pool maintenance, robotic pool vacuums represent the height of convenience and advanced technology. If you're looking to upgrade your in-ground pool cleaning routine, gaining insight into robotic pool vacuums is an excellent starting point.

How Robotic Pool Cleaners Work:

These cleaners operate independently from your pool's filtration system, using their own electric power source. This means they don’t rely on your pool's pump or filter, reducing wear and tear on your pool's main equipment. Equipped with advanced navigation systems, robotic cleaners methodically traverse the pool’s floor, walls, and even the waterline, ensuring thorough coverage. They come with built-in filtration capabilities, capturing everything from fine particles to larger debris in an internal bag or cartridge. This not only keeps your pool immaculately clean but also improves water circulation and filtration quality. Many models are programmable, allowing you to set cleaning schedules and patterns to suit your pool’s specific needs, all while being more energy-efficient compared to other types of pool cleaners.

Identifying if Your Pool Supports a Robotic Cleaner:

  • Power Outlet Access: Ensure you have a safe, outdoor electrical outlet near your pool, as robotic cleaners require electricity.

Top Robotic Pool Cleaner Picks:

Pick 1: Dolphin Nautilus CC Plus ($799) This cleaner is celebrated for its strong cleaning performance and energy efficiency. It's suitable for pools up to 50 feet in length and features dual scrubbing brushes and a large top-load cartridge filter to capture fine and large debris. The Nautilus CC Plus also offers a programmable timer and a CleverClean Technology for efficient navigation.

types of pool cleaners pros and cons


  1. Efficient Cleaning: Thorough removal of both fine and large debris.

  2. Easy to Use: Offers simple operation with a programmable timer and lightweight design for effortless handling.

  3. Energy-Efficient: Consumes less power compared to many other pool cleaning systems


  1. Fixed Cable Length: The cable length may limit reach in larger pools

  2. No Remote Control: Lacks remote control functionality, which can be useful for spot cleaning specific areas.

  3. Occasional Stuck Issues: May occasionally get stuck on pool drains or other obstacles, requiring manual intervention.

Pick 2: Polaris F9550 Sport ($1199) The Polaris F9550 Sport stands out with its 4-wheel drive technology, allowing it to overcome obstacles and climb walls effortlessly. It includes a 7-day programmable timer and customizable cleaning cycles. Additionally, it features an easy-to-clean filter canister and a remote control for spot cleaning.

pool vacuum robot inground


  1. 4-Wheel Drive: Superior traction for climbing walls and overcoming obstacles.

  2. Programmable Cleaning Cycles: Customizable settings for tailored cleaning.

  3. Remote Control: Allows for manual spot cleaning and easy navigation.


  1. Higher Price Point: More expensive compared to some other models.

  2. Weight: Heavier design can make handling and removal from the pool more challenging.

  3. Complex Repairs: Advanced features can lead to complicated, potentially costly repairs.

Pick 3: Hayward TigerShark ($1109) Known for its powerful vacuum strength and efficiency in cleaning the pool floor, walls, and coves, the Hayward TigerShark is suitable for pools up to 20 x 40 feet. It has an easy-to-clean cartridge filter system and uses intelligent microprocessor-based technology to ensure thorough cleaning of every pool area.

inground pool cleaners


  1. Powerful Cleaning: Strong vacuuming capabilities for thorough debris removal.

  2. Intelligent Navigation: Smart technology ensures efficient coverage of the entire pool.

  3. Easy Maintenance: Simple cartridge filter system for quick and easy cleaning.


  1. No Remote Control: Lacks the convenience of remote-guided spot cleaning.

  2. Heavier Design: Can be cumbersome to lift and transport.

  3. Occasional Corner Challenges: May struggle with tight corners or certain pool shapes.

Remember, the best pool vacuum is one that aligns with your pool’s design, your lifestyle, and your cleaning goals. With the options and insights we’ve laid out, you're now equipped to make an informed choice that keeps your pool inviting, clean, and ready for endless splashes of fun. Dive into a hassle-free pool maintenance experience and enjoy crystal-clear waters, all season long.

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