When we get a phone call or an email asking for recommendations about pool cleaners, we always have to ask a few questions first.
That's because not all inground pools are the same; differences in plumbing, size, shape and type of pool surface make certain pool cleaners a better option.
One of the most important questions is - what type and size of debris falls in the pool? Desert pools can use different cleaners than pools in more wooded areas. Here in Connecticut, many pool cleaners have to deal with large leaves from Maple and Poplar trees, and fat acorns from Oak trees.
Large leaves, acorns and twigs can clog up most suction side pool cleaners, and also most robotic pool cleaners. And nothing is more frustrating than having to constantly unclog your pool cleaner, what good is that?
Here's a look at the 5 best inground pool cleaners for leaves, large leaves, acorns and twigs up to a foot long. Polaris 3900 Sport
The Polaris 360/380 are also effective, but has a smaller intake throat than the 3900 model (2.5"). A 3-Jet suction venturi design pulls debris up into the 'SuperBag' which holds 5 qts of debris.
Polaris 3900 requires a dedicated plumbing line and a booster pump to operate the cleaner, so it may not be feasible in every situation. Hayward TriVac 500
Hayward has just released this year a powerful new pressure pool cleaner that is the next generation of inground pool cleaners. The TriVac 500 uses technology from several previous cleaners to clean all pool types quickly and completely.
With a 9 inch cleaning path, and its 2.5 inch, 3-Jet venturi intake port and an oversize, 6 qt debris bag, the TriVac can clean pools fast.
Like Polaris pressure cleaners, Hayward TriVac has an inline backup valve, and a sweeper tail, and requires a booster pump and dedicated pipe or cleaner line. Kreepy Krauly Racer
The Kreepy Krauly Racer is a completely restyled and retooled Letro Legend pool cleaner that Pentair acquired in the 90's. Like the inground cleaners above, the Racer is a pressure side pool cleaner. The Kreeepy Racer has a 6 inch wide cleaning path and 40% larger throat, the largest in its class. Four venturi jets sweep your pool clean into an oversize debris bag. Like other pressure pool cleaners, Kreepy Krauly Racer and its less sporty cousin the Kreepy Legend, both require a booster pump installed on a dedicated cleaner line, wired to a timeclock.
Most robotic pool cleaners have small openings of 3 or 4 inches wide, and are prone to clogging. Polaris 4WD robotic cleaners have a 9 inch wide intake, and a supersized debris canister. Hayward AquaNaut 400
Patented adjustable and variable vanes, called V-Flex technology, sweeps large leaves and twigs up to the size of a walnut, through the cleaner effortlessly.
Suction side cleaners connect to the skimmer or vacuum line, and for large debris, connect an in-line strainer basket to hold up to 5 qts of debris. I recommend a 1.5 Hp pump or larger for suction cleaners.
So then, in summation - the best inground pool cleaners for leaves are almost any pressure cleaner - but if you can't easily connect a booster pump to a dedicated pipe, look at the Polaris robotic cleaners.
And if you want to keep costs lower, the less awesome option could be the Hayward AquaNaut cleaner. It may choke on very large debris, but for most pools will perform perfectly.
SPP Pool Expert