Robotic pool cleaners can be a busy pool owner’s best friend. If you want to keep your pool clean but don’t have much time to spare, this is a must-have gadget. The devices can help keep the water in impeccable condition while saving valuable resources.
We’ve compiled a list of the best robotic pool cleaners on the market. As a bonus, we’ve included a comprehensive buyer’s guide to help you pick the ideal product for your needs. So keep reading and find out how to get your pool in tip-top shape without splurging on unnecessary equipment.
OUR TOP PICK
With the Dolphin Nautilus CC Plus robotic pool cleaner, you’ll get a reliable device that can handle all your pool cleaning needs.
The incredibly user-friendly gadget is perfect for in-ground swimming pools that are up to 50 feet long. Like most Dolphin products, the cleaner is pretty efficient, with the capacity to cover the entire pool in just two hours.
The cleaner comes with a two-year guarantee, which is about as good as it gets for this type of item. The lengthy warranty is also a testament to Dolphin’s faith in the durability of its products.
Like other top-notch Dolphin models, the Nautilus CC Plus can clean both floors and walls, thanks to twin scrubbing brushes and outstanding filtration capabilities.
However, unlike pressure and suction cleaners, the robotic vacuum cleaner is a self-contained device that doesn’t require any extra equipment to function. The item is also energy-efficient, meaning you don’t have to schedule the pool cleaning for off-peak hours.
As mentioned, the Nautilus CC Plus is one of the most user-friendly models on our list. You can pretty much plug it into any regular outlet without the need for a hose.
The only drawback is that it may take two or three cycles to achieve a sparkling clean finish. However, it’s a small price to pay for the impeccable results. The standard two-and-a-half-hour clean time is fast enough to get your pool up and running.
- Easy to use
- Two-year warranty
- Cleans walls and floors
- Affordable price
- Needs more than one cycle
Here we have one of the most efficient cleaners on the market. With the Polaris F9550, rest assured there won’t be any post-cleaning touch-ups. Instead, the premium model can scrub both the walls and floors of the pool with powerful oscillating brushes that can scrape all types of stains.
Thanks to the exclusive Vortex Vacuum Technology that can remove hard grime without affecting the suction power, the result is a spotless pool.
As a bonus, the debris can be easily removed from the top of the cleaner, which has a cover and a high-capacity filter canister. In addition, it’s the only model in the series with a dirty canister indicator. You’ll never have to deal with pesky dirty bags again.
Despite its hefty weight, the Polaris 9550 Sport is incredibly versatile. The robotic cleaner can handle all types of pool terrain, including steps, walls, and tile lines. In addition, its innovative motion detecting remote allows you to navigate the Polaris 9550 Sport to any desired area of the pool, ensuring everything’s spotless.
One of its main selling points is the sophisticated seven-day programmable timer with completely adjustable cleaning cycles.
The algorithm allows homeowners to clean their pools without having to monitor the process. For example, you can program the Polaris 9550 Sport to scrub the stairs right before a pool party while setting up the grill. It’s the perfect gadget for multitaskers.
- Deep cleaning
- Cleans walls and floors
- Seven-day programmable cycle
The Hayward SharkVac Robotic Pool Vacuum delivers top-notch results at an affordable price. Instead of mapping the pool, the sophisticated steering system keeps track of the movement, ensuring all spots are covered.
The robotic cleaner includes two small porosity cartridges that must be removed and cleaned separately. However, thanks to the top-access filter, the gadget is quick to clean up and easy to maintain.
Since it can reach both the floor and coves, the Hayward SharkVac Robotic Pool Cleaner makes sure every nook and cranny is thoroughly cleaned.
In addition, the device doesn’t rely on the pool’s filtration system to function, so the frequency of filter backwashing is significantly reduced. As a result, you’ll be able to save more time and money in the long run.
The model is built with high-quality components and innovative technology for optimum energy efficiency. In addition, since there are no hoses, connections, or extra pumps required, it’s incredibly user-friendly.
If we had to pick one flaw, the cleaner would have trouble rising on steep vertical surfaces. In other words, while it can handle stairs just fine, it’s not meant to clean pool walls.
Part of the reason may be the cleaner’s hefty weight, clocking in at 21.5 pounds. Consequently, moving the device may require some upper-body strength, but it’s far from unmanageable.
All in all, the Hayward SharkVac Robotic Pool Cleaner is a powerful tool that can remove dirt and debris with shark-like accuracy.
- Easily removable filter cartridges
- Cleans stairs
- Advanced steering system
- Doesn’t clean walls
Living up to its name, the Dolphin Premier Robotic Cleaner is a premium product created to clean all pool surfaces with pinpoint precision. The many advanced cleaning features and sophisticated controls make this one of the most sought out products currently on the market.
