UPDATED: Nov 1, 2019.
Maintaining an inground pool can often be a tough and time-consuming job for most homeowners. Investing in an inground pool cleaner can not only help save you money on pool maintenance but also means fewer chemicals in your pool water and more time spent in the pool than out of it.
The best-rated handheld pool cleaners offer effective cleaning power that makes quick work of small and large-sized debris. The best models come with advancement automated features that can make pool maintenance a breeze and keep your pool water sparkling clean all season long.
When investing in pool equipment you have to be smart and understand your pool cleaning needs. For an inground pool, having a pool cleaner that can get around obstacles and comes with features like wall climbing and scrubbing options are more effective than those without.
Your budget is also important and that is why the pool cleaners featured in this list are all under $500.
The 9 Best Inground Pool Cleaner Reviews
To help you decide on what pool cleaner to choose, from the ton of options available in the market, we have narrowed the list down to the 9 best inground pool cleaners for under $500.
These pool cleaners are not only durable, effective and efficient but provide the most value for the money.
1. XtremepowerUS Automatic Suction Vacuum-generic Climb Wall Pool Cleaner
The XtremepowerUS Automatic Suction has made its way through the top of suction pool cleaners. Sitting way under $500, this unit is packed with some great features and top-quality performance.
This pool cleaner is as simple as it can get. It is easy to install and use without the need for an electrical port which means no wires to untangle. No extra tools mean no additional costs attached to this unit.
This unit can clean pools up to 30” ft. of any shape and surface but does not have to climb walls. Even with its limitations users highly recommend this suction pool cleaner. It does a great job at sucking up debris and for the price, it is simply a must-have piece of pool equipment.
- #1 Best Seller in ‘Suction Pool Cleaners’
- Versatile – Cleans any inground pool shape/size
- Doesn’t require extra tools
- No electrical port needed
- Great value for the money
- Easy one-man installation
- Picks up on fine dirt
- Does not climb pool stairs
- Requires maintenance
2. Polaris Vac-Sweep 280 Pressure Side Pool Cleaner
The Polaris 280 is a modernized, lightweight, pressure-side pool cleaner. It comes with a 31” long hose that rarely gets tangled up. A tail-sweep attached at the back of the unit helps in reaching tight spots that are otherwise hard to reach.
Pressure side pool cleaners use your existing pressure pump to propel water and allow them to float and move underwater.
The Polaris Vac-Sweep requires an additional booster pump that throws high-pressure flow of water and is installed alongside your existing pool pump for optimal performance.
The large capacity trash bag holds a great volume of debris before it requires emptying. For the money, this unit provides exceptional performance and is a popular choice if you are in need of a suction cleaner to suck up large pieces of debris and remove sand from the bottom of pool floors.
- Amazon’s choice for ‘Polaris 280’
- Easily picks on both large and fine dirt
- Has a significantly large trash bag
- High-pressure suction
- Replacement parts are easy to get
- User guide included
- Does not climb steps
- Relies on your existing pressure pump for power
- Requires a separate booster pump
3. Dolphin Nautilus CC Plus Automatic Robotic Pool Cleaner
The Dolphin Nautilus CC Plus has everything the Nautilus CC has but just better and bigger. Its cleaning technology maps out your pool for the fastest route to clean avoiding random movement and obstacles on its way.
A standard cleaning cycle can last up to 3 hours which includes cleaning the floor and walls. This unit has a slightly longer cable than the original Nautilus CC but thanks to the swivel cable it doesn’t tangle up while doing its runs.
The Nautilus CC Plus is fully automated with a programmable weekly scheduler and requires zero supervision when operational. This is a great bot for large and standard-sized inground pools and worth every money for the time, energy and money it helps you save.
- Amazon’s choice for ‘dolphin pool cleaner’
- Swivel cable prevents the wire from tangling
- Does not require your supervision
- Ideal for a large pool – up to 50 ft.
- Long power cord
- Larger filter
- Smart cleaning technology
- Requires frequent cleaning and maintenance
4. VINGLI Automatic Pool Cleaner in-Ground Suction-Side Vacuum
This compact yet effective pool cleaner has all the appropriate features its competitors have and is capable enough to sweep through any type of pool surface. This unit is easy to assemble, use and store.
Its smart cleaning enables it to remove dirt, hair, sand and other waste from the pool floor. To extend your reach additional hoses can be bought free of cost. These hoses are scuff-resistant and prevent air leakages so they are of fairly good quality.
For the price, this standard VINGLI pool cleaner offers similar performance to more high-end pool cleaners. It requires no additional tools so this is all you have to pay to get the job done.
- Reasonable priced
- Great quality for the money
- Easy assembly and operation
- Quieter than most other pool cleaners
- Versatile in terms of the shape and surface of pools it can be used for
- Requires frequent maintenance
- The unit might get stuck in corners
- No climbing ability
5. Zodiac MX6 In-Ground Suction Side Pool Cleaner
The Zodiac MX6 is easy to set up and comes with all the necessary attachments you need to keep your pool water clean and fresh.
This suction side pool cleaner uses your existing pump and filtration system to draw energy and its performance is dependant on the condition and power of your existing system.
Designed to be small and compact, the MX6 pool cleaner is ideal for a 30” ft. pool. Since it’s lightweight it’s easy to transport and takes up very little storage space.
