The best pool vacuums for 2024

Ready for warm weather but need to restock on pool-cleaning gear? Check out our selection of effective pool vacuums.

Best overall

An Aiper Seagull Pro pool vacuum cleaning the bottom of a blue tiled pool.

Aiper Seagull Pro Cordless Robot Vacuum

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Best robotic

Dolphin Nautilus CC Plus Robotic Pool Vacuum Cleaner

Dolphin Nautilus CC Plus Robotic Pool Vacuum Cleaner

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Best budget

POOLWHALE Portable Pool Vacuum

POOLWHALE Portable Pool Vacuum

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Vacuuming the pool is probably not at the top of your mind when you’re picturing long days spent poolside. If you have a pool, you likely spend all winter dreaming of the day you can take a dip, not scoop debris. But, along with the benefits (and there are so many benefits) of owning a pool, come the responsibilities of upkeep, which can get out of hand if you don’t have the right tools with which to keep your pool in tip-top shape. Case in point? The pool vacuum cleaner—that all-important piece of equipment that keeps the debris out and the good times rolling, all summer long. So get a head start on summer with our picks for the best pool vacuums.

How we chose the best pool vacuums

When it comes to pools, we’d rather spend more time swimming in them than cleaning them. To find the best pool vacuums, we considered the latest models from top brands, including Aiper and Zodiac. We dove into the specs to find a selection of great products. We then considered our hands-on testing, critical reviews, and peer recommendations to narrow down the options to the best pool vacuums.

The best pool vacuums: Reviews & Recommendations

Our choices for the best pool vacuums are workhorses that can cannonball debris out of your backyard oasis. Here are our recommendations for in-ground, above-ground, manual, and robotic options, and more.

Best overall: Aiper Seagull Pro Cordless Robot Vacuum

Quick-and-Easy Cleaning

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Why it made the cut: This lightweight, high-tech pool vacuum does all the work for you.


  • Weight: 30 lbs.
  • Item dimensions: ‎19.6 x 18.43 x 14.5 inches
  • Style: Automatic pool robot


  • Comes with four motors for extra power
  • Internal gyroscope helps it map your pool
  • Rechargeable


  • May need a manual nudge in some parts of the pool
  • Some users say it doesn’t charge well
  • May be overkill for smaller above-ground pools

This rechargeable pool vacuum is so decked out in high-tech features that it barely requires your help to get the job done. Equipped with four motors and a gyroscope, the Aiper Seagull Pro cleans up to 3,200 square feet in the three hours of battery power it gets from each charge. This cordless model’s internal gyroscope provides smart navigation that allows the Seagull Pro to map the floor and walls of a pool. The powerful motors offer 130GPM (gallons per minute) of suction while bottom brushes sweep out leaves, dirt, and other debris.

Aiper Seagull Pro Pool Vacuum next to a pool

The Seagull Pro also cleans walls and the waterline and it’s programmed to stop near a pool wall when the battery starts to drain. Plus, it only 1.5 hours to charge up. Essentially, all you have to do is drop it in the pool, and watch it do all the work.

Best in-ground: Zodiac MX6 In-Ground Suction Side Pool Cleaner

Compact yet Powerful

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Why it made the cut: Leaves and debris are no match for this vacuum’s suction, easy maneuverability, and side cleaning capabilities.


  • Weight: 6.54 pounds
  • Item dimensions: 40.38 x 8.88 x 14.75 inches
  • Style: Automatic cleaning robot


  • Automatic
  • Cyclonic suction
  • Can clean floors, walls, and waterline


  • Can get stuck if the suction isn’t high enough

This small pool robot has the power of a much bigger vacuum, and will quickly traverse the walls and floor of your pool for a flawless clean. Swiveling hoses make for an easy hook-up and assembly, and “cyclonic” suction gives this Zodiac MX6 some serious chops. It easily maneuvers your pool floor using a grooved track design, and it can also be used for above-ground pools. Here are some more above-ground pool vacuum options.

