10 Best Above Ground Pool Vacuum Cleaners in 2020 – Buyer’s Guide

Enjoying a relaxing time at the swimming pool during these hot summer afternoons can be quite satisfying. If you own an above ground pool, you know the importance of keeping it cleaned at all times. Since it can be challenging to do so with the regular cleaning supplies, I invite you to take advantage of one of the above-ground pool vacuum reviewed below.

An above ground pool cleaner operate with a specific suction power that will suck up the dirt, leaves, and other debris from your swimming pool while protecting the lining as much as possible. Other models will also help boost with water circulation as well decrease the need for chemical treatments. That being said how do you choose the best above ground pool vacuum?

I have spent time reviewing the best above-ground pool vacuums cleaners. I am sharing my findings and giving you tips on how to shop for the perfect pool vacuum.

Some of the vacuums are ideal for small pools while others are geared more towards commercial/professional use. I hope the following summary will help and guide you find the ideal pool cleaner for your needs.

1.  Pentair K50600 Kreepy Krauly E-Z Vac

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Our first contender is the Pentair K50600, which is also known as the Kreepy Krauly. As its name suggest, the best pool cleaner for above-ground pool moves in what some describe as a creepy motion – almost like a sea creature.

It is an automatic vacuum that has an advanced hydraulic design to offer the needed suction power. The large round flapper is the only moving part that helps to pull out the debris from your pool. This results in much lower maintenance and more reliability.

There is a free skimming valve that regulates the flow of water automatically to ensure an optimum cleaning speed. As it regulates the flow of water, it also skims the surface debris. It moves in random pattern coverage to ensure that every part of the pool floor is cleaned.

What we liked
  • Ideal for small pools
  • Low maintenance design
  • Strong and durable construction
  • The random movement to cover the entire pool floor
  • It regulates the flow of water
What we didn't like
  • Initial set up might be tedious
  • It can be loud

The Pentair K50600 is a great choice for a small pool and it comes with a low-maintenance design. This vacuum cleaner is made to last and will make its owner happy for many years.

2.  Zodiac Ranger Automatic Pool Cleaner

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This is another reliable above-ground pool cleaner that can be a great choice for beginners. It comes with a very simple design while doing an amazing job.

The Zodiac Ranger pool cleaner comes pre-assembled making it easy to get started in no time. It does well on above-ground pools but it is not the best choice for soft-sided pools such as the Intex pools. This is another pool vacuum that comes with a single-moving part technology with low maintenance.

If you are worried about the vacuum getting caught on ladders, steps, or corners there is no need to be because it features a large deflector wheel to prevent that. The disc it come with seems to work rather effectively. The self-adjusting flow valve regulating the flow of water in the pool works well. Note manually adjusting the flow valve maybe needed to ensure free and adequate movement of the Zodiac Ranger. It can clog and adding a Zodiac Leaf Catcher to the system definitely improves its overall worry-free effectiveness.

What we liked
  • Simple design
  • Easy to use
  • Comes pre-assembled
  • Operates quietly
  • Low maintenance design
What we didn't like
  • It can clog easily with large debris
  • Not ideal for large pools

The Zodiac Ranger pool cleaner comes in a simple design that is effective and easy to use. You will enjoy working with it as it comes pre-assembled and ready to use. It may not be ideal for a large pool but it is effective for small to medium sized pools.

3.  Dolphin Escape Robotic Above Ground Pool Cleaner

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This above-ground pool cleaner from Dolphin makes it in our list as well. It is definitely one of the best above ground pool robotic cleaners and it comes with the sleekest design that Maytronics' Dolphins are known for.

Are you questioning its ability to clean your pool effectively? How does the design of an army battle tank sound? The tracks and broom of the Dolphin Escape will rotate and crawl effortlessly throughout the pool. The rubber tracks ensure a close contact with the surface and deliver super efficient cleaning. The Escape will not climb the walls of the pool to clean the water line (if you would like one that climbs the wall, you may want to look into the Dolphin E10.)

The Dolphin Escape innovative HyperBrush scrubbing mechanism spins at twice the speed of most pool vacuum brushes. This speed means that the vacuum can eliminate many more tough sediments and particles it comes in contact with.

Its SmartNav 2.0 scanning system will identify the untouched areas of the pool and direct the cleaner to cover the entire pool.

Maytronics also backs the Dolphin Escape with a solid 3-year warranty against defects and workmanship.

What we liked
  • Rubber tracks ensure spotless cleaning
  • SmartNav technology covers the whole pool
  • Fast-running brushes for better cleaning
  • No supervision needed
  • Plug-and-Play Installation
What we didn't like
  • The fine particles filters are sold separately
  • Can be lifted up when moving

The unique design of an army tanker makes this cleaner a beast. It features a scanning system that covers every part of the pool. It also features plug-and-play installation which will get you up and running in no time.

