Having a pool is great. Being able to refresh yourself on a hot day is simply amazing. However, it is important to keep your pool clean, which can be tricky, especially if you are new to pool care. A clean pool will ensure you actually enjoy your pool to the fullest and also ensure your household’s health and wellbeing throughout the pool season. Luckily, we have created this detailed article that will provide you with all the information you need regarding vacuuming above ground pool.
We will start by present you with the most common types of above-ground pool vacuum cleaners, which include suction, robotic, and pressure ones. Then we will go over how to set up a vacuum. We will continue by covering what you’ll need to vacuum your swimming pool and have a look at detailed instructions on how to vacuum an above ground pool.
As we move on, we will present you with the 5 best above-ground pool vacuum cleaners reviews, which will help you decide what kind of vacuum cleaner you should consider buying. We will also cover the benefits of having an above-ground pool cleaner and dig deeper into an above-ground pool vacuum cleaner buyer’s guide.
We will wrap things up by answering some of the most frequently asked questions to assist you even further. So, are you ready to learn about vacuuming above-ground pool? Let’s dig in, shall we?
Types Of Above-Ground Pool Vacuum Cleaner
When it comes to in-ground or above –ground pool vacuum cleaners, you have several options to consider. There are three types of automatic cleaners: suction-side pool vacuum cleaners, pressure-side pool vacuum cleaners, and robotic pool vacuum cleaners (which can be cabled or battery-based), and the most common option of manual pool vacuum cleaners – the suction pool vacuum cleaners (also known as classic hand pool vacuum cleaners).
Below we will take a closer look at each of these options, which will provide you with a deeper understanding and will enable you to easily follow along as we move on to the next section.
1. Automatic Pool Vacuum Cleaners
Suction-Side Pool Cleaners
Suction-side pool vacuum cleaners are an automatic version of classic manual suction vacuums that enable you to automatize your pool cleaning.
The hook-up process for suction-side cleaners is the same as for the manual vacuuming above ground pool process (which we will cover in detail in the following section). This type of cleaner attaches to your pool filter to create suction.
The main difference (and potentially a benefit) is that they are able to move around the bottom of your pool by themselves. This means that you don’t have to stand there and move the suction head around to get the job done. Instead, you can attend to some other tasks or simply relax meanwhile.
However, we must recommend you to consider the other two automatic vacuum cleaner options presented below. The reason behind this recommendation lies in the fact that pressure-side or robotic cleaner offers better performance, though they cost slightly more.
The suction-side pool vacuum cleaners are the most inexpensive option and as such a go-to option if you’re on a tight budget. We recommend them for pools with only dirt and debris problems. However, you will get better results with a manual vacuum suction cleaner.
Pressure-Side Pool Cleaners
As the name suggests, the pressure-side pool vacuum cleaners hook up to the pool’s return line. As such, they use the water pressure from your filter system, which powers them around the bottom of your pool to pick up debris into a filter bag. Yes, they come with a filter bag, which means that you do not need to hook them up with your pool’s filtration system.
There are both upsides and downsides to that. The obvious upside is the fact that the setup is much simpler, the most obvious downside is the fact that you will need to empty the filter bag. However, they do reduce wear and tear on your pool’s filter by collecting their own debris, which is another upside.
This type of vacuuming above-ground pool is a solid automatic choice, however, the device runs around the floor and walls of the pool randomly, which means that the results may not be as good as you’d like or it may take a long time to get the pool cleaned.
Robotic Pool Cleaners
The robotic pool vacuum cleaners are the best automatic pool vacuum cleaners. They are completely independent cleaners that vacuum your pool using electricity. You plug them in, drop them in your pool, and let them do all the hard work on their own. There are even some options that use a battery (so there is no cord, however, they tend to be less powerful).
All you have to do when using a robotic pool cleaner is to empty the built-in filter bag when they get full of debris (which is similar to the pressure-side vacuums). Robotic pool vacuum cleaners are by far the best automatic pool cleaners on the market. They offer the highest level of simplicity and performance. Though they can be quite pricy, as such, they are not for everyone.
