The Best Suction Pool Cleaners of 2023

A good suction pool cleaner will reduce the amount of regular manual cleaning you need to perform on your pool.

By Tony Carrick | Updated Jun 28, 2023 4:48 PM

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The Best Suction Pool Cleaners Option

Photo: amazon.com

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 to 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.

  1. BEST OVERALL: Zodiac G3 Suction Pool Cleaner
  2. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: XtremePowerUS Premium Automatic Suction Pool Cleaner
  3. UPGRADE PICK: Zodiac MX8 Suction Pool Cleaning Robot
  4. BEST FOR WALL CLIMBING: Hayward ThePoolCleaner 4-Wheel Suction Pool Cleaner
  5. BEST FOR ABOVE-GROUND: Zodiac Ranger Suction Side Above-Ground Pool Cleaner
  6. BEST FOR INGROUND: Pentair Kreepy Krauly Suction-Side Pool Cleaner
  7. BEST BRUSH: Poolmaster Air Relief Vinyl Liner Vacuum
  8. BEST CORDLESS: Pool Blaster Max Li Cordless Pool & Spa Vacuum
  9. BEST ROBOT: Zodiac MX6 Advanced Suction Mechanical Pool Cleaner
  10. ALSO CONSIDER: Hayward AquaNaut 400 Automatic Suction Pool Cleaner
The Best Suction Pool Cleaners Option

Photo: amazon.com

How We Chose the Best Suction Pool Cleaner

We used several criteria to narrow the field from the more than 20 suction pool cleaners we researched. A good suction pool cleaner makes 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 walls 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 includes pool cleaners for both inground and above-ground pools.

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.

Best Overall

The Best Suction Pool Cleaners Option: Zodiac G3 Suction Pool Cleaner
Photo: amazon.com

For its simple and effective maintenance-free design, the Zodiac 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 when paired with less powerful pumps. A large 36-finned 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 ten 39-inch sections of high-quality hose.

Product Specs 

  • Pool type: Inground
  • Hose: 39 feet of ten 39-inch sections
  • Weight: 21 pounds

Pros

  • Maintains excellent suction even when attached to a low-speed pump
  • Pump hose sections are easy to customize to the size of the pool
  • Disk shape allows the pool cleaner to fit into tight corners

Cons

  • Some customers report the cleaner struggles to suck up larger debris

Get the Zodiac G3 suction pool cleaner at Amazon, In The Swim, or Leslie’s.

Best Bang For the Buck

The Best Suction Pool Cleaners Option: XtremePowerUS Premium Automatic Suction Pool Cleaner
Photo: amazon.com

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 gallons per hour (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 up to 544 square feet. 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.

Product Specs 

  • Pool type: Inground, above-ground
  • Hose: 30 feet of ten 3-foot sections
  • Weight: 10 pounds

Pros

  • Ten 3-foot hose sections make it easy to customize to various pool sizes
  • Works with a flow rate of just 1,600 GPH
  • Navigates around the pool floor and walls on its own
  • Seal clips for hose connections are included with kit

Cons

  • Some customers report that it struggles to suck up larger debris

Get the XtremePowerUS suction pool cleaner at Amazon, The Home Depot, Target, or Walmart.

Upgrade Pick

The Best Suction Pool Cleaners Option: Zodiac MX8 Suction Pool Cleaning Robot
Photo: amazon.com

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 has 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 39 feet of hose, giving it excellent range.

Product Specs 

  • Pool type: Inground
  • Hose: 39 feet
  • Weight: N/A

Pros

  • Design makes it capable of navigating tight angles and walls
  • Works with a variety of pool surfaces, including vinyl, tile, and fiberglass
  • Works with a low pump flow rate of just 1,200 GPH

Cons

  • Some customers complain that the MX8 misses spots, requiring follow-up cleaning

Get the Zodiac MX8 suction pool cleaner at Amazon, Leslie’s, or Walmart.

