Tips & Tricks: What is the Best Pool Cleaner for Inground Pools?


Maintaining a pristine inground pool can be a daunting task without the right equipment. Pool cleaners play a vital role in keeping your swimming environment clean and hygienic, making them indispensable tools for pool owners. This article will guide you through the various types of pool cleaners, factors to consider when choosing one, and provide detailed reviews of top models in the market.

Introduction to Pool Cleaners

Pool cleaners are designed to remove debris, algae, and sediments from swimming pools, ensuring the water remains clear and safe for use. Regular cleaning not only enhances the aesthetic appeal of your pool but also prevents the buildup of harmful bacteria and algae. By automating the cleaning process, pool cleaners save time and effort, allowing you to enjoy your pool more often.

Types of Pool Cleaners

Robotic Pool Cleaners

Robotic pool cleaners are self-contained units that operate independently of your pool’s filtration system. They are powered by an electric motor and use advanced algorithms to navigate and clean the pool. These cleaners are known for their superior cleaning performance, energy efficiency, and ease of use. They can scrub the pool floor, walls, and waterline, providing comprehensive cleaning coverage.

Pressure-Side Pool Cleaners

Pressure-side pool cleaners attach to the return jet of your pool’s pump system. They use water pressure to move around the pool and collect debris into an onboard bag. These cleaners are effective for picking up larger debris like leaves and twigs. They help reduce the load on your pool’s filter by capturing debris before it reaches the filtration system.

Suction-Side Pool Cleaners

Suction-side pool cleaners connect to your pool’s skimmer or dedicated suction line. They use the suction generated by the pool pump to move around and vacuum debris into the pool’s filter system. These cleaners are typically more affordable and are effective for fine debris like sand and silt. However, they rely heavily on the performance of your pool’s filtration system.

Factors to Consider

Pool Size and Shape

The size and shape of your pool significantly influence the choice of a pool cleaner. Larger pools or those with irregular shapes may require more powerful and versatile cleaners, like robotic models, to ensure thorough coverage. Smaller or simpler pool designs can often be effectively maintained with suction-side or pressure-side cleaners.

Type of Debris

The type of debris commonly found in your pool should also guide your decision. Robotic cleaners are excellent for picking up fine particles and scrubbing surfaces, while pressure-side cleaners are better suited for larger debris. Suction-side cleaners are versatile but may struggle with larger debris.


Budget constraints will also play a crucial role. Robotic cleaners, while highly effective, tend to be more expensive. Pressure-side and suction-side cleaners offer more budget-friendly options but may come with trade-offs in terms of cleaning efficiency and features.

Maintenance and Ease of Use

Consider the ease of setup, operation, and maintenance. Some cleaners require more hands-on involvement, while others offer plug-and-play convenience. Maintenance requirements, such as cleaning filters or replacing parts, should also be factored in.

Product Reviews and Recommendations

Dolphin Explorer E50 Robotic Pool Cleaner

The Dolphin Explorer E50 is a top-tier robotic cleaner known for its advanced features and exceptional performance. It boasts a powerful motor, dual scrubbing brushes, and superior navigation technology, ensuring thorough cleaning of the pool floor, walls, and waterline.


1. Smart navigation system for optimal coverage

2. Dual scrubbing brushes for enhanced cleaning

3. Large filter basket for capturing fine and large debris

4. Energy-efficient operation


1. Excellent cleaning performance

2. Easy to use and maintain

3. Suitable for large and irregularly shaped pools


1. Higher initial cost

Polaris Vac-Sweep Pressure Inground Pool Cleaner

The Polaris Vac-Sweep is a popular pressure-side cleaner known for its robust construction and reliable performance. It effectively captures large debris, reducing the load on your pool’s filter system.


