Best Handheld Pool Vacuums of 2021

Updated
Purge your pool of all the nasty debris.

Having a pool is a luxury, but also a big responsibility. You need to devote time to regular maintenance and cleaning. Of course, that requires the proper tools.

Pools need to be vacuumed often. If you’re in the market for one of the best handheld pool vacuums, we have 10 recommendations for a range of purposes. With this list, you’ll find one that suits you and your pool best.

Our Top Picks

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Features
Product Image of the Pool Blaster Max Cordless Rechargeable, Battery-Powered, Pool-Cleaner with 10.5” Scrub Brush Head, Large Filter Bag, Ideal for In-Ground Pool and Above Ground Pools for Leaves, Dirt and Sand & Silt.
Best Cordless
Pool Blaster Max Pool-Cleaner
  • Water tech P30 motor
  • Great for spacious pools
  • Debris capture ability
Product Image of the POOL BLASTER Catfish Ultra Rechargeable, Battery-Powered, Pool-Cleaner, Ideal for In-Ground Pools and Above Ground Pools for Cleaning Leaves, Dirt and Sand & Silt.
Best for Sand
Pool Blaster Catfish Cleaner
  • Cordless design
  • Two head options
  • 45-minute run time
Product Image of the POOL BLASTER Water Tech Pulse Handheld Rechargeable Pool Vacuum, Cordless Design
Best Electric Pool Vacuum
Pool Blaster Water Tech
  • Quick release chamber
  • Extra-large dirt chamber
  • Small but mighty
Product Image of the Intex 28620EP Battery-Operated Rechargeable Handheld Above Ground Swimming Pool and Spa Vacuum Maintenance Cleaner with 94' Telescoping Shaft, Gray, Grey
Best Handheld Battery
Intex Rechargeable Handheld Vacuum
  • Versatile use
  • Two brush heads
  • Telescoping pole
Product Image of the OASE 602401853010 Pondovac Classic Pond Vacuum Cleaner
Best for Algae
Oase Pondovac Classic Pond
  • Alternating suction and discharge
  • 1200 watt motor
  • Range of attachments
Product Image of the POOLWHALE Portable Pool Vacuum Jet Underwater Cleaner W/Brush,Bag,4 Section Pole of 48'(No Garden Hose Included),for Above Ground Pool,Spas,Ponds & Fountains
Best Above Ground
PoolWhale Portable Pool Vacuum
  • Cleans stains
  • Nylon net bag
  • Bottom brushes
Product Image of the PoolSupplyTown Pool Spa Jet Vacuum Cleaner w/ Brush, Ideal for Above Ground and Inflatable Pool, Spa, Hot Tub, Pond, Waterfall, No Pump-Filter System or Electric Power Required (Use with A Telescopic Pool Pole, Not Included)
Best Budget
Pool Supply Town Cleaner
  • Connects to the garden hose
  • Fine mesh bag
  • Easy to transport
Product Image of the Hydrotools Small Above Ground Pool and Spa Venturi Vacuum
Best for Kiddie Pools
Hydrotools Pool and Spa
  • Works with any garden hose
  • Captures small particles
  • Cleans quickly
Product Image of the XtremepowerUS 75037 Climb Wall Pool Cleaner Automatic Suction Vacuum-Generic, Blue
Best Heavy Duty
XtremepowerUS Climb Wall Cleaner
  • Removable flapper
  • Adjustable hose
  • Works on a variety of materials
Product Image of the POOL BLASTER Water Tech Aqua Broom, Battery-Powered, Cordless Pool Cleaner, Spa Vacuum and Hot Tub Cleaner for In-ground, Above Ground and Soft-Sided Pools
Best Versatile
Water Tech Pool Blaster
  • Picks up small particles like sand & silt
  • Long run time
  • Traps dirt well

Is a Handheld Pool Cleaner Worth It?

