If you have a pool that’s surrounded by trees, you’re probably well aware of how quickly the water fills with leaves. Enter the best pool cleaners for leaves, which are designed to work well with the specific size, surface, and type of pool you have, whether you have an above- or in-ground style. The ideal method for your pool will also meet your needs in terms of cleaning (do you want to spot clean or empty the pool of leaves and grime?) and the level of manual labor it requires from you.
Before you pick the best pool cleaner to remove leaves from your pool, there are a few questions you’ll have to answer:
What Kind Of Pool Do You Have?
Above- and in-ground pools have different kinds of pumps, filter sizes, and flow rates, so if you’re considering a pool vacuum to suck up leaves, start by figuring out the right cleaner for your system. Each model specifies which kind of pool they’re for, so be sure to check the details as you shop. It’s also important to keep the length or diameter of your pool in mind so you pick a cleaner with a hose that’s long enough for you.
What Type Of Pool Cleaner Do You Need?
Pool cleaners come in many shapes and styles, so here are the most common options you’ll have to choose from:
- Pool skimmers feature a mesh net at the end of a pole. This is the most hands-on option and may not be ideal if you have a lot of leaves, but can be great for cleaning stray leaves quickly.
- Manual pool vacuums connect to a standard garden hose to provide suction and don’t need to connect to a pool’s filtration system. They have a vacuum head at the end of a long pole that can be pushed along the edges and floor of the pool, but you have to move it yourself. Debris is deposited into a separate bag that needs to be emptied as well.
- Pressure-side vacuums can attach to the pool’s return line or use water pressure from the pool’s filtration system to move around on their own. Debris is collected in a separate bag and won’t clog the pool’s filter. They typically have wheels, a sweep hose that loosens debris from the pool’s bottom, and a hose for attachment to the return line or filter. Depending on the model, they might require a separate booster pump.
- Suction-side pool vacuums attach to the pool’s skimmer and use suction from the filter to move on their own while vacuuming debris. They don’t require any additional pumps but also rely on the pool’s filter to catch the debris (no separate bags to empty). However, if the filter fills up with leaves, the suction can slow down, so it might need to be cleaned out through the vacuuming process.
- Robotic vacuums run on their own using electricity or battery power, cleaning the entire bottom of the pool and sometimes even the pool walls. Some even have a programmable timer, so all you have to do is empty the debris bag or cartridge. This is a convenient option but can be the most expensive.
Finally, if you’re looking for an extra preventative measure so you don’t have to clean leaves as much to begin with, a net will help keep leaves out of your pool. Leaf nets can be attached over a winter pool cover or be placed over an open pool when not in use to catch leaves before they hit the water.
From manual skimmers to robotic vacuums, take a look at some of the best pool cleaners for leaves on Amazon to remove debris and give you crystal clear water.
1. A Highly Rated Robotic Vacuum For In-Ground Pools
Recommended pool size: Up to 50 feet | Pool type: In-ground | Pool shape: Rectangular, oval, kidney, free shapes | Pool surface: All types | Extras needed: None | Weight: 19 pounds
This robotic pool cleaner might be a splurge, but if you’d like to have the walls and bottom of your in-ground pool scrubbed in less than two hours with just the touch of a button, then this is the vacuum for you. The pool cleaner has a 60-foot cable and it can cover up to 50 feet of pool. There are two easily accessible filters — one for leaves and debris, and another for sand, silt, and pollen — so your pool is left spotless, with no leaf clogs. It will clean some algae, too. The robotic vacuum connects to a power supply box which plugs into an outlet, so you don’t need any other equipment, and it promises to be up to 90% more energy-efficient than suction and pressure cleaners. Plus, the Dolphin is designed to navigate around obstacles and choose the most efficient path. And with a convenient handle, it’s manageable to set up and remove from the water. It’s recommended to take the vacuum out of the pool after each use and empty and rinse the filters (which reviewers say is easy to do).
More than 8,000 reviewers have given the Dolphin an overall 4.5-star rating, with several pool owners praising the robot’s ability to handle leaves even after hurricanes and tropical storms. Also great: You can choose from three scheduled cleaning settings to effortlessly maintain pristine pool water. A Wi-Fi-enabled model is also available.
