How Does A Pool Vacuum Work?

how does a pool vacuum work
Articles on Vacuums

Outdoor pools have become a Summer staple — and so has pool cleaning. Fortunately, technology has advanced to the point that you no longer have to clean your pool manually. Instead, a dizzying array of automatic pool cleaners can do it all for you. Pool vacuums can help you maintain your pool in top condition all season.

So how does a pool vacuum work? If you’re looking for a cleaning option for your pool, you should be familiar with the many types of pool vacuum cleaners. In this article, we’ll look at the four main options available on the market: robots, pressure-side cleaners, suction-side cleaners, and manual cleaners.

We’ll go through exactly how they work to help you decide which one is best for you.

Why Vacuum Your Pool?

You may wonder why you should bother vacuuming your pool, especially if you’ve already added chlorine or other sanitizing chemicals to the water. This is a good question, and we have the exact answer to it. Bromine, chlorine, and other chemicals keep your water clean, and they do, to some extent, help keep your pool’s floor and walls clean as well.

Chemicals, however, cannot permanently keep your pool’s floor and walls clean, or prevent bugs or leaves from getting into the water. Besides adding chlorine or other chemicals to maintain your pool, regular and thorough pool cleaning is also essential.

A vacuum collects debris and dirt from the pool’s bottom. The filtration system in your pool works hard to eliminate as many of these unwanted things as possible, but routine vacuuming of the floor and walls actually makes the filter work better. You should skim the surface of your pool regularly to remove any leaves or unwanted objects.

How Does A Pool Vacuum Work?

Pool Vacuum Cleaner

A pool filter keeps your water nice and clear but cannot eliminate debris on the pool bottom or stuck to the walls. This is when pool cleaners, often known as vacuums, come into action.

Pool vacuums use suction or pressure to push and draw the debris. Some use a bag to collect everything from the pool’s bottom, while others use the pump basket, skimmer basket, and filter to remove the waste. These vacuums are classified into four types.

Let’s look into each type and how they work. First up, handheld pool vacuum.

Handheld Pool Vacuum

Handheld pool vacuums work similarly to regular floor vacuums. And as the name suggests, they’re a handheld device that you manually move about the pool to vacuum dirt off the surface. Some handheld pool cleaners contain debris canisters, which connect to your pool’s pump through a hose.

This tool can be used to vacuum the bottom of your pool similarly to your home’s floor, assuming your household vacuum cleaner is around 10 feet long. There are plug-in and battery-operated models available.

A handheld vacuum cleaner has no mechanical parts and is an affordable way to enhance your pool’s filtration system. They are ideal for above-ground installations and small pools.

Suction Pool Vacuum

A suction pool cleaner is a simple tool that works with your pool’s existing filtration system to keep things clean. It operates by attaching directly to your skimmer or a separate suction line that draws water into the pump. The cleaner then goes around the pool, collecting debris and dirt and moving them to the pool filter and pump filter basket.

They come with a wheel deflector that makes it easier for the suction-side pool cleaner to move around the pool, including through tight spaces. Suction pool vacuums are available with two or four wheels, and generally consume more electricity than standalone robots, since they use the pump and filter from your swimming pool. However, they’ll be far less expensive overall.

Suction-side cleaners work best for cleaning medium-sized debris, such as insects and tiny leaves. Most of these vacuums are also effective in sucking up the extremely fine particles that make the water cloudy.

Pressure Pool Vacuum

These vacuums, frequently called pressure-side cleaners, are connected to the pool’s return jet via the supplied hose. Pressure pool cleaners use the water pressure generated by the pool filtration system to move and create suction.

The pressure-side cleaner works by creating a water vortex, dividing the water rushing into it into three streams. The first stream drives the thruster, which moves the device around the bottom of the pool.

The second stream sends water to the venturi, which generates a vacuum that sucks leaves and debris into the bag on top of the device. The third stream is routed to a sweeper tail on the back of the unit. The sweeper tail helps remove fine debris from the pool’s walls and bottom and deposits it in the filter bag.

Pressure-side pool cleaners contain wheels, a sweep hose, a filter bag, and a return-jet hose. They work incredibly well at removing large and medium. Because they lack sensors, pressure-side pool cleaners may become stuck at times. Luckily, they feature built-in backup valves that generate a short burst of force to propel the cleaner to a new place.

Robotic Pool Vacuum

Robotic vacuums are the most energy-efficient and effective choice. However, they’re more expensive compared to other options. Robotic vacuums are devices that plug into an electrical outlet rather than being connected to your current filtration system. They can have advanced software that enables them to map your pool and guarantee that the entire surface is cleaned.

Robotic pool cleaners can go through the corners and stairways of the pool with wheels or tracks. Depending on your model, some cleaners contain pumps that work as propellers and water filters.

Robotic cleaners also have in-built sensors that can identify the pool’s steps, bends, and water level. Some models provide interesting extras like remote controls for spot cleaning and four-wheel drive movement.

Benefits of Pool Vacuums

Pool Vacuum


Here are some of the benefits of using automatic or robotic pool cleaners:

More Effective Cleaning

No matter the material, they can remove any particles, including twigs, leaves, algae, etc. Most automatic cleaners are good at cleaning debris regardless of the particles’ size or amount. Additionally, they can efficiently clean the various crevices in your pool’s walls, steps, or floor. This can also limit the debris buildup that might affect your pool’s structural integrity.


Automatic cleaners can clean the walls of your pool to make them cleaner and more hygienic. They’re simple to install, and some more advanced types also allow chemical pool treatment.

Cleaning automatic pool cleaners is also a simple task. When the filter bag is full, empty it and reattach it afterward. An additional advantage of automatic pool cleaners is that they can be conveniently taken out and emptied whenever you wish.

No Ongoing Expenses

Most mechanical pool cleaners require no other expenditures aside from the cost of running them regularly. Depending on what you pay for pool cleaning, purchasing an automatic pool cleaner might save you hundreds of dollars annually. Getting a high-quality pool cleaner is essential to ensure the device will last a long time.

They Run On Your Schedule

Many pool owners still hire a pool-cleaning company to keep their pools in good condition. These businesses work according to a predetermined schedule. If you’re arranging a pool party that clashes with your pool-cleaning schedule, you’ll have to reschedule. However, with your pool vacuum, you can run it on your schedule. Your cleaning device is in your control.


How long do pool cleaners last?

A pool vacuum’s longevity depends on many factors, including how you maintain and store it. The typical pool vacuum cleaner can last five years, or even longer if you regularly don’t have any trouble removing the little pieces. These parts include the cleaning disk, head, foot and other components.

What size pool cleaner should I get?

Almost all pool cleaner sizes will work in an average-sized in-ground pool that is 32 to 36 feet long. For both robotic and non-robotic cleaners, you should have a cable or vacuum hose that is longer than the length of your pool for easy movement. To make moving it more manageable, opt for an ergonomic design when you looking to buy the best pool vacuum cleaner.

How often should you clean your pool?

Use your pool cleaner as frequently as required. You may need to run it daily if you regularly swim in your pool. If you don’t often swim, once a week or every two weeks should be enough. If you cover your pool most of the time, you only need to run it once a month. Learn how to vacuum a pool.


How does a pool vacuum work? To summarize, most robotic cleaners use electrical motors. On the other hand, suction-side and pressure-side cleaners depend on a functional pool pump.

Now that you know what you need to keep your pool and its surroundings clean, you can stock up on the necessary tools and chemicals to keep your pool in perfect shape.

Happy swimming!

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