Above ground automatic pool cleaners


LifeTime Supporter
Apr 5, 2007
Joliet, Il.
Hi all,

I have an above ground pool with a vinyl liner. I use a combination of my hand vacuum, soft scrub brush and a Hayward Aqua-Bug.

What advantages do the other automatic cleaners have over this relatively cheap ($99.00) vacuum from Hayward. It seems to do a decent job...but I was wondering what the better cleaners have to offer.



Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
In The Industry
Apr 1, 2007
Sebring, Florida
Hi, Dan,

I've been learning (thru trial and error...mostly error) about pool cleaners. There seems to be a reasonably direct correlation between price and "cleaning horse power".

I purchased a relatively inexpensive suction-side cleaner (sta-rite pool shark) and it just doesn't have enough "oomph" to do a good job on my large pool. It meanders around just fine but takes forever to do a good job. It is clearly overwhelmed by my pool.

So, this is just speculation and logic, but it seems the more you pay, the more capacity you get. I am in need of a small commercial robotic but the price tags on them may dictate that "sharkie" will need to wander around in my pool for another season. He's in way over his head :lol: but at least he doesn't whine like my kids would do.


Apr 4, 2007
I was thinking about posting the same question. I have the aquabug too....her name is "Bugsy". I like her fine, but often get into the pool with her and "steer" her where she needs to go. It takes alot of time, but i usually just leave her on while i run to the store, and then finish up the areas she missed with a manual vacuum. Also, if it is windy, she will not cover the whole pool very well. I do not plan on upgrading anytime soon though!


Well-known member
Mar 27, 2007
Morris, IL
I only have an 18' round pool, so it is very doable for me from just walking around inside of it, although it does take around a half hour, I have to walk VERY slowly, but I find it relaxing. If I had a larger pool I would definately want an automatic vac. Eventually I will more than likely want one anyhow just out of pure laziness.


LifeTime Supporter
Apr 5, 2007
Joliet, Il.
Thanks for sharing your experience duraleigh. I'm currently not in the market for a new cleaner...but I'll keep your suggestion in mind in the future.

Right now...with my 21' pool I haven't had any problems with my Aqua-Bug. But I'm not sure how long it will last either??? I can't remember if it had trouble in windy conditions or not? I'll have to take notice this year. Most times I'll throw the Bug in early in the morning before I run my errands.

Sevver, I used to think the same way about cleaning my pool by hand. In fact...the Aqua-Bug came with my pool "kit", but I could have returned it for a $99.00 in store credit. Which I almost did...then I decided I would just give it a try. I was pleasantly surprised at what a nice job it had done. I still brush the sides and do regular maintenance on the pool. But the Bug frees my hands up a bit...so to speak ;)

thanks all!


TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Apr 8, 2007
Waaay NW MN
Well, I've got the Lil Shark too and while it worked wonderfully on our 18' round, it really only does OK on our bigger pool. It would be nice to have something that can really do the job without having to "persuade" it to get all the areas the first time. It seems like it really does have to work a long time to cover the whole area even OK.

So, if we figure the AquaBugs and Lil Sharks to be Level I automatic cleaners, wondering whats the best bang for the buck the next level up? I would love a big Pool Rover or other robotic cleaner, but it seems like there are so many other cha-ching items to scrape together for right now....


LifeTime Supporter
Apr 30, 2007
Fort Worth, Texas
I just may bite the bullet and get the Aquabot Pool Rover Jr tomorrow, I checked the parts list and the Jr, regular Rover and ThunderJet all use the same motor A6005 PUMP MOTOR (Pool Rover Junior; Pool Rover; ThunderJet AG) Hey wether it works or not it looks pretty cool in the water tooling around :lol: One of the pool places had one going today and I liked the little thing. I do believe it will save some money on water usage as I spent one hour today cleaning the bottom of the pool in the waste mode while I was adding water at the same time :cry: Someone just tell me to buy it and I will :p