The Best Pressure-Side Pool Cleaners

Pressure-side pool cleaners are a great piece of pool equipment thanks to their cost-efficient design. It’s harder to go greener than using energy that already exists in your pool. Here are my choices for the best pressure-side pool cleaners currently on the market, as well as the criteria I used to select them.

Pressure-Side Pool Cleaners: Our Recommendations

After our research, we found 4 pressure-side pool vacuums that stood above the competition.


Polaris Vac-Sweep 360

⭐ Best Overall

Polaris’ Vac-Sweep 360 is a capable, efficient unit that works in all inground pools and does not require a booster pump. Instead, it only requires its dedicated pressure line. It also has a back-up valve that automatically frees the unit if it gets cornered. Honestly, I feel like this sort of feature shouldn’t work as well as it does, which just goes to show the ingenuity of modern products.

I like that this unit cleans both the floors and walls of inground pools. The smartly-designed filter bag also helps protect the filter itself, which is essential for overall product longevity. Polaris offers this line of product in a few sizes, but after review, I think the 360 is the best value for its capabilities.

However, I do think the feed hose is a little short. Thirty-one feet isn’t enough for some larger pools, and if your cleaner can’t cover your whole pool, it’s functionally worthless. Be sure to check the intended pool size for any pressure-side pool cleaner before you buy it.

Sale
Polaris Vac-Sweep 360 Pressure Side Pool Cleaner
  • Powered by triple jets and advanced cleaning technology
  • Works in all in-ground pools of any size and shape.Tail Sweep PRO Compatible
  • Sweeps, scrubs, and vacuums the bottom and walls of your pool.If they are low or the wheels are not spinning then check the in-line filter for debris....
  • Operates on pool circulation pump. No booster pump required
  • Includes 31-feet of feed hose, and single chamber filter bad for capturing large debris. Vacuum Inlet : 2 ¼"

Specs:

  • Weight:62 lbs.
  • Feed Hose: 31′
  • Vacuum Inlet: 2 1/4″
  • Booster Pump Required: No (but Optional)
  • Filter Bag: Single Chamber

Pros:

  • Excellent balance of quality and price
  • The booster pump is optional
  • Works in almost any in-ground pool
  • Automatically fixes itself in most situations

Cons:

  • May have trouble with stairs

Polaris Vac-Sweep 3900 Sport

⭐ Best High-Performance Pressure-Side Cleaner

Polaris’ Vac-Sweep 3900 Sport is one of the largest and most powerful models they currently sell, offering 40 gallons per minute of additional filtering through its bag. An additional sweeping system helps stop water from spraying outside of the pool, which is a common issue with inferior products.

This unit offers significantly more vacuuming power and torque than its competitors, which makes it ideal for pools that get especially dirty or need additional help getting cleaned. I don’t think most people need to pay the money for a high-performance unit, but for those who need it, this is a great option.

There are a few downsides to this unit. Notably, it requires a booster pump (only sold separately), and some manufacturing flaws mean a percent of units often fail quickly. The hose connections, in particular, should be stronger than they are. It’s a great unit when it functions properly, but this is something to watch for.

Sale
Polaris Vac-Sweep 3900 Sport pressure side pool cleaner
  • Works in all in-ground pools.
  • Requires Polaris booster pump. Debris Bag Capacity - 5 litre
  • Ready to connect to 1.5-inch dedicated pressure cleaner line.
  • Includes 31-feet of feed hose which is black in color.
  • Most vacuum power of any 3-jet Polaris cleaner, with 40 GPM of additional pool filtration through the filter bag.

Specs:

  • Weight:1 lbs.
  • Feed Hose: 31′
  • Booster Pump Required: Yes (sold separately)
  • Filter Bag: Dual Chamber

Pros:

  • One of the most potent cleaners currently on the market
  • It has a relatively large debris bag
  • Provides additional pool filtration
  • Minimizes spraying

Cons:

  • Some manufacturing hiccups
  • The hose is a little short at 31 feet

Zodiac F5B Vac-Sweep 280 Black Max

⭐ Best for Tight Spots

Tight spots can be a problem, especially in pools with boxy designs. That’s where products like the Zodiac Polaris Vac-Sweep 280 come into play. This is a different unit from the first two product families, and while I didn’t intend to end up with so many Polaris units on this list, this unit ended up beating the competition, and it would be wrong of me to remove it solely because of the brand.

That aside, what sets this unit apart is its effectiveness at cleaning tighter areas, including some small locations within the pool. It’s designed to clean most standard pools in about three hours per day, though this will vary somewhat based on pool size. The dark color is also lovely and looks better in some pools than the standard white coloring, but that’s not a buying factor.

However, I don’t like that Polaris limits this unit to its standard 31-foot feed hose. Pools with a lot of tight areas tend to have unusual designs, and shorter feed hoses aren’t as good at accounting for those. You may need to buy a larger feed hose to make this unit work correctly.

