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The Best Above Ground Pool Vacuum

by Matt Giovanisci | Last Updated: June 30, 2020

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Growing up, I had a 28-foot round above ground pool with NO walk-around deck and NO fence. And because I was the oldest son (and worked at a pool store) it was my job to hook up the manual vacuum and clean the pool every other day.

I learned how to balance myself on the thin edge of the pool, using only the vacuum pole to steady myself. It was the WORST. I begged and pleaded for my dad to buy an automatic pool cleaner so I could stop vacuuming manually. But he refused because “they’re too expensive!”

Well, Dad, not anymore!

After testing every single above ground pool vacuum on the market on a variety of pools, both big and small, here are my top picks.

NOTE: The following above ground pool vacuums are available to buy on either Amazon and InTheSwim.com. Check both sites for availability. All the links are affiliate links which means if you click a link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you. It helps us keep the lights on 💡

The Best Robotic Above Ground Pool Vacuum

Our Top Pick
Aquabot Pool Rover S2-50 Robotic Pool Cleaner for Above Ground and Small Inground Pools

It vacuums small particles better than every other automatic above ground pool cleaner on the market. It also includes a pair of 10-inch scrubbers to remove stubborn dirt. It can be used in above ground and inground pools up to 40 ft. long because it's powered by 50 ft. cable that plugs into an ordinary 110V outlet.

Buy On Amazon Buy On InTheSwim.com
If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you. July 14, 2020 10:34 pm UTC

This is the new and improved Aquabot Rover robotic pool cleaner. Not only does it look really cool, but it’s also affordable for a robot that cleans your swimming pool. This was also one of the very first robotic pool cleaners on the market for above ground pools. However, this vacuum will clean an above ground pool and a small inground pool.

Aquabot is my favorite brand of robotic pool cleaners. They’re extremely innovative and their goal is to provide affordable cleaners that save energy. Gotta love it.

Our Budget Pick
Water Tech Pool Blaster Catfish Pool & Spa Cleaner
$265.00

Ideal for above ground and small in-ground pools, as well as spas and hot tubs. Convenient quick-start button and lightweight attaches to your telescopic pole and includes a rechargeable battery.

Buy On Amazon Buy On InTheSwim.com
If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you. July 14, 2020 10:35 pm UTC

Think of this cleaner as an underwater Dust Buster. The Pool Blaster Catfish is a versatile, dual function cleaner for large spas, above ground pools, and small inground pools. Like all Pool Blasters, the Catfish offers the convenience of hose and cord-free operation. The Pool Blaster Catfish with its High-Flow pump tackles the largest of messes in any above ground pool, spa or hot tub.

The innovative quick-start button makes this cleaner very convenient and the Max-Cone™ Technology compacts all the dirt so more fits in the bag. The All-Purpose filter bag is easy to empty so hands do not touch the dirt. The catfish simply attaches to your existing telescopic pole and includes a reusable filter bag, spot cleaning nozzle, and battery charger.

What is a Robotic Swimming Pool Cleaner?

Robotic pool cleaners combine the best parts of other automatic vacuums. For example, suction-side cleaners (which we’ll get to later) are inexpensive but a pain to get set up. Mainly because they connect to your pool skimmer the same way a manual vacuum does. And if the cleaner sucks up any rocks, it can cause damage to your filter system.

Pressure-side cleaners use the water pressure from your return jet to power the vacuum along the bottom of your pool. What’s great about this is they have their own mesh filter bag that picks up the debris instead of your filter system. So it won’t cause any potential damage.

Robotic cleaners have a mesh filter bag inside them and are powered by water pressure. But that pressure comes from a motor within the unit powered by electricity. So even better, it doesn’t require running your entire filter system to power the vacuum. You can clean your pool while the filter system is off! It even improves water circulation!

NOTE: If you’re worried about putting an electric vacuum in your pool, don’t be. They’re perfectly safe. Also, check out our favorite robotic pool cleaners specifically for inground and above ground swimming pools.

The Best Pressure Side Above Ground Pool Vacuum

Our Top Pick
Polaris Vac-Sweep 65 Pressure Side Pool Cleaner for Above Ground Vinyl Pools
$233.71

It connects to the pressure side of your pool and uses a patented jet sweep assembly to loosen and remove dirt and other particles from hard-to-reach places. It also has a trailing all-purpose debris bag that scoops up some of the larger items that are blasted loose from the pool floor.

Buy On Amazon Buy on InTheSwim.com
If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you. July 14, 2020 10:39 pm UTC

I was blown away when I first started using the Polaris 65 automatic pool cleaner. It’s a bit weird because there’s the spaceship looking part that floats on top of the water while it drags a mesh bag along the bottom of the pool floor.

What is a Pressure Side Above Ground Pool Cleaner?

It connects to your return jet and uses the water pressure from your pool pump and filtration system to power the spaceship along the top of the water (both backward and forward). At the same time, it sends water pressure to the mesh bag pushing debris into it.

One of the best things I like about this cleaner is that it’s incredibly easy to repair. It only has a few parts that can go wrong. And you can fix it just by looking at it.

It works surprisingly well. And it’s fun to swim with it!

NOTE: Even though the spaceship looking thing floats on the top of the water, it doesn’t skim debris off the pool surface. Also, the better your water flow, the more quick and efficient this vacuum will clean your swimming pool.

Frustrated by adding chemicals and trying to keep your pool clear all the time?

