best above ground pool vacuum

Best Above Ground Pool Vacuum You Can Buy in 2018

Owning an above ground pool is one of the dreams of every household. It offers the perfect setting to relax during summers and also creates the opportunity to bond with family members and close friends.

With use, however, the pool will eventually accumulate dirt, leaves, pebbles and other debris that are not only unsightly but can also be unsanitary. To restore the pool’s water to its crystal clear state, cleaning it with automatic pool vacuum cleaners is necessary maintenance activity.

Rather than tiring yourself by window shopping for the best vacuum for an above ground pool out there, we’ve already done the job for you. This list contains a few of the best products the market has to offer. We’ve also included models from different price ranges so you’ll find one that fits your budget.

Pentair Kreepy Krauly 

Cost-Effective Pick 

The perfect pool cleaner for the price conscious buyer

pentair k50600 kreepy krauly
  • Affordably priced 
  • Perfect for smaller pools 
  • Cleans efficiently 

Rated by Linton

Aquabot APRVJR Pool Rover 

Top Overall Pick 

Pool maintenance has never been easier 

aquabot aprvjr pool rover junior robotic above-ground pool cleaner
  • Easy to use 
  • Timer feature 
  • Highly capable cleaner 

Rated by Linton

Intex-Auto Pool Cleaner 

Intex Pool Owners’ Pick

Specifically designed to clean  Intex above ground pools 

intex-auto pool cleaner
  • Lightweight and portable 
  • Very affordable 
  • Works best with Intex pools 

Rated by Linton

1. Pentair K50600 Kreepy Krauly Pool Cleaner

The Pentair K50600 Kreepy Krauly E-Z Vac comes from a well-established brand in the pool maintenance segment. With its reliability and the time-tested design of this cleaner, it definitely earned its place in our finest above ground pool vacuums guide for 2018.

This pressure side cleaner has a patented Flapper mechanism which makes instances of clogging less frequent when compared to diaphragm style suction ones. In addition, it also comes with a Patented bumper strap that protects he cleaner and prevents it from knocking against the walls or steps which increases its lifespan.

The Kreepy Krauly E-Z Vac is cleverly designed in that it only has one moving part – the flapper. What this means to pool owners is that with no wheels or gears to break down, maintenance is less frequent and the cleaner is capable of delivering a long and dependable service. Its skimming valve, which automatically regulates water flow, ensures that the right cleaning speed is maintained. The device has a random pattern coverage for a thoroughly vacuumed pool floor.

Safety is also not an issue with this cleaner. It is perfectly safe to use even if there are swimmers in the pool. If you are looking for a good in ground pool vacuums. This is best option for you.

The package includes 32 feet of hose. However, the manufacturer does not recommend the cleaner to be used in pools with less than ¾ pumps.

PROS

  • Affordably priced
  • Perfect for smaller pools
  • Cleans efficiently

CONS

  • Hose provided restricts its usage for medium-sized pools
  • A bit heavy and loud

2. Aquabot APRVJR Pool Rover Junior Robotic 

If your pool maintenance budget allows for a cleaner in the $200-300 range, then the Aquabot APRVJR Pool Rover Junior Robotic Above-Ground Pool Cleaner is perfect for you.

Its auto shut off timer function as well as its built-in 2-micron fine reusable filter bag are just a few of the reasons why we’ve included this cleaner in our most excellent above ground pool vacuums round-up for 2018.

The 40-foot floating cable makes the robotic pool cleaner ideal even for medium-sized pools, thanks to its extended range.

While it is sturdy and durable, it is not heavy at all as it is made mostly out of plastic, which means you won’t have any problem at all taking it into or out of the pool. Moreover, it sports extra-wide non-marring wheels capable of rolling over any surface which is a good thing because the unit can clean any type of pool.

