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The 13 Best Suction Pool Cleaners


If you have a swimming pool at home, you’ll need to get an effective pool cleaner if you want to avoid costly the expense of a pool cleaning crew.

Today, we’ll be highlighting a selection of the very best suction pool cleaners.

What are these, though, and why should you care?

A suction pool cleaner is often called a suction-side pool cleaner. These are the opposite of pressure-side pool cleaners.

This type of cleaner makes a smart choice if your pool has more suction power that it needs to keep ticking over optimally.

These pool cleaners use your pool pump in order to create suction. The pool cleaner simply attaches to your pool skimmer just where the suction occurs, and it then moves around assisted by the water flow’s pressure.

Suction-side pool cleaners can usually climb the walls of the pool, and they navigate quite capably. It always pays to monitor the appliance, though.

This type of cleaner is quite tough on filters, so you might need to backwash and replace your pool filter more often.

Suction-side cleaners don’t use electricity, so they’re more energy efficient. However, they are harder on the filter, so you may have to backwash and replace it more often.

Now, we understand that you may have no idea at all when it comes to suction pool cleaners. Consider the following pointers and you’ll find the right model the easy way.

  • Suction strength required: Different suction-side pool cleaners demand different degrees of suction strength. Unless you get this match right, your cleaner won’t get the job done effectively. In some cases, you could consider using a booster pump is suction is insufficient, but this just leads to another potential point of failure
  • Ease of use: You need to make sure that any pool cleaners on your shortlist are not too complex to operate. These things should save you from work rather than creating it
  • Hoses: You should make sure hoses are well-constructed and kink-resistant. They should be able to slither easily over any obstacles without getting snarled up. You should also check user reviews to make certain there are no complaints about the hoses marking up the surfaces of pools
  • Type of pool and pool surface: You’ll need to check closely for compatibility between any pool cleaners on your list and the specifics of your home swimming pool. We draw you attention throughout out reviews to which type of pool and what surface these cleaners best respond to, so you can easily pick the most suitable pool cleaner for your needs
  • Pool size: Check that any pool cleaner you’re considering is capable of dealing with the size of swimming pool you have at home. Get this wrong and it could be a costly error

Note: most suction-side pool cleaners only work when your pool pump is running. This means the overall cost of using one of these models is significantly increased. You should consider this when you’re budgeting and comparing pool cleaners.

OK, with those preliminaries in place, you should now be all set to explore the best suction pool cleaners out there. See which of these, if any, is the right fit.

The 13 Best Suction Pool Cleaners

1. Our #1 Pick: Zodiac MX8 Suction-Side Cleaner



  • In-ground pools
  • 5 pounds
  • 16 x 8 x 1 inches

First up and our overall favorite suction-side pool cleaner comes from the highly reputable Zodiac.

The MX8 is a super-efficient cleaner that operates on low flow while blitzing your pool a lot more rapidly than much of the opposition.

Dual-cyclonic suction is one of the key draws here. The cleaner will work confidently to scrub away the floors, waterline, and walls of pools in all shapes and sizes. If you’re looking for versatility married to supreme firepower, Zodiac doesn’t disappoint.

This cleaner is designed for in-ground pools made from vinyl, fiberglass, concrete, or tile. The X-Trax allows this unit to climb nimbly up the walls of your pool without any slippage.

Navigation is seamless thanks to the X-Drive technology baked in. Your MX8 will hustle all around the pool while dealing with all types of debris.

There is a highly efficient flow regulator valve in place that serves to limit any high flow of water through the cleaner. This will prolong the lifespan of your equipment and pool system both.

Thanks to the twist-lock connections on the hoses, you’ll experience minimal vacuum loss and a straightforward installation experience.

The MX8 is designed to work well with variable-speed pool pumps.

There is a convertible intake that allows you to make room for larger debris. That said, the only reported issue among a sea of positive user testimony concerns the capability of this cleaner to deal with leaves. If your pool tends to become deluged with this sort of debris, you might want to rethink. If you don’t have a tree-studded pool, you should be impressed with the performance of this cleaner.

Things We Like Things We Dislike
  • Torquey motor
  • Highly maneuverable
  • For all pool surfaces
  • Some issues with leaves

2. Zodiac MX6 In-Ground Suction Side Pool Cleaner



  • Pools with 2-speed or variable pumps
  • 4 pounds
  • 4 x 8.9 x 14.75 inches

Next up is another Zodiac in the guise of the MX6. How does this pool cleaner stand out in a crowded pack, then?

Off the bat, you’re buying into a highly reputable brand. When you consider how much you invested in your swimming pool, it makes sense to protect that investment by using the best equipment for pool maintenance.