A robotic cleaner doesn’t require attachment to your pool’s pump, which eliminates all the setup complications. As such, it is the quickest pool cleaning option. Though, you can manually get the same results.
Robotic cleaners are recommended especially for larger pools or for pools with hard-to-reach areas but they can also be used with smaller above-ground pools.
The best robotic pool vacuum cleaners can even climb up the wall, which means they clean the algae off the wall as well. Furthermore, some models enable you to map the pool through the software for the best results in the shortest possible time.
As mentioned above, the main downside of the robotic pool cleaners is their high price. However, if you can afford one, it is worth the investment.
2. Classic Manual Pool Cleaners – The Suction Pool Vacuum Cleaners
The suction vacuum cleaner is still the most common pool vacuum for above-ground pools. This is a manual way to clean a pool. It is technically the most advanced and requires some basic knowledge and getting used to, however, it is not too difficult.
The suction pool vacuum cleaners use human hands to be moved around across the bottom of the pool and use the pool’s pump and filter system to suck the water and with it the debris, algae, and dirt.
Since the above-ground pools are normally not too huge, people tend to manage the vacuuming manually. Moreover, the manual way tends to be fast (though you have to be present and perform the work unless you have a pool boy) and efficient as additional force can be applied via a rod, which ensures that the vacuum head’s bristles give the pool’s bottom a good scrub.
We will cover the vacuuming above-ground pool with the suction pool vacuum in details in the upcoming section.
3. Garden Hose Vacuums
By now you know that traditional pool vacuums hook up to the pool filter system, which then sucks leaves and other debris off the floor of the pool. However, there are many small above-ground pools that do not have a filter system. For those, you can use robotic options or garden hose vacuums, which is an affordable option. These types of pool vacuums feature large vacuum bags, and they connect to your garden hose to create the vacuum suction.
The garden hose vacuums are not quite as efficient as other types of pool vacuums, though can be a good option for the pools without the filter system or may serve as an alternative vacuuming method.
How Do I Setup My Vacuum?
Now that we’ve covered all of the pool vacuum cleaners, we need to cover all the details regarding how to set things up.
If you’ve read the previous section, you know that a manual suction vacuum is the most common option and at the same time the trickiest to set up. Thus, it makes sense to devote our attention to this type of vacuuming above-ground pool. Once you will know how to manage this type of pool vacuums, you will easily handle all other types.
What’s Needed to Vacuum Your Above Ground Pool Manually?
Before we move on to the exact steps regarding vacuuming above-ground pool using a suction vacuum, let’s list the item/parts of the suction vacuum that you need to get the job done properly.
We will assume that you have a pool with a filtration system, which means that you have a pump and at least one type of filter (sand filter, cartridge filter, or other types of filter).
Here are the items needed for suction vacuuming above-ground pool:
- A vacuum head – this is a part of the vacuum that enables you to attach the hose and the pole to it. It also contains the brushes or the wheels. It is important to choose the vacuum head accordingly to your pool type. For vinyl liner pools, vacuum heads with brushes should be your choice, while for concrete or tile-lined pools, you should go with a vacuum head with wheels. Most above-ground pools are vinyl-lined.
- A vacuum hose – you need a hose that fits your skimmer fitter. There are standard radius pool hoses that fit most skimmer fitters. A hose must be flexible, yet sturdy enough so it does not fold easily. Also, make sure you have a hose that is long enough to enable you to clean every inch of your pool floor. It should be slightly longer than the distance between the skimmer and the most distant part of your pool floor (to cover the depth of the pool).
- Skimmer fitters/vacuum plate – in most cases you will use an elbow skimmer fitter that will enable you to attach the vacuum hose to the skimmer. Make sure that the skimmer fitter fits your hose diameter and your skimmer properly and that it enables you easy fitting.
- Vacuum pole – unless you have a super small pool, we recommend you get a telescopic pole that will enable you to reach the majority of your pool’s floor without moving around too much. The minimum length of the pole should enable you to reach the center of the pool. That way you can cover the entire floor surface if you move around the pool.
