What Is A Pressure Side Pool Cleaner?

what is a pressure side pool cleaner shown and explained

If you are shopping for a new pool cleaner or you are building a new gunite pool, you’ll want to know as much as possible before buying anything. Perhaps you’ve heard of a pressure side pool cleaner amongst other pool cleaners. You may wonder, what is a pressure side pool cleaner anyway?  In this article, we’ll explain the purpose of a pressure side pool cleaner and reference a few of the best ones on the market.

What Is A Pressure Side Pool Cleaner?

One of the most common cleaning methods for your pool is a pressure side pool cleaner.  These work by using pressure instead of suction to clean leaves and debris from the floor and coves of the pool.  Imagine there’s a water jet coming out of the end of a hose. Then, also a net to catch anything sprayed off the bottom of the pool.  This is the basic process for how a pressure side pool cleaner works.  

However, aside from the basics, there’s a lot more to them. A pressure side pool cleaner has wheels that help guide them randomly to other places in the pool so it doesn’t get stuck in one location. In a nutshell, they work by spraying off the floor of the pool and catching the debris in a net. The debris net on top of the cleaner will fill up in high leaf load conditions. Part of your weekly or bi-weekly maintenance will be to pull the cleaner off the floor and empty the leaf net.

Suction Vs. Pressure Side Pool Cleaner

Instead of a pressure side pool cleaner, sometimes a suction cleaner is a better solution. This all depends on where you live.  If you live in Arizona or Nevada for example, you’ll probably want a suction cleaner like the Zodiac MX8.  A suction cleaner works much like a vacuum and sucks debris into the hose. 

A suction pool cleaner is the best method of cleaning a pool if your main debris load is dust and dirt, which in Arizona and Nevada tends to be true.  However, when you start sucking in a bunch of leaves and other debris into your filtration pump basket, you’ll need to empty the pump basket far more regularly than usual.  In places like Austin, Texas or New England, where there is a huge amount of leaf and tree litter, the pressure cleaner becomes a far better solution.

Pressure Side Pool Cleaner Recommendations?

The old standby is the Polaris 380.  It has a simple design, yet has all wheel drive and a triple jet cleaning head. These pool cleaners require a booster pump. This booster pump will create the optimal pressure to operate the cleaner. Polaris also has some additional offerings such as the 280 which has two jets instead of the three, and the 3900 Sport which has a slightly larger debris opening, so can accept larger leaves and debris.  

polaris pressure side pool cleaner on side of pool demonstrating what is a pressure side pool cleaner

There are other pressure side pool cleaners to consider. For example, the Pentair Kreepy Krauly, which does much the same as the Polaris pool cleaners. However, there is a long term benefit of using a Polaris. This surfaces when they need repair or minor servicing. Nearly every service tech out there understands how the Polaris pressure side pool cleaners work and how to fix them. The Kreepy Krauly is not necessarily new to the industry, but is not well adopted into the space.

pentair kreepy krauly pool cleaner demonstrating what is a pressure side pool cleaner

What Is A Pressure Side Pool Cleaner Summary

Pressure cleaners are not always the best solution for your pool cleaning needs. However, in many cases, dependent on location, they are ideal.  Keeping the debris out of the pool is an integral part of regular pool maintenance. It will help keep your water chemistry balanced.  Operating a pool does not need to be a hassle, and pressure side cleaners can reduce the amount of brushing and skimming required during those times of heavy leaf load, after a storm, or during the fall. Keeping the pool clear for swimmers is what good pool maintenance is all about.