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10 Best Above Ground Pool Vacuums To Keep Your Pool Sparkling All Summer Long


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If you’re fortunate enough to have a backyard swimming pool, then you know that along with the joy of long summer afternoons spent splashing in cool, refreshing water, there’s also a fair amount of work involved in pool ownership. Even a temporary, above ground swimming pool requires no small amount of maintenance. The good news is, owning one of the best above ground pool vacuums makes it much easier to keep your swimming pool clean and all its parts in working order.

Having the right tools on hand makes all the difference when it comes to pool maintenance. In addition to a good filtration system, a swimming pool vacuum cleaner helps you keep your pool crystal-clear and inviting on the hottest days of the year. After all, you didn’t get an above ground pool so you could constantly worry about keeping it clean; you bought it because you wanted to stay cool, have fun, and maybe even stay in shape.

Why buy your own pool vacuum instead of just calling in the pros, you ask? The answer is easy: It massively cuts your costs over time. Professional pool maintenance is expensive, and if you can keep up with the cleaning of pool algae and fine dirt on your own, it will save you big in the long run on filter cleanings and replacements. Plus, the vacuums below are usable on all types of pools, from small above ground models to larger in ground pools (and even those nifty inflatable pools and inflatable hot tubs!).

We’ve rounded up a selection of above ground swimming pool vacuum cleaners that are reliable, affordable, and easy to use. (Still looking for the perfect pool to complete your backyard oasis? Shop our picks for the best above ground pool for adults!)

Keep scrolling to shop our picks for the best above ground pool vacuums, or read more to find answers to all your questions about which one is right for you!

The Best Above Ground Pool Vacuums To Buy in 2021

How do you vacuum a small above ground pool?

The best way to find out how to DIY anything around your house (or yard!) these days is to turn to YouTube. Sure enough, a quick search turns up dozens of YouTube videos that show you step by step exactly how to use the best above ground pool vacuums.

Whether you’re using a manual pool vacuuming kit (like this super-affordable one from Walmart), or an automatic pool vacuum (like the pricier Dolphin Nautilus Robot Pool Vacuum), you can find a video on YouTube that will show you exactly how to operate it.

For a small above ground pool, a more affordable manual vacuum kit that hooks up to your garden hose will probably do the job. However, if you want to be able to sit back while the pool vacuum does all the work, an automatic pool vacuum might be the best above ground pool vacuum for you! Either way, the cleaning process is fairly simple and straightforward.

What is the best vacuum for an above ground pool?

The best vacuum for you will depend on a few factors. First, what’s your budget? You can spent anywhere from $25 on a manual cleaning kit, to hundreds of dollars for a robotic pool vacuum cleaner (think robot vacuum, but for your above ground swimming pool).

Next, how big is your above ground pool? A small temporary pool may not need a vacuum with as much horsepower as a larger pop-up pool, but you can still find one of the best above ground pool vacuums that’s suited to a smaller swimming pool.

Last, will you have someone to help you clean the pool, or will you be doing it solo? A fully automatic pool vacuum will get the job done practically on its own, so even if you don’t have help, you can easily scratch this chore off your to-do list. And that means you can spend more time swimming, and less time cleaning!

Dolphin Nautilus CC Robotic Pool Cleaner

Best above ground pool vacuum for any size pool
dolphin robot pool vacuum

Buy from Amazon, $649

Why we like it:

  • Best-seller with over 3,000 five-star ratings
  • Fully automatic
  • No pump or hose needed

If you want one of the best above ground pool vacuums for any size pool and you’re willing to pay for a quality product, you can’t do better than the Dolphin Nautilus CC Robotic Pool Vacuum. It cleans your pool in two hours without you doing a thing — just push the button to start it. You can even schedule it to automatically clean your pool every day, every other day, or every third day. No pump needed, no hose, no elbow grease on your part! This robot pool vacuum doesn’t just clean your pool, it scrubs it.

Reviewers rave about this pool vacuum, and many of them love it so much, they’ve given it a name like any other member of the family. “His name is Frank, and he’s a tank,” wrote one buyer. “He made this year’s pool opening a breeze.” This customer did caution that Frank didn’t come with a manual, and the process of cleaning out his filter was “involved. You’ll be touching a lot of what he finds in your pool.” But who cares, when a pool vacuum is this powerful and easy to use?

