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How Do Pool Vacuums Work
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How Do Pool Vacuums Work

Hey there, fellow pool enthusiast! Have you ever stared at your swimming pool and wondered how it stays so clean and inviting? Well, chances are, you have a trusty pool vacuum to thank for that. These underwater heroes work tirelessly beneath the surface to keep your pool crystal clear. So, let’s dive right in and uncover the magic behind pool vacuums!

What’s the Deal with Pool Vacuums Anyway?

Picture this: You’re about to take a refreshing dip in your pool on a hot summer’s day, and you gaze upon the sparkling water, free from debris, leaves, and algae. It’s like your personal oasis, right? Well, you can thank your pool vacuum for ensuring your swim is an enjoyable and pristine experience.

Pool vacuums are like the unsung heroes of pool maintenance, quietly working beneath the water’s surface to clean up all the stuff that doesn’t belong. They’re like underwater Roombas, but way cooler (pun intended).

Now, you might be wondering, “How do these pool vacuums even work their magic?” Well, hang tight, because we’re about to demystify the fascinating world of pool vacuuming!

Basics of Pool Vacuuming: Suction, Pressure, and Robotic Wonders


The Basics of Pool Vacuuming: Suction, Pressure, and Robotic Wonders

Let’s start with the basics. There are three main types of pool vacuums: suction-side, pressure-side, and robotic vacuums. Each one has its unique way of tackling the task of keeping your pool spick and span.

1. Suction-Side Pool Vacuums:

Imagine a pool vacuum as a hungry monster with an insatiable appetite for debris. Suction-side pool vacuums, like the good old Kreepy Krauly, rely on the power of your pool’s circulation system to create suction. They’re attached to your pool’s skimmer or a dedicated suction line, and they use this suction to move around the pool’s bottom and walls.

As they move, they suck up leaves, dirt, and other undesirable particles through a filter or strainer basket, just like a charming farmhouse that was decorated by the decorator, each element adding to its impressive appeal.

2. Pressure-Side Pool Vacuums:

Now, let’s talk about pressure-side pool vacuums, such as the Polaris. These work a bit differently. They harness the power of water pressure to propel themselves around the pool. A dedicated booster pump generates this pressure, which pushes the vacuum around while also using a filter bag to collect debris.

Pressure-side vacuums are like the race cars of pool cleaning, zipping around and leaving a trail of cleanliness in their wake. They’re efficient and excellent at tackling larger debris, making your pool’s surface look spotless.

3. Robotic Pool Vacuums:

Finally, we come to the futuristic wonder of pool maintenance – robotic pool vacuums. These little bots are like something out of a sci-fi movie, but they’re real, and they’re amazing. Picture a sleek machine, equipped with brushes and sensors, gliding effortlessly across your pool’s floor and walls.

Robotic pool vacuums are completely independent. They have their own power source, usually an onboard electric motor, and a built-in filter or cartridge system to collect debris. Some models even come with remote controls or smartphone apps, allowing you to guide them like your own personal aquatic butler.

Robots in your pool? Yep, it’s not science fiction; it’s pool maintenance at its finest!

How Do They Actually Clean?

Now that you know the three main types of pool vacuums, you might be wondering how they go about cleaning your pool. Well, it’s all about their unique mechanisms and features.

Suction-Side Pool Vacuums:

These vacuums rely on the flow of water created by your pool’s pump. As they move around, they use their brushes to agitate and loosen debris from the pool’s surfaces. Simultaneously, the vacuum sucks in the dislodged debris, passing it through a filter or strainer basket, and returning clean water to the pool.

Think of it as if your vacuum at home had a broom attached to it, sweeping up dirt and dust while it sucks them away. It’s a dynamic duo of cleaning!

Pressure-Side Pool Vacuums:

Pressure-side pool vacuums work by using the force of the water they expel to stir up and collect debris. The booster pump sends pressurized water to the vacuum, which then moves around the pool while its filter bag catches everything from leaves to pebbles.

Picture it as a superhero’s cape billowing in the wind – the force propels the vacuum forward, while the bag captures all the villains (read: debris) in its path. Whoosh!

