Plunging into a sparkling blue pool is the disposition of any avid swimmer. That said, the pools don’t magically clean themselves. You either get your hands dirty doing it or let the robots step in.
The beauty of robots is that they will probably reach and clean the pool sections you wouldn’t otherwise reach relying on manual cleaning.
However, as you engage robotic pool cleaners for your above ground pool, you should be certain you are bringing on board the right companion. Different cleaners vary in suction power, filtration capacity, efficiency, convenience, and budget-friendliness. You must therefore make proper consideration of all these factors before surrendering your dollars.
This in-depth review endeavors to discuss all the things you need to look for in the best above ground pool cleaner before settling. Take a keen look.
- 1 What is the best above ground pool vacuum?
- 2 Our Top Picks
- 3 Top 8 best above ground pool vacuum
- 3.1 1. Best overall: DOLPHIN Advantage Robotic Vacuum
- 3.2 2. Best for fast cleaning: Dolphin E10
- 3.3 3. Best Suction Side Pool Cleaner: Zodiac Ranger Suction Side
- 3.4 4. Best for automatic cleaning: Hayward W3500
- 3.5 5. Best for Intex above ground pools: Intex Auto Pool Cleaner
- 3.6 6. Best for cordless cleaning: Pool Blaster Max Cordless
- 3.7 7. Best for vinyl pool: Polaris Vac-Sweep 65 6-130-00
- 3.8 8. Best cordless automatic vacuum: AIPER Cordless Vacuum
- 4 What to look for in the best above ground pool vacuum
- 5 FAQs
- 6 Final Words
What is the best above ground pool vacuum?
Whether you are battling it out with debris, dirt, leaves, twigs, acorns, or algae in your above ground pool at home, you need to arm yourself with a surefire solution to keep enjoying the benefits of taking a plunge into the pool.
What better solution is there than a reliable pool vacuum?
The DOLPHIN Advantage Robotic Vacuum fits the description of a reliable vacuum. Backed by a powerful suction rate that pairs well with superior scrubbing and filtration capacity, this pool cleaner does an excellent job in just under 2 hours.
Nonetheless, if you are more after convenience with performance playing second fiddle, you might want to end your search at Pool Blaster Max Cordless. Without the trouble of tangled cords, you can effortlessly clean your pool with much delight.
Our Top Picks
Best overall: DOLPHIN Advantage Robotic Vacuum
With a suction rate of 4,000 gallons per hour, there is no pool too stubborn for this vacuum. To make your work even more seamless, the vacuum boasts equally powerful scrubbing and filtration capabilities for fast dirt removal.
Best for fast cleaning: Dolphin E10
Thanks to a strong suction and elongated cord, this pool cleaner delivers the fastest outcomes for your above ground pool.
Best Suction Side Pool Cleaner: Zodiac Ranger Suction Side
If you are dealing with a non-flat pool bottom, this is it. Combining an AG disc, deflector wheel, and elongated feed hose, navigating dished out pool bottoms becomes possible with this cleaner.
Best for automatic cleaning: Hayward W3500
Steered by the intuitive SmartDrive technology, this vacuum produces the best outcomes even in your absence.
Best for Intex above ground pools: Intex Auto Pool Cleaner
If you are specifically dealing with an Intex pool, this cleaner will do you customized justice!
Best for cordless cleaning: Pool Blaster Max Cordless
Do you fancy cord-free operation in pool cleaning? This fellow boasts a powerful lithium-ion battery for that much-needed convenience.
Best for vinyl pool: Polaris Vac-Sweep 65 6-130-00
Equipped with a jet sweep assembly, this vacuum delivers the best pool side cleaning without straining your skimmer and filter.
Best cordless automatic vacuum: AIPER Cordless Vacuum
Looking to combine the benefits of full automation with cordless convenience? This pool cleaner should do the trick.
Top 8 best above ground pool vacuum
From the below review of 8 of our top pool vacuums, you will hardly miss one that resonates with your specific pool needs. Keep scrolling to develop a fact-backed selection checklist.
1. Best overall: DOLPHIN Advantage Robotic Vacuum
If you are a pool owner who values quality time with family and friends, this pool cleaner might just be for you. A powerful robotic pool cleaner, DOLPHIN Advantage takes on all cleaning hassles without complaining as you focus on things that matter most to you.
