Best Above Ground Pool Vacuum

Summer time is almost over, so it’s time to clean out your above ground pool and cover it up until next year. If you’re dreading that chore, consider investing in a robotic cleaner. Read on to find out how to choose the best above ground pool vacuum for your needs.

Advantages of Having a Robotic Pool Vacuum

Manually vacuuming your pool requires a lot of time and effort. Yet your pool can get dirty again in less than a day. Why work so hard if your pool will be in the same state again tomorrow?

Robotic pool vacuums tend to be on the more expensive side compared to manual vacuums, but they save you tons of time in the long run. Plus, they do all the work themselves.

Many of them don’t require monitoring. All you have to do is plug them up, turn them on, and let them do their job while you relax in the sunshine.

Robotic pool cleaners can process as much as 85 gallons of water per minute – much more than pressure-side or manual cleaners. This means you need fewer chemicals to clean your pool, saving you money and reducing the amount of chemicals in your water.

Robotic vacuums also help you save money on energy and water bills. They cost less than 5 cents to use per hour. Combine that with the money you’ve saved on cleaning chemicals, and the product essentially pays for itself after just one season of use.

How to Choose the Right Robotic Pool Vacuum

You’ll want to make sure you purchase the best above ground pool vacuum to get the job done as quickly as possible.

The first thing you’ll want to do is figure out what kind of debris your pool attracts. If your pool floor is notorious for trapping dirt and algae, you may want a product that specializes in cleaning on the micron level.

If leaves and larger debris are your main problem, you might want to consider purchasing a pool cleaner with a filter bag. Luckily, the products listed here are capable of handling both large and small debris.

The next step is to determine how much you’re willing to spend on your pool cleaner. The cheapest robotic pool cleaners can cost as little as $100, while the more expensive ones will set you back $1,000 or more.

Then you’ll want to decide if you want to buy online or in person. Some warranties for robotic pool cleaners can be voided if purchased online, so you’ll want to do your homework before you buy.

How Robotic Pool Vacuums Work

Curious as to how such a small gadget can save you so much time and money? Check out this video to see how it works compared to pressure-side and suction-side vacuums:

What You Should Look for in a Robotic Vacuum

This all depends on the type of pool you have. If grime and dirt get stuck to the bottom of your pool, you might want to consider purchasing a cleaner that has a brush.

If you only need a basic floor cleaner, don’t opt for an expensive cleaner that has more bells and whistles than you really need.

Your product should clean quickly and efficiently. Some vacuums run on timer-based cleaning cycles, while others will clean until they reach their automatic shut-off time.

If the filter system in your pool works relatively well, you may want to consider purchasing a unit that hooks up to the main filtration system instead of using a filter bag.

You’ll want a product that includes all the tools or equipment needed to set up. Some brands may sell charging units or caddies separately, so be sure your product has everything you’ll need to set it up.

What You Should Know Before You Buy

If you have a temporary, soft-sided above ground pool, the robotic cleaner may not be the best option for you. While some people may not have any problems using a robotic cleaner for their soft-sided pool, it’s generally not recommended.

It may be worthwhile to consult a sales associate at your local pool store if you have any anxieties about choosing a cleaner for your particular pool.

Some robotic cleaners struggle to clean pools that have inclines, while some others don’t clean corners well. A sales associate can give you tailored advice and help you make the right choice.

While most robotic cleaners work well with any shape or sized pool, you’ll want to choose a vacuum that has a similar shape to your pool for maximum efficiency.

For instance, if you have a circular pool, buy a circular cleaner. And if you have a rectangular or square pool, purchase a robotic cleaner that’s squarer in shape.

We’ll review the most cost effective options with regards to their cleaning efficiency, helping you make an informed choice.

1. Aquabot APRVJR Pool Rover Junior

Aquabot APRVJR Pool Rover Junior

The Aquabot Junior is one of the best options for those who want an inexpensive device that gets the job done. This little rover does the same job as the most expensive robotic cleaners for a fraction of the price.

With the Aquabot Pool Rover Junior, you can spend the extra time and money you save on the things that really matter.


  • Cost effective
  • Cleans pools of any shape and size
  • Energy, chemical, and water efficient
  • Cleans dirt at the micron level
  • Effectively vacuums larger debris such as acorns
  • Processes more than 70 gallons of water per minute
  • Durable and long-lasting
  • Cleans in one hour or less
  • No additional hoses or cables
  • Saves up to 40% on electricity bills
  • Unit is small; 19 x 18 x 21 inches
  • Includes a one-year warranty for the motor
  • Set up and start cleaning in less than 10 minutes
  • Won’t get stuck in pool floor ripples
  • Moves around pool steps
  • No reported product-related injuries
  • Includes all equipment: transformer charging unit, filtration bag, and floating charger cable


  • Charging unit is not waterproof
  • Filter bag must be emptied often
  • No “scrub” or brush option

2. Hayward 500 Aqua Bug Above-Ground Automatic Pool Cleaner

Hayward 500 Aqua Bug Above-Ground Automatic Pool Cleaner

The Hayward 500 Aqua Bug is a little pool cleaning lady bug. Not only is it cute, but it works well. Just hook it up to your pool’s filter system and let it run. The Hayward 500 Aqua Bug is also a great way to get your kids involved in cleaning.


  • Cost effective
  • Four cute designs to choose from: Aqua Bug, Aqua Critter, Diver Dave, Wanda the Whale
  • Includes a bumper ring, preventing scuffs on your pool’s floor
  • Quiet and discreet
  • Contoured head for better steering
  • Set up and start cleaning in less than 10 minutes
  • No additional tools required for setup
  • Unit is small and weighs only 4 ounces
  • Includes a one-year product warranty
  • No filter bags required; works with your pool’s existing filter system
  • Vacuum only takes 3 minutes to hook up
  • Effectively vacuums small debris like algae and sand


  • Doesn’t work for soft-side, temporary pools (such as Intex pools)
  • Circular design doesn’t clean corners well
  • Cleaning can take more than two hours
  • A hose adapter may be required based on the filter shape of your pool
  • For larger debris, the Hayward leaf canister is required

2. Smartpool NC22 SmartKleen Robotic Pool Cleaner

Smartpool NC22 SmartKleen-Robotic Pool Cleaner

Though this product is the most expensive on our list, it’s also the most versatile. Not only does it deep clean your pool floor, but it also works on the pool walls too. It’s capable of cleaning smaller in-ground pools as well.


  • Cost effective
  • Lightweight
  • Cleans pools up to 6’ deep
  • Can also clean small in-ground pools
  • Climbs up the walls of the pool for a total clean
  • Includes an automatic power down function
  • Works with fiberglass, concrete, and vinyl surfaces
  • Includes a one-year product warranty
  • Includes a brush functionality
  • Includes a large filter bag and charging unit
  • Cleans large debris
  • Offers low cost 2 and 3 year protection plans


  • Cord tangles easily
  • Warranty voided if purchased online


There you have it – all you need to know about purchasing a robotic pool vacuum. The best vacuum for you will likely vary depending your personal needs. However, the best option listed here is the SmartKleen NC22 robotic vacuum, as it cleans deeper, more efficiently, and can handle any type of debris.  

It may seem expensive compared to the other cleaners listed here, but there are products out there that cost three times as much that do the same job.

When making your decision, be sure to consider price and the unique specifications of your pool so you can make the best choice.

We hope that, no matter which product you choose, it saves you time, money, and effort so you can get maximum enjoyment out of your pool.

You could also check out the Best Inground Pool Cleaner here:

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