Shopping for a pool vacuum head?
You’ve come to the right place.
In this buying guide, we compare and review the best pool vacuum heads.
To remove debris, the vacuum head attaches to a hose that’s connected to the pool skimmer.
It’s important to choose the right pool vacuum head for your in-ground or above ground pool. A vacuum head designed for a fiberglass pool may not be safe for use in a vinyl pool.
If you’d prefer to use an automatic pool cleaner – it’s faster and doesn’t require any effort – we’ve reviewed the 12 best automatic pool cleaners.
Best Pool Vacuum Heads: Comparison
- Best for Vinyl Pools
- Best for Concrete/Plaster Pools
- Best Value
Swimline Weighted Flex
- Budget Pick for Concrete Pools
U.S. Pool Supply VH-710
- Lightest vacuum head for vinyl pools
Reviews of the best pool vacuum heads
The Milliard pool vac head is one of the most popular, and highest-rated, on Amazon.
Its triangular shape makes it easy to vacuum along the walls and in corners. The see-through ABS plastic body also makes it easier to navigate the vacuum.
You can see exactly where you are cleaning and whether the vacuum has picked up the debris.
The Milliard vacuum head is weighted, so you won’t struggle against water buoyancy to keep it at the bottom. This ensures it hugs the pool floor tightly for maximum suction.
The vacuum head doesn’t just suck up debris floating in the water. It also agitates dirt stuck on the pool floor and walls using nylon bristles at the bottom.
The brushes are angled such that they funnel dirt towards the suction port rather than just pushing it around.
With a width of 11”, the Milliard vacuum head makes for quick cleaning.
It is completely safe for your vinyl lined pool. Rubber bumpers ensure the vacuum doesn’t scratch the liner. The bristles are also safe for the pool liner, and they prevent the vacuum port from sucking up the liner.
It takes only a few minutes to set up the vacuum head. You’ll need to have a vacuum hose and a telescopic pool pole.
The pole attaches to the head using secure spring locking clips while the hose connects to the vacuum port in the middle.
The vacuum port fits 1.5” and 1.25” vacuum hoses without requiring any adaptors for either size.
The only issue we have with the Milliard vacuum head is the suction power. It’s not that great, meaning it takes a couple or more passes to pick up all debris.
But this is not that surprising considering the price tag. With some patience, the Milliard vacuum head will still leave your pool sparkling clean.
The ATIE pool vacuum head is designed for concrete and plaster pools. It’s much heavier than vinyl pool vacuum heads, and the suction port is closer to the pool surface.
Some vinyl pool owners say they prefer it to other vac heads designed for vinyl pools. It has better suction and cleans much better.
But use it in a vinyl pool at your own risk. The wheels can tear your vinyl liner as can the sharp edges. You also have to be careful to keep the vacuum head from sucking up the liner.
But if you have a concrete or plaster pool, clean away.
The Atie vacuum head is weighted to keep it planted firmly on the pool floor. It’s quite heavy, so you need a bit of muscle to push it up the wall.
The urethane wheels make it easier to maneuver the 14” wide vacuum head.
The wheels don’t turn, but the metal handle that attaches to the pool pole is flexible. So you should still be able to twist and turn the vacuum head to reach every inch of the pool.
Because it lacks brushes, the vacuum port is very close to the pool surface. This increases suction power and allows the Atie vacuum head to pick up all kinds of debris, including large ones like leaves and acorns.
The downside is that you have to brush the pool before you dunk the vacuum head into the water. This will loosen stuck debris from the walls and floor, making it easier for the vacuum to pick it up.
The Atie vacuum head only fits a 1.5” vacuum hose. If your hose is a different size, you’ll need an adapter to attach it to the vacuum head.
If you are looking for the best bargain on a pool vacuum head, the Swimline Hydro Tools 8110 pool vacuum head is the best you’ll get.
It is the cheapest of our picks, but it is by no means the worst. It actually does a pretty good job cleaning the pool.
It has brushes to agitate stuck dirt on the pool floor and walls. Then it sucks up the debris through the vacuum hose.
Suction power is not the best, so you’ll need to make a few passes to pick up all the debris. But considering the price, a few extra minutes cleaning the pool is a small sacrifice.
One thing we don’t like about it is that it is not adequately weighted. It’s a bit of a struggle to keep it at the bottom of the pool.
Because it lacks wheels, it also takes some effort to push it along the pool floor and walls.
We do love the curved shape of the head. It makes it easier to wedge it into corners and clean curved surfaces. If you have a kidney or round pool, the 8110 vacuum head allows you to reach every part of the pool.
The vacuum head fits 1.25” and 1.5” vacuum hoses. You don’t need an adaptor.
As for durability, don’t expect the vacuum head to last long. It lasts 2-3 seasons before the brushes wear out too much.
But considering the price, you can easily buy a new one each season.
If you find the Atie pool vacuum head a bit pricey, the Swimline Weighted Flex Vacuum head is a cheaper alternative.
It’s designed for concrete pools. You can use it in a vinyl pool, as some customers say they do, but it’s at your own risk.
