Best Polaris Pool Cleaners: Top Picks, Reviews & Buying Guide

polaris pool cleaner

Shopping for a Polaris pool cleaner?

You’ve come to the right place.

Polaris is a pool equipment brand owned by Zodiac Pool Systems. Polaris pool cleaners are some of the most popular cleaners available in the market, alongside other brands like Dolphin, Aquabot, and Pentair.

Polaris sells two primary types of pool vacuums/cleaners: pressure-side cleaners and robotic cleaners.

Most Polaris pool vacuums are highly rated and well received by pool owners. They do a great job cleaning different types of pools, they are easy to set up and maintain, and they last several years, with most pool owners replacing theirs after 5-10 years. 

One feature we particularly love regarding Polaris pool cleaners – their robotic models, to be specific – is their ability to handle extra-large pools.

Most robotic pool vacuums clean pools up to 40’ with some cleaning larger pools up to 50’. Polaris pool robots clean extra-large pools up to 60’ or 70’.

What’s In This Buying Guide?

In this in-depth buying guide, we review the best Polaris pool cleaners and recommend the best one for different kinds of pools.

We also give you tips on how to choose the right Polaris pool vacuum for your pool.

But for more information on certain, most well-performing models, we would suggest you read our Polaris Vac-Sweep 280 vs. 360 vs. 380 vs. 3900 comparisons to see how the most popular Polaris models compare.

Best Polaris Pool Cleaners

Disclaimer: All links below go to Amazon.com

Polaris 9550 Sport
  • F9550 Sport

  • Best robotic cleaner for in-ground pools
  • Pool type:
    In-ground

  • Max pool size:
    60’

  • 2yr warranty

Polaris Vac-Sweep 360 Pressure Inground Pool Cleaner
  • Vac-Sweep 360

  • Best pressure cleaner for in-ground pools
  • Pool type:
    In-ground

  • Max pool size:
    32’

  • 1yr warranty for parts, 5yrs for frame

Polaris Vac-Sweep 65
  • Vac-Sweep 65

  • Best pressure cleaner for above ground pools
  • Pool type:
    Above ground

  • Max pool size:
    24’

  • 2yr warranty

Zodiac F5 Polaris Vac-Sweep 280 Pressure
  • Vac-Sweep 280

  • Most reliable
  • Pool type:
    In-ground

  • Max pool size:
    32’

  • 1yr warranty for parts, 5yrs for frame

Polaris Vac-Sweep 3900 Sport Pressure Inground Pool Cleaner
  • Vac-Sweep 3900

  • Most capable pressure cleaner
  • Pool type:
    In-ground

  • Max pool size:
    32’

  • 2yr warranty

Polaris 9650iQ Sport Robotic Cleaner
  • 9650IQ Sport

  • Smartest robotic cleaner
  • Pool type:
    In-ground

  • Max pool size:
    60’

  • 1yr warranty

#1

Best Polaris Robotic Cleaner for In-ground Pools

The Polaris F9550 is the best Polaris pool robot and one of their most popular pool cleaners overall.

It’s pricey compared to pressure and suction automatic pool vacs, but it offers excellent cleaning performance for large in-ground pools.

Pros

Cons

Our Review

Powered by a 4 wheel drive system, the Polaris F9550 has no trouble covering every inch of the pool.

It’ll zoom across the pool floor, go up the wall to the waterline and even get on the steps, an area where most pool robots have trouble cleaning.

It scrubs and vacuums the pool as it goes. Oscillating brushes loosen algae and dirt on the pool surface while a wide suction port picks up debris.

The filter basket is designed to hold all sizes of debris, from leaves and twigs to sand and silt. You do not need a separate ultra-fine filter.

Once it’s full, a dirty canister indicator on the power unit will alert you. You can then use the super convenient Easy-Lift system to get the robot out of the pool. Simply press a button, and the robot lifts up to the surface of the water for easy removal.

Unlike debris bags, the filter basket in the Polaris F9550 is easy to remove and clean. And you can put it back into the cleaner immediately without waiting for it to dry.

The Polaris F9550 comes with a motion-sensitive remote control that’s great for spot cleaning areas you want the cleaner to pay more attention to.

The F9550 also includes two cycle options (1.5 and 2.5 hours) and a programmable 7-day auto-cleaning schedule.

