Looking for a suction-side pool cleaner for an above-ground or in-ground pool?
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A suction pool cleaner works in conjunction with your pool pump and filters to remove leaves, sand, and other debris from your pool.
Suction-side pool cleaners are more affordable than most pressure-side cleaners and robotic pool cleaners, but often require manual oversight.
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What’s in This Buying Guide
Table of Contents
This in-depth buying guide reviews & recommends the best suction pool cleaners for a range of common situations, pool types and budget.
We discuss the advantages of using a suction pool cleaner, as well as tips on how to choose the best suction cleaner for your pool.
NOTE: If you are interested in other types of pool cleaners, check out our guide to the best automatic pool cleaners.
What’s a suction-side pool cleaner?
There are three types of pool cleaners available: pressure-side, robotic and suction-side.
Use pressure-side cleaners to connect to your pool’s inlet port and use the pressure to force the water back to move. The filter bag for pressure cleaners is included.
Connect to your pool’s outlet or skimmer port with suction-side cleaners . To move the pool, they use the force of the water being sucked to clean it. Your pool filter is also important in getting rid of any debris.
The cheapest type is a suction pool cleaner. This cleaner is great for cleaning up small debris like leaves or fine sand.
A suction pool cleaner has a number of advantages, including the fact that it is less expensive. You don’t need to buy extra parts.
Best Suction Pool Cleaners
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Hayward’s automatic suction cleaner comes in two versions: the 2x and the 4x. The 2x Hayward automatic suction cleaner is available in two versions: the 2x and 4x.
The 2X Hayward cleaner will work well for small and medium-sized swimming pools. The pool filter can climb walls and move as long as it is properly adjusted and kept clean.
The Hayward suction cleaning cleaner has a hose length of 33 feet. This is ideal for pools that are up to 32 feet in length. The 4x cleaner is recommended for larger pools. This cleaner can clean pools up to 40 feet long.
The treads on the Hayward cleaner’s tires are deep and grip the pool. These tires allow the cleaner to drive effortlessly over drains and other obstacles. They allow the cleaner to climb walls without falling.
The cleaner is automatically turned in pre-programmed sequences by an automatic steering system. This makes sure that the cleaner covers all of the pool.
The Hayward suction pool cleaning machine works with all pool pumps, even smaller A 1/2 HP models with a flow rate below 35GPM. The cleaner’s self-adjusting turbine vanes can generate high suction power even at low water flows.
Variable speed pumps allow you to set the speed lower (which will reduce energy consumption) while still getting clean.
Limitations & Issues
The Hayward Cleaner is similar to other suction pool cleaners in that it struggles with large debris. The cleaner either refuses to pick up the debris or gets stuck when trying to pick it. Before you drop the cleaner in, we recommend that you skim your pool for a while.
The Hayward cleaner does not have scrubbing brushes. You need to manually brush your pool if it has algae or stuck-on grime before you can use the Hayward suction cleaner.
Hayward’s suction cleaner is an excellent choice for pool owners with small to medium pools. It is easy to install and requires very little maintenance.
Wanda the Whale uses the SmartDrive steering system to clean the majority of her above-ground pool. You’ll notice it makes predictable turns every few meters if you keep it watching. This is how the steering system works.
The Wanda pool cleaner vacuums debris and improves water circulation. It moves water from the bottom of the pool towards the top. This allows for better mixing and lowers the chance of algae growth.
Wanda isn’t as skilled as the Hayward cleaner on wheels, so it can sometimes get stuck on the ladder or drain. It eventually releases itself and resumes cleaning.
Wanda is very easy to set up. It has 32 feet of hose, so you can clean larger above-ground pools up to 30 feet wide.
Limitations & Issues
Wanda is slow. If you are looking for a cleaner that will quickly vacuum the pool before you jump in, this is not it.
It can take several hours to cover the pool.
