What pool cleaning equipment do I need?

"What pool cleaning equipment should I buy?" I love this question, compared to most of the questions we get, this one is pretty straight forward. The type of equipment you need to clean the pool doesn't really vary on your system, except for maybe size, but at the heart of it, everything is the same. If you don't feel like reading this blog post, just scroll all the way to the bottom to view the links and prices to equipment I would recommend buying.

1) A pole

You need at least one pole in your arsenal because the pole is how you use everything else. Pool poles have holes on the end that the brush, net and vacuum head click into, which allows you to clean the pool. You could probably spend between $30 to $100 on a pole but the difference in price will get you an obvious difference in quality. This is important if you have a really deep end on your pool, your pole won't bend and be ruined when its extended all the way. Bending a pole can damage them very quickly. Another thing you will get with spending a little more money on a pole, is that the extension feature that enables the poles to telescope and become longer. On more expensive poles that piece lasts much longer. If I was going to recommend a pole, I would definitely recommend the Piranha pole. Its what all our pool cleaners use and it is probably the best pole I have ever seen. It's also the most expensive. 

Tip: Don't buy a fiber glass pole, when the fiber glass splinters you will be miserable.

1) A net

The net is how your going to get things like dead animals and leaves out of your water. It's pretty basic, but there are some differences in nets that you should know about. First, a cheap net will cover the basics and remove debris out of the pool. If you are on a budget, this is all you need! More expensive nets have a more durable netting which important for professional pool cleaners who are cleaning about 60 pools a week.

Tip: Don't buy the square flat net shown in the picture on the far right (above), they are specialty nets used for getting things floating in suspension in the middle of the water line. Its a waste of time trying to get that stuff. Just go inside, watch some TV and wait for it to settle. You will drive yourself nuts trying to get it!

3) A brush

Buy any brush that has white bristles. In my opinion, they all work the same. The only thing I do recommend is getting a brush that doesn't have metal bristles or metal bristles mixed in.

Tip: When your storing your brush, keep it out of direct sunlight. The sunlight will destroy the brush by causing the bristles to become brittle and fall out.

4) A vacuum head and hose

The vacuum head and vacuum hose are both essential. Together they will probably run you around $100 if you buy middle quality. Vacuum heads will all work the same regardless of price. What you're paying for in a more expensive head is durability and weight. The more expensive ones have lead weights inside the vacuum, helping you keep the head on the bottom of the pool, which is actually convenient. Now hoses on the other hand don't vary between price points. Quality may get a tiny bit higher in the more expensive ones, but it really doesn't make a difference unless your a professional pool cleaner. Size is what you will be most worried about. If you have a bigger pool you'll need a longer hose, meaning you will pay more, simple as that.

Tip: I also want to mention that vacuum heads with bristles on the bottom are specifically made for pools with vinyl liners. If you are vacuuming a vinyl liner pool you have to use a head with bristles or else you will ruin the liner. If you have a regular plaster or pebble tech pool, don't buy one with bristles.

5) Leaf master (Non essential)

The leaf master isn't really essential unless you have a ton of trees around your pool that are constantly dropping leaves in your pool, and when I say constantly, I mean daily. A few leaves are normal and the leaf master could be nice, but it doesn't become essential until leaves falling in your pool becomes the bane of your existence. If this is a real problem for you, a leaf master will help you out a lot. The way it works is by using pressure from a water hose to create suction that carries leaves up into a net on the top the device. The better your water pressure, the better the suction. The worse your water pressure, the worse the suction.

Tip: If leaves in your swimming pool are a frequent battle you fight, I would also recommend upgrading your pump so that the suction from your skimmers will get stronger. Better suction will cause the leaves to get sucked in more efficiently, keeping the pool cleaner. Another option would be to purchase a robot cleaner. They are expensive but great, and if either of those options doesn't sound appealing you could also just rent a chainsaw from Home Depot and cut all the trees down!

5) A skimmer plate

Skimmer plates sit on top of the rim in your skimmer, the one where the basket sits. The skimmer plate creates a seal with a hole in the middle that you plug your vacuum into. You only need a skimmer plate if the hole at the bottom skimmer is for some reason inaccessible, but this is pretty rare. Most pools allow you to plug right in. If you do end up needing one of these, you're probably going to have to shop around to find one that fits correctly on your pool. If your skimmer plate doesn't fit right and you don't achieve a seal, you wont be able to vacuum.

6) A way to test your chemicals

Your going to need a test kit for your chemicals, either strips or a drip kit. Both work, but you can get a lot more precise with a drip kit. I took care of pools for years with only strips and everything worked great. We eventually switched because the more spot on your chemicals are, the more efficient the chlorine works, which results in saving us money in chemical costs. The benefit of a drip kit is accuracy and the benefit of strips is speed and ease of use. The drip kits are fairly complicated to understand, but if your willing to learn they really are the better choice in the end.

This covers all the basic equipment you would need to purchase to maintain your pool. Below I've added some links where you can buy the equipment. I hope this was a useful resource, and remember to write in if your have any questions. Good luck!

1) Pole (cheap and expensive) $25 - $95

2) Net (cheap and expensive) $13 - $55

3) Brush $13

4) Vacuum Head (cheap and expensive) $25 - $75

5) Vacuum Hose (30' and 50') $30 to $60

6) Leaf Master There are a couple of different brands with slightly different names, but they all do the same thing $35 - $50

7) Skimmer Plates You will have to find which one will work on your pool $10 - $60

8) Test Kit (Strips and Drip kit) $20 - $55