Pool vacuums are an integral part of owning a swimming pool. They remove leaves, algae, and other debris. Algae blooms can quickly grow and turn your pool into a hazardous swimming environment. They can also invite pests, such as mosquitoes and other bugs. It’s important to sanitize and vacuum the algae as soon as you see it.
The best pool vacuum for algae is the Dolphin E10 Robotic Pool Vacuum. It comes with built-in navigation, fine mesh filtration, and wall scrubbers. It doesn’t require pumps, filters, and other equipment. The 30-foot cable makes it ideal for pools of all sizes, and it includes a two-year warranty.
Depending on your situation, you might prefer one of the following vacuums instead:
- Above-ground pool owners should try the Hayward Aqua Critter.
- The PAXCESS Robotic Cleaner is the top rechargeable vacuum.
- If you want a manual vac, try the Pool Blaster Max.
- Those with high pool walls should get the Zodiac MX6.
- The top suction-side cleaner is the Hayward Pool Vac XL.
- Free-form pool owners should try the Pentair Kreepy Krauly.
In this post, I’ll show you what to look for when getting a pool vacuum for algae, along with reviews for each of the best vacuums available. Let’s get started!
What to Look for in a Pool Vacuum for Algae
There are hundreds of pool vacuums designed to remove algae from the water. However, they don’t all provide the same power. You can get a high-powered pool vacuum without having a top-notch pump, though a variable-speed pump definitely helps. I recommend finding a vacuum that suits your equipment pad.
So, what should you look for when buying the best pool vacuum for algae?
- Vacuum type: There are many vacuum types, including suction-side, pressure-side, robotic, and manual vacuums. Your pool might not be suited for suction-side or pressure-side vacuums, but anyone can use robotic and manual vacuums. The vacuum type is the most essential part of the process.
- Hose and cable length: How big is your swimming pool? Is it deeper than the average pool? Most pool vacuums use cables, hoses, or poles. Make sure your vacuum can reach all corners of the pool. The last thing you want is a few pockets of algae that are out of reach. Some vacuums have adjustable hoses, though.
- Filtration method: Some pool vacuums use built-in mesh filters, whereas others send the algae into the pool filter. Many vacuums have canisters to catch large debris, including leaves and sticks. Choosing the correct filtration method will make a significant difference in your pool’s water clarity.
Other features to look for include the wheels and tracks since some of them are made for vinyl or plaster. Make sure the cleaner is designed for an above-ground or in-ground pool (some of them work for both options).
Let’s jump into the details of each essential factor below.
Pool vacuums come in all shapes and sizes. However, they also require various power sources. For example, some of them don’t need the pump, whereas others won’t work without enough filter pressure. Check your pool’s inlets and outlets (suction and return lines) to know which vacuums you can use.
Pressure-side models are excellent vacuums for removing leaves, but they’re not the best for algae-ridden pools. They push water from the pool’s return line into the vacuum bag. While they remove a bit of algae, they’re primarily made for leaves. With that in mind, I’ll cover the three best vacuum types for pools with too many algae.
- Suction-side vacuums use the pump to pull water through the skimmer basket. Plug the vacuum’s hose under the skimmer basket and into the suction line. The vacuum moves when the pump circulates the water. The pump’s suction pulls all of the debris from the vacuum into the filter. Some of these vacuums have debris canisters.
- Robotic vacuums are the best option for most swimming pools. They’re slightly more expensive than other vacuums, but they’re well worth it. Robotic vacuums often have built-in tracking systems, docks, and long cables, and don’t require the pump’s suction. You can run your pump a couple of hours less since the vacuum removes the debris.
- Manual vacuums use garden hoses for pressure or hoses for suction. They typically have handles or telescoping poles. You push the manual vacuum over the algae to remove it. Keep in mind that they won’t work unless you push them, so you have to get rid of the algae by hand. The good news is that they’re much more affordable.
Pool vacuums work by using pressure. The pressure can come from the pump, a nearby wall outlet, a garden hose, or rechargeable batteries. Below, I’ll explain how the power source impacts your swimming pool.
Hose and Cable Length
Your pool vacuums hoses and cables need to be long enough to let the vacuum reach all of the corners. Keep in mind that most modern pool vacuums can climb the walls, which means the cables and hoses need to be a bit longer. However, there are a few tricks you can use if your pool is oriented in an ideal direction.
- Place robotic vacuums near the center of the widest side of the pool. This alignment will cut the distance that the vacuum has to travel in half.