Issues & Limitations

The main issue with the Polaris F9550 is the high price tag. It’s one of the more expensive robotic pool cleaners.

But we think it’s worth it, and most pool owners who’ve bought it agree. It cleans really well, it is reliable (rarely breaks down), and it lasts a long time.

But if you are shopping on a budget, consider getting one of the Polaris pressure-side pool cleaners instead.

Bottom Line

The Polaris F9550 is best for: In-groundpool owners looking for a powerful, high-performance, and reliable robotic pool cleaner from Polaris.

Avoid if: You are shopping on a budget.

#2

Best Polaris Pressure Cleaner for In-ground Pools

If you want a cheaper alternative to the Polaris F9550 robotic cleaner, we recommend the Polaris Vac-Sweep 360 pressure cleaner.

Unlike the self-contained F9550, the Vac-Sweep 360 connects to your pool pump and uses its power to sweep and vacuum the pool.  

Pros

Cons

Our Review

The Polaris Vac-Sweep 360 cleans standard residential in-ground pools that are up to 32’ long.

It connects to your pool pump via the return port and uses the pressure of returning water to generate suction and move around the pool.

You’ll need to adjust return pressure until the cleaner is moving properly in the pool. But once you set it up once, it runs smoothly and cleans an entire pool in just 3 hours.

And unlike its sibling, the Polaris 380, you don’t need a booster pump. The Polaris 360 works with your existing pool pump.

The Polaris Vac-Sweep 360 sucks debris using 3 venturi jets (the cheaper Vac-Sweep 280 has only 2 jets).

This creates a powerful suction that, combined with the wide 2.25” vacuum inlet, picks up large debris like leaves and twigs without clogging.

The Vac-Sweep 360 also comes with a sweep hose that loosens debris stuck to the pool surface. 

All that debris is captured in a large debris bag attached to the vacuum cleaner. In contrast to suction pool vacuums, the Vac-Sweep 360 pressure vacuum doesn’t overburden the pool filter.

The Polaris 360 provides almost complete coverage of the pool. It’ll clean the floor and go up the walls. The only area it struggles with is the steps.

But it rarely gets stuck, thanks to an in-line backup valve that automatically frees the cleaner if it stops moving.

The Polaris Vac-Sweep 360 cleans standard residential in-ground pools that are up to 32’ long.

It connects to your pool pump via the return port and uses the pressure of returning water to generate suction and move around the pool.

You’ll need to adjust return pressure until the cleaner is moving properly in the pool. But once you set it up once, it runs smoothly and cleans an entire pool in just 3 hours.

And unlike its sibling, the Polaris 380, you don’t need a booster pump. The Polaris 360 works with your existing pool pump.

The Polaris Vac-Sweep 360 sucks debris using 3 venturi jets (the cheaper Vac-Sweep 280 has only 2 jets).

This creates a powerful suction that, combined with the wide 2.25” vacuum inlet, picks up large debris like leaves and twigs without clogging.

The Vac-Sweep 360 also comes with a sweep hose that loosens debris stuck to the pool surface. 

All that debris is captured in a large debris bag attached to the vacuum cleaner. In contrast to suction pool vacuums, the Vac-Sweep 360 pressure vacuum doesn’t overburden the pool filter.

The Polaris 360 provides almost complete coverage of the pool. It’ll clean the floor and go up the walls. The only area it struggles with is the steps.

But it rarely gets stuck, thanks to an in-line backup valve that automatically frees the cleaner if it stops moving.

Issues & Limitations

One of the limitations of the Polaris Vac-Sweep 360 is the pool size. Unlike Polaris robot vacuums that can clean 60 or 70 feet pools, the Vac-Sweep 360 is limited to max 32 feet pools.If you have a bigger pool at home, go with the Polaris F9550 robotic vacuum.The other limitation of the Vac-Sweep 360 is the debris bag. It doesn’t capture fine debris like silt and sand. For that, you’ll need to buy a finer silt bag.

Bottom Line

The Polaris Vac-Sweep 360 is best for: In-groundpool owners looking for an affordable pressure-side pool vacuum from Polaris.

Avoid if: You have an in-ground pool longer than 32’. Get a Polaris robot vacuum instead.

