Top 5 Best Pool Poles in 2019

Out of all the pool maintenance gadgets, the pole is the most basic piece of equipment, yet it’s the most essential and versatile. A pole comes in handy for retrieving loose items like a necklace or goggles. You can even connect it to an array of accessories to scrub the floor and walls, skim debris and suction sediment.

Sure, you can get by without a pool pole. However, keeping your swimming pool clean is a lot harder if you don’t have one. If a swimmer is in distress, a pole can transcend its purpose as a maintenance tool and become a lifesaving aid.

Best Pool Poles

Not all pool poles are made the same. Some are fixed while others are telescopic, letting you adjust the length. The joints lock in place with a variety of mechanisms, and the poles themselves are constructed from materials such as plastic and aluminum.

Quality and sturdiness are the two features you should consider first, and all the pool poles on our list meet these requirements. However, only some may be appropriate for your swimming pool due to their length of the extension. Our buyer’s guide will tell you more about how we rate pool poles and the accessories you can use with one.

Best Pool Poles

Pool Pole Buying Guide

To those who have never owned a swimming pool, the only discernible differences among pool poles are color and length. However, pool poles vary in terms of the number of telescoping pieces and the manner in which those pieces lock/unlock. Then, there are durability features, including the material and thickness.

Best Pool Poles

In this guide, you’ll find out how to choose a pole that’s long enough for your swimming pool yet sturdy enough to remain stable when fully extended. We also describe the pros and cons of aluminum, carbon fiber, fiberglass and plastic as well as introduce you to various pole accessories and storage solutions.

Types of Pool Poles

Pool poles come in three varieties. While not often used, there are pool poles that move without human assistance. Some are equipped with propellers, using power from the pool’s pump to move. Others float in the water – These are usually solar-charged.

The most common pool pole is a manual stick that the user must guide himself. The majority of manual pool poles are telescopic, meaning the length is adjustable. However, some manual pool poles come in a single solid piece.

Sizing by Length

Length is the only way to size a pool pole. First, you need to know the length and width of your swimming pool. For circular pools, the diameter is the measurement you need. No matter the shape, the depth at the deepest point of your swimming pool should also be taken into account.

Armed with your pool’s measurements, you can now determine the appropriate length. You want the pool pole to reach to the floor of your pool’s deep end. Typically, residential swimming pools are about 3 feet deep in the shallow end and 6 feet down in the deep end.

Most rectangular pools are twice as long as they are wide. A telescopic pole lets you adjust its length, so you can reach any point in the pool without walking around to the other side. Telescopic poles vary widely in length, measuring anywhere from 5 feet at their shortest length to 21 feet or more at their longest length.

Although telescopic poles are ideal for pool maintenance, a rescue pole should be fixed in length to ensure it’s sturdy enough to pull a swimmer. We recommend that residential owners follow the rules that govern public pools in many locales by keeping a 12 or 16-foot rescue pole on hand in addition to a telescopic maintenance pole.

Locking Mechanisms

Every telescopic pool pole comes sectioned into two, three, four or five pieces. Where each piece connects, there are locking mechanisms that allow you to slide the pieces to the desired length and tighten them into place.

Best Telescopic Pool Poles

Manufacturers use either an internal cam, an external cam, a lever or push-in pins for a pool pole’s locking mechanisms. Cams are the prevailing type of lock. External cams are easier to grip, but internal ones require less twisting; they’re also unlikely to jam since dirt and dust can’t penetrate the lock.

The most popular alternative to the screw-apart cam is the lever. To adjust the pole’s length, flip up the lever. To lock the pole in place, push down on the lever – It’s that easy. Some pool pole manufacturers employ locks that fit into pinholes. Levers and pinhole locks offer more stability for poles with four or five pieces.

Durability

The more sections a pole has, the less sturdy it tends to be when fully extended. Robust locking mechanisms bolster a pool pole’s stability, but you can’t rely on sections and locks alone when choosing a pole. You must also take into account the type of material, the material’s thickness and its construction.

best pool poles

Plastic is an inexpensive, lightweight choice. It doesn’t rust with frequent exposure to water, but it’s better suited for tasks like fetching objects from the pool. Aluminum is the material many pool owners like because it’s stronger than plastic. However, aluminum corrodes over time unless it has an anodized finish.

Fiberglass and carbon fiber are also used to make pool poles. Both materials are tougher than plastic or aluminum. Although carbon fiber has a little more flexibility to it, the downside to fiberglass and carbon fiber is their heaviness.

Don’t forget to check the thickness of the material. Particularly for aluminum, a pool pole with at least a 1-millimeter thickness can stand up to heavy-duty use season after season. Ribbing also lends to a pole’s durability, making the pole stronger, more impact resistant and better able to shed water.

Pool Pole Accessories

There are many accessories available that fit on the end of a pool pole. Skimmer nets/rakes are the most widely used tool. Nets allow you to remove floating debris from the water. The smaller the mesh, the finer the debris you can collect. There are also magnet attachments that make easy work out of retrieving metal items like jewelry.

Best Telescopic Pool Poles Reviews

Brushes and pumice stones also help you clean your swimming pool by loosening stuck-on debris. The bristles of a brush may be made of nylon or stainless-steel – Nylon is safer for vinyl and fiberglass surfaces. Pumice excels at removing calcium deposits, and you can buy a special pumice attachment that connects to a pool pole.

