September 2022

Suction Pool Cleaners: Meta Ranking Report

This report contains an aggregate consensus of Pool Cleaner rankings posted by key online experts, as of September 2022.

Summary

As of 10 Sep 2022, Zodiac Baracuda G3 takes the cake as the most critically-acclaimed pool cleaner with 9 expert endorsements. 3 experts out of 9 recommended it as the '#1 pool cleaner' this month. It is followed by Pentair Kreepy Krauly and Zodiac MX8 , with 9 and 7 expert endorsements respectively.

At a glance - September 2022 Ranking

Scroll horizontally to browse this ranking table
Rank Change Price Pool Cleaner
SteamCleanerMaster
Pool Care Guy
Pool Cleaner Lab
Salt Water Pool and Spa
Cleanup Expert
Swim University
Wild River Country
Pool Research
Bob Vila
House Grail
1
- $324
Zodiac Baracuda G3
2
1
4
4
6
-
8
1
1
3
2
- $338
Pentair Kreepy Krauly
3
8
-
5
5
1
7
3
6
4
3
- $599
Zodiac MX8
4
5
6
3
1
-
1
-
3
-
4
- $449
Hayward The PoolCleaner 2X
1
2
1
2
-
-
9
-
-
2
5
- $349
Zodiac MX6
-
4
5
1
2
-
2
-
-
-
6
- $100
XtremepowerUS Premium
6
3
-
-
-
-
-
2
2
5
7
- $479
Hayward AquaNaut 400
-
-
-
-
3
-
6
-
7
1
8
- $379
Hayward Navigator Pro
-
7
2
-
4
-
-
-
-
-
9
- $585
Hayward PoolVac XL
5
6
-
-
-
-
3
-
-
-
10
- $237
Pentair Kreepy Krauly E-Z Vac
-
-
3
-
-
2
-
-
-
-
11
- $479
Hayward Poolvergnuegen
-
-
-
-
-
-
5
-
4
-
12
- Check price
Pentair Great White
-
-
-
-
7
-
4
-
-
-
13
New * $181
Baracuda Zodiac Ranger
-
-
7
-
-
-
-
-
5
-
14
-1 $449
Hayward AquaNaut 200
-
9
-
-
-
-
11
-
-
-

We ranked Zodiac Baracuda G3 #1 in September 2022 because:

  • 9 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Suction Pool Cleaners” rankings.
  • Out of those, 3 experts ranked Zodiac Baracuda G3 as #1.
Critic endorsements:
SteamCleanerMaster

Pros
26 fins adhere to the floor
Wheel helps it move around obstacles
Hose is very durable and resists breakage

Cons
Needs a lot of power to move around

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Pool Care Guy

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Pool Cleaner Lab

Pros
It is quiet while operating
Cleans in-ground pools up to 33 feet deep
Capable of sucking up tiny algae, dirt and debris from your pool
Includes a hose

Cons
Stops working after few months.

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Salt Water Pool and Spa

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Cleanup Expert

Most economical

Pros
Maybe you’ve had a pool cleaner or two in your life. If you have, you know that switching out malfunctioning parts for new ones can cost a pretty penny. If replacing expensive pool cleaner parts is something you’re sick of doing, you need the Barracuda in your life.
This unit doesn’t have 50 moving parts that constantly break down and cost a fortune to replace—it just has one.

Cons
Some people report that the Baracuda stops working after only a short time using it. However, this is usually because the inner sleeve that holds the diaphragm is too tight.
Other customers say that although the unit works quite well, they still must manually clean off their tanning ledge, steps, and deep-water seats.

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Wild River Country

Pros
Adheres to all surfaces
Easily navigable
Simple setup

Cons
Could move around more efficiently

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Pool Research

Best Value

Pros
Versatile
Compatible with most pumping systems
Excellent at cleaning small and medium debris
Works on floors, walls, and steps

Cons
Not effective on large debris
Doesn’t work as well on unusual pool shapes, such as slopes or curves

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Bob Vila

Best Overall

Pros
Maintains excellent suction even with a low-speed pump
Pump hose sections easy to customize
Disk fits into corners

Cons
Struggles with large debris

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House Grail

Best for the Money

Pros
Great value
Fins knock up debris for suction cleaning
Works at any suction power
Reliable

Cons
Gets stuck
Not good for large leaves

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We ranked Pentair Kreepy Krauly #2 in September 2022 because:

