If you’re looking for crystal clear, sparkling water to cool off this summer, you need to find the best vacuum for Intex pools. Keeping your Intex above ground pool clean is important, if you wanted to swim in murky water, you could just go down to your local creek!
Soft-sided Intex pools do need specific equipment to keep them in pristine condition, but with so many options on the market, which pool vacuum do you choose?
My review of the 7 best intex above ground pool vacuums will put you on the right track, and make sure you spend more time swimming in your Intex pool rather than cleaning it this summer.
Comparison Of Our Top Picks For 2020
Best Vacuum For Intex Pools Reviews
1. Water Tech Pool Blaster Max Li: Top Pick
When I knew I'd be trialing this Water Tech vacuum for soft-sided pools, I've got to tell you, I wasn't excited. I had only ever used automatic pool vacuums in my Intex pool, so I guess my laziness was getting the best of me! BUT, in the interest of finding the best vacuum for my Intex pool, this model had so many awesome reviews, there was no way I wasn’t going to give it a go, and boy am I glad I did!
This vacuum for Intex pools absolutely dominated the dirt and small debris on the bottom of the pool; I just wasn’t expecting that kind of power without being connected to external electricity. Pleasantly surprised by suction power? That’s an understatement!
What I Love:
- Battery operated by powerful Lithium batteries and rechargeable
- No clunky hoses or complicated connections
- Manual operation means you can navigate around ladders or steps.
- Simple on/off switch.
- Lightweight and easy to move about.
- 60 mins cleaning time/battery life.
- Remarkable suction and power considering its size!
- Being a handheld model, this is not an automatic pool cleaner and will require you to operate it manually.
If you’re will and able to manually clean your pool, Water Tech Pool Blaster Max Li will not disappoint. It was SO simple, no hoses, no connections no mucking about with the filter and pump. Just connect your hose and switch on. That’s it! I believe this machine may have converted me from a devoted automatic pool vacuum fan to a handheld fan, but let us wait and see!
2. Pentair Kreepy Krauly K50600: Best For Small To Large Above Ground Pools
Kreepy Krauly is a name and brand that has been synonymous with pool vacuums for decades. It’s that experience in production and design that has seen Kreepy Krauly at the top of many of these reviews and lists. The K50600 did exactly what it said it would. It was relatively easy to set up, and once it was ready to go, it set about "krauling” and cleaning! It's also one of the best pool vacuum for above ground pool available in the market.
What I Love:
- This model can clean horizontal walls in addition to the pool bottom.
- Only one moving part, less potential for damage and/or breakages.
- Hydraulic design for powerful suction.
- Skimming valve automatically regulates water flow, giving you a more effective clean.
- Long 32ft hose.
- If you have a removable ladder, I would suggest moving it before you set this pool vacuum in motion. I can see how it would be obstructed and potentially get tangled.
While the Pentair Kreepy Krauly K50600 was incredibly effective (my Intex pool was sparkling I might add!) it was S L O W. I was nervous to leave the K50600 for too long without checking on it, I think I was worried that the lining could be torn, or it might get stuck to the bottom. I guess I would get more confident in this pool vacuum the more I used it, but the suction to seem a little over the top for my relatively clean Intex pool.
This model might be the best vacuum for those with very large Intex pools, but it seemed a little bit of overkill for my needs if I’m being honest.
3. Hayward 900 Wanda the Whale
Wanda the Whale is super cute to look at, but I’m not going to let that cute face distract me from finding the best vacuum for Intex pools! This model is a turbine cleaner and boasts that it is capable of cleaning both soft-sided pools and above ground pools. It literally took less than 10 minutes to set up, so Wanda was off to a great start!
Here's what else I loved:
What I Love:
- Super quiet and smooth operation.
- Long hose (32 ft)
- Gentle but effective, the entire pool floor was covered
- The external ring (the white part of the main body) didn’t get stuck on the sides or cause friction.
- The hole underneath this pool vacuum is the smallest of all the vacuums on this list.
- A little heavy for my liking. I like to clean my pool at least once a week, if not twice a week over the summer months, and I couldn’t imagine having to lug this out of the pool so frequently if I’m being honest.