Helpful Amazon review: “My pool was a mess of branches and leaves. I skimmed what I could then dropped my Dolphin in and wished it luck. Wow. It was amazing. [...] I love my Dolphin and recommend it to anyone that doesn’t want to spend hours pushing a vacuum pole around their pool.”
2. An Affordable Battery-Operated Robotic Vacuum For All Pool Types
Recommended pool size: Up to 860 square feet or up to 6.6 feet deep | Pool type: In-ground or above-ground | Pool shape: All shapes | Pool surface: Concrete, fiberglass, vinyl liner | Extras needed: None | Weight: 12.1 pounds
If you want a robotic pool cleaner but don’t have an accessible outlet (or have an above-ground pool), take a look at the PAXCESS cordless robotic vacuum. After four to six hours for a full charge, it will run for up to 90 minutes. When the battery is low or it’s done cleaning, the vacuum auto docks to the edge of the pool. This robot won’t clean pool walls, but its bottom brush and two suction doors leave in- and above-ground pool floors sparkling. Plus, the reusable filter tray collects fine debris and leaves. It’s safe for all pool surfaces with a maximum water depth of 6.6 feet, and you can adjust its nozzles to control the robot’s moving route along your pool floor.
There’s no extra equipment needed and the PAXCESS comes with a two-year warranty. However, this vacuum won’t clean walls or remove algae.
Helpful Amazon review: “I have 3 Live Oak trees shading my pool and this time of year, they shed their leaves and this goes on for 6 to 8 weeks before they are leafless. The pool needs to be cleaned everyday because the leaves get waterlogged and settle to the bottom. This pool vacuum has proven it can handle this daily cleaning regimen perfectly. So far, I am very pleased with this device and look forward to a pool 'leaf-free' through the fall and winter.”
3. The Fan-Favorite Pool Skimmer With A Lifetime Replacement Guarantee
Recommended pool size: Any size | Pool type: In-ground and above-ground | Pool shape: Rectangular, oval, kidney, free shapes | Pool surface: All types | Extras needed: A standard size telescoping pole (not included) | Weight: 1.25 pounds
Over 6,000 reviewers have given the ProTuff pool skimmer a stellar 4.7-star overall rating, and it’s easy to see why. The 19.5-inch wide skimmer connects to a telescoping pole (sold separately) and has an easy glide scoop front that can collect a lot of leaves in every swipe. And with the double-stitched nylon bag that can hold up to 50 pounds of debris, you can empty it out less often. The strong aluminum alloy frame won’t bend or break, but if anything does happen to the skimmer, ProTuff offers a lifetime warranty (and according to reviewers, they stand by this). Fans rave that the ProTuff is sturdy and can easily handle heavy jobs.
While this pool skimmer is ideal for most, it also comes in a 23-inch size if you need a bigger net. Both sizes of skimmer are great for gathering leaves or debris on the water’s surface or at the bottom of the pool, but if you want to collect silt or smaller particles, the brand also sells a 17-inch silt rake which you can buy bundled with either size of the skimmer.
Helpful Amazon review: “We had a MASSIVE wind storm a few nights ago and most of a flowering bush ended up in my pool. It would have taken many trips back and forth to the trash bin, and swapping between my rake and skimmer, to be able to get most of the leaves and [petals] out of the pool. Fortunately I had the ProTuff pool net ready. This thing held so much debris it was hard to lift out of the water. Two trips and I was able to rake stuff up that had sunk to the bottom without switching tools. I'm thrilled.”
4. A Manual Vacuum Head For Picking Up Large Leaves In Any Pool
Recommended pool size: Any size | Pool type: In-ground and above-ground | Pool shape: All shapes | Pool surface: All types | Extras needed: A standard garden hose and a standard 1.25-inch pool pole | Weight: 1.82 pounds
Whether you’re cleaning the leaves from the bottom of your pool or skimming the top, this manual leaf vacuum will do the trick. Just hook it up to your garden hose, attach a standard metal pole, and push the vacuum around your in- or above-ground pool like you would an indoor vacuum. Measuring 15 inches with a center bottom opening and eight high-pressure water jets, the leaves you suck up are deposited into the reusable leaf bag that must be emptied when full. Plus, there are four multi-directional wheels so you can easily maneuver the vacuum along the pool floor.