Best robotic: Dolphin Nautilus CC Plus Robotic Pool Vacuum Cleaner

Powerful and Autonomous

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Why it made the cut: This automatic pool vacuum has a scheduling timer, meaning it will run automatically when you want it to.


  • Weight: 19 lbs.
  • Item dimensions: 16 x 10 x 16 inches
  • Style: Automatic pool robot


  • Scheduling capabilities
  • 60-foot cable
  • Great at cleaning walls


  • Expensive
  • Heavy

Want the best robotic pool vacuum? The Dolphin Nautilus CC Plus is what pool cleaning dreams are made of. Essentially independent, you can program this robot to a weekly schedule, and you’re all set. It’s not completely hands-off, though—you still need to take it out of the pool regularly, if not daily, to empty it and clean out the filters. Also, it weighs 19 pounds, which is quite heavy, and has a 60-foot cable, so it’s not cordless.

Best manual: POOL BLASTER Water Tech Catfish Pool Cleaner

Quick-and-Easy Cleaning

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Why it made the cut: This small pool vacuum works with above-ground and inground pools.


  • Weight: 6 lbs.
  • Item dimensions: 8 x 8 x 18 inches
  • Style: Manual pool vacuum


  • 45-minute battery life
  • Affordable
  • Rechargeable


  • Not for deep in-ground pools

Searching for a pool vacuum that can do it all? This small pool vacuum is the ideal piece of equipment if you’re looking for a no-frills, easy cleaning system. Suck up all debris and then recharge for its next use (the battery is designed to run for up to 45 minutes). This model comes with the vacuum head, wall charger, one all-purpose filter bag, and two disposable micro-filter bags. At less than three pounds, it’s also easily transportable. You won’t get the depth of a deep in-ground pool vacuum, or the thoroughness, but you will get a simple, affordable cleaner.

Best for debris: Poolmaster Big Sucker Swimming Pool Leaf Vacuum

Simple Design

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Why it made the cut: This manual pool vacuum is specifically designed to capture pesky leaves.


  • Weight: 1.82 lbs.
  • Item dimensions: 15 x 15 x 2.64 inches
  • Style: Manual pool robot


  • No batteries required
  • Smooth maneuverability
  • Durable


  • Hose and pool pole sold separately

With the Poolmaster vacuum, you can go back to basics; simply attach the cleaner to your garden hose, assemble the vacuum, and get to work. It should be able to pick up large debris, but smaller leaves or dirt might get left behind. The plus side? No batteries mean no time limit and no recharging when you’re done.

Best budget: POOLWHALE Portable Pool Vacuum

Small and Affordable

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Why it made the cut: Inexpensive and easy to assemble, this handheld vacuum is perfect for above-ground pools, spas, ponds, and fountains.


  • Weight: 1.2 lbs.
  • Item dimensions: 4.72 x 10.43 x 47.24 inches
  • Style: Manual


  • Lightweight
  • Portable
  • Easy to assemble


  • Handle feels flimsy

Weighing in at a mere 1.2 pounds, the Poolwhale pool vacuum is probably the most portable vacuum on our list. Because it’s so tiny, it works best with spas and hot tubs, and less well in deep inground pools. It’s easy to assemble, attached to a standard garden hose, and comes with a 6 sections pole of 56.5-inches, making it perfect for collecting stains, leaves, and stones from the bottom of a shallow pool.

Things to consider before buying a pool vacuum

Buying and maintaining a pool is a significant expense. So, before you buy a pool vacuum, take into consideration these factors to ensure you make the best choice for your needs.

Type and size of pool

There are pool vacuums that are designed for both above-ground and in-ground pools, and some models will work for both. Look for options designed for your type of pool. Also, make sure you know the size of your pool before you make a purchase. An above-ground pool that’s just 8 feet in diameter and 4 feet deep all around won’t take hours to clean. But if you’ve got a 16-foot by 32-foot lap pool that’s eight feet down in the deep end, you may want to consider a robotic model that can map the surfaces of your pool and that you can program to clean for hours.