After you’ve scrubbed loose the grime on your pool’s floor and walls, you can replace the brush or pumice stone with a vacuum head. Many pole-compatible vacuums have wheels, and they either connect to a hose via a water spigot or a filter intake pipe.

Finally, there’s the shepherd’s crook attachment. A shepherd’s crook is a must-have lifesaving tool. Some clip onto the pole while others have a bolt and nut. When a swimmer is struggling to stay afloat, you can reach out to them with the shepherd’s crook and pull them to the edge of the pool.

FAQs

What’s the Best Way to Organize My Pole and Accessories?

Storing your pool equipment off the ground prevents tripping hazards and ensures you can find a tool when you need it. Wall-mounted organizers come in a variety of colors, and they let you store your pole and/or accessories vertically or horizontally. Look for an organizer that resists rust and oxidization. There are also hooks that hang on the fence.

What If the Accessories I Have Won’t Fit My Pool Pole?

It’s easy to achieve compatibility if the pole and tools you have are made by the same manufacturer. Thankfully, you don’t have to replace all your accessories just because you bought a new pool pole. Some accessory manufacturers also supply adapter cuffs that allow their tools to fit any telescopic pole.

best pool poles for sun shade

V-clips, or butterfly clips as they are sometimes called, are another option. Although not as durable as adapter cuffs, V-clips can be used with almost any pool pole and accessory. You simply push the ends together, fit the tabs through the holes and connect the tool to your pole.

How Do I Take Care of a Pool Pole?

Pool poles are simple by design. Therefore, maintaining one doesn’t require much effort. Always rinse off the pole before you store it. Push all the pieces together when you aren’t using your telescopic pole to reduce wear and tear on the joints, and never leave your pole exposed to ultraviolet rays for extended periods.

Pool Poles: Recap

Flimsy, low-quality pool poles only last one or two pool seasons, and they can’t accommodate the weight of vacuum attachments and nets full of debris. Durability matters even more when you need to bring a swimmer to safety.

best rated pool poles

Telescopic poles should extend long enough to reach the bottom and opposite end of your swimming pool. Anodized aluminum and carbon fiber offer the stability you need for a long pole with multiple pieces; however, plastic poles work well for light duty.

Make sure the locking mechanisms can support the telescopic pole when stretched to its longest length. Features like ribbing not only add to the pole’s strength but also prevent pool chemical buildup from breaking down the pole’s integrity.

Don’t forget to keep your pole stored off the ground and out of the sunlight. Fence hangers and wall-mounted hooks can help you organize your pool pole and its accessories. If you take care of it and choose one with durable construction, a pool pole can easily withstand five years of use.

Top 5 Best Pool Maintenance Kits in 2019

It’s summertime. The radio’s going. The grill’s fired up. You’re ready for some pool-time fun, but is your swimming pool ready for you? If you have and regularly use a comprehensive maintenance kit, you won’t have to worry about the hygiene of the water or whether the pump can handle the heavy load of a pool full of people.

Skimmers, returns, the pump, the filter, the water itself, the walls and the floor – There are many components that require routine maintenance. Most tasks need to be done on a weekly basis while other tasks can be handled monthly in some circumstances.

With all the parts you must maintain, you’re going to need a lot of tools such as a telescopic pole. You’ll also need a net, a brush and a vacuum. Testing strips, chlorine dispensers and various chemicals are required to keep the water hygienic. If you have an above-ground pool, vinyl patches should also be in your arsenal.

You can purchase these and other tools in bundles or separately. Our list provides details on the best pool maintenance kits out there. We also wrote a buyer’s guide that offers invaluable information to pool-owning newbies and long-time pool owners who want to save money by firing their pool guy and taking over pool maintenance themselves.

Best Pool Maintenance Kits

Pool Maintenance Kit Buying Guide

Before you do any type of maintenance to your swimming pool, you need to know all the parts involved in a pool’s circulation system and how each one works. The majority of your maintenance must be done on a weekly basis; however, there are some monthly tasks to do.

Weekly maintenance concentrates on algae, debris and sediment removal, which involves skimming, brushing, sanitizing, and other tasks. Monthly maintenance goes more in-depth, but less work is involved. Every month, you’ll need to perform equipment checks and possibly shock the water.

Pool Water Circulation

To circulate the water, the typical in-ground swimming pool requires a pump, a filter, skimmers, and returns. Some also have a heater and a chemical feeder. All of these components are connected by PVC pipes, and each part must work properly to keep the water clean and circulate pool chemicals.

At the heart of the circulation system, there is a pump, which pulls water through the skimmers and main drains via an impeller. The skimmers collect water a little bit at a time and capture large waterline debris in their strainer baskets. An equalizer line prevents air from entering the pump, which has its own strainer.

Then, the water flows through a cartridge or a sand/diatomaceous earth filter. The filter traps particles in pleats (cartridges) or between granules (sand/DE). If the pool has a heater, the water then goes through it, and the heater adjusts the temperature by trapping and redistributing the heat.

Some pools also have a feeder that slowly releases chemicals into the water. The feeder is the next flow-through point for the water. Finally, the water is put back into the swimming pool through return outlets. Most pools are equipped with vacuum ports for pool maintenance. They run off the main pump but may use a dedicated pump.

