Last Updated: March 28, 2020
If you’re looking to keep your pool clean and clear of debris, you’ll probably want an effective pool vacuum. Handheld models can be great for spot cleaning, but how do you find one that works well and is in your budget?
To help you find a great pool vacuum, we’ve tested all of the major brands and come up with this ranked list of our 10 favorites. For each model, we’ve written a detailed review, looking at price, design, power, and warranty so that you can easily compare them. Researching a great appliance doesn’t have to take up all of your time, and we hope that this list helps you find your perfect handheld pool vacuum.
A Quick Comparison of Our FavoritesTable could not be displayed.
The 10 Best Handheld Pool Vacuums – 2021
1. Intex Handheld Rechargeable Vacuum – Best Overall
Our overall favorite is the Intex 28620E Handheld Rechargeable Vacuum. This midrange, mid-weight model includes quite a few useful accessories and works on even the finest debris.
This 4.7-pound vacuum, which has a sturdy aluminum body, works off of USB-rechargeable batteries and is suited to above-ground pools up to 18 feet in diameter. The package includes two interchangeable brush heads, a charging cable, a 94-inch telescoping aluminum shaft, and a shaft adapter. The white sock filter works well, catching even sand and other fine debris, and the machine shuts off automatically when you take it out of the water.
The package doesn’t include a wall plug, and the switch, though waterproof, is somewhat loose and not covered by the warranty. The machine as a whole isn’t entirely waterproof, so it may not be fully durable. We did find that the battery charges lasted for a long time. Intex offers a one-year warranty.
2. Aura 6250 Spa Vacuum – Best Value
Do you have a lower budget? You may want to look at the Aura 6250 Spa Vacuum, which we found to be the best handheld pool vacuum for the money. This lightweight, low-cost machine is simple to use and doesn’t require pumping, batteries, or a water attachment.
This 2.5-pound vacuum is self-contained and straightforward, using a siphon to vacuum up debris. To use it, you put your finger over the mouth of the seven-foot telescoping aluminum pole, put it underwater, and remove your finger.
Though this model is easy to use, it’s also fairly time-consuming, as you have to bring it up to the surface every 15 seconds. It works well for spot cleaning and smaller pools. The siphon effect works best at least a foot underwater, so it’s less effective in a shallow pool or on your pool’s steps. It has some cheaper plastic parts that won’t last forever, and the one-year warranty doesn’t cover the plastic valve.
3. Kokido Electric Pool Vacuum – Premium Choice
If you’re willing to spend a bit more, you may prefer the Kokido EV30CBX Electric Pool Vacuum Cleaner, which is pricey but fairly lightweight with strong suction and fast battery charging.
The 4.65-pound EV30CBX works wirelessly with a good rechargeable battery. The vacuum mouth has bristles, allowing for scrubbing action, and the pole telescopes. The included sock filter isn’t super fine, but you can purchase a finer replacement through Kokido.
In testing, we found that this vacuum works best at up to five feet of depth. Beyond that, it becomes harder to control, and the pole begins to feel flimsy. You may want to purchase a stronger pole with tighter threads for higher functionality. Kokido offers a very short 30-day warranty for this model.
4. Pool Blaster NE4382 Pool Cleaner
The 5.5-pound Pool Blaster has a cheaper-feeling bright blue body and works with a rechargeable lithium-ion battery. It can run for about 60 minutes per charge. In testing, we liked the automatic sealing feature, which seals in the motor and battery compartment when you turn the vacuum on.
The multilayer filter bag doesn’t catch the finest silt and is somewhat small, so you’ll have to empty it frequently. This model has a 30-day replacement warranty, a 90-day accessory warranty, and a one-year repair warranty.
5. Polaris 5-100-00 Pool Cleaner
The 5-100-00 Pool Cleaner from Polaris is low-cost and compact but also has a cheaper feel and isn’t very effective or durable. It’s simple to use, without batteries or water connections.
At three pounds, this vacuum is highly portable, though its many less-durable plastic components and inconveniently small filter basket are major detractors. It comes with interchangeable wide and skinny vacuum heads and a wall connector for easy storage. The included pole telescopes.
In testing, we found that this model works well for spot cleaning but doesn’t feel very sturdy. Using it to clean an entire pool is a time-consuming process, and the suction isn’t especially strong. Polaris offers a basic one-year warranty.
6. Pentair R201276 Pool Vacuums
The Pentair R201276 214 Pool Vacuum is a bulky, low-cost option that requires a water connection.
This seven-pound vacuum only consists of the vacuum head, which is clunky and made of blue and grey plastic. It has eight adjustable ball bearing wheels, stainless steel nuts and bolts, and a 1.5-inch swivel hose connection. You’ll have to supply and connect a water hose.
We found this model somewhat harder to use but fairly sturdy with effective suction. We did find that the nuts and bolts tend to rust. Pentair offers a standard one-year warranty.
7. PoolSupplyTown Vacuum Cleaner
The PST-463 Vacuum Cleaner from PoolSupplyTown is inexpensive and weighs a very light 12.8 ounces, but it doesn’t include a hose or a pole and has a cheaper feel.
You’ll need to supply a garden hose and a standard telescoping pole to use this vacuum. The water pressure from the hose creates a Venturi effect, drawing debris into the head, so you won’t need any batteries. This model’s body is made of less durable plastic.
There aren’t any included instructions, and the filter isn’t fine enough to capture small debris. You’ll have to glue together the hose attachment. We found that this model produces modest but reasonably effective suction and works best in deeper pools. There isn’t a warranty.
