10 Best Robotic Pool Cleaners

Last Updated November 2019
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A Robotic Pool Cleaner is an Effortless Way to Keep Your Pool Sparkling

Mark Schwarz

A robotic pool cleaner is a low-voltage pool vacuum that operates on its own. Do you use a Roomba for your house? A robotic pool cleaner operates pretty much in the same manner, except that it is driven by a power cable rather than by rechargeable batteries. It operates by means of a series of detectors that assist it to scoot through the pool surface without human intervention.

Many pool cleaners, as well as vacuums, operate by being connecting to the pool's re-circulating pump. However, robotic cleaners operate a bit differently. They receive their power from a ground fault circuit interrupter ( = GFCI) outlet (which provides shock protection in the event of a short circuit) for their power supply and sound a bit like a household vacuum since these have brush rollers to efficiently push tiny objects into the vacuum box. The devices are generally self-contained, in that they have a filter and trash receptacle that you regularly empty out.

Most products have their own particular settings, so you may choose to clean the lower part of the pool, the waterline only, or the whole surface. Cleaning the water line is necessary for removing that ring of residue that collects all over the top of the pool. Specialized designs sometimes have chips or detectors telling the vacuum when to go around a corner or climb the pool’s wall. Some can be operated remotely so that you can effectively guide the cleaner from outside the pool. Let’s examine the factors to decide which robotic pool cleaner is best for you.

 

Types of Robotic Pool Cleaners

You'll see that there are two main types of robotic pool cleaners: one for in-ground pools, and one for above-ground pools.

In-Ground Pool Robotic Cleaners

Two examples of in-ground robotic cleaners are the Dolphin Advantage In-ground Robotic Cleaner (Model No. 99996113-ADV) and the Dolphin Nautilus CC Plus Robotic Pool Cleaner(Model No. 99996403-PC). They use an algorithm to cover every area of the pool exactly once. The Dolphin Advantage can clean pools of up to 33 feet in length, and can clean a pool in under two hours. The Dolphin Nautilus CC Plus can clean pools of up to 50 feet in length. You can program them to clean daily, or once every three days. It can clean up to eight times more efficiently than other non-robotic pool cleaners. They employ dual scrubbing brushes to remove the debris from the floor and walls of the pool, while a top-load cartridge captures debris in the pool’s water. 

Above-Ground Robotic Pool Cleaners

An example of an above-ground robotic pool cleaner is the Kreepy Krauly Prowler 910 Robotic Above-ground Pool Cleaner (Model No. 360321). An above-ground pool cleaner has to employ brushes and wheels that are gentle on the vinyl or PVC of an above-ground pool. The Kreepy Krauly Prowler is one of the more affordable robotic pool cleaners. It employs a top-access mesh filtration basket which is easy to remove and clean. However, some users complain that fine particles make it through the filter. Also, it cleans principally the floor of the pool, but not the walls.

What reviewers say

Why Should You Get a Robotic Pool Cleaner this Summer?

There are a number of advantages to using a robotic pool cleaner:

Water Circulation

Besides the task of cleaning the surface of the pool, a robotic pool cleaner also circulates the pool’s water. This will help mix the chemicals that you add to the pool’s water so that they will be distributed uniformly. It also prevents the growth of algae and other organisms, since they aren’t allowed to settle in one place.

Ultra Comfort

The main advantage of a robotic pool cleaner is its convenience: If you have ever used a manual pool cleaner, you’ll realize how much effort it requires, as well as time. It’s essentially the same as running a vacuum cleaner by hand over the entire pool surface. A robotic pool cleaner will save you both all of that effort, as well as time.

A Cleaner Pool

A robotic pool cleaner employs strong suction and special brushes that scrub the pool surface. A robot will give better results than you could ever achieve by manual cleaning.

Less Daily Cleaning

If you wish, you can employ a robot pool cleaner daily. This will keep residue from accumulating—so each cleaning will be less laborious.

Energy Efficiency

Robotic pool cleaners operate at low-voltage, and will take the load off of your pool’s filter and recirculating pump.

What should You Consider Before Buying a Robotic Pool Cleaner

Before purchasing, consider the following characteristics:

Wall and Stairs Climbers

Not all pool cleaners are programmed to climb the walls of the pool. Some are just able to clean the floor of the pool. On the other hand, some are able to negotiate even the pool’s stairs.

Cleaning Cycles

Most robotic devices have multiple configurations or cleaning cycles for which you can schedule them. You can choose between a "Bottom Only" cycle, or even just "Waterline Only", as well as commanding the robot to clean the entire pool.

Remote Controls

Some pool cleaners, such as the Polaris 9550 Robotic In-ground Pool Cleaner, can be operated by remote control. You can direct the pool cleaner to any particular part of the pool that you’re interested in cleaning.

Size

Make sure that the robotic pool cleaner can handle your size of pool. Some are adequate for 50’ long pools, while others can only handle 33’ or less.

Important Features

What Features Should You Look for in Robotic Cleaners for Pool?

Suction Power

The suction power of a robotic pool cleaner is usually displayed as Gallons per Minute (= GPM). Some, such as the Zodiac MX8 Suction-Side Pool Cleaner, gives good results running at 20 GPM.

Power Cord

Many low-end robotic pool cleaners have a problem with their power cable getting tangled. This has been an enormous issue for years—but pool cleaners with a mechanical swivel have an effective solution. Other solutions include technological developments such as gyro technologies and dual-drive motor mechanisms.

Filtration

Many robotic pool cleaners have a top-load cartridge filter. This configuration makes it very easy to remove and rinse the filter. Other models employ a bottom-load filter, which requires that you turn the robot upside-down to get at the filter. The finest cleaners claim that they can filter out particles more than 2 microns in size.

Power Washing Jets

Some robotic pool cleaners, such as the Aquabot Turbo T Jet Robotic In-Ground Pool Cleaner. employ power-washing jets. These blast at the debris that adheres to the pool’s walls and floor, making it easier for the brushes to remove the silt and fine particles.

Final Verdict

Whether you have an in-ground or above-ground pool, you should be able to find a robotic pool cleaner that will suit your pool’s size, as well as your pocketbook. You’ll be able to choose from among robotic pool cleaners capable of cleaning the pool floor, the pool’s walls, the water line, and even the stairs of your pool!

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