Robotic Icon The Best Robotic Pool Cleaners – Ratings and Buyer’s Guide

updated: October 15, 2020
Best-rated Robotic Pool Cleaner Reviews - 2020

Robotic pool cleaners make short work out of what was once a much-dreaded task. No one wants a filthy pool, but pools don’t clean themselves. You must be proactive about pool maintenance. Pool robots can shorten your cleaning time so you can take advantage of a cool dip any time you want during those hot summer days.

Being proactive about pool cleaning doesn’t mean you have to work harder. You just need to work smarter. This is where an automatic pool cleaner can save the day. But they’re not all created equally. Suction cleaners and pressure-side cleaners are okay, but they make your pool pump work harder. Therefore, we’ll show you how to find the best robotic pool cleaner in this handy guide.

What to look for in a robotic pool cleaner

Pool cleaning could be fun too.

To find a pool cleaner that’s right for you, there are 3 main questions you need to ask:

  1. What kind of pool do you have?
  2. How much cleaning do you want?
  3. What features on a pool cleaner are important to you?

Types of pools

Many robotic pool cleaners can tackle any kind of pool surface. However, some are made specifically for in-ground or above-ground pools. Also, if you have a vinyl, fiberglass or smooth tile pool, you won’t want a cleaner with a rough brush. You’ll want a robotic cleaner with a soft, grippy PVA brush.

Type of your pool will affect your decision choice when purchasing a robotic pool cleaner.

Size matters, too. You’ll need a robotic pool cleaner that can reach all the way from one side to the other without you having to unplug it from one power source and plug it in somewhere else. Your power supply must also be 12 feet from the pool’s edge. Make sure you know your pool’s length, width and depth so you know how long of a cord you need.

How much cleaning do you want?

Cleaner on the bottom of a pool

Depending on how much you use your pool or your budget, you may opt for a pool cleaner that only vacuums the pool floor. These may or may not come with brushes, and are often the simplest and cheapest. You could invest a little more in a premium pool cleaner that will be more efficient and cover more area.

Higher-end pool cleaning robots can clean the floor, cove, and part of the wall. They have rotating brushes and features that help them climb, so they’ll be more expensive.

Then you have the top-notch ones that can clean the floor, cove, the entire wall, and the waterline. These are the most advanced and often have smart features that can be controlled via mobile apps.

What features are important to you?

Easy of the maintenance is the feature you should consider too.

If you’re new to buying pool cleaners, you may not know exactly what features you want yet. That’s okay. Things you’ll want to consider are:

  • Suction power
  • Swiveling cables
  • Filtration
  • Power washing jets
  • Warranty
  • Programming features

Pool cleaning robot maintenance

If you spend a few hundred bucks on a new automatic pool cleaner, you want to make sure it lasts as long as possible. Unlike simpler pool cleaners such as brushes and nets, robotic pool cleaners need a little extra TLC to keep functioning well. 

Clean the Robotic Pool Cleaner

The best pool vacuums will keep going like the Energizer Bunny so long as you follow maintenance rules. First, you should ALWAYS follow the guidelines in the owner’s manual. Keep it handy for reference. 

Here are some general tips to keep your pool cleaning robot running smoothly:

  • When the cycle is complete, remove the robot from the pool. Prolonged submersion can damage the motor, and there’s always a risk of electrical shock if you swim with it in the water.
  • Cleaning the filters is part of the needed regular maintenance.
  • Thoroughly drain all the water from the cleaner when you take it out. Your owner’s manual should tell you how. If not, look for videos online.
  • Clean the unit after each cycle – clear brushes and wheels of debris, and empty and rinse the filters.
  • Replace any worn brushes or filters ASAP.
  • Store your pool robot out of direct sunlight, and protect it from the elements. The power supply is susceptible to damage if left in the rain.

Skip any of these steps, and you’ll be out a lot of money and time. It may not sound fun to clean filters and bother with proper storage, but just keep in mind all the hours of cleaning time you’re saving. That’s more time for you to enjoy a poolside drink and splash around with the kiddos. 

Browse our reviews of the best pool robots to find one that fits your budget and pool cleaning needs.


Best Robotic Pool Cleaners of 2020 – Ratings & Reviews

1Best Functionality for the Price
Simple to use with good features for the price.

This average-priced pool robot is fairly new to the Dolphin Nautilus team. It’s similar in functionality to the Dolphin Premier with dual scrubbing brushes and CleverClean technology for mapping. It’s designed to clean in-ground pools up to 50 feet across within 2 hours and uses dual top-loading cartridge filters.

This unit weighs 19 pounds, has a 60-foot power cord, and cleans both the pool wall and floor. It comes with a 2.5-year manufacturer’s warranty.

