Algae is the last thing you want in your pool. However, algae will grow anywhere there are sunlight, stagnation, and nutrients like phosphates and nitrates. So, how can you remove algae from your pool?
The best way is preventative maintenance, but you can still remove algae once it’s bloomed in your pool. We’ve reviewed the best pool cleaners for algae, and we cover the details below.
Our Top 5 Pool Cleaners For Algae
- Dolphin Nautilus CC Plus
- The Polaris P825 Sport Robotic Pool Cleaner
- Poolvio Triangular Pool Vacuum
- XtremepowerUS Premium Automatic Suction Vacuum
- Zodiac MX6 Automatic Suction-Side Pool Cleaner Vacuum
- Pool Blaster Max Cordless Pool Vacuum for Deep Cleaning
Pool Cleaners for Algae Compared
Best Overall Cleaner
Best Preventative Cleaner
Best Manual Cleaner
Best Dead Algae Cleaner
Best Small Pool Cleaner
Different Types Of Algae And How To Treat Them
Algae is a simple plant organism that manifests itself in green color. Anywhere there are water, sunlight, stagnation, and nutrients, algae have a chance to bloom. Preventative maintenance is the best solution since your pool has all the ingredients to form an algae bloom.
Preventative maintenance includes proper chemical balance, routine cleaning, and water circulation. Since algae grow in stagnant water, automatic cleaners help by keeping the water stirred up. Water quality is important for the health of your pool and for anyone who swims in it.
If you have algae, it can’t just be vacuumed up to get rid of it. It needs to be killed first; then, it can be vacuumed.
There are three levels of algae that can get into your pool through runoff, dirt, or a lack of chemicals. Green algae can be removed by vacuuming, brushing, and shocking the pool, but it also spreads rapidly, which will clog the filter.
Yellow algae, also known as mustard algae, is a rarer form of algae common in humid areas. It takes multiple treatments of brushing and yellow algae remover to get rid of it. After it’s dead, use a vacuum head to remove it.
Black algae is the worst kind of algae to get rid of. It is actually a bacteria that seeps into the concrete, which is what makes it hard to treat. It takes several deep cleanings to remove. Once it is successfully removed, you should replace your filter.
If you are chemically treating your pool for algae, I don’t recommend leaving your automatic cleaner in during the treatment, which is a two-day process. During this time, the chlorine will be high, around 30 parts per million. These high chlorine levels can potentially damage automatic pool cleaners, especially the bearings.
Live algae need to be brushed before chlorine is added because the top layer of the algae needs to be removed so the chlorine can penetrate and kill it. The algae that fall off is considered dead, and a manual or automatic pool cleaner can pick it up. You should remove the algae before you treat the pool with chlorine and algaecide.
Brushing is critical to treating a pool with algae and preventing algae at the early stages. As such, a robotic cleaner is the best choice because it brushes at the same time as it vacuums and has tracks that allow it to climb the walls.
An added bonus to a robotic cleaner is that it has its own debris bag to eliminate the algae from the pool without it circulating through your system and ending up in your filter.
A manual pool cleaner hooks into your skimmer and includes a pole similar to the pole you use for brushing and netting. Some manual cleaners include their own bag and are easy to operate. They are the most affordable option for cleaners but also the most labor-intensive cleaner.
Manual pool vacuums are great for live or dead algae removal because you can bear down on the telescoping pole for harder scrubbing while also vacuuming.
Some manual vacuums are bagless and connect to the skimmer. The debris that is vacuumed goes directly into the pool filter. It may seem counterproductive to vacuum algae into your filter, but the filter should be changed or backwashed after heavy algae removal anyhow.
Suction cleaners are a form of automatic cleaners that operate off your pool’s filtration system through the skimmer. These are simple cleaners that do a good job and are reasonably affordable.
Suction cleaners aren’t the best for algae removal because they don’t brush away the algae. They will, however, clean dead algae on the pool floor.
Pressure cleaners work with a secondary booster pump which allows pressure to force the cleaner around the pool. They’re a little more expensive than suction cleaners, especially if you need to install a booster pump.
Pressure cleaners work similarly to suction cleaners, except they run off the pressure. They also don’t have brushes, so I wouldn’t use them for algae removal.
Robotic cleaners are the most expensive cleaners, but they also do an amazing job of keeping your pool clean. They operate off electricity, are quiet, and have their own debris bag so that debris doesn’t clog your pool filter. They also have brushes, so the pool gets vacuumed and brushed at the same time.
They also have the ability to climb the walls of the pool if they have tracks. Because they can climb walls and have brushing capabilities, robotic pool cleaners are a good choice for algae removal and prevention.
In a previous article, we reviewed the top 5 best overall vacuum heads and cleaners for picking up leaves. The main difference between these cleaners is that if you’re cleaning algae, you need brushes, not just suction.
If you have a leaf issue, you need a cleaner that is multi-directional and has wheels to keep it an inch or so above the leaves or debris you’re sucking up, or you will push the debris around.
For vacuuming algae, you want a heavier scrubbing mechanism or weight and to be as close to the algae as possible.
I prefer a manual vacuum head for algae because I can push down on it and get better suction. Plus, if my pool’s been shocked, I won’t fret about damaging the pool cleaner with high chlorine levels because they’re not too expensive.
Any cleaner for a pool with algae should include brushes and the ability to climb the walls. A standard suction or pressure cleaner does not offer these features. If I clean a pool with algae, I use a manual cleaner because of their price point and because I have control over the scrubbing.