The Zodiac has a single turbine blade that helps the bot aggressively clean floors as well as the walls removing built-up dirt, algae, and other contaminants. The swiveling hose is shorter than most other models but helps prevent entangling.
A little under $500, the MX6 is a more affordable option within the series.
- Comes with variable speed levels
- Powerful suction
- Dual turbines for aggressive cleaning
- Easy to assemble and use
- Has the ability to climb walls
- For smaller pools
- Limited warranty
6. Zodiac Baracuda G3 Kit
The Baracuda G3 is a convenient, powerful and cost-friendly pool cleaner. Its compact design allows easy transportation and takes little storage space. Since it works well with low-speed pumps it is quite a popular choice for its silent operation and effective results.
This pool cleaner can easily climb walls and even ladders so you don’t really have to move it around too much. It comes with only one moving part so maintenance is a breeze, however, the machine requires regular cleaning for it to work at optimal performance.
The Zodiac Baracuda comes with a scuff-resistance disc which helps protect the surface of the pool from any scruff or damage. The Zodiac Baracuda is ideal if you are seeking a pool cleaner to suck up finer debris, dirt, and contaminants from your pool water.
- Comes with an additional finned disc
- Easily reaches tight corners
- Powerful for its size
- Works well with low-speed pumps
- Quiet operation
- Large debris like leaves can be a problem
- Regular maintenance is required
7. Intex Auto Pool Cleaner
Intex has made inroads into the pool industry over the years and now is a well-known brand for pool products and equipment. Intex produces some of the best above-ground pool cleaners that are in-expensive and effective like the Intex Auto Pool Cleaner.
It is designed for pools of 24 ft or less and comes with its standard hose size which fits perfectly into an existing filtration system. However, please know that this pool cleaner only works with Intex pools.
The cleaner is fully automated; it does a great job at cleaning without any supervision just make sure the surface of your pool is not wrinkled.
- Works with all Intex pools with the same hose attachment
- Replacement parts are easily available
- Provides fast and efficient cleaning
- Easy installation
- Compact design
- Not suitable for in-ground pools
- Only works with Intex pools
- Works well on smooth surfaces
8. Dolphin Triton PS Automatic Robotic Pool Cleaner
The Triton PS Automatic Cleaner is perhaps Dolphin’s best pool cleaner on the market today. Thanks to its PowerStream technology the unit is able to maintain a constant grip on vertices surfaces and is able to clean the pool up till the waterline.
Its active brushes ensure even the most aggressive dirt is swept off the surface of the pool leaving it sparkling clean. Its extra-large filter basket is located on the top of the unit making it easy to reach and clean.
A great all-purpose robotic pool cleaner ideal for a large-sized inground pool.
- Amazon’s choice for ‘dolphin triton ps’
- Powerful grip on vertical surfaces
- Top lead basket is easily accessible
- Extra-large filter basket
- Quick energy-efficient 2-hour operation time
- Programmable weekly scheduler
- Ideal for large-side inground pools
- Dual brushes
- Pricier than comparable options
- Some issues with cord entanglements
9. Pentair 360100 Kreepy Krauly Lil Shark
The Pentair Kreepy Krauly line of pool cleaners generally have fun designs that look cool in any pool. This Lil Shark model is equipped with nylon bristles for teeth that scrub of built-up dirt and debris.
Kreepy Krauly is also super easy to use and requires no assembly. Simply plug the cleaner to the hose and you are ready to start cleaning your pool. This Pentair pool cleaner has only one moving part and is built to be durable and long-lasting.
A small compact pool cleaner that works great for above ground pools and requires little supervision when operational. Plus, for the price, you will be hard pressed to find a better quality pool cleaner for your small-sized above ground pool.
- Good value for money
- Cool design especially entertaining for kids
- Easy to use and requires no assembly
- Nylon bristles for scrubbing pool floor
- Programmable automated cleaning modes
- Lightweight and portable
- Relies completely on your existing pool pump and filtration system
- Not recommended for inground pools
Suction Pool Cleaner vs. Pressure Side Pool Cleaner vs. Robotic Pool Cleaner
They are three types of pool cleaners that can be used to keep your inground pool clean and fresh all season long without you having to resort to heavy chemicals and tireless hours of sweeping and scrubbing.
Suction pool cleaners connect to your existing suction pump and filtration system to suck up pool water and filter out any form of debris, contaminant, sand or dust that may have ended up in your pool water.
Pressure side pool cleaners connect to the pressure-side of your existing pool system but do not rely on its filtration. Some pressure side pool cleaners require an additional booster pump to help propel it underwater.
Robotic pool cleaners work on electricity and do not rely on your existing pool system. They are equipped with their own filters and suction motors that help it deal with all types of contaminants and debris.
When it comes to deciding between the three often the best choice is a robotic pool cleaner as it has the ability to do so much more and requires zero supervision. However, these bots can be quite expensive and unnecessary or ineffective for your pool cleaning needs.
Regardless of what pool cleaner you decide on choosing always remember to choose one not for the features but rather the core benefits the product offers you in particular. The right pool cleaner for your inground pool can mean less time-spent maintaining the pool and more time spent enjoying its clean and refreshing waters.
All of the nine best pool cleaners reviewed offer the best value for the money in terms of quality, durability, practicality, and versatility and fall under $500 which makes them quite affordable options for homeowners in particular.