ProsThe Good

Top-loading filters are easier to remove than bottom-loading filters in older models. Dual filtration separates large, small, and ultrafine debris to prevent clogs. Simply rinse them out with a garden hose, and they’re good for another round.

The swiveling cord helps prevent tangles and is plenty long to reach the far corners of your pool (up to 50 feet). Automated cleaning can be set for daily, every other day, or every 3 days.

ConsThe Not-So-Good

This unit does not come with a remote, so if it misses areas, you can’t redirect it unless you manually move it yourself. It can sometimes get stuck on steps and doesn’t clean the waterline.

Beyond a quick start guide, there’s no detailed owner’s manual. The smart mapping seems more random than it should. Also, it doesn’t come with a caddy, but you can purchase one separately for $100+.

Customer OpinionWhat Customers Say

For the price, most customers say this unit has been a good investment. They like how well it climbs walls and doesn’t get stuck on raised drains. Several commented on how light it is, which makes it easy to drop in and take out.

Many customers mentioned the lack of a detailed manual. The videos on the Maytronics website weren’t much more helpful. If you need repairs, you must pay for shipping, plus repairs can be costly or take a long time.

Take a Look At These Alternative Models:
  • Dolphin Nautilus CC Supreme
    Dolphin Nautilus CC Supreme
    Price: High

    The Dolphin Nautilus CC Supreme has an impressive array of advanced features. For example, most robotic cleaners have only two scrubbing brushes. However, the Supreme gives you a third brush which rotates at high speeds to eliminate unsightly gunk from your pool walls and floor. It also has four cleaning modes with three different timed cycles. This allows you to tackle cleaning jobs with greater precision and efficiency. Read Our Full Review of the Dolphin Nautilus CC Supreme.

  • Nautilus CC
    Dolphin Nautilus CC
    Price: Low

    The Dolphin Nautilus CC is limited to cleaning pools that are 35 feet long or less. However, the Dolphin Nautilus CC Supreme can clean larger pools — up to 50 feet, in fact. The Dolphin Nautilus CC is much cheaper because it doesn’t have the advanced features of the Supreme

    Also, the Dolphin Nautilus CC doesn’t have an anti-tangle cable, so it’s more liable to get hung up on an obstacle when it’s cleaning.

  • Nautilus
    Dolphin Nautilus
    Price: Average

    With a three hour cleaning cycle, the Dolphin Nautilus takes considerably longer to do its job than the Supreme. Also, removing the cartridges to clean them is SO much easier on the Supreme, because they load from the top instead of the bottom.

    Another difference between the two is the Dolphin Nautilus only has two standard scrubbing brushes, while the more Supreme adds a high-speed center scrubber to the mix. Read Our Full Review of the Dolphin Nautilus.

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2Best Waterline Cleaner
Its wall climbing ability beats that of other models.

The manufacturer equipped the robot with special overhead ballasts and hypergrip dual tracks to help carry out its mission. These game-changing innovations vastly improved Premier’s ability to clamber up the sides of a pool.

Premier’s powerful scrubbing brushes attack the slimy gunk that stubbornly attaches itself to pool walls. Then, like an underwater Arnold Schwarzenegger, the robot terminates this unhealthy enemy for you.

ProsThe Good

Because of the Premier’s unrivaled ability to climb walls, it’s able to accomplish what many pool cleaning robots cannot–stick its tiny electronic nose out of the water to get right at that waterline.

The engineers at Maytronics created the world’s first robotic pool cleaner with onboard low voltage motors. And with the entire system using only 180 watts of power, you’ll save a TON of money on your electric bill.

ConsThe Not-So-Good

The manufacturer says you can clean out the filter bag by hosing it out. It turns out it’s a real PAIN to get it clean this way because it takes too long. Throw it in the washer instead.

Its patented 360° anti-tangle swivel is supposed to prevent it from ever getting knotted up in its own cord. However, even with this technology, it occasionally happens.

Customer OpinionWhat Customers Say

Customers love how well the robot scrubs all vestiges of algae, biofilm, and other crud from their pool walls, restoring the tiles to their original luster. They’re also happy that they don’t have to spend an hour or more several times a week brushing the walls themselves. That can be backbreaking work!

Many customers were delighted at how crystal clear their pool water became after only using the unit a short time.

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3Most innovative
This gyroscopically-assisted marvel of engineering cleans like no other.

The Sigma’s advanced navigation and scanning software always ensures that your pool is cleaned thoroughly. It has larger filters than you’d typically find on a pool cleaning robot. This means more water flows through them, capturing more contaminants in less time.

And energy-wise, it’s incredibly efficient, running on 90% less electricity than pool cleaning machines of the past. Over time, this will save you wads of cash.

