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Swimming pools are a lot of fun – but they’re also a lot of work. Ask any pool owner, and they’ll tell you that they spend a fair amount of time scooping leaves, vacuuming, scrubbing algae, and more. But they’ll also tell you that the work is totally worth it: There’s nothing quite like taking a dip in your very own swimming pool.

Not sure what you need to keep your pool looking its best? Feeling overwhelmed by the amount of equipment to choose from? In this guide, we’ll highlight some of our best-sellers and help you build a pool maintenance toolkit that will keep your pool clean and healthy.

The cleaning equipment you choose will depend on several factors, including:

  • Your pool. Different pools have different needs. For example, a brush with stainless-steel bristles is ideal for removing dirt and debris from gunite pools – but it would be too rough for a vinyl lined pool.
  • Your budget. Most pool equipment is available in a wide range of price points. On a budget? Basic, bare-bones equipment will get the job done without breaking the bank. Looking for top-of-the-line items and the latest technology? Prices will be higher up front, but you’ll get more bang for your pool maintenance buck.
  • Your unique maintenance needs. If your pool is surrounded by trees, you’ll want a good rake or skimmer for quick and easy removal of leaves and twigs. If sand and pollen is an issue in your neck of the woods, a good pool vacuum is a must.
Equipment Type: Why You Need It: What To Look for: Our Recommendations:
Pool brush Remove dirt and algae from your swimming pool’s walls; help prevent stains.

Larger brushes are good for large-scale cleaning; small brushes are better for spot-cleaning and algae removal.

If you’ve got a vinyl pool, stick with softer nylon or polypropylene brushes. For gunite or concrete, opt for stainless steel.

Pentair R11316 902: 18-inch brush with polypropylene bristles.

Pentair R111358: Stainless steel and nylon bristles; 18-inch brush.

Pentair R111646: 6-inch stainless steel for spot-cleaning/algae removal.

Skimmers/Rakes A skimmer or rake makes it easy to quickly remove large debris – such as leaves, twigs, etc. – from your pool.

An aluminum frame will ensure strength and durability.

A skimmer features a flat, shallow net for quick “spot cleaning.”

A rake has a deeper debris bag for more heavy-duty leaf removal.

Pentair Heavy-Duty Leaf Rake: Made of aluminum and fiberglass with a super-strong skimmer bag.

Pentair Professional-Grade Leaf Skimmer: Features a durable aluminum frame; easy to purchase replacement nets.

Pentair Rainbow Economy Leaf Rake: Includes a generously sized debris bag, plus a built-in “squeegee” f to help loosen dirt and debris.

Vacuum head and hose A pool vacuum head is ideal for debris removal. It attaches to your telescoping pole and connects to your filtration system via a hose.

If you’ve got a gunite or concrete pool, you’ll want a vacuum with wheels; for vinyl pools, look for a vacuum with brushes.

Choose a heavier one (lighter vacuums are less effective).

In general, the easier it is to find replacement parts, the better the quality of the vacuum.

Hayward Super-Vac Triangular Deluxe Vacuum: Features a 360-degree swivel hose connecter and a see-through head so you can easily spot debris.

Jandy Leaf Master: Equipped with a large, durable leaf bag and an extra-long, clog-resistant intake opening.

Pentair Superflex: High quality, with easy-to-replace components and a one-year manufacturer’s warranty.

Telescopic poles This important piece of equipment serves as the handle for a variety of tools, including skimmer net, rake, and vacuum head.

Look for a pole made from sturdy aluminum or even fiberglass.

Most pool owners prefer expandable 8’ to 15’ foot poles.

Look for a pole with a locking mechanism.

Pentair R191306: Aluminum; light duty.

Pentair R500070: Ribbed design for additional strength.

Pentair R191095: Fiberglass option for reduced conductivity.

Thermometer Monitoring your pool’s temperature can save energy, discourage algae growth, and ensure that your chemicals work effectively (chlorine is less effective at high temperatures). If you opt for a floating thermometer, your best bet is one with a cord or string for easy access. Pentair makes several great options: Choose floating thermometers with extra-long cords, flotation caps, or opt for an in-line thermometer.

Pool Brushes

The pool brush is your go-to tool for removing algae, dirt, and stains. You can find brushes that are designed for specific purposes: Smaller brushes good for spot-cleaning tough algae spots, while longer, larger “wall brushes” are a good choice for routine, whole-pool cleaning. Some brushes even have special curved ends that can help you clean hard-to-reach areas such as corners or steps.

When choosing a pool brush, the most important factor to consider is your pool’s surfaces: If you’ve got a gunite or concrete pool, you might want to choose a brush with stiffer bristles (think stainless steel). For vinyl liners, opt for a nylon or polypropylene brush, which will do the job without damaging your pool’s walls.

Shopping for a pool brush? Start here:

Pentair R11316 #902

Pentair R11316 902:

This 18-inch brush features polypropylene bristles, which make it a good choice for vinyl pools. It earns high marks from pool owners for its durability.

Pentair R111358 #907

Pentair R111358:

Featuring a blend of stainless steel and nylon bristles, this sturdy 18-inch brush is perfect for deep-cleaning gunite or concrete swimming pools.

Pentair R111616 #604A

Pentair R111606:

Got algae? This 9-inch stainless steel brush is perfect for removing tough algae spots (although it might be too tough for vinyl liners).


Leaf skimmers and pool rakes serve basically the same purpose: debris removal. What’s the difference? It mostly comes down to personal preference. Rakes feature deep bags, making them ideal if you’re removing large amounts of leaves and debris from your water’s surface. Skimmers, on the other hand, are equipped with flat, shallow nets, which make them easy for quick “spot cleaning” of small amounts of debris.