I have a tree close by my Intex pool; it's great for giving shade in the hot summer, but a real pain for keeping the pool clean. This tree drops small seedpods about the size of an acorn, and Wanda got stuck. While this pool vacuum did the job, quickly and efficiently, I'll need a pool vacuum with a larger hole, at least big enough for those seedpods.
4. Intex Auto Pool Cleaner: Best for the Money
This automatic pool vacuum made from Intex had me excited before I even got it in the pool! Being made by Intex, I had high expectations and this automatic pool vacuum didn’t disappoint. It would stand to reason that if Intex makes the pool AND manufacturers the pool vacuum, it should be a match made in heaven, and it is!
I cannot describe how easy the setup was. I was careful to read the instructions twice as I’d not seen a vacuum for Intex pools that connected to the intake rather than the skimmer or the return inlet. Once I made double sure, we were away!
What I Love:
- Automatically reverses to cover every inch of your pool
- Super easy setup, connecting in less than 10 mins
- Connects to the intake rather than the return inlet, leaving skimmer free
- Made from quality, durable materials
- To suit pumps with a flow rate of 1600-3500 GPH
- Cost-effective with superior cleaning power
- This pool vacuum will not clean the walls of your Intex pool
- Not suitable for in-ground pools
Don’t let the budget price tag in the Intex Auto Pool Cleaner fool you! You might think that a vacuum for soft-sided pools that is so inexpensive must be garbage, but this is far from the case. I know the idea of buying an automatic vacuum for an Intex pool is so you can walk away and leave it to do the job, but I found myself mesmerized watching this thing! It zoomed back forth, all around and within about an hour I had a sparkling pool with zero fuss.
Intex really took into account the design of their pools when creating this unit. While this vacuum was quick, it still picked up debris and sand and did not sacrifice a quality job for speed. It's one of the best cheap pool vacuum according to many user.
5. Zodiac Ranger automatic suction side pool cleaner
With the Zodiac Ranger, we are back to the creepy-crawly, or Barracuda style of pool cleaner. For those that have trouble assembling new products, you'll be relieved to know that the Zodiac Ranger comes pre-assembled limiting your time spent setting up.
The Zodiac Ranger also features "one-part" technology making this unit incredibly quiet… I'm not going to tell you how many times I double-checked to make sure it was connected correctly and operational; I could barely hear it!
What I Love:
- Easy setup, no tools required
- Unique wheel deflector helps navigate around ladders and steps
- AG Disc allows the Zodiac Ranger to clean the pool bottom, walls and along steps
- Automatically regulates water flow for peak cleaning power
- I thought the Zodiac Ranger automatic pool vacuum was a great unit. It was powerful and effective. My only concern would be that for Intex pools, I think there are other vacuums that are much better suited to their range of soft-sided pools.
6. Intex Handheld Rechargeable pool vacuum
After relaxing with the Zodiac Ranger, I was back in manual labor mode with the Intex Handheld Rechargeable pool vacuum. I must admit that after trying the zippy Water Tech Pool Blaster Max LI at the beginning of the day, I am starting to come around to the idea of manually cleaning. I can see how people would like being in control and enjoy knowing that you’ve done the entire pool without missing an inch. If you like being physically responsible for the cleanliness of your pool, this could just be the best pool vacuum for your Intex pool.
What I Love:
- Comes with two different brush heads for customized cleaning
- 94” telescopic pole included
- Automatic safety shut off if the vacuum goes above the surface of the water
- Durable batteries that can be recharged in just 50mins via a USB cable
- Powerful suction effectively removes dirt and debris of your pool water.
- If your soft-sided pool is larger than 18ft or you’re looking for an automatic pool vacuum, this may not be the product for you.
While I enjoy getting hands-on with my pool cleaning routine, handheld units are not for everyone. I do enjoy not having to connect hoses, and remove air pockets. I do really like that this pool vacuum comes with two brushes that can be easily interchanged. The soft-bristled brush was great at removing a couple of more stubborn marks, and having the control to apply a little extra pressure when necessary help too.