Components of a Pool Maintenance Kit

When piecing together a pool maintenance kit, first get a pole. It should be sturdy and telescopic, so you can adjust its length without it buckling under the weight of the tool attached. While not an exhaustive list, the tools you should have and use in conjunction with a pole include a vacuum, a net and a brush.

Big debris can destroy a pool pump. Therefore, you need to have equipment that captures large particles. A skimmer vacuum plate lets you suction debris into the skimmer basket instead of the pump basket. A leaf bagger lifts debris from the pool floor, and a leaf trap prevents clogs by collecting debris before it enters the skimmer basket.

You’ll need testing strips to determine the water’s hygiene level. You should have chemicals to lower and raise the pH. A clarifier can correct cloudy water, and muriatic acid gets rid of stains. Algaecide is another pool chemical you’ll need to keep on hand. Depending on the sanitizer you use, you’ll also need chlorine, bromine or salt.

Whether you have an in-ground or above-ground swimming pool, you need a way to fix leaks should they occur. For an above-ground pool, you’ll need patches that can stick to dry or wet vinyl. Pool putty works for underwater cracks in concrete in-ground pools, and sealant is ideal for pool plumbing repair.

Recommended Maintenance Schedule: Weekly

Testing the pH level is one weekly maintenance task you should perform without fail. Acidic water leads to skin irritation, surface etching and metal corrosion. High alkalinity causes surface scaling and cloudy water. Plus, unbalanced water renders your sanitizer ineffective.

If the strips show a level above 7.8, you’ll need to add sodium bisulfate or muriatic acid to lower the pH level. If the level is lower than 7.2, the water is too alkaline. To fix it, add sodium bicarbonate or sodium carbonate to the water. Also, add algaecide every week to prevent cloudy water.

You must also clean the surfaces of your pool each week. Start by skimming the water with a net connected to a telescopic pole. Then, use that same pole with a brush to scour the walls. While the filter is running and set to waste (if a sand/DE style), hook up your vacuum and clean the pool’s surfaces.

Don’t forget to check the waterline height. Evaporation, weekly cleanings and splashing can result in a gradual loss of water while heavy rains can overfill a pool. If there isn’t enough water in your swimming pool, you risk letting air into the skimmer line and pump. If it’s too high, the skimmer won’t be able to collect debris.

Recommended Maintenance Schedule: Monthly

The tools you use won’t do you any good if they aren’t in working order. Every month, inspect and clean all the tools in your maintenance kit and replace any broken components. For example, a ripped net or a cracked leaf trap should be replaced. Also, check all the components of your swimming pool for leaks or worn parts.

Don’t forget the filter. It should be cleaned as a part of your monthly maintenance routine. If you have a cartridge filter, you’ll need to remove the filter media and rinse off the pleats. If you have a sand or DE filter, a backwash will be necessary.

Finally, shock the pool water. Even if you balance the chemicals religiously, bacteria and algae will still accumulate, albeit slowly. For in-ground pools, you must add the shock straight into the pool water. For above-ground vinyl pools, you’ll need pre-dissolved shock. Make sure the filter and pump are running and keep swimmers out of the pool for 8 hours.

FAQs

How Often Should I Run the Pump?

Although 24 hours is optimal, we understand that most pool owners would balk at the electricity usage. To get a specific time, you’ll need to know the pump’s motor speed and circulation rate as well as the pool’s volume.

However, 8 to 12 hours is a good general guideline as that should allow the water to circulate twice. Two circulation rounds give the filter and pump a chance to distribute pool chemicals and trap small and large debris.

How Do I Backwash My Filter?

If you have a sand or a DE filter, backwashing removes contaminant buildup, relieving internal pressure that could damage the filter. First, turn off the filter and set the multiport valve to backwash. If there isn’t a drain plumbed in, you’ll need to attach a hose to the waste port.

Turn on the filter and run it until the water is clear. Then, turn off the filter again and put the multiport valve on rinse. After you turn on the filter and it runs for 30 seconds, shut off the filter and open the pressure relief valve.

Switch the multiport valve to the filter setting. Keep the pressure relief valve open until you see water flowing from the valve. At this point, you can close the valve and allow the filter to run as it normally does. Make sure you check the pressure gauge. Sometimes you need to backwash twice if the pressure is too high.

Are There Other Times When I Need to Shock the Pool?

You may need to shock your pool to raise the chlorine level outside your maintenance schedule. Heavy use, such as after a pool party, rainstorms and the presence of fecal matter or a dead animal all cause the chlorine level to drop. You should also shock the pool when you detect chloramine and algae blooms.

Pool Maintenance Kits: Recap

A backyard swimming pool offers an awesome party venue, a fun way to enjoy your time outdoors and a convenient place to get some exercise. With all that fun and convenience, there also comes maintenance. Proper and timely maintenance keeps the pool’s circulation system running smoothly and prevents expensive breakdowns.

Many people opt to hire a professional pool service to perform necessary maintenance. However, cost-conscious and DIY-minded people prefer to handle pool maintenance tasks on their own. You can definitely save a ton of money in the long run by maintaining your own pool.

However, you’ll need a kit full of cleaning tools to perform pool maintenance. A complete kit consists of a telescopic pole, a net, a vacuum and an assortment of brushes and pumice stones. You’ll also need a bagger and a trap to take care of big debris as well as test strips and pool chemicals.