When choosing a skimmer or rake, look for one with an aluminum frame. Aluminum is sturdy and durable, and it won’t bend or crack when exposed to pool chemicals or extreme temperatures. If your main concern is removing leaves and larger debris, most standard nets will do the trick. Finer mesh is available for dealing with smaller jobs, like removing dirt or debris.

Here are some of the top-selling skimmers:

Pentair Heavy-Duty Leaf Rake

Pentair Heavy-Duty Leaf Rake:

Made from a sturdy combination of aluminum and fiberglass, this leaf rake features a super-strong skimmer bag that’s designed to handle large debris.

Pentair Professional-Grade Leaf Skimmer

Pentair Professional-Grade Leaf Skimmer:

Built with professional pool maintenance in mind, this skimmer is constructed with a durable aluminum frame. Fans of this skimmer appreciate its sturdy construction, and they appreciate that it’s easy to purchase replacement nets.

Pentair Rainbow Economy Leaf Rake

Pentair Rainbow Economy Leaf Rake:

Heavy-duty debris removal at a price that won’t break the bank. In addition to a generously sized debris bag, this leaf rake features a “squeegee” frame to help loosen stuck-in dirt and debris.

Vacuum Heads

Even if you have a robotic or automatic pool cleaner, it’s a good idea to have a manual vacuum head on hand. A pool vacuum head attaches to your telescoping pole and connects to your filtration system via a hose.

Once again, the type of pool you have will help guide your choice of vacuum: If you’ve got a gunite or concrete pool, you’ll want a vacuum with wheels; for vinyl pools, look for a vacuum with brushes instead. No matter which type of vacuum you choose, look for a heavier one (lighter vacuums will float or tilt to one side, making them less effective). You should also look into the availability of replacement parts. In general, the easier it is to find them, the better the quality of the vacuum.

Check out these best-selling options:

Hayward Super-Vac Triangular Deluxe Vacuum

Hayward Super-Vac Triangular Deluxe Vacuum:

Made of super-durable thermoplastic, the Hayward Super-Vac features helpful features like a 360-degree swivel hose connecter for easy movement and a see-through head so you can easily spot debris. The Super-Vac features brushes, making it a good choice if you’ve got a vinyl pool.

Jandy Leaf Master

Jandy Leaf Master:

The Leaf Master’s oversized polyurethane wheels make it ideally suited for gunite or concrete pools. This top seller features a large, durable Dacronä leaf bag and an extra-long intake opening to prevent clogging.

Pentair Superflex

Pentair Superflex:

Fans of this classic pool vacuum praise its weight and its easy-to-replace, molded-plastic wheels and fasteners. A one-year manufacturer’s warranty provides extra peace of mind.

Don’t forget the hose!

You’ll need a hose to connect your vacuum head to your filtration system. Hoses can be either blow-molded or spiral-wound. We recommend spiral-would for a longer lasting, higher quality hose. It’s also important to choose a hose that’s UV- and chemical-resistant.

Telescopic pole

A telescopic pole is a must-have for any swimming pool. You’ll use your telescoping pool for your pool brush, skimmer net, your leaf rake, and your vacuum head, so it’s important to choose one that’s strong and high quality.

You’ll find that many of these poles have similar features: They’re typically expandable (the 8- to 15-foot range is the most popular), and they feature some sort of locking mechanism (such as a button lock or an inner or outer “cam” lock). The majority of telescoping poles are constructed from aluminum, although some pool owners prefer poles crafted from fiberglass or even carbon fiber.

Our recommendations? Try one of these top sellers:

The Pentair R191306

The Pentair R191306:

This mid-priced light-duty telescoping pole is made of smooth, high-quality aluminum and is compatible with all standard pool brushes, rakes, and vacuum heads.

The Pentair R500070

The Pentair R500070

Ribbed-wall poles like the Pentair R500070 are designed to be extra strong, making them well suited for heavier use.

The Pentair R191095

The Pentair R191095

Although a bit less common than their aluminum counterparts, fiberglass poles like the Pentair R191095 reduce conductivity without sacrificing strength.


Keeping a close eye on your pool’s temperature can help you determine when and if you need to use your pool heater, which can help you conserve energy and lower the costs of owning a pool. Your pool’s temperature can also affect your water quality and chemistry: Warmer water encourages algae and bacteria growth, and it also causes chlorine to break down more quickly.

Swimming pool thermometers have come a long way in recent years. Today’s thermometers use alcohol instead of mercury, making them safer. Choose a thermometer with convenient extras like a string to keep it securely tethered to your pool’s ladder, or opt for one with high-tech bells and whistles, like a digital display or solar power. Thermometers topped with fun characters like fish or rubber duckies are always a hit with kids.

We recommend Pentair thermometers for their high quality and reliability:

Nylon Well Inline Thermometer

Nylon Well Inline Thermometer

This tube thermometer comes with a handy 3’ cord for easy access. Pool owners give this thermometer high marks for its easy to read display and affordable price.

This light, durable option includes a flotation cap to keep it close to the surface.

If you’re looking for something more permanent, consider this inline thermometer, which is installed directly into your pool’s PVC pipes. It’s pricier than a floating thermometer, but it’s a popular choice for its accuracy and durability.

Final Thoughts on Pool Equipment

When it comes to pool maintenance, the right tools can make all the difference – and they’ll help you ensure that your pool is clean and healthy for years to come.

Need advice? Not sure which equipment is the best for your swimming pool? Stop in and see your local pool professional. They’ll help you choose the equipment best suited for your pool and your unique needs.

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