The device uses powerful algorithms to provide a thorough clean in record timing. It can cover floors, walls, and waterlines with speed and efficiency. The powerful dual scrubbing brushes can remove all types of filth and grime, leaving your swimming pool sparkling clean.
In addition, the robotic cleaner has an advanced filtration system comprised of bottom-load fine cartridge filters, ultra-fine cartridge filters, and a sizeable fine filter bag.
Thanks to the intelligent control with a built-in timer, you can check off pool cleaning from your list of maintenance work. The robotic cleaner also has a tangle-free swivel, so you don’t have to worry about getting home to a trapped robot and a dirty pool.
On the other hand, the model is the costliest on our list. However, the heftier price is only a slight disadvantage with so many incredible features.
- Smart control
- Anti-tangle swivel
- Scrubs walls and floors
- Multiple filters
- Slightly high cost
Aquabot cleaners are famous for having a fantastic filtration system, with holes as small as two microns. Thanks to the microscopic design, the Aquabot ABREIQ Breeze IQ can trap even the tiniest particles, such as pollen, dander, dust, and even germs.
The advanced filtration system can remove debris more thoroughly, and as a result, you’ll need fewer chemicals for maintenance. All of this adds up to a healthier environment for your pool.
With two top-access filter baskets, the Breeze IQ makes for the ultimate user-friendly cleaner. Also, the revolutionary Aquabot Swivel eliminates the need for hoses or suction poles, meaning you’ll never come home to tangled cables. The Breeze IQ model is an entirely self-contained cleaner that comes with a built-in pump and motor.
Much like other premium robotic cleaners, the device can clean the pool floors and stairs. Furthermore, it has tracks that let it climb the walls for a well-rounded cleaning. The package also includes a 60-foot cable, which is significantly longer than most provided cables.
Although the Aquabot Breeze IQ is reasonably priced, it has several minor flaws that restrict its durability compared to some of its competitors.
Specifically, the model doesn’t always make it through the winter, which points to broader design and production issues. On the plus side, careful upkeep can prolong the lifespan of the robotic cleaner, making up for the slight disadvantage.
- Amazing filtration
- Long cable
- Cleans walls and floors
- Not as durable as other cleaners
The reviews should have provided you with some insight into what makes a reliable robotic pool cleaner. However, there are a few more things to consider before settling for a model. For instance, the size and type of pool and the most common type of debris present are all important aspects of proper pool maintenance.
In this section, we’ll discuss all those things and more to help you make your pick. By following our buyer’s guide, you’ll feel more confident about your purchase and maybe even learn something new about the fantastic gadgets. So, without further ado, here’s what you should know before buying a robotic pool cleaner.
Type of Pool
Pools come in various sizes and shapes, and the type of pool directly determines what kind of robotic pool cleaner you need. Each variety has its own set of advantages, disadvantages, and particular characteristics to consider when cleaning. Below, you’ll find a breakdown of the most common residential pools and their defining qualities.
Generally speaking, there are two types of pools:
Probably the more cost-effective choice, above-ground pools sit on the surface of your yard, typically surrounded by a deck or patio. The majority of these pools have aluminum, resin, or steel cladding with vinyl liners. Some models also come with patterned walls.
This type of pool is a permanent construction embedded directly into the terrain. In-ground pools can be built from a wide range of materials, with concrete, fiberglass, and vinyl-lined pools being the most prevalent. Typically, materials are chosen based on their strength and flexibility.
When choosing a cleaning method, the materials used to construct your in-ground pool are an essential factor.
Robotic pool cleaners interact differently with different surfaces, and that’s why you need to think about what kind of in-ground pool you have. That said, there are three main types, based on the construction method:
- Concrete pools. In terms of construction, this is probably the most high-budget option. Concrete pools are typically built on-site and can be customized to almost any size. The coloring can come in various finishes, including plaster, paint, and special coating materials
- Fiberglass pools. Typically, the manufacturer makes and delivers the pool in one piece, so they’re slightly less expensive than concrete pools. Fiberglass pools are also more flexible, making them an excellent choice for earthquake zones
- Vinyl-lined. This type of pool has panel walls that are linked together on top of a concrete base. The construction is then lined with a custom-made vinyl liner, resulting in a smooth surface
Most modern robotic pool cleaners can handle cleaning all types of pool surfaces. Some, on the other hand, are designed exclusively for in-ground or above-ground swimming pools. If you have a fiberglass or smooth tile pool, you should avoid cleaners with a harsh brush. Instead, look for a model with a soft, gripping PVC brush that won’t scratch the surface.
When it comes to vinyl liners, using a robotic pool cleaner is mostly safe. However, if you have a vinyl-lined pool, look for a cleaner with non-marring wheels or, better yet, rubber tank tracks. Also, it’s better if there are no sharp or rough edges on the device’s exterior.
Finally, most manufacturers list the type of pool their product is best suited for in the product description.