4.  Hayward 900 Wanda the Whale

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Hayward is well-known for their professional products. They have taken that expertise and created an excellent yet fun residential product: the Hayward 900 Wanda the Whale.

This pool cleaner comes with a fun and playful look, but don’t be fooled by it. It is one of the most affordable cleaners for above ground pools and and yet among the top performers.

This vacuum cleaner features a turbine mechanism, along with Hayward's patented SmartDrive steering system. The pool will be cleaned promptly and efficiently. Since it uses the existing filtration system of your pool and includes a long 32 feet hose you will get going in a snap without any tools necessary. It is easy and effortless to put together and get started with it. 

The vacuum operates quietly, and it can enhance the water flow in the pool. It also has an outside bumper ring that prevents the vacuum from bumping into the pool walls. This also helps to maintain its programmed path.

What we liked
  • Simple and easy to use design
  • Easy to assemble
  • Programmable steering
  • Bumper ring to prevent wall crushing
  • Operates quietly
What we didn't like
  • The suction strength will weaken with more debris
  • It can tip on its sides

While this pool cleaner may have the look of a toy, it does an amazing job at cleaning your pool. It comes with programmable steering and it won’t make much noise as it runs. The bumper ring on it prevents it from crushing on the wall. Wanda the Whale is a great product backed by Hayward's know-how.

5.  Aquabot Pool Rover Hybrid Robotic Pool Cleaner

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The Aquabot Rover robotic pool cleaner comes with a car design that makes it easy to crawl the bottom of your pool. The extra large wheels allow the rover to easily navigate on the pool liner.

It is jet-propelled and will clean a 24-ft diameter pool in less than 60 minutes.  The cleaning system is completely self-contained and does not rely on the pool's pumping and filtration system.

The design still delivers strong suction power. Whether you have large leaves or small algae in the pool, this champ will eliminate them effortlessly. It can hold up to 34 quarts of debris and is very easy to clean. The vacuum runs on a guidance system that you can set according to the size or shape of your pool.

What we liked
  • Decent suction power
  • Customizable movement
  • Strong and sturdy construction
  • Cleans pools under 60 minutes
  • Eliminates any size/type of debris
What we didn't like
  • Doesn’t do well on the walls

The suction power on this cleaner is excellent, and you can customize the movement as you wish.  It can clean your pool in just 60 minutes or less. The Rover Hybrid is one of the best above ground pool robotic cleaner and regardless of the size or type of debris, it will remove them with ease.

6.  Hayward 500 Aquabug Suction Above-Ground Pool Cleaner

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The Hayward Aquabug is another fun looking and efficient product from Hayward.

This one features a ladybug design and - as expected from an Hayward product - it also does a great job at cleaning the pool. Just like the Hayward 900 the Aquabug look is child-friendly and festive.

It also features a turbine/gearing system that offers a stable water flow in the pool. The vacuum has been designed to work quietly as it eliminates the debris from your pool. The Hayward 500 vacuum is very easy to assemble. No tools or any additional accessories needed. It can work on any type of pool including tiles, fiberglass, vinyl, or concrete pools. It comes with a 32-foot hose giving it good coverage.

The deluxe bumper ring reduces the friction and keeps the vacuum away from the wall to maintain the programmed path. This pool cleaner will cover every area of your pool with ease.

What we liked
  • Simple and kid-friendly design
  • It improves water flow/circulation
  • Deluxe bumper ring prevents damages
  • SmartDrive steering system
  • Easy to install
What we didn't like
  • It won’t work well on soft-sided pools
  • It is susceptible to clogging

This child-friendly cleaner has been designed to improve water flow and circulation in your pool. It features a bumper ring that will limit friction and prevent the cleaner from crushing the walls. The patented SmartDrive system will guide the Aquabug to quick clean of the pool. It is another great product by Hayward.

7.  Water Tech Pool Blaster Catfish

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This is one of the best manual pool vacuum and it runs on battery power. The battery is rechargeable and you won’t have to buy new sets frequently.

This manual pool cleaner can work on any-sized pool. The Lithium battery will take around four hours to charge fully and will run for up to 45 minutes of continuous use. It is not much as such but  should be sufficient to full clean most above ground pools.

It features an easy push-button control system. A simple push of the button will turn it on or off.  The suction and filtration abilities of this unit are good but not necessarily great. Nonetheless, you can be sure of having a spotless pool after using it.

