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The 9 Best Pressure-Side Pool Cleaners


If you have a swimming pool at home, you’ll need to think about hiring in a pool cleaning crew or taking care of business yourself.

Anyone who doesn’t like the idea of spending hours physically cleaning a pool can find many automatic pool cleaners up for grabs.

Today, we’ll be guiding you through one very specific type with our glimpse at the best pressure-side pool cleaners.

What does a pressure-side pool cleaner do, then?

Well, these units are powered by the jets of water that returns from your pool pump to your swimming pool. This means that it’s the pressure-side of your pool system that’s providing the power. With suction-side pool cleaners, as the name makes abundantly clear, power is derived instead from the pool’s suction side.

Since pressure-side pool cleaners work using your swimming pool pump, they don’t need any external power.

A decent pressure-side cleaner should be capable of working from a 0.75 HP pump without any dip in functionality or performance.

So, the main draw of buying one of these pool cleaners is the fact it saves you from the physical effort of manually cleaning your swimming pool, and it also saves you from the ongoing expense and hassle of hiring a pool cleaning crew.

Some automatic pool cleaners allow for scheduled pool cleaning, making for an even more seamless experience.

Now, we understand that you might not have the first idea what you’re looking for when you’re comparing pool cleaners. To make things easy on the buying trail, consider the following pointers:

  • Type of pool: The first thing you’ll need to focus on is whether the cleaner is designed for use with in-ground pools or above-ground pools. We flag this clearly in the features section of each review so you can see at a glance which models make the right fit
  • Weight: Pressure-side pool cleaners should be lightweight enough that the Venturi effect triggered by the jets carries the cleaner around the pool. If it’s too heavy, this becomes problematic. Lightweight cleaners are also more agile and capable when it comes to wall-climbing. That said, the cleaner also needs to be heavy enough to remain on the bottom of the pool. If it’s too light, you might notice some of the wheels losing traction
  • Suction: Suction is a crucial component of the best pressure-side pool cleaner. All of the bigger brands will typically deliver fully on this front
  • Reverse mode: If your pool cleaner gets snarled up, reverse mode is a useful feature that streamlines getting unstuck
  • Sweeper tails: An effective pool cleaner will come with a tail sweeper. This moves back and forth when the cleaner navigates the pool. As it does so, fine dirt and debris will be agitated for easier removal. It can then be sucked into the cleaner’s filter
  • Spare debris bags: If your pool is surrounded by trees and you often experience leaves falling in, the first thing you should do is invest in a swimming pool cover. Beyond this, pool cleaners that come with spare debris bags let you switch out bags in an instant rather than being forced to empty and replace the one onboard
  • Booster pump: Pressure-side pool cleaners with the most power will require an additional booster pump. We draw you attention to this in the features section of each review. If you already have a pump in place, you’ll need to check for compatibility before committing to purchase
  • Setup and maintenance: You should ensure that any pressure-side pool cleaner on your shortlist is simple to set up and use. Some of the cheaper units you should avoid perform very poorly in this regard
  • Spare parts: Last but not least, you should establish whether or not it’s easy to obtain spare parts. Pool cleaners come in for plenty of punishment and there’s every chance of components breaking down over time. Save yourself from needing a replacement pool cleaner by choosing one with easily-available spare parts

OK, having sketched out those basics, you should be clear on what pressure-side pool cleaners do, and whether it makes sense to use one for your swimming pool.

With so many cleaners glutting the market and so many of them sub-par, finding the right model can be challenging. Explore our reviews of all the finest pressure-side cleaners out there and see if any seems like the best solution to your pool cleaning woes.


The 9 Best Pressure-Side Pool Cleaners

1. Our #1 Pick: Polaris Vac-Sweep Pressure-Side PoolCleaner



  • In-ground pools
  • 14 pounds
  • 20 x 10 x 22.75 inches

Our favorite pressure-side pool cleaner comes from Polaris. As you’ll see from today’s reviews, this brand has a heavy presence in this vertical, and with good cause. Their pool cleaners come in a variety of configurations to suit all pools, so how does this model, the Vac-Sweep 360, shape up?

This model is designed to work in just about any in-ground pool. Unlike many of the pressure-side pool cleaners we review, you won’t need a booster pump to get the most out of this unit. This allows you to cut down running costs, always welcome when you have a swimming pool at home.

