Updated August 15, 2020 by Karen Bennett

The 10 Best Handheld Pool Vacuums

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This wiki has been updated 24 times since it was first published in October of 2016. For swimming pool owners who don't want to invest in a costly robotic device, these handheld vacuums will keep your water sparkling and the bottom debris-free, albeit with a little more effort on your part. They are available in battery-, hose- and pump-powered models, as well as manual options 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 selections, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.

1. Water Tech Pool Blaster Max

2. Poolmaster 27400

3. Poolmaster 28300 Big Sucker

Editor's Notes

August 12, 2020:

These handheld models provide a simple way for keeping your pool sparkling clean all summer long. Unlike robotic pool cleaners, they’re generally very easy on the wallet, and they don’t feature a lot of parts that can break down and need replacement. Whether you’ve got an in-ground or above-ground pool, telescoping pole models like the Aura 6250 Paradise Power and the Zodiac SpaWand are nice for reaching down without breaking your back. The latter of the two replaces the Polaris Spa Wand, since it’s more readily available. Both models are manufactured by the same parent company, Zodiac.

In this update, we also added in the Kokido Telsa 50 to replace the older Kokido Telsa EV30CBX. This compact, rechargeable selection works best with small pools that do not have a lot of debris that needs to be picked up. It’s great for small twigs, pebbles, and other small particles, yet the collection filter is rather small and not able to hold many leaves at a time. For another convenient battery-operated model, look to the Water Tech Pool Blaster Max, which features an angled head that moves with ease around tight corners and over stairs. Its lithium-ion battery provides you with up to one hour of use per charge, which should be enough to get the entire job done. Today we moved two PoolMaster models into high placement on the list. The Poolmaster 27400 is a good choice for pools with vinyl liners, as it won’t tear or snag on these, yet it’s still highly capable of lifting up algae and other debris. Those with a large tree near their pool will appreciate the Poolmaster 28300 Big Sucker, which comes with a dedicated leaf collection bag, so you won’t need to keep stopping to empty it before the job is done.

May 06, 2019:

Many people prefer handheld pool vacuums because of their affordability and simplicity when compared with robotic models. Whether you have a large pool to maintain or a small spa, we have found a model well-suited to your needs. You'll get the strongest suction out of options that attach to your pool's pump, like the Poolmaster 27400, Pentair R201276 214 Pro Vac, or Hayward SP1068. Of course, we realize not everybody wants to deal with annoying hoses or a pump designed to be used as a suction source for a vacuum, which is we included options like the Water Tech Pool Blaster Max, Kokido Telsa EV30CBX, and Intex 28620E, which are battery-powered, the Poolmaster 28300 Big Sucker and Pool Supply Town Mini Jet, which rely on a garden hose to create a vacuum, and the Polaris Spa Wand and Aura 6250 Paradise Power, which are manual units that you pump to produce suction. For those with large pools, the Water Tech Pool Blaster Max, Poolmaster 27400, Poolmaster 28300 Big Sucker, Pentair R201276 214 Pro Vac, and Hayward SP1068 are going to be your best options, while those with small pools would be well-served by any of the other options on our list.

4. Pentair R201276 214 Pro Vac

5. Zodiac SpaWand

6. Kokido Telsa 50

7. Pool Supply Town Mini Jet

8. Aura 6250 Paradise Power

9. Intex 28620E

10. Hayward SP1068

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 can set you back a pretty penny. 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.

If you jerk the vacuum head or move it too quickly, you’ll kick up all the debris that’s settled to the bottom.

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.

For most, an underwater pool vacuum cleaner is just the start, as the fear can express itself in a variety of ways.

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.


Karen Bennett
Last updated on August 15, 2020 by Karen Bennett

Karen Bennett lives in Chicago with her family, and when she’s not writing, she can usually be found practicing yoga or cheering on her kids at soccer games. She holds a master’s degree in journalism and a bachelor’s in English, and her writing has been published in various local newspapers, as well as “The Cheat Sheet,” “Illinois Legal Times,” and “USA Today.” She has also written search engine news page headlines and worked as a product manager for a digital marketing company. Her expertise is in literature, nonfiction, textbooks, home products, kids' games and toys, hardware, teaching accessories, and art materials.


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