7. Aquabot Pool Rover Robotic Pool Cleaner
Welcome to the new frontier! The Aquabot Pool Rover is just about as high tech as it gets and it seriously looks like something we'd send to the moon.
While it does look space-age, it also has some amazing real-world features to enhance your pool cleaning experience and make light work of pesky debris and dirt.
One of the biggest challenges that an automatic or robotic pool vacuum can face in a soft-sided pool is the ripples in the pool lining. This is not even a blip on the Aquabot Pool Rover’s radar as the non-marring wheels are extra wide; this means that it’s unlikely to get stumped on small-medium ripples.
What I Love:
- A customizable and automatic guidance system.
- The powerful jet-propelled system is highly efficient, completing a 24ft pool in just under one hour.
- Amazing suction that can tackle large leaves and microscopic algae, including an internal filtration system.
- Automatic and low maintenance
The Aquabot Pool Rover keeps all the mess and muck within the unit, meaning less gunk running through your filter. This is a really cool feature that can potentially increase the overall "health" of your Intex pool. Will all of these excellent inclusions and awesome technology though, there has to be a downside right?
- The Aquabot Pool Rover is the heaviest pool vacuum in this list that I’ve personally reviewed. While 27 pounds might not seem like a lot, getting this unit out of the pool after it had been submerged was a little bit of a struggle. For scale, I am 40 years old, 5ft 11" guy of average strength and fitness. I'm sure this won't be a consideration for some people, but I thought it worth mentioning just in case!
Buyer's Guide: Tips On Buying Your First Intex Above Ground Pool Cleaner
To find the best vacuum for your soft sided pool there a few things to consider before you hand over your hard-earned cash. A little bit of thought, and planning will make sure you buy a quality pool vacuum and get the right product for your specific needs. First up is the style of the pool vacuum.
Vacuum Type: Robotic Vs Suction Vs Manual
Vacuums for soft-sided pools like Intex can come in a few different types. The majority of pool vacuums that will suit Intex pools are Robotic, Hand-held or Suction.
1. Robotic Pool vacuums:
Robotic vacuums are at the higher end of the price scale and have internal motors that drive their powerful cleaning. Robotic pool cleaners typically need their own power source, so you might want to check you have a spare electrical socket close to the pool. These pool vacuums operate automatically, move all over the base of your pool grabbing dirt and other icky bits and pieces as it goes.
Some highly recommended robotic pool cleaner include "Aquabot Pool Rover" which is considered the best Intex Above Ground Pool Vacs. It's a four wheel drive unit and has wide tire that should be able to maneuver over various obstacles.
2. Suction Pool vacuums:
Suction vacuums for Intex pools are commonly known as a creepy-crawly or "barracuda" type pool vacuums. You'll recognize this pool vacuum style as it will typically have the big rubber flange that scoots all over the bottom of the pool, sucking up dirt and small debris as it goes. Some suction style vacuums for soft-sided pools will also clean the walls of your pool, as well as the bottom. Most suction vacuums for soft-sided pools get their power from the pool pump and don’t require an external power source.
3. Manual Or hand-held pool vacuum
As the name suggests, hand-held pool vacuum cleaners need you to operate them. This doesn't mean you need to don full scuba gear and get wet while cleaning your soft-sided pool though!
These pool vacuums attach to long poles so that they can be submerged and manually moved about to clean the sides and bottom of your Intex pool. Although you will need some elbow grease for hand-held models, they are a good option for those that have the time and enjoy the satisfaction of keeping their soft-sided pool clean manually.
Some robotic and automatic cleaners can be weighty, so make sure you're comfortable getting the pool vacuum into your pool, and then out against once it’s fully submerged.
Corded Or Cordless Pool Cleaner:
There's a question that I've been asked many times, Is a battery powered cordless cleaner is better than a corded one? So my opinion is that, if you've a very lager above ground pool then I highly recommend a corded pool cleaner because you're going to cover a large surface without any fear of loosing suction power. Plus, a corded unit is also best for handling larger debris, leaves, acorns etc.
On the other hand, if you own a small intex pool then a cordless/battery operated unit will do the right job. Remember, before purchasing a cordless vacuum, consider its charging time and run time.