Steps To Set Up The Suction Pool Vacuum Cleaner
Now that you have all the necessary parts to set up the suction pool vacuum cleaner, we can take a closer look at the exact steps that you need to take to start the vacuuming process.
Note: The exact steps in your particular case may vary slightly depending on the exact type and setting of your pool and pool filtration system.
Here are the steps:
- Ensure the pump and filter are running.
- Attach the vacuum head to the open end of the telescopic pole.
- Attach one end of the hose to the vacuum head. In case the hose is slippery, use a hose clamp to keep it in place.
- Place the vacuum head, telescopic pole (the part attached to the vac head), and hose in the pool. Make sure the vacuum head rests on the pool floor.
- If you have a special valve arrangement set in place, make sure the vacuum inlet is the only line open to the pump. If not, particles and debris will also be sucked in by the pump, be blown into the pool, and undo all your hard work. The point is to suck the water using the vacuum head through your pool’s filtration system.
- Once all the bubbles are out, attach the vacuum plate to the end of the hose you’d previously placed against the return jet, block the opening with your hand (or keep it under the water surface), and bring it over to the skimmer. It is very important not to let air enter the hose so that the suction will be established.
- In case you’re not using a vacuum plate, make sure to remove the basket from within the skimmer. Then, using your hand, block the end of the water-filled hose and place the hose into the skimmer, making sure it’s firmly inserted into the suction hole at the bottom of the skimmer. We highly recommend using a vacuum plate/skimmer fitter to make this part a lot easier.
This is it. If the above steps have been done properly, the suction has been established and you have a working suction pool vacuum ready to go.
In order to get the best results and the cleanest pool in the fastest time, it is important to follow certain guidelines. Move on to the next section, where you will learn steps for vacuuming the above-ground pool.
How To Vacuum An Above Ground Pool
Before you can start the vacuuming above ground pool, you need to set things up properly. We have covered details for the manual suction vacuums above as it is the most technically advanced option, yet still relatively simple, right?
The setup for the suction-side automatic cleaners is the same as for the manual one. The setup for the pressure side it much simpler, not to even mention the simplicity of the robotic vacuums.
Since automatic pool vacuum cleaners do not give you much choice (you place them in the pool and let them do their thing) we need to focus on the manual suction vacuum use.
Following the guidelines below, you’ll ensure to get the best possible results.
Note: Even if you are using automatic vacuum systems, it is smart to know how to do it manually. That way you can get things done if any of the automatic options fail. Moreover, it is recommendable to vacuum your pool manually every once in a while.
- Start by removing large debris from the surface – The majority of debris will tank to the bottom of the pool in 2-4 hours. As such, it makes no sense to vacuum the floor and leave debris on the surface. So use your skimmer or a simple fine net to clean the surface. You can do this fast and efficiently by hand. Covering up the pool can help a lot as it prevents most of the debris to enter the pool. So, if you have a chance to cover your pool, we recommend you to do so.
- Set up the vacuum – Follow the steps in the previous section. In the case of automatic pool vacuums, simply place them into the pool.
- Vacuum the bottom – Patience and thoroughness are extremely important when you vacuum the bottom of the pool. You must never go too quickly, otherwise, you will disturb the sediment at the bottom of the pool, which will create billows of debris in the water that the vacuum won’t be able to pick up. Then you will need to wait for the debris to settle down. So go gently and start at the center where the most debris usually is. Then have a pattern that you follow to work your way towards the edge, covering every inch along the way.
- Vacuum the wall – You don’t have to do that every time, however, we highly recommend you to do that every now and then to scrub off any potential algae and prevent any accumulation of algae in the future.
- After you vacuum – Once you have finished vacuuming above-ground pool you need to disassemble your vacuum (in case of manual suction vac), drain any remaining water from the hose. Then empty out the strainer basket from your pump and backwash the filter (if applicable for your pool system). Test the pH levels and other parameters of your water and add the necessary chemistry to maintain the best water conditions.