It’s not enough just to have and use these tools. You need to know how often to run your pump in order to circulate chemicals and trap debris efficiently. Make sure you also know how to take care of your pool’s filter. Whether it’s a cartridge, sand or diatomaceous earth filter, you’ll need to clean it out every month.

Top 5 Best Pool Leaf Eaters in 2019

Leaves, twigs and large debris will inevitably find their way into your swimming pool. Organic debris will easily clog the pool’s plumbing system. They are also perfect fodder for algae. As leaves and twigs decompose, the chemical composition of the water gets out of whack, and you’ll have nasty surface stains on your hands.

leaf eater pool

In large quantities, leaves can overburden the skimmers. While a pool net is easy to use, removing leaves with this tool is time-consuming, especially if the swimming pool is large. As you move the net through the water, many of the leaves float out of the net’s path. In short, a skimmer net is inefficient.

When wet, leaves stick to everything, making them difficult to collect. However, a leaf eater sits on the pool floor, creating a vacuum that pulls leaves into its bag as you move the leaf eater with a simple pole. Some have wheels to help you move them. They’re lightweight and a breeze to assemble and maintain.

All pool leaf eaters are simple in design, and the ones we’ve reviewed were chosen primarily for their durable construction. Some are powered by a scientific principle called the Venturi effect while others run on batteries. In our buyer’s guide, you’ll find information about the different types of pool eaters and their features.

Best Pool Leaf Eaters

Pool Leaf Eater Buying Guide

The most common type of swimming pool leaf eater is made to hook up to a standard hose and pole. These leaf eaters use a sock bag to collect leaves and other debris, and some even have wheels to make navigation easier. If the pool floor needs a scrub, there are also leaf baggers with brushes on the head.

best leaf eater pool

You have a few choices in terms of leaf-eater style. Some are equipped with a battery; others connect to a garden hose. There are even hard-canister leaf eaters that attach to a suction-side pool cleaner. Each one has its own set of pros and cons, but some are better for leaf collection than others

Common Pool Leaf Eaters

Leaf eaters are also known as leaf baggers. To create the pressure and vacuum action necessary for drawing in leaves, the leaf eater must be connected to a garden hose. While the Venturi suction collects debris, you can move the leaf eater around with a telescopic pole that you attach to the eater.

Often, traditional leaf eaters have multiple jets to boost their suction power. Many of these leaf eaters can pull double duty as a waterline skimmer. To use a pool-floor leaf eater as a surface skimmer, simply flip over the eater, push the bag into the water, lock the pole connector and guide the eater/skimmer along the surface.

Battery-operated leaf eaters are another popular choice. Like their Venturi counterparts, a pole is needed to move battery-powered models around the pool floor. Instead of a garden hose, there is a propeller. When you flip the power switch, a set of disposable batteries turn the propeller, which gives the leaf eater the thrust it needs to navigate your pool.

Uncommon Leaf Eaters

For those who are interested in a more automated way to collect leaves, there are suction-side leaf eaters. These leaf eaters gather debris in a plastic canister instead of a reusable bag; sometimes a bag sits inside the canister. The canister is in-line installed and uses the pool’s jets to create a Venturi vacuum pull.

pool leaf eater

Handheld leaf eaters are also available. In appearance, they mimic the look of a hand vac, but some have an integrated pole. These models run on the power of a rechargeable battery. Finally, there are elongated mechanical nets that attach to and jut out from recessed skimmers.

While the aforementioned leaf eaters have their benefits, they don’t have the debris capacity of traditional-style leaf baggers. Therefore, they can’t keep up with the demands of a large pool or heavy leaf loads. Although they can handle leaves and tiny twigs, handheld models are better suited for fine debris.

Container Capacity and Strength

Size and strength are the most important aspects of a leaf-eater bag. These bags range in diameter from 13 to 16 inches, and they stand anywhere from 24 to 34 inches tall. The wider and longer the bag, the more leaves it can hold, and the less time you’ll spend cleaning your swimming pool.

Bags are either made of polyester or nylon. Both materials are strong, but nylon is slightly more robust. However, polyester has the advantage of a faster drying time, which is helpful when you’re ready to put the leaf eater away.

The mesh of some bags is larger than that of others. For the purpose of leaf collecting, medium-sized holes are best because they allow the water to flow through the bag unimpeded even when it’s full. A drawstring keeps the bag attached to the leaf eater; however, the addition of a vacuum ring enhances the bag’s security.

Suction-side pool leaf eaters have different considerations. Their containers are constructed from various types of plastic – polycarbonate is a durable choice. A few models also have a mesh bag. For those leaf eaters, medium-sized mesh is still the best choice. Suction-side leaf eaters with a built-in filter are less likely to clog.

Pole Adapters and Handles

Venturi and battery-powered leaf have an adapter that connects to your pool pole. The leaf eater’s adapter is designed to fit the standard diameter for a pool pole, which is 1.25 inches. Suction-side models that have a mug-style handle are the easiest to pull from the water.

pool leaf eater

Pole adapters are either made of aluminum, chrome or plastic. Aluminum and plastic are lightweight. While plastic won’t corrode over time like aluminum will, plastic isn’t as strong. Chrome is the heaviest material, but it’s tough and rust-resistant.

Floor Head Features

Guiding a leaf eater is easy enough, but wheels make navigating the leaf eater practically effortless. Depending on the model, there may be two, three or four wheels – Those that swivel provide the freest range of motion. To prevent scuffs from forming on the floor and walls, look for a pool leaf eater with a protective bumper.

