Aboveground pool cleaners change slowly, we still sell the same cleaners that were used 25 years ago. With exception to the advent of robotic pool cleaners for aboveground pools, which came out about ten years ago, not much else has happened.
There are 3 types of pool cleaners for above ground pools, suction (attach to the skimmer), pressure (attach to the return) and robotic (plug into outlet).
Today we look at 4 of the best aboveground pool cleaners. Why are they the best? Because of their long standing in the marketplace, but mainly because of their ratings and reviews. These cleaners have consistently great sales and great reviews - so they must be good!
Hayward Aqua Critter
The little cousin of the Hayward Navigator, this design is over 50 years old. Patented rotational method makes this new version of the old Arneson Aquadroid wander around the pool in precise 'crop circle' pattern for complete coverage. Debris is suctioned into the pump basket, skimmer basket or optional in-line strainer.
Aqua Critter (formerly Aqua Bug) cleaners have the advantage of low cost and easy installation. And although it won't clean walls (none of these will), it creates powerful suction and motion with hydrogears. Like the EZ Vac however, it can become overwhelmed with large debris loads.
Kreepy Krauly EZ Vac
The little cousin of the Kreepy Krauly, which can take the crown as the most sold pool cleaner in history, the EZ Vac connects to the skimmer with the automatic regulator. When the pump is running, the cleaner creates suction and movement, with a single moving part, the Flapper. Debris is suctioned into the pump basket, skimmer basket or optional in-line strainer.
EZ Vac cleaners have the advantage of low cost and easy installation. And with only one moving part, they prove to be low maintenance and durable pool cleaners. On the down side, because they bring debris into the filter system, this compromises filtration and circulation.
Aquabot Pool Rover
The kid brother to larger inground robotic cleaners, the Pool Rover S2-40 is fully self-contained. Just drop the cleaner into the water and plug into a grounded GFI outlet. On board motors create water flow to propel the cleaner and spray jets of water toward the suction intakes. On board filter bag traps debris and also filters your pool water to 2 microns!
Pool Rover cleaners require no installation, and are operational right out of the box. With the internal filter, they do not compromise your filter system, and in fact supplement it. On the downside, robotic cleaners, although now below $400 for aboveground pools, are still the most expensive pool cleaner, to buy and to repair.
The little cousin of the Polaris 165, this pressure side cleaner connects to the wall return fitting of your aboveground pool. Water is then directed through a series of jet sweep hoses and used to propel the floating surface unit around the pool. Debris is captured in a 'drag bag', which is connected at the end of the sweep hose.
Polaris 65 cleaners (and Polaris 65 Turbo Turtle) have the advantage of a medium cost and easy installation. They sweep debris from the floor with a deep pocket net, and also move debris on the surface toward the skimmer, which operates fully while using the cleaner.
A few points to ponder as you think about aboveground pool cleaners:
- They aren't made to clean the walls, or climb the walls.
- Large leaves or branches will be passed over.
- You need about 50 gpm (1hp +) for fast movement.
- Use only as needed, to avoid excess wear and tear.
See you at the Pool!
SPP Pool Expert