The cleaner is powered by a single pump motor which gives it its jet-drive propulsion as well as its vacuum suction power.  Meanwhile, pool owners will surely love its 2-hour timer feature which is heaven-sent for forgetful users who are prone to totally forgetting about their cleaners hard at work in keeping their pools spotless and raking up their power bills in the process. You can basically turn it on and forget about it.

PROS

  • Easy to use
  • Timer feature ensures worry-free use even for forgetful pool owners
  • Highly capable cleaner

CONS

  • Filter bag needs to be cleaned after every use to prevent clogging/rotting
  • Floating cord gets tangled and crimped sometimes

3. In The Swim Hayward 500Y Aqua Critter Cleaner

All pool owners want a cleaner that is not only efficient but is also easy-to-use and do not require additional expenses for booster pumps for it to operate. In The Swim Hayward 500Y Aqua Critter Automatic Pool Cleaner Pool Skimmer Filter Savers 5-Pack - 2 Item Bundle is perfect for the job earning it a spot on this list.

How does a suction pool cleaner work? The cute cleaner easily connects to existing pump and filtration system of your pool eliminating the need to purchase an additional booster pump, which can be quite expensive.

Removing bugs, sand, dirt and other debris won’t be a problem for this hard-working critter as it’s specifically designed to automatically clean for both dished-out or flat above ground pool bottoms.

This is made possible by its patented SmartDrive clearing pattern that provides the unit with constant water flow via its gearing/turbine system. Quiet but efficient, it can do a complete suction pool sweep in two hours.

It comes with reusable filter Saver nets which you can slip over skimmer baskets to catch small bugs, leaves, pollen, dirt, and debris which not only cuts the time it takes to clear your pool but also extends the equipment’s lifespan. The set includes 5-pack filter savers, 32 feet of hose sections and skimmer cone.  

The Aqua Critter is very easy installing and can be done in just 10  minutes. However, the unit is not recommended for use in pools with pumps below ¾ horsepower as it may not be able to its job efficiently.

PROS

  • Affordably priced
  • Watching the critter in action is entertaining
  • Easy-to-use

CONS

  • Might not work properly in wrinkled and uneven bottom of the pool

4. Intex Above Ground Auto Pool Cleaner

Intex above ground pools are becoming more popular these days. They are very easy to install and, with just a few bucks, the entire family can enjoy a refreshing dip in their very own pool right at their own backyard.

It’s a no-brainer then that the Intex Auto Pool Cleaner will make it to this top above ground pool vacuums list. After all, it’s also manufactured by the same pool maker so you are assured you’ll only be getting the best cleaner for this type of pools.

Specifically designed to clean Intex pools, the cleaner requires a filter-pump with a flow-rate between 1,600 to 3,500 gph. It comes with a 24 feet hose which fits perfectly with 1-1/2” hose fittings. With a compact brush under the base, it cleans debris in the pool bottom efficiently, as long as the surface is smooth.

Remember that since the four plastic wheels are not powered, any wrinkle at the Intex's bottom might stop the cleaner from moving to other locations. Having said that, this is definitely a good automatic pool cleaner for Intex pools.

PROS

  • Lightweight and portable
  • Very affordable
  • Works best with Intex pools

CONS

  • Might not work for non-Intex pools
  • Might get stuck by wrinkles at the pool’s bottom

5. Zodiac Ranger Suction Side Automatic Cleaner

The Zodiac Ranger Suction Side Automatic Above-Ground Pool Cleaner is a cleverly designed cleaner with its one moving-part technology. This makes it very quiet yet very efficient earning it a spot here.

The Baracuda Zodiac Ranger comes pre-assembled so installation won’t be a problem. The package includes a 32- feet hose which makes it ideal for small pools. It won’t get caught on steps and corners because of its deflector wheels. 

While the manufacturer says suction side automatic pool vacuum cleaner won’t get stuck even with ladders around, it is probably best if you remove them while cleaning the pool or buy a ladder guard instead.

While the cleaner is very efficient in making your pool squeaky clean, it does the job silently and without much noise. This is made possible because it only has one moving-part so noise from flappers or hammers is non-existent.