- Almost all suction-side vacuums have adjustable hoses. Separate the hoses and add one or two extra sections to increase the vacuum’s cleaning area.
- Dip the hose sections underwater before connecting them. Filling them with water will keep air bubbles out of the plumbing and prevent the hoses from pulling up the vacuum.
Pro Tip: Manual vacuuming can help you clean the corners that your automatic pool vacuum can’t reach. You could manually vacuum the dead algae to clarify the pool without letting it spread spores around the water.
Pool vacuums use all sorts of filtration methods. Some of them don’t have anything to remove debris. Instead, they send it in to the pool filter. If you’re unsure which filtration method is the best for your swimming pool, review these useful tips:
- You can add a leaf canister to any suction-side pool cleaner. The U.S. Pool Supply Leaf Canister connects between the hoses. Keep the canister as close to the skimmer basket as possible. The vacuum pushes leaves into the canister while everything else goes into the filter. You can quickly empty the canister by twisting the lid off.
- Fine mesh filtration is the best option to remove dead algae from the water. These mesh filters are found in robotic cleaners. The ultra-fine material doesn’t let algae pass through, which means you can dump it without worrying about leaving some of the spores in the pool.
- If you have a multiport valve on your filter, you can turn it to waste. This setting lets you blow algae out of the filter without having to clean it. The algae will go wherever the backwash hose ends, so make sure you have it near a garbage can or a side yard. Make sure the hose is connected to the WASTE pipe.
My Top Selections
- Best Overall: Dolphin E10 Robotic Pool Vacuum
- Best for Above-Ground Pools: Hayward Aqua Critter
- Best Rechargeable Robotic: PAXCESS Cordless Cleaner
- Best Manual Vacuum: Pool Blaster Max Vac
- Best for Climbing Walls: Zodiac MX6 Vacuum
- Best Suction-Side Cleaner: Hayward Pool Vac XL
- Best for Free-Form Pools: Pentair Kreepy Krauly
Best Overall: Dolphin E10 Robotic Pool Vacuum
The impressive Dolphin E10 Robotic Pool Vacuum by Maytronics is one of the most affordable robotic variants. Perhaps its best feature is the massive fine mesh basket filter.
Instead of using two thin sheets like most robotic vacuums, this one has a big bucket that collects algae, leaves, and everything in between.
It comes with a 30-foot cable that stretches across the biggest pools on the market. Place the dock at the halfway point of the longest side of the pool. It runs for 1.5 hours, then returns to the dock when it’s done. This vacuum is as hands-free as it gets. The only thing you have to do is remove the algae when it’s full (and it’ll tell you when it’s time).
Unlike the vast majority of robotic vacuums, this one can be used in above-ground and in-ground pools. Most of them are designed for either or, but this one is compatible with any depth, style, and liner. The bottom scrubbers cloud the algae as the powerful motor pulls everything into the aforementioned fine mesh filter.
Bottom Line: Maytronics has an assortment of high-end pool cleaners, but the Dolphin E10 is undoubtedly the best for algae removal. Everything from the filtration system to the tapered scrubbers makes this a top-notch choice for any pool owner. Furthermore, the wide basket can remove leaves if you have trees and bushes around the water.
|Cable or Hose Length
- Includes a massive fine mesh filter to remove all debris in the pool
- Comes with an optional caddy to move the vacuum without picking it up
- Uses sensors to track and map the bottom of the pool
- No need to run the pool pump while using this robotic pool vacuum
- Includes a two-year limited service warranty
- Only works on the bottom of the swimming pool (can’t climb the walls)
- It’s one of the most expensive cleaners on the list.
Best for Above-Ground Pools: Hayward Aqua Critter
The Hayward Aqua Critter is the #1 above-ground pool cleaner my company offers to customers in the pool industry.
It comes with adjustable hoses to fit almost any pool size, and you can get additional sections to lengthen the reach. This cleaner has two flaps that direct the cleaner and act as sails. It also has small tank-like feet that move the vacuum.
One of the best features of the Aqua Critter is that it moves with the pump’s PSI. You can increase its speed by turning up the pump, especially if you have a variable-speed pump.
It can clean the whole pool in a couple of hours. The previously mentioned feet and flaps are ideal for vinyl liners since they’re soft and non-abrasive.
I often recommend this cleaner to people who’ve never used a pool vacuum before. All you have to do is attach the hoses underwater, connect the final hose under the skimmer basket, and turn on the pump.
This vacuum is as simple as it gets, but it removes algae, dirt, and other small debris from the pool with ease.