This Polaris cleans the walls and bottom of your pool quickly and thoroughly. It will do this regardless of the size and shape of your in-ground pool, making this one of the most flexible cleaning solutions out there. A trio of potent jets blitz the surfaces admirably.

The unit is powered by the pressure of the clean water making its way back into your pool. This allows both your pool skimmer and filter free to go about their business, making for a remarkably efficient pool system.

The filter bag is designed to remove debris before it smashes into the filter or pump basket, prolonging the lifespan of your gear.

31 feet of feed hose is bundled giving you everything you need to get going right out the box.

With forty years in the business producing the best pool equipment, Polaris shows no signs of fading and this remains one of the most effective pressure-side pool cleaners out there. Ideal for all in-ground pools, this may be the smartest investment you make this year.

Things We Like Things We Dislike
  • Powerful triple jets
  • Seamless navigation
  • Cleans bottom and walls of pool
  • Customer support is woeful

2. Best for In-Ground Pools: Polaris Vac-Sweep Sport Pressure-Side Pool Cleaner



  • In-ground pools
  • 1 pounds
  • 24 x 11 x 24 inches

Another Polaris is up next, this time the Vac-Sweep Sport, also known as the 3900. How does this pool cleaner stand and fall, then?

Firstly, you’ll need to make sure you have a Polaris booster pump to use this pressure-side pool cleaner. The unit comes ready for attachment to a standard 1.5-inch pressure cleaner line.

Once you’re up and running, you’ll benefit from a torquey motor delivering all the power you need for a deep clean of your swimming pool.

Of all the triple-jet Polaris cleaners, this one packs the most vacuum power. The cleaner also serves to circulate an additional 40 gallons of water each hour to take the load off your filtration system.

Navigation is seamless thanks to the PosiDrive all-wheel drive system. There’s a stainless steel chain delivering impressive durability, and your cleaner shouldn’t get snarled up, even with more complex pool layouts.

There’s a TailSweep Pro sweeping attachment included, so the cleaner will efficiently blow debris out of awkward corners in the pool for a comprehensive clean.

Capacity of the debris bag is generous at 5 liters, so you’ll enjoy plenty of cleaning time before you need to empty the contents.

In terms of compatibility, this pool cleaner makes a neat fit in all in-ground pools. For rapid results and a pool cleaner that’s super-simple to use and manufactured by a highly reputable brand, Polaris smashes another home run here.

Things We Like Things We Dislike
  • Outstanding vacuum power
  • Torquey motor
  • Sweeping attachment
  • Requires booster pump

3. Best for Above-Ground Pools: Polaris Vac-Sweep Automatic Pool Cleaner



  • Above-ground pools
  • 14 pounds
  • 5 x 7.5 x 23 inches

Polaris enters the fray again with this pool cleaner that makes a superb solution for all above-ground pools up to 5 feet in depth. If you’ve treated yourself to a swimming pool at home, you owe it to yourself to keep it clean. The Vac-Sweep lets you do that without lifting a finger.

If you’ve been put off buying pool cleaners imagining they would be tough to set up, this couldn’t be easier to install.

Compatibility is excellent, too. This unit is designed to work well with almost all pool filters and pumps that you typically find in above-ground swimming pools.

Not only do you get a deep clean, you’ll get the sides and bottom of your pool blitzed in no more than three hours.

You benefit from Polaris’s proprietary jet sweep assembly. This blows water up against the walls of your pool, loosening up any stubborn debris so it can be easily scoured away.

The oversized filter bag is remarkably efficient. This removes larger debris like twigs or pebbles, stopping these objects from smashing up against the pump. Not only does this pool cleaner keep your swimming pool spotless effortlessly, but you’ll also extend the lifespan of the rest of your precious pool kit.

If you’re hunting for the best pressure-side pool cleaner for an above-ground pool, it’s not surprising that Polaris come up with the goods. This company has been serving pool owners like you for decades, so why not place your trust in this mighty brand?

Things We Like Things We Dislike
  • Straightforward installation
  • Works with most pumps and filters
  • Blitzes hard-to-reach debris
  • Hoses get tangled

4. Zodiac Polaris Vac-Sweep Pool Cleaner



  • In-ground pools
  • 1 pounds
  • 7 x 19.6 x 24.7 inches

The dominance of Zodiac Polaris continues with this iteration of the enduringly popular Vac-Sweep series of swimming pool cleaners.

