This is likely to be the most comprehensive review of automatic pool cleaners on the web. Robotic pool cleaners have become all the rage, but can also be quite expensive. These are the most advanced automatic pool cleaners. Because the robotic pool cleaner market is so competitive, much has been done to improve the technology used in these machines.
In the beginning, robotic pool cleaners weren’t all that great. They weren’t very intelligent, had problems climbing walls and they used the pool circulation pump to provide their power – early robotic pool cleaners weren’t very efficient. That certainly isn’t the case anymore, provided you choose a quality robotic pool cleaner. We’ll be reviewing quite a few of these automatic cleaners and have chosen recognized brands that have proven themselves to be reliable, with a fantastic reputation.
Robotic Pool Cleaners
Other Automatic Pool Vacuums
- Pentair GW7900 KreepyKrauly SandShark Automatic Pool Cleaner
- BARACUDA G3 W03000 Advanced Suction Side Automatic Pool Cleaner
- Hayward Poolvergnuegen 896584000-525 – Automatic Suction Pool Cleaner
- Polaris Vac-Sweep 280 Pressure Side Pool Cleaner
- Hayward 900 Wanda the Whale Suction Above-Ground Pool Cleaner
With names like Dolphin, Hayward, and Pentair in the mix, you’re guaranteed that we’ll be reviewing only the best robotic pool cleaners. Beware of really cheap robotic pool cleaners, they could turn out to be a complete waste of money. The models we’ll be reviewing are advanced machines and, if you’re going for decent quality and reliability, you must expect to pay for this. I’ve seen some really cheap robotic pool cleaners advertised and these ring alarm bells for me. If a robotic pool cleaner is advertised at a price that’s similar to old-fashioned suction side automatic pool cleaners, you’re going to end up being disappointed.
If a decent robotic pool cleaner is out of your price range, I’d recommend choosing a good quality automatic pool cleaner that doesn’t use advanced robotic technology. These will usually be suction side or power side automatic pool cleaners. They were the first automatic pool cleaners to make the grade and have been a popular choice for homeowners for several decades. Suction side pool cleaners with a longstanding reputation, like Baracuda, Hayward, KreepyKrauly, and Polaris, have been in the business long enough to know what it takes. They’ve done a lot to improve their products over the years. Modern suction side pool cleaners are nothing like the noisy, stupid machines that they once were. Even though they cannot compare to high-end robotic pool cleaners, I believe that a quality suction side pool cleaner is a better choice than a cheap robotic model from an unknown brand. So for the more budget-minded buyer, we’ll also be reviewing a couple of the alternative automatic pool cleaners. They use the pool’s circulation pump, like the old-fashioned suction and power side automatic pool cleaners, but have many added features to make them more competitive in the modern age of robotic pool cleaners.
Robotic Pool Cleaners
If you’re going to be hauling out the extra cash for a robotic pool cleaner, you need to know that you’re getting what you paying for. Modern robotic pool cleaners make use of advanced computerized technology – this is one of their biggest attractions. So your robotic pool cleaner is going to scan the pool and calculate the most effective and efficient way of getting the job done. The result is a perfectly clean pool in the least amount of time.
There are many more reasons why robotic pool cleaners are the best option. They have been designed to climb pool walls and effortlessly negotiate steps, so they clean right up to the water line. They have sensors that tell them when they have reached the water line and they will back-up when this happens. Even beach-entry pools are no problem for most robotic pool cleaners.
These days, robotic pool cleaners work in the same way as a vacuum cleaner. They have their own suction pumps and a bin to collect the debris. They also have advanced filters. The best robotic pool cleaners will remove the smallest particles from your pool’s water – including harmful pathogens that can cause illness. This results in a cleaner, healthier pool and your pool pump and filtration system hardly has to do any work. This reduces your running costs of owning pool – lower power bills and less reliance on chemicals.
Robotic pool cleaners scrub away dirt and are very effective at removing and preventing algae. Many of the best robotic pool cleaners have swivel cords, meaning that they can turn around and move anywhere across your pool without getting stuck. Your routine maintenance is virtually done away with. You’ll need to empty the debris bin periodically and clean the filters, in the same way that you would with a vacuum cleaner. Other than this, it’s simply a matter of dropping the robotic pool cleaner into your pool and leaving it to do its job. Many are programmable, allowing you to schedule your pool cleaning cycles to suit you.