Corded or cordless

If you decide to go with a corded option, keep the size of the pool in mind and make sure the pool vacuum comes with a hose that’s long enough. Battery-powered units tend to be lighter, but they might not clean as well as those that plug into an outlet.

You want a balance between a cleaner heavy enough to fight off buoyancy to clean the bottom of the pool but light enough for you to easily lift it from the water. And with cordless models, you’ll also want to figure in how long they clean on a single charge and how long it takes them to recharge.

Suction power

Suction strength is another important measure to consider when purchasing a pool vacuum. Suction power is typically measured in GPM (gallons per minute) or LPM (liters per minute). Look for higher suction strength if your pool collects a lot of debris. Seek out pool cleaners that are easy to clean with a lift-off debris container that won’t drip or drop leaves and other crud back into the water.

Smart features

Do you like to clean your pool manually or do you prefer a unit that allows you to program cleaning times? How about the ability to control it with your smartphone? The ideal pool vacuum will not only clean your pool but fit seamlessly into your life as well so you’ll rarely think about it.


Q: How much does a pool vacuum cost?

Pool vacuums can range in cost from less than $25 for a manual version that attaches to a garden hose to more than $1,500 for robotic vacuums that incorporate several motors, sophisticated mapping technology, and long run times. The best option for you depends on the pool you have, the amount of time you want to spend cleaning it, your comfort (or lack thereof) with technology, and your budget.

Q: How long does a pool vacuum last?

How long a pool vacuum lasts depends on the quality of your vacuum; a more expensive model could last five years, while a cheaper one will only make it through a couple of seasons. Your caretaking skills will also play a part—if you treat your vacuum poorly, for example, it’s almost inevitable that it won’t max out its potential lifespan.

Q: Are robotic pool cleaners worth the money?

For those perfectionists among us, a robotic pool cleaner may be worth the money. Here’s why: they’ll nab every last piece of debris in your pool, scrub the tiles, filter the water, and could last up to five or even eight years, so you won’t have to pay for a replacement anytime soon.

Q: Do you really need a pool vacuum?

If you’re reading this article (and have made it this far), chances are you already believe in the effectiveness—and, thus, necessity—of a pool vacuum. If you’re on the fence, though, the answer to this question really comes down to your standards. Do you want your pool to be spotless? Or can you turn a blind eye to the occasional floating debris? Where you live and what you use your pool for can help you answer these questions, and figure out if you really need a pool vacuum.

Final thoughts on the best pool vacuums

Long, loungy days spent by the pool are arguably the best way to experience summer, and a pool vacuum will only make those days that much more enjoyable. Find the best pool vacuum for you by figuring out your priorities—price, efficiency, or technological innovation—and your pool care will be set for years to come.

Why trust us

Popular Science started writing about technology more than 150 years ago. There was no such thing as “gadget writing” when we published our first issue in 1872, but if there was, our mission to demystify the world of innovation for everyday readers means we would have been all over it. Here in the present, PopSci is fully committed to helping readers navigate the increasingly intimidating array of devices on the market right now.

Our writers and editors have combined decades of experience covering and reviewing consumer electronics. We each have our own obsessive specialties—from high-end audio to video games to cameras and beyond—but when we’re reviewing devices outside of our immediate wheelhouses, we do our best to seek out trustworthy voices and opinions to help guide people to the very best recommendations. We know we don’t know everything, but we’re excited to live through the analysis paralysis that internet shopping can spur so readers don’t have to.


Emma Banks


Emma is a freelance writer and editor currently living in Brooklyn, New York. She covers culture and LGBTQ issues for various publications nationwide. Previously she was on staff at Refinery29 and before that she was the Editorial Director of Milk Studios.