This model is ideal for in-ground pools. You will need a booster pump to use this model, so make sure you have one in place.

The double jets onboard ensure you get pretty rapid results. As with all the best pressure-side pool cleaners, you can expect an immaculate pool in roughly three hours.

Indeed, these jets are so powerful that you would be advised to check windows near the pool are all closed to avoid anything spraying up.

The hosing included should be long enough for most standard in-ground pools, and you’ll have everything you need to get going right out the box, assuming you have the booster pump ready to roll.

You’ll get a simple 1-year limited warranty. This is better than nothing, but we would like to see the length of the guarantee extended.

Overall, you’re getting what you would expect from Zodiac Polaris: a super-efficient pool cleaner that gets the job done quickly and without standing on ceremony. As an added kicker, build quality is outstanding, so you should get years of faithful service from this workhorse.

Things We Like Things We Dislike
  • Generous length of feed house
  • Solid build quality
  • Robust customer care
  • Needs a Polaris booster pump

5. Polaris Vac-Sweep 380 In-Ground Pool Cleaner



  • In-ground pools
  • 5 pounds
  • 75 x 22.5 x 20 inches

Polaris is a heavyweight in the swimming pool vertical, and this in-ground pool cleaner is a solid option for your in-ground pool.

Versatility is one of the key draws here. You can use this cleaner in your in-ground pool regardless of the shape of the pool or the surface.

This unit draws its power from a separate Polaris pump, so you will need to make provision for this, unlike with a suction-side pool cleaner.

Once you pop this cleaner into your pool, the intelligent navigation ensures the whole surface is cleaned efficiently.

Speed is also of the essence with the Polaris. You can expect the entire pool to be spotless in no more than about 3 hours. Relax on your pool lounger with a smoothie and wait for the Polaris to do its work.

There is only a single filter in place. This is designed to suck away all pool debris, including leaves, pebbles, or acorns.

Although the majority of user feedback for this pressure-side pool cleaner is positive, we encountered some gripes about the cable getting tangled as the Polaris moves around the pool. Setting this aside, you’re getting a quiet, quick, and efficient pool pump at a reasonable price point.

Things We Like Things We Dislike
  • For all pool surfaces and shapes
  • Lengthy feed hose
  • Triple jets for maximum cleaning power
  • Some tangling issues reported

6. Pentair Kreepy Krauly Pressure-Side Pool Cleaner



  • In-ground pools
  • 2 pounds
  • 28 x 11.5 x 22 inches

As we near the end of our quest for the best pressure-side pool cleaner, Pentair breaks the stranglehold of Polaris with the iconic Kreepy Krauly pool cleaner.

This unit is intended for use with in-ground pools. Running on the pressure flow and water flow generated by your booster pump, you’ll enjoy impressively thorough cleaning results in very little time.

The Racer has four jets working together. There are a pair of oversized wheels in front along with two minuscule rear wheels. This is a front-wheel drive set-up, with the leading wheels treated with Steady-Grip Traction. The tires are grippy enough that the Kreepy Krauly can navigate all pool floor surfaces, from concrete to vinyl and anything in between.

At the front of the Racer, there’s a front-spinning brushroll. This agitates any ingrained dirt and algae so it can be slickly suctioned away. Behind, you get the TailSweep system, again serving to agitate and loosen stubborn debris.

Although this pool cleaner deals well with larger debris, it can struggle with more thinly-spread dirt.

LED nightlights are a nice touch not found on much of the opposition.

Aside from some cheap plastic parts prone to breaking, overall build quality is pretty solid and you can expect plenty of life from the Racer if you look after it.

As long as you have the correct fittings, the Racer makes a smooth fit with just about all booster pumps. This neat front-wheel drive quad-jet system is one of the best pressure-side pool cleaners in a crowded pack. See what you feel if you have an in-ground pool at home.

Things We Like Things We Dislike
  • Cleans quickly and efficiently
  • Bright LED lights
  • Delivers a deep clean
  • Some cheap plastic parts

7. Hayward Vacuum Pool Cleaner



  • In-ground pools
  • 23 pounds
  • 5 x 19.8 x 15.9 inches

Hayward is a highly reputable brand with decades of deep experience producing the very best swimming pool equipment. How does the TriVac 500 stand and fall?

As the name hints, you get a triple-jet action on this appliance.

Unlike the TriVac 700, this iteration features only bottom and wall mode, without benefiting from the top skimming mode featured on the 700.