Reviewers report that setup is simple and the vacuum can be used immediately, though they note it’s not helpful for removing algae. This Poolmaster model is specially designed to remove large leaves and debris, but if you’re looking to pick up silt or finer particles, this model is recommended.
Helpful Amazon review: “My pool sits next to 3 humongous maple trees - I mean they have to be 60+ years old. You have NO idea the turmoil I go through on a daily basis to keep my 18' above ground pool clean. I was using my pool vacuum and skimmer to get the leaves, "helicopters", debris, etc out but it was massively time consuming. I bought the Big Sucker and literally had all the leaves and debris cleaned up in 5 minutes. Then I vacuumed up dirt/sand, and had a pool party. If you have trees above/around your pool, this thing is a LIFE SAVER and so easy to use.”
5. A Manual Vacuum With A Pole For Above-Ground Pools
Recommended pool size: Up to 4 feet deep | Pool type: Above-ground | Pool shape: All shapes | Pool surface: All types | Extras needed: A standard garden hose | Weight: 1.2 pounds
A 48-inch pole is included with this manual vacuum for above-ground pools, so all you need is a garden hose to start cleaning leaves in pools up to 4 feet deep. The vacuum pulls dirt and debris into its easily removable mesh bag and can be used to scrub your pool’s bottom and sides. Just make sure to completely submerge the vacuum before using it, or water will spray everywhere. Also, keep in mind, this vacuum isn’t recommended for removing algae.
Helpful Amazon review: “Most pool sweepers don't come with a pole! This one does and is so simple to use! I just used it for the first time on our 12'x36" index pool and it did an awesome job! It sucked up everything from the bottom even huge leaves from our oak trees! Great product and great price!! Would recommend to anyone with an above ground pool!”
6. A Pressure-Side Cleaner For In-Ground Pools
Recommended pool size: Any size | Pool type: In-ground | Pool shape: All shapes | Pool surface: All surfaces including vinyl, fiberglass, gunite, pebble, and tile | Extras needed: A booster pump | Weight: 6.2 pounds
The Polaris Vac-Sweep 280 sweeps, scrubs, and vacuums your in-ground pool’s walls and floors in three hours or less. The dual jets deliver strong suction power, while the 2.25-inch inlet valve picks up large debris and leaves in a separate filter bag. And trailing behind the vacuum is a 31-foot sweep hose that can reach steps and other tight corners. One fan was pleasantly surprised by the vacuum and how its filter bag is “easy to remove and clean.” Several reviewers also note this vacuum helps with algae prevention.
Helpful Amazon review: “It's been running every day for a couple of hours and keeps our 25,000 gallon pool completely clean, which is a tough job because we have an overhanging sycamore tree that is dumping leaves and seeds on a daily basis during the fall.”
7. A Pressure-Side Cleaner For Above-Ground Pools
Recommended pool size: Up to 5 feet deep | Pool type: Above-ground | Pool shape: Up to 24 feet round | Pool surface: Vinyl, fiberglass | Extras needed: None | Weight: 13.94 pounds
The Polaris Vac-Sweep 65 will vacuum the bottom of your above-ground pool and sweep its sides in three hours or less. This vacuum doesn’t require any booster pumps and is powered by the water pressure coming in from the pool’s return line. The unit skims along the top of the water, while the connected 24-foot hose below directs jets of water to the pool floor, loosening debris. Leaves and sticks are collected by a separate filter bag, which keeps the pool’s filter clog-free. The Polaris also distributes filtered water throughout as it cleans in a random pattern, keeping the pool clear and clean. Reviewers love the easy setup and the way this vacuum prevents algae and picks up leaves and large debris, but advise that this model may not be the best for silt, sand, or other particles.
Helpful Amazon review: “We have a 21' above ground pool. The Polaris Vac Sweep works very well at keeping leaves and other debris out of our pool. It also circulates from the bottom which helps keep the pool chemicals stirred to prevent algae buildup.”
