Best Handheld Pool Cleaners

Handheld pool vacuums can be effective cleaners and cheap, too. They are suited for small to medium-sized pools, above and in-ground. A handheld pool vacuum can meet your all your individual cleaning needs, be used with a robotic pool skimmer or cleaner, or just used for the occasional spot-clean.

How Does a Handheld Pool Vacuum Work?

It is a battery-powered device that works like a house vacuum, most are quite compact. A handheld vacuum usually consists of 5 parts: the vacuum head. A telescopic pole: to attach to the vacuum head. A scrub brush: to attach to the pole. The vacuum hose: long enough to reach every part of your pool. And a vacuum plate (if needed), also known as a skim vac.

The Pros of a Handheld Pool Vacuum

  • Cheap to run: battery powered, so doesn’t run off your pool pump, or use your filter, or electricity.
  • No cumbersome hoses or cords.
  • Cheap: at the lower end.
  • Good for spot-cleans: to clean areas that automatic cleaners miss.
  • Very effective on dirt and small debris.
  • Good suction.
  • Can work for all pool surface types.
  • Compact and versatile.
  • Easy to operate and maintain: easy and quick to set up and use, then just rinse vacuum parts after use and store.
  • Reliable and durable: less moving parts and things to go wrong.

The Cons of a Handheld Pool Vacuum

  • Lots of manual labor and time involved when hand-vacuuming a pool.
  • Not suited for larger pools.
  • Higher-end models are quite expensive.
  • Telescopic pole usually needs to be purchased separately.

Is it Worth Investing in a Handheld Pool Vacuum?

It depends on your needs: if you have an automatic cleaner, a robotic cleaner or skimmer, you can use a cheaper handheld vacuum just to spot-clean every so often. If you don’t have another cleaner, a more expensive handheld vacuum can very effective in manually cleaning your whole pool. A handheld vacuum won’t be suited for larger pools. And with a higher budget, you can also consider robotic cleaners, skimmers, pressure-side, and suction-side cleaners which all involve much less manual labor.

How Do You Choose the Right Handheld Pool Vacuum?

When deciding on a handheld pool vacuum to buy, ask yourself these 4 key questions:

What type of pool do I have?

Handheld pool vacuums can work for above-ground and in-ground pools. Consider the surface of your pool to choose the correct model and brush type for effective cleaning. Some models work for all surfaces, while some work on just a few.

What’s the size of my pool?

Handheld pool vacuums are best-suited for smaller pools and spas, not for larger pools. Also check the vacuum is suitable for the depth of your pool.

What’s my budget?

Handheld vacuums can cost anywhere from $40 to $500+. Consider if you will use the vacuum together with another cleaner. You may just need a cheaper model to spot-clean now and again, or a more expensive one for a fuller clean.

What’s the main purpose of my vacuum?

Does it need to pick up small debris like sand and silt? Or larger debris like rocks, twigs, and large leaves? Check the model and filter type(s) can handle the type of debris in your pool.

Extra features & options to consider

Features and options vary by model. Consider your budget and how much you require the vacuum to do. Here are the most important ones to look out for:

Cleaning ability

Choose a model that is suited to clean your pool’s surface effectively with the right brush types.

Type of debris

Check the model can pick up the debris type/size in your pool.

Type/capacity of the filter bag

Ensure the filter bag can handle the type of debris in your pool. And ensure the filter bag won’t get full too quickly, depending on the size of debris in your pool.

Battery runtime and charge

Check the battery runtime is long enough to clean the size of your pool. A short battery charge time will also help.

Maximum operating depth

Some models only operate to a certain depth.


Check reviews to see if the vacuum is made from durable materials to last.

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 handheld vacuum that lasts.

b) Provide a reliable, quick service to fix or replace your handheld vacuum.

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 handheld pool vacuums are usually for 1-year.

What’s a Good Model and Brand?

The Water Tech ‘Pool Blaster’ range of handheld vacuums are very popular. Water Tech have been developing pool and spa vacuums for the last 40 years. They began the battery-powered revolution in 2004 with the launch of the ‘Pool Blaster Max’. And offer a range of models to suit most types of pool, individual cleaning needs, and budget. Water Tech offer a 1-year warranty on their handheld pool vacuums and provide a good customer service.