Pool maintenance can be a tedious, annoying chore for homeowners who elect not to hire a pool cleaning service. The key to optimum pool maintenance lies in consistent weekly effort in balancing chlorine, pH, alkalinity, hardness, and calcium levels to go along with brushing, skimming, and cleaning of filters. If you’re looking to make your life a lot easier as a pool owner, owning an automatic vacuum is a must. We studied pool cleaners ranging from $127(economy level) to high-end models costing over $1,000. Listed below are our best choices for economy, mid, and high level devices:

Economy Level Pool Cleaners (under $200)

For the money, our best choice lies with the Hayward DV 5000 

(retail $195.00). This machine will get you at least 2 years of quality service.

hayward dv5000 cleaner 150x150 Automatic Swimming Pool Cleaner Review 2015

Pros:
Because it has only one moving part, it’s essentially a “throw-away” when it malfunctions, meaning it won’t be able to be serviced or fixed. The DV5000 connects and is powered by your pool filtration system, so no necessary equipment or outside sources required. You, literally, plug the hose into your skimmer or dedicated suction line, and it will take care of the rest including

Cons:
This vacuum, when we tested it, had a propensity to get stuck in sharp turns along the pool floor, ie. corners of steps. This made it to be very annoying and required manually pushing the cleaner away to get it back cleaning again.

Mid-Level Pool Cleaners (Under $500)

Pentair created a solid mainstay in the the automatic pool cleaning world with the Kreepy Krauly. Their latest GW9500 

(retail $385.00) is their newest example of a dependable product that will give you a good 5 years of quality service.

kreepy krauly pool vacuum 300x222 Automatic Swimming Pool Cleaner Review 2015

Pros
• The rectangular body of the Kreepy Krauly is surrounded by thin bristles designed to brush up debris from the floors and walls before being sucked into the filter.
• It is easily setup, quiet when working, and cleans a wide 15” path.

Cons
• The GW9500 has a vacuum port door that swings open and closed while it motion. This
is designed to be a protective barrier from any large debris that can get caught in the suction hose and tear or damage the inner workings of the vacuum. This, however, can be annoying as well due to the fact that if something is lodged in the vacuum port door, the vacuum stops working. That’s why we advise that pool owners with larger debris (ie. nuts, large twigs) consider other automatic cleaning options.

High End Pool Cleaners ($500 and above)

High end pool vacs start to differentiate themselves from their mid and entry-level counterparts with unique features, the biggest difference being cleaning method. Most pool cleaners connect to the swimming pool’s filtration system. That means all the debris gets sucked into the pool’s filter requiring someone to consistently monitor the debris that’s caught in the pump strainer, and also require cleaning out the filter with a high-pressure hose each month.

High-end models, on the other hand, like the Hayward TigerShark (retail $1299.00) that we fell in love with, carries essentially stores all the debris it sucks up, in the unit itself. That takes the pressure off of cleaning out your filter and thus replacing it more often.

hayward tigershark cleaner 300x300 Automatic Swimming Pool Cleaner Review 2015
Another unique difference is in how the cleaners are used. Lower end models, being connected to the filtration system, run as long as the pool is running and unless your pool has a suction line other than the skimmer, your pool vac will be taking away the ability for your pool to pull all the debris from the surface of the pool.

The Hayward TigerShark, conversely, runs only when you need it. You can set it to run for a specific amount of time from your remote control, and then pull the unit out of the water when complete. This makes cleaning more efficient and you don’t have to worry about a vacuum hose interfering with you in the pool.

If you have the budget to purchase an iRobot, we highly recommend doing so. If you’re not into all the bells and whistles of the high-end model, however, you’ll be plenty satisfied, we think, with the Pentair Kreepy Krauly.