The smart charger features  a sensor to let you know if the battery is fully charged or not. The unit is also lightweight, so you won’t experience fatigue when using it. It can also be attached to standard pool poles making cleaning even easier.

What we liked
  • User-friendly
  • Low-priced
  • It can handle any type of pool
  • Loaded with good scrubbing brushes
  • You won’t miss a spot since it’s manual
What we didn't like
  • The suction power is not the best
  • Limited battery run-time

The Catfish pool cleaner strikes a reasonable balance between weight, convenience, and run time. Even with the limited run-time, it can do a great job cleaning your pool. It has some strong scrubbing brushes and as it is manually directed it can be focused where cleaning is most needed.

8.  Water Tech Pool Blaster Max Li Grade Pool & Spa Cleaner

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For those that need a longer run time to handle larger pools for example, Pool Blaster offers the Max Li.

The Pool Blaster Max Li also runs on a rechargeable battery but this one has a longer run time compared to its brother the Pool Blaster Water Tech Catfish. You can enjoy a run-time of 60 minutes with continuous use. Its vacuum head is also wider at 10.5" and makes it more suitable to clean larger pools.

The design is simple and you control it only with a single push-button. A standard skimmer pole can be attached to it as well making it an easier cleaning experience.

The Pool Blaster Max has a multi-layer filtration system including an extra sand silt bag that helps in eliminating and catching the debris and silt deposits from the pool.

What we liked
  • It is lightweight
  • The runtime is decent enough
  • No hoses or extra batteries needed
  • It is easy to use
  • It cleans different layers of the pool
What we didn't like
  • The suction power could be stronger
  • Manual cleaning can be tedious

The Water Tech Pool Blaster Max Li is a great choice for those looking for a cordless manual pool cleaner that can handle larger pools. 

9.  Intex Auto Pool Cleaner

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Intex is well known for their above ground pool products and one would expect them to offer options to clean them. Their Auto Pool cleaner is their vacuum offering. This automatic above-ground pool cleaner does a great job at getting rid of the debris in your pool.

The Auto Pool cleaner connects to the intake of your pool filtration system using a standard 1.5" pool hose. You should check the flow rate of your pump to make sure that the Auto Pool cleaner is compatible and will work with it. For maximum performance Intex recommends the product to be used for pools up to 24 feet in diameter.

The Auto Pool Cleaner provides great coverage. You can be done with the pool cleaning process in the shortest time possible without much supervision. 

What we liked
  • It has a durable construction
  • Easy to use
  • Automatic cleaning saves time
  • Ideal for Intex Pools
What we didn't like
  • Can get stuck on lumpy pools
  • May need an adapter depending on the the intake port

This pool cleaner was built to last for long long time. It is sturdy and will get the job done as long as your filtration system can provide the required flow rate. It is a great choice if you have an Intex pool system. Be aware that you may need additional adapters for it to fit your water inlet.

10.  Aquabot Pool Rover S2 40

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Continuing the tradition of its Rover line of products, the Aquabot Pool Rover S2-40i is built like a tank and performs as advertised.

The robotic mechanism eases the effort needed to clean your pool. The suction power is strong enough to suck up just about any debris from the pool floor. Regardless of the shape or surface of the pool, this robot will do its job with ease.

The vacuum can clean the floors, walls, as well as coves. The S2-40i can filter about 80-85 gallons of water per minute. It is a corded vacuum but it is equipped with an anti-kink power cable and includes an auto-shutoff timer.

What we liked
  • Robotic cleaning mechanism
  • Plug-N-Play operation
  • Filters up to 85 gallons of water in a minute
  • Steady and durable design
  • Strong suction power
What we didn't like
  • Not ideal for large pools
  • It is susceptible to clogging

This cleaner is one of the toughest-looking models and it works impressively at keeping your pool clean. Its plug-N-play operation makes it easy to handle and operate. Its 40-feet power corded may not make it suitable for larger pools.

Best Above Ground Pool Cleaner - Buyer's Guide

Now that you learned about the best above-ground pool vacuums, it would be fair to share with you the necessary buying tips. What should you look out before you decide to buy a specific above-ground pool? Here are some factors you need to consider.

  • Manual or Automatic?

First off, you need to consider if the pool cleaner you want is manual or automatic. If your above ground pool does not include an adequate pump system you may be limited to only manual cleaners. Regardless, manual cleaners give you the chance of monitoring your pool as you clean and you can decide where to clean specifically. On the other hand, the best above ground automatic pool cleaners are effortless but sometimes might miss a spot.

Some of the manual cleaners are battery-operated. An important consideration is how long will they operate on a full charge. If you are opting for a corded vacuum consider the length of the power cord needed for complete coverage of the pool.