We think so. They’re not super expensive, but they can often do a better job. Rather than a robotic vacuum or a self-cleaning system, you’re in control of the specific dirt you pick up to make sure you’ve gotten every last spec.

How to Choose the Best Handheld Pool Vacuum

When shopping for a handheld pool vacuum, there are important factors to consider to make sure you’re choosing one that will tick all your boxes.

Weight

Since you’re going to be operating this by hand, you need to make sure that the weight is suitable for you. If it’s too heavy, it will be hard to operate.

Power Source

Handheld pool vacuums are available with a range of power sources. Some are battery powered, some are attached to a garden hose, some use suction from the pool, and some are manual. Make sure you have the appropriate setup for the vacuum you’re considering.

Pool Type

Not all pool vacuums are suitable for every pool type. Whether you have an above-ground pool, in-ground pool, jacuzzi, kiddie pool or something else, you’ll need to check if the vacuum is suitable for your pool.

Budget

Pool vacuums are available in a huge range of prices. Some are less than $20 and others are nearly $1000! So you should narrow down your budget first and look for something within your desired price range.

Type of Debris

Last but not least, consider what type of debris the pool vacuum cleans up. If you have a lot of sand or algae, for example, you’ll need to choose one that can tackle this kind of mess.


The Best Handheld Pool Vacuums of 2021

We’ve waded through many pool vacuums on the market and narrowed it down to the best handheld options. With hours of research into customer reviews, expert advice and product descriptions, we’re confident you’ll find something perfect for your pool.

Here are the best handheld pool vacuums on the market.

1. Pool Blaster Max Pool-Cleaner

Best Cordless Handheld Pool Vacuum

Long cords can get in the way when you’re trying to do the laborious task of cleaning your pool. This Pool Blaster Max cleaner is completely cordless so you can maneuver it with ease.

Just because it’s cordless doesn’t mean it has poor battery life. Between four-hour charges, you’ll get 60 minutes of hose-free cleaning time. This is a pretty impressive setup, in our opinion.

Why We Love It

Water Tech P30 Motor

The Water Tech P30 motor helps with great suction power. It’s been designed for quick and efficient debris cleanup in literally any size pool.

Great for Spacious Pools

While handheld pool vacuums can often be on the smaller side, this one is designed for any size pools. The 10.5-inch vacuum head and brush are designed to clean large or small pools quickly. Get the job done and dive right back in the water!

Debris Capture Ability

This vacuum can catch a lot of debris. The large debris chamber and strong suction means that every bit of dirt and gunk in your pool can be sucked up. This includes acorns, twigs and leaves, as well as sand, silt and pollen, thanks to the bag and filter feature.

Keep In Mind

Short Lifetime

Some customers had this vacuum for many years, while others said theirs only lasted a few months. Check the warranty for reassurance and keep in mind that it doesn’t seem to have the longest lifespan.

Sends Debris Back Into the Pool

The opening valve is a common sore spot for some customers. They found that the vacuum would occasionally spit the debris out of the chamber and back into the pool.

Additional Specs

Weight 5.5 pounds
Power Source Battery powered, rechargeable
Pool Type Any
Type of Debris Acorns, twigs, leaves, dirt and sand
Price High

2. Pool Blaster Catfish Ultra Cleaner

Best Handheld Pool Vacuum for Sand

If you have a lot of sand in your pool that’s making each swim a little unpleasant, then we recommend this vacuum cleaner. The Pool Blaster Catfish Ultra is designed to capture a range of debris. This includes acorns, twigs, leaves, dirt and sand.

Is your pool in need of a deep clean? With this well-loved product, you’ll be super impressed with the results.

Why We Love It

Cordless Design

We love the cordless design on this pool vacuum. You can simply charge up the battery and then use it without any wires or cords getting in your way.

Two Head Options

You can use the 10.5-inch head to quickly clean the whole floor area of the pool. Or you can take it off and use the vacuum with the nozzle. This is great for getting into tight corners and hard to reach places.