Make sure to go through the listing carefully and pick the suitable model for your pool. For example, you don’t want to end up with a robotic cleaner that’s custom-made for rough, uneven surfaces if you have a vinyl-lined pool.
Size of Pool
Contrary to popular belief, larger pools don’t require ultra-powerful robotic cleaners for optimal results. However, while it’s true that more robust models can clean faster, this doesn’t always translate to better performance. Instead, the length of the power cord is the critical factor to consider.
Ideally, you want a cleaner that can get from one end of the pool to the other without having to reconnect to another power source. Also, bear in mind your power source should be at least 12 feet away from the pool’s edge.
In other words, choosing a robotic cleaner with a 40-foot cord for a 60-foot pool is pointless. On the flip side, when you use a bigger wire for a smaller pool, the cleaner can get tangled. And that’s why you should measure the length, width, and depth of your pool before purchasing a robotic cleaner.
Steps, Stairs, Walls, and Waterlines
Nowadays, all models can clean the pool floor with speed and efficiency. However, the same can’t be said for stairwells, walls, and waterlines. In addition, some robotic pool cleaners are unable to clean sharp edges, leaving several spots unattended.
When they were first manufactured, robotic pool cleaners were only capable of washing the pool floor. While this is still a crucial part of the whole process, it’s long since been upgraded. Newer models are capable of accomplishing much more in terms of deep cleaning.
As a result, the best robotic pool cleaners on the market can clean both the floor and the walls, not to mention scrub the waterline.
But do you need to clean the entire pool? Absolutely. If not cleaned properly, the pool walls can get infested with algae. And if you don’t get a robotic cleaner that can clean it for you, you’ll have to do it yourself. Scrubbing walls takes a lot of time and effort, so if you have an algae problem, make sure to find a model that can climb.
The introduction of smart control was a breakthrough in robotic pool cleaner technology. Thanks to the advanced feature, you can connect your device to remote control or a smartphone app and gain complete control over the cleaning routine. The sensors will then scan your pool and calculate the ideal cleaning path to cover the entire surface in the shortest amount of time.
Moreover, the sensors can detect changes in the terrain, allowing the cleaner to switch between different brushes. In other words, the sensors can tell the device whether it’s located on the bottom or climbing walls, allowing it to choose the optimal cleaning mode.
Debris Your Pool Collects
Depending on where you live, your pool can collect different kinds of debris. It can be anything from tiny particles like dirt, sand, or pollen to larger items such as leaves, seeds, and twigs.
Since robotic pool cleaners come with various filters and collecting systems, they’re not equally effective against all types of debris. For example, cleaners with a large filter basket that keeps them from filling up too soon work better with larger debris like foliage.
On the other hand, ultra-fine filters are more effective in trapping dirt, germs, or other small particles.
High-end devices usually come with multiple filters that can be swapped out to accommodate the type of debris. A ‘big debris’ filter is almost always included in the package, and you can also purchase additional ones if needed.
If you live in an area with a lot of fine dust or dirt, keep in mind that standard filters may not do the trick. Luckily, fine dust filters are sold separately for a wide range of models.
Also, proper maintenance is key when it comes to the filter’s efficiency. Regularly cleaning the component after each usage might help increase its lifespan, not to mention improving the robotic pool cleaner’s overall performance.
If you have an issue with large debris, getting a skimmer in addition to a robotic pool cleaner might be the way to go. Also, robotic pool cleaners with tracks are a better choice for this situation. The tracks prevent debris from getting lodged between the wheel and the wheel arch, keeping the cleaner from getting trapped in tight spots.
You need to know how much the unit weighs since you’ll be the one removing it from the pool. Keep in mind that the collected water and debris can potentially add to the weight. Wheeled caddies for heavier units can also be a lifesaver, allowing you to move the cleaner out of storage with ease.
Are Robotic Pool Cleaners Worth the Money?
The short answer is – yes. Although buying a robotic pool cleaner is a somewhat hefty initial investment, it can save resources in other areas of homeownership.
And when you consider how much time you spend removing the debris that’s clogging the water column, the gadget pays off in the long run. That’s the quality time you could be spending on other hobbies or projects instead of scrubbing the pool.
If you’re still not convinced robot pool cleaners are worth the money, let’s look at some of the key advantages that come with the device:
It Takes Care of the Dirty Work
The first advantage of using a robotic pool cleaner is pretty simple – you no longer have to do it yourself. For example, instead of brushing the pool floor and then vacuuming the debris, why not let the bot handle everything in one go? Furthermore, robotic pool cleaners filter the water as part of the process, ensuring a healthy environment.
It Allows You to Multitask
Because robotic pool cleaners run independently of the pool pump and filter, you’re entirely free to multitask when it comes to maintenance work. Simply turn on the device and leave it to work its magic in the background while you focus on other mundane but necessary tasks.