Best For Wall Climbing

The Best Suction Pool Cleaners Option: Hayward ThePoolCleaner 4-Wheel Suction Pool Cleaner
Photo: amazon.com

The Hayward ThePoolCleaner features a set of four wheels that are capable of crawling up the walls of a variety of pool shapes and surfaces, including granite, tile, vinyl, and fiberglass, in pools that are more than 5 feet deep. Thanks to Hayward’s special tire treads, this pool cleaner can grip all of these surfaces, and its hose length is a versatile 48 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 Hayward pool cleaner maintains excellent suction power as it moves across the pool’s various surfaces.

Product Specs 

  • Pool type: Inground (more than 5 feet deep)
  • Hose: 40 feet
  • Weight: 19 pounds

Pros

  • Compatible with a variety of pool surfaces including granite, tile, and vinyl
  • 4-wheel design gives this pool robot excellent pool wall-climbing abilities
  • Handles bigger debris such as large leaves and twigs with ease

Cons

  • Requires a larger 2,100-GPH pump to function properly

Get the Hayward ThePoolCleaner suction pool cleaner at Amazon, Leslie’s, or Walmart.

Best For Above-Ground

The Best Suction Pool Cleaners Option: Zodiac Ranger Suction Side Above-Ground Pool Cleaner
Photo: amazon.com

The simple design of this above-ground suction pool cleaner from Zodiac 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.

Product Specs 

  • Pool type: Above-ground
  • Hose: 32 feet
  • Weight: 15 pounds

Pros

  • Design prevents it from getting stuck on ladders and steps
  • Fewer moving parts helps make it more durable than others and easy to maintain
  • Disk shape makes it capable of navigating both floors and walls

Cons

  • Customers report that cleaner can get clogged by larger debris

Get the Zodiac Ranger suction pool cleaner at Amazon or Walmart.

Best For Inground

The Best Suction Pool Cleaners Option: Pentair Kreepy Krauly Suction-Side Pool Cleaner
Photo: amazon.com

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 and around pool stairs.

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 hose, it’s suitable even for larger inground pools.

Product Specs 

  • Pool type: Inground
  • Hose: 40 feet
  • Weight: 15 pounds

Pros

  • Roller straps allow it to work around ladders and stairs
  • Long 40-foot hose provides plenty of range for larger pools
  • Efficient wing design helps to channel debris into the head

Cons

  • Some customers report that it doesn’t hold up as long as other suction pool cleaners

Get the Pentair suction pool cleaner at Amazon, The Pool Supplies Super Store, or Poolzoom.

Best Brush

The Best Suction Pool Cleaners Option: Poolmaster Air Relief Vinyl Liner Vacuum
Photo: amazon.com

This Poolmaster pool vacuum does double-duty with a head that combines a vacuum with a pool scrubbing brush. This design allows it to remove algae and debris from the pool walls and floor while simultaneously sucking it into the pool filter. There are two air-relief valves that relieve suction pressure between the pool walls, making it safe to use with vinyl pools.

With a pool head that’s about 13 inches wide, the Poolmaster Air Relief can cover a lot of surface area. There’s also a hose attachment that swivels with the hose attached, helping to prevent annoying hose kinks, and a weighted head makes it easier to control. The Poolmaster Air Relief is compatible with both 1.25-inch and 1.5-inch vacuum hoses and standard pool poles, but it does not come with either.

Product Specs 

  • Pool type: Inground, above-ground
  • Hose: Hose not included
  • Weight: 5.5 pounds

Pros

  • Weighted head makes pool vacuum easier to maneuver around the pool
  • Combination brush and vacuum scrubs surfaces and sucks up debris simultaneously
  • Broad 13-inch-wide head allows you to cover a lot of ground quickly

Cons

  • Cleaner does not come with hoses or a pool pole

Get the Poolmaster suction pool cleaner at Amazon or Online Pool Shop.

