Pool Care Pool Maintenance

What is the Best Pool Cleaning System for My Pool?

Pool ownership comes with some maintenance responsibilities, which include cleaning your pool. At the time, the task can be challenging, tiresome, and time-consuming. But that’s why there are pool cleaning systems available to give you options to pick the best that can work for you.

For most pool owners, time is the problem. They don’t get free time to clean their swimming pools. Others have a huge swimming pool that can exhaust you even before you can clean anything. If you’re interested in knowing what other pool cleaning systems are there and the best type for you, this post is for you.

What Types of Pool Cleaning Systems Are There

If you don’t engage any pool maintenance team to keep your swimming pool clean and healthy regularly, investing in a pool cleaner system can mean a great deal for you. Today, multiple pool cleaning systems are mainly categorized under manual, automatic, and in-floor pool cleaners.

Manual Pool Cleaners

As the name suggests, the manual cleaning system involves you taking part in the cleaning. You provide the energy needed to move the cleaner around. It’s a cleaning mode ideal for those working with a low budget, a lot of free time, and would want to exercise their muscles once in a while.

If you feel like that’s something you’d want to do, here are some essential pieces of equipment you will need to clean your swimming manually successfully:

  • A telescoping pole for extending your reach to the hard-to-reach spots when cleaning your pool wall and floor.
  • A skimmer net you can attach to the telescoping pole and use it to skim out debris and leaves you to find in the pool water.
  • A pool brush to use for scrubbing the walls and floor off the dirt and algae. It does also attach to the pool telescope pole.
  • A manual handheld pool vacuum can help vacuum all the dirt and small debris on the pool floor. It comes with a vacuum head attachable to a telescoping pole.

What manual pool cleaning systems are there? I might have touched on the brushing and manually vacuuming in the points above. That’s precisely what you can call the manual options of cleaning your swimming pool

1) Manual Brushing With a Telescoping Pole

Manual brushing requires you to attach a pool brush to a telescoping pole and brush off your pool surfaces’ stubborn dirt and debris.

This pool cleaning system requires an efficient pool filtration system that can remove debris, microorganism, algae, and all sorts of contaminants.

The telescoping pole is to make sure you can reach the deepest point in your swimming and brush or scrape off the dirt, stains, and algae.

You can attach a skimmer net to remove some floating debris and take some strain away from your swimming pool filter.

It’s an excellent way to exercise the upper body muscles but also reasonably time-consuming. However, you can consider it doable if you have a small swimming pool and working with a low budget.

But note, it takes a lot of work to brush to clean your pool manually, and you might be straining your pool filter system by forcing it to work extra had to ensure your swimming pool stays clean.

2) Handheld Pool Vacuums

Handheld pool vacuuming is similar to household floor vacuuming, where you’ve to take part in your pool cleaning by directing the pool cleaner to places it should clean.

Handheld Pool Vacuum comes as a self-contained appliance fitted with a suction or bristle head, debris-trapping compartment, built-in filter, and a long handle.

Another thing, these pool cleaning systems are available as a plug-in or battery-operated types. Both require you to maneuver the vacuum head on the pool surfaces as it cleans.

The vacuum head features suction and bristles to help you remove all the dirt and stubborn debris resting on the pool surfaces.

Note this; a handheld vacuum features no mechanical parts. It doesn’t have any moving parts. It’s an inexpensive cleaning solution for a small to medium swimming pool.

It might take you quite some time to clean a more extended swimming pool, possibly a few hours. Another thing, it’d be best when using this method to combine it with manual hand-brushing.

The brush bristles will help loosen the debris from the surfaces, and a hand vacuum will suck them out. However, it’d be best to keep the pool filter running so that it can clean the floating debris. And after vacuuming, you might want to clean the filter cartridge or backwash your sand or D.E filter.

Automatic Pool Cleaners

If manual pool cleaning sounds like too much hard work for you, it makes sense to search for a better solution.

And the good news is, there is a better and faster way to clean your swimming pool without getting involved much.

Investing in an automatic pool cleaning system can take all the cleaning hassle away from your hands and save you some time.

Yes, the initial expenses of getting an automatic cleaning system are higher than that of a manual pool cleaning system.

However, the investment is worthwhile, considering you don’t need to guide or monitor an automatic pool cleaner. Now you can spend your pool cleaning with something less tiring.

Typically, there are three types of automatic pool cleaners, which I’m about to discuss below.

1) Robotic Pool Cleaners

Robotic pool cleaning systems have changed the pool cleaning game a lot. They are innovative appliances designed to clean your swimming pool surfaces sparkling clean with little to no effort from you.

They are exceptionally good with a pool of almost all shapes and sizes. A Robotic Pool Cleaner can handle large and small debris, including particles.