8. A Suction-Side Cleaner Reviewers Love
Recommended pool size: Any size | Pool type: In-ground and above-ground | Pool shape: All shapes | Pool surface: Concrete, tile, vinyl, fiberglass | Extras needed: Reviewers recommend the Zodiac Leaf Catcher Canister | Weight: 6.54 pounds
With its rugged track design and sturdy casing, it’s easy to see why reviewers affectionately refer to the Zodiac suction-side cleaner as “the little tank.” It vacuums in-ground and above-ground pool floors with cyclonic suction, climbs and scrubs pool walls with articulating turbine blades, and even skims debris from the waterline, driven by its programmable navigation. Connecting to your pool’s skimmer or 1.5-inch vacuum line, the Zodiac uses your pool’s filtration system to collect debris, or you could hook up the Zodiac Leaf Catcher Canister attachment, which traps big leaves without clogging the skimmer basket. Built with a low-flow design for pools with variable speed pumps, this vacuum promises to use less energy while delivering a deep pool clean, and its 32-foot hose gives it plenty of reach. Reviewers report that assembly is easy, but don’t recommend this cleaner for algae.
Helpful Amazon review: “After researching all types of pool cleaning devices. I chose this one. It turned out to be a great choice! It is reasonably priced, already assembled. All you have to do is hook up the hoses. Submerge it and turn on the pump. It moves very fast in a random pattern. No problem climbing the pool walls and stairs. My pool is 30 feet long. It cleaned the entire surface in an hour! Now I don’t have to worry about brushing my pool anymore. I maintain the chemicals and the pool is always crystal clear with no leaves.”
9. A Suction-Side Cleaner For Above-Ground Pools
Recommended pool size: Any size | Pool type: Above-ground | Pool shape: All shapes | Pool surface: All types | Extras needed: None | Weight: 13.8 pounds
The Pentair Kreepy Krauly attaches to your above-ground pool’s skimmer line and vacuums the pool floor with a steady cleaning speed regulated by an internal skimming valve. Its flapper is the one operational moving part that spins, loosens debris, sucks it up, and transports it to your pool’s filter, which might need to be unclogged occasionally if there are a lot of leaves getting picked up. The vacuum has a 32-foot hose and moves in a random pattern so the entire pool floor is thoroughly covered. One reviewer even had some wrinkles in their pool liner and found the Pentair moved over them easily and did a “wonderful job of cleaning.” Other reviews also note the vacuum is good for picking up loose algae.
Helpful Amazon review: “I have had many of these suction side Pool Vacuums in the past 15 years. Out of all of them this one is easy to maintain and seems to be made of robust materials. It does not get stuck on ladders and most of all it doesn't get leaves caught in the inlet causing it to stall. I have not had to pull it up to clear the inlet for any reason yet. The in line regulator allows me to hook it up directly to a secondary suction line I installed for easy hookup and storage. I can turn on the valve to full flow and the unit runs constantly. It comes with everything you will need to hook up to the pool side strainer. There is a diverter that comes with it to prevent the return water from pushing the hose around, but I have not had to use it.”
You May Also Like: A Leaf Net For In-Ground Pools
Sizes: 18 x 36 feet (featured), 30 x 50 feet
Catch leaves above your pool in any season with this leaf net for in-ground pools. Made of a durable woven polyethylene and a black mesh fabric, it can fit over an 18 by 36-foot pool, or you can pick up a 30-by-50-foot size version — each comes with 4 feet of overlap. This leaf net comes with a heavy-duty cable and winch tightener for easy installation over pools in warm weather or cold (there are water tube loops for a secure fit over winter pool covers).
Helpful Amazon review: “I only use the net for about 4 weeks every year - after the first frost when the leaves are falling. In Texas, we do not winterize the pools, so this is great when the leaves from our neighbors' trees and falling and blowing into our yard. Easy to secure with the water-filled tubes to keep the net in place.”
You May Also Like: A Leaf Net For Above-Ground Pools
Size: 18 feet round
Catch leaves before they hit the water with this leaf net for above-ground pools. It’s made of a durable woven polyethylene and a black mesh fabric that’s 18 feet around, giving you 3 feet of overlap to fit around most pool tops or covers. Attach with the included heavy-duty cable and winch tightener, and you have an extra preventative measure to keep leaves out all year long.
Helpful Amazon review: “I have used this net now for 2 winters over top of the pool cover. When you remove the net in the spring, all of the leaves and sticks come off with it. Works perfectly and seems very durable. I expect it to last at least a few more years.”