45-Minute Run Time

The long run time gives you enough flexibility to deep clean the whole pool before needing to put the vacuum back to charge.

Keep In Mind

Telescoping Handle Not Included

Unfortunately, the telescoping handle isn’t included. So if you have a bigger pool and would benefit from the telescoping handle, you’ll need to buy it separately.

Needs to Be Emptied Often

The debris tank can quickly fill up which means you may need to empty it a few times while cleaning. This is especially useful if picking up large bits of dirt like leaves and twigs.

Additional Specs

Weight N/A
Power Source Battery powered, rechargeable
Pool Type Any
Type of Debris Acorns, twigs, leaves, dirt and sand
Price High

3. Pool Blaster Water Tech Pulse Cleaner

Best Handheld Electric Pool Vacuum

This handheld electric pool vacuum runs on a lithium ion battery. With the 45-minute life between charges, it gives you plenty of time to deep clean your pool.

It looks like a traditional upright canister vacuum. The long pole is included so you just need to submerge it in the water, turn it on, and vacuum like you do with your indoor floors!

You can also just use the smaller handheld section for cleaning in more detail. This is great for the pool steps or shallow hot tubs.

Why We Love It

Quick Release Chamber

The debris chamber has a dual-cam lever connection which makes it super easy to empty between cleanings. It’s important to keep the tank emptied as this improves suction power.

XL Dirt Chamber

The extra large dirt chamber provides tons of room for all kinds of dirt and debris that you’ll find in your pool. This includes acorns, twigs, leaves, sand and more.

Small but Mighty

You may be a bit surprised when this arrives as the head is quite small. But customers actually ended up loving that as it helped with hard-to-reach spots, like behind pool stairs. While it may take a while to cover the whole pool ground, it does a fantastic job.

Keep In Mind

Problems Removing From the Water

One of the biggest issues with this device is when you remove it from the water. If you don’t quickly move it over the ground or grass, then the debris easily falls back into the pool. This is inconvenient, but isn’t a huge drawback for the most satisfied customers. Just a character quirk to the vacuum!

Takes a While

While the small head can be an advantage, it also means it takes a while to vacuum the pool. Therefore, we do recommend this for smaller pools. Otherwise, you’ll be vacuuming for a while!

Additional Specs

Weight N/A
Power Source Battery powered, rechargeable
Pool Type Any (but best for smaller pools)
Type of Debris Acorns, twigs, leaves, dirt and sand
Price High

4. Intex Rechargeable Handheld Vacuum

Best Handheld Battery Pool Vacuum

This vacuum has strong built-in rechargeable batteries that help to give it a powerful suction ability. You can easily charge this up with a USB port, too. When it’s been taken out of the pool, it automatically turns off which gives you peace of mind.

The long pole gives you flexibility and room to get into every inch of your pool. You can be sure that no dirt and debris is left behind.

Why We Love It

Versatile Use

You can use this across a range of pools and spas. It’s suitable with all pure spas and any above ground pools up to 18 feet in diameter.

Two Brush Heads

This comes with two interchangeable brush heads. One is great for the bottom of the pool since it has a flat triangular shape. The other is smaller, like a vacuum nozzle attachment. It’s ideal for going up the sides and into corners.

Telescoping Pole

This comes with a long 94-inch telescoping aluminum pole. The length makes it great for larger pools, since you can now reach the middle without problems. On the other hand, the aluminum is nice and sturdy, so it will last a while.

Keep In Mind

Low Suction

This pool vacuum does not have the highest suction power around. If your pool is under a tree, for example, and is subject to a lot of big debris, then you may need something a bit more powerful.

Also, watch out, as some customers reported that the head falls off sometimes and spits debris back into the water.

Not Durable

The motor for this isn’t durable. Many customers reported theirs died after a few weeks. Charging it up seemed to make no difference. We recommend checking the warranty before purchasing to make sure this kind of damage is covered.