The efficiency of this unit and its low-flow operation makes it a perfect fit if your pool has a twin-speed or variable-speed pump. As with all suction-side pool cleaners, this unit will only run when your pump is operating.

Setting this pool cleaner up couldn’t be much easier. The hoses are designed to snap easily into place. You’ll get all the fittings you need bundled, and you won’t need any tools or DIY skills to get started.

As with all the best suction pool cleaners, once the Zodiac is up and running, you won’t need to put in much by the way of effort or monitoring. The nifty little device does its work powered by your pool system’s suction, and ensures all surfaces are spotless without any hassle or effort on your part.

As with all Zodiac pool gear, you’ll find predominantly positive user reviews. We always dig deep to discover any flaws, and in the case of the MX6, we found a number of complaints about the overall quality of the hoses. This niggle apart, there’s nothing much else to knock about this efficient suction-side pool cleaner. Backed by a 1-year limited warranty, you can buy with complete confidence.

Things We Like Things We Dislike
  • Variable low flow
  • Quick-connect swiveling hoses
  • Highly energy-efficient
  • Hose quality could be improved

3. Hayward Suction Pool Cleaner



  • In-ground gunite pools
  • Weight: 0.88 pounds
  • 4 x 13.6 x 11.9 inches

Hayward is one of the most reputable brands in this market segment, bringing you a wide array of pool accessories to complement your home swimming pool. How does this suction-side pool cleaner stand and fall?

The PoolVac XL is intended for in-ground gunite pools. The design of this unit excels at cleaning this type of pool surface and ensuring that it stays pristine throughout the swimming season.

This is an automatic pool cleaner, with the onboard navigation guaranteeing you get the whole surface of your pool blitzed the easy way. You won’t need to lift a finger and you won’t need to hire a pool crew either.

Setting the cleaner up couldn’t be easier. Tool-free connection to your skimmer or pool hose means you will up and running in less than 10 minutes. As this model is powered by your swimming pool pump, you won’t need a separate booster pump to get the most out of this model.

Not only does this pump briskly and efficiently clean your entire in-ground pool, but it also makes very little noise while it’s cleaning. Ideal for in-ground gunite pools sized to 20 x 40 feet, this is a quiet, versatile, and highly efficient suction pool cleaner from an industry specialist. What are you waiting for?

Things We Like Things We Dislike
  • Runs very quietly
  • Hassle-free maintenance
  • Efficient programmable cleaning
  • Customer care issues flagged

4. Pentair Kreepy Krauly Great White Pool Cleaner



  • Fiberglass, gunite, and vinyl pools
  • 19 pounds
  • 5 x 19 x 7 inches

Pentair is a heavyweight in the pool equipment vertical with just cause. This automatic in-ground pool cleaner helps you to take care of all your pool cleaning needs without needing to scour the surfaces. How does it shape up, then?

Named the Kreepy Krauly Great White, you won’t get a shark in your pool, but you’ll get a tenacious cleaner that will devour the debris that’s dirtying up your swimming pool.

The wide 15-inch cleaning path ensures that the Pentair gets more work done in less time.

Ideal for in-ground pools, the design of the Great White is especially well-suited to dish-incline, hopper bottom, and flat pools so you have plenty of versatility. In terms of surfaces, this cleaner responds well with gunite, fiberglass, and vinyl.

Setting the Pentair up couldn’t be quicker or easier. All you need to do is attach the hose, pop the Great White in the water, and then allow it to do its work while you relax poolside on your lounger.

The bristle drive is intelligently designed to agitate stubborn debris. This is supplemented by a potent vacuum that sucks in a variety of large and small debris, leaving your pool water and the surfaces of your swimming pool glimmering.

Programmed steering allows this unit to seamlessly and confidently navigate your pool terrain, delivering a thorough deep-clean as it goes.

You can also attach a telescopic pole to this cleaner if you need to spot clean any stubborn marks. An adapter for this connection is included, but not the pole.

As you would expect from a household name like Pentair, the majority of user reviews are pretty positive. Surprisingly, we found a handful of complaints about lifespan, so we would advise doing your own due diligence if you were looking for a pool cleaner to stay the distance.

Things We Like Things We Dislike
  • Programmed steering
  • Highly adjustable
  • Quick and easy set-up
  • Lifespan can be poor

5. Hayward Poolvergnuegen Pool Cleaner



  • Any pool size
  • 9 pounds
  • 4 x 13.6 x 11.9 inches

Hayward is a dominant presence in the pool supplies space, and they make consistently great gear that’s not too ruthlessly priced. So, if you’re looking for an affordable suction-side pool cleaner that’s built to deliver years of faithful service, read on.