Hayward Wanda the Whale Automatic Pool Vaccum

Best Hayward above ground pool vacuum
wanda the whale pool vacuum

Buy from Amazon, $169

Why we like it:

  • Adorable whale design
  • SmartDrive technology makes sure no debris is left behind
  • Quick and easy to operate

Who can resist Wanda the Whale? This suction pool cleaner is not only affordable, it’s adorable! Patented SmartDrive technology helps it cover the bottom of your pool quickly and efficiently, with a bumper ring that guides it away from walls, steps, and ladders. The 32-foot hose connects directly to your skimmer and is easy to install, requiring no tools, special equipment, or advanced pool-cleaning skills.

“We LOVE Wanda,” wrote one mom on Amazon who said she is “very happy” and gave a five-star review. “My kids like watching her clean and she makes me happy! I already recommended her to five of my friends with above ground pools!”

Hayward AquaNaut Pool Vacuum

Best automatic above ground pool vacuum
Hayward Aquanaut pool vacuum

Buy from Amazon, $680

Why we like it:

  • Automatic vacuum does the work for you
  • Handles large debris without clogging
  • Maintains constant suction

If you have the budget, you’ll be glad you invested in the Hayward AquaNaut automatic pool vacuum. Perhaps what’s most impressive about this above ground pool vacuum is its patented V-Flex technology. This allows it to function at peak efficiency, regardless of the conditions. Uneven surfaces and large debris aren’t a problem; unlike some other pool vacuums, the Hayward Aquanaut almost never clogs. Multiple pre-programmed steering sequences ensure that every inch of your pool is covered.

“I have used a number of suction cleaners over 25 years,” wrote one Amazon reviewer. “After one month of use, this model is by far the best.” Not every review is positive though — multiple people report this model not working after a season or two, and one buyer wrote, “I think these things are a little pricey for what they are, a bunch of plastic and some tubes.” However, he added, “It does save me time, so it is worth it to me even if I can’t say it was a great value.”

Xtremepower US Premium Automatic Pool Vacuum

Best affordable automatic pool vacuum
xtremepower above ground pool vacuum

Buy from Amazon, $100

Why we like it:

  • Affordable automatic vacuum
  • Includes multiple hoses
  • Connects to an existing filter

An affordable automatic pool vacuum that offers the control of a manual pool vacuum, the XtremepowerUS certainly gives pricier pool vacuums a run for their money. With over 10 hoses included, this pool vacuum can easily clean pools up to 30 feet. Unlike some of the other best above ground pool vacuums, the Xtremepower US does not have an easily removable filtration system — but that isn’t a problem, because it connects to your already existing filter. It’ll easily pick up algae, pool dirt, and pool dust, but get out your net to catch bigger debris: the Xtremepower US can’t handle branches or leaves.

While some reviewers reported problems with this vacuum clogging, others said you just need to make sure your filter is clean to ensure that it keeps working well. “I almost bought a vacuum twice as expensive than the paltry $90 I paid for this one, which has already paid for itself in time saved, how awesome the pool looks, and lower maintenance elsewhere. I’m glad a review swayed me to give it a shot, because it’s been fantastic,” wrote one happy customer.

Hayward Poolvergnuegen Pool Cleaner

Best above ground pool vacuum on Amazon
Hayward Poolvergnuegen above ground pool vacuum

Buy from Amazon, $630

Why we like it:

  • Ideal for all pool surfaces and shapes
  • Maintains constant suction
  • Robust tire treads for traction

Another one by Hayward, the Poolvergnuegen offers the convenience of more expensive automatic commercial vacuums, at a slightly lower price point. It easily cleans pools between 16 and 32 feet, making it perfect for most above ground home pools. The Poolvergnuegen also has great traction, which means it’s able to clean even the roughest pool bottoms.

One Amazon reviewer wrote that this pool vacuum is “absolutely amazing,” adding that “I just got a new pool and it was filthy. This made my pool spotless in under 24 hours.” Needless to say, he highly recommends the Poolvergnuegen.

Bestway Flowclear AquaClimb Automatic Pool Cleaner

Best above ground pool vacuum at Walmart
flowclear pool vacuum

Buy from Walmart, $150

Why we like it:

  • Adjustable pressure regulator
  • Basket catches debris before it reaches the filter
  • Includes hoses and connectors compatible with leading pool brands

If you have a soft-sided pool with a low-flow pump, this above ground pool vacuum from Walmart is just what you need. The Bestway Flowclear vacuum’s patented design, featuring an adjustable pressure regulator and a basket that catches debris before it can get caught in your filter, makes it easy to keep your pool water sparkling and clean all season long. Just connect the cleaner’s hose to your filter pump, place in the pool, and let it do its thing. Includes hoses and connectors compatible with most leading pool brands.