Additional Specs

Weight 7.09 pounds
Power Source Battery powered, rechargeable
Pool Type Above ground pools and spas, up to 18’ in diameter
Type of Debris General dirt and debris
Price Medium

5. Oase Pondovac Classic Pond Vacuum Cleaner

Best Handheld Pool Vacuum for Algae

Algae can ruin your pool, make it look unsightly and be very dangerous to swim in (1). Whether you have algae in your pond or pool, we recommend getting rid of the problem with the Oase Pondovac Classic.

The vacuum comes with a range of nozzle attachments. These are really useful at getting rid of all sorts of dirt, including string algae.

Why We Love It

Alternating Suction and Discharge

This vacuum has a single chamber suction system. It automatically alternates between suction and draining which means you don’t need to do it manually. When the chamber is full, it automatically empties it.

1200 Watt Motor

This vacuum has a powerful 1200-watt motor which has a maximum suction height of six feet. If your pool is deeper than that, you may need to choose a different type of vacuum cleaner. However, the strong suction and flexibility makes cleaning ponds and pools quick and easy.

Range of Attachments

The wide range of attachments make cleaning specific messes easier than ever before. Whether you’re cleaning algae from a pond or debris from a pool, the attachments can help.

Keep In Mind

Automatic Drainage

While this is a pro, it can also be a drawback. If the tank is full while you’re still vacuuming, and the automatic drainage turns on, it can spill all the dirt back into your pool. Yuck!

Clogs Easily

The filter can easily get clogged, especially with larger debris like stones and pebbles. If you have pebbles around your pond area, then you may be in trouble with this product.

Additional Specs

Weight 23.5 pounds
Power Source Power cord
Pool Type Ponds and pools
Type of Debris Algae, sludge and other soft debris
Price High

6. PoolWhale Portable Pool Vacuum

Best Above Ground Handheld Pool Vacuum

This budget-friendly vacuum is designed for above-ground pools, as well as spas, ponds and fountains. So give your backyard water features a deep clean with this handy vacuum.

All you need to do is connect it to your garden hose, submerge it under the water and you’re good to go. The pressure from the hose will create suction to pull in dirt and debris into the attached bag.

Why We Love It

It Cleans Stains

True, the water pressure picks up and collects dirt and debris. But the suction can also help remove stains from the bottom of your pool.

Nylon Net Bag

The large nylon net bag has a fine mesh design to contain all types of dirt, even fine pieces of dirt and debris. It even has a buckle to secure the bag to the device.

Bottom Brushes

The bottom head of the vacuum has brushes to help with attracting dirt and debris. The two pulleys help to pull up dirt quickly, saving you time and energy.

Keep In Mind

Fills Your Pool

With any item that uses a hose to suction up dirt, you run the risk of filling up your pool even more. The water from the hose can quickly increase the water level in your pool or hot tub.

Flimsy Pole

The pole’s material is flimsy and cheap. This makes it hard to maneuver and push the vacuum around the pool’s floor.

Additional Specs

Weight 1.2 pounds
Power Source Garden hose
Pool Type Above ground pool, spa, hot tub and fountain
Type of Debris General dirt, including small pieces
Price Low

7. Pool Supply Town Vacuum Cleaner

Best Budget Handheld Pool Vacuum

If you don’t want to spend a lot of money on a pool vacuum cleaner, you don’t have to.

Of course, the more money you spend, the higher quality the product. But this affordable vacuum cleaner still has fantastic reviews!

It’s designed for all kinds of bodies of water.

This includes above-ground and inflatable pools, spas, hot tubs, ponds, and waterfalls.

 

Keep in Mind

This does not come with a pole. You will need to buy a telescoping pole separately.

Why We Love It

Connects to the Garden Hose

This has good suction power since it uses the pressure from your garden hose to work. The water pressure will create a venturi effect which draws debris from the pool into the collection bag. There’s no electric power required or a pump-filter.