So it’s quite clear that a robotic pool cleaner is the most hassle-free and effective way of keeping your pool perfectly clean all year round. Here are some of your best options for a robotic pool cleaner.
The original Dolphin Nautilus has earned a great reputation as being a very affordable robotic pool cleaner with the backing of a reputable brand. This means that it’s a high-quality robotic pool cleaner with a reasonable spec level and a price tag that places it within reach of most homeowners. The Dolphin Nautilus Plus is the same basic pool cleaner with a few upgrades. Even though the Dolphin Nautilus Plus is more advanced than its little brother, it’s still at the lower end of the price range for one of the best robotic pool cleaners. This makes it incredibly good value for money.
Capable of thoroughly cleaning a pool up to 50-feet long, the little Nautilus Plus has a lot going for it. One of the best improvements on this model is the larger filters that are much easier to access from the top of the machine. Not only are these filters very easy to access and clean, they’re huge. So you won’t be cleaning the filters very often. These filters have a dual action, using a mesh filter for larger debris and pleated polyester fiber for really fine filtration.
Dolphin’s clever clean technology is up there with the best of them. This means that the Nautilus Plus will have no problem cleaning the floors of your pool, as well cleaning the walls – right up to the water line. The floating swivel cable also means no tangles, so it will never get stuck and stop working.
Another improvement that you’ll find on the Dolphin Nautilus Plus is the ability to make 3-point turns, allowing it to easily turn 360-degrees. It also has a rapid water release system that expels the water from the filters within 6-seconds. This is along with the other great features that Nautilus owners have come to value, including a customizable cleaning cycle of up to 3-hours.
Dolphin has made maintenance as easy and affordable as possible. The EasyFix modular component system makes it simple for DIY part changes and these components don’t cost as much as one might think. Despite all the advances made on the Nautilus Plus, it’s just as light as the previous model, weighing only 22-pounds.
So for only a few dollars more, the Dolphin Nautilus Plus has a number of useful additional features and upgrades to an already great robotic pool cleaner. The warranty on the Nautilus Plus has also been extended to 2-years.
The Polaris F9450 is a fantastically lightweight and compact robotic pool cleaner. It has some great features and is suitable for below ground pools up to 50-feet in length. Some users have found it to be suitable for above ground pools. It seems that this depends very much on the stability of the walls. For permanently installed above ground pools, this could work. Though it might be safer to look for a robotic pool cleaner that’s specifically designed for above ground pools.
This model has four-wheel drive, so it will climb walls and move across and around steps without any hassles. By making use of vortex vacuum cleaning technology, the Polaris F9450 provides exceptional cleaning without any loss of suction. The filters are large and easy to access via the top of the machine. They’re perfect for ultra-fine sand and silt filtration. Polaris claim that these filters can handle four times more debris than other cleaners. Of course, this is debatable as some robotic pool cleaners have better filters than others. Regardless of this statement, I can safely say that this robotic pool cleaner has filters that can compare well with the best of them. The filter canister is super easy to clean – all takes is a shake and a spray of clean water and the job is done.
The scrubbing action is excellent and the tile line is handled perfectly through the use of a pleated scrubbing brush. The Polaris F9450 has some remarkable features that make it very convenient to use. It has a 7-day programmable timer. TheActivMotion sensor scans the pool, detects where it is and sets about the most effective cleaning path whilst reducing the likelihood of a tangled cord. A really handy extra feature is the way that it’s really easy to remove from the pool. Just touch a button and the Polaris will surface where you want it to and expel the water. So you can remove it effortlessly. This little robotic pool cleaner weighs only 16-pounds and it includes a caddy for even easier mobility.
The Polaris F9450 has a lot going for it and is certainly a very user-friendly robotic pool cleaner. While not quite as cheap as the Dolphin Nautilus, this is a reasonably priced robotic pool cleaner and comes with a 2-year warranty.
