Best Above Ground Pool Vacuums of 2024: In-Depth Reviews and Buyer’s Guide

By Shiloh

January 29, 2024


Best Above Ground Pool Vacuums

Looking for the best above-ground pool vacuum to tackle debris and keep your swimming area pristine with minimal effort?

You’ll find everything you need right here. We cut through the clutter to present you not just with options, but dependable solutions that measure up in terms of design, functionality, and cost-effectiveness.

This guide zeroes in on vacuum cleaners trusted by pool experts, complete with insights from real-world users to ensure your pick is as foolproof as possible.

Top-Rated Above Ground Pool Vacuums

Selection of above ground pool vacuums and filtration systems

When it comes to pool maintenance, having the right tools is a necessity. That’s where the top-rated above ground pool vacuums come into play.

These models have been cherry-picked by pool experts and evaluated based on:

  • Design
  • Ease of use
  • Effectiveness
  • Value for money

Here’s a brief overview:

Each of these models stands out in their unique way, offering something for every pool owner. We’ll explore each of these top contenders in more detail.

Dolphin Nautilus CC Robotic Pool Vacuum: Best Overall (In-Ground AND Above-Ground Pools)

My Test of the Dolphin Nautilus CC

The Dolphin Nautilus CC Robotic Pool Vacuum is a versatile companion for your pool cleaning needs, including the use of robotic pool vacuums. It offers:

  • Efficient cleaning for both in-ground pools and above-ground pools
  • User-friendly features
  • Can handle pools up to 50 feet in length
  • Powered by a 50-foot waterproof electrical cord

The vacuum operates with a CleverClean smart navigation system, completing a cleaning cycle in two hours or less.

Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Powerhouse cleaning: Tackles dirt, debris, and grime effectively.
  • Durable and reliable: 2-year warranty and 5-7 year lifespan (according to Maytronics).
  • Superior filtration: Dual oversized top-loading filters + extra-fine option.
  • Cost-effective: Low running cost (around 15 cents per 3-hour cycle).
  • Tangle-free operation: Swivel cord prevents cord hassles.

Cons:

  • Suboptimal stair cleaning: Doesn't excel at cleaning pool steps.
  • Pool restrictions: Cannot use pool while cleaner is operating.
  • Non-waterproof power supply: Requires careful placement to avoid water and sunlight.
  • No advanced features: Lacks connectivity and scheduling options present in some competitor models.

Personal Experience Review

From personal experience, users report that the Dolphin Nautilus CC performs exceptionally well, handling a range of debris, climbing walls, and cleaning the waterline, resulting in a significant reduction in maintenance time. Despite being efficient, users have noted that they sometimes need to run the vacuum multiple times for complete cleaning.

The ease of cleaning the vacuum’s filters is also appreciated, although some have found a learning curve to handling the vacuum during filter removal. Despite these minor inconveniences, users generally regard the vacuum’s durability highly and often recommend it for its reliable performance.

Dolphin Escape: Overall Best for Above-Ground Pools

Compact and lightweight Dolphin Escape robotic pool cleaner

If you own an above-ground pool, look no further than the Dolphin Escape. This compact and lightweight robotic pool cleaner is specifically designed for above-ground pools.

It boasts advanced features such as:

  • Dual scrubbing brushes
  • Large-capacity filter
  • HyperBrushTM technology
  • NanoFiltration

These features are integral to its cleaning capabilities.

The Dolphin Escape offers a 90-minute cleaning cycle and simple activation via a button on the power adapter, reflecting ease of use and convenience.

Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Fast cleaning: Efficient 90-minute cleaning cycle.
  • Large capacity filter: Traps a wide range of debris effectively.
  • Powerful performance: Handles heavy debris with one or two cycles (as reported by users).

Cons:

  • May need multiple cleaning cycles: Might not be thorough in one pass for heavily soiled pools.
  • Limited capacity: Requires frequent emptying.
  • No full indicator or clog alert: Manual checks necessary to avoid overflows and clogged suction.

Personal Experience Review

Users’ experiences with the Dolphin Escape highlight its easy setup, impressive cleaning performance, and durability. The device is particularly suited for pools without skimmers or dedicated suction lines, enhancing its usability. However, some users have reported issues with the motor flooding and instances where the device does not operate when fully charged.

Despite these potential issues, the cleaner is effective in removing dirt and settled chlorine from the pool floor, making it a worthwhile investment.

Aiper Seagull SE Cordless Robotic Pool Cleaner: Best Budget-Friendly Option

Aiper Seagull SE cordless robotic pool cleaner in operation

If you’re looking for a budget-friendly pool cleaner that doesn’t skimp on performance, consider the Aiper Seagull SE Cordless Robotic Pool Cleaner. This model is designed specifically for pools up to 850 sq. ft, featuring a sleek sports car-inspired appearance with a carbon fiber-like rear spoiler and uses water propulsion for navigation.