8. Bestway Handheld Pool Vacuum
Another option is the Bestway 58422E-BW Handheld Pool Vacuum, a somewhat expensive but compact model with a sleek but less durable design.
This 4.65-pound vacuum is compact and minimal. The package includes two interchangeable heads, designed for corners and surfaces, and a five-piece pole that telescopes up to 87 inches. It works with a rechargeable lithium-ion battery that can clean for up to 40 minutes on a single charge. This model has scrubbing capabilities, with replaceable bristles, and is easy to move with built-in wheels.
In testing, we found the suction to be fairly weak, and the battery chamber wasn’t fully waterproof. The vacuum as a whole isn’t very durable, and Bestway provides a short 60-day warranty.
9. Poolmaster 27400 Pool Vacuum
The Poolmaster 27400 Pool Vacuum is a light, inexpensive machine that’s designed to work on vinyl liner pools. It has an interesting design but is difficult to move and not particularly durable.
The 27400 is light, weighing just two pounds, and has an interesting-looking blue and white ABS plastic body. The vacuum has stainless steel tension spring handles and perimeter brushes for scrubbing, plus self-adjusting air relief valves for suction control. You’ll have to supply a water hose and pole.
There aren’t any included instructions, and without wheels, this model is difficult to move around the pool. It’s not weighted enough to stay on the bottom, and the plastic pins and spring connections aren’t very durable. It does work well on vinyl liners. Poolmaster offers a one-year warranty with a 90-day return window.
10. Aqua First Handheld Pool Vacuum
Our least favorite model is the Aqua First NE4481 Handheld Pool Vacuum, a basic but expensive vacuum that isn’t very durable or well designed.
This heavier 5.4-pound machine works wirelessly for up to 60 minutes, with a rechargeable lithium-ion battery. It has a cheap-feeling but completely waterproof blue and orange plastic body. You’ll have to purchase a telescoping pole separately, and it doesn’t work especially well with algae or small debris, as the filter clogs easily.
In testing, we found this vacuum to be not very durable and more expensive than its features justify, though it does offer decent suction. The battery is prone to overheating, and the machine’s overall appearance is unappealing. Aqua First offers a basic one-year warranty with unhelpful customer service.
You’ve seen our list of the best handheld pool vacuums available in 2020. But which one will you choose? Keep reading for our guide to the features you may want to consider.
Many of the models we reviewed are battery-operated. These typically have built-in lithium-ion batteries that must be charged before use. Some work with USB charging cables or come with other charging setups. Battery-operated models can be convenient because they work wirelessly, so you won’t have to drag cords around while cleaning.
Other models work without power sources. Our budget pick, the Aura 6250 Spa Vacuum, uses a simple siphon system, while other models need connected hoses but don’t require batteries.
The simplest models are self-contained and don’t require you to supply any parts. Some models will require you to supply and connect a garden hose. You may want to consider whether you’re willing to put up with the hassle of water connections.
What kind of debris do you need to clean out of your pool? If you’re mostly removing leaves and other large debris, you’ll be able to work with coarser filters. If you have sand, gravel, or other fine sediments, you’ll want to look for a model with a very fine filter that will capture small particles.
Does your pool have algae in it? You may want to look for a vacuum with built-in bristles, which will allow you to scrub your pool’s surface while you vacuum.
Keep in mind that you’ll have to move your vacuum around by hand. How heavy an appliance are you willing to work with? The models we reviewed range from a few ounces up to seven pounds.
Some models include convenient accessories like storage hooks and telescoping poles. If you purchase a model that only includes the vacuum head, you’ll want to budget for necessary accessories. Sturdy, long poles are essential components of many handheld pool vacuums. They’ll allow you to easily move your vacuum around the bottom of your pool, even if it’s fairly deep.
A great warranty can give you peace of mind, protecting your investment and extending the life of your appliance. You may want to look for a good warranty that will cover at least a year. Keep in mind that some warranties don’t cover accessories or less durable plastic components.
The bottom line? Our top pick is the Intex 28620E Handheld Rechargeable Vacuum, an effective and well-designed vacuum that includes quite a few convenient accessories. Are you looking to save money? You may want to try the very reasonably-priced, simple to use Aura 6250 Spa Vacuum, which is compact and very effective. And if you’re looking for a high-end model, you may want to look at the powerful but lightweight Kokido EV30CBX Electric Pool Vacuum Cleaner, which offers great suction and plenty of accessories.
Keeping your pool clean can be a chore, but shopping for a great pool vacuum doesn’t have to be. We hope this list of the 10 best handheld pool vacuums, complete with in-depth reviews and a handy buyer’s guide, helps you quickly find a useful model.
By Kate MacDonnell
Featured image credit: Intex Handheld Rechargeable Vacuum with Telescoping Aluminum Shaft and Two Interchangeable Brush Heads, Amazon
Table of Contents
- A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites
- The 10 Best Handheld Pool Vacuums – 2021
- 1. Intex Handheld Rechargeable Vacuum – Best Overall
- 2. Aura 6250 Spa Vacuum – Best Value
- 3. Kokido Electric Pool Vacuum – Premium Choice
- 4. Pool Blaster NE4382 Pool Cleaner
- 5. Polaris 5-100-00 Pool Cleaner
- 6. Pentair R201276 Pool Vacuums
- 7. PoolSupplyTown Vacuum Cleaner
- 8. Bestway Handheld Pool Vacuum
- 9. Poolmaster 27400 Pool Vacuum
- 10. Aqua First Handheld Pool Vacuum
- Buyer’s Guide