Pressure-side cleaners are the most popular type of cleaner and are also very effective pool cleaners. They are suited for medium to large-sized pools, above and in-ground. A pressure-side cleaner can vary greatly in price, depending on the features and options you choose for your individual cleaning needs and type of pool.
How Does a Pressure-Side Pool Cleaner Work?
A pressure-side cleaner is connected to the pool’s water return jets to power it. The pressure-side (opposite to the suction-side) is the side of your pool where clean water is pumped back into the pool.
A pressure-side cleaner can scrub a pool surface with brushes, and vacuum and blast dirt from the floor and walls with water. The cleaner is propelled through the water by water pressure to clean your pool. The water in the unit splits into 3 directions: the sweeper tail, the thrust jet, and the venturi.
The sweeper tail ‘wags’ along behind the cleaner to scrub the floor and walls, stopping dirt from resting and staining the pool surface. The thrust jet acts like an exhaust to propel and direct the unit. The water (venturi) jets blast the walls and sides of your pool to loosen dirt and debris, and move them to the filter or to the drain to be sucked up.
The Pros of a Pressure-Side Pool Cleaner
- It is more effective at cleaning than a low pressure, suction-side cleaner, as it works on high pressure. It can pick up all types and size of debris, depending on the model.
- It filters water as it goes, resulting in cleaner water and less cold spots.
- Your pool filter works less, so lasts longer and uses less energy… Unlike a suction-side cleaner, a pressure-side cleaner has its own self-contained filter bag, so doesn’t move dirt and debris into your filter system.
- Easy to maintain. Not much can go wrong. Replacement parts are easily available. You just need to rinse the cleaner’s parts and store it after use.
- Easy to set up and assemble: takes just minutes. Easier to operate (with less manual labor) compared to a suction-side cleaner.
- It doesn’t clog-up easily. Some models are designed to pick up larger debris and to let the debris pass through the body of the cleaner easily.
- Models with specific features to tackle different needs and problems mean you can be sure to find a cleaner to meet your requirements closely.
- Reliable: doesn’t break easily.
- Very durable: built to last.
The Cons of a Pressure-Side Pool Cleaner
- Runs off your pool pump, so pool running costs will be higher.
- Some models require a booster pump for consistent flow, power, and pressure. A booster pump will be costly to fit and run. But it’s not a problem if you already have one fitted.
- Some manual effort is required to assemble, set up, and connect the cleaner. Although, it is less than is required for a suction-side cleaner.
- Higher-end models are quite expensive.
Is it Worth Investing in a Pressure-Side Pool Cleaner?
Yes. They are popular with pool owners for a reason: they clean really well! And they can reduce the time and effort it requires to keep your pool clean. Some models aren’t cheap, but you can find the right one for your needs, and within your budget. They do involve some manual labor: more than robotic cleaners, but less than suction-side cleaners. A pressure-side cleaner doesn’t put as much load on your pool equipment as a suction-side cleaner does. It won’t go wrong often, is easy to maintain and fix, and is built to last.
How Do You Choose the Right Pressure-Side Pool Cleaner?
When deciding on a pressure-side cleaner to buy, ask yourself these 4 key questions:
What type of pool do I have?
Some models are designed for above-ground pools, while most are designed for in-ground pools. Pressure-side cleaners can clean concrete, gunite, tiled, vinyl, and fiberglass surfaces. Some models are suitable for all surfaces, while others are suited for just a few. Be sure to choose the correct model to ensure you don’t damage your pool’s surface.
What’s the size of my pool?
Pressure-side cleaners are suitable for medium to large-sized pools. Some cleaners are suited only for pools of certain depths. Also consider the length of hose you will require to reach the far corner of your pool (from the connection point) as well as the deepest part of your pool.
What’s my budget?
Pressure-side cleaners can cost anywhere from $300 to $999, so are not cheap at the higher-end. If you have a high budget, a robotic pool cleaner can also be an option for you. Pressure-side cleaners run off your pool pump, so do factor in the pump energy costs and maintenance in addition to the initial cost of buying the cleaner. Some models are also more energy efficient than others.