Bottom Line: The Hayward Aqua Critter has a bright ladybug design, but it gets the job done better than most suction-side vacuums. It’s budget-friendly, easy to install, and doesn’t require extra bags or cables. This above-ground pool vacuum is excellent for most vinyl pools and won’t damage the liner.
|Cable or Hose Length
|32 feet of hose
- Uses 32 feet of adjustable hoses to cover any above-ground pool
- Unique ladybug design that brightens the swimming pool
- Includes a user-friendly installation and maintenance process
- Compatible with most suction-side leaf canisters
- Easily replaceable feet and flaps (it takes less than 10 seconds)
- Doesn’t climb the walls other than the first foot or so
- Not ideal for in-ground pools since it won’t scrub plaster very well
Best Rechargeable Robotic: PAXCESS Cordless Cleaner
Almost all pool cleaners require cables, cords, or hoses. However, the PAXCESS Cordless Cleaner uses a rechargeable battery to overlook all of these tethers.
This impressive cleaner lasts for 1 to 1.5 hours per charge, letting it clean the entire pool in a short time. When the battery is low, the cordless cleaner docks itself to charge.
If you want a nearly hands-free algae cleaner, look no further. This vacuum only needs to be emptied when the sensor warns that it’s full. Pull the basket out, empty it, and set the cleaner back into the water. It can climb semi-steep slopes, so it’ll have no problem cleaning the deep end of the pool.
This cleaner is much quicker than most suction-side vacuums because it doesn’t rely on the pump. Trapped debris, low PSI, poor pump speeds, and many other factors can limit suction-side and pressure-side cleaners.
However, this cordless cleaner has a built-in power source that cruises around the water at the same speed, regardless of the debris.
Bottom Line: The PAXCESS Cordless Cleaner is easy to use, comes with a rechargeable battery, and doesn’t require any cables or hoses. Place it in the water after charging it, then watch as it cleans the whole pool in about an hour. It also comes with a two-year manufacturer warranty to cover broken parts and poor performance.
|Cable or Hose Length
- No need for cables, cords, hoses, and other tethering items.
- Available to use right out of the box without any installation.
- Sensors track and clean the bottom of the pool, then dock against the wall when the battery is low.
- Includes a 24-month warranty.
- One of the most affordable robotic pool cleaners on the market.
- Not made by a reputable brand, though the two-year warranty provides some protection.
- Only runs for 90 minutes before it needs to recharge.
Best Manual Vacuum: Pool Blaster Max Vac
The Pool Blaster Max Vac is a top-notch manual cleaner for algae, leaves, and other debris.
It’s compatible with an adjustable pole and comes with an ergonomic handle for those who prefer diving into the pool for a deep clean. The interior canister collects anything that goes under the vacuum, so there’s no need for additional equipment.
This vacuum uses a combination of wheels and brushes to scrub and suction the algae. Using a brush is a crucial part of removing living and dead algae. The fine mesh filter doesn’t let anything bag into the pool, unlike some pressure-side cleaners. You can use this vacuum in your swimming pool, spa, pond, and other water sources.
This cordless manual cleaner runs up to 60 minutes before it needs to be recharged. You can clean the walls and bottom of the pool in half the time if you maintain a cleaning schedule.
Feel free to attach this pool vacuum to your telescoping skimmer or brush pole. This cleaner can be used in above-ground and in-ground swimming pools.
Bottom Line: The Pool Blaster Max Vac is one of our top choices for any manual vac, regardless of the debris. It’s powerful, affordable, and easy to use. You can dive into the water for an in-depth cleaning session or attach it to a pole to maintain the dead algae. Dump the canister, click it into the vacuum, and quickly get back to cleaning.
|Cable or Hose Length
|Walls and bottom
- Easy to clean any corner of the pool with this cleaner
- One of the most affordable pool vacuums on the list
- Comes with an extra-large debris canister
- Lasts for up to 60 minutes per charge
- Compatible with telescoping poles for extra reach
- Only works where you push the brush head
- The narrow vacuuming head can’t remove too much debris at a time
Best for Climbing Walls: Zodiac MX6 Vacuum
If you want to clean the pool walls, I suggest the Zodiac MX6 Vacuum. It climbs to the top of the walls and the deepest parts of the swimming pool.
This vacuum uses high-quality hoses with unique locking mechanisms to prevent leaks and accidental disconnections. The company also offers a leaf canister with the same locking mechanism.
The MX6 has two small blades that rotate every one to two minutes, preventing the cleaner from getting stuck in a corner or on the steps.
