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Best Above-Ground Pool Vacuums in 2023

The heat of summer is upon us. For some people, that means it’s time to open the swimming pool. Along with mid-afternoon dips, there are regular pool cleanings and maintenance. If you own an above-ground pool, you may think your cleaning apparatus options are slim.

Best Above-Ground Pool Cleaners

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However, there’s an easier and faster way to remove debris from your above-ground swimming pool, and it’s surprisingly inexpensive – Meet the suction-side automatic above-ground pool cleaner – the top choice among above-ground swimming pool owners across the country.

Our Recommended Above-Ground Pool Cleaners in 2023

Side-suction above-ground pool cleaners come in a variety of styles from plain boxy units to cute aquatic animals. The five above-ground pool cleaners on this list are perfect for those on a budget, and they offer the high-performance needed to keep your swimming pool sparkling clean.

6) VINGLI Automatic Pool Cleaner

The VINGLI is a high-quality, suction-side pool vacuum that’s virtually noise-free. It connects to the suction side of your pool and dumps all of the suctioned debris into the filter basket. This automatic pool cleaner can clean any in-ground pool, ranging from 16 to 34 feet in length, in a matter of hours.

VINGLI Automatic Pool Cleaner
VINGLI Automatic Pool Cleaner

As a suction-side pool cleaner, the VINGLI Automatic Pool Cleaner doesn’t require any electricity to operate. Instead, it attaches to your current filtration system via ten connectable hoses to get where you need it to clean. The VINGLI can remove bugs, twigs, acorns, and other small- to medium-sized debris without clogging.

5) XtremepowerUS 75037 Climb Wall Pool Cleaner

The 75037 Automatic Suction Vacuum by XtremepowerUS is made with the latest smart technologies to automate the time-consuming task of cleaning pools. Regardless of how large your pool is or what it’s made of, this auto suction vac goes deep to remove every speck of dust from the lining and water surface.

XtremepowerUS 75037
XtremepowerUS 75037

This suction-side pool cleaner works by connecting directly to your pool’s filtration system, suctioning all debris, and sending it straight to the pump basket. It comes with a dedicated skimmer to produce consistent suction pressure throughout the entire cleaning process. Setting up the 75037 is a 5-minute process—simply connect the hoses, attach it to the suction-side of your pool, and you’re done!

XtremepowerUS Premium Automatic Suction...
  • 10 hoses included for up to 30' pool. Ideal for cleaning bottom surface and wall; does not...
  • Require at least a 1 hp swimming pool pump or 1600 GHP to function properly.

4) Pentair 360100 Kreepy Krauly Lil Shark

Pentair’s Kreepy Krauly Lil Shark will delight adults and children equally with its wide grin, comical eyes, and tiny fin. This gunmetal gray above-ground pool cleaner boasts two rows of scrubbing bristles and powerful vacuuming action.

Pentair 360100 Kreepy Krauly Lil Shark
Pentair 360100 Kreepy Krauly Lil Shark

The adjustable-length hose’s swivel assembly prevents hang-ups as the Lil Shark cleans along a 10-inch path. To ensure that no dirt is missed, you can set the suction-side pool cleaner to move in large, medium or small circles.

Pentair 360100 Kreepy Krauly Lil Shark Above...
  • Dual Band Of Bristles Scrub Debris Loose While Powerful Vacuum Whisks It Away
  • Programmed Cleaning Provides More Complete Coverage Without The Missed Spots Other...

3) Hayward Aqua Critter Automatic Above Ground Pool Cleaner

This bright yellow Hayward Aqua Critter is affixed with teal eyes, black spots and a pair of antennas. It boasts a quiet, balanced turbine system and a factory-programmed movement pattern, both of which allow the bug to clean your pool in just 2 hours.

Hayward Aqua Critter
BLOSSOMZ Hayward Aqua Critter Automatic Above Ground Pool Cleaner

As the cleaner approaches the walls of your swimming pool, its fully encircling bumper prevents accidental damage. With eight pieces of hose that total to 30 feet in length, you can use the Aqua Critter in above-ground pools of almost any size.

