Learn About the Three Main Types of Pool Cleaners and Choose the Best One For You

A clean swimming pool is a must for apparent aesthetic and health reasons. The only problem is it takes considerable time and effort if you choose to do it manually. Fortunately, technology has since caught up, making it easier for pool owners to have sparkling clean, debris-free water any day, any season. How? The answer is automatic pool cleaners.

Automatic pool cleaners eliminate particles from the pool’s surface and walls.They prevent bacteria and other germs from infesting your pool, thus making the water safer for the family. While some cleaners are operated by suction or water pressure from your pool, modern robotic cleaners run using their own power source. Plus, it carries the debris it collects in a container or bag, preventing additional strain on your pool’s filter system. Other non-robotic cleaners may have their own bins, while others store material in your pool’s standard filtration equipment.

But the story doesn’t end there. As a pool owner, it could be challenging to choose from among the dozens of products on the market. You just can’t pick up something on the shelf and expect it to work on your pool. You need an automatic cleaner specifically suited for your pool’s size and style. Each type of pool cleaner uses a different filtration method, so that’s also something to keep in mind.

Why Buy an Automatic Pool Cleaner

Cleaning and maintaining a pool is no joke. It takes hours of work just skimming the pool surface, not to mention the time spent manually brushing the walls and vacuuming the rest of the debris. Depending on your location, you may need to do one or all of these tasks every day. It is time-consuming and could bore out even the most diligent workers! Unless you have dozens of people working for you, most pool owners do not have that luxury.

That is why an automatic pool cleaner is an excellent investment. You don’t need to exert much effort because these machines do most of the heavy lifting. Some types are fully touch-and-go machines, meaning you simply push a button, and they’ll complete a whole cleaning cycle independently. Other types utilize the pool’s filtration system and require more human intervention. As a swimming pool owner, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the common types of pool cleaners and make an informed decision from there.

Types of Pool Cleaners

Suction-Side Cleaners

Suction cleaners are the most inexpensive types of pool cleaners.It works by utilizing the pool’s existing filtration system. Contrary to its name, it’s not a cleaner that sticks to the “side” of your pool. Instead, it is essentially an add-on to the pump, consisting of a network of pipes and tubes leading to and from a filter. The cleaner is powered by the pressure from your existing pump system and works like an underwater vacuum to keep the pool floors looking clean.

Suction cleaners sweep dirt and debris directly into the skimmer basket, so you must be cautious about checking the skimmer on a consistent basis to prevent it from becoming clogged. A suction cleaner can potentially diminish the life span of your equipment because it is directly connected to the pump and filter. It also frequently diverts the flow away from the skimmer, making it more difficult for surface debris to be dragged into the skimmer box. Because of that, you may have to manually skim your pool frequently to get rid of surface or floating debris.

Is a Suction-Side Cleaner the Best Option for Me?

Suction-side cleaners are not suitable for large pools, so if you have a large one at home, you may have to look for something else. These pool cleaners perform their best in normal-shaped small pools with tiny debris and simple maneuverability. Suction cleaners lack powerful algorithms, so they’ll have trouble working on more sophisticated pool structures than a standard rectangular pool. 

The bottom line is that if you have a relatively small rectangular pool and you’re looking for something cheap, a suction-side cleaner could be your best bet. Otherwise, you may consider this next type of pool cleaner.

Pressure-Side Cleaners

Pressure-side cleaners are better at their job than suction cleaners; that’s just a fact. While a suction cleaner is adequate for small, rectangular pools, pressure-side cleaners can handle bigger pools.

These machines use water to move around and suck trash. That is why it needs the pool pump to be turned on. The cleaner is connected to the pool’s return jet through the included hose, riding on the coattails of the water pressure from the filter system to move around. In other words, the pressure-side cleaner works by creating a water vortex.

In many cases, pool owners pair a pressure-side pool cleaner with a dedicated booster pump to propel the cleaner around your pool. A pool booster pump may provide an additional boost of pressure to almost any existing pool system, making the pressure-side cleaner work even better. 

A drawback of this type of cleaner is its inability to suck up fine particles. They also cannot scrub; therefore, they will not be able to scrape away algae as effectively as other types of pool cleaners. Another disadvantage is the added electricity costs. When operating a pressure-side cleaner, the pump must always be turned on, and utilizing a booster pump also affects energy use. 

Is a Pressure-Side Cleaner the Best Option for Me?

A pressure-side cleaner is a fantastic alternative if you need something to remove larger debris, something that suction-side cleaners couldn’t do.

They also perform well on in-ground pools and concrete or tile flooring. You may want to reconsider if your pool floors are made of vinyl or fiberglass because these materials are easily scratched.

On the other hand, you should be ready if you might need a booster pump. A booster pump is a necessary evil if your pool pump’s pressure is not strong enough. These things are not cheap at all, and their cost is something that you should consider.

Robotic Pool Cleaners

Robotic pool cleaners are probably the best automatic pool cleaners money can buy. These machines allow people to literally sit back and relax while they do the rest. Robot cleaners usually have long anti-tangle, swivel cables that connect to your home’s electrical system. Using that as a power source, you simply push the power button, drop the cleaner on your pool, and you’d have a clean, sparkling pool in two hours or less.

The drawback to robot pool cleaners is the initial cost. They are really expensive, with some models going above a thousand bucks. Still, any pool owner should strongly consider robotic pool cleaners. 

Why? Because they’d still end up saving up on energy costs compared to the other types of automatic cleaners. Robot cleaners utilize only approximately 180 Watts on average. As a result, you’ll use 82 percent less electricity (820W) than you would with a standard booster pump and filter powering the sort of cleaner you hook into the skimmer, which requires more than 1,000W or 1kWH to operate.

Is a Robotic Pool Cleaner the Best Option for Me?

If budget is not an issue, yes, it probably is your best option. As mentioned, pool maintenance is utterly critical. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has repeatedly warned of swimming-related illnesses. That can be easily prevented if you have a pool maintenance machine that unfailingly does its job. 

A cleaner pool also requires fewer applied chemicals, which benefits your family and the environment. In turn, if you use fewer chemicals in the pool, it will end up preventing swimmer’s hair, allergies, and skin irritation. 

Bottom Line

The best pool cleaner for you is determined by the overall size and shape of your pool and your budget. Smaller pools require less maintenance, so you can get away with an inexpensive cleaner such as a suction-type one.

What about pressure-side cleaners? It’s phenomenal in cleaning larger debris but struggling to suck up finer particles like sand. It also uses more energy, especially with a dedicated booster pump installed.

Without a doubt, the best solution for every pool owner, if money is not a problem, is a robotic pool cleaner. The initial cost is high, but you’ll slowly cover that amount through energy savings. In current calculations, using a robot pool cleaner for three hours a day only costs $1.94 a month! If that’s not money well spent, I don’t know what is.