#3

Best Polaris Pressure Cleaner for Above Ground Pools

If you have an above-ground pool, the Vac-Sweep 65 is the best Polaris pool cleaner. It’s a pressure side cleaner that works the same way as the Vac-Sweep 360 – it uses the force of returning water to sweep and vacuum the pool.

Pros

Cons

Our Review

The Polaris Vac-Sweep 65 can clean any vinyl or fiberglass that’s up to 5’ deep and 24’ wide. It works a bit differently from other pressure pool cleaners. It doesn’t generate suction to vacuum debris.

Instead, it uses jets of water to sweep and blow debris into an attached debris bag.

Though not as powerful as vacuuming, the sweeping action is adequate for small and medium-size above-ground pools. It also makes the Polaris Vac-Sweep 65 cheaper than most other pressure pool cleaners.

The debris bag mostly picks up large debris, including leaves and twigs, as well as some fine debris like sand.

Setting up the Vac-Sweep 65 is easy. You only need to hook it up to the return port and then adjust the pressure relief valve on the cleaner to make sure it’s not moving too fast or too slow.

You do not need a booster pump—the Vac-Sweep 65 works with the pumps on most above-ground pools. But for best cleaning performance, we recommend having a minimum of 1 HP pump. It can be a cartridge filter pump or a sand pump.

Issues & Limitations

The sweeping action of the Vac-Sweep 65 is great for large debris, but it doesn’t get a ton of fine debris like sand and silt.

If your pool mostly gets fine debris, we recommend buying a suction pool cleaner instead, such as Wanda the Whale from Hayward.

Bottom Line

The Polaris Vac-Sweep 65 is best for: Above ground pool owners looking for a budget pressure cleaner from Polaris.

Avoid if: You struggle mostly with fine debris like sand and silt in your above-ground pool. A suction cleaner will do a better job.

If you want a Polaris pool cleaner that will last for ages with minimal maintenance and repairs, get the Vac-Sweep 280.

It’s a cheaper and less powerful entry-level Polaris pressure cleaner. But its simple design is what makes it so reliable and long-lasting.

Pros

Cons

Our Review

A majority of pool owners who use the Polaris 280 typically get 5-10 years out of it. And it can last even longer when you replace some of the parts.

One of the reasons why the Polaris 280 is more reliable and lasts longer than the Polaris 360 is the drive mechanism.

The Polaris 280 uses a shaft drive, while pricier Polaris cleaners, including the 360, use a belt drive.

While a belt drive is easier and cheaper to service and repair, a shaft drive system lasts longer. In most cases, it never needs any repairs throughout the life of the pool cleaner.

The Polaris Vac-Sweep 280 cleans in-ground pools up to 32’ long. Similar to the Vac-Sweep 360, it connects to the return port of your pool and uses the pressure of returning water to create suction venturi jets.

The suction picks up debris while an attached tail sweep loosens debris on the pool surface for easier vacuuming.

The attached debris bag captures all debris sizes, including leaves, twigs, sand, and silt. You do not need to buy a separate silt bag for fine debris.

Despite being less powerful, the Polaris Vac-Sweep 280 covers the entire pool, including the walls, steps, and bottom.

Issues & Limitations

The Polaris 280 has two venturi jets, not three like in the 360 and other pricier Polaris cleaners. This makes it less powerful in terms of suction.

It’ll still pick up debris just as well as other Polaris pool cleaners, but it takes longer to clean the entire pool.

And since you have to keep your pool pump on, it can increase your pool system’s power consumption.

The other issue with the Polaris 280 is that it requires a booster pump. That’s an extra expense if you don’t already have one.

Bottom Line

The Polaris Vac-Sweep 280 is best for: Pool owners looking for a reliable and long-lasting Polaris pool cleaner.

Avoid if: You don’t want to buy a booster pump.

The Vac-Sweep 3900 is the most powerful pressure cleaner from Polaris. It features an upgraded propulsion system, powerful triple jet suction, a wide vacuum inlet, and an extra-large dual-chamber debris bag.

If you are looking for a capable pressure cleaner that can handle anything your in-ground pool throws at it, the Polaris Vac-Sweep 3900 is a great choice.

Pros

Cons

Our Review

One of the biggest differences between the Polaris 3900 and other Polaris pressure cleaners is the propulsion system.

