How to Choose a Pool Cleaner?
To choose the perfect cleaner for your pool, you need to consider the type of pool you have. Different pools have different cleaning needs. There are two main types, underground pools and above ground pools.
As the name says, Underground pools require one to dig a hole in the ground. Several materials are then used to smoothen out the floor and the walls of the pool, and then water is added. They are made in different shapes. These pools are very expensive to construct and they take a lot of time to set up.
Above ground pools require a structure to be made above the ground. They are usually constructed with aluminum, wood, steel, resin, or a hybrid of steel and resin. After the structure is established, a liner is laid on the materials. Most are round or oval. These pools are easy to install.
The great thing about above ground pools is that they can be constructed in clear places with no risk of leaves or too much debris. Most of these pools are also small, so it is easy to cover them when not in use, compared with the underground. They also require lesser chemicals. There is also the difference in heights; underground pools are usually deeper that above ground, so it is advisable to use a cleaner that will work well on the respective height.
When it comes to choosing a pool cleaner, there is no big difference between what you can use on either pool; it all depends on the material used to make the pool’s surface. Let us look at the pool surfaces you are likely to encounter, whether you have an above ground pool or an underground pool.
Also called Gunite pools, these are the most popular. They involve digging a hole and covering the sides and the floor with a heavy coating of concrete that entails Gunite, and a mixture of sand and cement. Sometimes tiles are used. After the concrete has dried up, it is smoothened out by a lighter concrete or plaster. They are popular because they are cheap and can be designed into a variety of shapes and sizes. They are also relatively durable. Concrete is mostly used in underground pools.
When it comes to cleaning, they provide the hardest challenge. First of all the walls are very rough, and it is hard to scratch out anything that may have stuck. They are also porous, and the water can bring out the dirt from inside the walls. The roughness and porosity usually cause the formation of algae which apart from making the water dirty and changing its color, can cause infections. Algae are tough to remove especially because they are embedded in the walls. The walls also get dirty very quickly.
These pools therefore require a lot of maintenance. This involves regular scratching by a steel brush to remove the algae. Most people recommend this to be done weekly. There is also need to apply cleaning chemicals to the pool; these should be chemicals that can penetrate the walls to kill any organisms which that may have formed. The concrete walls also lead to increase of water alkalinity and thus there is need to apply some acid to balance the water PH level.
These are made from plastic that is fiberglass-reinforced. A hole is dug, and concrete or sand is put in to establish a predetermined shape of the pool. Then the fiberglass structure is lowered, and then the pool is leveled and secured. The surface of the pool is made from a gel coat to ensure smoothness. The deck is usually made of concrete. Fiberglass is usually used in underground pools but there are few people who use it on above ground pools.
Compared to concrete pools, fiberglass pools need less maintenance. The walls are smooth, and therefore it is easy to remove anything that may form or stick on the walls. The surface in non-porous and thus nothing can penetrate inside or go out of the pool. The chemistry of the water remains the same as the walls do not alter its PH level. The major challenge with these pools is that they are not customizable and you only buy what you get in the market. Some shapes may present cleaning challenges to you or to the cleaner you are using.
Vinyl Liner Pools
As the name suggests, these pools involving laying out a liner made from vinyl all around the pool. After a hole is dug, a structural made from either wood, concrete or metal is constructed around the pool. Sand is spread inside the hole, and the vinyl lining is placed on the sand while attaching to the structural wall. They are very easy to set up and are the cheapest among the pool types. They are used in both underground and above ground pools. Actually majority of the above ground pools utilize vinyl liners.
When it comes to cleaning, the smoothness of the vinyl lining makes the work easy. The shape of the lining can also be customized to have a pool that is easy to clean. The greatest challenge with these pools is that the lining is weak and may be damaged by sharp objects like tree limbs. Some cleaners with tough brushes can also scratch of the vinyl. Sometimes algae can grow in some parts, like where the liner attaches to the pool structure. In a case of excess dirt or damage, the best thing to do with these pools is to replace the lining.
Types of Pool Cleaners
Before we look at the top pool cleaners, let remind ourselves the types of pool cleaners that we have. There is robotic, suction and pressure
These cleaners are powered by a low voltage from a power supply box. They are great because they do not use the filter or pump, but the power comes from an electric motor that is inside. Dirt and debris are collected through a built-in filtration system ending up in a canister. They are easy to use as you just put the cleaner in the pool and turn it on. They can move at the floor, climb walls and some can even clean stairs. Many cleaners are made with a technology that can know the size and shape of the pool for efficient cleaning
The suction cleaners are powered by power suction from the skimmer. Power comes from the suction of the filtration pump. After attaching to the skimmer box, they clean the pool in a random pattern. They pick debris and dirt, and it goes through the hose ending up in a skimmer basket. They are good for smaller pools with less dirt, as excess dirt may clog the filter and block the hose.
