Best Above Ground Pool Vacuum Reviews | Top Picks

Finding the perfect above ground pool vacuum/ cleaner for you can be really tricky. Although robotic pool cleaners tend to do clean above ground pools well,  we wanted to make it easier for you by creating a list specifically with easy to read reviews. If you have an above ground pool, but hate cleaning it then this is the post for you!

We also list some of the top choices of vacuums for Intex pools, which are better for small Intex pools than most automatic cleaners. However, the best pool covers can definitely help out with keeping your pool cleaner.

We put our favorite ones (the ones we highlight below) in the beginning to make it easy for you. At the very bottom we tell you what to look out for in our above ground pool cleaning vacuums buying guide.

There are 11 reviewed automatic above ground pool vacuums/cleaners which we highlight in the table below. Be sure to SCROLL DOWN and check out the pros and cons of each in more detail.

Above Ground Vacuums Comparison

1. [Best Above Ground Robotic Pool Cleaner]
Dolphin Nautilus

Read My Review
Weight: 34.5 pounds
Cord Length: 60 ft

● Super cleans pool walls and floor
● Great for all types of debris
● Easy to set up

4.7 out of 5
2. [Best for the Money]
Zodiac Ranger

Read My Review
Weight: 15 lb
Cord Length: 32 ft

● Easy setup & installation
● Doesn't get stuck
● Self regulates water pressure & flow

4.2 out of 5
3. [Best Above Ground Pool Vacuum Cleaner]
Blaster Catfish

Read My Review
Weight: 3 pounds
Cord Length: Cordless

● Very affordable
● Good battery life
● 35 minute Run time on a single charge

4.2 out of 5
4. Hayward 500 Aqua Bug

Read My Review
Weight: 4 ounces
Cord Length: 18 ft

● Gets algae, dust, and sand
● Easy set up
● Cute Design

4.5 out of 5
5. Pentair K50600 Kreepy
Krauly E-Z

Read My Review
Weight: 15.3 lb
Cord Length: 32 ft

● Solid, consistent clean
● Longer life than similarly priced clenaers
● Random pattern reaches everywhere

4.4 out of 5
6. Aquabot APRVJR Pool
Rover Junior

Read My Review
Weight: 26 lb
Cord Length: 40 ft

● Works well with ALL pools
● Fast clean of 1-2 hours
● Automatic shut off timer

4.4 out of 5
7. Intex Auto Pool

Read My Review

Weight: 15.3 lb
Cord Length: 25 ft

● Specifically made for Intex pools
● Able to even get algae
● Sweeps AND vacuums

4.3 out of 5
8. Zodiac Polaris Vac-Sweep 65

Read My Review
Weight: 13.9 lb
Cord Length: 24 ft

● Easily removes dirt and leaves
● Even cleans pool steps
● Sometimes flips over

4.3 out of 5
9. Aquabot Pool Rover S2 40

Read My Review
Weight: 22 lb
Cord Length: 40 ft

● Effective Clean
● Fast, easy set up
● Shorter shelf life

3.4 out of 5
10. Smart Pool 4i

Read My Review
Weight: 8.5 lb
Cord Length: 40 ft

● Effective with larger pools
● Great with fine debris
● Good Warranty + Customer Support

3.4 out of 5
11. Aquabot Pool Rover Hybrid

Read My Review
Weight: 27.3 lb
Cord Length: 40 ft

● Rolls over ripples and doesn't get stuck
● Cleans all types of debris
● Effective on all types of pools

3.9 out of 5

Best Above Ground Pool Vacuum Reviews 2019

 1. [Best Overall] Dolphin Nautilus 

Editor Rating:


First on our list is the infamous Dolphin Nautilus. We've actually written extensively about this pool cleaner on various top lists so we'll keep it short here, but if you want, you can read the full review here.

It's basically everything you want in an automatic  cleaner - consistent, powerful, and very good at cleaning. It's better for cleaning larger above ground pools and not really suited for really tiny Intex saces though.  
Powerful, reliable, and so easy to drop and forget it, it'll do the job of keeping your water immaculate without any of the hassle other options may give you. Easily the #1 above ground pool vacuum available.


  • Super cleans pool walls and floor
  • Great for all types of debris
  • Easy to set up


  • Not great for small intex pools




The Zodiac Ranger is definitely one of the top above ground pool vacuums, especially for the price.. This is because it has a bunch of awesome features that many other automatic cleaners don't have. One of the most important ones is that it is very independent.