ProsThe Good

Its gyroscopically-enabled navigation system lets the robot know, with pinpoint precision, where to go next. This ensures that every square inch of your pool is scrubbed sparkling clean. With the extraordinary control this gyroscope gives your mechanical assistant, he won’t wobble or topple over when attempting to scale a wall.

Besides being the planet’s first pool robot with a gyroscope, it’s also the first one with three motors.

ConsThe Not-So-Good

There appears to be a glitch in some units where the robot indicates it’s actively cleaning when it actually isn’t. If this malfunction happens, usually it’s when users activate the automatic mode. For some people, even the app sometimes displays this wildly inaccurate information.

The Sigma also doesn’t do well with drains and tends to get hung up on them.

Customer OpinionWhat Customers Say

Customers love how the Sigma’s hypergrip treads help it to never lose contact with the floor. Some other models with wheels instead of continuous rubber tracks have a tendency to tip over. Not so with the Sigma!

Its innovative gyroscopic mobility system also helps it to get its bearings before it “turtles” and ends up on its back.

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4Best for above ground pools
For above ground pools, there’s no better robot.

If you need something easy and low maintenance to keep your inground pool sparkling clean, this is the robot for you. You don’t have to fuss with covers, manual vacuums, or attachments to pumps or hoses.

It’s so easy to use—just drop it in the water and push the power button. It’ll spotlessly clean your pool in one superfast 1.5-hour cycle.

Plus, it’s incredibly energy efficient, with an average electricity cost of five cents per hour.

ProsThe Good

It has a huge filter basket, so it’ll catch lots of floating debris before it turns your pool into an eyesore. This Ultra Fine Filter Basket captures even tiny sand grains. There’s a simple push latch at the top of the unit to get at the filter.

The filter also has an easy-to-open hinged bottom. Just push the button, and the dirt falls right out.

ConsThe Not-So-Good

The warranty is only good for two years. After the first year, it only covers plastic parts. Also, you have to purchase the Ultra Fine Basket separately. Because the cord doesn’t have an anti-tangle swivel, it sometimes gets all twisted around the robot.

Edges are inconsistently cleaned because it seems as though the robot spends most of its time crisscrossing the middle.

Customer OpinionWhat Customers Say

Customers love how its tank treads allow the robot to get around so much better than if it had wheels. Purchasers who have trees with abundant foliage like how well the unit sucks up all the leaves that invariably drop into their pool.

Many remarked how incredibly easy it is to operate–just drop it into the pool and press the power button.

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5Best for Custom-Shaped Pools
Nimble enough to navigate challenging twists and turns.

If you have a custom-shaped pool up to 60 feet in length, the Polaris F9550 Sport was made with you in mind. That’s because it was specifically engineered to navigate the challenging obstacles and tight corners of meandering pool configurations.

A powerful weapon in its arsenal are powerful water jets that can sweep out debris from hard-to-reach places like under pool steps.

ProsThe Good

One of the features that helps it to navigate the winding curves of unconventional pool layouts is its four-wheel drive. This allows it to easily move around corners without having to back up.

This robot has powerful Vortex Vacuum technology at its command. This means that it has enough suction to pick up even large pieces of floating debris.

ConsThe Not-So-Good

This robot gets tangled up in its own cord more often than its competitors. So, if you buy this unit, this might mean more trips out to the pool to free it from its own self-induced predicament.

The remote control has been known to be sluggish. You could find yourself at wit’s end because you repeatedly push a button just to complete a single action.

Customer OpinionWhat Customers Say

Customers are thrilled with how easy the filters are to clean. Just open them up, shake the yucky stuff out, and give them a proper spraying with a garden hose. Then, pop them back in–super easy to do, without fussing with messy bags.

Another thing customers are pleased about is the unit comes with its own caddy. Most pool robots don’t come with one, so it’s great that the company offers one with this robot.

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6Filters that are the easiest to clean
Great for fiberglass, vinyl, and concrete pools.

With this hard-working machine at your beck and call, you’ll finally be able to fire your pool boy. That’s because its impressive slew of features makes it the crown jewel of Hayward’s fleet of robotic pool cleaners.

This unit will have no trouble at all vacuuming up debris that both detracts from the stunning visual beauty of your pool and is a potential health hazard.

ProsThe Good

This robot is propelled by a super-efficient 24 volt motor that uses less energy than comparable models. This should save you LOADS of money over time.

The filters are super easy to clean. Just run them under a spigot and give them a good tap on their edge. The debris will slide out just like that! To make it even easier, let the filters dry out before emptying them.

ConsThe Not-So-Good

The cord doesn’t have an anti-tangle swivel. This makes it prone to wrapping around the unit, and you might have to frequently come out to free your little guy.