Most premium Polaris pressure cleaners use an all-wheel belt drive. The 3900 is driven by an all-wheel PosiDrive with a stainless steel chain.

According to Polaris, the new drive system delivers up to 50% more torque. This, combined with the new Wide Trax tires, allows the Polaris 3900 to easily move over obstacles and scale the pool walls and steps. It also cleans faster.

Similar to the Polaris 360 and other Polaris models, the 3900 has an in-line backup valve that automatically frees the cleaner should it get stuck.

As for suction power, the Polaris 3900 has plenty of it thanks to the 3-jet venturi system. It picks up all debris sizes, including extra-large acorns and leaves that easily pass through the 2.5” inlet.

The Vac-Sweep 3900 features an oversize 5-liter double chamber debris bag that holds a lot of debris. You can go for days before you need to empty it.

Issues & Limitations

The Polaris Vac-Sweep 3900 is one of the most expensive Polaris pressure cleaners. It’s in the same price range as most robotic pool cleaners.

And that’s before you add the cost of a booster pump if you don’t already have one. It’s required to run the Polaris 3900.

For its power and capability, the Polaris Vac-Sweep 3900 still cleans smaller pools compared to Polaris robotic cleaners. It’s limited to 32’ long pools, while Polaris robotic vacuums can handle 50-60 feet long pools.

Bottom Line

The Polaris Vac-Sweep 3900 is best for: In-ground pool owners looking for a powerful and capable pressure-side cleaner from Polaris.

Avoid if: You are shopping on a budget.

#6

Smartest Polaris Robotic Pool Cleaner

Robotic pool cleaners are pretty smart. The Polaris 9650IQ Sport takes things to the next level with WiFi connectivity and remote app control.

The app lets you set auto-cleaning schedules, see when the debris canister is full, and manually steer the robot for spot cleaning.

Pros

Cons

Our Review

To be honest, we’ve never been big fans of robot pool cleaners with app control. In most cases, the app is buggy, not all that useful, and limited in range since many work via Bluetooth.

The iAquaLink app that accompanies the Polaris 9650IQ is different. It’s actually useful, and it works smoothly.

One of the great things about it is that it uses WiFi connectivity, so you can control and monitor the pool cleaner from anywhere.

The app is also full of helpful features. You can see how much time is remaining in the current cycle, increase or reduce cycle time, start and stop cleaning, and see when the debris canister is full.

You can also steer the cleaner via the app, change cleaning mode, and activate the convenient lift program that makes it easy to fetch the cleaner from the pool.

As for the pool cleaner itself, the Polaris 9650IQ is powerful and capable.

It features 4WD propulsion that takes it to every pool corner, including the walls and waterline.

A combined scrubbing and vacuuming action provides superior cleaning performance, while the large 5-liter canister holds all kinds of debris, including leaves, algae, and sand.

The Polaris 9650IQ can handle pools up to 60’ long, so it’s perfect for extra-large in-ground pools.

Issues & Limitations

All the power and smarts in the Polaris 9650IQ don’t come cheap. It’s one of the most expensive Polaris cleaners and one of the pricier robotic pool cleaners in the market.

Bottom Line

The Polaris 9650IQ is best for: In-ground pool owners looking for a WiFi-connected robot pool cleaner from Polaris.

Avoid if: You prefer a cheaper pressure cleaner.

Polaris Pool Cleaner Buying Guide

Why Buy a Polaris Pool Cleaner?

polaris pool cleaner

Polaris makes some of the most reliable and long-lasting pool cleaners in the market. Their cleaners are well made, stress-free to maintain, and last 5 to 10 years.

We’ve seen reports of pool owners who’ve had their Polaris for up to 15 years or more.

Polaris pool cleaners also have excellent cleaning performance. Their pressure cleaners clean the floor and walls in about three hours, and their robotic cleaners can handle extra-large pools up to 60’.

If you want to reduce how much of your time and effort pool maintenance takes up, a Polaris pool cleaner is a great choice.

While their pressure cleaners don’t scrub the pool, they have a tail sweep that loosens debris on the pool wall and floor, so you don’t have to brush the pool as often.

Polaris pool robots are even better – they scrub and vacuum the pool. You only need to scrub the few spots they might miss, such as the steps.

Polaris pool cleaners also have impressive navigation and pool coverage. Their in-ground pressure and robotic cleaners cover every inch of the pool, and they don’t get stuck thanks to an in-line auto-backup valve.