There are certain features to look for if you are looking for a pool cleaner or vacuum head for algae removal. Algae removal is a time-consuming process but one that you can mitigate with a quality cleaner.
The essential things you’re looking for are:
- Scrubbing capabilities (brushes)
- Easy maneuverability
- Good suction
- Weights or a heavy head so it stays down while scrubbing
Best Pool Cleaners for Algae Reviewed
1. Best Overall Cleaner: Dolphin Nautilus CC Plus
- Cleaning is awesome - picks up small & large debris
- High quality product with a 2 year warranty
- Systematically scans your pool to determine the most efficient path
The Dolphin Nautilus CC Plus is the overall pick for algae removal because it is simply one of the best cleaners on the market, and it lasts 4-5 years on average. I have used this cleaner myself and can say that it outperformed my expectations for cleaning. The Dolphin is quiet, efficient, and did a superb job of cleaning without getting stuck on the drains.
The one thing people like the most about the Dolphin is its ability to pick up most size debris from sand to leaves to algae. The average clean time is two hours, and the brush system is great for scrubbing away live algae while the powerful suction easily picks up dead algae.
- Efficient and quiet cleaning
- Powerful all-in-one cleaning system (brush and vacuum)
- Gets stuck on drains easily
2. Best Preventative Cleaner: Polaris P825 Sport
- Reliable choice for algae prevention & excellent cleaning
- Climbs walls and senses different pool surfaces
- 2 year warranty
This Polaris P825 Sport has been around for quite some time, and generally, pool owners have had good service from this robotic cleaner. It serves well as a preventative maintenance cleaner for algae because it is quiet and does an overall decent job.
The most common complaints online are that the power cord is too short and doesn’t clean the corners well. I would suggest measuring your pool first to see if the power cord is the correct length.
I service these units a lot and have never heard these complaints though my complaint is that the replacement parts are expensive.
- Easy installation
- Can be used on multiple pool finishes, including vinyl
- The bearings cannot be replaced, the entire roller assembly has to be replaced
- Costly replacement parts
3. Best Manual Cleaner: Poolvio Triangular Vac Head
- Weighted so it sinks to the bottom of pool & stays there
- Wheels prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pool
- Safe for all pools including fiberglass & vinyl liner pools
The Poolvio Triangular Vac Head is one of the best and the least expensive manual vacuum heads for algae. It works well on algae in any size above ground or inground pool.
It has a unique swivel design and specially placed brushes for cleaning the corners.
My favorite feature is that the head weighs two pounds, which makes it easy to stay on the bottom. The roller wheels are just high enough to allow it to suck up algae. This is a great standby option for those who already have a robotic cleaner.
- Lightweight and maneuverable
- The roller balls prevent it from getting stuck
- Slower than other cleaners
- It’s manual and you need to do the work
4. Best Dead Algae Cleaner: Zodiac MX6 Suction Vacuum
- Powerful suction & great for loose algae removal
- Impressive climbing capabilities & intelligent navigation
- Competitive price compared to similar cleaners
The Zodiac MX6 is a great pool cleaner for picking up loose algae because of its climbing abilities. I have heard a few complaints that it climbs the walls too well. It’ll surface, suck in air, and fall back into the pool. I’ve never witnessed that, but I know this is a powerful cleaner at half the price as other pool cleaners in its class.
- Powerful suction easily picks up debris, including dead algae
- Picks up fine sediment, which is helpful in preventing algae
- Doesn’t clean stairs
- The hoses only last about a year
5. Best Small Pool Cleaner: Pool Blaster Max
- Ideal for both above-ground (like Intex) & inground pools
- Rechargeable with up to 1 hour running time
- Removes ultra-fine debris, algae dust, leaves & sand
The Pool Blaster Max is a cordless option that is great for removing fine particles like small algae clusters on the surface of the pool.
What I like about this handheld vacuum is that it is lightweight and portable and can be used in above-ground and inground pools. I wouldn’t use this as an everyday cleaner unless you have a very small pool, kiddie pool, or hot tub. For help in removing ultra-fine debris like tiny algae clusters, it gets the job done in pools of any size.
- Built-in sediment chamber
- Too much sandy debris can clog up the motor
- There have been complaints about the battery lights not working properly
A vacuum head or pool cleaner will not eliminate algae altogether. It is great for dead algae removal and for preventative maintenance, but chemical treatment is also necessary for heavy algae outbreaks.
It is recommended to vacuum before and after the algae removal treatments. The first vacuuming is to remove the thicker algae and the post vacuum is to remove any fine particles or debris (dead algae) left.
A pool cleaner will help to prevent algae from growing in a pool, especially pool cleaners with brushes. The brushing helps to remove the beginnings of algae growing. Additionally, keeping your pool water in motion is an important step in preventing algae from blooming.
Regular pool maintenance is critical to prevent algae from blooming in your pool. However, if your pool develops an algae issue, it is best to attack it as soon as possible to prevent black algae blooms. Since stagnant water grows algae, automatic cleaners are great for preventative maintenance because they keep the pool water in motion.
When it comes to removing algae with a pool cleaner or pool vacuum, look for brushes and a cleaner that can climb the walls, like a robotic cleaner or manual vacuum. With algae, the entire surface needs to be cleaned to kill the algae and to prevent it from growing again. As long as you clean the pool weekly, balance the chemicals, and clean your filter once a month, you shouldn’t have an issue with algae.