Pool Vacuum Cleaners Comparison Guide

by Pool Builders on 08-21-2008 in Articles

For most pool owners, automatic cleaners are more than an accessory, they're a necessity. Vacuums remove leaves, sticks and other debris that, if they made their way into your pool filter system, would cause serious equipment failure.
The amount of time and labor hours saved by a good automatic pool vacuum is more than worth the initial purchase expense. The only question is: what's the best type to buy for your specific shape, depth and surface?

There are three main ways pool vacuums can function on any given surface:

o Automatic suction-side
o Automatic pressure-side
o Robotic automatic

Automatic suction-side works just like it sounds: using suction. There are no additional pump systems or plumbing aspects to add. Installation of an automatic suction-side vacuum is quite easy. It also has the added capability of scrubbing the walls of the pool as it goes along. The suction is so great that is propels the hose unit around the water, sucking up the debris and cleaning the walls of algae, bacteria, dirt, etc.
The collected debris is sucked right into your main filter basket, which seems like an asset, but can also be considered a drawback. Especially if your pool is located beneath a leafy tree. This means that there will be an inordinate amount of leaves and sticks clogging up your filter basket. Automatic suction-side cleaners are really best for people whose swimming area is clear of foliage.

Automatic pressure-side vacuums raise the level of intensity a few notches. First you've got to decide if you want to run this pressure-driven unit from your main pool pump or from a separate pump dedicated to the vacuum. If you tie it into your main pump, the biggest advantage is ease of installation and it won't cost anything extra. However, this means that whenever the main pool pump is on, so is your vacuum unit, even if you don't need it to be on. This could cause premature wear on the vacuum unit.
But if you have the resources to buy a dedicated pump system, pressure-side vacuums are great for all applications.

Robotic automatic pool vacuums are considered by many to be the all-around best. If you have the funding to buy one of these top-of-the-line models you will get a lot for you money. Most have an on-board computer chip that "learns" the shape of your pool and it will scrub walls and grout lines. Robotic vacuums also carry their own motors, filters, and improve the overall circulation of the water by supplementing your pool's main pump system.

The only real drawback to the robotic models is that they are designed to best suck up silt and dirt - so the big leaves and other larger debris will have to be removed using some other means (manual leaf skimmer or a vacuum hose made to collect the larger pieces). Also robotic vacuums are more difficult to repair due to all the fancy options - often the unit will have to be returned to the manufacturer for repair.

Whichever you choose, if you've never used an automatic cleaner, your life as a pool owner is about to get a lot less labor-intensive. These will clean, scrub, suck, and filter with almost no work required from the operator: just sit back and enjoy the sun while the cleaner does all the work!

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