These devices come with a built-in motor and integrated microprocessor carrying instructions to assess the pool shape and size when cleaning.

The instructions also allow it to create the best method to effectively and thoroughly clean your swimming pool. The high-end robotic cleaners even come pre-programming using a remote control.

Robotic cleaners are available in models suited for above-ground pools, in-ground pools, or both.

The pricing of these pool cleaning systems is a bit high, and that’s why you must pick the perfect model for your pool size and type.

How Does a Robotic Pool Cleaner Work?

Robotic swimming pool cleaners are the easiest to use. All you need is to follow the provided manufacturer’s installation guide. The best part is, you will only need to plug it in and deep it into your swimming pool to start cleaning.

The robot will scan the pool floor as it cleans. Some models can clean pool walls, stairs, and the waterline; its filtration system works independently and separately. You might, though, need to clean its filters and empty its dustbin.

Robotic Pool Cleaner uses its suction pump to pull the dirty water through its filter compartment, clean it and pump it back to the swimming pool. The built-in motor propels it around the pool surfaces as it cleans and sucks the debris and dirt.

Reasons to Install Robotic Pool Cleaners

Versatility and efficiency: robotic cleaners are designed to tackle all types of debris and dirt it may find in your swimming pool. You can also use them on all types of pool surfaces. Besides this, their innovative, advanced features, including scanning and filtration systems, enable them to operate independently.

Eco-Friendly: Robotic pool cleaning systems don’t emit any toxic chemicals. They are eco-friendly, which is probably one of their best features. They clean the pool without leaving anything that could harm you or the environment.

Low maintenance: apart from being the easiest, convenient and comfortable pool cleaning systems to use, they are also low maintenance. All you need is to empty the filter bag or bin to keep it clean and ready for the next cleaning round.

Saves Energy and Time: Robotic cleaners are designed to consume very little power. They don’t use the pool’s filtration system or the pool pump; they can lower your energy costs. And since they work fast and in a scheduled way, their cleaning time is reduced.

Reasons against Installing Suction Pool Cleaners

Expensive Investment: You need a high initial budget since robotic pool cleaners are costly than other pool cleaning systems.

Added Maintenance: At times, maintenance work might overwhelm you since these models come with lots of moving parts and require filter cleaning for continuous operation.

Movement Limitation: Your robotic cleaner’s movements depend on the length of the electrical cable that it comes with – it might not cover your entire pool.

2) Suction Pool Cleaners

If you need the most economical automatic pool cleaner, a suction pool cleaning system is a perfect choice. It’s the most common type of pool cleaner uses in both in-ground and above-ground swimming pools.

Suction pool cleaners can hand all types of dirt and debris, even fine sand, stubborn algae, and other harmful pool bacteria. It’s excellent in picking sediments, pebbles, and more.

It works with a dedicated suction line mainly located at the side of the pool circulation line of your swimming pool.

It vacuums using force produced by the suction line and move around the pool bottom, scrubbing the surfaces.

These models are pretty powerful, and you can attach them to your pool skimmer. They offer reliable cleaning of the pool corners, walls, steps, and stairs. Besides this, they can handle obstacles and can clean pools of any size and shape.

Handheld Suction Cleaner: Even though we’re talking about automatic suction pool cleaners, I should mention there are handheld suction cleaners too. Handheld models require a rechargeable battery and work with small-medium size swimming pools. They also require a telescoping pole to extend your reach to the hard-to-reach corners and spots.

How Does a Suction Pool Cleaner Work?

A suction-side pool cleaner will come with a hose that you’ll need to attach to a dedicated pool suction cleaner line, your pool skimmer’s port, or one of the pool water circulation lines.

Once everything is ready, you can leave the cleaner to do its work. It moves randomly around the pool floor while sucking the debris and dirt it comes across.

It relies on the water flow to move it around. It doesn’t come with an onboard filter. So, all the dirt and debris it sucks are sent to the skimmer basket or filtered out by the pool filter.

It might require you to change the valve suction for continuous performance. You also need to keep the pump filter and pump running during the vacuuming.

When the cleaner is done cleaning, remove and empty the skimmer. You might also want to backwash your sand or D.E filter or clean the cartridge, depending on how dirty your swimming pool was.

Reasons to Install Suction Pool Cleaners

Effective at Cleaning Small and Medium Particles: most pool owners love this automatic pool cleaning system for its reliability in sucking all types of debris and dirt, including the small sediments found on the pool floors. It can also help you suck out pool algae. A high-end more might even come with a scrubbing or sweeping feature designed to make the cleaning even more effective.

It Clean Walls: suction pool cleaners can climb pool walls to ensure every inch of your swimming pool is clean. That can save you the manual scrubbing of the walls.