If you have a drain that sticks up, you might want to buy a cover for it. That’s because this robot repeatedly gets stuck on this type of drain. The drive belts also seem to be poorly constructed with no fabric reinforcement.

Customer OpinionWhat Customers Say

Customers who use ionizer filtration systems (which disinfects your pool by infusing the water with positively-charged copper and silver ions) LOVE this unit. By having the robot complement the work of the ionizer, they don’t have to use chlorine.

Other buyers were impressed with the unit’s superior wall-climbing ability and dexterity in scrubbing out hard-to-reach corners.

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7Best Range of Mobility
Incredibly nimble on vertical surfaces.

The Triton PS grips pool surfaces more tightly than most other machines on the market. It does this by using patented multi-directional jets. This gives it a surefootedness not often seen in lesser models.

It’s able to powerfully scrub your walls and waterline. This ensures they’re shiny and clean, and blessedly free from the crud that takes away from your carefully cultivated pool aesthetics.

ProsThe Good

At only 16.5 pounds, this is one of the lightest of all pool robots. It also has advanced scanning functionality. This means it can make sure every single inch of your pool surfaces are vigorously scrubbed clean of all contaminants.

Using the Triton PS will extend the life of your pool’s filtration system, because the robot does some of the dirty work it used to exclusively do.

ConsThe Not-So-Good

The robot doesn’t seem to do a good job cleaning curvy areas. So, if you have a custom-shaped pool with lots of meandering contours or corners, you might want to think about getting something else.

The automatic weekly scheduling feature (like with some other models) doesn’t appear to make a whole lot of sense. That’s because the manufacturer advises that you should take the unit out of the pool when you’re not using it.

Customer OpinionWhat Customers Say

There seems to be a unanimous consensus that the filters are exceedingly easy to clean. Also, the anti-tangling swivel that so many models have seems to work particularly well with this robot. There are few, if any, complaints that the unit got tangled up in its own cables.

Most users were impressed with how well the robot scaled the walls to clean the waterline.

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8Most Versatile
A superlative choice for all above-ground pools.

A machine that only vacuums your pool isn’t going to be enough to eradicate stubborn algae and biofilm. You’ll need one with powerful scrubbing brushes to get the job done.

Enter the Dolphin Escape, which has not one, but two brushes that power away nasty build-up from all your pool surfaces.

It also has a state-of-the-art electronic brain that uses sophisticated algorithms to precisely calculate the most efficient cleaning route.

ProsThe Good

The hypergrip track works flawlessly with the digital mapping technology. The end result? Faster and more efficient cleaning.

What’s more, it uses 90% less power than older types of pool cleaning robots. Maytronics accomplished this monumental feat by using an innovative low voltage DC motor. The entire system only requires around 180 watts of power.

Think of how much money you’ll save!

ConsThe Not-So-Good

Unfortunately, this unit only has a one-year warranty. If your pool dips or has areas lower than the rest of the floor, your little robot friend has a tendency to pop wheelies. When it does this, the filter basket can pop out. Then, all the debris your guy painstakingly collected will be unceremoniously dumped back into the pool.

The cord doesn’t seem to be quite long enough for most pools.

Customer OpinionWhat Customers Say

Customers are ecstatic that their days of laboriously vacuuming their pool by hand are over. All they have to do is to plug it in, turn it on, and walk away. Other purchasers are elated that they can use it for more than just above-ground pools. For example, some purchasers use it on smaller inground pools.

One customer even used it to clean his vinyl-lined koi pond.

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9Best inexpensive model
Makes owning a pool a hassle-free experience.

Maybe you have yucky stuff (like decaying leaves and rotting algae) festering in your pool. Now that winter’s over, this robot will be just the thing to whip it back into shape for summer. With its large-capacity filter baskets, you’ll be astounded at how much debris it can suck up.

Plus, it has exceptional wall-climbing abilities. It can even climb up curved walls!

ProsThe Good

The Dolphin Advantage uses its powerful scrubbers to loosen gunk from pool surfaces. And then, applies powerful suction, so all that nasty stuff gets deposited into its filter canister. All you have to do is to get rid of the debris.

With an energy cost of five cents a hour, you won’t have to incur an astronomical electric bill in your quest to have the cleanest pool on the block.

ConsThe Not-So-Good

While most users have had a good experience with this robot, some say that the robot spends all its time in one corner and rarely climbs the walls. Others claim that it hardly ever gets your pool thoroughly clean in one cycle. And apparently, it doesn’t clean stairs, ladders, or in-pool seating very well.

The cord doesn’t have an anti-tangle swivel. Cleaning the waterline just isn’t in its job description.

