Whether you call it a pool vacuum or a pool cleaner, it amounts to the same thing. This is an invaluable piece of pool equipment that automates one of the most mundane, time-consuming tasks of pool ownership: getting debris off the pool bottom. A quick glance at the options will show you a range of models, from basic hose setups that connect to your skimmer to robotic pool cleaner models that just plug into an electrical outlet. How do you tell which is right for you?


First, you need to consider your budget. A basic pool cleaner will be much more affordable than a robotic pool cleaner, so if your budget is tight, that will probably be the route to go, at least for now. Even then, you still have a wealth of choices. Do you want one that slides across the bottom of the pool on a rubber membrane? That will work great for gently sloped pools, but if yours has a steep slope, a wheeled cleaner may be better.

Pool Size

The size of your pool is also something to consider. With basic pool cleaners, you must connect the cleaner to the skimmer with hoses. The larger the pool, the more hose sections you will need. A more autonomous option might be a better choice here. A robotic pool cleaner doesn’t require hoses (although it does require a constant supply of electricity) and may make a better option, so long as the power cord is long enough to reach all areas of the pool.

Robotics, Suction, or Pressure?

A robotic pool cleaner is self-contained but uses electricity to power the motor and scrubbers. A suction-based pool cleaner works on suction from the skimmer or from a port built into the side of the pool. A pressure-based pool cleaner uses a pressure line from the pool’s filtration system and has a self-contained waste capture system similar to robotic cleaners, but may require a booster pump to run. Both pressure and suction-based cleaners require the pool pump running, but robotic cleaners do not.

Choosing a pool cleaner doesn’t have to be hard. Define your budget and your pool size, and then compare robotic, suction, and pressure-based models to find the right mix of features and capabilities.

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