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The Best Pool Cleaner

Last updated on April 24, 2019

We looked at the top 9 Pool Cleaners and dug through the reviews from 59 of the most popular review sites including Chief Pool, Pool Cleaner Guides, Pool Cleaner Lab, Home Mention, Pool Cleaner Hub, Best Robotic Pool Cleaners and more. The result is a ranking of the best Pool Cleaners.

Best Pool Cleaner

Why Trust The DWYM Score?

DWYM is your trusted product review source. Along with our in-house experts, our team analyzes thousands of product reviews from the most trusted websites. We then create one easy-to-understand score. Learn more.

Look for the DWYM seal for products that are the best in a category.

Our experts reviewed the top 9 Pool Cleaners and also dug through the reviews from 59 of the most popular review sites including Chief Pool, Pool Cleaner Guides, Pool Cleaner Lab, Home Mention, Pool Cleaner Hub, Best Robotic Pool Cleaners and more. The result is a ranking of the best of the best Pool Cleaners.

Our Picks For The Top Pool Cleaners

Our Take
Experts Included
Pros
Cons
  The Best Overall

Dolphin

Nautilus CC Plus

Overall Take

Double scrubbing brushes make the Dolphin Nautilus CC Plus Automatic Robotic Pool Cleaner more efficient than other pool cleaners at tackling stubborn stains. Although it's pricier than other models, it uses sensors to map the best cleaning path, making it more efficient. A built-in swivel keeps the cord from tangling,... Read More

Experts Included
DWYM Outdoor and Garden Experts plus BestReviews, The Spruce, Pool Cleaner Hub, Pool Cleaner Blog, Setting It Smart, Pool Cleaner Reviews and 1 more. Along with user reviews from Amazon.
Pros
" A top-selling robotic model that provides multiple cleaning techniques in one – filters debris, scrubs the pool, and vacuums particles."
Cons
"What it won’t do is scrub the waterline."

Hayward

Poolvergnuegen, 2 Wheel

Overall Take

You can control the amount of suction your pool cleaner uses with the Hayward Poolvergnuegen Automatic Suction Pool Vacuum by changing out the suction throats. The patented steering system ensures your pool easily navigates walls and stairs, as well as the pool floor. It's also easy to set up and... Read More

Experts Included
DWYM Outdoor and Garden Experts plus BestReviews, Top Ten Reviews, The Spruce, The Top Pro, Pool Cleaner Hub, Pools And Tubs and 2 more. Along with user reviews from Amazon and Walmart.
Pros
" Uses pre-programmed cleaning patterns to ensure 100% coverage."
Cons
"This pressure pool cleaner is only suitable for concrete pools using the included tires, but tape tires can be purchased separately for smoother surfaces like vinyl or fiberglass."

Polaris

Vac-Sweep Side Pool Cleaner

Overall Take

Double jets help the Polaris Vac-Sweep Side Pool Cleaner blast away even the most stubborn stains. The lightweight build and three-wheel base of this model helps it climb stairs and scrub the side walls of your pool. Although the price is more affordable than other pool cleaners, you'll need to... Read More

Experts Included
DWYM Outdoor and Garden Experts plus BestReviews, Top Ten Reviews, Chief Pool, Pool Cleaner Blog, Pool Cleaner Guides, Lintons In The Garden and 1 more. Along with user reviews from Amazon and Walmart.
Pros
" Powerful suction."
Cons
"Requires add-on purchases, such as a rear sweep tail, for full functionality."
  The Best Value

Zodiac

BARACUDA Automatic Pool Cleaner

Overall Take

With its lightweight design, the Zodiac BARACUDA Automatic Pool Cleaner can easily climb the stairs and walls of your pool to clean every inch. As one of the most affordable pool cleaners on the market, you'll definitely get value with this model. It can be prone to sticking occasionally, especially... Read More

Experts Included
DWYM Outdoor and Garden Experts plus BestReviews, Pool Cleaner Hub, Pool Cleaner Guides, Chief Pool, Birdeye, Robotic Pool Cleaner and 2 more. Along with user reviews from Amazon and Walmart.
Pros
" Works equally well w/high- and low-pressure pumps."
Cons
"What it has a hard time handling, are large pieces of debris like leaves and twigs."
Don't just take for granted what one reviewer says. Along with our own experts, DWYM analyzes the top expert reviews of the leading products and generates a score you can actually trust.
16

Products Considered

We identified the majority of the pool cleaners available to purchase.
9

Products Analyzed

We then selected the leading and most popular products to review and score.