These are powered by water pressure from the filter or a booster pump. To use them, the pool needs a pressure side port. They don’t suck dirt and debris. Most of the dirt goes into a bag attached to the cleaner while some is sucked by the main filter. They are great for large pools with a lot of dirt, like leaves and heavy debris because the bigger debris goes into the bag while the smaller debris gets into the filter.
Aquabot ABREEZ4 X-Large Breeze
This is a robotic cleaner, and it goes just below $500. It features very strong brushes two large filter baskets that cleaning in two cycles ensuring no dirt is left. It has a patented power washing jets that channels water to areas that are hard to clean by regular cleaners. The pumps are powerful and they can filter up to 85 gallons per minute. It can be able to clean out very small sand and dirt particles (2 microns). They also climb walls well. Consumers have however complained that they are not good at scrubbing, but they only pick up debris. Another weakness is that they are not made to consider the shape of the pool, something one would expect from a pump that expensive. They are recommended for concrete surfaces and therefore mostly used in underground pools.
XtremepowerUS Kreepy Krauly
This is a suction type pool cleaner, and the great thing about it is the price. It goes for around Hundred Dollars which comes with free shipping. Being a suction cleaner, you don’t need electricity as it easily attaches to you your filtration system. It cleans the walls very well and clears the algae fast. It is also not very noisy. It is great for any pool regardless of shape or size. The only problem is that it does not pick leaves or large debris. Large pieces of twigs can jam the flapper. It also needs as small hose guidance. It works well with any depth. Even though it is cheap, with that price, you will get a decent job done.
This cleaner is recommended for fiberglass pools. The fact that it is not designed to pick leaves and large debris, means that it is best to use it in above ground pools.
BARACUDA G3 W03000
The BARACUDA G3 is a suction cleaner that goes for just few Hundred Dollars. From a great brand, you would expect a great product and this cleaner happens to be one. It promises to work on all dirt, sand, debris, twigs, bugs, leaves and even pebbles. With no wheels, gears, or flappers, it delivers maximum power and efficiency with only a simple operation. It is made in such a way as to work well even with low-speed horse pump power. It has a self-adjusting flow control valve that regulates water flow automatically. It features a wheel deflector that enables good movement around tight edges and corners. The fin disc is designed to ensure maximum adhesion to the surface to the pool. Its diaphragm is very rough and durable. The hoses are scuff resistance to ensure all scuff is eliminated. It is however very heavy and moves very slowly. Customers have complained that it focuses on the pool floor and it does not work on the walls well.
This cleaner is suitable for vinyl liner pools on both the underground and above ground pools.
Hayward RC9740 SharkVac
This is a robotic cleaner that is sold for a little over a Half Grand. It is described as one of the most energy-efficient cleaner. It features a microprocessor-based technology that provides a superior and efficient-cleaning pattern. It has two porosity filtration systems and efficient Filtration cartridges that can deal with any size of debris. It does very well in scrubbing and vacuuming both the floor and the walls. It works very fast and quietly, and it is bound to leave your pool spotless after a few hours. It however doesn’t work on stairs, and some customers have complained some sometimes it flips over while climbing the walls. It is made to be compatible with all types of surfaces and pools.
Zodiac Polaris 9400 Sport
This robotic cleaner costs just over $1K, and with its qualities you will understand why. With a vortex vacuum technology, it promises to capture more than four times the dirt load of other cleaners. This can be attributed to its large canister. It has pleated scrubbing brushes that use a 4WD technology that can handle any terrain. It also has active motion sensors to recognize its position in the pool and adapt accordingly. You will love its 7-day programmable timer with cleaning cycles that are fully customizable. Even with all these features, it is a very lightweight cleaner. In case you have a problem with it, there is a 2-year limited warranty to serve you.
Because of its hard brushes, it is recommended for the concrete pool surfaces in underground pools.
In this Article we tried to explain the choices available to meet the needs and limitations you may have when it comes to choosing a pool cleaner. Although you may not find the perfect choice all the time, please weigh your needs carefully while considering any options as it is important to have a right balance for a long lasting satisfaction years ahead.