It’s Cost-Effective: As mentioned earlier, suction-side cleaners are one of the most economical pool cleaning systems you can buy, thanks to their budget-friendly price and low maintenance costs. You don’t need extra accessories to have it work properly. That means you will have less maintenance, and your repair costs will stay low.

Reasons against Installing Suction Pool Cleaners

Added maintenance: after every cleaning cycle, it’s best to empty the skimmer basket and clean the filter to maintain continuous cleaning.

Increases Pump Running Costs: It does reduce pool water flow rate and, at the same time increasing the pool pump load. That means the running cost increases too.

Increases Pool Filter Wear and Tear: Apart from the standard filtering, the pool filter has to work extra when the suction pool cleaner is cleaning the pool. With time, this extra filtration increases the filter’s wear and tear.

It Can Get Stuck: the suction head can get stuck on pool corners. It doesn’t clean the drain and the stairs well. You have to guide it to make sure it doesn’t miss some spots because it does.

3) Pressure Pool Cleaners

The last automatic pool cleaning system is the pressure-side pool cleaner. It’s also known as the booster pump cleaner.

It’s an ideal option if you deal if you’re looking for a model that can help remove the large debris your swimming pool collects, such as bugs, leaves, twigs, pebbles, and acorns.

If your swimming pool is located in a place that receives many leaves, a pressure-side pool cleaner might be your best pool cleaner.

However, it works with a powerful pressure side port. However, if your pool doesn’t have it, you can:

  • Connect it directly to your pool’s main circulation pump.
  • You can install a separate booster pump for the cleaner.

Installing a separate booster pump provides higher, consistent cleaning power. It’s also unlikely to get affected by a faulty filter, making it even more effective.

Pressure-side pool cleaners come with an onboard bag that filters out the debris. It requires you to empty it regularly to maintain continuous cleaning. If you cannot reach the stairs and those small areas, you can connect a sweep hose.

These cleaners are a little pricier, and their installation is a bit challenging.

How Does a Pressure Pool Cleaner Work?

A pressure-side pool cleaner uses the water pressure from the pool pump or booster to drive it around the pool floor and vacuum all types of dirt and debris it comes across. All the dirt and debris collected get trapped in a filter bag that you can take off later for cleaning.

The water that comes in through the hose gets divided into three jets. One jet is at the cleaner tail to help propel the unit around the pool surfaces.

The other two are located under and inside the unit to provide enough force to suck up the debris and dirt trapped under the cleaner, sending them into the filter bag. The water is filtered and return to the pool by the same force.

There is an in-line backup valve in the unit’s feed hose designed to help navigate around obstacles that it may come across and help it change the cleaning pattern by reversing the flow.

Reasons to Install Pressure Pool Cleaners

Reduce Filter Clogging: it’s designed to help reduce the large debris and leaves that fall and sink into the pool. It cleans and traps them in the filter bag preventing them from reaching the primary pool filter. It’s even perfect for collecting large particles and pebbles, including twigs and bugs.

Reduce Filter Wear and Tear: a pressure pool clean filters the dirt and debris into its filter bag. That means, if you have a booster pump, you don’t need to run the pool filtration stems as it cleans. When you reduce the strain from the pool filtration system, you lower the wear and tear of your swimming pool filter.

Ease to operate: Apart from being an automatic pool cleaner, a pressure-side pool cleaner is also easy to operate. Once you connect it to the pressure line, you will need to empty its filter bag.

Reasons against Installing Pressure Pool Cleaners

Increased Pool Running Costs: You need to run your pool pump to connect the cleaner to the pool circulation line. And the worst is, the pool pump has to be running at its best to provide the necessary force. If that isn’t possible, you will have to spend and get a booster pump that will also consume more electricity.

Gets stuck: it tends to get stuck on ladders and stairs when cleaning. At times, you will be forced to monitor it to make sure it cleans all the surfaces.

It Doesn’t Perform Well When Cleaning Small Particles: it doesn’t collect the tiny particles, and if it does, it might clog its backup valve.

In-Floor Pool Cleaning System

Another type of pool cleaning system is the in-floor pool cleaner designed during pool construction. It’s also manufactured depending on your pool interior.

An in-floor pool cleaning system comes with a series of cleaner heads designed to pop up on the pool floor. Some heads are installed in the pool steps. It has to be designed according to your pool’s size and shape.

The cleaner heads drive the debris and dirt towards the swimming pool’s floor drain point, which is located in the pool’s deep end. The drain sucks up the dirt and debris, sending them through the pool filter.