View All Product Rankings

59

Expert Reviews Included

Reviews from our DWYM category experts and analysis of some of the most respected sources including: Chief Pool, Pool Cleaner Guides, Pool Cleaner Lab, Home Mention, Pool Cleaner Hub.

36,729

User Opinions Analyzed

We also incorporate user reviews from the leading retailers including Amazon, Walmart and 3 others.

DWYM is your trusted roduct review source. Our team reviews thousands of product reviews from the trusted top experts and combines them into one easy-to-understand score. Learn more.

Look for the DWYM seal for products that are the best in their category.

The Best Overall

Dolphin Nautilus CC Plus Automatic Robotic Pool Cleaner

Expert Summarized Score
9.7
7 expert reviews
User Summarized Score
8.8
1,039 user reviews
The DWYM Expert Take

Double scrubbing brushes make the Dolphin Nautilus CC Plus Automatic Robotic Pool Cleaner more efficient than other pool cleaners at tackling stubborn stains. Although it's pricier than other models, it uses sensors to map the best cleaning path, making it more efficient. A built-in swivel keeps the cord from tangling, reducing the number of times you'll find it stuck.

What other experts liked
A top-selling robotic model that provides multiple cleaning techniques in one – filters debris, scrubs the pool, and vacuums particles.
- BestReviews
The Dolphin Nautilus CC Plus is an intelligent, thoughtful cleaning device that will leave your pool virtually spotless.
- HouseholdMe
The Dolphin 99996403-PC cleaner is one of the most advanced cleaners that uses a smart design to float, climb, and roll all over your pool.
- The Spruce
December 24, 2018 | Full review
It will use onboard sensors to scan your pool and figure out the fastest way to clean the entire pool and will get it done in about two hours.
- Pool Cleaner Hub
October 23, 2018 | Full review
Another notable feature of Nautilus CC is the superior navigation system called Active Scrubbing Brush.
- Pool Cleaner Blog
May 3, 2018 | Full review
Like your vehicle’s GPS, Dolphin Nautilus Plus' IntelliScan software learns your pool, and it automatically formulates a cleaning plan that best suits your pool.
- Setting It Smart
The swivel device prevents the cable from twisting and coiling, which can be a huge relief, especially with longer cables such as this.
- Pool Cleaner Reviews
What other experts didn't like
Occasionally gets stuck, but this is a common issue of robotic pool cleaners.
- BestReviews
Their complaints mostly covered their dissatisfaction with their warranty or customer service granting them a replacement.
- HouseholdMe
What it won’t do is scrub the waterline.
- Pool Cleaner Hub
October 23, 2018 | Full review
It might experience some problems collection large debris such as leaves.
- Pool Cleaner Blog
May 3, 2018 | Full review
However, this might not be a good option if you are on a tight budget.
- Setting It Smart
We are disappointed in the lack of instructions that Maytronics provide with their pool cleaners.
- Pool Cleaner Reviews

The Best Bang For Your Buck

Zodiac BARACUDA Automatic Pool Cleaner

Expert Summarized Score
8.6
8 expert reviews
User Summarized Score
8.2
1,769 user reviews
The DWYM Expert Take

With its lightweight design, the Zodiac BARACUDA Automatic Pool Cleaner can easily climb the stairs and walls of your pool to clean every inch. As one of the most affordable pool cleaners on the market, you'll definitely get value with this model. It can be prone to sticking occasionally, especially around raised drains. So you'll want to check in on it on a regular basis.