Covering both above ground and in-ground pools of up to 33 feet long in just under 2 hours, this intuitive robotic master is sure to be a worthy companion. To crown the top-notch cleaning performance, this fellow is also incredibly versatile. It effectively covers both pool floors and walls in all types of pool surfaces making pool investment an enviable life goal.
Besides, the robotic vacuum is super easy to use as well as maintain and boasts more adorable features including:
Compact and agile design
At only 13.8 lbs., the DOLPHIN Advantage is conveniently lightweight, not only on your hands but also on the walls and floor of your pool. This augments the cleaner’s agility making wall climbing a walk in the park. Further, with agility comes seamless maneuverability whether on gunite, plaster, or tile surfaces.
Talk of pool cleaning flexibility and that’s exactly what this fellow serves you. Backed by a 50 ft. long cable, the vacuum affords you an extra layer of convenience regardless of the point of observation. A longer cable also means the vacuum can cover a wider range in a shorter time.
Powerful suction rate
Thanks to a 4,000 GPH, DOLPHIN Advantage takes all the hard punishment for you. In other words, this vacuum is synonymous with effortless pool cleaning. It combines superior suction power with excellent scrubbing and filtering capabilities to restore your pool’s sparkle without breaking a sweat.
As simple as plug and play is this vacuum’s operation. You don’t need a booster pump, extra hose connection, or bothersome installations. Simply plug in the cleaner, drop it in the pool, and walk away from the cleaning hassle.
Furthermore, with a scheduler, automatic pool cleaning becomes a reality thanks to the 3 weekly settings embedded.
Why we choose Dolphin advantage over dolphin escape
First of all, the Dolphin Advantage boasts superior filtration power compared to its cousin. Secondly, the former also provides more pool coverage (33 ft.) than the Dolphin Escape (30 ft.) for the same suction rate. So, why go for less when you can leverage full cleaning potential?
2. Best for fast cleaning: Dolphin E10
You cannot talk about the best vacuum for above ground pool without stumbling on the Dolphin E10. Not only does the powerful cleaner boast excellent suction strength it is also extremely lightweight. Therefore, combining power and convenience yields an unrivaled value for your money.
This robotic cleaner is ideal for all above ground pools not exceeding a length of 30 feet. While it is only limited to cleaning pool floors, it sits well with all types of pool surfaces eliminating the stress of application.
Moreover, the fellow can hand back to you a sparkling pool in just under 1.5 hours! This essentially lets you take back control of your free time without distorting your schedule.
So, what else can you expect from this robotic beast apart from the “supersonic” cleaning speed?
Tucked inside all the powerful performance is a 13.8 lbs. robot! What a convenience this is? You can handle the cleaner with ease during cleaning and safe, hassle-free storage is equally possible.
Fast water release
Easy machine handling is further augmented by the quick water release design as you lift it out of the water. Interestingly, the cleaner sets free the water without losing the dirt and debris captives trapped inside.
Without requiring additional pumps and hoses, the Dolphin E10 is a loyal friend when trying to keep your energy bills down. What’s more, the 1.5-hour cleaning cycle minimizes the power usage all the more.
Thanks to a 40 ft. long power cable, the fast cleaning process never falls short of standard. The robot can navigate its away around the pool with unrestricted ease.
The best vacuum for above ground pool shouldn’t be divorced from the best suction rate and the Dolphin E10 perfectly fits the description. A 4,000 GPH will shatter your expectations when combined with superior filtration.
Why we choose Dolphin E10 over Dolphin E20
Even though the Dolphin E20 covers more cleaning ground (33 ft.), it ends up spending more time (2 hours) cleaning than the Dolphin E10. For a pool owner who cares about value, longer cleaning cycles translate to more energy consumption.
3. Best Suction Side Pool Cleaner: Zodiac Ranger Suction Side
The best automatic above ground pool vacuum, the Zodiac Ranger sucks your pool’s dirt with excellence. Consisting of a single moving part (the diaphragm), you can expect a seamless operation without sacrificing sparkling clean outcomes. A completely quiet operation is also a part of the package thanks to the elimination of flapper noises prevalent with other cleaners.
Another thing that stands out about this vacuum is its ability to clean even above ground pools that feature dished out bottoms up to 72 inches. Interestingly, that also happens to be the cleaner’s specialty.
Thanks to its unique design, you can expect more stunning features from the vacuum including:
Owing to a specially designed and positioned deflector wheel, the vacuum can seamlessly clean your pool without getting trapped on corners, steps, or ladders. Such uninterrupted operation is what you want to focus your priorities on.