Zodiac F5B Polaris Vac-Sweep 280 Black Max Pressure Side Pool Cleaner
  • Polaris Vac-Sweep 280 Black Max pressure side pool cleaner
  • Works in all in-ground pools; requires Polaris booster pump
  • Ready to connect to 1.5-inch dedicated pressure cleaner line. Includes 31-feet of feed hose
  • Automatically vacuums, sweeps and scrubs your pool from top to bottom in 3 hours or less. Runs independently off the power of its own booster pump...

Specs:

  • Weight:3 lbs.
  • Feed Hose: 31′
  • Booster Pump Required: Yes (sold separately)
  • Filter Bag: Single Chamber

Pros:

  • Excellent at cleaning most tight areas
  • Available in multiple colors
  • Has a zippered bag, which is generally better than Velcro
  • Well-built models can last a decade

Cons:

  • May clean slower than other units
  • Requires a booster pump

Pentair 360228 Kreepy Krauly Racer

⭐ Fastest Pressure-Side Pool Cleaner

Sometimes speed is the name of the game, and that’s where Pentair’s Kreepy Krauly Racer enters the picture. This is a large, high-speed unit designed to clean your entire pool as quickly as possible, but it also comes with some unusual features like LEDs that provide added visibility during nighttime cleaning. That’s a surprisingly rare feature on pressure-based pool cleaners.

Other notable features include a front rotating brush, a huge intake, and about 1/3 more cleaning power than many of Pentair’s other units. If you’re looking for a fast and effective cleaner, this is one of the best models to consider. The lower price doesn’t hurt, either.

Some customers reported defects right after ordering, but they have a good warranty so be sure to use that. We didn’t experience any issues with the models we tested.

Pentair 360228 Kreepy Krauly Racer Pressure-Side Inground Pool Cleaner
  • Up To 30% Faster Cleaning Than Other Pressure-Side Cleaners For Maximum Efficiency
  • Front Rotating Brush Scrubs And Scours For A Deep And Detailed Clean
  • Large Intake Captures Debris Of All Sizes
  • Nearly 1/3 More Cleaning Power For Maximum Debris Removal
  • Ultra-Bright LED Lights Illuminate And Enhance Nighttime Cleaning

Specs:

  • Weight:2 lbs.
  • Feed Hose: N/A
  • Booster Pump Required: Yes (sold separately)
  • Filter Bag: Single Chamber

Pros:

  • Much faster than most other units
  • Front brush actively cleans dirty areas
  • Large intake sucks in debris of almost any size
  • Includes LEDs

Cons:

  • Some build quality issues
  • Requires a booster pump

Recap: The Best Pressure-Side Pool Cleaners


Our Research Criteria

Let’s take a closer look at the research criteria we used to determine the best products in this article and other factors to consider.

Determine How Much Power You Need

When it comes to pool vacuums, there are two major types of power to consider.

The first is the power of your pool’s pressure system. More pressure means a stronger pump, and a stronger pump means more cleaners are compatible with the system. If your pumping system isn’t strong enough, you may need to install an additional pump specifically to help power your pool cleaner.

The second type of power is cleaning power. In general, more cleaning power means that a unit is fundamentally better at cleaning dirt and debris out of your pool. The dirtier your pool gets, the more cleaning power you should have.

Installation Requirements: Parts And Pipes

Some automatic pool cleaners only have one part to worry about. Others have a variety of accessories and additional components, such as flaps or covers that can help them clean particularly stubborn areas.

The question here is a trade-off between effectiveness and lifespan. Cleaners with additional parts tend to be better at specific roles, such as cleaning the deepest parts of a swimming pool. Conversely, cleaners with fewer parts tend to last longer and need less maintenance than their complicated counterparts.

Bag Size And Materials

Debris bags and containers are one of the most important parts of pressure-side pool cleaners. There are two major factors to consider here: the size of the bags and the materials they use. Larger bags are the only way to get some pools clean in a single use of a pressure-side cleaner, so your bag should be large enough to handle the debris from at least one pass (more if possible).

However, even more important than the size is the material the debris container is made out of. Durable containers can handle sticks, seeds, and anything else that your cleaner picks up, all without risking a tear. At the same time, they need to be durable enough to keep debris in, rather than letting it float out through the bag as water rushes through it.

Low-quality bags tend to fail quickly, especially if they’re exposed to any particularly sharp items that make their way into your pool and get sucked up by your cleaner. Most people don’t use this as a factor when deciding which pool cleaner to get, but you should keep it in mind. If in doubt, consider replacing the basic bag with a compatible alternative of the highest possible quality.

Damaged bags could lead to chemical imbalances or other problems in your pool, and fixing those can be expensive. As such, it’s worth getting the best bag you can when you need to replace them, rather than trying to save money and get the most affordable alternative.

If you’re curious to explore other options, check out our recommendations for robotic pool cleaners and suction-side cleaners as well.

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