This automatic pool cleaner comes packing powerful 4-wheel drive, allowing it to agilely navigate your pool terrain while simultaneously scouring and scrubbing it clean.

The oversized wheels and rugged build means this cleaner can cope with larger, deeper pools. The manufacturer suggests it’s capable of cleaning pools with deep ends to 20 x 40 inches.

The tire treads on this cleaner are patented and designed to help improve traction when climbing or maneuvering around obstacles.

Internal steering is thoughtfully pre-programmed with cleaning sequences designed to optimize pool coverage.

If you have a swimming pool at home with uneven surfaces, you’ll appreciate the adjustable roller skirts on this model. These also come in useful if your cleaner runs up against any obstacles.

This is the gray version of the Pool Cleaner, also available in white. You can pick up a 2-wheel drive iteration if you have a simple pool without any inclines or challenging terrain.

Although most users are extremely satisfied with the Great White, we found some scattered blowback about performance at low suction. This complaint notwithstanding, you’re getting a highly efficient suction-side pool cleaner from a brand you can rely on.

Things We Like Things We Dislike
  • 4-wheel drive
  • Unbeatable brand heritage
  • Climbs and maneuvers neatly
  • Not great at low suction

6. Hayward AquaNaut Pool Vacuum



  • Large in-ground pools
  • 2 pounds
  • 4 x 13.6 x 11.9 inches

We have another entry from the inimitable Hayward next with the AquaNaut. Does this pool cleaner live up to its name or fall down badly? Read on to find out.

Off the bat, you benefit from 4-wheel drive capability. This gives you all the power you need in a pool cleaner, as well as admirable maneuverability, even with more complex swimming pools.

The next thing you’ll get is V-Flex technology, but what does this mean in plain English? Well, you get the ability to adjust the vanes on this unit according to the pool debris you need to clean up. This added flexibility serves to improve suction power without running the risk of clogging. As with all elements of Hayward gear, you get precision engineering on top of intelligent design.

The rugged tire treads allow this cleaner to stalk its way around demanding pool terrains without slipping, toppling over, or getting stuck.

As with all Hayward pool cleaners in this class, you can take advantage of the adjustable roller skirt to increase suction if needed on slippery surfaces.

The climbing performance of this pool cleaner is impressive, something referenced in many positive reviews of this model. The few complaints we found centered on the price tag relative to performance and value. This, though, is subjective, so you should make up your own mind. If you want a no-nonsense suction-side pool cleaner from a trustworthy brand, look no further.

Things We Like Things We Dislike
  • Outstanding climbing power
  • Corner-to-corner cleaning
  • Maximum suction with minimal clogging
  • Not the cheapest pool cleaner

7. Pentair Kreepy Krauly Universal Pool Cleaner



  • In-ground pools
  • 5 pounds
  • 17 x 43 x 106 inches

The Pentair Kreepy Krauly line adorns pools the world over. This is a nifty universal pool cleaner that comes with a pleated seal, so what do you get for your money?

Firstly, you can choose whether to buy a single pool cleaner, or multipacks containing 3, 4 or 5 of these things. If you have multiple pools, you’ll qualify for a progressively steep discount the more you buy. Even if you just buy a single cleaner – and this will apply to most home swimming pool owners – you’re still getting an affordable method of pool cleaning from a brand you can rely on.

One of the primary selling points with this model is the fact it contains just one operational moving part. The simplicity means there’s very little to go wrong, and you should get plenty of life out of this pool cleaner, even if it’s one of the cheapest options at your disposal.

The pool cleaner is precisely guided through its cleaning path with a directional system baked in ensuring you get complete coverage.

The design of the cleaner wing helps to effectively divert dirt, debris, and leaves into the filtration system.

Water flow is automatically regulated and optimized for efficiency, so you can relax knowing the Kreepy Krauly will work to the best of its abilities without constant monitoring.

Although positive user reviews predominate, we found some issues from consumers with larger, deeper pools complaining about disappointing performance. If this describes your pool at home, you might want to explore some of the other options on our shortlist.

Things We Like Things We Dislike
  • Single moving part
  • Removes large and small debris
  • Powerful suction
  • Not great with deep pools

8. Zodiac Baracuda Suction-Side Pool Cleaner



  • Low-speed pumps
  • 2 pounds
  • 9 x 18.2 x 8.5 inches

Next in line is another Zodiac, this time the Baracuda. This is a highly effective suction-side pool cleaner that’s pretty reasonably priced without forcing you to compromise on build quality or performance. How does this thing stand and fall, then?