The wheels can tear the liner, or the vacuum port can suck up and damage part of the pool liner. We recommend using it only in concrete or plaster pools.
Like the Atie pool vacuum head, the Swimline flex head lacks brushes, which has an upside and downside.
The upside is that it has much better suction than vinyl pool vacuum heads that have brushes. The port is closer to the pool surface, allowing it to suck up debris with more force.
You’ll clean the pool faster since you don’t have to make repeated passes to get all the debris.
The downside is that your work is split into two. You have to brush the pool first then vacuum it.
The Swimline vacuum head has a nice heft to it. It has no trouble staying at the bottom of the pool. The wheels and the flexible plastic body make it easy to move the head around to different parts of the pool.
The rectangular shape allows you to reach deep into corners and vacuum along the wall. That is if you have a rectangular pool.
If you have a kidney or round pool, it’ll be difficult to reach some areas.
The Swimline Flex accepts 1.5” and 1.25” vacuum hoses. The handle attaches easily to most telescopic poles.
There’s however, an issue many customers encountered when setting up the vacuum head. The vacuum head comes with the handle detached and a spring that’s part of the handle assembly.
Problem is, no instructions are describing how and where to install it.
Most users finally figured it out (a few YouTube videos are showing how to install it) though you may need a pair of pliers to wrestle the spring into place.
If for some reason you don’t like the Milliardvac head we reviewed above, the VH-710 is another excellent choice for vinyl pools.
In fact, it’s very similar to the Milliard model. It is triangular, which makes it great for wall and corner cleaning.
It’s also see-through, making it easy to spot debris and maneuver the vacuum head.
The quality is generally not as good as the Milliard vacuum head. The VH-710 will last 1-2 seasons before the brushes wear out and start coming off.
Cleaning performance is great. It’s weighted, so it stays close to the pool floor, sucking up debris. The little brushes at the bottom stir up stubborn algae, and dirt stuck on the pool floor and walls.
Like in the Milliard vacuum, the brushes are angled to direct stirred up debris towards the vacuum port instead of throwing it around the pool.
You do have to be patient when using the VH-170. Suction is a bit low, so you have to go slow to ensure I pick up debris. In some areas, you may have to make multiple passes.
But overall, it’s a great bargain.
Buyer’s Guide: Factors to Consider when Choosing a Pool Vacuum Head
1. Pool Type
Before you order, check whether the vacuum head is designed for vinyl, fiberglass or concrete/plaster pools.
Vinyl pools are especially delicate. If you use a vacuum head designed for a concrete pool, your liner could tear or get scratches.
Concrete pool vacuum heads typically have wheels, no brushes, and a very low vacuum port.
In contrast, most vinyl pool vacuum heads have wheels, feature brushes and the vacuum port is a bit higher to avoid sucking in the liner.
A wide pool vacuum head allows you to clean faster because it cleans a wider path. Pool vacuum heads start at around 11” in width. The widest ones are 14” wide.
If you have a large pool, we recommend a 13” or 14” vacuum head.
3. Shape and Design
Pool vacuum heads come in different shapes and styles.
One of our favorite designs is a triangular shape. It easily cleans along the wall edges and has no trouble getting into corners.
A rectangular pool vacuum head is also suitable for edge and wall cleaning.
But if you have a rounded or kidney-shaped pool, get one of those half-moon vacuum heads. They work great at cleaning curved pools.
Some other design features to look for include:
A vacuum head with brushes scrubs and vacuums the pool at the same time. This saves you the trouble of first brushing the pool then vacuuming it.
However, brushes can reduce suction power. So you have to decide whether the power trade-off is worth having brushes.
5. Hose Compatibility
Check what hose size the vacuum head accepts. Most offer two fittings: 1.5” and 1.25”.
If your hose is a different size from the vacuum port, you’ll need to buy an adapter. It’s cheaper than buying a new vacuum hose.
Finally, check the material of the pool vacuum head.
Pool vacuum heads for vinyl pools are usually made from plastic, while those designed for concrete pools are made from heavy-duty plastic or a combination of plastic and metal.
A partly metal vacuum head will last longer. But you are better off with an all-plastic vacuum head if you have a saltwater pool to avoid rapid deterioration through rusting.
How to Set Up and Use a Pool Vacuum Head
Note: Pool vacuum heads don’t come with a pole and a vacuum hose. You’ll need to have these at home or buy them separately.
Will the vacuum head come with a hose?
Most pool vacuum heads don’t come with a hose. If you don’t have one already at home, you’ll have to buy it separately. You’ll also need a telescopic pole.
How do pool vacuum heads work?
The vacuum head connects to the pool skimmer using a vacuum hose. As water rushes out of the pool through the hose, it creates suction power that picks up debris.
Some vacuum heads have brushes to agitate dirt stuck on the pool wall and floor. This makes it easier for it to be sucked up through the port.
The debris is trapped by the pool filter.
How often should I vacuum the pool?
It depends on how dirty your pool gets. Some pools need vacuuming just once a week, while others need to be vacuumed daily or every couple of days.
If your pool is used frequently, gets dirty from windblown dust and sand, or is located near trees, you’ll need to vacuum it often.