The Hayward TigerShark was one of the first robotic pool cleaners to be commercially available for the home user. While the RC9990GR is not their top of the range model, it is certainly quite an impressive little pool cleaner from a brand with a solid reputation in the business. It’s designed for pools measuring approximately 20-feet by 40-feet.
At an extra cost, the Quick Clean version has the added advantage of a 90-minute cleaning cycle that will allow you to do a basic pool clean when you’re in a hurry to use the pool. This is half the time of the standard 3-hour cleaning cycle which is the usual maximum cycle for this size robotic pool cleaner. Of course, for a more thorough clean, you can always use the regular cleaning cycle. It will then scan the pool like any of the best robotic pool cleaners and determine the most effective cleaning path to maximize its efficiency. An automatic shutoff function will switch the TigerShark off once its cleaning cycle is completed.
It’s very much in the same league as any of the best small robotic pool cleaners. Suction is excellent from a powerful and safe 24V motor and it has great filtration. It does an amazing job of sucking up reasonably large debris as well as fine dirt. One owner commented on how great the little TigerShark is at sucking up acorns – not many pool cleaners can handle that kind of debris. Like the others, it has a scrubbing action that perfectly cleans your pool up to the water line. It’s also very easy and convenient to remove the filters quickly and spray them with clean water for reuse.
Another fantastic robotic pool cleaner at a reasonable price. There’s also an option for a similar model with a remote control, but this costs more. The TigerShark RC9990GR comes with a 1-year warranty.
The Dolphin Premier robotic pool cleaner is certainly deserving of its name. This is one of the best robotic pool cleaners around. It’s noticeably more expensive than most others, but there are plenty of compelling reasons why the Dolphin Premier is worth paying more for.
Dolphin have made quite a big fuss about the MultiMedia system that they have introduced with this model. For those who don’t get what this is all about, I’ll explain. Having a general multi-purpose filtration and dirt canister is good and well, but our pool cleaning needs are not always the same. Sometimes, like after a storm, you’ll have piles of leaves in your pool. This means that you want a high capacity for removing large volumes of debris. There are other times when fine filtration is what you need to remove algae and fine silt. No one system can be perfect for all of these functions, so Maytronics give you the option. Basically, you can use any of four filtration media. If you have a lot of leaves and don’t want to be cleaning the filter bin all the time, the oversized bag is just what you’ll want to use. You can also select from a range of filters, down to a microfilter that will remove even the smallest unseen particles from your pool.
So this is already a great start in convincing me that the Dolphin Premier is cut above most others. Then there’s the highly efficient motor and one of the best navigation systems, making it one of the most efficient and economical robotic pool cleaners around. The 360-degree swivel cable is found on several Dolphin robotic pool cleaners and this eliminates any chance of a tangled cord – a problem that many other robotic pool cleaners are plagued with.
The dual scrubbing brushes give excellent results and clean the pool better than almost any other. All this technology is packed into a larger than average robotic pool cleaner and this makes it quite a bit heavier than many others, it weighs 37-pounds. A caddy is available to help you transport the pool cleaner, but this is sold separately. You can also get an optional remote control for a few bucks more.
Dolphin robotic cleaners are known for being among the best and the Premier is the best of the best – if we’re going to look at it this way. It also has a warranty that beats all the others, this being 3-years.
It’s refreshing to see that one can get a quality robotic pool cleaner from a trusted name, for a very reasonable price. The Hayward SharkVac range has a stellar reputation and while the RC9740CUB may not be their most advanced robotic pool cleaner, it’s cheap enough for many who wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford this luxury.
It’s quite an efficient little machine and will clean most pools in about 2-hours. It might be a little limited for large pools, though. They offer an extra-large version of this model (XL) but that costs quite a bit more. For the rest, it can hold its own among many of the best robotic pool cleaners.
It scrubs the floors and walls of your pool and vacuums with a good level of suction. Like any of the best robotic pool cleaners, it will detect the water line and also recognize when it’s exiting a beach entry pool and return to below the water line. So it will make light work of cleaning your entire pool.
Accessing the large (and very effective) filters is really easy, through a door at the top of pool cleaner that opens with the press of a button. While there are no bells and whistles, like a remote control or anything fancy, this is a very easy to use robotic pool cleaner. Drop it into the pool and let it do its job.