  • 9 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Suction Pool Cleaners” rankings.
  • Out of those, 1 expert ranked Pentair Kreepy Krauly as #1.
Critic endorsements:
SteamCleanerMaster

Pros
Fins funnel the dirt into the hose
Has a dive float directional system
Cleans a broad range of pools

Cons
Doesn’t work well on sharp inclines

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Pool Care Guy

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Salt Water Pool and Spa

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Cleanup Expert

Best redesign

Pros
The Pentair 360042 boasts several innovative features that’ll make it easy to keep your pool clean. For example, an automatic valve regulates water flow to set the ideal travel speed for more thorough cleaning.
There’s an easy-to-adjust “dive float” directional system that intelligently guides the cleaner from the water line to the pool bottom, ensuring it hits every spot along the way.

Cons
While most customers rave about the redesign, a few don’t like it as much as the old one.
Some say the new model isn’t as durable as the original model. Others have problems with the float balls continually falling off.
Some users say the new model takes more time to clean the pool. This means you must run the pump longer, and your electricity bills will be higher.

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Swim University

The Best Suction Pool Cleaner for an Inground Pool

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Wild River Country

Pros
Single moving part
Removes large and small debris
Powerful suction

Cons
Not great with deep pools

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Pool Research

Most Durable

Pros
One of the most durable units on the market
Does not need a booster pump
Works with most common pool sizes

Cons
The hose isn’t quite long enough for large pools
Cleans slower than some other units

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Bob Vila

Best For Inground

Pros
Roller straps allow it to work around ladders and stairs
Long hose provides ample range
Wing design helps channel debris into cleaner

Cons
Doesn’t hold up as long as other suction pool cleaners

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House Grail

Pros
Can clean walls
Good suction
Affordable

Cons
Gets stuck easily
Poor customer service

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Methodology: combine opinions of key experts

Identify Experts

We identify key publishers and experts that consistently review and recommend Suction Pool Cleaners.

Capture Rankings

For each publisher we find a currently recommended "top 10" list of Suction Pool Cleaners, it must be updated in the last 9 months.

Aggregate Rankings

We put all those lists together and aggregate them. The more frequently a product is recommended, the higher it is in our ranking

Experts chosen for September 2022 ranking

We ranked Zodiac MX8 #3 in September 2022 because:

  • 7 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Suction Pool Cleaners” rankings.
  • Out of those, 2 experts ranked Zodiac MX8 as #1.
Critic endorsements:
SteamCleanerMaster

Pros
Connects to solar, two-speed, or variable speed pumps
Funnels debris right into the skimmer
Track on the wheels helps it climb steep walls

Cons
Motors can wear out quickly with extended use

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Pool Care Guy

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Pool Cleaner Lab

Pros
Extremely energy efficient
Cleans faster and better than its contenders
Employs a dual navigation technique for maximum pool coverage without any hang-ups.
The hose is twisted locking to ensure a secure attachment to the cleaner’s head

Cons
Gets stuck often.

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Salt Water Pool and Spa

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Cleanup Expert

Best suction pool cleaner

Pros
One of the best things about the MX8 is its excellent traction. This gives the unit exceptional maneuverability—even in tight corners and on vertical walls.
Every ten seconds, the MX8 does what I like to call the “rotation dance.” This tactic is highly effective for liberating units that have embarrassed themselves by getting stuck in a corner or hung up on a drain.

Cons
One customer had the unfortunate experience of their unit getting stuck near the water surface and making a noisy sloshing sound. The commotion was so loud that it woke them up in the middle of the night because their bedroom happened to be close to the pool.
A few other customers also said this happened to them. The good news is that these units were defective and were quickly replaced by the manufacturer.

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Wild River Country

Our #1 Pick

Pros
Torquey motor
Highly maneuverable
For all pool surfaces

Cons
Some issues with leaves

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Bob Vila

Upgrade Pick

Pros
Capable of navigating tight angles and walls
Works with a variety of pool surfaces
Doesn’t require high flow rate

Cons
Very expensive

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We ranked Hayward The PoolCleaner 2X #4 in September 2022 because:

  • 6 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Suction Pool Cleaners” rankings.
  • Out of those, 2 experts ranked Hayward The PoolCleaner 2X as #1.
Critic endorsements:
SteamCleanerMaster

Pros
Comes with three interchangeable throats
Thick tread on the tires
Self-adjusting turbines
Turns every 8 to 10 feet