We cut out all the confusion of pool maintenance in this easy-to-read illustrated ebook and video course. It'll help you save $100 right away on pool care!

Click here to learn more
The Pool Care Handbook

The Best Suction Side Above Ground Pool Vacuum

Our Top Pick
Zodiac Ranger Suction Side Automatic Above Ground Pool Cleaner
$235.01

It connects directly to your pool filter system and includes 32 ft. of hose. It's powerful, balanced, and doesn't have any hammering noises (common in other suction-side pool cleaners) for quiet operation.

Buy On Amazon Buy On InTheSwim.com
If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you. July 14, 2020 10:38 pm UTC

Formerly known as The Kreepy Krauly, The Zodiac Ranger automatic pool cleaner will quickly and effectively clean any above ground swimming pool, even pools with dished out bottoms up to 72 inches. With just one moving part, the Zodiac Ranger automatic pool cleaner is exceptionally easy to maintain and provides remarkably quiet operation.

Our Budget Pick
Hayward Aquabug Above Ground Pool Vacuum

It easily connects to your filter system so there’s no need for a booster pump. The cleaner rolls on wheels across the pool floor, easily traversing small lumps to effectively remove sand, dirt, or other debris in small creases.

Buy On Amazon Buy On InTheSwim.com
If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you. July 14, 2020 10:33 pm UTC

Utilizing Hayward’s patented AquaBug programmed steering, the AquaBug automatic pool cleaner for above ground pools is quick and efficient at pool cleaning. Plus, the AquaBug pool cleaner for above ground swimming pools installs in less than 10 minutes into your existing filtration system and provides advanced cleaning.

Most importantly, the Hayward AquaBug above ground pool cleaner is economical so you can enjoy a sparkling pool with pristine water without making a huge dent in your budget. Plus, it’ll also work in an Intex Pool or quick-set above ground pool.

Available in LadyBug 🐞 and Wanda The Whale Versions 🐳.

What is a Suction-Side Swimming Pool Cleaner?

As the name implies, it uses the power of suction to vacuum your pool from your pool pump and filtration system. It actually works exactly like your manual vacuum cleaner by connecting to your pool skimmer either with just a hose or a vac plate. The only big difference is that it moves around on its own.

All The Best Above Ground Pool Cleaners

Our Top Pick
Polaris Vac-Sweep 65 Pressure Side Pool Cleaner for Above Ground Vinyl Pools
$233.71

It connects to the pressure side of your pool and uses a patented jet sweep assembly to loosen and remove dirt and other particles from hard-to-reach places. It also has a trailing all-purpose debris bag that scoops up some of the larger items that are blasted loose from the pool floor.

Buy On Amazon Buy on InTheSwim.com
If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you. July 14, 2020 10:39 pm UTC
Our Top Pick
Aquabot Pool Rover S2-50 Robotic Pool Cleaner for Above Ground and Small Inground Pools

It vacuums small particles better than every other automatic above ground pool cleaner on the market. It also includes a pair of 10-inch scrubbers to remove stubborn dirt. It can be used in above ground and inground pools up to 40 ft. long because it's powered by 50 ft. cable that plugs into an ordinary 110V outlet.

Buy On Amazon Buy On InTheSwim.com
If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you. July 14, 2020 10:34 pm UTC
Our Top Pick
Zodiac Ranger Suction Side Automatic Above Ground Pool Cleaner
$235.01

It connects directly to your pool filter system and includes 32 ft. of hose. It's powerful, balanced, and doesn't have any hammering noises (common in other suction-side pool cleaners) for quiet operation.

Buy On Amazon Buy On InTheSwim.com
If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you. July 14, 2020 10:38 pm UTC
Our Budget Pick
Hayward Aquabug Above Ground Pool Vacuum

It easily connects to your filter system so there’s no need for a booster pump. The cleaner rolls on wheels across the pool floor, easily traversing small lumps to effectively remove sand, dirt, or other debris in small creases.

Buy On Amazon Buy On InTheSwim.com
If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you. July 14, 2020 10:33 pm UTC
Our Budget Pick
Water Tech Pool Blaster Catfish Pool & Spa Cleaner
$265.00

Ideal for above ground and small in-ground pools, as well as spas and hot tubs. Convenient quick-start button and lightweight attaches to your telescopic pole and includes a rechargeable battery.

Buy On Amazon Buy On InTheSwim.com
If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you. July 14, 2020 10:35 pm UTC

Learn More About Automatic Swimming Pool Cleaners

There are a lot of other brands out there that make great above ground pool vacuums for smart pool owners like Dolphin and Pentair. But after much debate, testing, and evaluating the cleaning process, we decided these were our picks.

If you’re confused at all between all the different types of pool vacuum cleaners there are on the market, I recommend you check out our complete guide to automatic pool cleaners when you get a chance. It’ll explain everything you need to know.

Happy Swimming!

Matt Giovanisci, the founder of Swim University®, started in the pool and spa industry at age 13 and moved to bigger companies along the way, helping thousands of pool and hot tub owners every year. He wanted to share his knowledge and unique teaching style on a larger scale, so he launched Swim University® in 2007. Since then, he's worked to make pool and hot tub care easy for over 10 million homeowners. And each year, he continues to help more people with water chemistry, cleaning, and troubleshooting.

Frustrated by adding chemicals and trying to keep your pool clear all the time?

We cut out all the confusion of pool maintenance in this easy-to-read illustrated ebook and video course. It'll help you save $100 right away on pool care!

Click here to learn more
The Pool Care Handbook

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