Customer OpinionWhat Customers Say

Customers love that they don’t need to siphon off the suction or pressure from their pool’s dedication pump or filtration system to use the Dolphin Advantage. This puts less wear and tear on their primary system so that it’ll last longer.

They’re also thrilled that the unit has filter bags big enough to capture sticks, leaves, and other junk that can wreak havoc on their pool equipment.

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10Best Filtration
This precisely engineered pool robot has great filtration.

The Aquabot Breeze has the finest filtration system of any pool robot, with filters that can screen out particles two microns wide. This means it’ll screen out bacteria.

Although it’s exceptional at picking up contaminants you can’t see with the naked eye, it’s also excellent at capturing larger debris. So, it’ll scoop up all those nasty bugs on the bottom that you could never quite reach with your handheld skimmer.

ProsThe Good

Its impressively energetic dual scrubbers and powerful suction mean you’ll be able to use fewer potentially toxic pool chemicals. With the superior Aquabot swivel technology at your command, you’ll never have to worry about the unit getting tangled up in its own cord.

Its durable PVC scrubbing brushes are safe for all surfaces—even vinyl lined pools. It’s low wattage motors only cost about five cents an hour to run.

ConsThe Not-So-Good

Sometimes the robot has difficulty climbing up to the waterline. The manufacturer suggests adjusting the handle (which helps the unit to float) when this happens. This should fix the problem.

The unit’s super-fine filters will help keep your pool water radiantly clean at all times. However, they need to be replaced more often than regular filters.

Customer OpinionWhat Customers Say

Customers love how well this robot cleans hard-to-reach places, including walls, corners, and waterlines. Most customers stated they had no difficulty whatsoever retrieving the bot from the pool since this unit, even when soaking wet, weighs only 19 pounds.

Other purchasers commented on how easy it is to clean the filters.

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Why buy a robotic pool cleaner?

When it comes to pool cleaning, you have several options. Most depend on your time and budget. Of course, for those who can afford it, hiring someone to keep your pool clean is the easiest option. But since most pool owners can’t shell out that kind of cash, they need to invest in some good pool cleaning tools. Robotic pool cleaners are a big investment, but for most people, they’re worth it.

There are some cheapest options for pool cleaning, including the nets.

The cheapest options are manual brushes, nets and vacuums, but they’re also the most labor and time intensive. A happy medium lies in automatic pool cleaners, including suction-side, pressure-side, and robotic cleaners.

Robotic cleaners tend to be the most expensive, but not always. They are also the least labor-intensive of the automatic cleaners. Here are a few reasons to invest in one:

  • You don’t have a lot of spare time. If you’re working full time and raising a family, you’d rather be in the pool when you get some time off rather than cleaning it. We get you.
  • You have health issues. Manual cleaning can be good exercise, but all that reaching and scrubbing can be a nightmare if you have a bad back or other physical limitations.
  • You want a healthier pool. A good robotic cleaner has just the right scrubbing and filtration power to remove things you can’t see with a regular pool vacuum. Those with smart navigation ensure every part of the pool gets a good cleaning.
  • You want to prolong the life of your pool pump. Many pool cleaners and vacuums rely on your pool’s pump to power them, which puts extra strain on it and your pool filters. A robotic cleaner uses its own power source and filters, which prolongs the life of your pool system.
  • You care about the environment. A clean pool means fewer chemicals are needed, plus robotic cleaners are very energy efficient.

What to consider before buying a robotic pool cleaner

Type of the pool, size of it and the needed features will shape your choice of the robotic pool cleaner.

What you buy will depend on your type of pool, its features, and how much cleaning you’ll need. Write down all these things so you can easily refer to them to find the best robotic pool cleaner that fits your budget.

  • Type of pool – Some cleaners are meant to work for both in-ground and above-ground pools, but others are made for one or the other. Also, some are better at reaching corners than others, so the shape of your pool matters.
  • Size of pool– Cord length on the machine will determine how far it can reach across your pool. The larger your pool, the longer the cord you’ll need. Too short, and you may have to move the power supply from one side of the pool to another.
  • Steps, stairs, walls, and waterlines – Pretty much every pool cleaning robot can tackle the pool floor with no issues. But some can’t clean stairs and steps or climb walls. Some can’t clean sharp corners. Others won’t clean up to the waterline. Generally the more abilities the cleaner has, the more expensive it gets.
  • The debris your pool collects– Depending on where you live, your pool may collect a lot of small particles like dirt, sand and pollen or a lot of large debris like leaves, seeds, and twigs. If you tend to have a lot of large debris, you’ll want a cleaner with a big filter basket so it doesn’t fill up too quickly. For very small debris, look for those with ultra-fine filters.