Moreover, the wheel adds an extra layer of aesthetics to the intuitive functionality.
The impressive vacuum comes fully pre-assembled by the manufacturer. Therefore, installation only takes a few short minutes without the hassle of any installation tools.
Furthermore, vacuum maintenance is also easy because, without the gears, wheels, and flappers, only the diaphragm is on the move during cleaning.
32 ft. feed hose
A lengthy hose is a part of the pre-assembled package allowing you to clean with convenience. The added flexibility lets you cover an expansive pool surface in one cycle.
Equipped with an AG disc at the base, the Zodiac Ranger glides with much ease along the pool’s bottom, up the walls, and around steps. This ensures holistic coverage of your pool.
Regulated water flow
Thanks to an Insta-Skim Compact self-adjusting flow control valve and Flowkeeper Valve, the Zodiac Ranger can automatically control water flow in its operation to guarantee top performance always.
Why we choose Zodiac Ranger over Pentair Kreepy Krauly
The Pentair Kreepy Krauly vacuum is too simplistic to deliver beyond the normal cleaning. The Zodiac Ranger, on the other hand, features meaningful sophistications such as the deflector wheel to enhance the automatic operation. You would have to constantly monitor the operation of Pentair Kreepy Krauly to guide it around obstacles.
4. Best for automatic cleaning: Hayward W3500
The Hayward W3500 presents the best substitution for manual pool cleaning thanks to the unique design. A versatile design, the vacuum will effectively clean the bottom of all shapes and sizes of above ground and on-ground pools with an automatic dedication.
To guarantee trouble-free and flawless operation, the powerful cleaner pairs up nicely with your existing filtration system. This eliminates the need for booster pumps that ultimately drive up your energy consumption. Besides, you are also exempted from the trouble of constantly emptying and replacing the debris bag.
What’s more, only minimal installation is needed before you start enjoying more incredible features including:
This tech is what powers and enhances the automation process. It intuitively steers the vacuum making sure the pool’s bottom is covered wholesomely and quickly without sparing any debris.
Deluxe bumper ring
The unique vacuum design features a deluxe bumper ring specially designed to minimize instances of friction while guiding the machine away from steps, ladders, and walls. This guarantees you an uninterrupted cleaning cycle.
The Hayward W3500 vacuum comes backed by a 32 ft. hose to link directly to your skimmer. This does not only significantly slash the installation time but also adds more flexibility to the cleaning coverage.
Unique turbine system
This system adds gentleness to the vacuum’s movement across your pool’s bottom resulting in a completely quiet operation. Moreover, the turbines help to improve water circulation by pulling up water from the pool’s bottom as the suction cleaner moves across the surface. This extra service enhances your pool’s water clarity without overusing chemical sanitizers.
Why we choose Hayward W3500 over VINGLI Pool Vacuum
While both vacuums are automatic pool cleaners, the Hayward W3500 boasts more superior features than the VINGLI Pool Vacuum. A feature like the turbine system not only improves the vacuum’s operation but also adds more value to your overall investment thanks to the extra functionality boost.
5. Best for Intex above ground pools: Intex Auto Pool Cleaner
This powerful electric above ground pool vacuum is specially confined to Intex pool owners. While it is not suitable for in-ground pools as well, it is generously equipped with heavy-duty capabilities to clean with minimum hassle. Backed by durable material, you can expect an enduring performance as well as a worthy return on your investment.
Dimensionally, the automatic pool cleaner sits well with Intex above ground pools equipped with filter pumps bearing a flow rate of 1,600 to 3,500 gallons per hour (GPH). In simpler terms, that translates to between 6,056 to 13,248 liters.
What’s more, the vacuum automatically cleans your pool without straining your purse. At slightly over $100, you get full access to the stunning cleaning capabilities Intex Auto has to offer. Assembling the cleaner is a breeze as well as attaching it to your pool jet to usher you into a trouble-free operation.
So, what else stands out about the cleaner?
Automatic reverse cleaning
The first stunning feature comes into play through an automatic reverse movement during pool cleaning. This allows the intuitive vacuum to cover the entire pool floor without compromising the desired pool sparkle.
Lengthy hose connection
The Intex Auto vacuum comes complete with a 24 ft. hose that effortlessly attaches to your existing pool inlet. You can attach it to Intex inlet connectors using 38mm or 1 ½” hose fittings before giving way to the powerful automatic action.
Powerful filter screen
For the extremely friendly price point, this vacuum possesses superior filtration power. The filter has the power to even trap stubborner debris like sand.