This is because it doesn't get stuck and will be able to clean all over your pool so you don't have to tend to your maintenance as much. Even if you have a weaker pump or side port because the Ranger is able to self regulate the water flow it can also dictate the power. 
This means it is always able to provide a powerful clean even if the source is weak so you don't have to spring for a powerful pump. 

Finally, don't you just love products that you can take out of the box and get working? Well if you do, this is definitely one of those. Everything comes pre-assembled and with very few moving parts it's easy to install and fix up even after a little bit of trouble.

Although it's pretty close to perfect (and it's cheap!) it does have a pretty major flaw. It doesn't work well on Intex or soft sided pools. Considering Intex is one of the best above ground pool companies a lot of cleaners surprisingly don't work on them which makes no sense, but it's a sad, sad truth.

Bottom Line: If you want a good cleaner that comes relatively hands off then the Zodiac Ranger is the best above ground automatic pool vacuum for you. Effective and cheap - just don't get it if you have an Intex pool. However, it also works well for all types!


  • Doesn't get stuck
  • Easy setup & installation
  • Self regulates water pressure & flow


  • Not recommended for Intex/soft sided pools

Price: $

water tech pool blaster catfish

The Water Tech Pool Blaster Catfish is one of the top above ground pool vacuums but is the best vacuum for Intex above ground pool. While it's not automatic,  it's really good at cleaning. Big or small, algae or not, no debris is safe from the Blaster Catfish.

It is a manual vacuum so don't expect to be able to throw it in the water and come back to a clean pool. The Blaster Catfish takes some elbow grease, but it is still a lot easier than using old school pool sweepers to clean your pool.

Since it is a vacuum it can suck the debris into the bag and leaving your water sparkling clean and without any microfibers. Another great thing about this manual cleaner is that it runs on batteries - often for 7-10 cleans without being recharged.

Because it's manual you won't be able to clean  a really deep pool unless you want to go inside with it. It does  have a decent shelf life of around 3-4 years which is 1-2 years above the average.  In addition to that, it also has a pretty good return policy.

Bottom Line: It's a good above ground vacuum but isn't automatic. If you're fine with doing it manually and want a really solid clean then this is the product for you. Easily the best Intex pool vacuum.


  • Very affordable
  • Good battery life
  • Nice clean


  • Plastic parts seems flimsy


Price: $

hayward aquabug above ground pool cleaner

The Hayward Aquabug is definitely the CUTEST swimming cleaner on the market. It's safe to say that nothing even comes close. The only question is: Can it also do its job or is it another cute, useless thing that will sit on your shelf?

To answer the question, yes the Hayward Aquabug is a best vacuum for above ground pool, but it does require a pretty good pump that not every above ground swimming pool will have. Even without one it does an okay job cleaning.

This cleaner is really good at picking up algae, sand, and dust. It's similarly effective with medium sized objects like sticks, leaves and rocks but it is relatively small. Because of its smaller size it fills up quickly so if you get a LOT of leaves in your pool then you may want to consider another cleaner. Otherwise, you'll just have to clean the filter bag out fairly frequently.

We didn't test it on our Intex above ground pool, but there are some people who claim it doesn't work well with the Intex pools so if you have one then don't purchase the Hayward Aquabug. 

Bottom Line: Unlike many cute, adorable things the Hayward Aquabug actually does its job cleaning your pool. Although it isn't good for Intex pools or with really weak pumps, at such a cheap price you can't go wrong. It's our #4 choice for good reason - you can't go wrong with it .


  • Really affordable
  • Gets algae, dust, and sand
  • Easy set up
  • Cute Design


  • Not good on Intex pools
  • Small filter bag


Price: $

Pentair Kreepy Krauly Suction Side Pool Cleaner

Before you even knew what automatic pool cleaners were, you probably have heard of the first automatic cleaner - the classic Pentair Kreepy Krauly. Although initially made for inground pools, Pentair has adopted them to work effectively with above ground pools.

As a classic suction side vacuum, it provides a solid clean for longer than other cleaners in the price range. A large part of this is because there are few moving parts so there is less of a chance of it breaking.

It also randomly cleans your pool so it will eventually get to everywhere. Although robotic pool cleaners can be more efficient sometimes they mess up and may never reach some spots. Fortunately, this Kreepy Krauly version is able to reach everywhere even though it may take some time.

Even though its pressure is on the weaker side and it can't get large debris, it does its job by cleaning most of the things on the floor.

It's better for above ground pools that are simple shapes and doesn't have a lot of curves/corners because it could make it hard to reach all spots in the pool. However, if you have a simple lay out then you'll be able to count on this cleaner to clean your pool effectively.