Some heads are lined with bristles, allowing you to loosen stuck-on leaves. You’ll also find that leaf eater heads come in different shapes. Round is the most common, but there are also angled and curved shapes, both of which are great for use in spas and free-form pools.

Garden Hose Features

As with the pole connector, the leaf eater’s hose adapter needs to be durable. Plastic won’t rust, but it doesn’t touch metal in terms of strength. The most durable hose adapters are made of brass. You also want to make sure the adapter fits your hose. One-half inch is the standard hose diameter – A universal adapter can accommodate other widths.

pool style leaf eater

Even though pool leaf eaters don’t come with a garden hose, the hose you connect to the leaf bagger impacts its performance. Rubber hoses hold up better than vinyl ones, but they are heavier. The more plies (layers) a hose has, the stronger it will be.

The hose should be long enough to reach across your swimming pool; however, a hose longer than 50 feet should have a diameter wider than 0.5 inches to maintain the leaf eater’s suction. Always check the hose for kinks, leaks and tangles before each use.

FAQs

How Do I Maintain a Pool Leaf Eater?

Leaf eaters are easy to maintain. To remove leaves from the bag, all you have to do is turn it inside out. Occasionally, you will need to replace the wheels and brushes if your leaf bagger comes with these parts. These tasks only take a few minutes.

Propeller-driven leaf eaters require a little bit more maintenance. You have to clear leaves from the blades from time to time. Those with disposable batteries need new ones after every few hours of use. If it has a rechargeable battery, you’ll need to plug it into a wall outlet.

Should I Use the Pole That Comes With My Leaf Eater?

It depends. The pool pole you use must be strong enough to support the leaf bagger. For those who have arthritis or weak upper body strength, weight is a concern. Aluminum is a great happy medium. It’s more durable than plastic, but it’s lighter than other metals.

pool leaf eater vacuum

The included pole often breaks down into multiple pieces. If there are only two or three reinforced joints on the pole, it should be okay to use. However, if the leaf eater’s pole has four or five joints and it’s made of plastic, stick with a separate telescopic pole constructed from metal.

Are Leaf Eaters Safe to Use in Above-Ground Pools?

Venturi leaf eaters are perfectly safe to use in above-ground swimming pools. If your leaf eater is equipped with wheels, detach the wheels before using it as they could tear the vinyl liner. Leaf eaters with brushes are also safe to use in an above-ground pool if the bristles are made of nylon.

Pool Leaf Eaters: Recap

While there are multiple kinds of leaf eaters, the most popular ones are those that operate on batteries and a propeller or a garden hose and Venturi suction. These leaf baggers are budget-friendly. They don’t need to be hooked up your pool to work, and some even have brushes for leaf loosening.

leaf eater pool vacuum

No matter the style of pool leaf eater you choose, durability is crucial. Plastic components won’t corrode or rust, but metal is often preferred for its strength. You also want to use a pool pole with as few joints as possible, and the leaf eater’s connector should fit the diameter of your garden hose.

Before you hook up the hose, examine it. If it has a kink, the leaf eater won’t be able to generate the vacuum pressure necessary for debris collection. The hose shouldn’t be overly long or too short, and a rubber hose is less likely to wear out from dragging along the floor of your swimming pool.

Don’t forget the bag – bigger is better in terms of capacity and mesh size. If your home sits on a heavily wooded lot, you can’t rely on your swimming pool’s skimmers to do all the work. When you don’t have the time or desire to manually skim your pool, a user-friendly leaf eater is the way to go.

Top 5 Best Pool Leaf Traps in 2019

Alarming noises, suction pressure reduction, stagnant water, debris accumulation – These are all signs that something is amiss with your pool’s skimmer line. Fixing this problem requires pinpointing the exact location of the clog, using various methods to remove the obstruction and shocking the water after you clear the line.

Best Pool Leaf Traps

If you’re lucky, time, extra chemicals and a service call are all you’ll spend. In severe cases, a clogged skimmer line can cause the pump to run dry. Without water to cool off the pump’s operating temperature, the pump will overheat. If it continues to run while hot, the pump will eventually seize, and you’ll have to replace it.

Though the pump’s strainer basket helps reduce the likelihood of clogs, large debris can overburden the basket. However, a leaf trap offers a simple fix to a potentially costly problem. By installing a leaf trap to the skimmer line when you’re vacuuming, the leaf trap’s canister will contain the large debris, keeping it away from the pump and filter.

Pool leaf traps are inexpensive and effective. They’re also easy to use and maintain. To help you choose a leaf trap, we’ve reviewed some of the most reliable models currently available. Additionally, we’ve provided you with a buyer’s guide that offers information on leaf trap installation, troubleshooting and more.

Best Pool Leaf Traps

Leaf traps are one of those must-have pieces of equipment as they take strain off the swimming pool’s filtration system. Some leaf traps are better built than others. Durability and easy accessibility are key factors in a leaf trap’s dependability, and we took both aspects into account when choosing the leaf traps on our list.

Pool Leaf Trap Buying Guide

Leaf traps are straightforward in terms of use and installation. Large debris like leaves and pine needles can wreak havoc on your pool’s pump and suction line, leading to costly professional service calls. While pool pumps do have their own strainer basket, the basket alone is not enough to keep the water flowing unobstructed.

