Last Updated: May 4, 2023 @ 1:38 pm.

What's the best pool vacuum? To find out, we first asked our parent readers for their real world experiences—and recommendations for their favorite pool vacuums. Then we interviewed two industry veterans who've been in the pool business for years. We narrowed down the best pool vacuum recommendations to two general categories: manual and robot models. Here are the best bets.

FYI: We've been reviewing and rating products for the home and families since 1994. To keep things independent, we don't take money or freebies from brands we review! Our work is 100% reader-supported!

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Best Budget-Friendly

Great for leaves, pine needles
We liked this low-tech vacuum, especially if you have a small pool and good water pressure. Simple to use and easy to put together. Tip: must go slow to get all the debris!

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Best Budget-Friendly: Poolmaster 28300 Big Sucker Swimming Pool Leaf Vacuum

Let’s talk about the best vacuum for your pool.

Yes, vacuuming your pool isn’t a very glamorous job, but it is an important part of pool maintenance.

When selecting a pool vacuum, first ask yourself what types of debris your pool collects: leaves or large debris? Algae? Smaller debris like worms or sand? 

For large debris, this vacuum is a reader favorite and budget-friendly to boot: the Poolmaster Big Sucker. 

The Big Sucker is affordable because it doesn’t have a motor—this manual-style vacuum uses water from a garden hose to force debris like leaves up into a mesh bag—the water goes through the bag, but the leaves are stuck. 

It’s simple but effective, say the pool owners among our readers. Here’s more:

What We Liked

• Easy to use.

• Works well for leaves.

• Easy to assemble.

• No motors—uses a garden hose (not included).

• Affordable.

• Includes one reusable leaf bag.

What Needs Work

• Doesn’t work well if you have weak water pressure at your home.

• Requires a bit of physical effort to get it to roll across the bottom of a pool.

• Telescoping pole is sold separately.

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Best For Algae, Small Debris

Look ma, no electricity!
This reader favorite has a clever design—it attaches to your pool's filter system and poof! It cleans. Easy to assemble, but can get stuck around stairs.

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Best For Algae, Small Debris: ZtremepowerUS 75037 Climb Wall Pool Cleaner

Leaves are probably the most common debris that must be regularly cleaned from a pool.

However, a close second is algae and other small debris. For this type of cleaning, we pick ZtremepowerUS Climb Wall Pool Cleaner as the best bet for most folks.

This cleaner is a favorite mentioned by our readers—it works without any electricity. This cleaner just attaches to your existing pool filtration system/pump and moves about eight to 12 feet per minute. And it does an excellent job at cleaning algae. Here’s more:

What We Liked

 Easy to assemble.

• Good suction.

• More affordable than most robotic cleaners we researched.

• Great for both big and small debris—algae in particular.

• Cleans pool bottom and walls (but not stairs).

What Needs Work

• Must regularly clean out your pool filter for it to work. Yes, this system deposits debris into your pool’s filter . . . and it will stop working if you don’t clean it out!

• Suction may be ineffective if your pool pump is weak.

• Can get stuck around stairs, drains.

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Best Vacuum for Above-Ground Pools

Easy to clean
This cordless vacuum does a good job at picking up debris like leaves. Hose-free and easy to use. Could the battery last longer? Sure, but it does the trick for straight sided pools.

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Best Vacuum for Above-Ground Pools: AIPER Seagull SE Cordless Robotic Pool Cleaner

If manual or low-tech pool vacuums don’t work well for your pool, it may be worthwhile to step up to a rechargeable robot pool cleaner.

When we interviewed our pool-owning readers for their thoughts on this, one brand came up time and time again as a good bet that gets the job done: AIPER.

Here’s why:

What We Liked

• Cordless. It takes about three hours to charge.

• No hoses to worry about. 

• Cleans quickly—about 50 minutes for a 500 square foot pool.

• Excellent suction.

• Easy to clean.

• Affordable, at least compared to other pricey robot pool vacuums.

• Good customer service.

• Best for above-ground pools—not so good for in-ground pools, as it doesn’t climb stairs or walls.

What Needs Work

• Short battery life. In the real world, this cleaner’s charge lasts about an hour—great, but not ideal for larger pools. 

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Best Vacuum for Small Pools

Compact size, easy storage
We liked how easy this pool vacuum is to assemble and use—perfect for that smaller pool or spa. Insider tip: add a coffee filter to mesh bag to catch smaller debris like sand, bugs.

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Best Vacuum for Small Pools: POOLWHALE Portable Pool Vacuum Jet Underwater Cleaner

Yes, automatic pool cleaners can get very pricey. But there is good news: this simple pool vacuum does the job at a price that is much easier on the wallet.

Like the first recommendation in this article, this vacuum uses water from a garden hose to force debris up into a mesh bag. We know, that sounds very simple—but it works, say our readers. Here’s more:

What We Liked

• Easy to assemble.

• Great for small pools or spas.

• Compact design makes it easy to store.

• Includes telescoping handle (six sections = 56.5″).

• Affordable.

• Works well on large debris leaves, stones.

What Needs Work

• Pole isn’t very strong.

• Not so great for small debris and algae.

Why Trust Us

We’ve been rating and reviewing products for the home and families since 1994. We do extensive research, evaluating products with an eye toward quality, ease of use and affordability. When we purchase a product for hands-on testing, we do so with our own money. 

Here’s another key point: we don’t take money from the brands we review. No free samples, no sponsors, no “partnerships.” Our work is 100% reader-supported!

Baby Bargains: Your Baby Registry Cheat Sheet is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to and its related sites. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.