Updated September 01, 2018 by Brett Dvoretz

The 10 Best Handheld Pool Vacuums

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For swimming pool owners who don't want to invest in costly robot units, these handheld vacuums will keep your water sparkly and the bottom debris-free, albeit with a little more effort. They are available in battery- and pump-powered models as well as a totally manual option for those who enjoy a workout or need to clean only a small area, such as a spa. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best handheld pool vacuum on Amazon.

10. Water Tech Pool Blaster Max

9. Hayward SP1068

8. Kokido Telsa

7. Pool Supply Town Mini Jet

6. Aura 6250 Paradise Power

5. Pentair R201276 214 Pro Vac

4. Poolmaster 28300 Big Sucker

3. Polaris Spa Wand

2. Poolmaster 27400

1. Water Tech Pool Blaster Centennial

Choosing Your Pool Cleaning Tools

If you do opt for a robot, though, you'll probably still need a manual vacuum.

If you’ve got a pool, you’ve also got a few chores to take care of — otherwise you’ll walk outside one day to a swampy mess. Thankfully, the available options for keeping your pool clean in today’s day and age are plentiful, with one of the most useful being the handheld pool vacuum. Depending on the size of your “concrete swimming hole,” this may be the main cleaning device you use, or you may use it in conjunction with other apparatuses, such as a pool cleaning robot. You can decide which devices you need by considering a few factors.

For many, the top consideration is price. A robotic cleaner or pressure cleaning system is not cheap; a top of the line robot can go for upwards of $1,000. The less technologically complex handheld pool vacuum, however, has a price that’s easier to afford.

You’ll also need to think about size. If you have only a small pool or spa to keep debris-free, then a handheld vacuum will most likely be all you need. A smaller area takes less time to clean, making a robot cleaner overkill. On the other hand, if your pool is quite large, manually vacuuming it every time it needs to be cleaned could take more time than you're willing to spare. If you do opt for a robot, though, you'll probably still need a manual vacuum. Why? Because debris or algae may occasionally become too much for your crawling cleaner to handle, at which times you’ll need to go ahead and help out with a good vacuuming.

Some individuals have even been known to keep a handheld pool cleaner around to aid in teaching their kids responsibility. Older children, through manually vacuuming and scooping out a pool, learn that the things we enjoy require care and attention, a lesson that’s harder to teach with a robot.

Tips For Vacuuming A Pool

Once you’ve got your handheld pool vacuum, you’ll probably want to get the best use from it possible. After all, the less time you spend cleaning, the more time you can spend swimming. Fortunately, using a handheld pool vacuum isn’t tough at all, especially with today’s models that can have large intake throats and handy brushes, but there are a few good usage practices of which to take note.

Keep the other end of the hose out of the pool and place it against a return jet to fill it with water.

It should probably go without saying that you’ll need to skim the pool for large debris before you start. You’re going to need to do it anyway, and it’ll help get rid of stuff that could become lodged in the pump strainer basket while you work. If your vacuum hooks up to the filtration system, this buildup could lead to a decrease in the vacuum force.

Further, for such types of vacuums, remember that you need to expel the air in the hose before you start working. First, you’ll submerge the head, after it’s attached to the pole and hose. Keep the other end of the hose out of the pool and place it against a return jet to fill it with water. After the air bubbles have quit escaping from the vacuum head, you’re ready to plug it into the suction port found at the skimmer well’s bottom. Just be sure that you don’t introduce any air back into the hose while you’re doing so.

Once you start vacuuming, no matter what kind you use, work in slow and steady movements. If you jerk the vacuum head or move it too quickly, you’ll kick up all the debris that’s settled to the bottom. Most experts recommend that you start at the deep end and move the vacuum methodically in strips, as you would do if you were mowing a lawn.

What Cleans Beneath

Imagine a warm summer’s evening; you’re lounging by a pool. You want to take a dip, so you start languidly down the shallow end stairs, feeling the refreshing water caress your ankles, then your calves. Movement. A shadow at the deep end of the pool catches your eye: it’s slinking slowly, a dark blot trailing a whip-like tail. For just a moment, a trill of terror plays down your spine, but then you relax. Nothing but the pool cleaning robot, busy with its mundane work.

Phobias cause extreme anxiety, even irrational behaviors that interrupt daily life.

Well, maybe you relax. Perhaps surprisingly, there is a fairly large, or perhaps only fairly vocal, group of individuals who are all too happy to express their fear of pool cleaning implements, including robots and vacuums, seemingly from the desire to feel that they aren’t alone. This is no mere concern about safety, since today’s pool vacuums and robots are not dangerous, as long as they are operated within their tolerances. No, the fear that these individuals experience is deeper and hard to express in words, although some are trying. In fact, they’ve brought an obscure term into the common vernacular: submechanophobia, the fear of manmade objects that are either fully or partially submerged.

For most, an underwater pool vacuum cleaner is just the start, as the fear can express itself in a variety of ways. Pictures of sunken ships, aircraft, and statues can cause horror and aversion, even though it’s unlikely that most sufferers would ever encounter these in their day-to-day lives. A trip to the lake might become an ordeal as a buoy or jetty induces a stressful response. Many also experience the related thalassophobia, the intense aversion to and fear of the sea.

Of course, for many, such fears aren’t diagnosable phobias, rather strong aversions. Phobias cause extreme anxiety, even irrational behaviors that interrupt daily life. If seeing a handheld pool vacuum in use makes you feel uncomfortable, but doesn’t stop you from swimming, you probably don’t have a full-blown phobia. On the other hand, if your fear of water and the items concealed within it cause you to alter your behaviors, you might want some help. Exposure therapy, psychotherapy, and even anti-anxiety medication can assist individuals in learning to control their fear responses, making situations more manageable.

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Brett Dvoretz
Last updated on September 01, 2018 by Brett Dvoretz

A wandering writer who spends as much time on the road as in front of a laptop screen, Brett can either be found hacking away furiously at the keyboard or, perhaps, enjoying a whiskey and coke on some exotic beach, sometimes both simultaneously, usually with a four-legged companion by his side. He has been a professional chef, a dog trainer, and a travel correspondent for a well-known Southeast Asian guidebook. He also holds a business degree and has spent more time than he cares to admit in boring office jobs. He has an odd obsession for playing with the latest gadgets and working on motorcycles and old Jeeps. His expertise, honed over years of experience, is in the areas of computers, electronics, travel gear, pet products, and kitchen, office and automotive equipment.


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