“I love that I can set this up walk off and come back at a later time and my pool is clean from leaves and fallen debris from my neighbors trees,” wrote one reviewer. “Setup is easy and it usually only takes me a few minutes to get it up and running.”

Kokido Telsa Telescopic Rechargeable Electric Pool Vacuum Cleaner

Best small above ground pool vacuum
kokido automatic pool vacuum

Buy from Amazon, $144

Why we like it:

  • Suitable for pools of any size
  • Removable filter
  • Telescoping handle

Resembling a modern, sleek steam mop, this electric pool vacuum does its job well, consistently, and (most importantly) quickly. With its telescoping long handle, this pool vacuum works perfectly in pools of any size. The removable filter is also a huge plus, as it can considerably cut your cleaning time.

One Amazon reviewer wrote, “I have a 24′ round above-ground pool and needed something to quickly clean up minor debris without much hassle. I saw this and decided to give it a try. When it came in, I almost sent it back without trying it as I thought it was too small. Glad I didn’t … I was impressed with its suction power and I can cover my pool in about 15 minutes with it.”

Pentair R201276 214 Pro Vac

Best powerful above ground pool vacuum
pentair above ground pool vacuum

Buy from Amazon, $115

Why we like it:

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When it comes to manual pool vacuums, the Pentair R201276 214 Pro Vac is a perennial favorite. It’s designed with several chambers, which spread out the suction so that this vacuum can pick up nearly anything. If you aren’t careful, the Pentair R201276 might suck you up! You can also adjust how quickly this vacuum goes, making it easy to slow down when you have some time, or speed up if you’re in a rush. Planning a last minute pool party? This is perfect for you.

The only potential problem you might run into with the Pentair R201276 is the handle, which is susceptible to rust. Because it isn’t built of stainless steel, long, wet hours can take a toll. Obviously, this can’t be prevented as the machine needs to be in the pool, but you can compensate by ensuring that the vacuum doesn’t spend long hours in the pool, and is dried off after every use.

Intex Above Ground Swimming Pool Rechargeable Handheld Vacuum

Best above ground pool vacuum for Intex pools
handheld pool vacuum

Buy from Walmart, $97

Why we like it:

  • Built-in rechargeable batteries
  • Telescoping handle
  • Perfect for smaller pools

Do you have an Intex inflatable above ground pool? Then the Intex Handheld Pool Vacuum is a must-have for keeping it clean. A waterproof switch and rechargeable battery make it safe and simple to operate, and there are no cables or hoses to worry about. Just submerge it in the water and let it take care of any debris with its powerful suction. Just note that this handheld model is not meant for larger pools — it works best in pool with an 18-foot or less diameter.

“We tried other types of vacuums for our pool and found this one to be the best,” wrote a buyer who has three teenagers and a 14-foot pool situated next to a dirt driveway. “Works well. Takes a long time to recharge. Could use a bigger bag and come with charger that connects to wall,” wrote another customer. For less than $100, sounds pretty good!

Intex Swimming Pool Cleaning Kit with Vacuum Skimmer & Pole

Best above ground pool vacuum kit
pool cleaning kit

Buy from Walmart, $31

Why we like it:

  • Very affordable
  • Works with your garden hose
  • Comes with skimmer and telescoping pole

You don’t have to spend a bundle to get your pool clean, and this Intex above ground pool vacuum kit is proof! It comes with a vacuum, a skimmer, and a telescoping pole that lets you reach the far corners of your pool. Just attach the vacuum to the pole, connect your garden hose, and debris will flow into the attached reusable bag. Then attach the surface skimmer to the pool to collect any other leaves or particles. Voila!

Reviews are mixed on this super-affordable pool cleaning kit from Walmart. While one customer said her husband loves it, others reported that the quality seemed poor and buyer said his broke just after the return window ended. “I was not sure the vacuum would work with a garden hose connection, but it did,” wrote one reviewer. Another reported that, “It does work, but uses a lot of water from your hose.” Perhaps this reviewer summed it up best when he said, “It picked up the debris on the ground of my swimming pool pretty well. If you don’t mind a little labor in moving the Intex vacuum along with your garden hose, then you’ll be good.”

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