5 Best Above-Ground Pool Vacuum Cleaners Reviews
So, when it comes to manual suction vacuums, things are not complicated. It is important to get a quality vacuum head suitable for your pool’s surface and the one that will enable you to cover the edges well.
When it comes to automatic options, things get interesting. As such, we will focus on vacuuming above ground pool automatic option herein.
1. Dolphin Escape Robotic Pool Vacuum Cleaner – Best Choice
- SmartNav 2.0 robotic scanning
- Hyperbrush active scrubbing brush
- Hypergrip continuous tracks
- Great, modern design
Description: The Dolphin Escape Robotic Pool Vacuum Cleaner is the best overall option for those that have sufficient funds. It is able to clean up all sizes of debris and operates based on an automated cleaning methodology. It also features a sporty and modern design.
One of the key factors of this cleaner is its ability to suck debris of all sizes. It is also equipped with continuous rubber tracks, which ensures there is no more slipping or wasted energy.
The Dolphin Escape Robotic Pool Vacuum Cleaner comes with smart navigation and scanning software to ensure highly efficient cleaning by sensing walls, ladders and drains. This means that this product can provide non-stop cleaning.
Moreover, this above-ground pool vacuum cleaner also features the Hyperbrush Dual Scrubbing Brushes to properly remove difficult contaminants.
- Type: Robotic
- Power source: Electric
- Warranty: 1 year
- Usage: Up to 50ft, Gunite/Plaster, Vinyl, Fiberglass
- Brand: Dolphin
- Modern design
- Built-in robotic scanning system
- Navigation technology
- Strong scrubbing system
- Shuts down on a shorter timeframe
- Mapping system could be more efficient
2. Pentair E-Z Suction-Side Pool Vacuum – Best Budget
Main features :
- Real random pattern coverage
- Free skimming valve
- Top-notch hydraulic design
- Single operational moving part for hassle-free operation
Description : We have mentioned above that suction-side pool vacuums are a great automatic option for those looking for a budget-friendly solution. The Pentair E-Z operates using a powerful hydraulic design.
It comes in white and blue to match most pools. This suction-side pool vacuum enables thorough cleaning of the above-ground pool. It is built to last and eliminates the need to replace the parts.
It features a relatively simple design that enables cleaning by simply pressing the paddle. A skimming valve is also provided with this cleaner. The Pentair E-Z automatically speeds up the cleaning, as regulates the water flow for best performance.
- Type: Suction-side pool vacuum
- Power source: Filter pump
- Warranty: 1 year
- Usage: Above-ground pool
- Brand: Pentair
- Hydraulic design
- No maintenance required
- Consistent cleaning
- Not suitable for rectangular pools
- Chord tends to get stuck
3. OT Qomotop Robotic Pool Cleaner
Main features :
- Battery operation (truly cordless)
- 2-year warranty
- Water sensors
- 3 modes of operations
- Dual motor
- Four scrubbing brushes
Description : The OT Qomotop Robotic Pool Cleaner is an ideal vacuum pool cleaner for the above-ground pool. It features a modern design that enables it to reach all edges. It also has a great suction rating.
The OT Qomotop Robotic Pool Cleaner is highly efficient thanks to its dual-motor, four scrubbing brushes, and two advanced filtration baskets. It lets you choose between 3 operational modes; i1 hour, 2 hours, and 3-hour mode, respectively. It is not too heavy as it weighs only 22 pounds, which makes it easily portable.
This robotic pool vacuum is able of removing almost all types of heavy dirt and even hardened debris. It uses a 5000 mAh powerful lithium battery, which is fully charged in just 5 to 6 hours and can operate for 90 minutes continuously when fully charged.
It incorporates a waterproof standard (IPX4) to keep its charging port safe from water. The handle is floatable, which enables you to easily and quickly remove it at the end of the pool work.