Big Pool
Other pool cleaner features to look for

Once you’ve determined what you need, you’ll want to look for those extra features that can help make the difference between an okay cleaner and a great cleaner.

Robotic pool cleaners have a wide array of cleaning methods. For instance, cleaners that come with good scrub brushes can do a better job at dislodging debris like algae so it can be sucked up. Some cleaners only have suction power, so any additional brushing will need to be done manually.

Robotic Pool Cleaner (Dolphin) Scrub Brushes
Dolphin Premier Scrub Brushes

Smart scanning systems work to map out the shape and size of your pool for an efficient cleaning path. These can be great for oddly shaped pools so that the cleaner doesn’t end up going over the same area multiple times, therefore wasting energy.

Weight is an important factor because you'll need to lift it out of the pool.

How much the unit weighs is also important since you’ll need to lift it out of the pool. Remember that the water and collected debris will make it weigh more. For heavy units, wheeled caddies can be a real lifesaver as well, so you can roll the cleaner from storage rather than carrying it.

Swivel cords are also a good feature since they keep the cord from tangling up. They don’t always work, but they’re important if you’re not going to be there while the pool cleaner is running.

Other features that are nice but not really must-haves are remote controls and programmability. If you want to run your cleaner on a set schedule while you’re not home or at night, etc, then a programmable timer would be a benefit.

What are the drawbacks to robotic pool cleaners?

As nice as they are to have for saving time and effort, there are a few cons when it comes to pool robots.

Best Robotic Pool
  1. Price – Pool robots are usually the most expensive type of automatic cleaner. The cheapest ones may be about the same price as a mid-range pressure or side-suction cleaner, but the cheapest ones don’t have nearly as many features and tend to break more often.
  2. Maintenance – With all the moving parts, there’s more to break and replace on a pool robot. The most common complaints are about the machines breaking down. Hint: Look for machines with good warranties, and purchase extended warranties if available!
  3. Filter cleaning – Unless you want to waste money on disposable filters, you’ll need to clean out the filter bags or cartridges after every cycle. If you have a big, busy pool with lots of debris, you may have to clean them a lot.
  4. Tangled up cables – Swivel cables help, but don’t always work. There’s always a chance your cable can get tangled on something or be a trip hazard. It’s a good idea to watch it the first few cycles to see if it will be a problem.
  5. Luke Reed - Pool Maintenance Expert
    Limited warranties and specialized internal parts mean repairs can be costly. Therefore, robotic pool cleaners require regular and specific maintenance.
    Expert Team

  6. Can damage some vinyl surfaces – If you have a vinyl-lined pool, make sure the cleaner is compatible with it. Some of the brushes can scratch the ink or remove the patterns on the vinyl. Always make sure your vinyl’s in good shape before using a pool robot with brushes.
  7. Can’t swim with it in the pool – All pool robots are grounded with GFCI plugs that are supposed to shut off at the first hint of any electrical imbalance. However, there’s always a risk of electric shock any time you have electricity and water together. So, while it’s running, you should play it safe and keep everyone out of the pool.

Tips and Tricks for Pool Cleaning
Quick tips & hints

These quick tips and hints come from customers who’ve used the products listed above. They might help you if you need some troubleshooting.

  • If debris tends to fall out when removing your cleaner from the pool, try either removing it really quickly or really slowly and keep it upright at all times.
  • If you have a beach entrance style of pool, a robotic cleaner may get flipped over if it’s climbing a nearby wall. The water at the entrance may be too shallow for it to turn itself back over. Most cleaners have auto-shut off if this happens.
  • To help prevent cord tangling, try stretching the power cord out straight and leave it in the sun for a few hours.
  • Robotic pool cleaner in action.
  • Make sure the filters are completely enclosed with the door fully locked down, or the cleaner may not run.
  • Don’t neglect the usual pool maintenance with regular brushing, testing water pH and chemistry, etc. There’s only so much your pool robot can do. If your pool is neglected and filthy, you need to manually clean it first, then use the pool robot for maintenance cleaning.
  • The tracks on the rollers will stretch and loosen after a while, so if you notice it’s not climbing like it used to, try replacing the tracks.

Our pool maintenance expert, Luke Reed, earned his BS in Civil Engineering from Georgia Tech in 1998. Since then, he’s worked in a variety of industries, including design and construction of luxury swimming pools.
image description Comments
J. Wren
August 25, 2020 at 11:40 am

Given the fact that so many pools now days have very shallow sections, ie splash pads, which of these robo cleaners can run in 4 to 6 inches of water?

August 10, 2020 at 7:09 pm

We supposedly a have self cleaning infloor jet system. Still needs vacuuming. Will the robotic cleaning vacuums be safe to use with these pop up jets on the floor of the pool? What would you recommend?