The track wheels climb and glide over plaster, vinyl, fiberglass, and pebble tech easily. You don’t have to worry about tangled hoses since the locks double as hinges to turn the cleaner.
This pool vacuum sends all of the algae and other debris into the pool basket and filter. You don’t have to clean the vacuum too often, but I recommend keeping the filter’s PSI below 25.
Once the PSI gets too high, turn off the pump and clean the filter to improve the vacuum’s performance. This vacuum is designed to work best with low-RPM variable-speed pumps.
Bottom Line: The Zodiac MX6 Vacuum is a top choice for any pool owner. It competes with the best robotic vacuums when it comes to suction power and the ability to climb walls. You can use it with any RPM range, so it doesn’t require too much energy from the pump. The tracks and rotating blades elevate this cleaner above most of the competition.
|Cable or Hose Length
|Walls and bottom
- Climbs walls faster and more efficiently than most cleaners
- Uses unique locking mechanisms to prevent leaks and loose hoses
- Comes with tracks instead of wheels for better traction
- Compatible with locking leaf canisters
- Perfect for low-speed pumps, including low-RPM variable-speed pumps
- Doesn’t work with non-locking leaf canisters
- Uses lots of moving parts, which could prove difficult for repairs
Best Suction-Side Cleaner: Hayward Pool Vac XL
The Hayward Pool Vac XL is a classic suction-side vacuum that uses the same blueprint as the previously listed Hayward Aqua Critter.
It has long-lasting flaps and feet to cruise around the bottom of the pool. You can choose between rubber or cork feet, depending on whether you have a fiberglass, vinyl, or plaster pool.
The primary difference between the Pool Vac XL and the Aqua Critter is that the Pool Vac XL is designed for in-ground pools, whereas the Aqua Critter is made for above-ground pools.
Both vacuums will work for either pool, but they use different feet, internal parts, and exterior designs. Again, you can use the Pool Vac XL for above-ground pools if you prefer the power.
The Pool Vac XL includes a 40-foot hose, which is much more than almost any other vacuum available. The simple design makes it easy to disassemble and repair this vacuum, even if you’ve never worked on a pool cleaner.
Furthermore, you can install it in a few minutes and start cleaning the pool immediately.
Bottom Line: The Pool Vac XL will be a staple cleaner in the industry for many years to come. It’s been a major part of removing algae and other debris from the pool for a long time. Hayward’s reliable warranty makes this vacuum an easy selection for countless swimming pool owners.
|Cable or Hose Length
|Walls and bottom
- Comes in vinyl and plaster variants for all pools
- Useable in above-ground and in-ground swimming pools
- Includes 40 feet of adjustable hoses
- Climbs the walls and goes down steep slopes easily
- Ideal for variable-speed pumps
- Hoses can separate if the pump goes too quickly
- Water can’t circulate while using this suction-side pump (unless you have multiple suction lines)
Best for Free-Form Pools: Pentair Kreepy Krauly
The Pentair Kreepy Krauly is an excellent choice for free-form pools due to the unique tracks.
These wheels can glide through any swimming pool, regardless of the depth, slope, walls, steps, etc. Hook the desired amount of hoses into the vacuum, plug it into the suction line, and you’ll be good to go.
One of the best features of this pool cleaner is the quick-release latch that lets you clean the vacuum in seconds.
You can diagnose and repair the problem without removing countless tiny screws (unlike most suction-side cleaners). The hose head rotates in all directions, allowing this cleaner to take sharp turns when necessary.
Perhaps the most unique feature is the front skirt. It prevents obstacles from stopping the cleaner. The skirt elevates the cleaner, helping it climb over anything in its path.
It also brushes the debris, pushing it into the suction line and through the filter. Your new cleaner will remove algae, sand, salt, etc.
Bottom Line: The Pentair Kreepy Krauly might not be as possible as the Hayward suction-side vacuums, but it’s easily the best option for those with unique pool designs. This cleaner glides over the walls and removes algae from every part of the pool. The textured wheels promote optimal traction, too.
|Cable or Hose Length
|Walls and bottom
- Includes durable tires that prevent the vacuum from slipping
- Adjustable hoses let you choose how far the vacuum goes
- Easy to install, clean, and repair when needed
- Comes with a manufacturer warranty to protect the moving parts
- Uses steel and hardened plastic to prevent long-term damage
- This cleaner is a bit slower than the MX6, which uses a similar design.
- You need a lot of RPMs to run this cleaner.