Water flow is automatically regulated with its Flowkeeper valve and insta-skim compact self-adjusting flow control valve. This ensures that the unit cleans up the entire floor evenly and efficiently.

Those who have bought it say it’s very easy to use, efficiently cleans and a very silent worker too. A very good deal for its price and certainly one of the best automatic pool cleaners for above ground pools.

PROS

  • Quiet, no flapping noise
  • Easy install
  • Efficient cleaner
  • Good value for its price

CONS

  • Not recommended for Intex and other soft-sided pools
  • Bigger leaves might clog up the unit and cause performance issues

6. XtremepowerUS Automatic Suction Cleaner

If you want versatility, then the XtremepowerUS Automatic Suction Vacuum-generic Climb Wall Pool Cleaner is perfect for you. The package comes with 10 hoses which makes it capable of vacuuming up to 30’ pools.

The above ground pool sweeper is one of the most versatile equipment currently available on the market and an affordable one at that. The unit is capable of cleaning all kinds of pool surfaces such as concrete, vinyl or fiberglass.

While the equipment can handle a 30’ pool, it is advisable to attach only the necessary number of hoses to sufficiently cover the pool area. If you attach all 10 hoses even if the pool is small, there is a tendency for the unit to get tangled while cleaning. Conversely, if don’t use enough number of hoses, it may result in some areas of the pool being out of reach from the unit’s cleaning radius.

There is no need to use tools and the cleaner do not even need electricity to function. However, you need to attach it to your pool’s filtration system. The requirement is that the pool pump should be at least 1 hp or 1600 GHP for the unit to operate in its maximum performance.

Remember that pool chemical might corrode the cleaner’s parts. It is therefore recommended that the unit must be taken out of the pool when not in use and that it should be properly rinsed and cleaned before storage.

PROS

  • Very affordable
  • Easy to use and install
  • Can easily climb pool walls

CONS

  • The flow rate is sometimes slow
  • Hose length might not be sufficient for certain pools

7. Pentair 360100 Kreepy Krauly Lil Shark Cleaner

The Pentair 360100 Kreepy Krauly Lil Shark Above Ground Pool Cleaner has been around for quite some time but this is the new and improved model.

With its dual-band of bristles coupled with its powerful vacuum, no debris is spared giving it the qualification to be included in this top-rated above ground pool vacuum guide for 2018.

The cleaner cuts a wide 10-inch path which ensures that cleaning your pool will be a quick affair. With quicker cleaning time, you’ll get more time to enjoy the pool.

What even more amazing is that with its programmed cleaning feature, Lil Shark will eat all the dirt and grime away without missing a spot, unlike other pool cleaners that leave behind multiple missed spots. Since you are sure that it would thoroughly clean your pool, you don’t have to worry about it too much, freeing you to do other tasks more important than watching if your automatic inground pool cleaner is doing its job right.

Lil Shark is one tough unit thanks to its simple design with only one moving part. This makes operating it very simple as there is no assembly required. More importantly, the simple design means that it is extremely durable with a long lifespan; it will continue to faithfully guard your pool against debris for many years to come.

PROS

  • No assembly required
  • Works great with Intex pools
  • Ideal for smaller pool

CONS

  • There are complaints about their units preferring to stick close to the walls while cleaning
  • Pool ladders could be an issue

8. Intex Krystal Clear Sand Filter Pump for Pools

As you might have noticed, we’ve also included a sand filter-pump in this guide. The reason for this is that while owners want their pools spotless and dirt-free, they also want the water to be as clean and as refreshing as possible.

Fortunately, Intex Krystal Clear Sand Filter Pump for Above Ground Pools, 16-inch, 110-120V with GFCI is just perfect for this job.

One can always use chemicals to treat their pool waters but a growing number of owners want to solve the issue with a natural approach. 

With Intex sand filter-pump, you’ll be able to get top-notch water filtration without the need of using chemicals.