2) Hayward 900 Wanda the Whale

With its friendly eyes, Wanda the Whale will quickly become your best pool buddy. It features Hayward’s proprietary turbine system, and it’s equipped with the manufacturer’s SmartDrive programmed steering for better, faster coverage.

Hayward 900 Wanda
Hayward 900 Wanda

A bumper ring provides protection against contact with pool walls, and it only takes 10 minutes to install the cleaner. To customize its reach, Wanda the Whale comes with a 30-foot sectioned hose.

Hayward 900 Wanda the Whale Suction...
  • USE IN ABOVE-GROUND POOLS: The Wanda the Whale Suction Pool Cleaner from Hayward is...
  • GENTLE YET EFFECTIVE: A unique turbine system helps Hayward suction cleaners move gently...

1) Intex Auto Pool Cleaner

Not into cutesy? No problem. The Intex Auto Pool Cleaner comes in a plain white finish with light gray accents.

Intex Auto Pool Cleaner
Intex Auto Pool Cleaner

With its 24.7-inch hose, it’s capable of cleaning pools up to 24 feet. There are four caster wheels on the bottom that help the cleaner roll smoothly.

Intex designed this automatic swimming pool cleaner’s hose to connect to a standard 1.5-inch fitting. As long as the flow rate of your pool’s pump ranges from 1,600 to 3,500 gallons per hour, the Intex will work great.

Intex 28001E Above Ground Pool Automatic Pool...
  • AUTO CLEANER: The Intex above ground auto pool cleaner is constructed with durable...
  • CLEANING FEATURES: Intex automatic pool cleaner has a small brush underneath its cleaner...

Hayward vs Intex Auto Pool Cleaner: Above-Ground Pool Cleaner Comparison

Above-Ground Pool Cleaner Buying Guide

Even though the cost of an above-ground pool is only a fraction of the price of an in-ground pool, an above-ground swimming pool is still an investment. To take care of your investment, you need a cleaner that meets the demands of your pool.

Top Above-Ground Pool Vacuum

Here’s what to look for when shopping around for a suction-side above-ground pool cleaner.

Pump Size and Flow Rate

When you purchased your swimming pool, you probably remember sizing the pump to your pool. Likewise, you must size a pool cleaner to the pump. Make sure the side-suction pool cleaner is rated for the horsepower and flow rate of your pump.

If the pump is too powerful for the cleaner, the cleaner will have a short lifespan. If the pump isn’t powerful enough, the cleaner won’t be as effective.

Above-Ground Pool Vacuum

Hose Length

In terms of importance, the length of hose ranks right up there with the pump size and flow rate. The hose should be at least as long as the length or diameter of your swimming pool. Instead of a singular hose, many above-ground pool cleaners come with multiple hose pieces, so you can lengthen or shorten the hose as necessary.


Powerful suction is great, but it won’t remove everything. Calcium scale on pool surfaces will stay there until someone scrubs it away. If you want to get rid of these deposits without using elbow grease, get a pool cleaner with bristles – the more, the better.


The way a side-suction pool cleaner moves determines how fast it makes a full round across your swimming pool and how many spots get missed. Some pool cleaners move in random patterns. These are slower, but they work well for small above-ground pools. If your pool is large, consider buying a suction-side cleaner that has programmed movements.

Protective Elements

Clogs, bumps, and tangles are inevitable. However, certain features minimize the chances of these issues. Above-ground pool cleaner manufacturers often put a bumper ring on their products, which keeps the cleaner, ladder, and walls safe.

Some auto pool cleaners also come with a swivel connector for the hose to prevent kinks and a skimmer cone to help debris flow through the circulatory system.

Related Post: Best Dolphin Robotic Pool Cleaners


Although the way the cleaner looks has no bearing on its performance, you may prefer a certain style. Ladybugs, sharks, whales and ducks are popular styles, and children love them.

Alternatively, there are side-suction above-ground pool cleaners that aren’t animal-themed if you prefer a cleaner that’s sleek and simple.

Want to read more? Read

How do You Take Care of an Above Ground Pool?