- Weight: 22lbs
- Battery capacity: 5000 mAh powerful lithium battery (up to 90 min per single charge)
- IPX-4 waterproof technology
- Type: Robotic
- Power source: Battery
- Warranty: 2 years
- Brand: Qomotop
- Four scrubbing brushes
- Dual motor
- 2 filtration baskets
- 3 cleaning modes
- Rechargeable cordless pool vacuum (battery suitable for 90 minutes cleaning service)
- IPX-4 waterproof technology
- Built-in water sensor
- Auto Power Detection Rocking Tech
- Lightweight vacuum cleaner
- 24 months warranty
- Lacks swivel cord technology
4. Poolvergnuegen Hayward Above-Ground Pool Vacuum
- Multiple pre-programmed internal steering sequences available
- Patented adjustable roller skirt, tire treads
- Powerful self-adjusting turbine blades
- 2-wheel drive
Descriptions: Poolvergnuegen Hayward is an automatic pool cleaner with a patented tire thread. It may be used to clean various pool types, including above ground pools. It is capable of griping the pool floor properly and collect the debris efficiently with its turbine vanes.
Moreover, the turbine vanes can be adjusted while cleaning based on its patent technology. It also has a patent skirting that helps in enhancing the suction capability, which provides better results.
The cleaner is capable of navigating and cleaning all shapes and sizes of pools.
- Type: Automatic
- Power source: Existing pool pump
- Warranty: 1 year
- Usage: For all pool surfaces and shapes (tile, vinyl, and fiberglass)
- Brand: Poolvergnuegen
- An automatic vacuum pool cleaner
- Self-adjusting vanes
- Patented technology
- Removes all size of debris
- Various steering sequences
- Costly replacement parts
5. VIVOHOME Automatic Above-Ground Pool Cleaner
- Comes with flexible pipes
- Offers adjustable water flow
- Made of durable materials
- Easy installation and maintenance
Descriptions : The VIVOHOME Automatic Above-Ground Pool Cleaner offers great performance at a relatively affordable price. It is a suction-side automated pool cleaner and a great choice for a variety of above-ground pools. This pool vacuum cleaner works on a float-directional system.
It incorporates special round bottom attachments that reach the bottom parts of the wall and thus prevent algae accumulation. It also packs wings that help in the cleaning process as they collect the dirt and leaves very effectively.
The VIVOHOME is one of the best pool cleaners that clean both the walls and floors efficiently. It also has a roller strap that guides the cleaner around the obstacles, such as ladders or steps, which is something that only rare pool vacuum cleaner models feature.
- Type: Suction-side
- Power source: At least 0.5HP water pump required
- Warranty: 6 months
- Usage: In-ground, above-ground pools
- Brand: Vivohome
- Included accessories: 32.8 feet hose
- Easy maintenance
- Only one moving part
- Highly efficient cleaning process
- Automatic movement and cleaning
- Float directional system
- Expensive for its type
- Could be faster
Benefits of Having an Above Ground Pool Cleaner
We will start by saying that there may be people who do not use any type of pool vacuum cleaners but we would not go bathing in their pool. That said, we honestly believe that a pool vacuum cleaner is an essential piece of equipment for every pool owner.
The only way you can skip owning a pool vacuum cleaner if you have a pool is to use pool cleaning services by professionals who come with their tools.
All the benefits of having an above-ground pool cleaner boil down to having cleaner water. Cleaner water means that you will get to enjoy your pool way more and that you will more easily maintain your pool’s chemistry and thus ensure that the water is suitable for your loved ones.
That should be more than enough to convince you to get a pool vacuum and start regularly vacuuming your above-ground pool.
How to Select the Best Above-Ground Pool Vacuum Cleaner?
The information provided thus far alone should be sufficient to help you select a proper above-ground pool vacuum cleaner. However, to assist you even further, we decided to provide you with a detailed buyer’s guide that follows below.
Ease Of Operating
If you want maximum simplicity, make sure to account for that. Robotic cleaners require at least preparation, though some models come with advanced mapping options that can be confusing. For maximum simplicity, stick to the basic options of operation.
Shape and Size of the Pool
Always check what pool shapes and sizes are suitable for a specific pool vac. Even if using manual suction models, you need to get a proper vac head to ensure the best results. Before purchasing, make sure to know your pool’s dimensions, edges (floor-wall) transition, pool material, and more to make the best purchase.