Sand is known as one of the best natural filtration material around. Sand not only clears the water of algae, but it also softens it making it more refreshed and sanitized. The unit has a 6-function control valve to filter, backwash and rinse, recirculate, drain and close the system.

The equipment also features a 24-hour timer so you can just start the cleansing process and forget about it. For additional peace of mind, the pump as a safety feature called Ground Circuit Fault Interrupter (GCFI) which senses any abnormality and automatically cuts off the power to avoid any accidents.

For a natural filtration system, the Intex Krystal Clear Sand Filter-Pump is surprisingly low maintenance. You only need to change the sand every five years.

PROS

  • Very low maintenance
  • 24-hour timer feature
  • A natural way of retaining the freshness of your swimming pool water

CONS

  • This is a heavy pump (because of all those sand)

9. Polaris Vac Sweep 280 Pressure Side Pool Cleaner

Lightweight and versatile, the Polaris Vac-Sweep 280 Pressure Side Pool Cleaner is very popular among above ground swimming pool owners.

It works effectively with all kinds of the pool so we have to include it in this  above ground pool vacuum roundup.

Its main distinction is that it has a three-wheel base, which makes the equipment lightweight enough so it can be easily used to clean not only the pool bottom and walls but also the stairs.

Its versatility also extends to the type of pool surface, the Polaris Vac-Sweep 280 has no problems cleaning fiberglass and vinyl surfaces. It’s also a very fast and efficient worker as it usually gets the job done in 3 hours.

PROS

  • Lightweight enough, suitable for cleaning walls and stairs
  • Powerful cleaner

CONS

  • A bit on the expensive side

10. Dolphin Nautilus Robotic Pool Cleaner 

The challenge for owners of larger above ground swimming pools is to find the right equipment that is capable of cleaning the entire area. Thankfully, the Dolphin Nautilus Robotic Pool Cleaner with Dual Scrubbing Brushes is specifically designed for such scenarios that it can even clean pools of up to 50 feet in size.

And the best part is that it’s one tough cleaner. With its dual scrubbing brushes, dirt, particles and any debris have no chance of escaping. The Dolphin is also a cut above the rest in terms of how it cleans the pool, it actually uses the smart navigation to clean the pool more efficiently.

The cleaner has its own filter and internal pump system so there is no need to connect it to the pool’s filtration system. It does not use filter bags to separate coarse and fine debris, which are very easy to remove and clean.

PROS

  • Advanced filtration system with easy to remove cartridges
  • Cleans the pool silently
  • Tangle-free operation

CONS

  • A bit heavy so it would be a challenge to get out of the water

Factors to Consider When Shopping for a Pool Vacuum

Not all pool cleaners are created equal. There are those that will do the job better than the others under certain conditions. Thus, buying decisions should take into account certain factors before finalizing the deal. 

intex-auto pool cleaner

Pool Size ​

Obviously, pool size matters. There will always be limitations on the range of cleaning radius for every automatic cleaner. Buying a cleaner that can’t handle the size of your pool might mean that you’ll have to clean those missed out areas manually. 

Power Consumption

There is usually a battle between the power consumption of an equipment and that speed it gets the job done. When you want the pool cleaned in the shortest time possible, you’ll have to choose the power requirement of the cleaner. Just remember that the higher the power consumption of an equipment is, the bigger your power bill will get.

Ease of Use

There are cleaners that require very little input from their owners to finish the job. For instance, there are those which have timers on them so you can just turn them on and forget about them for a while. Generally, a robotic cleaner excels in this area. Meanwhile, there are also cleaners that tend to get stuck to corners, steps, and ladders so if you don’t want to intervene too much in the cleaning process, better start reading the vacuum reviews and customer experiences of these products.

Choosing the best above ground pool vacuum cleaner will ultimately depend on you as the pool owner. Just make sure you read the specs of the product you are interested in and verify it with the store or manufacturers beforehand.