Fine Mesh Bag

The fine mesh bag is double layered which we love. The structure means it’s great for picking up small particles like sand, pebbles, leaves, dirt as well as bigger bits of debris.

Easy to Transport

Because of the lightweight and portable design, it’s super easy to take this to a range of water bodies across your backyard. Whether you’re cleaning your pond, hot tub or above ground pool, it’s simple to clean up all messes with this device.

Keep In Mind

Maybe Too Lightweight

While the lightweight design is a pro point because it makes it easy to transport, it’s also a drawback. The water pressure from your garden hose will be pretty strong. But with the lightweight vacuum, this often means the pole becomes bent or the bag floats upwards.

Poor Durability

Because of the low price, the quality is quite cheap. So keep in mind that it’s not the most durable product and may not last longer than a year.

Additional Specs

Weight 12 ounces
Power Source Garden hose
Pool Type Above ground pool, hot tub, pond, waterfall
Type of Debris General dirt, including small pieces
Price Low

8. Hydrotools Pool and Spa Venturi Vacuum

Best Handheld Vacuum for Kiddie Pools

You don’t need to invest money in the most high end product if you’re just cleaning out your kiddie pools.

This vacuum is perfect for small pools. However, because it uses pressure from the garden hose, it may fill up the pool a bit. So we recommend emptying some water beforehand so you don’t cause an overflow.

As well as kiddie pools, you can use this for larger above-ground pools, too.

Why We Love It

Works With Any Garden Hose

Setting up this pool vacuum is super easy. You can attach it to any garden hose, submerge it in water, turn the water on and then watch the Venturi effect begin. This will cause pressure and create suction to pull up dirt and debris.

Captures Small Particles

The fine mesh bag is really useful for capturing and trapping small particles, like sand, dirt and stones. You can remove the bag to clean it out afterwards.

Cleans Quickly

One huge advantage among customers was how quickly they cleaned their pool with this vacuum. A large above ground pool only took 30 minutes, with smaller ones taking as little as five minutes.

Keep In Mind

Flimsy Pole

The included pole is pretty flimsy. Many people noticed that it broke off or bent during use, creating a pretty frustrating cleaning routine.

Not for Large Pools

While you can use this for average above ground pool sizes, it’s not intended for large pools or in ground pools.

Additional Specs

Weight 1.2 pounds
Power Source Garden hose
Pool Type Above ground and kiddie pools
Type of Debris General dirt and debris, including small pieces
Price Low

9. XtremepowerUS Climb Wall Pool Cleaner

Best Heavy Duty Handheld Pool Vacuum

If you’re after a heavy-duty vacuum, then this climb wall pool cleaner is one to consider. It has a horsepower of one, so long as you plug it into a 1 HP pump.

From there on, it will do a great job at deep cleaning your pool.

You can use this with in-ground and above-ground pools.

The coolest thing about it is that it climbs the walls of your pool and cleans them as well, which can often be ignored with handheld cleaners.

Keep in Mind

It does not clean pool stairs, just the pool floor.

Why We Love It

Removable Flapper

The removable flapper makes it easier than ever to clean out the hose. Now, you can easily remove debris from inside to prevent clogs. Just unscrew the piffle plate, pull it out, remove the flapper and pull out any debris.

Adjustable Hose

You can adjust the hose length by adding or removing extra hose sections. This cleaner is designed for reaching all ends of the pool. That way, you can achieve a deep clean without a huge hassle.

Works on a Variety of Materials

This vacuum cleans and removes stains on a variety of floor materials. This will work on concrete, tile, vinyl, and fiberglass pools.

Keep In Mind

Subject to Erosion

The vacuum is subject to erosion from typical pool chemicals. Therefore, you must clean the vacuum after every use and never store it in the pool. Make sure it dries thoroughly between uses.

Not for Leaves

This product can clean a lot of different messes, but not leaves. So if that’s the main source of mess in your pool, we recommend a different product.