Pool Vacuum Cleaner Weight
Especially robotic pool cleaners tend to get heavy. Make sure to consider this characteristic at the time of purchase. You want to be able to manipulate and carry around the vacuum with ease and avoid risking injuring your back.
If you are looking for pool vacuums that won’t consume additional power, you need to stick with options that use the pool’s filtration and pump system. This means that you stay away from robotic vacs. However, even robotic pool vacuum cleaners have various power consumption. Since we all need to be as environmentally conscious as possible, aim to go with models that are not consuming too much power.
If you have a good pool filtration set in place, it makes sense to use vacuums that will take advantage of that. Though, keep in mind that using a vacuum cleaner puts additional stress and strain on your pool filtration system. Moreover, if you decide to go with a robotic or pressure-side pool vacuum cleaners, you need to make sure their filtration systems are of good quality.
This applies especially to robotic pool vacs. If a pool cleaner has an efficient movement pattern, it will get the job done fast and efficiently. Thus, it is an important aspect to consider.
Brushes and Bristles
Brushes and bristles are also very important. You must consider this aspect in reference to your pool type (shape and surface material) to ensure that the most efficient cleaning is performed and that no damage is inflicted upon your pool.
Warranty & Price
If you are on a tight budget, we recommend getting a manual vacuum as it will enable you to get the best results. However, if you can afford a quality robotic cleaner, by all means, go for it. Since durability plays an important role in the price, we recommend you to avoid purchasing the cheapest low-quality options as they will not last long.
As far as the warranty is concerned, aim to get a 1-year warranty, which is quite standard for robotic pool vacuums. For mechanical options, you might get 1 year or 6 months, especially on vac’s head.
Frequently Asked Questions ( FAQs )
Which Pool Vacuuming Process Is Better?
Each type of pool vacuum has its advantages. Overall, robotic vacs offer the best solution for those who can afford them.
Why do I need to vacuum my pool if I have a robotic pool cleaner?
If you have a high-quality robotic vacuum cleaner, you do not need to vacuum your pool manual. However, if your robotic cleaner does not vacuum walls, we highly recommend doing so about once per week with your manual suction pool vacuum.
How difficult is the installation process?
The installation process is not all that difficult. The manual pool vacuums are technically the most demanding ones, yet they offer simple steps to complete the process with ease. See the ‘How do I set up my vacuum?’ section above.
Can pool vacuuming remove algae from a swimming pool?
Yes. Proper vacuuming (floor & walls) can efficiently remove the algae. However, only in combination with proper pool chemistry. Pool vacuums are mainly used to remove debris and thus help prevent algae to appear.
What is the lifespan of the above ground pool vacuum cleaner?
It depends on the brands and your luck. High-quality options can easily last 5 years or more (if stored properly and not exposed to UV light constantly). If you rinse the vacuum with fresh water to remove the chlorine, you can further prolong the life span.
How long should I run my above ground pool pump?
If you want to be energy consumption conscious, then make sure to run it for less than 8 hours per day. You can maintain clean water with less. However, there are still many who let their pumps run non-stop.
Should you vacuum pool before shocking?
Yes. It is best to vacuum your pool before shocking it.
Why it’s worth investing in an automatic cleaner?
Unless you have a pool cover, vacuuming a pool is a daily task that can be time-consuming. Having an automatic cleaner can save you this precious time. So if you value your time and can afford an automatic cleaner, it sure makes sense to go for it.
At this point, you are a semi-expert on vacuuming the above ground pool. You know what types of pool vacs are available on the market and what are their main advantages and disadvantages.
Furthermore, you know what it takes to set up a pool vacuum and how to vacuuming your above ground pool properly. In addition, you’ve been presented with the 5 best automatic pool vacuum cleaners, which means that you can simply go out and buy one of those models.
If you want to explore further, you’ve been equipped with a detailed buyer’s guide that will help you devote your attention to the important aspect.
Keep your pool clean and enjoy as much as possible!