It’s a compact little robotic pool cleaner, weighing only 21.5-pounds. So it’s very easy to handle and you have the option of buying a caddy for easier transporting.
Although this is an entry-level robotic pool cleaner, it comes from a brand that’s known for quality and service. So you really don’t need to be too concerned about the low price tag. Among the quality robotic pool cleaners, this must be one of the cheapest.
Other Automatic Pool Vacuums
Before robotic pool cleaners revolutionized the world of automatic pool cleaning, there were basically two options other than manual pool cleaners. Suction side pool cleaners or pool vacuums have been the most popular, they don’t cost that much and get the job done. Though because they move quite slowly and follow a random path, suction side pool cleaners have always taken a long time to clean the pool.
The next best option would have been a pressure side pool cleaner. This works in much the same way as a suction side pool cleaner but cleans much faster. They do, however, require a more powerful pool pump for them to work. This usually means installing a booster pump if your existing pool pump is not powerful enough.
Some of the traditional issues with suction and power side automatic pool cleaners have been that they’re noisy and can get stuck, especially in corners, or at steps and ladders. Traditionally, they use a diaphragm and these often caused problems by either getting blocked when sucking up larger debris and they could become damaged by sharp objects.
In the old days, we used to spend a lot of time helping the automatic pool cleaner do its job and the maintenance could be quite time-consuming. These days, many of these problems have been overcome. Modern suction and power side automatic pool cleaners are often quieter and more reliable than their predecessors. Diaphragm designs have been improved for better suction, lower blockages, and easier maintenance.
None of these automatic pool cleaners can quite match the ease of use that you’ll get from a robotic pool cleaner. But they are much cheaper and this makes them very attractive for those who can’t afford a robotic pool cleaner. We’ll be reviewing some of best non-robotic pool cleaners that provide the most effective automated pool cleaning at a more affordable price.
This automatic pool cleaner looks very different to the KreepyKrauly Classic and other suction side pool cleaners using the old disc design. There are some advantages to this design, though it’s not as good as the classic when it comes to larger heavy debris, like acorns. It’s fully capable of sucking up leaves and seed pods, though.
One of the big advantages to this pool cleaner, which you won’t find on standard design suction side pool cleaners are the rubber pads on the base. These work in a similar way to bristle brushes that sweep the floor and walls as it cleans. This makes it better at removing algae and fine debris. It will also handle just about any type of in ground pool surface – fiberglass, vinyl, or gunite.
While the Pentair KreepyKrauly is not a robotic pool cleaner, it has an intelligent function that they call smarttrac programmed steering which allows it to negotiate steps and ladders, as well as improve (slightly) on the random cleaning path that’s associated with this type of pool cleaner. It doesn’t move too fast but will still get the pool cleaned more efficiently than many other suction side pool cleaners.
This is a modern-looking suction side pool cleaner that also operates more effectively than most of the older designs. KreepyKrauly is a name that has long been associated with automatic pool cleaning and Pentair offer a 2-year warranty on this model.
The Baracuda name is just about as old automated pool cleaning and many have come to love and trust them. The BaracudaG3 looks very similar to the old-fashioned suction side pool cleaners that we’ve come to know. Though don’t be fooled by the conventional suction disc design, this is a very advanced suction side automatic pool cleaner.
Unlike most others, the Baracuda is virtually silent. If you find the clicking sound of a suction side pool cleaner to be annoying, the G3 is going come as a welcome surprise. The Baracuda G3 won’t get stuck very easily, thanks to their anti-stick design and wheel deflector. This also makes it perfectly capable when negotiating steps, ladders, and corners. The finned design used on the disc ensures that it can handle any type of pool finish.
Another advanced feature that is sure to impress is the Flowkeeper valve with Insta-skim. This serves two purposes, the valve helps maintain an even and constant water flow which will compensate for less powerful pool pumps. In addition to this, the Insta-Skim function allows the G3to skim the pool with the flick of a switch.
Great improvements have been made to the diaphragm. It’s longer and more durable than before and can handle large debris with ease – twigs and pebbles pose no problem for this automatic pool vacuum. The cassette design makes it super easy to remove and replace the diaphragm for quick maintenance.
