Pressure Side vs Suction Side Pool Cleaners

Pressure Side vs Suction Side Pool Cleaners

When it comes to pool vacuums, there are a lot of options to consider. As you evaluate products to purchase, you may notice that a number of cleaners fall under two categories: pressure side and suction side.

In the below post, we will explain the key differences between pressure and suction side pool vacuums, including the pros and cons of each.

What is a Pressure Side Pool Vacuum?

A pressure side pool vacuum is exactly what it sounds like.

It’s a type of pool vacuum cleaner that runs off your pool’s return system.

After water is filtered, it works its way back into your pool. The jets where the water is pushed out is where the vacuum is connected. This pressurizes the cleaner and helps it move around your pool and creates a vacuum effect called “venturi suction.”

Pressure side pool vacuums come with a bag, where dirt and debris are collected. These can be easily removed and cleaned after vacuuming. They also typically come with a tail sweep, which helps scrub and clean the surface of your pool.

Pros and Cons of Pressure Side Pool Vacuums


  • Can clean larger debris, such as leaves
  • Attached bag collects dirt
  • Faster cleaning time
  • Doesn’t rely on pool’s filtration system


  • May require additional equipment for installation
  • More expensive than suction side vacuums

What is a Suction Side Pool Vacuum?

A suction side pool vacuum uses the suction from your pool’s filtration system to move around the cleaner and collect debris. It attaches directly to the skimmer or a dedicated suction line.

These types of pool cleaners use a suction port and hose that collect and remove debris from your pool. They do not have a separate bag for collection, as the debris is collected in the skimmer basket. This often results in longer cleaning times, as the skimmer basket may need to be emptied frequently.

Pros and Cons of Suction Side Pool Vacuums


  • Less expensive than pressure side vacuums
  • Easy installation, just connects to skimmer or suction line
  • Doesn’t require additional equipment for installation


  • Slower cleaning time
  • Can’t clean larger debris as effectively
  • Relies on pool’s filtration system and may clog it up if not used properly
  • Clogs pump basket easily
  • Takes flow away from skimmer

Is a Suction or Pressure Pool Cleaner Better?

While both types of pool vacuums have their pros and cons, pressure side vacuums are typically a better option. They offer a better overall clean and offer less risk for something to go wrong.

The only drawback is that pressure pool cleaners are a little bit more money. But this added cost is worth the investment for a more efficient clean.

The other thing to keep in mind is that pressure side cleaners don’t draw suction away from the skimmer and filter, making them less likely to clog up your pool’s system.

From my experience, I’ve seen suction pool cleaners used improperly and piped directly into the skimmer line. This is an easy to overlook mistake that can cause serious damage to your filtration system. And having to replace a motor or pool filter would be significantly more money than what you’d end up paying for a more maintenance-free pressure side pool cleaner.

The only time I’d recommend a suction side pool cleaner is if you have a really small pool. In that case, the added cost and maintenance of a pressure side cleaner may not be worth it.

Ultimately, the decision between a suction or pressure side pool cleaner depends on your specific needs and budget. Both can effectively clean your pool, but pressure side cleaners tend to offer a more efficient clean while supporting the rest of your pool system better.

About the Author

stefan schulzStefan Schulz is the founder and owner of PV Pool Cleaner. He spent his college years working at Niagara Pools and Spas, one of the largest Swimming Pool and Hot Tub Dealers in the Eastern United States.

Today, he utilizes his background, experience as a pool owner, and the resources of his digital marketing agency, Orpical Group, to generate informative and engaging content for pool owners everywhere.