August 2, 2020 at 4:38 am

Hi there thanks for the article – much appreciated.

I have a small (2x5x2m) but deep plunge pool with steps at each end – it doesn’t get lots of leaves but does get fine dust / particles and has smooth tiles.

Wondering what’s view on the best equipment for the job!! Thank you in advance

July 29, 2020 at 1:58 am

Are there any pool robot cleaners that can run more than once a day? My neighbor has a leafy tree right on top of my pool and it becomes a nightmare in the fall. Surprisingly I cannot find a single robot that allows me to set a schedule to more than once a day.

Judy Uzueta
July 6, 2020 at 2:28 pm

great article we are looking for first Robotic cleaner for our inground pool
Saw the Dolphin Natulius CC Supreme was best, but what about Natulius Supreme CC, at about half the price of supreme model?
Thanks for your answers to this

July 5, 2020 at 9:44 pm

Hi. I bought a paxcess robotic pool cleaner on Amazon. Does a great job cleaning but I am now seeing black scratches on the bottom of the walls from the sides of the cleaner rubbing. It’s a 30k gallon indoor concrete pool and would be a nightmare to get it painted because the pool is near a lake with high water table. Do you have any suggestions one how to prevent? I do like the convenience but don’t want to damage the concrete. Thinking about pads etc to stick on the Plastic corners on the side of the brush or just filing the plastic? Thanks and very informative article

July 1, 2020 at 5:10 am

We have an L shaped pool. Our local pool store says a robot won’t work because of that. Do you believe that to be true or do their mapping systems work around it?

June 23, 2020 at 4:03 pm

I have a vinyl pool liner and the automatic cleaners have worn the color from the water line. Can you recommend a cleaner which does only the floor and walls

Kevin (Cleanup.Expert Team)
June 29, 2020 at 9:11 pm

Sorry to hear about the damage to your pool, Tim. That’s horrible! There really aren’t any robotic pool cleaners out there that do the walls and the floor and not the waterline. However, a pool cleaner is supposed to be improving the aesthetics of your pool. It’s not normal if it instead detracts from them by removing the color from your pool surfaces.

I would have a professional fix the damage, and then, replace your obviously defective machine with a different one. I recommend the Dolphin Nautilus CC Supreme. As I mentioned in the Buyer’s Guide, it happens to be the best one on the market right now. And I haven’t heard of a single complaint of one causing damage.

You could also write to the manufacturer to tell them about what happened. Maybe they can shed a little insight into how their product could do such a thing, or even compensate you for your troubles.

Pool Cleaner
June 10, 2020 at 6:56 am

That was one very helpful article. Thanks for sharing! So I am planning on using/renting pool cleaners for business purpose, what pool cleaner would last longer if I were to use it on a daily basis on multiple pools..? or how often should I use it for it not to get damaged to quickly? Thanks in advance for your answers.

Kevin (Cleanup.Expert Team)
June 29, 2020 at 7:26 am

Hey, Pool Cleaner, glad you found the article helpful! I think it’s fantastic that you’re planning to start a robot-based pool cleaning business. However, you shouldn’t think about which one lasts the longest, but which one does a better job.

After all, the primary mission of any business owner is to make the customer happy. The Dolphin Nautilus CC Supreme has all the advanced features you’ll need to do a bang-up job for every one of your customers.
The Supreme has three brushes instead of two, so it’s more likely to clean more thoroughly than other robots without this invaluable feature. The center brush is particularly adept at getting rid of stubborn stains.
The center brush also helps the robot not to get stuck on the drain. I don’t know how you’re planning on running your business. Still, I assume you’re going to drop the robot into the pool and come back after the cleaning cycle’s conclusion.

You don’t want to find out, upon your return, that the robot was helplessly trapped on an obstacle the entire time. This cuts into the efficiency of your operation and could affect your bottom line.

The Supreme can also clean larger pools—up to 50 feet. So, you’ll be able to tackle practically any job a residential customer has for you.

Another fantastic thing about the Supreme is there are two separate motors—one for the suction, and one for the brushes. A dual motor system ensures that there will always be enough power for vacuuming AND scrubbing. More power for both means your little underwater grease monkey will do a much better job.
The Supreme has extra-large filters too, so it’ll trap more debris. You’ll be spending less time emptying the collection chamber, which also adds to efficiency.

It’s one of the best robots on the market for scrubbing the waterline. The waterline is one of the visible parts of a customer’s pool. Therefore, it’s imperative that it be kept as immaculate as can be.

This is also a fantastic machine to rent out because it’s a top-of-the-line premium robot with cutting-edge technology.