Why we choose Intex Recreation over Intex Delux
While they both require the same filter pump specifications, the Intex Recreation cleaner lives up to its name by providing extra recreation in form of money savings. For the same level of performance, retailing above $150 is way too costly for the Intex Delux.
6. Best for cordless cleaning: Pool Blaster Max Cordless
Are you shopping for convenience bundled in a powerful pool cleaner? The Pool Blaster Max Cordless fits the description perfectly. Ideal for both above ground and in-ground pools, this beastly vacuum goes to great lengths to rid your pool of dirt, leaves, sand, and silt leaving a trail of the best sparkle.
The vacuum convenience comes guised in a cordless and super lightweight design to afford you prolonged fatigue-free pool cleaning without tangled hose or cord connections. Packed with high capacity, the vacuum cleans your entire pool in the shortest time possible regardless of the nature of the punishment.
At below $200, here are the adorable features you can access with this pool cleaner:
Water Tech P30 Motor
Backed by such a powerful motor, the Pool Blaster Max boasts an equally powerful suction strength. The vacuum can therefore deep clean any pool surface ensuring fast and efficient dirt and debris pickup.
Also hose-free, this vacuum takes your pool cleaning convenience to new heights. Using your hand, you can easily navigate even the pool areas that automatic cleaners cannot reach.
Lengthy run time
In the cordless operation, the vacuum can run up to 60 minutes without needing a recharge in between. The powerful rechargeable lithium-ion battery is to be credited for this.
The Pool Blaster Max boasts a large debris capture chamber backed by super strong suction. That means it can confidently take on any size pool and all sorts of invaders including leaves, twigs, acorns, and sand. A reusable multilayered filter bag further augments the heavy-duty operation.
A 10.5″ vacuum head helps the cleaner to pick up more dirt in a single pass ensuring more ground is covered.
Why we choose Pool Blaster over Kokido Pool Cleaner
Even though more expensive than the Kokido Pool Cleaner, the Pool Blaster vacuum delivers more superior performance to complement the slightly higher price point. Besides, the former features a smaller head and is hence limited to cleaning small pools or hot tubs.
7. Best for vinyl pool: Polaris Vac-Sweep 65 6-130-00
Are you looking for an effective automatic pool side cleaner? You may not have to look beyond this fellow once you learn what the powerful vacuum can deliver. Ideal for all above ground pools extending up to 5 feet deep, the side cleaner features a simple design easy to install. This is further backed by a ready-to-connect 1.5″ threaded return line.
Favorably applicable to pools with uneven bottoms especially made from fiberglass or vinyl, the vacuum is uniquely powered by the pressure of clean water heading back to your pool. Essentially, this leaves both the skimmer and filter unoccupied to focus entirely on annihilating contaminants.
The pool cleaner sits well with pumps and filtration systems designed for above ground pools. With this combination, it effortlessly vacuums the pool’s bottom while sweeping the sides in just under three hours. Linked to the pressure side of your pump, the vacuum also distributes filtered, clean water throughout the pool as it cleans.
Some features that pop include:
Jet sweep assembly
This special feature is responsible for blowing water against the pool’s wall to loosen dirt and debris in hard-to-reach places. The debris is then swept into a filter bag that’s super easy to remove.
Unique filter bag
This detachable filter bag is designed with the pool’s pump protection in mind. It eliminates both large and small debris including pebbles and twigs before they get to the pump. This serves to prolong the lifespan of your pool’s filtration system.
24 ft. floating hose
This elongation adds flexibility to the vacuum’s operation allowing it to cover more ground uninterrupted.
Why we choose Polaris over Zodiac Pressure Side Cleaner
Both the Polaris and Zodiac Pressure Side Cleaner share most of the intuitive features designed to enhance pool side cleaning. That said, the Polaris vacuum boasts a more streamlined design for flawless maneuverability. Further, the clever design also augments the aesthetics of the Polaris vacuum.
8. Best cordless automatic vacuum: AIPER Cordless Vacuum
The AIPER Cordless Vacuum is specially crafted for flat-bottomed above ground pools regardless of the pool shape. Without pump or hose engagement, your pool environment remains tranquil and peaceful even when cleaning is underway.
Without overreliance on your pool filter, the AIPER vacuum effortlessly delivers easy, effective pool cleaning for an entire 538 square ft. pool in under an hour. While at it, forget about cord entanglement or cord damage for a smooth cleaning cycle.