Bottom Line: It's the most popular cleaner for the money whose value can't be beat. It's not a premium cleaner like some of the others we have, but nothing beats its value.


  • Solid, consistent clean
  • Longer life than similarly priced clenaers
  • Random pattern reaches everywhere


  • Best for rectangular /oval/circular pools
  • Chord can get stuck


Price: $

The Aquabot APRVJR Pool Rover Above Ground Cleaner is one of the best. It works with all types of pools - and is the second best above ground pool cleaner for Intex options. The fact that it works on all pools means it is a very safe buy since many people actually buy pool cleaners that don't work  well!

The other 2 features that we like are very similarly connected - the aquabot is able to clean FAST and does its job within 1-2 hours. This is great because it has an in-built shut off timer where after 2 hours it'll turn itself off.

This feature will save you electricity in case you forget to turn it off yourself so it'll definitely save a few extra bucks here and there. 

It does have two minor things working against it - it's not great at getting medium to large debris (most above the ground automatic cleaners aren't), and the chord gets tangled. It might require some manual untangling but it's not often and won't happen if you have a small pool. If you do have a larger pool just be sure to check it every 10-15 minutes to make sure it's still running smooth.

Bottom Line: The Aquabot APRVJR is a solid pool cleaner with a couple of cool features. It provides a good, consistent clean for an affordable price.


  • Works well with ALL pools
  • Fast clean of 1-2 hours
  • Automatic shut off timer


  • Best for small debris
  • Chord gets tangled


Price: $$

Want more info. on this product? Click to read the FULL review

The Intex Auto Pool cleaner is the #2 ranked above ground pool vacuum for Intex pools. It makes sense that the biggest above ground pool provider would create swimming pools vacuums for their best selling products.

It's great because you'll get what you expect - an automatic pool cleaner created specifically for Intex pools. Since a lot of cleaners aren't great for Intex specifically, the Intex Cleaner cleaner stands out if you have an Intex pool.

Now I'll be honest. It's not great if your pool consistently gets really dirty because it doesn't get everything. However, it's powerful enough to get clean moderately dirty pools with relative ease.

With that said you want to make sure you have the right specs to take advantage of this cleaner. It's actually perfectly okay to use it if you don't have an Intex pool because it's still affordable, easy to set up, and gives a decent clean. Other than that you want to make sure you have about a 1.5HP pump so that it gets enough power.

If you do have the specs then you're in for an easy time. It'll clean fine debris pretty easily but has trouble with larger leaves. Fortunately, it still helps out because it provides a sweep and vacuum feature that will leave your pool significantly cleaner than what it was before.

As usual, everybody wants to know the price. Is the Intex Automatic worth the money? You bet - as long as you have an Intex pool. If you don't then you can get a much better pool cleaner that's just a little more money.

Bottom Line: It's effective - but only worth getting if you have an Intex Pool. The Intex Auto isn't as good if you have another brand of pool since you can find a more effective cleaner for a similar price.


  • Specifically made for Intex pools
  • Able to even get algae
  • Sweeps AND vacuums
  • Good Value Buy


  • Specifically made for Intex pools (yes it's a con too)
  • Requires pretty good horsepower and flow rate


Price: $

Polaris Vac Sweep 65

Why deal with manual cleaners when you have the Zodiac Polaris Vac-Sweep 65? It's extremely affordable and provides a good, consistent clean. If you're looking for a cheap above ground pool cleaner then look no further.

Obviously at such a cheap price it isn't perfect. It's not great with large pools, lasts (2-3 years which actually isn't too bad) , and occasionally turns over and sprays some water out. Yeah, the last one is annoying, but the other features of the Polaris Vac-Sweep swimming pool cleaner definitely makes up for it.

Its decent suction power will easily be able to get the debris in the water and the Vac-sweep is particularly good at getting rid of leaves and dirt. For an above ground pool cleaner, it does a good job of being able to get the pool steps.  It won't get them 100% of the time, but it's enough so that you don't have to sweep them too often.

It's best for small pools so if you have one then then this is a great option for you.
Bottom Line: Cheap and effective, any above ground pool owner should consider getting the Polaris Vac-Sweep 65. It has its flaws, but it does its job well enough to save you tons of time.


  • Easily removes dirt and leaves
  • AWESOME price
  • Even cleans pool steps


  • Sometimes flips over
  • Not effective cleaning large pools


Price: $

Want more info. on this product? Click to read the FULL review

9. Aquabot POOL ROVER S2 40

aquabot pool rover s2 40

Robotic pool cleaners are so fun and easy to use because they work out of the box. Well, the Aquabot Pool Rover S2 40 is no exception, and is a must have for cleaning your above ground pool.