  • Ease of Use

The pool cleaners are in general relatively easy to setup and use. Some do require less assembly than others. How easy are they to operate, clean, and maintain season after season is a key consideration.

  • Suction Power

Whether it is manual or automatic, the pool vacuum must have enough suction power. The suction power determines the ability of the vacuum to dislodge and suck in the debris. The higher the suction power, the better the cleaning. Some come with spinning brushes to assist.

  • Coverage

Coverage is a function of many factors irrespective of the type of pool cleaner you go for. It is certainly more important for an automatic or robotic pool cleaner. Here, you need to know if the pool cleaner will cover every area of the pool without much supervision. 

  • Filtration System

The pool cleaning system should be able to clean the pool effectively and not clog easily. The filtration system should be efficient enough to eliminate the debris from the pool for a long time without intervention. Choosing between a bag or a bag-less system may have an impact.

A bagless system will come with filters that are inserted in designated sections of the system. Here, the machine will trap all the debris in that filter, where you only need to remove and clean as needed. On the other hand, a unit with a bag will suck up all the debris (without filtering) where you will then empty the bag once you are done. Both the filters and bags will have to be cleared of debris and obstructions to maintain the suction and cleaning effectiveness of the vacuum.

  • Warranty/Return Policy

Any product must be offered with a warranty by the manufacturer. The above-ground pool cleaners although simple in design operate in a relatively hostile environment. All the vital parts should be covered by a warranty. Replacements parts due to normal wear and tear such as the discs or bags must be readily available and affordable.

Above all, ensure that you go for a product that you can afford, along with one that is easy and affordable to maintain. Some pool vacuums will need additional accessories, so you should inquire about them before you buy.

FAQs About The Best Above Ground Pool Vacuum

  • How Often Should I Vacuum My Pool?

The rhythm of cleaning one's pool depends on many factors. For example is the pool close to trees with a lot of foliage? Is it the fall season? Or is the pool in a clear open space? If one is using an automatic cleaner there is no reason not to run the pool vacuum anytime the pump is running. If you are using a manual cleaner, the factors mentioned earlier come into play in deciding how often to clean the pool. Those pool vacuums are built tough to last a long time. Clean as often as you deem necessary.

  • Is a Robotic Cleaner Better than a Manual Cleaner?

Using a robotic cleaner or a manual one will depend on if the automatic robotic option is even available with your pool setup. If your pool does not include a water filtration/pumping system some of the automatic options may not be available; if you have a large pool a corded robot may not provide the coverage you need. If you like to focus your cleaning to specific spots of the pool then manual cleaning may be a better option. In general it really is a matter of preference and having an automatic cleaner does not preclude the use of a manual one. 

  • When Should I Change/Empty the Filters/Bag?

Emptying the bags and filters should be done as soon as you are done cleaning the pool or if the suction power is being decreased by excessive blockage by leaves and other debris. Leaving the debris in the bag or the filter unnecessarily will negatively affect the efficiency of the overall system as well as possibly leave unsightly stains on the equipment. The bags will need occasional replacement in particular if they are perforated. Both bags and filters should be sturdy and should last a long time before needing replacement though.

  • What should I do if the Cleaner is Not Working?

Depending on the type of pool vacuum you have and the kind of problem you are experiencing some basic troubleshooting may or may not be possible.  

If it is a battery powered manual pool vacuum that is faulty and doesn’t switch on, ensure that you unplug it or switch it off, and contact a professional before you try anything. Do not try to open up the vacuum. It can be a serious electrical hazard.

If it is a corded vacuum, immediately shut off all power to it and remove it from the pool. Troubleshooting can start after that. Usually as for battery operated vacuums if it does not switch on contact a professional. Electricity and water don't mix.

If it is an an absence of suction or a weak suction, check that all of the hoses are tightly coupled and actually connected to the intake; check that all the filters and bags are clear of all obstructions.

If the bottom of the pool is not really clean check the disc if applicable, check the hose length and for kinks as well as the water flow if there are spots that are being missed.

Otherwise consult your specific manual for more detailed troubleshooting instructions or contact a local professional.

Final Notes

You now have a review of the 10 best above-ground pool vacuums. If you want to conduct additional research we put together our buyer’s guide to help your selection. 

As you shop, remember to go for a pool cleaner that matches the specifics of your pool. It should be able to manage the size, shape, and the depth of water in your pool without any problem. It should also be reliable as it will get solid use over the years.

Do not hesitate to inquire more about the product before you buy it. Choose a reputable brand to ensure reliable customer support in case of the potential occasional problem.

A well chosen pool vacuum will provide you years of worry-free use.

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