It offers the following features:

  • Up to 90 minutes of cleaning on a single charge
  • IPX8 waterproof rating for depths up to 10 feet
  • Designed to operate in specific water conditions, maintaining efficiency and longevity.


Pros & Cons

Pros:

  • Easy to use: No hoses to untangle, just power on and drop it in.
  • Self-parking: Automatically parks near the wall after cleaning.
  • Quiet operation: Cleans your pool without making a lot of noise.
  • Effective on flat floors & small debris: Handles pollen and other small particles well.

Cons:

  • May need multiple cleaning cycles: For thorough cleaning, you might need to run it several times.
  • Limited capacity: Small debris bin might require frequent emptying.
  • No full indicator or clog alert: You need to manually check if the bin is full or the suction ports are clogged.

Personal Experience Review

The Aiper Seagull SE Cordless Robotic Pool Cleaner is:

  • Small, lightweight, and easy to start
  • Cordless design eliminates the hassle of dealing with tangled cords
  • Particularly suited for pools without skimmers or dedicated suction lines
  • Generally effective, but may struggle with larger debris and require multiple cleaning cycles

Some users have reported issues with the motor flooding and instances where the device does not operate when fully charged.

Aiper Seagull Pro Robotic Pool Cleaner: Best for Advanced Features

Aiper Seagull Pro

The Aiper Seagull Pro Robotic Pool Cleaner features:

  • High-performance cleaning
  • Advanced features for thorough cleaning and user convenience
  • Wall-climbing capability using vertical patterns for thorough coverage
  • Cordless quad-motor system for enhanced pool wall cleaning

This model, offered by America’s swimming pool company, is a top contender for advanced ground pool cleaners and pool clean solutions, featuring an efficient pool pump.

Pros and Cons

The Aiper Seagull Pro is applauded for its:

  • Cordless design that mitigates the inconvenience of tangled cords
  • Fast charging capabilities
  • Spacious basket suitable for large debris
  • Effectively cleaning algae with its scrubbers

On the flip side, it has some drawbacks, such as:

  • a tendency for the machine to get stuck or not clean in a systematic pattern
  • challenges in navigating around steps or pool features
  • difficulty in capturing fine debris.

Personal Experience Review

Users report that the Aiper Seagull Pro:

  • Effectively picks up larger debris and sand from the pool bottom
  • Systematically covers the floor and walls
  • Can clean the entire pool in one pass without intervention, saving time and simplifying weekly pool maintenance

Despite being efficient, users have noted that they sometimes need to run the vacuum multiple times for complete cleaning.

The ease of cleaning the vacuum’s filters is also appreciated, although some have found a learning curve to handling the vacuum during filter removal.

Dolphin Explorer E50 Robotic Pool Cleaner: Best High-Performance Option (Works Above & In-Ground!)

Dolphin Explorer e50

The Dolphin Explorer E50 Robotic Pool Cleaner is a high-performance pool cleaner that stands out for its:

  • Active scrubbing for intense cleaning
  • Ability to clean the floor, walls, and waterline, providing comprehensive coverage
  • Large capacity filter basket that can capture both fine and large debris

This makes it perfect for all types of pools, including above ground swimming pools, as it effectively covers the pool’s floor.

Pros and Cons

The Dolphin Explorer E50 offers the following features:

  • Ensures the pool remains crystal clear, eliminating dirt, bugs, leaves, algae, or sand effectively
  • Lightweight for easy handling
  • Power cord that resists tangling or getting trapped
  • Double-filtered waste basket reliably captures fine debris, catering to pools with specific fine debris issues.

However, it’s not all smooth sailing. Some users have noted that the vacuum may need to be run multiple times for complete cleaning. It also has a limited capacity and does not provide alerts for when it’s full or if the suction ports are clogged, necessitating regular checks.

Personal Experience Review

From personal experience, users report that the Dolphin Explorer E50 performs exceptionally well, handling a range of debris, climbing walls, and cleaning the waterline, resulting in a significant reduction in maintenance time. Despite being efficient, users have noted that they sometimes need to run the vacuum multiple times for complete cleaning.

The ease of cleaning the vacuum’s filters is also appreciated, although some have found a learning curve to handling the vacuum during filter removal.

Dolphin Explorer E20: Best for Ease of Use

Maytronics Dolphin E20 Robotic Pool Cleaner

The Dolphin Explorer E20 is a powerful and efficient robotic pool cleaner that’s designed to clean the floors and walls of your swimming pool. With its advanced scanning technology, the E20 can navigate your pool with ease, ensuring that every inch is thoroughly cleaned.

It features a large capacity filter basket that can capture both fine and large debris, making it perfect for all types of pools.

Pros and Cons

The Dolphin Explorer E20 is valued for its easy use amongst users.