1. Powerful suction and large debris bag

2. Tail sweep for cleaning tight corners

3. Suitable for all pool surfaces


1. Effective for large debris

2. Reduces filter maintenance

3. Durable and reliable


1. Requires a dedicated booster pump

2. Can miss fine particles

Hayward Poolvergnuegen (The PoolCleaner) Suction-Side Pool Cleaner

The Hayward Poolvergnuegen, commonly known as The PoolCleaner, is a highly efficient suction-side cleaner that provides reliable cleaning for small to medium-sized pools. It features self-adjusting turbine vanes for maximum power and debris management.


1. Self-adjusting turbine vanes for optimal suction

2. Four-wheel drive for better maneuverability

3. Adjustable skirt for improved climbing ability


1. Cost-effective

2. Easy to install and use

3. Good for fine and medium debris


1. Dependent on pool’s filtration system performance

2. Not ideal for large debris

Ease of Use

Dolphin Explorer E50 Robotic Pool Cleaner

The Dolphin Explorer E50 stands out for its user-friendly design. It features a plug-and-play system, requiring minimal setup. The large filter basket is easy to remove and clean, and the cleaner’s lightweight design makes it easy to handle and store. The smart navigation system ensures that the cleaner covers the entire pool efficiently without much manual intervention.

Polaris Vac-Sweep Pressure Inground Pool Cleaner

While the Polaris Vac-Sweep is highly effective, it requires the installation of a booster pump, which can be a bit more complex. However, once set up, it operates independently and requires minimal user interaction. The debris bag is easy to remove and empty, making maintenance straightforward.

Hayward Poolvergnuegen (The PoolCleaner) Suction-Side Pool Cleaner

The Hayward Poolvergnuegen is one of the easiest to set up, connecting directly to the pool’s skimmer or a dedicated suction line. Its self-adjusting turbine vanes and four-wheel drive ensure it navigates the pool effectively with minimal user oversight. Regular maintenance involves cleaning the pool filter and checking the cleaner for clogs.

Performance and Efficiency

Dolphin Explorer E50 Robotic Pool Cleaner

The Dolphin Explorer E50 excels in performance and efficiency. Its smart navigation system ensures comprehensive coverage, while dual scrubbing brushes remove even the most stubborn algae and dirt. The large filter basket captures fine and coarse debris, maintaining water clarity. It operates independently of the pool’s filtration system, making it energy-efficient.

Polaris Vac-Sweep Pressure Inground Pool Cleaner

The Polaris Vac-Sweep performs exceptionally well in capturing large debris like leaves and twigs. Its pressure-side operation ensures that it moves powerfully around the pool, and the tail sweep helps clean hard-to-reach areas. However, it may not be as effective in picking up fine particles.

Hayward Poolvergnuegen (The PoolCleaner) Suction-Side Pool Cleaner

The Hayward Poolvergnuegen delivers solid performance for fine and medium debris. Its self-adjusting turbine vanes optimize suction power, while the four-wheel drive ensures thorough coverage. It may struggle with larger debris, which can clog the cleaner or pool filter.

Cost Analysis

Dolphin Explorer E50 Robotic Pool Cleaner

Initial Cost: High (around $1,200-$1,500) Maintenance Costs: Low, primarily involving filter cleaning and occasional brush replacement. Long-Term Costs: Lower energy consumption reduces operating costs.

Polaris Vac-Sweep Pressure Inground Pool Cleaner

Initial Cost: Moderate (around $600-$800), plus the cost of a booster pump if not already installed. Maintenance Costs: Moderate, with regular debris bag cleaning and occasional part replacements. Long-Term Costs: Higher due to the booster pump’s energy consumption.

Hayward Poolvergnuegen (The PoolCleaner) Suction-Side Pool Cleaner

Initial Cost: Low to moderate (around $400-$600) Maintenance Costs: Low, mainly filter cleaning and occasional replacement of wear parts. Long-Term Costs: Higher due to reliance on the pool’s filtration system, which can increase filter maintenance.