Another reason to buy a Polaris pool cleaner is the high-quality customer service from Polaris.

Based on customer reports, Polaris customer service is fast, responsive, and super helpful. They quickly replace faulty parts, offer set-up advice, and the company honors their warranty.

How to Choose the Right Polaris Pool Cleaner

best above ground pool vacuum

Here’s what to consider when shopping for a Polaris pool cleaner.

1. Pressure or Robotic Pool Cleaner

The first thing to decide is whether you want a pressure-side or a robotic pool cleaner. These are the two types of pool cleaners Polaris sells.

Pressure-side pool cleaners are cheaper, and they do a great job cleaning the pool. They also come with their own filter bag, so your pool filter is not over-burdened.

Another advantage of a pressure-side pool cleaner is that you can leave it in the pool most of the time except when adding chemicals or swimming. It’ll automatically clean whenever the pool pump comes on.

On the downside, Polaris pressure cleaners do not scrub the pool because stubborn algae and grime are left behind on the pool surface, and you have to brush it away manually.

Pressure cleaners are also a bit tedious to set up and may require some adjusting to work properly. Don’t forget that most Polaris pressure cleaners need an additional booster pump.

Polaris robotic pool cleaners are pricier. But they are fully independent and do not rely on your pool pump or filter. For this reason, a robotic cleaner usually results in reduced power consumption.

Polaris pool robots also clean better since they scrub and vacuum the pool. They can also handle bigger pools up to 50 or 60 feet long.

2. In-Ground or Above Ground Pool

If you have an above-ground pool, look specifically for a Polaris cleaner designed for above-ground pools. Our top recommendation is the Vac-Sweep 65.

The same goes for in-ground pool owners.

In-ground and above-ground pool cleaners are different. In-ground pool cleaners are bigger, more capable, and can even climb walls.

In contrast, above-ground pool cleaners are typically smaller and are designed for bottom-only navigation and cleaning.

3. Max Pool Size

Check the max pool length a particular Polaris pool cleaner can handle. This depends on the length of the hose or cord (for robotic models).

Polaris in-ground pressure cleaners have 31’ of hose sections and can clean pools up to 32’. Robotic cleaners have either a 60’ or 70’ cord and can clean a 50’ or 60’ long pool. 

4. Pool Coverage

If you are buying an in-ground Polaris pool cleaner, make sure you get one that offers full pool coverage. This means it should clean the bottom of the pool, walls up to the waterline, and steps.

If you are getting an above-ground pool cleaner, these are designed to clean just the bottom of the pool.

5. Debris Bag/Canister

There are two things to check when it comes to the debris bag or canister (for robotic cleaners).

One, the size. A large debris bag means you don’t need to empty it as frequently.

Two, the type of debris the bag or canister holds. We recommend getting a pool cleaner that captures all debris sizes, from silt to leaves.

That ensures you don’t need to buy a separate debris bag for fine debris.

Pros and Cons

polaris pool cleaner

Pros

Cons

Frequently Asked Questions

How long do Polaris pool cleaners last?

With good maintenance, most Polaris pool cleaners last between 5 and 10 years.

Why is my Polaris pool cleaner going round in circles?

You may need to adjust the pressure relief valve or the amount of pressure on the return port.

Are there any above-ground pool cleaners from Polaris?

Yes, there is. The Polaris Vac-Sweep 65 is a pressure cleaner for above-ground pools. Other options include the Vac-Sweep 165 and the Turbo Turtle.

Currently, Polaris does not make a robotic cleaner for above-ground pools.

Can I leave my Polaris pool cleaner in the pool?

If you have a Polaris pressure cleaner, you can leave it in the pool except when swimming and adding chemicals. It’ll automatically start cleaning when the pool pump turns on.

If you have a Polaris robot cleaner, you should remove it from the pool after each cleaning cycle.

Final Verdict: What is the Best Polaris Pool Cleaner Sold Today?

We believe the Polaris F9550 Sport is the best Polaris pool cleaner for in-ground pools because of how powerful it is, its high performance, and its reliable robotic operation.Whereas the Polaris Vac-Sweep 360 is the best Polaris pressure cleaner for in-ground pools for people looking for a pool cleaner on a budget.

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