This model runs on a patented AquaDrive technology with jets propelling the device efficiently in multiple directions.

The generously-proportioned debris bag has a 6-quart capacity, allowing your cleaner to get more work done before it needs emptying.

With a 9-inch cleaning path, you should experience a complete pool clean in just a few hours with the Hayward.

In terms of coverage, this model works most effectively in pools sized 20 x 40 feet or below.

So, if you fancy a pressure-side pool cleaner from outside the Polaris stable, we can’t recommend the Hayward strongly enough.

Things We Like Things We Dislike
  • Trio of potent jets
  • Impeccable brand heritage
  • Wide vacuum inlet
  • You’ll need a booster pump

8. Zodiac Polaris Turtle Pool Cleaner



  • Above-ground pools
  • 10 pounds
  • 23 x 22.9 x 10.9 inches

Last but not least in our curated list of pressure-side swimming pool cleaners, the Zodiac Polaris Turtle. Zodiac is the parent company of the legendary Polaris, so you can buy with total confidence, knowing you’ll be benefiting from decades of expertise.

This model is intended for above-ground pools up to 5 feet deep.

The first thing that strikes you is the cute turtle design. While this may not be what you want to set up an upscale infinity pool in a minimalist home, for above-ground pools used by kids, the turtle makes a fun addition.

As with all Polaris pool cleaners, the jet sweep set-up is an effective method of agitating dirt on the pool walls so the turtle can eat up that dirt with ease.

This cleaner runs on the pressure of the water returning to your swimming pool. This functionality allows both your pool skimmer and your filter to go about their business unburdened.

The filter bag on the turtle is roomy enough to avoid the need for continuous emptying.

While the majority of user feedback concerning the turtle is overwhelmingly positive, we found some scattered complaints about the bumpers detaching in use. Keep your eyes peeled for this. If you do run into any problems, Polaris customer care is brisk and helpful.

If you opt to invest in the Zodiac Polaris Turtle, you can relax poolside on your lounger while the reptile goes to work and scours your above-ground pool in around three hours. Achieve stellar results without hiring a pool cleaning crew: what’s not to love?

Things We Like Things We Dislike
  • Easily removable filter bag
  • Cleans awkward spots
  • Prolongs lifespan of filter
  • Bumpers can detach

9. Pentair Kreepy Krauly In-Ground Pool Cleaner



  • In-ground pools
  • 23 pounds
  • 75 x 24.5 x 18 inches

Do you have a dark-colored in-ground pool? If so, the Pentair Kreepy Krauly is one of the smoothest options at your disposal if you want to keep that pool looking immaculate.

This cleaner comes to the fore in pools afflicted by lots of larger debris like leaves tumbling in. You benefit from potent dual-thrust jets, cleaning your pool in anywhere from 1 to 3 hours, depending on the dimensions.

The Pentair is equipped with four-wheel drive. The wheels are all shod with rugged tires, enabling the cleaner to easily navigate more challenging pool environments without toppling over. With four wheels, this unit is less prone to toppling over than many cleaners with 2 or 3 wheels.

The wide throat and large intake channel make light work of even larger debris that would otherwise tumble to the bottom of your pool, dirtying it up and creating a potential trip hazard.

As you would expect from Pentair, the construction of this cleaner is solid, and you should get plenty of faithful service from the Kreepy Krauly.

Whether you have a concrete, fiberglass, or vinyl-lined in-ground pool, this cleaner makes a great addition to your arsenal, as long as you already have the requisite Pentair pump in place. This might not be the cheapest pressure-side pool cleaner, but it’s undoubtedly among the very best.

Things We Like Things We Dislike
  • Dual jet thrusts
  • Four-wheel design
  • Oversized debris channel
  • Suction could be improved


If you arrived here at Wild River Country today without any idea of how to choose the best pressure-side pool cleaner, that should no longer be the case.

While buying a pool cleaner is not the most complex decision you’ll face as a swimming pool owner, there are a few things worth looking out for, notably the difference between pressure-side pool cleaners and suction-side pool cleaners. We hope our brief buying guide cleared this up for you.

We’ve included a wide spread of pool cleaners suitable for all types of swimming pool, from in-ground pools to above-ground pools, so there should be something for everyone.

One final thing: bookmark our blog before leaving and consider us your go-to resource for all things pool-related. We’ll see you soon!

5/5 - (3 votes)

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