Light weight and easy to use, this above ground vacuum will remove dirt and debris from your water. It doesn't have the power to get large debris and doesn't work well in inground pools, but is fantastic at getting smaller debris that you normally get in above ground pools and works well for sand. In fact, it is the best above ground pool cleaner for sand.

While it's good at cleaning the floor bottom, it is a little lacking in getting all the areas on the walls and steps. Even though these areas aren't as important, this moves the overall clean from pretty good to just average.

There are some issues with the product life (1-2 years) and its lack of power, but most people tend to enjoy their Aquabot Rover S2 40 Automatic Cleaner.

If you want to save time from cleaning yourself, and money by not hiring a pool man then this is a great alternative. It is a very affordable  cleaner and is one of the best above ground pool cleaners for the money.

Bottom Line: It's good for what you pay for, but isn't the best you can get. Definitely worth it if you're on a budget as it's a good bang for your buck.


  • Great Price
  • Effective Clean
  • Fast, easy set up


  • Only cleans floor
  • Shorter shelf life


Price: $

10. Smart Pool 4i Floor and Cove Cleaner

smart pool 4i pool cleaner

The Smart Pool 4i Floor and Cove Cleaner will do what you expect. It's quite effective at larger pools - where other above the  ground cleaners aren't so good at so if you have a big spae then you definitely want to consider this product.

It's also great at cleaning fine and small debris - find sand, dust, and dirt will get sucked by this little guy. Unfortunately he won't be able to clean other types of debris as he is pretty focused on getting the small ones.

The Smart 4i has a pretty average product life at 2-3 years. Others have reported it broke down sooner, but luckily it comes with an awesome 2 year warranty. If it breaks, you get full replacement so this can double the product life pretty easily. The customer support actually helps you too so they don't try to cheat you out of your warranty.

Bottom Line: It is a decent cleaner that is best for large pools. If you don't have a small one consider a cheaper option that will get the job done.


  • Effective with larger pools
  • Great with fine debris
  • Good Warranty + Customer Support


  • 2-3 year product life
  • Can't clean medium or large debris


Price: $$

11. Aquabot Pool Rover Hybrid

aquabot pool rover hybrid robotic pool cleaner

Without a doubt, the Aquabot Pool Rover Hybrid is the top above ground pool vacuum on the list. It is typically a little pricier than other options so it's not the best clean for your money, but it is still a solid buy.

There's not a lot to not like about like it. Like most cleaners, it has some problems in getting tangled sometimes. It only really happens on larger pools so if you have a small pool then this won't really affect you. 

What will affect you is the fact that while it's great at cleaning the pool floor, that's all it'll clean. It won't clean your  steps and typically isn't able to clean the walls so make sure you keep your  sweeper around.

Like most of Aquabot's products it's able to navigate the pool and clean pretty quickly. It doesn't even skimp out on what it'll clean - it's effective for small, medium, and large debris and it'll take care of it all in about an hour.

The best part is this Aquabot is that it is effective in all types of pool shapes. Above ground, below ground, vinyl or concrete - it doesn't matter. It's even able to slowly roll over vinyl folds and bumps so that it can continue cleaning.

Bottom Line: The Aquaabot Hybrid cleaner is a little pricier than the others but is also a higher quality pool cleaner. You can't go wrong with this one if you're okay with spending a little more money for a lot more features.


  • Rolls over ripples and doesn't get stuck
  • Cleans all types of debris
  • 1 hour clean
  • Effective on all types of pools


  • Requires untangling
  • Doesn't clean walls


Price: $$

How to Choose the Best Above Ground Pool Vacuums

Even though we picked out our favorite 3 does NOT mean they will be the ideal above ground pool vacuum for you. My recommended 3 are just general suggestions. It's important to learn how to pick the right cleaner for your budget, type of pool, and dirtiness. Take all these into account when picking the best vacuum for above ground pool for you.

Consider Types of Pool Vacuum Cleaners

There are three main types of vacuums:
* robotic cleaners - these are powered by motors which are controlled by a microprocessor and dedicated software
* suction cleaners - these are powered by the filtration  pump system which helps to remove debris and dirt from the water
* hand-held cleaners - much like household vacuum cleaners, you operate these manually to efficiently (and cheaply) clean.
Ultimately, the size of your pool as well as its shape and the amount of time and money you are willing to invest into maintaining the water crystal clear and enjoyable swimmers that will all come into play when deciding on the type of  cleaner you will purchase.