Clogging occurs when the cleaner picks-up large debris, such as acorns. This is a common problem for pool owners. Before you place the cleaner in, make sure to remove any large debris from your pool.
Many customers also recommend installing a leaf canister. This canister picks up large debris, such as leaves, before it reaches your pool filter. It also saves you time cleaning the filter every day.
Wanda the Whale is slow, but she eventually succeeds. This makes it easier to maintain an above-ground pool and saves time.
The Vingli pool cleaner is surprisingly affordable. Customers who purchased it said it worked just as well as the BaracudaG3 cleaner.
The Vingli cleaner is similar to the Baracuda G3 in that it has only one moving part, the diaphragm. This cleaner lasts longer and needs less maintenance than cleaners with complex motors.
You attach the Vingli cleaner to your pool’s vacuum line. style=”font-weight: 400;”> This generates suction using the diaphragm. The large pad is great for agitating stuck debris. It can also collect dirt and take it to the pool filter.
A wheel deflector allows cleaners to maneuver easily around corners and over obstacles.
Vingli cleaners can reach most of your pool, including walls. To ensure it can climb walls, you might need to adjust your regulator valve.
The cleaner includes ten hoses that, when connected, are long enough to clean a large above-ground or in-ground pool. If the cleaner does not reach all corners of your pool, you can order additional hose lengths from the manufacturer.
Limitations & Issues
The one moving part of the Vingli cleaner requires regular maintenance. You’ll need to replace the diaphragm every few months.
The manufacturer sends you a replacement diaphragm quickly and free of charge.
If you like what other pool owners have to say about the Zodiac Baracuda but think it is too expensive, the Vingli cleaner is an excellent alternative for less than half the cost.
The Zodiac MX6 is a much more complex and efficient pool cleaner than the simple ones that can take hours to clean. It works more like an automated pool cleaner.
The cleaner’s most striking feature is its powerful vacuuming power due to the cyclonic suction.
This allows MX6 to quickly clean a pool.
Even with low flow pumps, the MX6 cleaner is very effective. The spinning disk’s turbines are engineered to produce suction even at low flow rates.
This is especially useful if your pump has a variable speed. The cleaner still functions great if you set it at a lower speed. However, this consumes less energy.
Intelligent navigation systems ensure that the cleaner can reach every corner of the pool. It can easily scale walls and drive over obstacles thanks to its deep tracks.
Setup, the Zodiac MX6, is simple. Hoses are easy to connect.
Shopping tip: The Zodiac MX8 is a powerful pool cleaner. Dual cyclonic action makes it pick up larger debris and cleans more quickly.
Limitations & Issues
Although the turbines under the cleaner are excellent for cleaning debris, they can clog easily. The turbines can become clogged if there are a lot of long pieces of debris in your pool, such as a palm frond.
The hoses are another problem. Many customers have complained that they don’t last very long. Many customers needed replacement hoses within a year.
Although it is a little more expensive than other suction pool cleaners, the Zodiac MX6 is well worth the price. It cleans faster and better.
Hayward cleaners have a 4-wheel system that gives them better mobility than other pool cleaners. It can easily climb pool walls and overcome obstacles with ease.
The Hayward cleaner is capable of cleaning larger in-ground pools that are up to 40 feet in length. It comes with pre-programmed steering patterns so it can reach every corner. Although it takes a while to clean the pool completely, you can rest assured that it will reach every spot.
The self-adjusting roller skirts on the Hayward 4x cleaner are one of its best features. These pools, which are either concrete or gunite and have a lower suction power.
The Hayward cleaner comes with roller skirts that automatically adjust to suit uneven surfaces. This allows the cleaner to maintain maximum suction and cleaning performance.
When the cleaner is trying to move over obstacles, the adjustable roller skirts are very handy. It retains strong suction and picks up all debris.
Limitations & Issues
This isn’t the right pool cleaner for you if you need a budget option. This cleaner is more affordable than some robotic pool cleaners.