What other experts liked
Works equally well w/high- and low-pressure pumps.
- BestReviews
The G3 will clean your pool as quietly as a mouse in church, allowing you to sit next to it and get some valuable time off for relaxation.
- Pool Cleaner Hub
October 24, 2018 | Full review
The Baracuda G3 suction-side automatic inground pool cleaner is an affordable, easy-to-install alternative to the more expensive pressure-side or robotic pool cleaners.
- Pool Cleaner Guides
Baracuda G3 by Zodiac is a quiet pool cleaner which is powerful and can work with pumps which are slow and will still clean with best efficiency.
- Chief Pool
Simple and effective solution for a pool cleaner. I had to add an extra section of hose because my pool is large. I followed the instructions with regards to setting the hose length which are easy to follow.
- Birdeye
The Zodiac G3 is an automatic pool cleaner that is best described by these two words:- Efficient and Affordable.
- Robotic Pool Cleaner
The other great feature of this product is its self-adjusting flow valve that comes with a feature of effortless adjustment.
- Pool Cleaner Blog
May 12, 2018 | Full review
The Baracuda G3 was surprisingly effective at cleaning debris.
- Ultimate Pool Guide
What other experts didn't like
Sometimes needs guidance into shallower parts of pool.
- BestReviews
What it has a hard time handling, are large pieces of debris like leaves and twigs.
- Pool Cleaner Hub
October 24, 2018 | Full review
It has some minor issues such as its tendency to get stuck on top of a raised main drain and problems with handling large leaves.
- Pool Cleaner Guides
The G3 is able to pick up smaller acorns, but the larger one get stuck in the diaphragm. I have to grab the cleaner off the bottom and use a dowel to push the acorn through the diaphragm.
- Birdeye
It tends to get stuck once in a while, especially if it is not positioned properly.
- Robotic Pool Cleaner
Does clean pool steps
- Pool Cleaner Blog
May 12, 2018 | Full review
It also doesn't clean the steps as advertised which is a bit of a bummer.
- Ultimate Pool Guide

Overall Product Rankings

1. Dolphin Nautilus CC Plus Automatic Robotic Pool Cleaner
Overall Score: 9.4
Reviews Included: 11

2. Hayward Poolvergnuegen Automatic Suction Pool Vacuum
Overall Score: 9.1
Reviews Included: 11

3. Polaris Vac-Sweep Side Pool Cleaner
Overall Score: 8.8
Reviews Included: 10

4. Zodiac Automatic In Ground Pool Cleaner
Overall Score: 8.7
Reviews Included: 9

5. Pentair Kreepy Krauly Inground Universal Pool Cleaner
Overall Score: 8.6
Reviews Included: 7

6. Polaris Sport Robotic in-Ground Pool Cleaner
Overall Score: 8.6
Reviews Included: 7

7. Zodiac BARACUDA Automatic Pool Cleaner
Overall Score: 8.5
Reviews Included: 10

8. XtremepowerUS Wall Pool Cleaner
Overall Score: 8.3
Reviews Included: 11

9. Hayward 500 Aquabug Suction Above-Ground Pool Cleaner
Overall Score: 8.3
Reviews Included: 9

An Overview On Pool Cleaners

Keeping a swimming pool clean is hard work, but it’s well worth it for the hours of fun every summer. With the right automatic pool cleaner, you can cut down on those hours of work, grabbing any dirt and debris and keeping all surfaces clean.

Pool cleaners have so many features, though, it can be easy to feel a little overwhelmed as you start shopping. Your first concern will no doubt be efficiency. After all, a pool cleaner that doesn’t actually clean anything isn’t worth having. One thing that factors into how well your pool cleaner performs is pressure. Just as a pressure washer can power off stains on your home’s exterior, the right amount of pressure can blast away all of that grime on your pool’s surface.

Large debris is another challenge your pool cleaner will face. This generally comes down to suction. The stronger suction your pool cleaner has, the more likely it will be able to collect those more stubborn items, particularly leaves. Some cleaners have parts you can interchange on those days when you notice larger debris in the pool.

In order to maneuver around your pool, though, your cleaner will need to be lightweight enough to scale walls and climb stairs. It will also need to have sensors built in that can determine exactly which areas of your pool need to be cleaned on any given day. The more automatic this process is, the less time you’ll have to spend worrying about keeping your pool clean.

Even with the best pool cleaner, though, you may find it will occasionally get stuck. Pay close attention to these problem areas, and make sure you check in on your pool during the warm months of the year to ensure your cleaner isn’t stuck.

Certain pool cleaners can also tend to damage the pool’s surface, particularly if your pool is made of more sensitive materials. In some cases, you’ll be able to buy special wheels that will ensure your pool remains in great shape without sacrificing any cleanliness.