Pool Leaf Traps

Our buyer’s guide gives you easy-to-follow instructions on how to install a leaf trap. You’ll also learn the proper way to clean and maintain the trap as well as the features to look for in a leaf trap – durability is the most important followed by ease of use.

Even the most durable leaf trap can fail. Sometimes, issues such as leaking and sinking can occur. Luckily, these problems are easy to resolve. Our guide tells you how to solve these issues, so you won’t need to call in a pool pro to fix them.

Installing a Leaf Trap

The process of installing a leaf trap is simple – The only task involved is connecting two hoses. First, you must set up the hose that goes to the skimmer line. To do so, take off the skimmer’s lid and remove the basket and float valve. Next, feed the hose through the skimmer inlet and to the suction-line port.

Once connected to the port, attach the hose to your leaf trap. For a trap that lies horizontal, the skimmer connection is on the bottom. A trap that stands vertically will have the skimmer and vacuum connections on the top.

Before you connect the canister to your vacuum, submerge it in water to get rid of any trapped air. If the cartridge and bag/basket don’t come pre-installed, just drop them into the canister before you hold it under the water. Then, you can use your manual vacuum or run your automatic suction-side cleaner.

Characteristics of a Dependable Leaf Trap

Generally, you can’t go wrong by getting a leaf trap with a larger-than-average capacity. However, if your swimming pool is small or the debris load isn’t excessive, a standard-size canister will be sufficient. Don’t forget to consider the filtration rate. Leaf traps with a tight-weave mesh bag work better at capturing fine particles than a basket.

pool main drain leaf traps

As we covered in the installation section of our guide, pool leaf traps come in two orientations – horizontal and vertical. Horizontal styles are easier to manage as vertical ones tend to tilt from time to time. In addition, leaf traps that create cyclonic action keep the debris moving inside the canister, which prevents clogs.

The overall body of the trap is also important. It should be made of impact-resistant plastic such as Lexan, and the plastic should be translucent to indicate the trap’s fill level at a glance. Canisters with a handle are easier to lift out of the water and clean, and twist-off tops last longer than latch-secured versions.

Although hoses and adapters only cost a couple of bucks, it’s convenient when the leaf trap manufacturer supplies all the connections. To use a pool leaf trap, you’ll need a female-to-female hose and a strainer connection hose. Ideally, the adapters should be universal, so you can use the trap with the vacuum or suction-side cleaner of your choice.

Cleaning Your Leaf Trap

Depending on the amount of large debris in your pool, the leaf trap will need to be cleaned out anywhere from every other day to once per week. To remove the debris inside the container, you must first take it out of the water. Then, detach the hose that connects to the vacuum or suction-side cleaner.

After you disconnect the hose, you need to dump out the water in the leaf trap. You can do this by either taking off the canister’s top or pulling the canister’s drain plug (if it has one). Then, remove the strainer cup or the filter bag from the leaf trap. Dump its contents and rinse off the collection cup/bag.

Reassembling the Leaf Trap

Once the bag or cup is clean, take a minute to look over the leaf trap’s parts to make sure there are no rips or cracks. If all components appear sound, simply slip the bag or cup back into the canister, taking care to ensure the plastic ring sits snug at the bottom of the canister top’s thread.

swimming pool leaf traps

Next, you need to reattach the top. If it’s a twist-off top, screw it back onto the canister clockwise. If it’s a latch-style top, close the lid and secure the latch. Finally, submerge the canister to eliminate trapped air and connect the vacuum hose to the canister just as you did when you first installed the leaf trap.

Fixing Common Leaf Trap Problems: Air Leaks

You’ll likely encounter an air leak issue with your leaf trap at some juncture. Luckily, air leaks are easy to locate and fix. The first clue that air is leaking into the leaf trap is the presence of air bubbles in your swimming pool. Sometimes, a noisy pump is a sign of air in the line.

If the canister is a vertical-style leaf trap, check to see if it’s horizontal and correct its position if it’s not. Then, move onto the O-ring. Open the lid and look at the O-ring, which creates a seal to keep air out of the canister. If it’s worn or warped, replace it.

However, if the O-ring just looks dry, you should be able to lubricate it. Sometimes, you just need to remove trapped debris stuck in between the O-ring and the canister. As you’ve learned from the installation and maintenance sections of our guide, submersion before connecting the vacuum hose is key to preventing air leaks.

Fixing Common Leaf Trap Problems: Sinking Canister

You can install the leaf trap correctly, but you may encounter a situation where the canister won’t stay afloat. You can try to move its position between the pieces of hose. Sometimes, that fixes the issue.

If you experiment with the leaf trap’s location and it still sinks, there is a simple fix. Cut a pool noodle and slide it over the canister’s handle. If your leaf trap doesn’t have a handle, cut two small pieces and slip them over both connections on the canister.

FAQs

Why Can’t I Just Use the Pump’s Strainer Basket?

The basket in the pool pump is designed to trap large debris, including leaves, twigs, pine needles and insects. However, the basket’s capacity is small, and it’s meant to be used as a stopgap, not a major filtration unit. With a leaf trap, you won’t overburden the pool pump, and you can clean your swimming pool more efficiently.

Best Pool Leaf Traps

How Do I Clear a Skimmer Line Clog?

