Automatic pool cleaner to catch surface leaves


New member
Jul 15, 2010

I'm a pool novice. My mom's pool gets tons of pine needles and other brush from neighbor's trees - can't do anything about them (neighbors have been uncooperative). When my dad was alive, he'd go out every day and pull 6 or 7 full handfuls of pine needles and other leaves out of the "collector", or whatever the part where the filter inlet (suction) is called. Surface velocity causes all the leaves to float towards the inlet. But during the winter, the pool gets enough leaves to fill one or two grocery sacks every day.

I've seen some ads for some cheap pool cleaners that have a "sock" and float on the surface, using venturi action to get leaves to flow into the sock. But these socks seem small and would fill up too quickly. My mom can't bend down to change socks or remove leaves from the pool - or use a skimmer.

Do any of the robotic pool cleaners handle a high volume of surface leaves? I don't know much about any of them, but it seems to me that a machine crawling along the bottom of a pool wouldn't catch much of the surface leaves.

Any advice, anyone?




Well-known member
Oct 17, 2009
WoyWoy Australia
Hi my only idea is if winter is the worst time for the leaves and the pool is not used much then maybe a pool cover which you could remove the leaves with a rake or broom every few days ? . good luck with it .


LifeTime Supporter
Aug 20, 2009
North Central Texas
All of my leaves "solutions" require bending down. I'm in heavy woods with high winds and it seems the pool catches the whole forest. At times in the fall I have to empty the TWO Pool Skim bags, the skimmer basket, and the leaf bag on Polaris 280 cleaner many, many times a day. The Pool Skim bags and the Leaf Bags for Polaris hold a good sized amount of plant leaves and debris. Without the Pool Skims my skimmer fills up with leaves in about 5 minutes.

I'm saving my money up for a loop lock safety cover for this fall; late October through end of March debris. The Polaris pressure cleaner is about the easiest to deal with in terms of taking out of pool to clean bag as it is the one of the lightest cleaners. You can then set it up on a bench to take the bag off to clean. BTW.... when using the Polaris for fall leaves I empty the bags, 6, several times a day, that's about 18 bag fulls AND that doesn't include the leaves that are caught on the surface by the TWO Pool Skims, that have to be emptied several times a day when we have so much debris.

I still use one Pool Skim, during "cleaner" times like right now to catch floating debris.

The upper level Robotic cleaners are really heavy when filled with leaves and water (AND when empty!!!). One needs a good, strong, healthy back to use them. But if the pool does not have a deep end one might get away with a lighter version. With many of the robots there are two or three levels of filtration of bags. The finer the bag the finer the debris that is filtered out. They are about medium, in all pool cleaners's comparison, at capturing leaves.

As mentioned above, if fall and winter are the main time leaf capture is needed, I think. in the long run, a good safety cover would be the best.

If you want advice for swimming season then that should be a different discussion. A very good friend of mine can't bend down either. She has tremendous amounts of juniper "needles" year round, with frequent high winds also. Currently we have her set up with a Polaris 280 with several bags (so she can take one off and put a fresh one on all at the same time and then let the dirty bag dry before cleaning), one Pool Skim, and two skimmers with skimmer socks. She uses a broom handle, with a round "hook" screwed into the end, to fish out the Polaris by the hose. She has a pool guy who comes once or twice a week; sometimes even three times to empty the skimmer socks and Pool Skim bag. Other times I empty them when I can get there or occasionally a friend or family member will do it for her. Having the Pool Skim helps a lot as it holds much more than the skimmer baskets and the Polaris picks up a great deal of the juniper trash that doesn't make it to the skimmers and Pool Skim.

Hope this helps some.