What’s the main purpose of my cleaner?
If your cleaner just needs to pick up small debris like sand and silt, you may not require the features that are specifically designed to pick up large debris like rocks, twigs, and large leaves. Or you may need a cleaner (with features to match) that is effective at picking up all types and size of debris.
Extra features & options to consider
Features and options vary from model to model and by manufacturer. Consider your budget and whether you really need certain options and features to suit your pool type/size and meet your individual cleaning needs. Here are the most important ones to look out for:
Choose a cleaner that is suited to clean your pool’s surface effectively and has adequate power.
Can it easily pick up the debris type/size in your pool?
Some models are better designed (with better drive mechanisms and tires) to provide traction, torque, speed, and better movement around certain surfaces and obstacles, like stairs, and slippery surfaces. 4-wheel-drive models are more stable than 3-wheel-drive models, and won’t tip over easily.
This option (also known as a backup valve or hydro-timer) allows the cleaner to restart on a new path should it get stuck.
Some models are more energy efficient than others.
Fast cleaning cycles
Some models can clean a pool faster than others. Depending on the pool size, a pressure-side cleaner will take from 1 to 3 hours to clean a pool.
Does it require a booster pump?
Installing and running a separate booster pump will be costly. So double-check the cleaner doesn’t require a booster pump to operate. Some models come with a self-contained booster pump. However, one advantage of a booster pump is that it does allow you to use the cleaner on a timer.
Features to prevent clogging
Check for a larger throat and mouth to pick up larger debris, if you need it.
Some cleaners are made from durable materials to last longer, especially against harder pool surfaces.
Hoses should be long enough to reach the deepest part of your pool, and the furthest corner of your pool (without tangling) from the connection point of your pool.
Advanced sweep hose
Some sweep hoses are more effective at blowing debris out of hard-to-reach places, while eliminating water spraying outside of the pool.
Type of filter bag
A larger capacity filter bag holds larger debris and more of it; and requires emptying less often. A self-contained filter bag makes emptying it easier. Ease of filter bag removal and install, also helps.
Number of gallons filtered per minute
If you have a larger pool, it will be of benefit if you have a cleaner that filters more water as it cleans.
Number of venturi jets
Most cleaners have 2 jets, some 3, even 4. More jets mean faster cleaning and greater vacuuming power.
Quiet in operation
Some cleaners are quieter than others and don’t make a pulsating noise when operating.
Pressure-side cleaners are available in a variety of colors to compliment the color of your pool.
A reliable brand for after-sales service and warranty
As with any product, you want it backed by a reliable brand that can:
a) Build an effective, durable pressure-side cleaner that lasts.
b) Provide a reliable, quick service to fix or replace your pressure-side cleaner.
c) Ensure replacement parts are reasonably priced and are easily available.
d) Provide a long enough warranty to cover the product for an adequate length of time. Warranties for pressure-side cleaners are usually for 1 to 2 years.
What are the Best Pressure-Side Pool Cleaner Brands?
For pressure-side pool cleaners, Polaris, Kreepy Krauly, and Hayward are trusted brands. Each brand has its own range of cleaners: offering unique and innovative features to suit your individual cleaning needs and type of pool. They all provide great after-sales service, parts availability, and warranties.
All three brands have made and developed pressure-side cleaners for decades, so provide the highest level of innovation, engineering expertise, and advances that give their cleaners outstanding performance and reliability.
Polaris has been the #1 seller of pressure-side pool cleaners for over 40 years. Their ‘Vac-Sweep’ range include the most technologically advanced pressure-side cleaners on the market. Polaris is owned by Zodiac, who are owned by Fluidra: a global leader for automatic pool cleaners.
Popular Kreepy Krauly pressure-side cleaner models are the ‘racer’ and ‘legend’. Kreepy Krauly were founded in 1974, and were a household name in South Africa before being acquired by the clean water solutions brand, Pentair.
A popular Hayward pressure-side cleaner model is the ‘TriVac’. Hayward is the largest manufacturer in the world for pool equipment, and have been in the business for over 80 years.