A Complete Guide To The Different Types Of Automatic Pool Cleaners

The most common question we get at PoolCleanerReview is, “Which pool cleaner is right for my specific pool?” To answer this question, we’ve created a simple guide to ensure you pick the best type of cleaner for you.

If you own a swimming pool, manual cleaning is time-consuming, labor intensive, and requires special equipment. You’re probably reading this article because you’re tired of skimming your pool manually and you’re looking for some help. Well, you’ve come to the right place because automatic pool cleaners are labor-saving accessories, will make your life easier, and keep your pool sparkling around the clock.

Before we get started, if you own an above ground pool then picking a pool cleaner is simple. Just purchase a pool cleaner that is specifically designed for above ground pools. The different cleaner types below are made just for in-ground pools. If you try to use one of those on your above ground pool, you can damage vinyl liner and that’s one really expensive fix.

In this article, we will show you the different types of cleaners, their pros and cons, and which models might work best for your pool.

Suction Side Cleaners

Suction side cleaners are the most commonly used pool cleaners. Pool owners choose suction side cleaners due to their low cost, reliability, and upkeep and maintenance. Suction side cleaners work best in pools where dust and small debris are present. Pools with a tendency for larger debris or a lot of debris should use a leaf canister to avoid clogging the filter and pump basket.

This automatic pool cleaner attaches to the suction side of the pool’s plumbing, either at the skimmer, or on a separate side port specifically designated for the cleaner. The device moves around the pool’s walls and bottom picking up dirt and debris. The dirt passes through the hose and into the pool’s pump strainer basket, leaf canister and/or pool filter.


  • Easy to install, reliable and inexpensive.
  • Less moving parts allow for simple maintenance.


  • Uses of your pool pump to clean your pool.
  • Causes additional wear and tear on your pool filtration system.

Pressure Side Pool Cleaners

Pressure-side cleaners use water pressure from a dedicated booster pump and/or pool pump to drive the cleaner around your pool and force debris into a filter bag, where it is collected and easily removed.

These cleaners use the pressure of the water as it gets returned back into the pool to propel itself around the pool’s bottom and walls, vacuuming up all dirt and debris. The debris passes into a bag attached to the side of the cleaner. The bag catches all the debris and prevents it from going into the filtration system and pool filter, which reduces wear and tear on the pump and filter.


  • Improves water circulation.
  • Fast & efficient cleaning.
  • Won’t clog skimmer or filter.


  • Require dedicated booster pump

Robotic Pool Cleaners

As of late, the robotic pool cleaner has been the most popular pool cleaner. These robot vacuums offer quick effective cleaning, as well as convenience compared to the traditional pool cleaner types.

Pool owners choose robotic cleaners because they are simple plug and play and require very little assembly.

You unpack it from the box, plug it in, drop it in your pool and after a few hours, your pool is sparkling clean. It scrubs, cleans, and vacuums while it moves & roams along the bottom of the pool, some climb walls, stairs, and can even brush the tile line for you too.

They have a self-containing filtration system, which allows them to operate completely independently of your pool system. This means no wear and tear on your existing pool filtration system.


  • Energy efficient & quick cleaning.
  • Simple plug and play operation.
  • Longer warranties.
  • Remote and storage caddy available depending on cleaner model.


  • Higher initial cost.
  • Have to remove and insert the cleaner from the pool when used.

Each pool is unique in its location, amount of debris, and size. Therefore, you will want a pool cleaner that matches your pool’s cleaning needs as well as your budget. The lower cost models have less cleaning horsepower, while the more expensive models have more cleaning horsepower.

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