Cons
Wheels can sometimes stick

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Pool Care Guy

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Pool Cleaner Lab

Pros
Connects to your pools suction port or skimmer
Cleans both shallow and deep end pools efficiently
Capable of maneuvering around obstacles
Cleans all types of pools surfaces

Cons
Not very efficient in wall climbing

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Salt Water Pool and Spa

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Wild River Country

Pros
Self-adjusting turbines
5 preprogrammed turns
Works well on uneven surfaces

Cons
Runs quite slowly

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House Grail

The Runner-up

Pros
Good traction
Adjustable for multiple kinds of debris
Works at any suction power

Cons
Really pricey

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We ranked Zodiac MX6 #5 in September 2022 because:

  • 5 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Suction Pool Cleaners” rankings.
  • Out of those, 1 expert ranked Zodiac MX6 as #1.
Critic endorsements:
Pool Care Guy

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Pool Cleaner Lab

Pros
Affordable
Eliminated extra expenses of replacing and repairing parts since the diaphragm is the only moving part
Durable
Quiet and powerful

Cons
In rare cases, it may get stuck on top raises drains.

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Salt Water Pool and Spa

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Cleanup Expert

Most Compact

Pros
I really like that the MX6 has an enhanced flow regulator. This prevents the cleaner from moving too fast and damaging the gears. This innovative feature helps ensure your unit has a long and healthy life.
Another fantastic thing about the MX6 is that the parts have a modular design. This means that when a component fails, simply pop the old piece out with a screwdriver and put the new one in. Replacement only takes seconds!

Cons
The Achilles heel of this otherwise excellent cleaner is the hoses, which have an unfortunate tendency to rip at the connectors. This is too bad because the hoses are expensive to replace.
I think the designers need to go back to the drawing board to come up with hoses that are a little more durable. If they do, this cleaner will be near perfect.

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Wild River Country

Pros
Variable low flow
Quick-connect swiveling hoses
Highly energy-efficient

Cons
Hose quality could be improved

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We ranked XtremepowerUS Premium #6 in September 2022 because:

  • 5 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Suction Pool Cleaners” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
SteamCleanerMaster

Pros
Moves up to 12 feet per minute
Has a wider suction head
No tools required for assembly

Cons
Doesn’t work well in deeper pools

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Pool Care Guy

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Pool Research

Best Low-Cost Option

Pros
Easy to adjust
Works well on curves
Highly flexible hoses and weights

Cons
Does not work on stairs
Does not suck up leaves

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Bob Vila

Best Bang for the Buck

Pros
A fraction of the cost of other suction pool cleaners
Works with a flow rate of just 1,600 GPH
Can climb walls

Cons
Shorter hose length not suitable for larger pools

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House Grail

Pros
Really cheap

Cons
Minimum of 1 horsepower pump power
Requires a lot of attention

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We ranked Hayward AquaNaut 400 #7 in September 2022 because:

  • 4 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Suction Pool Cleaners” rankings.
  • Out of those, 1 expert ranked Hayward AquaNaut 400 as #1.
Critic endorsements:
Cleanup Expert

Best for Variable-Speed Pumps

Pros
Between the three different throats that come with every Aquanaut model and the V-flex technology, you can be assured of an outstanding cleaning job every single time.
Another groundbreaking feature that sets the Aquanaut heads and shoulders above many inferior models is the adjustable roller skirt that maintains consistent pressure over uneven surfaces.
This means you won’t lose any suction when your bot runs over an obstacle.

Cons
A few customers have reported that the Aquanaut flops over on its side and stay there like a stuck turtle. However, most customers say that this isn’t the case for them.
Its wall-climbing abilities are somewhat impaired unless you have powerful suction. Some customers complain that it gets stuck in the deep end of their pools.

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Wild River Country

Pros
Outstanding climbing power
Corner-to-corner cleaning
Maximum suction with minimal clogging

Cons
Not the cheapest pool cleaner

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Bob Vila

Also Consider

Pros
4 wheels allow it to maneuver and climb walls more easily
Works with a variety of pool surfaces
Compatible with large pools

Cons
Can struggle to climb walls if not properly weighted

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House Grail

Best Overall

Pros
Good for large debris
Long connector hose
Versatile pool types

Cons
Expensive

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We ranked Hayward Navigator Pro #8 in September 2022 because:

  • 3 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Suction Pool Cleaners” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
Pool Care Guy

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Pool Cleaner Lab

Pros
Easy and fast installation
Smooth and silent operation
Boasts of 30+ years of reliability and performance
Effectively sucks pollen, leaves, sand, and twigs owing this to its advanced vacuum wings

Cons
Wall cleaning can sometimes be ineffective since the shape of the pool can be a limiting factor.

