Here are some of my top picks for the best above ground pool vacuum. These will help you to decide whether a robotic pool cleaner is best for you considering your preferences and your budget.
Intex Auto Pool Cleaner
- Requires a filter pump with a flow rate between 1,600 - 3,500gph
- Attaches to the inlet connector in the pool with a 24'7" hose
- For Intex above ground pools with 1-1/2" hose fittings
- Not suitable for in-ground pools
- Ensure the cleaner is set up properly and all air pockets are removed from the cleaner hose to have maximum performance. Please refer to user manual before use
This automatic above ground pool cleaner connects to your pool's filter pump and requires a flow rate of 1600 to 3500 gph to function. After the set-up process, the cleaner works independently to clean your pool and rid it of dirt and debris. This Intex above ground pool cleaner is a budget option and is available on Amazon for about $60. It can be purchased here:
Aquabot Pool Rover Above Ground Pool Cleaner
- Robotic pool cleaner designed for all pool shapes and surfaces up to 40-feet; ideal for above-ground pools
- Cleans pool floor, cove and partial wall with radius (minimum 6")
- Top access to filter media; filters 80-85 gallons per minute
- Includes 40' kink free, EZ swivel cable
- Sleek design allows for maximum maneuvering through the pool
The Aquabot Pool Rover pool cleaner is made for above ground pools and has some great benefits. It can filter between 80 and 85 gallons of water per minute and can cover about 40 feet of your pool's floor due to its generous 50-foot power cable. It can clean not only the pool floor but it can also clean partial pool walls as well. The long power cable does lend itself to tangles so supervision and manual untangling may be required. This automatic pool cleaner costs around $320 on Amazon and you can purchase here:
Pentair Kreepy Krauly Robotic Pool Cleaner
- Superior hydraulic design for optimum vacuuming power
- Only one operational moving part (the flapper) for long, dependable service; no wheels or gears to replace or service
- Free skimming valve automatically regulates water flow to assure proper cleaning speed and simultaneous skimming of surface debris while vacuuming
- True random pattern coverage makes sure every inch of pool floors are thoroughly vacuumed
This automatic pool cleaner has only one moving part and operates using hydraulics. This is admittedly not the best pool cleaner for large-sized above ground pools but it is great for a smaller above ground pool and lighter cleaning. While it requires the use of your pool pump and skimmer to function, this cleaner is a two-fold economic buy. The overall price of the cleaner is very affordable but the one moving part design also makes for infrequent repairs and removes the need for purchasing replacement parts. It can currently be found on Amazon at around $152 and can be purchased here:
Hayward 900 Wanda Above Ground Pool Vacuum
- Unique turbine/gearing system provides constant balanced water flow assuring quiet operation and gentle movement across the pool bottom
- Advanced, contoured head design allows the steering pattern to be completed in minimal time
- Installs in less than 10 minutes, without tools
- Deluxe bumper ring minimizes friction for easy movement away from walls and resumption of the programmed steering pattern
- 1 year warranty
This cute and efficient pool vacuum is fun to use and easy to manage. It is designed to be installed permanently into your pool's existing filtration system so while it is convenient for everyday use, it is a bit difficult to uninstall and store when you need to. Since it uses the pool's filtration system, this pool vacuum provides consistent cleanliness which contributes to the overall circulation of your pool, keeping it clean for longer. Priced at about $230 on Amazon, this adorable pool cleaner can be purchased here:
Hayward 100 Penguin Suction Above-Ground Pool Cleaner (Automatic Pool Vacuum)
- Smart Drive Steering System Provides fast and efficient pool coverage
- Three easily interchangeable color customization kits for the bow tie and eyes to personalize your own cleaner
- Use the pool filtration system, no tool required for easy installation and ease of use
- Three colors customization kits included. More fun with your pool new best friend !
- Improves water circulation by pulling water from the pool bottom as it moves
This is another adorable option among Hayward pool cleaners. However, though he may be cute, he is fierce. Its patented Smart-drive steering enables it to clean most pools in under two hours. Due to its constant movement in the water, circulation is improved as well. This pool cleaner is currently available on Amazon at $185 and you can purchase it here:
Zodiac Ranger Above-Ground Pool Vacuum
This robotic pool cleaner is great for above ground pools and it comes conveniently assembled and ready to use. It does not require additional plumbing due to its Flowkeeper valve and its disk diaphragm allows it to navigate around steps and ladders easily so it won't get stuck. It has only one moving part so its quiet function, convenience, and efficiency makes this one of the top picks for best above ground pool cleaners. The Zodiak Ranger is currently priced on Amazon at $140 and can be purchased here:
- Effectively cleans above-ground swimming pools (not recommended for Intex/soft-sided pools), including dished-out bottoms up to 72 inches.