Additional Specs

Weight 12 pounds
Power Source Connects to a pool pump
Pool Type In ground and above ground
Type of Debris Algae, dirt and dust
Price High

10. Water Tech Pool Blaster Aqua Broom

Best Versatile Handheld Pool Vacuum

Do you want a pool vacuum that can do more than just vacuum your in-ground pool? Well this is one to consider. It’s made for spas, hot tubs, in ground pools, above ground pools and soft sided pools. So no matter what you have, this Aqua Broom can help deliver a deep clean!

Why We Love It

Deep Clean

Besides the general dirt and debris, this device can also get small particles like sand and silt. You’ll be super impressed by its accuracy and attention to detail.

Long Run Time

On one charge, this device can run up to three hours. That’s ages! So if you have a lot of things to vacuum, then this can do a range of tasks in one charge.

Traps Dirt Well

This vacuum traps dirt better than a lot of other pool vacuums. It won’t spit it back into the pool, so you’re safe from that gross regurgitation that some pool vacuums do.

Keep In Mind

Turn-On Design Faulty

While the design is really simple — you just turn the head to switch the power on — it can be hard to do so. Some people struggle to do it at all, whereas others found it too easy. They may accidentally nudge it on when they are charging or assembling it. Plus, if you twist it too far, you can pull the whole head off!

Suction Deteriorates

When you first go to use this product, the suction is good. But the more dirt and debris you collect, the worse the suction gets until you empty it again.

Additional Specs

Weight 2.8 pounds
Power Source Rechargeable battery
Pool Type Any
Type of Debris Dirt, debris, sand, slit
Price Medium

Handheld Pool Vacuum Comparison Chart

Product Best Weight Power Source Pool Type Type of Debris
Pool Blaster Max Cordless 5.5 lbs Battery powered, rechargeable Any Acorns, twigs, leaves, dirt & sand
Pool Blaster Catfish For Sand N/A Battery powered, rechargeable Any Acorns, twigs, leaves, dirt & sand
Pool Blaster Water Electric N/A Battery powered, rechargeable Any (but best for smaller pools) Acorns, twigs, leaves, dirt & sand
Intex Rechargeable Battery 7.09 lbs Battery powered, rechargeable Above ground pools & spas, up to 18’ in diameter General dirt & debris
Oase Pondovac Classic For Algae 23.5 lbs Power cord Ponds & pools Algae, sludge & other soft debris
PoolWhale Portable Above Ground 1.2 lbs Garden hose Above ground pool, spa, hot tub & fountain General dirt, including small pieces
Pool Supply Town Budget 12 oz Garden hose Above ground pool, hot tub, pond, waterfall General dirt, including small pieces
Hydrotools Pool and Spa For Kiddie Pools 1.2 lbs Garden hose Above ground & kiddie pools General dirt & debris, including small pieces
XtremepowerUS Climb Wall Heavy Duty 12 lbs Connects to a pool pump In ground & above ground Algae, dirt & dust
Water Tech Pool Blaster Versatile 2.8 lbs Rechargeable battery Any Dirt, debris, sand, slit

How Often Should You Run a Pool Vacuum?

We recommend vacuuming your pool once a week, or any time you notice a lot of dirt or build-up. Maintenance is key to a great pool experience.


Time to Swim Again

With these best handheld pool vacuums, your pool will be clean and free of debris. Time to jump in and enjoy a swim once again!

When shopping for a handheld pool vacuum, remember to consider the top details. This includes how heavy the vacuum is, what kind of power source it uses, what type of pool it’s for and what type of debris it can clean.

Last but not least, check the price. Handheld pool vacuums are available in a range of prices, so you’ll find something to suit your budget.

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About the Author

Beth McCallum

Beth McCallum is a 20-something freelance writer & book blogger with a degree in creative writing, journalism and English literature. Beth firmly believes that a tidy house is a tidy mind. She is always looking for new ways to sustainably clean and tidy her house, that's kind on the environment but effective in the house, too!

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