The Best Suction-Side Pool Cleaners

Suction side pool cleaners are the opposite of pressure side pool cleaners, and they work particularly well in pools that have more suction power than the pool requires for basic functionality. I prefer pressure side cleaners, but I decided to research suction side units anyway and give my honest opinion on them. Here are the best options currently on the market.

Suction-Side Pool Cleaners: Our Top Picks

After our research and testing, we found 4 suction-side pool cleaners that we think are best-in-class. Here are all the details about our top picks.


Zodiac Baracuda G3

⭐ Best Value

The Zodiac Baracuda G3 is easily one of the best values currently on the market, offering a mix of unit quality and affordability that few other units can match. This unit works particularly well with low-speed pumps and automatically regulates water flow for peak performance. Zodiac sells it both with and without an additional finned disc, further improving its flexibility.

I particularly like the large size of the cleaning disc and the scuff-resistant hoses. Owners who have used other suction pool cleaners know how much trouble worn hoses can be, so the more durable these are, the happier I am.

However, no unit is perfect. Notably, this automatic cleaner works best on rectangular pools. Pools of other shapes may not get nearly as clean as they should, and the debris intake isn’t quite large enough to handle some items like larger acorns. Consider contacting the manufacturer about your pool’s design before you buy any suction side pool cleaner.

Sale
Zodiac Baracuda G3 W03000 Advanced Suction Side Automatic Pool Cleaner
  • Quiet, powerful suction cleaner; works with low-speed pumps for maximum efficiency.
  • Devours small and medium-sized debris and cleans floor, walls and steps of your entire pool.
  • FlowKeeper Valve automatically regulates water flow to maintain peak cleaning performance even with lower horsepower pumps.
  • Wheel Deflector for movement around tight corners.
  • Scuff-resistant Long-Life Hoses eliminate scuffs on all pool surfaces.

Specs:

  • Product Weight:2 lbs.
  • Pump Compatibility: Single, two-speed, or variable-speed
  • Additional Tools Required: Pump only
  • Cleaner Type: 36-fin disc + suction

Pros:

  • Versatile
  • Compatible with most pumping systems
  • Excellent at cleaning small and medium debris
  • Works on floors, walls, and steps

Cons:

  • Not effective on large debris
  • Doesn’t work as well on unusual pool shapes, such as slopes or curves

XtremepowerUS 75037

⭐ Best Low-Cost Option

Sometimes affordability is the most important factor in an automatic pool cleaner, and that’s especially true if you’ve seen bad reviews for expensive products and you’re worried about wasting money. That’s a fair concern in this industry, where sometimes as many as half of all units are faulty, so I decided to include a low-cost option on this list.

XtremepowerUS’s 75037 is one of the most affordable units currently on the market, and companies often sell it significantly below its list price. I’ve seen it as much as 65% off, which drastically reduces the barrier to entry. This particular model works for up to a 30′ pool and requires a one hp pool pump or 1600 GHP. When working properly, it cleans about ten feet per minute.

This unit also offers an adjustable hose length, which is relatively rare in this industry but extremely useful for minimizing the risk of tangles. Unfortunately, it may clog easily in some pools, and the included documentation doesn’t address some issues like the hose and weight management. I like to think of this as a practice unit where you can get hands-on experience with suction side pool cleaners at a minimal cost.

Sale
XtremepowerUS 75037 Climb Wall Pool Cleaner Automatic Suction Vacuum-Generic, Blue
  • 10 hoses included for up to 30' pool. Ideal for cleaning bottom surface and wall; does not clean stairs
  • Require at least a 3/4 hp swimming pool pump or 1600 GHP to function properly.
  • No tools required and no electricity needed; Attaches to your existing filtration system
  • 1 Year Warranty for Parts Replacement (For order purchased from Amazon.com Prime and Ihubdeal ONLY )
  • Cleaner should be moving about the pool at a rate of 8 to 12 feet per minute. Note : Refer to PDF attached below in Technical Specification for User...

Specs:

  • Product Weight: 12 lbs.
  • Pump Compatibility: 3/4 hp or 1600 GHP minimum, preferably one hp
  • Additional Tools Required: Pump only
  • Cleaner Type: Round flapper

Pros:

  • Easy to adjust
  • Works well on curves
  • Highly flexible hoses and weights

Cons:

  • Does not work on stairs
  • Does not suck up leaves

Pentair 360042 Kreepy Krauly Suction-Side Inground Universal Pool Cleaner

⭐ Most Durable

There’s something to be said for durability in an industry where far too many cleaners break too easily. Pentair’s Kreepy Krauly line is one of their better models to begin with, while the one moving part design helps ensure years of reliable cleaning from the waterline to the pool bottom.

I appreciate the simplicity of this product, including the lack of gears and wheels. The automatic valve is also a nice touch, particularly thanks to its speed regulating functions. It doesn’t require a booster pump, either, which is great for saving energy and minimizing costs.

This unit is a little more expensive than many other suction-side pool cleaners, and that can make it a harder sell. It’s also not particularly good at grabbing large debris, but the same can be said about most suction-focused cleaners.