If your swimming pool is in a place with the potential of getting leafy, an additional straining point can be added to catch the heavy leaf before it can reach the pool filtration system. It can help distribute pool chemicals and circulate heat throughout the entire swimming pool.

Some in-floor cleaning systems use the pool pump, but others might require a separate pump to provide the extra force needed to work with the multiple floor heads.

Reasons to Install In-Floor Pool Cleaning System

Simplified Skimming: an in-floor cleaning system does help take away some strain from the skimmer unit and the pool filtration system. It does also help prevent filter clogging by removing the large debris and leaves.

Helps with Water circulation: the design of an in-floor cleaning system allows it to help with pool water circulation. And you know what; increased water circulation results in reduced risk of algae growth and stabilizes pool water chemistry.

Reduces Heating Time: when the cleaning system circulates the water from the floor, it helps distribute the heat to all corners of the swimming pool, thus reducing the heating time.

Versatile and Customizable: in-floor cleaning systems can be installed in almost all types of swimming pools, no matter the size and shape. Besides this, they can be customized to offer the best cleaning performance for your swimming pool type.

Reasons against Installing In-Floor Pool Cleaning System

Extra Energy Required: usually, you will need to connect the in-floor cleaner to the pool pump. But most of the time, the system can strain the pump, forcing it to reduce the flow rate and increase wear. The best solution is to have a dedicated pump to run it, which will increase your energy consumption and operating cost.

It Requires Pre-installation: in-floor pool cleaning systems require to be installed during pool construction.

Costly Repairs: when one or more of the in-floor cleaner head becomes faulty, repairing it can cost you a lot, starting with hiring an expert. It might even require you to drain the pool to have the heads fixed.

Cleans the water only: it works just like a skimmer – it cleans the water only by forcing the debris through a drain to a secondary skimmer. It cannot clean the pool walls or scrub the floor.

Relatively High Investment: Installing an in-floor cleaning system might drain your pockets. It’s for those working with an open budget.

What Pool Cleaner System is the Best for You

As you can see above, these pool cleaning systems are different. Every model has its benefits and drawback. And of course, you cannot buy each type to know the best model for your swimming pool. So, how do you choose the best pool cleaner system for your needs?

Convenience of Use

Every model I’ve discussed here is viable for delivering desired pool cleaning. However, you might want to revise why you need a pool cleaner.

If you need any swimming pool cleaner, any model in the list can do. But if you need something that saves your time and keeps your swimming pool all the time, an automatic pool cleaner is the best choice.

You will still need to narrow down the available options of automatic cleaners, but at least you know the category to look at.

If you’re after something that can help you remove every stain or algae in your swimming pool and keep the operation cost minimal, a manual pool cleaning system is what you need.

Pool Size

Even though manual pool cleaning systems work well for low-budgeters, you have to consider the size of your swimming pool. Such pool cleaners are perfect for small-medium-sized swimming pools.

An automatic pool cleaner works perfectly in all pool sizes. A robotic cleaner might be perfect for that commercial-size swimming pool.

An in-floor system is also an excellent choice for such a swimming pool, considering it has to be built to fit the pool size and shape.

Pool Type

What type is your swimming pool – above-ground or in-ground pool? Swimming pool cleaners are built to fit certain pool types, especially automatic pool cleaners.

The manufacturer does provide the details – it’s something you’ll want to consider while choosing the best pool cleaning system for your swimming pool type.

The pool material, especially for the above-ground pool, can also dictate the pool cleaning system you should get.

Most of the pool cleaners work for the tiled swimming pools, but they are choosy when plastered and cemented. For the above-ground pools, some might work with fiberglass and not vinyl.

Be sure to check for these details when making your decision.


And now comes the significant factor: budget. Very few people don’t mind how much they spend on their purchases. However, if you’re one of them, I recommend a robotic cleaner or an in-floor cleaning system.

However, if you’re on a tight budget, getting a manual pool cleaner is probably the best option if you have a small or medium-sized swimming pool.

But if your swimming pool size can’t be categorized as small or medium and your budget is tight, consider getting a suction-side or pressure-side pool cleaner.

But keep in mind that there might be other expenses involved, like getting a booster pump for a pressure-side model.

Summary – Is A Pool Cleaning System Worth It

You cannot maintain your swimming pool with a pool filter and a skimmer alone – you need a pool cleaner system to help remove those stains and stubborn debris that stick to the pool bottom. The sediments and pebbles that settle on the pool floor also need to be removed. That’s the work of a swimming pool cleaner. Use the information I have provided above to make an educated decision on the best model to buy. Good luck!

About the author

Sharif Miah

Hi! I'm Sharif, the founder of Globo Pool® and I have been working in the pool & hot tub industry for the last few years. I love to share my experiences with people & hope you are enjoying my information and lessons!

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