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Hayward Robotic Pool Vacuum

Which Pool Vacuum is the Best?

Imagine waking up on a Saturday morning excited about hosting your backyard pool party. So much to do: clean the house, prepare food, neaten up the backyard – but when you look at your pool you notice dirt and debris have collected at the bottom. And those pool walls are no longer the bright shade of blue you’ve become accustomed to.

Fortunately, we don’t live in an age where cleaning the walls and floor of your pool meant draining your pool, grabbing a shammy, and spending hours scrubbing away the grime. Nor does it mean donning scuba gear and working underwater!

Cleaning your pool is as simple as using a pool vacuum system. Generally, you have three types of pool vacuums to choose from: manual, suction, and robotic.

So while you’re looking at your dirty pool with time ticking away until your first guests arrive, wondering “Which pool vacuum is the best for me?”, let’s have a closer look at the pros and cons of each system and outline each one’s process so you can make an informed choice.


Manual pool vacuums

Ready for an intense workout? Then using a manual pool vacuum is for you!

Before we start pumping our muscles, we need to take a few steps to set up the vacuum for action:


  • Remove the skimmer basket from the pool skimmer (the open rectangular window where the water is drawn into)
  • Connect the vacuum head to the pole and vacuum hose
  • Plug the vacuum hose into the skimmer to utilize the suction power from the pool pump
  • Direct that suction to the floor of the pool with the vacuum head


Manual pool vacuums operate in similar fashion to central vac systems in houses, where you simply plug the hose into the wall fitting and start sucking up the dirt. Except with a pool, you have to maneuver the vacuum up and down the walls – up to 8 feet deep – as well as along the bottom, through water.

Hopefully you’ll still have some energy to entertain and go swimming!

The slow, methodical pace of manual pool vacuuming makes it the best option when opening your pool, as the spring cleanup is usually larger than standard touch-ups during the season. For post-opening cleanups, the next two options are more practical.


Suction pool vacuums

Although the setup is similar to manually vacuuming your pool, one important element is eliminated from the equation: you!

Suction pool vacuums have built-in drive systems that propel the vacuum forward. This means you don’t have to spend time and energy using a pole to clean your pool. Just set it up and go get ready for your guests. Between 3 and 6 hours later (hopefully you have that much time before the party starts), take the cleaner out of the pool so the skimmer can resume doing its regular job.

Because the suction vacuum doesn’t map out the pool, the cleaner might miss a few spots or do the same area multiple times, but it’s still better than cleaning your pool manually, right? What could be better?

Well now that you’ve asked, there is something better.


Robotic pool cleaners

Without question, robotic pool cleaners are the most advanced and efficient way to clean your pool. All you need to do is drop the unit into the pool, press the start button, and walk away. The robotic vacuum will do the rest, stopping after 2 – 3 hours once the entire job is complete.

Robotic vacuums feature memory mapping with an onboard CPU that calculates its location inside the pool, which allows the unit to “think” its way around the pool. This ensures that the same spot isn’t done twice, and greatly reduces the chance of the vacuum getting stuck on the pool ladder.

In other words, the robotic cleaner “learns” all about your pool, and “remembers” everything each time you turn it on. This makes them far more efficient than suction vacuums, which merely bump their way around your pool but never store any information about it.

By the way – we often get asked if you can swim with a robotic pool cleaner. Although these units are safe to operate, we don’t recommend swimming with your robotic pool vacuum. Tropical fish, however, are another story – and much more picturesque.


Which pool vacuum is the best to use with my skimmer?

Unlike suction pool vacuums, robotic vacuums don’t occupy your skimmer or interrupt your pool’s operating system.

For example, when you plug a manual or suction vacuum hose into the skimmer, there are a few things that happen:


  • No surface draw: While using the suction vacuum, the skimmer draw is no longer pulling water from the pool surface, but rather from the pool floor or wherever you’re vacuuming. This means during the course of the vacuuming, leaves that are usually caught on the surface by the skimmer have time to sink to the floor. Your suction cleaner takes a long time to clean the pool floor, and might not get back to the spot where the leaves have settled.
  • Additional strain on the pumping system: Using your suction vacuum for long periods of time forces your pump to push water through 35 feet of additional hose, putting extra strain on the pump and potentially shortening its life span
  • Potential line blockage: Normally, the skimmer basket acts as a strainer to stop any large debris such as acorns, sticks, and leaves from entering into the underground pool lines. With the basket no longer in place while you manually or suction vacuum your pool, you could suck up something that can wind up blocking the lines. This can seriously affect your pool’s ability to operate, and can only be fixed with a service call.


Robotic systems solve these problems by operating independently of your pool system. This allows the skimmer to keep drawing debris from the surface, prevents additional strain on your pump, and because all debris is captured by the robot, there’s nothing foreign entering the lines.

Within the robot, there is a filter and an easily accessible canister from which you can empty the debris. With manual and suction systems, you’ll have to clean your pool filter after every cleaning, adding an additional step to the task.


Which is a gentler pool surface cleaner – robot or suction?

One disadvantage to suction pool cleaners is they tend to drag, rub, and push against the pool surface. It’s almost like sticking a suction cup to the surface and then trying to slide it along. Over time, the result is a pool liner that is prematurely faded and worn looking. New liners can cost you around $4,000, so you likely don’t want it looking 12 years old after only 4 years, ruining your pool’s lustre and attraction well before its time.

Robotic cleaners have wheels that roll while the unit is in motion to reduce this wear, offering a much gentler touch against your pool’s liner.


Which pool cleaner is the best? Here’s a handy comparison:

Vacuum Type Setup Time Cleaning Time Pros Cons
Manual About 5 mins 30 – 40 mins Great for large cleanups, such as after the winter


Could block pool lines

Requires significant physical effort

Requires vacuum setup vs. drop and go

Requires pool filter cleaning

Suction About 5 mins 3 – 6 hours Cost-effective vs. robotic

No physical effort required

Could block pool lines

Adds significant strain or restriction on your pool pumping system

Requires vacuum setup vs. drop and go

Longer cleaning time

Will wear down a liner pattern rapidly, causing fading

May get tangled in objects such as a ladder

Requires pool filter cleaning

Robotic 1 minute 1.5 – 3 hours Cleans the floor, walls and waterline

Does not interrupt your pool’s pumping or operation system

Prevents strain to the system and blocked lines

Does not wear down the vinyl liner or get worn down by rougher concrete surfaces

Memory maps the pool for the most efficient cleaning possible

Captures all the debris in an easy-to-clean cannister (no pool filter cleaning needed)

Saves hassle and time

Expensive, but worth the investment in time savings


Use Hayward robotic pool cleaners for your pool!

So which pool cleaner will work best for you as the minutes tick away toward party time?

We recommend Hayward robotic pool cleaners to help you clean your pool all summer long. They act quickly, are least impactful on your pool equipment and surfaces, and save you hours of hard work or waiting for the suction vacuum to finish its job.

After all, we could all use a little more time, couldn’t we? Hayward robotic pool cleaners can give that back to you, plus a whole lot more – and you’ll still be ready for the party. Be sure to put some burgers on for us!



Which pool vacuum is the best? Get an expert opinion from the pool experts in Mississauga, Oakville, and the Greater Toronto Area

Do you need to upgrade from your manual pool vacuum? The award-winning team at Lakeshore Pools & Hot Tubs are happy to discuss which option is best for you, and introduce you to our line of Hayward robotic pool cleaners. Talk to us today for fast, friendly advice!

Visit us at 309 Lakeshore East in Mississauga or call (905)-891-8818 today!

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