Although the Hayward 4x pool cleaner can be expensive, we believe it is worth it, especially for large concrete pools.
We think that the Vingli pool cleaner is more cost-effective. If you are looking for a trusted brand, the Zodiac Baracuda G3 is the best choice. The disc and diaphragm will last longer than the others, which means you won’t have to replace them as often.
The Zodiac Baracuda G3’s ability to work with low flow pumps is its best attribute. The G3 works perfectly with 3/4HP or 1HP pumps without the need for a booster pump.
This works well if your pump is variable speed. To save energy, you can lower the RPM of your pump and still get the G3 cleaner to work.
Easy and inexpensive maintenance is possible because of the Zodiac Baracuda G3’s one-moving part design. You will never need to replace the disc pad, diaphragm, or hoses.
The parts are all well-made, and it won’t be long before you get new ones.
The Zodiac Baracuda G3 has great cleaning performance. It removes most of the pool debris and cleans up any murky pools.
Although it is unpredictable in its movements, eventually the cleaner covers the entire pool including the walls. The wheel deflector increases agility and prevents the cleaner from getting stuck.
Limitations & Issues
Zodiac Baracuda G3 suction cleaners are a little more expensive than others. We recommend the Vingli cleaner if you have a tight budget. It is the exact same design as the G3 and cleans just the same. However, it costs half of the price.
The Zodiac Baracuda G3 cannot handle large debris like acorns. Before you use the cleaner, remove them. It will stop moving and become clogged.
The Zodiac Baracuda G3 pool cleaner is among the most reliable. It cleans well and is very reliable.
The Baracuda G3 is a great option for those who are tired of spending hundreds of dollars cleaning out an expensive pool.
Kreepy Krauly is a combination of a simple, reliable design and excellent cleaning performance.
The suction power generated by the diaphragm combined with the pleated seal is strong enough to pick up all types of debris. To avoid blocking the cleaner, you still need to remove large pieces such as palm fronds, but Kreepy Krauly can handle all other debris, including leaves, sand, and bugs.
An automated valve makes sure the cleaner doesn’t move too fast or leave dirt behind. It will clean your pool wall, but it will take some time. It cleans the pool’s floor, walls, and waterline.
Although it does sometimes have trouble with ladders and steps, it is not prone to get stuck.
Kreepy Krauly’s “one-moving part” design means that it lasts for many years with little maintenance. You just need to replace the pad or diaphragm every few years, and it will be as good as new.
Limitations & Issues
You may not have properly adjusted your Kreepy Krauly if it doesn’t climb walls or moves too slow/fast.
Kreepy Krauly cleaners can’t be used straight out of the package. To ensure that the valve can climb the wall at the correct speed, you need to adjust it. These will most likely require multiple adjustments until it works.
Although robotic cleaners are great, they are also costly and difficult to maintain. Although it takes longer to clean your pool, the Pentair Kreepy Krauly cleans just as well and covers all areas that a robot cleaner would.
It is very affordable to run.
The XtremepowerUS pool cleaner is easy to use. It doesn’t take too much time to clean the steps and walls.
It covers the entire pool from the floor to the waterline. It also cleans the steps, but it will not manage the lower steps for some pools.
The XtremepowerUS cleaner mainly picks up small and medium-sized debris such as bugs and dust. However, you need to remove large leaves and other debris manually to prevent the cleaner from clogging.
The XtremepowerUS cleaner is similar to Vingli and Kreepy Krauly. It has a simple design, without any wheels or gears. This makes it more durable and reliable. This makes maintenance much easier and less expensive.
Limitations & Issues
The XtremepowerUS cleaner, like the Kreepy Krauly, is not ready for use out of the box. It needs adjustment several times until it works. Until it is dialed in, it will likely get stuck, not move fast enough, or it may fail to climb the walls.
We recommend the XtremepowerUS pool cleaner if you’re looking for a low-cost suction pool cleaner.