Best Cordless

The Best Suction Pool Cleaners Option: Pool Blaster Max Li Cordless Pool & Spa Vacuum
Photo: amazon.com

Those tired of wrestling with a hose on pool-cleaning day may want to consider this cordless option from Pool Blaster. Unlike standard suction side cleaners that use the pool’s pump and filtration system via a long hose, the Pool Blaster uses its own power supply to work entirely on its own. The design not only makes it easier to wield this vacuum, but it also takes pressure off the pool’s filtration system.

This cordless vacuum sucks debris into a large removable filter bag that can collect everything from fine dirt to twigs and leaves. It connects to a standard pool pole, which isn’t included, and is compatible with all types of pool surfaces. Its rechargeable battery lasts up to an hour, which is just enough time to clean a good-size pool, and recharges in just 4 hours.

Product Specs 

  • Pool type: Inground, above-ground
  • Hose: N/A
  • Weight: 5.05 pounds

Pros

  • Takes pressure off the pool pump and filter since it doesn’t use either
  • Uses large internal filter bag to collect both fine and large debris
  • Runs up to 1 hour on a rechargeable lithium-ion battery

Cons

  • Some customers complain that it’s not made of durable materials

Get the Pool Blaster suction pool cleaner at Amazon, InTheSwim, or Walmart.

Best Robot

The Best Suction Pool Cleaners Option: Zodiac MX6 Advanced Suction Mechanical Pool Cleaner
Photo: amazon.com

There are many suction side robot cleaners that automate the process of vacuuming a pool. What sets this one apart is its ability to scale walls even when the flow of pool water from the pump is low. With its cyclonic suction system, this robotic pool cleaner doesn’t require high water pressure to scrub algae and other debris off surfaces or to climb walls, making it compatible with two-speed and variable-speed pumps.

A cyclonic suction system scrubs algae and other debris off the walls while also allowing the robot to stick to the walls while climbing. Other notable features include quick-connect hoses that make it easy to attach and detach the robot and a built-in flow-control valve that regulates water flow to prevent damage to the robot.

Product Specs 

  • Pool type: Inground, above-ground
  • Hose: 30 feet
  • Weight: 18.17 pounds

Pros

  • Works with low water pressure, making it suitable for 2-speed and variable-speed pumps
  • Cyclonic suction system scrubs debris and allows robot to ascend walls
  • Quick-connect hoses make the MX6 easy to set up and take down

Cons

  • Some customers complain that the included hose isn’t long enough
  • Not for pools that are deeper than 6 feet

Get the Zodiac MX6 suction pool cleaner at Amazon, Leslie’s, or Walmart.

Also Consider

The Best Suction Pool Cleaners Option: Hayward AquaNaut 400 Automatic Suction Pool Cleaner
Photo: amazon.com

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, this automatic pool cleaner 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 40 feet long by 20 feet wide.

Product Specs 

  • Pool type: Inground
  • Hose: 40 feet
  • Weight: 21.2 pounds

Pros

  • 4 wheels allow it to maneuver and climb walls more easily
  • Works with a variety of pool surfaces, including vinyl, fiberglass, and tile
  • Long 40-foot hose makes this cleaner compatible with large pools

Cons

  • Some customers report that it struggles to climb walls if not properly weighted

Get the Hayward AquaNaut 400 suction pool cleaner at Amazon, Leslie’s, or Walmart.

Jump to Our Top Picks



What to Consider When Choosing a 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 Strength

Suction pool cleaners work by using the power of the pool pump to suck up debris and propel themselves 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 GPH to 2,200 GPH.

Hoses

Suction pool cleaners may not have a power cord, but they are tethered to 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, you’ll 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 it may not be capable of climbing the pool wall.

The pool cleaner can even damage the pool surface if it’s not compatible, so it’s important to select a suction pool cleaner that is compatible with the pool surface.

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. There are models that also come with integrated scrubbing brushes to help remove residue.

Pool Size

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.

Tips for Suction Pool Cleaner Use and Maintenance

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 a pool cleaner from being able to climb.

To get the most out of a pool cleaner, control algae growth by making sure the 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.

FAQs

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 offseason, 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.

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