- One moving part technology, eliminates annoying hammer or flapper noise; works quickly, effectively, and quietly.
- Unique Deflector Wheel helps prevent it from getting caught on steps, ladders and corners!
- Comes pre-assembled for easy installation and includes 32 feet of feed hose.
- AG Disc allows the Ranger to glide effortlessly along the bottom of your pool, up the sides and around steps, cleaning your whole pool.
Dolphin Escape Above Ground Robotic Pool Vacuum
- Delivers unmatched performance in an above-ground cleaner at an unthinkable cost.
- No messy bags! Large and in charge oversized debris cartridge holds up to 60% more debris
- Hypergrip Continuous Tracks - leaves wheels cleaners in its wake!
- Hyperbrush Dual Scrubbing Brushes scrubs away difficult to remove contaminants.
- SmartNav 2.0 Robotic Scanning. Only 14 lbs. Energy Efficient 24 Volt DC motors. One year warranty.
In 2019, the Dolphin Escape was rated the best above ground pool vacuum on the market. It has a patented scrubbing brush that boasts a speed two times as fast as competing brands and it has smart, high-tech computer-controlled navigation. Rubber tracks like a bulldozer allow it to keep firm contact with the pool's floor and it has a generously large cartridge for holding debris. This high-quality automatic pool vacuum is available on Amazon at around $660 and you can purchase it here:
How do you vacuum an above ground pool?
Dirt and debris certainly happen when you are a pool owner, especially during seasons of high use. Regularly vacuuming your above ground pool will ensure a great swimming experience as well as reduce how frequently you need to balance your pool chemicals. The traditional, or manual, method of using above ground pool vacuums is one that I will go over with you now to review the basics before we get into the automated cleaning options.
For a manual vacuum, you will need a few items. You will need a vacuum head, a vacuum hose, a telescopic pole, and a skimmer plate. Attach the swiveling end of the vacuum hose to the vacuum head and the other end of the hose to the skimmer plate. Submerge the end with the skimmer plate under the water and use the water return line to force water through the hose and fill it completely with water so that no air remains in it.
Next, move the skimmer end of the vacuum to your skimmer basket and attach it appropriately over the basket. At this point, you can begin to vacuum the bottom of your pool. The best time to vacuum is at the beginning of the day prior to anyone using the pool. This allows for the dirt and debris to settle to the bottom of the pool where it can be removed with the vacuum.
Move the vacuum in slow motions over the bottom of the pool so as not to stir up the dirt into the water. This will help you to avoid having to do this process multiple times. Once the pool's bottom is clean, turn off your pump, remove the skimmer plate and clean out the skimmer basket. Disassemble your vacuum parts and enjoy your clean pool!
What is the best vacuum for Intex pools?
With the above manual pool vacuum method outlined, you may be relieved to know that there are some options available for robotic, or automatic, above ground pool cleaners. A robotic pool cleaner tends to be pricier but it is definitely worth the investment if you want to save yourself some time and effort.
While manual pool cleaners take hours of labor to completely clean your pool, automatic pool cleaners work independently so you can avoid all that work. While Intex brand pools do not necessarily require the use of an Intex brand vacuum, I've included one from the Intex brand in the below list.
The Intex cleaner is not necessarily the best above ground pool cleaner on the market, but those who are loyal to the Intex brand may find it their best option.
What do you put around an above ground pool?
If you've recently installed your above-ground pool you may be wondering what kind of landscaping or other items are best to put around your pool. Making your pool's appearance inviting and refreshing add to your overall swimming pool experience so it is not uncommon for above ground pool owners to jazz up the area with a pool deck, bushes, trees, rocks, or mulch.
As you might expect, a deck, rocks, and stones are likely the best option for decorative purposes. Remember that trees, flowers, and bushes often give off debris which will put some added work on your pool cleaner. They also attract more insects so you may see an uptick in dead bugs floating on the pool surface.
If you are leaning toward vegetation like bushes or trees, you will want to be sure you purchase and plant items that shed minimal pedals and other debris in order to reduce your need for using your pool cleaner. Also be sure vegetation is kept trimmed below the pool rim so debris is minimized in this way as well.
Minimize the work and enhance your swimming experience!
Having an above ground pool can be a lot of work. To minimize labor and reduce the impact of excess grime on your pool's filtration system, be sure that your above ground pool is in an appropriate environment that minimizes dirt and debris from bushes, trees, etc.
While manual pool cleaners are efficient at removing dirt and debris, it can take a lot of time and effort to operate them efficiently. Invest in an automatic pool cleaner in order to reduce manual labor and be sure to clean your pool often to ensure continued cleanliness.
You bought your pool for the sake of swimming enjoyment - avoid time-consuming cleaning routines and get to the fun part!