Pool Vacuum Guide


What Is a Suction-Side Above-Ground Pool Cleaner?

The word suction-side is misleading. These above-ground pool cleaners don’t adhere to the wall of your swimming pool. They actually attach to the pool’s circulation system. Specifically, the component that removes and filters the pool’s water.

By using the pump’s suction power, these cleaners can move along the walls and the floor of a swimming pool, scrubbing and vacuuming leaves, dirt and other debris.

How Do These Above-Ground Pool Cleaners Work?

One simple idea is the driving force behind an above-ground pool cleaner – suction. Your swimming pool pump’s job is to draw in water and run it through a filter before it returns the newly filtered water back to the swimming pool, and the cleaner connects to the existing pump.

Above-Ground Pool Vacuum

The cleaner consists of a head with an inlet and a hose. Once you turn on the pump and attach the hose to the pool’s skimmer, you can sit back, relax and let the cleaner do all the work. The suction from the pump causes the above-ground pool cleaner to almost vibrate, which moves the cleaner.

As it moves over debris, the particles are suctioned through the cleaner’s head and hose. It’s a completely automated process.

What Are the Benefits of Using a Suction-Side Cleaner?

From setup to the operation, suction-side above-ground pool cleaners offer many benefits. Out of all the choices you have for automated pool cleaners, a suction-side device is the cheapest, and it saves you the ongoing cost of hiring a professional pool cleaning service.

The affordable price is the biggest factor that contributes to their popularity.

Above-Ground Pool Vacuum Guide

You can get one of these above-ground swimming pool cleaners up and running in a matter of minutes. Since they require no human intervention to operate, you can spend more time enjoying your pool, not cleaning it.

The only time you need to handle an above-ground pool cleaner is when you must perform periodic maintenance on it, which is also easy.

Suction-side cleaners are akin to a vacuum for your pool. Therefore, sediment won’t accumulate on the bottom of your swimming pool, preventing circulation system clogs. There are no expensive parts to replace, and there are few working parts that wear out over time. Plus, they won’t add to the cost of your monthly electricity bill.

Why Can’t I Use an In-Ground Cleaner for My Above-Ground Pool?

Simply put, in-ground swimming pool cleaners are too powerful for above-ground pools. Pool pumps come in varying sizes; the ones designed for in-ground pools are larger and stronger than their above-ground counterparts.

The heavy-duty nature of an in-ground pool cleaners makes it too much for an above-ground pool pump to handle.

There is also the matter of the difference in the surface of an above-ground and an in-ground swimming pool.

The walls and the floor of an in-ground pool are typically harder, thicker and stronger than those of an above-ground swimming pool. In turn, the scrubbers on an in-ground pool cleaner can easily damage the liner of an above-ground pool.

Best Pool Vacuum

Related Suction Pool Cleaner Articles

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How Do I Install My Above-Ground Pool Cleaner?

Installation of an above-ground suction-side pool cleaner is straightforward. Begin by turning on your swimming pool’s pump. Then, put the cleaner together per the manufacturer’s instructions – Most cleaners require no tools for assembly.

After you assemble the pool cleaner, attach one end of the cleaner’s hose to the cleaner itself. Again, you shouldn’t need any tools. After you make sure the hose is secure, put the entire cleaner and hose in the water with the bottom of the cleaner facing up.

Keep the cleaner, and its hose submerged until all the air in the hose is gone. You’ll know the line is bled when there are no bubbles emitted from the cleaner.

Above-Ground Pool Vacuum

Finally, take the open end of the hose and connect it to your above-ground pool’s skimmer. If the skimmer has a vacuum port, you should connect the hose to the port.

Above-Ground Pool Vacuum | Recommended

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Last Update: 2024-04-14 | Affiliate links/Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

About the author

Hi I’m Alex, founder of HouseholdMe.com and I’d like to say thank you for dropping by. Like most of you, the first thing I look at before buying something online is reviews or buying guides. By reading what other people say will help me gauge whether or not a product is good or not.  I am trying to help people find answers, solve problems, and get inspired.

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