A tiny cleaning giant, the vacuum is very lightweight for fun-filled handling. Simply drop it in the water, let it clean, and easily lift it up when done. Furthermore, cleaning the filter is a breeze for hassle-free maintenance.
So, why do we place so much hype on this cordless beast?
Touch and reverse technology
The pool cleaner automatically reverses upon touching the pool wall. Moreover, the special technology also prompts the vacuum to immediately dock when the power runs out or completes a cleaning cycle. This gives you the convenience to retrieve the vacuum from the pool without stepping into the water.
Backed by 2 pcs upgraded motors that undergird a strong suction, expect a deep clean with this vacuum. Further, to guarantee efficient pool cleaning, the motors collaborate nicely with 2 pcs bottom brushes to tackle head-on all sorts of pool invaders including sand, tough dirt, leaves, and buds.
IPX8 Waterproof technology
This vacuum boasts a waterproof lithium-ion battery to guarantee both a safe and prolonged operation. The built-in 2600mAh battery can run up to 50 minutes before needing a recharge. Fully charging the cleaner takes up to 4 hours.
Why we choose AIPER over Paxcess Cordless Vacuum
Both these vacuums deliver the same level of performance yet at different price points. The AIPER cleaner is $30 cheaper than the Paxcess Cordless Vacuum hence promising a better value for your money.
What to look for in the best above ground pool vacuum
Want to eliminate the guesswork as you shop around for the best pool vacuum for your above ground pool? Keep in mind the following critical considerations:
How much convenience are you after as you clean your pool? Depending on your answer, you can narrow down your vacuum selection to either corded or cordless pool cleaners. Within that selection, you can further narrow down your options to either automatic or manual.
A corded vacuum comes with an extensive cord to allow maximum coverage during cleaning. Therefore, you must always check the cord dimensions before buying. A cordless vacuum, on the other hand, will come with a rechargeable battery. Thus, you should always check out the battery’s charging duration, runtime, and capacity.
The basic operation of a pool cleaner depends on how much dirt it can effectively pick up in each cleaning cycle. That will in turn depend on how much suction strength the vacuum has.
A strong suction means the vacuum can penetrate even the smallest crevices and still lift as much dirt and debris as possible from the pool’s bottom or sides. Furthermore, the built-in suction should be a formidable match for as many dirt types as possible.
For instance, a suction rate that can handle both sand and algae is superior to one that can only handle sand dirt.
To complement the vacuum’s suction is the filtration capability. This is what ultimately determines the cleaning efficiency of your pool vacuum.
A pool cleaner with a higher filtration capacity can effectively trap many different types of dirt particles. It also guarantees filtration of more gallons of water per minute. The effect of this is a shortened cleaning cycle leaving you with more time on your hands.
Can you leave a robotic pool cleaner in the above ground pool?
Yes, you can, but it is not recommended even from the manufacturers’ point of view. Being a heavy investment, a robotic pool cleaner deserves the best care after completing its cycle.
That said, not only can the machine pose a safety threat to swimmers by remaining in the pool but also the water chemicals may over time corrode certain parts of the machine.
Do above ground robotic pool cleaners pick up algae?
Robotic pool cleaners are equipped with powerful scanning, scrubbing, and suction abilities to pick up even the tiniest of debris and dirt. Algae is no different. The more powerful the vacuum motor and the more the scrubbing brushes, the better the outcome.
How often should you vacuum your above ground pool?
Typically, it is recommended to clean your pool at least once every week. However, you can still defy that standard and clean your pool any time you notice a massive invasion from leaves, debris, or dirt on the pool’s floor. Such irregular frequencies may be triggered by erratic occurrences like heavy storms.
How long do pool vacuums last?
Generally, most pool vacuums will last up to 5 years with proper maintenance and occasional replacement of parts. That said, some models have been known to reach their 8th birthday still in great shape.
While there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to the best above ground pool cleaner, this comprehensive guide will hopefully bring you closer to finding your ideal match. Based on the vacuum’s suction, scrubbing, scanning, efficiency, and convenience, stacking the different options against each other becomes easier for you.
While we applaud the DOLPHIN Advantage Robotic Vacuum for enduring the harshest punishment in the shortest duration, your choice shouldn’t be confined to our top pick alone. From the above in-depth analysis, each pool cleaner is different and may not all satisfy your needs the same way.
The best you can do is to try to match as many of your pool cleaning needs to the vacuum that comes the closest to satisfying them all. Good luck with that!