DWYM Fun Fact

There are many myths surrounding pools and cleanliness, including the misconception that chlorine kills all germs. While the right combination of chemicals will get rid of germs, this process takes time. That means, that, unfortunately, some germs can survive even in a well-treated pool for days. In addition to keeping your pool surface clean using a pool cleaner, you also need the right pH balance and chlorine to keep it healthy. If you own your own pool, you should be testing the water every day before your first swim to make sure the levels haven’t dropped to an unsafe range overnight.

The Pool Cleaner Buying Guide

  • Pressure plays a big role in how efficient your pool cleaner is. The Polaris Vac-Sweep Side Pool Cleaner is powered by double jets. It not only dislodges the most stubborn debris, but it does so in three hours or less. The Dolphin Nautilus CC Plus’s double scrubbing brushes also do a good job, but they do sometimes have difficulty cleaning the waterline.
  • Even the best pool cleaners can struggle to capture larger debris, like leaves. The Hayward Poolvergnuegen, 2 Wheel lets you change out the suction throats to make sure it gets those larger pieces.
  • If you have steps, you may want to go with a more lightweight model, like the Polaris Vac-Sweep Side Pool Cleaner or the Zodiac BARACUDA Automatic Pool Cleaner. Both are lightweight enough to handle the sides of your pool and your steps, but the Polaris Vac-Sweep Side Pool Cleaner adds on a three-wheel base to help with those challenges.
  • Today’s cleaners use GPS to move around a pool. The Dolphin Nautilus CC Plus has built-in sensors that scan your pool and find the best route to take. This makes sure it gets the work done in the most efficient way possible. The Hayward Poolvergnuegen, 2 Wheel has a patented steering system that helps it get around the walls, stairs and other curves found in a pool.
  • In addition to pressure, suction is an important feature in a pool cleaner, helping you get those more stubborn items that other models won’t. The Polaris Vac-Sweep Side Pool Cleaner has a three-jet suction design that helps it both capture bigger debris and resist clogging.
  • Your pool cleaner will work with your pump, which you should already have in place. For best results, you’ll need to make sure your cleaner is compatible with the pump you have. The Zodiac BARACUDA Automatic Pool Cleaner works just as well with a high-pressure pump as it does with a low-pressure one.
  • One thing you may not think about until you’ve had your pool cleaner for a while is cable tangles. The Dolphin Nautilus CC Plus has a swivel to keep the cable from twisting and coiling while it works. When a cable is longer, that’s a valuable feature to have.
  • As convenient as pool cleaners can be, they can be a pain if they get stuck often. The Dolphin Nautilus CC Plus does occasionally get stuck, as does the Zodiac BARACUDA Automatic Pool Cleaner. The Zodiac BARACUDA Automatic Pool Cleaner can be especially prone to sticking around raised drains. It may also sometimes need to be redirected to the shallow end of the pool.
  • If you’re looking for an affordable pool cleaner, you’ll find that with the Zodiac BARACUDA Automatic Pool Cleaner, which retails in the $200-$300 range. The Hayward Poolvergnuegen, 2 Wheel tops $300, while the Polaris Vac-Sweep Side Pool Cleaner exceeds $400. The priciest is the Dolphin Nautilus CC Plus, which sells for more than $700. When pricing pool cleaners, it’s also important to consider what add-ons you’ll need. The Polaris Vac-Sweep Side Pool Cleaner, for instance, requires an extra booster pump, as well as a purchase like a rear sweep tail, so those will add on to the price.
  • When ease of use is a priority, the Zodiac BARACUDA Automatic Pool Cleaner delivers, serving as a welcome alternative to other pool cleaners. It’s easy to set up and has a self-adjusting flow valve. The Hayward Poolvergnuegen, 2 Wheel is easy to install and low maintenance, which means you’ll be able to put it in place and let it do its work.
  • Energy efficiency is another consideration. The unique design of the Hayward Poolvergnuegen, 2 Wheel makes the most of the water coming through it, reducing wasted energy.
  • The wheels on the Hayward Poolvergnuegen, 2 Wheel can cause damage to your pool liner. If you have vinyl or fiberglass, you’ll also want to consider tape tires to protect the surface of your pool.