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Top Manual Pool Vacuums

It might not be a Hoover, but a good pool vacuum is as important as the one you use inside. The bottom of your pool will accumulate trash and gunk over time. Some you can see, while a good part of it is invisible. But you can feel it under your toes!

There are various types of pool vacuums available. Here, we’re going to look at the simplest type – manual pool vacs. These are great for above-ground pools as well as smaller inground pools. And if you are money-conscious, they’re a great choice, too!

For now, we’ll mention the two other types of pool vacuum you could consider. A step above manual vacuums are automatic ones. These work on the same principles as manuals, but automatics propel themselves across the pool’s floor. At the top of the line are robotic pool cleaners. These navigate around the pool for themselves

How A Manual Pool Vacuum Works

A manual pool vacuum relies on two sources of energy. One is your pool’s pump. And the other, as you probably figured from the word “manual”, is YOU.

Your pump provides the suction that will pool debris – along with water – off the floor of your pool. A tube connects from the back of the vacuum head to the pump. The pool’s filters are responsible for catching the debris. You’ll have to clean it out later.

Your part is to push the vacuum around the pool. You don’t have to get wet to do this, though. Simply attach a telescoping pole to the vacuum head and push it around from the deck.

In most cases, the tubing and the telescoping pole are “sold separately.” You’ll likely already have them for other uses around the swimming pool. So normally when you buy a manual vacuum, you’re just buying the vacuum head.

Key Factors To Consider

A manual pool vacuum is a relatively simple tool. There aren’t a lot of fancy features or specs you have to worry about.

Three things do stand out, though.

First, you want a vacuum head that allows for good suction. That requires a tight fit to the tube leading to the pump as well as an adequate opening. It also needs to sit “just right” on the floor of the pool so that it catches debris without blocking the water’s flow.

You also want a manual vacuum head that’s easy to maneuver. You’ll be pushing it, often from a considerable distance away. So it should be lightweight and slide easily across the floor. 

Finally, be sure to take the scrubbing brushes into account. These brushes will help remove algae and sticky residue from the pool floor so that it gets sucked into the filter.

Our Reviews Of The Best Manual Pool Vacuums

Now let’s have a look at the top-rated manual pool vacuums. We think these will help you get the job done!

Pentair R201286 No. 222 Pro Vac Commercial Pool Vacuum Head, 22 in.

pentair pool vacuum head

This simple pool vacuum head from Pentair is one of the best on the market. It performs wonderfully both in terms of scrubbing the floor and sucking debris into your filter.

Its small wheels help it glide seamlessly over the bottom. Lead weights keep it from floating up or otherwise losing contact.

The design helps focus the debris toward the center and then up the tube. It does a fantastic job maintaining constant suction, too.

At 22 inches wide, it cuts down on the amount of time you’ll spend getting the job done. But despite the width, it’s easy to handle.

You can use a 1 ½ or two-inch hose with this vacuum head. The smaller size is pretty standard for pool pump hoses, so you may have one around.

U.S. Pool Supply 14″ Weighted Flexible Concrete Swimming Pool Vacuum Head

us pool supply vacuum head

Another great vacuum head, this one from U.S. Pool Supply is a lot narrower than the Pentair above. It will vacuum 14-inch wide swaths of your pool nicely.

The wheels and weights work well together to keep the head close to the poor’s floor. Your hose will attach tightly, allowing for great suction.

The smaller size makes this model easier to handle. At the same time, that means you have to cross the poor more times to get the job done. 

It connects to 1 ¼ or 1 ½-inch hoses, the size of a standard garden hose.

At the time we’re writing this, the title of this product implies that a telescoping pole is included. However, that is not the case. You’ll need your own pole.

Milliard Pool and Spa Vacuum Head / 13” Wide

milliard pool vacuum head, crescent shape

Milliard offers this crescent-shaped vacuum head. These will work in any pool, but we find them especially useful for round or oval ones. They have a bit of trouble getting into sharp corners.

The brushes are great and help remove whatever may be sticking to the surfaces of your pool. The bristles are firm but won’t damage the surface, not even a nylon liner. 

The unit is heavy enough that it will stay on the ground without you needed to press hard.

This head measures 13 inches across at its widest point. It takes a standard telescoping pole and connects to a 1 ¼ or 1 ½-inch hose.

Hydrotools by Swimline Weighted Pool Vacuum Head

pool vacuum by hydrotools by swimline

This pool vacuum head comes from Swimline. It’s promoted for its weight, and it doesn’t disappoint. At two pounds it’s heavy enough to not float but light enough to handle with ease.

This is the smallest vacuum head on our list. It does a great job, and the biggest drawback is the extra time it will take to finish the pool. At its widest, the head is only 10 inches across.

It’s easy to attach a 1 ¼ or 1 ½ inch hose to the swivel head.

The brushes hold up well and work even on nylon. The product listing claims replacement brushes are available, too, although it was unclear how to order them.

The vacuum head is weighted with sand rather than something solid. It still has good balance, though.

POOLWHALE Portable Pool Vacuum

poolwhale vacuum head with mesh net

This final entry has a unique design that sets it apart from the competition. It works on the same basic principles as other manual pool vacuums, but it also has a mesh net to catch most of the degree. That should save you some of the hassles of cleaning out the filter!

The brushes on this model are well-designed, too. Although it would be nice if there were more, the three sections of bristles are nicely positioned and at different angles. This will help catch more debris.

A four-foot pole is included, but you’ll want to use your own unless you’re working in the hot tub or a small pond.

It offers decent suction and is easy to handle. However, it’s very small. It’s only about 7 inches across. It weighs about one-and-a-quarter pounds.


A manual pool vacuum is an economical way to clean a pool. It also works great for above-ground or smaller inground pools. It does take a bit more work than other types of vacuum. But it gets the job done and helps keep your pool clean and enjoyable!

About Us

Tom and Sarah Greenwood are the dynamic duo behind “Yards Improved,” dedicated to the joys and challenges of gardening, pool maintenance, and lawn and patio care. With Tom’s passion for landscape design and Sarah’s enthusiastic approach to gardening, they share their journey of transforming their backyard into a thriving retreat. We strive to offer practical advice aimed at helping you enhance your outdoor space.