You wouldn’t buy a Ferrari to enter a bicycle race, and not everyone will need to fastest, most expensive pool vacuum for their Intex pool. There’s no point buying the biggest machine on the market if your pool is on the smaller end of the scale; and on the other side of the coin, if your pool is one of the large Intex models, you are going to need a pool vacuum that can cope with the workload of a larger pool.
Most of the intex pool vacuum will have recommendations and specifications regarding pool size and what type of workload the pool vacuum can handle. Always take into consideration the manufacturer's recommendations here.
The size of your pool will also impact the length of hose you require for your pool vacuum cleaner to reach all edges of your intex pool. If the pool vacuum that you're considering has an external power cord, you best get out your tape measure and make sure your power cord will reach the nearest electrical socket also!
Set Up And Maintenance:
Modern technology has made the best vacuum for soft sided pools easy to install and setup; most have a real “plug in and go” type of feel and are ready to go in just a few minutes.
Take some time to look at how the unit needs to be installed, connected and set up. Robotic units can be heavier than the creepy crawly style, while handheld units might need time to charge batteries.
The Performance Of The Pool Cleaner:
You want to ensure that the pool cleaner has the ability to cover maximum space of your easy set pool. There are few models that never can get into the tricky corners and consequently fail to clean the entire pool. In this respect, you should consider the size of the pool cleaner. A small pool cleaner would be able to cover tight spaces and corners pretty easily than a bigger one.
If you like to have a robotic pool cleaner for your intex above ground pool, then make sure that it can actually climbs walls and steps. I found that pool cleaner with rubber tires going to grip to the bottom and the sides of your pool. Also look for the unit with high quality brushes. These brushes are really going to help scrub the sides, steps and bottom of your pool.
To know about all these things, I highly recommend to check the specifications and read users reviews before investing in any particular pool cleaner.
Lightweight And User Friendliness:
Make sure that, the pool cleaner is lightweight. The reason behind this, a heavyweight unit can significantly damage your pool liner. Remember, these liners are made of triple-ply polymer which is very sensitive.However, the good news is that, the Intex makes few vacuum cleaners that designed to work with their pools. Like- Intex Auto Pool Cleaner.
A lightweight pool cleaner is also user friendly. It's going to be a lot easier to your back to pull it in and out of the pool water.
The Best Way To Vacuum Your Intex Pool
Before you break out your awesome new pool vacuum, remove large muck such as bugs, leaves and bark from the surface with a skimmer or pool rake. You’ll also want to give the entire Intex pool a good visual going over, looking for any toys or larger debris that might be resting on the bottom and obstruct your vacuum.
Whichever model of pool vacuum you decide to purchase for your soft-sided pool, the manufacturers really are the experts. They have built and designed the pool vacuum; it stands to reason they will be the most knowledgeable when it comes to using the vacuum to clean your Intex pool.
Always be sure to read the instructions made by the manufacturer. By following their recommendations and guidelines you will avoid unintentionally damaging your pool vacuum and Intex pool. But here are some general tips and tricks to get the best results from your vacuum for soft-sided pools.
- You should aim to vacuum your pool each week. While your pool may look clean, vacuuming removes microscopic algae and spores from the water.
- If your automatic pool vacuum is losing suction, there could be air in the hose. Fill the vacuum hose with pool water before turning it on to remove the air.
- Check your Intex pool lining for large ripples. Most automatic cleaners will be able to navigate small bumps, but large ripples will affect the performance of your pool vacuum.
You can also watch the following video on how to vacuum intex pool with easy step-by-step process:
Final Verdict On Best Intex Pool Vacuum
All things considered, for my Intex pool, I had to pick two and the only reason I would choose one over the other is price. For my money, I’ll be getting the Water Tech Pool Blaster Max LI. It’s easily my first choice because I just couldn’t get past how easy it is to use. After lugging around a huge long hose the previous summer, connecting various connections and priming the filter and backwashing, etc, etc! The Water Tech Pool Blaster Max LI just switches on and away you go.
I can't leave without giving a close second place to the Intex Auto Pool Cleaner. If your budget is tight, this best Intex pool cleaner will give you great value for money, and great results.