The cleaner is best equipped to deal with the smaller and medium-sized debris that makes its way into your pool and spoils the water clarity. To keep things crystal clear, clean, and hygienic, let the Baracuda swim around and take care of business for you.

This is a cleaner that manages to deliver exceptional cleaning power while still running very quietly. Noisy pool equipment sucks, so don’t allow you time poolside to be disturbed.

There’s a wheel deflector on this model that comes in very useful when the cleaner is making its way around tight corners. Small touches like this elevate the Baracuda from much of the inferior competition.

The 36-inch disc fin helps to improve adhesion to the pool surface, while also minimizing the chance of your pool cleaner getting caught up on any equipment as it cleans up.

Water flow is automatically regulated to make your life easier while improving overall efficiency and minimizing power consumption.

Long-life hoses shouldn’t perish or let you down, and they are designed so as not to scuff or mark your pool surfaces.

The Baracuda will stick easily to almost any pool surface, giving you plenty of latitude.

There is a decent amount of positive user testimony surrounding this model, but the complaints we encountered all mention a lack of efficiency with cleaning. Overall, we feel this one of the best suction pool cleaners out there.

Things We Like Things We Dislike
  • Adheres to all surfaces
  • Easily navigable
  • Simple setup
  • Could move around more efficiently

9. Hayward Poolvergnuegen Pool Cleaner



  • In-ground pools
  • 1 pounds
  • 41 x 13 x 13 inches

Yet another Hayward pool cleaner strongarms its way onto our shortlist. As we mentioned above, this is a pool specialist      helping pool owners just like you for almost a century.

You can pick up this pool cleaner in 2-wheel drive or 4-wheel drive guise. This is the 2-wheel drive iteration, so it works best if you have a simple pool without challenging terrain. The 2-wheel drive model works best with pools featuring a skimmer or suction port 20 feet or less from one end. If you have a pool with a particularly deep end, you should consider the 4-wheel driver instead.

As with all Hayward pool cleaners in this class, you get preprogrammed cleaning cycles that send your cleaner efficiently scouring the pool to optimize cleaning coverage with as few sequences as possible.

5 turning sequences are baked in, taking your cleaner from 90 to 450 degrees.

Unlike much of the competition, the vanes on this pool cleaner automatically adjust as it navigates your pool. This allows you to harness maximum power regardless of flow, while also dealing with any larger debris that’s tumbled into your pool.

If your pool cleaner inevitably runs into an obstacle, the skirts will self-adjust, allowing the cleaner to maintain suction while sidestepping anything in its way.

Overall, you know what sort of quality and performance when you invest in Hayward pool kit, and this 2-wheel drive suction-side pool cleaner continues that winning tradition.

Things We Like Things We Dislike
  • Self-adjusting turbines
  • 5 preprogrammed turns
  • Works well on uneven surfaces
  • Runs quite slowly

10. OT QOMOTOP Robotic Pool Cleaner



  • All pool types
  • 6 pounds
  • 9 x 15.5 x 12.6 inches

While the name might not trip easily off the tongue, the OT QOMOTOP is a highly effective pool cleaner that’s well worth a place on your shortlist. How does it stack up?

The first thing to clear up is that this is a robotic pool cleaner rather than a classic suction-side model. This dinky robot scuttles along cleaning the surface of your pool without any outside assistance.

This, though, is where the limitations lie with the OT. It’s only any use for scouring the floors of a flat pool. It works in above-ground, in-ground, or soft pools. It won’t suck up fine dust, it won’t cope with algae, and it’s no use for cleaning the side walls or stairs. Given these limitations, it’s hard for us to wholeheartedly recommend this unit. Even if you don’t have a complex pool, you’ll still be left with areas to clean manually.

The robot can deal with all pool surfaces, from vinyl and fiberglass through to concrete pools.

You can expect this robot to get your pool cleaned in as little as 90 minutes. It’s suitable for cleaning pools up to 860 square feet to a depth of 6 feet 6 inches.

There’s no tasky assembly when the robot arrives. All you need to do is pop on the floating handle then secure the rope. Disassembly is near-instant with a single click. You won’t need any tech skills to get this thing going, but you’ll benefit from all that technology baked in, meaning you don’t need to lift a finger to keep your pool looking immaculate year-round.

Things We Like Things We Dislike
  • Rechargeable
  • Lightweight and compact
  • 90-minute cleaning
  • No tangled cords

11. Hayward AquaNaut Pool Cleaner



  • All pool terrains
  • 16 pounds
  • 11 x 9 x 8.5 inches

We have yet another iteration of the classic Hayward AquaNaut next, this time the PHS21CST. The 200 series feature 2-wheel drive pool cleaners like this model perfect for pools without really deep ends, and with the suction port midway along the pool, no more than 20 feet from one end. If this sounds like a smooth fit for your home swimming pool, see what you get for your money…

You have all bases covered when it comes to surfaces. This model can confidently navigate concrete, vinyl, and gunite, just as well as tile, pebble, or fiberglass.