Pros

  • Easy maintenance with a top-load filter design that allows for simple and direct debris removal
  • Lightweight and compact design for easy handling and storage
  • Efficient cleaning with a powerful suction and scrubbing action
  • Smart navigation system for thorough and systematic cleaning

However, a potential con of the Dolphin Explorer E20 is its standard motors, which may not offer the same cleaning power as more sophisticated commercial-grade motors.

Cons

  • The absence of a remote control, which may be disadvantageous for users who prefer manual navigation.
  • Struggling to clean stairs, which is a limitation for those with pools featuring steps.
  • A shorter power cord, which may require additional external outlets for the cleaner to reach all pool areas.

Personal Experience Review

Users find the Dolphin Explorer E20 Robotic Pool Cleaner to be highly effective and easy to use after the initial few uses, although its ability to navigate and learn the shape of the pool may not always compare to the expectations set by other smart home devices. Some users have faced challenges with the cleaner’s ability to climb walls and adequately clean the waterline, as well as inconsistency with pickup mode calibration for easy removal.

The Dolphin Explorer E20 has shown to be time efficient, capable of cleaning a 14x28 rectangular pool within just a couple of hours, which has led users to report savings on pool chemicals.

Choosing the Right Above Ground Pool Vacuum

Choosing the right above ground pool vacuum involves considering various factors, including:

  • The size of your pool
  • The type of debris it typically collects
  • The type of power source it uses
  • Whether it operates manually or automatically

Taking these factors into account will help you find the best fit for your needs.

Understanding Pool Size and Debris Type

Considering the vacuum’s capability to handle different types of debris, from small particles to larger leaves, is key when it comes to pool size and debris type. Robotic pool cleaners suitable for above-ground pools generally have a filtration rate of over 4000 GPH, making them effective for pools up to 50 feet in length, including various pool shapes like rectangle, oval, or freeform.

Accurate measurement of your pool before choosing an above-ground pool vacuum is vital to ensure the hose length can reach every corner and to avoid potential damage to pool walls.

Power Source and Operation: Manual vs. Automatic

Also, consider the power source and operation mode as they are significant factors. Offering flexibility, manual pool vacuums are hand-operated and do not require hoses or cords. With a manual pool vacuum, you can easily clean your pool without any hassle.

Contrarily, automatic pool vacuums, which can be powered either by the pool’s skimmer basket or pump, are typically easy to set up with a hose connection. While cordless, battery-operated automatic pool cleaners eliminate the hassle of cords, they require regular recharging after each use.

Pressure vs. Suction: Which is Better?

Pressure-side vacuums, powered by the pool’s pump pressure, store debris in vacuum bags. Conversely, suction-side vacuums make use of the suction from the pool’s filtration system to capture debris directly in the pool’s filter.

Pressure-side pool vacuums, like the Polaris Vac-Sweep 280, are highly effective at picking up both large and small debris. On the other hand, suction-side pool vacuums, exemplified by the Zodiac G3, are designed to tackle small and medium-sized debris, making them suitable for pools that do not have a significant issue with large debris.

Summary

In summary, the world of above ground pool vacuums offers a plethora of choices, each with unique features and capabilities. Whether you’re looking for a model that is budget-friendly, designed for above-ground pools, or one with advanced features, there’s a perfect fit for every pool owner. By considering factors such as pool size, debris type, power source, and operation type, you can find the ideal above ground pool vacuum that will keep your pool sparkling clean with minimal effort on your part.

Frequently Asked Questions

What kind of pool vacuum is best for above ground pool?

The best pool vacuum for an above-ground pool is the Dolphin Liberty 200, as it is cordless and specifically designed for above-ground pools. It may come at a slightly higher price with fewer features compared to other models like the Dolphin Cayman.

What is the easiest way to vacuum an above ground pool?

The easiest way to vacuum an above ground pool is by preparing your equipment, turning on the pump and filter system, lowering the vacuum head into the pool, attaching the hose to the skimmer or suction port, starting vacuuming, turning off the pump and removing the vacuum equipment, and finally checking and cleaning the filter.

Can you use a robotic pool cleaner in an above ground pool?

Yes, you can use a robotic pool cleaner like the Aquabot Breeze SE in an above-ground pool, as it is specifically designed for home above-ground pools and comes with advanced technology to make cleaning convenient.

Are there above ground pool vacuums that offer advanced features?

Yes, the Aiper Seagull Pro Robotic Pool Cleaner offers advanced features like wall-climbing capability and a cordless quad-motor system for enhanced pool wall cleaning.

What is a budget-friendly option for an above ground pool vacuum?

Consider the Aiper Seagull SE Cordless Robotic Pool Cleaner for a budget-friendly and high-performing option.

About the author

Shiloh McGinley has been in and around swimming pools her whole life. She's seen a lot of products come and go, and she wants to share with you the best products that really work!

Shiloh is passionate about helping people stay safe in the water, and she loves educating others on how to choose the right pool products.

When she's not working, Shiloh enjoys spending time with her family and friends, and swimming - of course!

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