You may not always be able to clear a clog in the skimmer line by yourself. However, there is no harm in trying before you shell out money on a professional pool service company. You’ll need a drain bladder (they are cheap) and a garden hose to get the job done.

First, turn off the pool pump. Leave the skimmer valve open but close the skimmer and main drain intakes and take out the pump’s strainer basket. Connect the drain bladder to your hose and maneuver the bladder through the basket and into the pump intake.

Next, turn on the spigot and watch to see if any debris come out of the skimmer. Alternate holding a tennis ball against the skimmer port for 10 seconds once every few minutes to build pressure and remove the blockage. Once the blockage is gone, reassemble all the pump components and bleed air from the pool pump.

Do I Have to Use a Trap When I’m Vacuuming?

It depends on the type of debris you’re suctioning. If you’re mainly dealing with sand or dirt, it’s not necessary to hook up your leaf trap. However, we still recommend vacuuming with a leaf trap in place if it has a mesh bag that captures fine sediment. If you’re vacuuming large debris, a pool leaf trap is a must.

Pool Leaf Traps: Recap

Skimmer-line clogs are a real pain to remove. If not addressed immediately, your pool pump could overheat and seize. Sometimes, you can remove an obstruction on your own. Other times, you have to call in a professional to snake the line.

Leaf traps offer a simple solution to a huge problem. They take the stress off your swimming pool’s filter and pump, extending the lifespan of both components. You don’t have to be an expert to install, use or maintain a leaf trap. Plus, leaf traps are an inexpensive piece of equipment.

You can get a leaf trap with a large-debris-only plastic cup or one with a fine-and-large-debris mesh bag. Some leaf traps have a handle. There are leaf traps that stand up vertically and others that sit horizontally. Most leaf traps are compatible with a vacuum or an automatic suction-side cleaner.

However, not all leaf traps are made equally in terms of durability. The best leaf traps boast a strong, clear housing. Those with a handle are easier to maneuver, and canisters with a twist-off top are less likely to fail years down the road than leaf traps with a latched lid.

Top 5 Best Pool Vacuums in 2019

Being able to take a swim in your backyard whenever the mood strikes is what pool ownership is all about. However, maintenance is the nonglamorous side that comes along with having unfettered access to a swimming pool. Luckily, there are plenty of tools available to make cleaning your pool easier.

pool cleaner vacuums

A vacuum is one such tool. With the right pool vacuum in hand, you can remove the acorns, dirt, insects, leaves and sand that would otherwise clog your swimming pool’s filter and damage its pump. Some are manual while others are automatic. There are ones that depend on your pool’s pump and those that work independently.

If you own an above-ground swimming pool, get a vacuum with gentle brushes, and it should be a low-pressure model that doesn’t climb walls. With an in-ground pool, the options are limitless, and you can base your decision on other factors such as the spare time you have and the debris you commonly see.

Take a look at our lists of the best vacuums for swimming pools if you’re not sure where to begin. Since all pool vacuums are different, be sure to read our buyer’s guide. In the guide, you’ll get a breakdown of how each type of pool vacuum works as well as its pros and cons.

Best Pool Vacuums

Pool Vacuum Buying Guide

From ones that you must maneuver yourself to those that run almost autonomously, you have a lot of choices when it comes to swimming pool vacuums. In our buyer’s guide, we describe how each type of pool vacuum works, including pressure-side, suction-side, robotic and manual vacuums.

above ground pool vacuums

We also discuss other considerations you should make when choosing a pool vacuum. For instance, you must take into account the type of swimming pool you have – in-ground or above-ground. You also have to think about how much time you’re willing to devote to pool maintenance as well as the surrounding environment and the debris it brings.

Suction-Side Pool Vacuums

Suction-side swimming pool vacuums connect to the pool’s skimmer, using the filter pump’s suction power to move. To set up the suction-side vacuum, you’ll need to attach a long hose to the skimmer inlet. Sometimes, you must also flip over the vacuum before you submerge it to remove any air that would prevent it from sinking.

The majority of suction-side vacuums are of the inertia-driven variety. These vacuums move around your pool at random. Other suction-side vacuums are geared, moving in a methodical pattern. While inertia-driven suction-side vacuums do well at full-coverage cleaning, it does take them longer to clean your pool than geared versions.

Fine-sediment pickup is where suction-side pool vacuums really shine. They are usually equipped with brushes that scrub the surfaces of a pool, and their minimal amount of moving parts means suction-side vacuums last a long time. People gravitate toward these pool vacuums because they’re relatively inexpensive, easy to assemble and don’t have a filter to maintain.

One downside to suction-side vacuums is their propensity to burden a pool’s filter. Since the vacuum doesn’t have a filter or bag, the dirt and debris it suctions are trapped by the pool filter, which you’ll have to clean more often. Furthermore, if your swimming pool has one skimmer box, it won’t work while the vacuum is in operation.

Pressure-Side Pool Vacuums

Pressure-side pool vacuums attach to the outlet where water enters the swimming pool. Like suction-side vacuums, pressure-side pool cleaners require a hose to make that connection. However, there is no need to remove air before you let it loose because the air will flow out of the vacuum instead of becoming trapped in the pipes.

Best Pool Vacuums

For a pressure-side pool vacuum to move, it must be connected to a pump. Typically, the vacuum will need its own pump (a booster pump) in order to be efficient, but it’s possible to run it off the pool’s pump depending on the specs of the pool, pump and vacuum.