Benefits of Using a Suction Pool Cleaner
Pool cleaners that use suction are a time-saver.
The suction cleaner can pick up dirt and remove grime that would otherwise be missed by handheld pool cleaning tools. You not only save time but also have a cleaner pool.
A suction cleaner is not only for vacuuming dirt and debris but also distributes chemicals evenly and reduces algae growth.
A suction cleaner can do all of this without the need for a power connection, unlike a robot cleaner. A booster pump is not required for most pressure-side cleaners.
The big advantage is also cost. Suction pool cleaners are generally less expensive than pressure and robotic cleaners.
Pressure vs. Suction
The cheapest pool cleaner is generally the most affordable. The suction cleaner attaches to the outlet of your pool and uses your pool pump and filter for cleaning. The suction cleaners are used to remove fines and small particles like algae, bugs, silt, and sand. Large debris such as leaves is a problem for most people.
Pressure pool cleaners fall between suction cleaners and robotic cleaners in price (though there are a few models that will cost less than a robot cleaner).
Your pool pump will move the debris and remove it. Pressure cleaners attach to your pool’s return lines. Pressure cleaners, unlike suction cleaners, have a filter bag that holds debris.
Pressure cleaners don’t rely solely on vacuuming to clean the pool. To agitate dirt or algae, they may use accessories like a scrubber tail and brushes.
Robotic pool cleaners like Dolphin’s best-selling models generally cost more than suction and pressure cleaners. They do not rely on any pool system. A robotic cleaner includes its cartridge or filter bag, as well as a motor to provide suction power and move the robot around the pool.
Although it doesn’t require installation, you will need to connect the robot cleaner to a power source.
Robotic cleaners offer the best cleaning performance, as they can pick up large and small particles. They require more care and may not last as well as a suction cleaner.
How To Choose The Right Suction Pool Cleaner
These are some things to think about when selecting a suction pool cleaner.
- Check the minimum size of your pool pump and ensure it is adequate power. This will be indicated either in horsepower (HP) or flow rate (GPH/GPM). Most pool cleaners are able to work with low-flow pumps, so it shouldn’t be a problem finding one that works well.
- Pool size The length of the assembled hoses determines the size of the pool that a suction cleaner is able to clean. You can use the hose in any pool with a length of 31” to 32”. You can order more hose lengths for larger pools.
- Cleaner performance: Read customer reviews to find out how the cleaner handles different kinds of debris. Can the cleaner be used to remove leaves from trees that are near your pool? Can the cleaner vacuum any fine debris from your pool if it gets a lot of windblown sand? You should also check the pool coverage. You should look for a vacuum cleaner that can clean the floors and walls.
- Maintenance: We love ‘one-moving part’ suction cleaners. They are easy to clean and require little maintenance. They are also less expensive than vacuum cleaners with complicated designs.
How does a suction pool cleaner work?
To generate suction, vacuum cleaners depend on the force of the water being pulled out of the pool. This allows cleaners to move around and pick up debris.
Is it possible to leave a suction cleaner in the pool?
Most manufacturers recommend that you remove the cleaner before swimming or adding chemicals to your pool. It is also a good idea to remove cleaner when the pool is closed for winter.
Why Does My Suction Cleaner Not Work?
- It is blocked. Take out the cleaner and inspect the underside for leaves or other debris.
- Pool filters need cleaning. A pool cleaner that isn’t properly cleaned can produce less suction.
- You’ve not adjusted the suction cleaner properly. You need to adjust the valve on most suction cleaners to get the correct flow rate. Adjust the valve if your pool cleaner stops moving, doesn’t move, or moves too slow or fast, or doesn’t climb the wall. For more information, refer to the product manual.
I’m a degreed ME (mechanical engineer) who is passionate about machines of all kinds. I created MachineWonders.com as a way to connect with others who love machines like me – or need help choosing one for their needs, application, or situation.