As mentioned, robotic pool cleaners function separately from the pumping system since they have a built-in electric motor. As a result, the device uses far less power than the pool pump’s big machine motor.
A conventional pool pump is estimated to consume around 40-50 cents’ worth of energy per hour, but a robotic pool cleaner is much more efficient.
Also, when you compare the cost of equipment required to clean your pool the old-fashioned way, having a robotic pool cleaner is much more economical.
It’s Easy to Use
Robot pool cleaners are self-contained and work perfectly fine on their own. Most models can start cleaning at the press of a button without the need for further intervention. In addition, the majority of robot pool cleaners can be programmed to clean at a preferred time. Newer versions also come with remote control, allowing you to streamline the cleaning routine without leaving the hammock.
It has smart control. Unlike suction and pressure pool cleaners, which move around the pool at random, robotic pool cleaners feature built-in navigation systems. The advanced feature enables them to clean every inch of your pool without the need for monitoring.
Other automated pool cleaners can eventually cover the entire surface of the pool, but robotic pool cleaners are much more thorough.
It Can Save Water
Robotic pool cleaners conserve water by prolonging the time between backwashing the sand filter and rinsing out the cartridge filters. Backwashing a sand filter can take up to 4,000 liters of water, but bot cleaners require much fewer thanks to the built-in component.
If you’re trying to save money, this is the optimal cleaning method for you. The more economic pool owners can even do it with a single bucket of water.
Can Robotic Pool Cleaners Be Left in the Pool?
In theory, you can leave your robotic pool cleaner running in the pool while you take a dip. However, there are several reasons why that’s a bad idea. Here are the downsides of leaving the device in the pool for extended periods:
Leaving the robotic cleaner in the pool accelerates wear and tear. While it’s safe to swim with the device in the water, it can mess with the performance.
Swimming causes the water to swirl, and if the machine is in the pool, its efficiency can be disrupted by the motion. In addition, the bot will have to consume more energy since all the swirling will obstruct it from covering the entire surface.
Also, it’s not advisable to keep the machine in the water while adding chlorine. The change in pH caused might harm the plastic.
Leaving the equipment to sit in water for long periods exposes it to damaging UV light. In addition, sun exposure is known to cause the plastic to wear out faster than otherwise. As a result, the machine can degrade more quickly, allowing for leaks and damage to the electrical components.
Most robot pool cleaners come with a water-resistant power source, but that isn’t enough to keep it safe when it’s raining outside. The power supply might be damaged if it’s exposed to too much water. So when the equipment and its power source are not in use, it’s preferable to keep them in a covered area.
Leaving the robotic pool cleaner in water can result in a clogged filter. A blocked filter makes it difficult for water to flow through the device, resulting in malfunction. In addition, the filter container needs to be regularly cleaned, which requires you to remove the device from the pool when not in use.
How Often Should I Use My Robotic Pool Cleaner?
The frequency with which you run the robotic pool cleaner is mainly determined by the season. Since you use the pool more often during summer, it’s advisable to run it at least once a week. On the other hand, the fickle autumn weather may have you reaching for the bot more often.
However, if you just intend on cleaning once a month, remember to do a deep cleaning. That way, you’ll make sure that all waste is disposed of and that no accumulation occurs.
You can also program it to run for half an hour every morning to ensure that your pool is sparkling every day of the week. In addition, the majority of the models now come with built-in scheduling software.
The advanced feature allows you to schedule cleaning times even when you’re away on vacation. Of course, this type of schedule doesn’t require effective and thorough cleaning. If your model offers a quick clean mode, you can use that instead.
How Long Do Dolphin Pool Cleaners Last?
The robotic pool cleaners from Dolphin are extremely popular, and for a good reason. They’re perfect for home pool maintenance, thanks to their exceptional durability and ease of use. The majority of Dolphin pool cleaners can clean any pool, regardless of its size or shape.
Typically, the life span of a Dolphin is five to seven years. Of course, with the proper maintenance, any product can last even longer.
Taking care of your gadget and keeping it in good working condition allows it to run smoothly for an extended period. Before you start using the robotic pool cleaner, make sure you read all of the instructions. Dolphin usually includes comprehensive upkeep guidelines in the user manuals.
Keep It Clean With a Robotic Pool Cleaner
Nobody likes swimming through leaves and twigs, yet cleaning the pool is a daunting chore. Robotic pool cleaners can help you save both time and money on otherwise tedious tasks. Moreover, thanks to a wide range of nifty features, the fantastic devices can create more opportunities for a refreshing swim during those hot summer days.
With so many different models available, choosing the best robotic pool cleaners is challenging. However, you can’t go wrong with any of our top picks.
The products’ versatility and advanced components make them a solid choice for most pool owners. And if you’re having trouble deciding on the ideal model for your pool, check out our buyer’s guide for further information regarding robotic pool cleaners.