Accessories and Additional Features

Dolphin Explorer E50 Robotic Pool Cleaner

The Dolphin Explorer E50 comes with several additional features, including:

1. Remote Control Capabilities: Allows for manual control and spot cleaning.

2. Weekly Timer: Enables scheduled cleaning cycles.

3. Large Filter Basket: Reduces the frequency of emptying and cleaning.

Polaris Vac-Sweep Pressure Inground Pool Cleaner

The Polaris Vac-Sweep includes:

1. Tail Sweep Pro: Enhances cleaning in hard-to-reach areas.

2. Debris Bag: Large capacity for less frequent emptying.

3. Booster Pump: Necessary for optimal operation but sold separately.

Hayward Poolvergnuegen (The PoolCleaner) Suction-Side Pool Cleaner

The Hayward Poolvergnuegen offers:

Self-Adjusting Turbine Vanes: Optimize suction power based on debris type and pool conditions.

1. Interchangeable Skirts: Improve climbing ability and maintain constant suction on uneven surfaces.

2. Multiple Throat Sizes: Allow for customization based on the type of debris commonly found in the pool.

Conclusion and Recommendations

Choosing the best pool cleaner for your inground pool involves considering various factors such as pool size, type of debris, budget, and ease of use. Here’s a summary of the top recommendations tailored to different needs and preferences:

Best Overall: Dolphin Explorer E50 Robotic Pool Cleaner

The Dolphin Explorer E50 stands out as the best overall choice due to its advanced features, superior cleaning performance, and energy efficiency. It is ideal for pool owners who want a hassle-free, plug-and-play solution that provides thorough cleaning coverage and minimal maintenance.

Best for Large Debris: Polaris Vac-Sweep Pressure Inground Pool Cleaner

For pools that frequently encounter large debris such as leaves and twigs, the Polaris Vac-Sweep is the best option. Its pressure-side operation and large debris bag reduce the load on the pool’s filter system, making it a reliable and durable choice for heavy-duty cleaning tasks.

Best Budget Option: Hayward Poolvergnuegen (The PoolCleaner) Suction-Side Pool Cleaner

The Hayward Poolvergnuegen is an excellent budget-friendly option that offers reliable performance for small to medium-sized pools. It is easy to install and maintain, making it a great choice for those looking for an efficient yet affordable pool cleaning solution.

Additional Recommendations

1. Best for Fine Debris: If your pool mostly accumulates fine particles like sand and silt, a robotic cleaner with fine mesh filters, such as the Dolphin Explorer E50, is highly recommended.

2. Best for Complex Pool Shapes: For pools with irregular shapes or unique features, a robotic cleaner with advanced navigation, like the Dolphin Explorer E50, ensures comprehensive coverage.

3. Best Low-Maintenance Option: The Dolphin Explorer E50 is also ideal for those who prefer minimal hands-on maintenance, thanks to its large filter basket and automated cleaning cycles.

Final Thoughts

Investing in the right pool cleaner can significantly enhance your pool maintenance routine, ensuring a clean and safe swimming environment with minimal effort. Whether you opt for the high-tech efficiency of a robotic cleaner, the robust performance of a pressure-side cleaner, or the cost-effective simplicity of a suction-side cleaner, there is a perfect option to meet your specific needs.

When making your final decision, consider conducting a thorough assessment of your pool’s unique characteristics and maintenance requirements. By doing so, you can select a pool cleaner that not only meets your expectations but also enhances your overall pool experience.

Additional Tips for Pool Maintenance

1. Regularly Check and Clean Filters: Regardless of the type of pool cleaner you choose, keeping your pool’s filters clean is essential for optimal performance.

2. Monitor Pool Chemistry: Regularly test and balance your pool water to prevent algae growth and ensure a healthy swimming environment.

3. Inspect Pool Cleaner Parts: Periodically check your pool cleaner for wear and tear, and replace any damaged parts to maintain efficiency.

4. Schedule Regular Maintenance: Even the best pool cleaners benefit from routine maintenance checks to ensure they continue to operate effectively.

By following these tips and selecting the right pool cleaner, you can enjoy a sparkling clean pool with ease and confidence.

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