First thing you have to do when trying to choose an automatic pool cleaner is figure out what you want the pool cleaner to clean. Yeah, your pool.. but what kind of debris will your new automatic pool cleaner be cleaning? Not all automatic pool cleaners are created equal. Some automatic cleaners excel on cleaning leaves, acorns, sticks, and other large pieces of debris, and other cleaners excel on cleaning sediment, sand, dirt, and other small partials.
Take a look around your pool… do you see large trees, branches hanging over your beautiful pool, or do you see a grassy landscaped yard with no trees to speak of? Maybe there is a construction site near by. The dust and dirt is most likely settling on your pool water and giving you a layer of dirt on the bottom of your pool. Once you have your surroundings figured out and you know what kind of debris you are battling, you can narrow down what type of pool cleaner you should be looking at: Pressure or Suction.
The two types of pool cleaners: Pressure and Suction.
Pressure side cleaners are the leaf and acorn kings. The pressure side cleaners are plugged into the inside pool wall and operate off of clean, filtered water returning back to the pool. The way most of these automatic pool cleaners work is by spraying water directly up through a throat and into a net or cloth bag. Once this bag or net is full of leaves and debris, it must be cleaned. These pool cleaners are limited to the bag that attaches to them. If the bag is too fine the water How a Automatic Pressure Side Pool Cleaner Workswill not pass through,
and the suction will suffer on the bottom. If the bag is to porous, all the debris that is being sucked in will simply flow back into the pool. Pressure side cleaners do a terrific job on larger debris because the debris has a short way to travel up the throat into the bag, which makes this automatic pool cleaner very efficient with leaves, sticks, acorn, and other large debris. The most popular pressure side cleaners are the Polaris 280, and the Polaris 380.
Suction side cleaners are the sand, dirt, and sediment kings. The suction side automatic pool cleaners plug into to the skimmer or into the inside pool wall. These cleaners work off of the suction that is provided from the filter or circulation pump. When sand and smaller debris is sucked through the bottom of the cleaner, it must travel the length of the hose plus the under ground piping to be caught in the swimming pool’s filter. Larger debris will be caught in one of a few places. If there is an optional in-line leaf catcher, this will be the first place the larger debris will be caught. If there is no in-line leaf catcher then the debris will be either caught in the skimmer basket or in the pump basket. The sooner the larger debris is caught the better. The farther the debris has to travel, the chances of clogging the line increase. Suction side cleaners have a few pros and cons.
The pros are that this cleaner vacuums the bottom of pool using the pools filter. This means it will vacuume smaller particles than the pressure side cleaners.
The cons are that the intake on the bottom of the suction side cleaners is generally pretty small and will not handle more than one or two leaves at a time. The potential for clogging the bottom of the automatic cleaner is pretty great in a swimming pool with lots of leaves. If the bottom of the cleaner becomes clogged, water will be restricted to the pump, which can cause internal pump damage. If the suction side cleaner is setup to be plugged into the skimmer, then you are automatically losing all skimmer action. This means that everything that hits the pool water will eventually find itself on the bottom of the pool. Unless you are willing to go out to the pool and unplug the cleaner when it is not in use, you will loose your skimming action.