Consider Vacuum Pricing

Pool cleaners are usually around $200 - $1200. Fortunately, above ground pool cleaners are a LOT more affordable. In fact most of them are some of the cheapest ones available on the market. 

Naturally you get what you pay for. A lot of the cheap ones are rather mediocre, but there are a couple of good ones and are truly diamonds in the rough. With that in mind, if you're looking for a cheap one that is really good check out our "best for the money".

It's the best buy for the value and we thought it was particularly a steal. Our overall favorite is a little more expensive so understanding whether you are willing to pay more for a better cleaner is up to and your budget.

Consider Above Ground Pool's Type, Shape, and Material

Pools don't come in a huge variety so it makes it a little easier compared to picking other cleaners. With that in mind, you need to be aware that the more complicated shape you have (lots of waves or sharp corners) will make it tougher for pool cleaners to work their magic.

Material has a factor too - whether your pool is made of metal, vinyl, or another material may affect a cleaner's performance. If you're not sure about whether a cleaner is good for your shape ask us in the comments.

Consider Pool's Cleanliness

Any given cleaner is best for a particular "cleanliness" level of your pool. If you haven't cleaned your pool in years then NO pool cleaner will be able to clean it out for you. It's best to do it manually THEN drop your pool cleaner in. ​

For regular cleaners it depends - some pool cleaners are better at cleaning fine debris (like sand) while others are good at large debris like lots of leaves. If your swimming area is under a large tree (and therefore consistently gets really dirty) then a cleaner that is only good at light cleaning will not be the one for you. Take this into consideration! 


What is the top above ground pool vacuum?

These are the best vacuums for above ground pools:

  • Dolphin Nautilus
  • Zodiac Ranger
  • Blaster Catfish
  • Hayward 500 Aqua Bug
  • Pentair Kreepy
  • Aquabot APRVJR
  • Intex Auto Pool
  • Zodiac Polaris 65
  • Aquabot Pool Rover S2
  • Smart Pool 4i
  • Aquabot Pool Rover Hybrid


It's critical that you can keep in mind all of the points we mentioned. Like we mentioned before, there is no perfect pool cleaner. The best one for you depends on YOUR wants and needs. However, any of the ones we rated a 4.0 and up (about half of them) are worth a buy while the ones below 4.0 aren't really worth your time.

Of course, we liked our 3 favorite the most, but what works best for us may not work best for you. Keep in mind what we mentioned with our little buying guide and you'll have no problem finding a great above ground automatic vacuum that you love.

In case you didn't notice we really like robotic pool cleaners. They're not all great for above ground pools because you can check our reviews  on the best ones in this post.

Laurie S.

As a multi home owner for 15 years I've tried out a ton of pool products and methods and have found out the best ones that work for me. I love helping out other people with real, honest advice and spending time with my family. If you have any questions please don't hesitate to contact me in the about or through a comment.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below

Treasa Cline - May 20, 2017 Reply

I’m so glad you have this ask/comments. I’m wanting a vacuum that is going to clean up algea and dirt. When my son or husband mows it seems as if all the red dirt around us Flys in the pool. I have a Polaris turtle vac that has a net behind it . So the the debris are post to go in. But seems like it takes a while and misses the red dirt cuz it blows it around. We have a 24 or 28 ft round pool that’s about 4.8″ deep. I usally end up using the hand vac that attaches to the intake basket. I’m so tired of that. Please give me some advice on which robot or vacuum I need to buy. I’m pretty sure my pool is aluminum with vainly inside. They are a few wrinkles on floor and sides. Not alot but I don’t want to get some that might tear them.

Teysa Woodward - June 6, 2017 Reply

Just so you know, the warranty described on the SmartPool 4i is correct but the company does not honor it. Ours broke 2 weeks ago and is 2 months shy of being out of warranty. All the company was willing to do was to offer us half price parts and labor to fix the machine because they didn’t know if our receipt from the store was valid or not! We also have to pay to for all the shipping costs as well. By the time all this was to be over with, we were going to spend around the same price as we would be spending to just a buy a new one from Amazon!

Best Pool Vacuum - The Best Pool Cleaner Reviews 2019 - May 3, 2019 Reply

[…] your behalf but we’re here to help.. If you have an in-ground pool then you can choose among ​these recommendations we presented under the “Best Products for Inground Pool Cleaner Fanatics” section. Otherwise, […]

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