Robotic Pool Vacuums:

Robotic pool vacuums are the tech-savvy members of the pool cleaning family. They use a combination of brushes, motors, and sensors to navigate your pool’s surfaces. The brushes scrub away algae and grime, while the vacuum sucks up debris into its built-in filter or cartridge system.

Think of them as underwater robots with the precision of a surgeon. They scan and strategize, ensuring every nook and cranny of your pool is spotless. It’s like having a little pool-cleaning astronaut on a mission!

How Do They Actually Clean

The Good, the Bad, and the Robotic

Now that you have a grasp of how pool vacuums work, it’s time to talk about the pros and cons of each type.

Suction-Side Pool Vacuums:


  • Generally less expensive than robotic vacuums.
  • Easy to install and use.
  • Low maintenance; no need for an additional pump.
  • Great for fine debris like sand and silt.


  • May rely on the pool’s pump, reducing overall circulation.
  • Less effective on larger debris.
  • Requires regular cleaning of the filter or strainer basket.

Pressure-Side Pool Vacuums:


  • Excellent at picking up large debris.
  • Doesn’t put extra strain on the pool’s pump.
  • Can enhance overall pool circulation.


  • More expensive upfront due to the need for a booster pump.
  • May require occasional maintenance of the filter bag.
  • Limited maneuverability compared to robotic vacuums.

Robotic Pool Vacuums:


  • Fully independent and doesn’t rely on your pool’s circulation system.
  • Highly efficient and thorough cleaning.
  • Can be programmed and controlled remotely.
  • Some models come with advanced features like smart navigation and waterline scrubbing.


  • Typically the most expensive option.
  • Requires occasional cleaning of the onboard filter or cartridge.
  • Initial setup may involve a bit of learning curve.

Choosing the right pool vacuum ultimately depends on your specific needs and budget. If you want a budget-friendly option and don’t mind some manual maintenance, a suction-side vacuum might be your pick. If you’ve got larger debris and prefer not to use your pool’s pump, consider a pressure-side vacuum. And if you want the latest in pool-cleaning technology with minimal effort on your part, go for a robotic vacuum.


  1. How often should I run my pool vacuum?

The frequency of running your pool vacuum depends on factors like the pool’s size, location, and how often it’s used. As a general rule of thumb, running your pool vacuum once or twice a week should keep your pool clean and inviting. However, you may need to adjust this based on your pool’s specific needs.

  1. Can I leave my pool vacuum in the water all the time?

While some robotic pool vacuums are designed to stay in the water, it’s not recommended to leave other types (suction-side or pressure-side) in the pool all the time. These vacuums can put additional strain on your pool’s equipment, and prolonged exposure to chemicals and UV rays may wear them out faster.

  1. How do I clean and maintain my pool vacuum?

Regular maintenance is key to keeping your pool vacuum in tip-top shape. For suction-side and pressure-side vacuums, clean the filter or strainer basket regularly, and inspect hoses for any clogs or damage. For robotic vacuums, clean the filter or cartridge as recommended in the manual, and check for any debris stuck in the brushes or wheels.

  1. Can I use a pool vacuum in an above-ground pool?

Absolutely! Many pool vacuums are suitable for both in-ground and above-ground pools. Just make sure to check the manufacturer’s recommendations and any specific requirements for your type of pool.

  1. Are pool vacuums eco-friendly?

Pool vacuums can be considered eco-friendly in the sense that they help maintain a clean and healthy pool environment, reducing the need for excessive chemical treatments. Robotic vacuums, in particular, are energy-efficient and use less water compared to traditional cleaning methods. However, like all appliances, their environmental impact depends on factors like energy source and materials used in their construction.


And there you have it – the fascinating world of pool vacuums laid bare. These unsung heroes of pool maintenance work tirelessly to ensure your swimming experience is nothing short of amazing. Whether you opt for suction-side, pressure-side, or robotic, each type brings its own unique charm to the underwater cleaning party.

So, next time you take a dip in your pool, remember to give a nod of appreciation to your trusty pool vacuum. It’s the behind-the-scenes star that keeps your aquatic oasis pristine and ready for all your splashy adventures!


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