You’ll need a pump developing at least 0.5 HP or 35 GPM. Make sure this is the case before committing to purchase.

The V-Flex technology onboard is patented, and helps your pool cleaner to deal with larger debris, something by no means all of these units are capable of.

You get a trio of interchangeable throats that should mean you can achieve first-class suction at practically any flow. The adjustable roller skirt helps to keep this suction applied whatever the surface, and whatever obstacles the pool cleaner encounters.

If your pool set-up is such that a 2-wheel drive pool cleaner slots neatly into place, we can’t recommend this Hayward strongly enough.

Things We Like Things We Dislike
  • Extremely versatile
  • 2-wheel drive
  • Self-adjusting variable vanes
  • Difficult to get parts

12. Dolphin Proteus Automatic Robotic Pool Cleaner



  • Any pool size
  • 5 pounds
  • 22 x 18 x 13 inches

Last in our collection of the best suction pool cleaners is an automatic robotic cleaner. As outlined in our brief buying guide above, this type of pool cleaner is a much more economical and energy-efficient option than a straight-up suction-side pool cleaner. You won’t need any hoses, and you won’t need any extra pool equipment.

This setup not only saves you considerably with reduced running costs, but it will also prolong the lifespan of your pool system.

The Proteus DX3 is the entry-level model of the 3 robotic cleaners in this line.

You benefit from a weekly scheduler equipped with a trio of settings to suit. Choose from cleaning your pool daily, on alternate days, or once every 3 days to suit. Whichever you decide upon, you can ensure your pool stays immaculate without needing to lift a finger and without the ongoing expense of hiring a pool cleaning crew.

While the bulk of users sing the praises of this pool cleaner, we found some isolated complaints concerning performance in the corners of the pool. This set aside, most reviews are effusively positive.

If you’ve scoured through our selection of the best suction pool cleaners and decided they don’t make the smoothest fit for your home swimming pool, investing in an automatic robotic cleaner is the smart alternative. Enjoy hands-free pool cleaning with this set-and-forget unit that won’t cost you a fortune in electricity and will also help your pool system to last longer. What’s not to love?

Things We Like Things We Dislike
  • Weekly scheduler
  • Great brand image
  • Extends lifespan of pool system
  • Not great in corners

13. Hayward AquaNaut Suction Pool Vacuum



  • In-ground pools with variable pumps
  • 16 pounds
  • 11 x 9 x 8.5 inches

Hayward’s AquaNaut is another effective suction-side pool cleaner that’s well worth popping on your shortlist.

This is the base model including just the cleaner. There are 3 interchangeable throats allowing you to connect this vacuum to most variable-speed pool pumps. This is how the unit is powered, so make sure you have the right type of pump before committing to purchase.

Navigation is pretty impressive, and the steering is crisp and accurate. The adjustable roller skirt is designed to maintain traction, even on uneven pool surfaces.

You get multiple cleaning sequences so that the whole surface of your swimming pool ends up spotless. Even better, you won’t need to roll up your sleeves to achieve this, and you won’t need to pay for an expensive pool maintenance crew either.

This cleaner is intended for in-ground pools with any surface, including vinyl, concrete, gunite, pebble, and tile. In terms of size, the cleaner can cope with pools to 16 x 32 feet, giving you plenty of flexibility.

As long as you have the right type of pump in place, this is one of the best suction pool cleaners you’ll find, and it comes from a brand you can trust. Built to last, the questionable customer service of this brand is about the only drawback here.

Things We Like Things We Dislike
  • For all pool surfaces
  • Rugged tire treads
  • For in-ground pools to 16 x 32 feet
  • Struggles with tile pools


If you pitched up here today at Wild River Country with no clue about choosing the best suction pool cleaner, that should no longer be the case.

We’ve included a broad section of pool cleaners so there should be something for everyone today. We also understand that suction-side pool cleaners do not always make the best solution for all pool owners. To help out, we’ve also thrown in some automatic robotic units. These don’t call for existing pool equipment, and they scour the surfaces riding solo.

Whichever makes the right fit for your pool, you should now have a range of options within your budget, so all that remains is to finalize your decision and start enjoying a cleaner pool year-round.

Bookmark our blog before you head off today. We bring you fresh content regularly covering everything you need to know about buying and maintaining a home swimming pool. We’ll see you soon!

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