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Cleanup Expert

Most efficient

Pros
One of the biggest reasons to get a suction-side cleaner instead of a pressure-side one is you won’t need a booster pump. All you need to do is to connect the unit to your pool’s dedicated skimmer or suction port and it’s ready to clean every inch of your pool.
The Hayward Navigator Pro doesn’t make much noise, so you can run it without disturbing the peace and quietude of your neighborhood.

Cons
Sometimes, the Hayward Navigator Pro has a difficult time getting over drains. It has also been known to occasionally flip over for no apparent reason. When that happens, you’ll have to manually set it right again so it can complete its cleaning journey.
Occasionally, it doesn’t do well cleaning the waterline, so you might have to give it a gentle nudge yourself.

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We ranked Hayward PoolVac XL #9 in September 2022 because:

  • 3 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Suction Pool Cleaners” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
SteamCleanerMaster

Pros
Installs in under 10 minutes
Systematically covers every inch of your pool
Doesn’t put out a lot of noise

Cons
Too lightweight for pools with jets

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Pool Care Guy

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Wild River Country

Pros
Runs very quietly
Hassle-free maintenance
Efficient programmable cleaning

Cons
Customer care issues flagged

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We ranked Pentair Kreepy Krauly E-Z Vac #10 in September 2022 because:

  • 2 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Suction Pool Cleaners” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
Pool Cleaner Lab

Pros
Cleans any pools surface
It will scrub your pools wall, floor and even clean all the way up to the waterline
Long-lasting
Uses a random cleaning pattern to clean those places that a standard cleaner can’t reach.

Cons
Noisy

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Swim University

The Best Suction Pool Cleaner for an Above Ground Pool

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We ranked Hayward Poolvergnuegen #11 in September 2022 because:

  • 2 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Suction Pool Cleaners” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
Wild River Country

Pros
4-wheel drive
Unbeatable brand heritage
Climbs and maneuvers neatly

Cons
Not great at low suction

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Bob Vila

Best for Wall Climbing

Pros
Compatible with a variety of pool surfaces
Capable of climbing walls
Can handle larger debris
40-foot hose range

Cons
Requires 2,100 GPH pump

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We ranked Pentair Great White #12 in September 2022 because:

  • 2 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Suction Pool Cleaners” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
Cleanup Expert

Widest Cleaning Path

Pros
Though it’s completely automatic, an attachment comes with this model to allow you to use it with your manual pool vacuum handle. This is handy if there are tight spots like steps and other areas that the cleaner may miss.
The bristle drive quickly propels this guy through the pool and up the walls to the waterline. It comes with 12 one-meter hoses, so you can easily adjust the hose length for any pool size.

Cons
There have been complaints that the Great White is afraid of the shallow end of the pool. You’d think something named after one of the most ferocious of all sea creatures wouldn’t be frightened of anything, but you’d be wrong.
One woman said that during eight hours of operation, the unit didn’t visit the shallow end—not even once.
Others lament that the unit is manufactured from less-than-durable plastic that becomes brittle all too quickly.

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Wild River Country

Pros
Programmed steering
Highly adjustable
Quick and easy set-up

Cons
Lifespan can be poor

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We ranked Baracuda Zodiac Ranger #13 in September 2022 because:

  • 2 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Suction Pool Cleaners” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
Pool Cleaner Lab

Pros
Has one single moving part
Comes pre-assembled
Doesn’t get stuck on steps and corners
Ideal for above-ground pools

Cons
Misses some spots on your pool.

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Bob Vila

Best For Above Ground

Pros
Design prevents it from getting stuck on ladders and steps
Fewer moving parts to maintain
Affordably priced

Cons
Can get clogged by larger debris

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We ranked Hayward AquaNaut 200 #14 in September 2022 because:

  • 2 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Suction Pool Cleaners” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
Pool Care Guy

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Wild River Country

Pros
Extremely versatile
2-wheel drive
Self-adjusting variable vanes

Cons
Difficult to get parts

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