Due to their large intake port and powerful performance, these pool vacuums are well-adept at removing large debris like acorns, insects and leaves. Since pressure-side vacuums come with a filter bag, they won’t overload your pool’s filtration system. In addition, pressure-side swimming pool vacuums clean faster than their suction-side counterparts.

While a filter bag is a positive, it also means another component to maintain. Pressure-side vacuums aren’t effective at getting rid of fine sediment, and their lack of brushes means they can’t scrub the floor of your pool. Since these pool vacuums use positive pressure to move, they are also unable to climb walls.

Robotic Pool Vacuums

Robots are a different breed of pool vacuums. They contain a low-voltage motor and come with a transformer, which supplies safe electricity to the vacuum. Robotic pool vacuums also have their own pump, which draws in water and generates the suction that moves them.

One of the major benefits of a robotic pool vacuum is its autonomous, time-saving nature. They are fast because they are programmed to choose the most efficient route. With the inclusion of a large inlet and various filters, robotic vacuums excel at removing large and fine debris. They’re also equipped with scrubbing brushes, and they can climb pool walls.

However, these pool vacuums aren’t designed to stay in the water 24/7. This means you have to remove them after every cleaning cycle. You also have filters to maintain regularly. Then, there is the cable. Some robotic vacuum cables are problematic. Those that don’t swivel will eventually tangle, rendering the robot useless until you straighten out the cable.

Manual Pool Vacuums

A manual pool vacuum has wheels, and you must push it yourself with a telescopic pole. Standard manual pool vacuums work by attaching a hose to the vacuum’s nozzle, submerging the hose to remove trapped air and then securing the hose to the pool’s intake.

pool vacuums

There are also manual vacuums that run on the power of a rechargeable battery. Like standard manual vacuums, battery-operated pool vacuums are designed to be pushed around the swimming pool by a pole. These vacuums come in different nozzle shapes, and their battery runtime varies. However, all have a filter bag.

Manual pool vacuums are ideal for the budget-constrained shopper. Their small size allows them to reach into tight spaces. Setup is easy, and there are no cables with which to contend. The learning curve is non-existent, and the absence of complex moving parts equates to a long lifespan.

As with other pool vacuums, manual ones aren’t without their not-so-great points. Using a standard vacuum to clean a swimming pool can take a long time, and you’ll have to exert some physical effort. Battery-operated manual vacuums must be recharged, which means they aren’t always ready when needed, and they don’t do well for whole-pool cleaning.

FAQs

How Often Should I Run My Pool Vacuum?

There is no single, across-the-board answer to this question as the frequency of vacuuming depends on how often your pool is used, the debris that tends to plague it and the type of pool vacuum you have. At the very least, you should vacuum your swimming pool once per week.

Best Automatic Pool Cleaner Vacuums

However, extra vacuuming is required when there are more debris in the pool than usual. You should also vacuum before you swim if the pool hasn’t been used in several weeks, and always vacuum it at the beginning and the end of swim season.

What Is the Difference Between a Low-Pressure and a High-Pressure Pool Vacuum?

The main difference between a low-pressure and a high-pressure pool vacuum is each one’s use of a pump. Low-pressure swimming pool vacuums do not need a booster pump to move because they rely on the flow of the returned water. On the other hand, high-pressure pool vacuums do need a booster pump of their own.

Low-pressure vacuums are easier to install. All you have to do is connect them to a return and make an adjustment or two to the vacuum’s flow rate. High-pressure vacuums are faster and more efficient, and those with a time clock will conveniently start and stop a cleaning cycle by themselves.

Do I Need a Special Vacuum for an Above-Ground Pool?

Usually, above-ground swimming pools are smaller than in-ground pools. Therefore, you don’t need one with a lot of reach. Above-ground pool vacuums do not require a heavy-duty pump either since they tend to be shallower than in-ground swimming pools – A low-pressure vacuum is the most appropriate choice for an above-ground pool.

If you’re in the market for an above-ground pool vacuum, there are two important points to factor into your decision. First, make sure the vacuum’s scrub brushes, if it has some, are safe to use on your pool’s liner. Finally, steer clear of vacuums that climb walls. Otherwise, you risk tearing the pool’s liner.

Pool Vacuums: Recap

If your swimming pool is situated near sand or dirt, you need a pool vacuum that removes fine debris. Suction-side and robotic pool vacuums do exceptionally well at fine-sediment suctioning. If your pool sits near a bunch of trees, a pressure-side or a robotic vacuum can handle leaves and other large debris.

Pool Vacuum Cleaner

Manual vacuums are the easiest to use, but they require the most physical effort. Some can be used to clean an entire pool if the swimming pool is small enough, but most are better suited for spot cleaning. Conversely, robotic pool vacuums save you a ton of time, but there is a learning curve involved.

There’s also the filter to consider. Really, there is no escaping filter maintenance. Pressure-side, robotic and battery-operated vacuums come with a filter cartridge and/or bag. Manual vacuums without a bag and suction-side vacuums may not have a filter, but they’ll put more strain on your pool’s filter, which means additional maintenance on your part.

Not every pool vacuum may be right for your swimming pool. Particularly when it comes to above-ground pools, you should stick with a vacuum such as a manual or a low-pressure suction-side one. No matter the type of pool vacuum, you’ll need to use it regularly to get the maximum benefit of its cleaning power.