Pentair 360042 Kreepy Krauly Suction-Side Inground Universal Pool Cleaner (Pleated Seal)
  • Dive float directional system helps guide cleaner throughout entire pool from the water line to the pool bottom for great cleaning coverage
  • Automatic valve automatically regulates water flow to set the ideal travel speed for more thorough cleaning
  • Roller strap maneuvers cleaner around steps and ladders for uninhibited cleaning
  • Cleaner wings help channel leaves, dirt and debris directly into filtration system. Designed for greater floor-to-wall cleaning coverage
  • Original "one moving part" design for years of dependable service - no wheels or gears to replace

Specs:

  • Product Weight: 19 lbs.
  • Pump Compatibility: N/A
  • Additional Tools Required: None
  • Cleaner Type: Round flapper

Pros:

  • One of the most durable units on the market
  • Does not need a booster pump
  • Works with most common pool sizes

Cons:

  • The hose isn’t quite long enough for large pools
  • Cleans slower than some other units

Hayward 500 Aquabug Suction Above-Ground Pool Cleaner

⭐ Best for Above Ground Pools

Most suction side pool cleaners focus exclusively on in-ground pools. Just working with above-ground pools helps this product stand out from the competition, and even the product design is unique. The Hayward 500 Aquabug uses a turbine and gearing system that supports balanced water flow and gentle movement during the cleaning process.

Supporting its regular activities is a bumper ring that helps guide the unit away from walls and back onto its regular cleaning pattern. The manufacturer rates it for all above-ground pool surfaces, including concrete, vinyl, tile, and fiberglass.

However, like all units, it does have a few flaws. Notably, it’s not as good at picking up leaves and some types of larger debris, which makes it a poor choice in some pools. The shoes also tend to come off easily, which can be a problem in some areas.

Sale
Hayward 900 Wanda the Whale Suction Above-Ground Pool Cleaner (Automatic Pool Vacuum)
  • Unique turbine/gearing system provides constant balanced water flow assuring quiet operation and gentle movement across the pool bottom
  • Advanced, contoured head design allows the steering pattern to be completed in minimal time
  • Installs in less than 10 minutes, without tools
  • Deluxe bumper ring minimizes friction for easy movement away from walls and resumption of the programmed steering pattern
  • 1 year warranty

Specs:

  • Product Weight:9 lbs.
  • Pump Compatibility: N/A
  • Additional Tools Required: None
  • Cleaner Type: Drain

Pros:

  • Available in several different styles
  • Gentle enough to avoid damaging most surfaces
  • Essentially a mobile drain
  • Easy to install

Cons:

  • Not strong enough for particularly tough debris
  • Can fail quickly if not built properly

Recap: The Best Suction-Side Pool Cleaners

  • Zodiac Baracuda G3: Best value
  • XtremepowerUS 75037: Best low-cost option
  • Pentair 360042 Kreepy Krauly Suction-Side Inground Universal Pool Cleaner: Most durable
  • Hayward 500 Aquabug Suction Above-Ground Pool Cleaner: Best for above ground pools

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 when looking for the pool cleaner that’s best for you.

Required Suction Strength

Different suction-side pool cleaners require different levels of suction strength. If the suction isn’t strong enough, then the cleaner won’t work effectively. If the suction is too strong, that could also stop the unit from working as it should.

Many suction-side pool cleaners use booster pumps that provide added power when existing suction systems are too weak. I don’t like these systems very much because they’re another point of failure, but they may be your only option if your pool’s suction is too weak to support a cleaner.

There’s one other point I’d like to make about suction-side pool cleaners here. Most of them only function when your pool’s pump is on, even if they require a booster pump for added power. This means you may need to run your pool’s entire pumping system while your suction-side pool cleaner is active, and that can be a deceptively large use of energy.

If you know you want to use a suction-side cleaner, consider pool control systems that allow you to use the filter pump without having to run every other part of your pool at the same time. This can keep costs down and reduce overall wear and tear on your system.

Ease of Use

Ease of use is an important consideration for suction-side cleaners. The more complex a product is, the more likely it is that it will fail early in its life-cycle. Some complexity is tolerable when it provides added value, but for the most part, I gave additional points to products that kept things as simple as possible while remaining effective.

When complexity is unavoidable, I gave additional points to products that are easier for people to use. For example, the Zodiac Baracuda G3 is compatible with a wide variety of pump systems, which makes it easy to use in many different pools. In contrast, the XtremepowerUS 75037 isn’t quite as compatible, so it received fewer points in my final tally.

Pools have different requirements, so always compare your needs to what a suction-side pool cleaner is designed for before you consider buying it.

Hoses, Weights, and Other Features

Features are characteristics or qualities of an automatic pool cleaner outside of their direct cleaning functions. These include things like additional weights, hose lengths, pump requirements, and other attributes that help these units distinguish themselves from each other.

The main concern with features is that many of them are designed for specific types of pools. For example, some hoses are designed for extremely large swimming pools and trying to use them in smaller pools could push a suction-side cleaner off-course. A cleaner isn’t better just because it has features. Instead, those features need to match your pool as closely as possible.

Before you start shopping, grab some paper and write down all the problems you currently have with your pool. This could include things like a dirty waterline, lots of debris in different areas, or insects landing on top of the pool. Once you have that list, you can compare it to the listed features of each pool cleaner to see how many of them you can solve. If you decide that suction-side cleaners aren’t for you, check out our recommendations for robotic pool cleaners and pressure-side pool cleaners.

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