How to Select a Pool Cleaner
If you own a pool, you really need a mechanical cleaner to go along with it. Unless you want to handle cleaning manually—which could take hours of your time a week—or pay someone else—which will cost you thousands a year—you need to think about what option is right for you. With a saturated market, however, it’s important to know the models that are worth considering. There are two main categories that are separated into those cleaners built for above ground and those for inground pools.
Above Ground Pools
Above ground pool owners will have their options limited to only those cleaners designed for this type of pool. You need to look at cleaners that were made to address vinyl pool surfaces. Obviously, you don’t have to waste your time or money on pool cleaners that were designed to handle deep ends. Your cleaner will be focusing solely on a flat bottom. The right cleaner will also function with slower flow rates coming from smaller pool lifter pumps.
The three options available to aboveground pool owners are:
- Robot Cleaners
- Suction Cleaners
- Pressure Cleaners
Robotic cleaners are completely self-contained as they come with a collection bag much like you’d find on a traditional lawnmower. These are also a great option because they’re designed to filter your pool’s water while vacuuming out debris. Despite their high-tech looks, robotic cleaners need only a grounded outlet to work and have become quite affordable over the last few years.
These cleaners attach to your skimmer, so as it vacuums your pool, it brings the debris it finds right to your pump basket. For pools with smaller baskets, you may need to purchase an accessory to address this.
Aside from how convenient they are, this type of cleaner also tends to be the cheapest.
Lastly, aboveground pool owners can select pressure cleaners. Instead of supplying their own pressure, these cleaners use that which your pool is already pumping out. They attach to a pool wall return. Like robotic cleaners, this model is self-contained.
Those who own inground pools have a few more things to think about. First, does your pool feature a dedicated cleaner line? If your pool does have one and it is connected after the filter, it would make sense to go with a pressure side pool cleaner. Add to that a time clock and a booster pump and you’ll not only have a cleaner with plenty of power, you’ll have a completely automatic one that can turn itself on and off as necessary. This saves you the trouble of having to remember to turn it on or from needing frequent maintenance for a cleaner that is constantly going.
If your pool has a dedicated cleaner line that comes into the pump, you’ll want a suction-side cleaner. Just be sure you pick a model that won’t interfere with your pool’s skimming action. One that attaches to your pool’s skimmer will definitely cause a problem.
Now, let’s say you don’t have a dedicated cleaner line. Just go with a suction side cleaner that will connect to your wall skimmer. These machines are capable of keeping some skimming action going even when the cleaner is connected. If your pump isn’t powerful enough to support this, you can always disconnect the cleaner after a few hours to give the skimmer an opportunity to catch up.
There are also robotic cleaners for inground pools with just a single skimmer and no dedicated cleaner lines. They’re also great for older pools that may not have reliable pipe returns or feature inefficient filters.
Although you have a number of models out there, hopefully the above breakdown makes it a little easier to understand which cleaners will actually work for your needs.