The traditional looks of the Baracuda G3 can deceptive. This is a modern and very efficient suction side pool cleaner. One can say that instead of reinventing the suction side pool cleaner, Baracuda have chosen to perfect it. The Baracuda G3 has a 1-year warranty and won’t cost you a lot at all.
You can trust Hayward to knock things right out of the ballpark. The Poolvergnuegen has a truly exotic name and looks more like it should be cleaning the surface of the moon than a pool down here on earth. Though this impressive modern-looking design has its reasons and this is an exceptional automatic pool cleaner. It’s designed for larger pools or deep pools measuring around 20 X 40 Feet.
The wheels are not only four-wheel drive but have a unique tread that allow them to zoom up walls, onto steps and easily negotiate most obstacles. The roller skirt has been specifically designed for it to work perfectly on uneven surfaces.
For a non-robotic pool cleaner, this a quite an intelligent machine and has a number of pre-programmed steering sequences. This makes it very effective at cleaning a pool and at covering the entire surface. Adding to its efficiency, the Poolvergnuegen has self-adjusting turbine veins which give it optimum performance, adjusting to the water flow. This system also allows it to handle large debris better than most.
Hayward have taken the best of their many years of experience and looked at the best modern technology available for an automatic pool cleaner. This is certainly one of the most impressive automated pool vacuums, without paying for a high-end robotic machine.
The Polaris Vac-Sweep is a pressure side automatic pool cleaner. This means that it requires additional pressure – more than most average pool pumps provide. It’s recommended that you use the Polaris PB4-60 booster pump with this model. It’s designed for any size or shape in ground pool.
Not only is this an extremely powerful pool cleaner, it also offers some really useful features above what you’d normally expect from a pool cleaner that uses pipes connected to your pool filtration system.
The use of double jets means that the Polaris Vac-Sweep 280 will clean your pool quicker than just about any other – similar to the cleaning cycle of a robotic pool cleaner. You’ll get a large pool sparkling clean in approximately 3-hours, possibly less. It navigates your pool effortlessly by using large wheels and will scrub, as well as vacuum the floors and walls of your pool.
By including a large debris bag, your pool filtration system won’t need to handle as much as it would with a conventional automatic pool cleaner. The Polaris 280 is also capable of sucking up large debris like acorns, seed pods, leaves, and twigs. This model comes equipped with 31-feet of hose, but I’m sure you can add more if needed.
The Polaris 280 isn’t a cheap automatic pool cleaner but compares very favorably to the more expensive robotic pool cleaners. Especially, since it cleans your pool in about the same amount of time and won’t fill your pool’s filtration system with debris. For this, I consider it to be great value for money – it’s certainly cheaper than the very advanced robotic models.
If you’re looking for a highly affordable automatic pool cleaner for an above ground pool, Hayward have an excellent range. These are relatively small pool cleaners and cost a fraction of what you’ll be paying for any other automatic pool cleaner from a trusted brand. Though you should take note that these automatic pool cleaners are recommended for permanently installed pools. Automatic pool cleaners are not generally suited to soft-sided above ground pools.
They come in a range of delightful designs that will be a thrill for the kids. For example, Wanda the Whale looks like a cute and adorable whale that whizzes silently around your pool – amusing the family whilst doing a fine job.Check Price on Amazon
More than providing entertainment, these pool vacuums do a superb job of cleaning any shape above ground pool. There are different types, depending on what kind of above ground pool you have – Danny the Diver is designed for deeper pools.
Constant pressure is maintained through an advanced turbine and gearing system, providing an optimized cleaning action. A contoured design with a rubber bumper ring allows it to follow the shape of your pool and minimizes friction when it comes into contact with the walls of your pool.
It’s as simple to use as one would ever hope for. Without much effort or technical skill, you should be able to have Wanda the Whale ambling about your pool within 10-minutes of unpacking her.
Without parting with a large sum of money, you too can own an automatic pool cleaner that is ideal for above ground pools. Homeowners everywhere trust Hayward to provide quality pool cleaning products and this range has a 1-year warranty.