I believe the Supreme will last longer than most other cleaners if you’re using it commercially since this is a well-constructed, well-engineered model. As far as how often you should use it, so it doesn’t get damaged too quickly, I don’t think as a business owner you should be worrying about that.

After all, the more you use it, the more money you’ll make. So, the Supreme becomes an investment that’ll pay for itself.

Good luck with your new venture!

Karin Lebki
June 5, 2020 at 7:17 pm

a tried many brands , many prices honestly without the expected results .. 2 month ago i decided to take the risk and try again ..for me i consider thes wimming pool as a part of me .. it must be always clean haha even in winter i tried this product and honestly he’s doing good till know .. i can control it by my mobile phone .. i cant say more .. it works for me at least better than other brands .. i hope i can help

May 24, 2020 at 8:48 pm

My neighbor and I are thinking of buying a Dolphin robot and sharing the use and cost of a Dolphin S200. Our pools are not though of similar size and have different filtering systems.

Thanks for your help.

May 23, 2020 at 4:06 pm

I have a mosaic tile pool using the salt water system and tiles from the bottom of the floor are popping up after many years of use. Before we retire, I want to make sure I buy the right robot or should I be using a robot at all? It needs to be a robot that can be purchased in Italy. We have an old robot now and I am concerned it might be harming the tiles because they are often scooped up in the bag.

Kevin (Cleanup.Expert Team)
June 3, 2020 at 8:55 am

Coco, no robotic pool cleaner that I know of will damage your pool. I would look to other causes for your tile problem. For example, I would carefully inspect the substrate for cracks, which would cause your tiles to crack and fall off.

If your inspection fails to reveal the source of the problem, have a qualified technician check the robot on the off chance there’s a defect or a malfunction in it that’s causing the tile damage. If this fails to turn up any problems and you want to give a new machine a try, check out the Dolphin Sigma. This is one of the best robots for cleaning tiles, and it can be ordered in Italy through Amazon.

Dual brushes scrub your tiles on the floor and sides. There’s also a third center scrubbing brush that vigorously moves back and forth. All this brushing action will get your tiles sparkling clean, so they look brand new. But don’t worry–the Dolphin Sigma won’t cause properly affixed tiles to fall off.

Georges Jabaly
May 22, 2020 at 10:24 pm

I have lots of leaves And debris what is best pool cleaner

Kevin (Cleanup.Expert Team)
June 3, 2020 at 9:38 am

Georges, if your pool is plagued by a constant stream of leaves and other junk that falls from God-knows-where, you’ll want a bigger, more powerful robotic pool cleaner than normal. This would be one with a large-capacity filtration sytem that also has excellent suction. I would recommend the Dolphin Premier because it has these capabilities. Its suction rate is an impressive 4,500 gallons per minute, sufficient to remove all that nasty stuff just lying at the bottom of your pool.

The Premier also comes with an oversized leaf bag roomy enough to pick up large amounts of twigs, sticks, nuts, seeds, and other by-products of the natural world. Debris like this can wreak havoc on your pool pump and filtration system. The Premier is also terrific for sucking up leaves when you’re opening the pool for summer, or after devastating storms that deposit tons of dead foliage in your pool water.

Mark L
May 5, 2020 at 7:45 am

Is there a robot pool cleaner that can stay in the pool all the time and I can swim in the pool while it is there?

Kevin (Cleanup.Expert Team)
May 7, 2020 at 2:00 pm

Hi Mark! Thank you for your question and for reaching out. Ideally you should remove your robotic pool cleaner between cycles to clean its basket and before people swim in the pool. While we do not advise leaving any robotic pool cleaner in the pool all the time as corrosive chemicals used in pool maintenance may accelerate wear and discoloration, all of these devices are built for long-term submersion and can be left in the pool indefinitely. Additionally, while we do not advise swimming in a pool while a robotic pool cleaner is in operation given the risk of hitting the cord or robot and the generally expensive cost of these devices, there are people that readily and frequently swim when their robots are cleaning.

Brenda Scarlett
April 10, 2020 at 5:20 pm

Would the Dolphin Nautilus CC Plus work in a 30′ above ground pool? I currently have a Dolphin E10 and the power cable twists up so badly that I am shopping for a new cleaner. You mentioned that there are some robotic cleaners for in ground and above ground pools but, I can’t find any. What would you recommend.

Ernani Barros
March 3, 2020 at 9:16 pm

Thank you for sharing your experience and tips. I have a infinte pool, so what robot pool cleaner would you recommend me?

Kevin (Cleanup.Expert Team)
March 5, 2020 at 5:05 pm

That’s a great question, Ernani. Any higher-end robotic pool cleaning robot should get the job done well. For instance, the Dolphin Premier Robotic Pool Cleaner is an excellent choice since its various attachments provide a ton of versatility, and it’s one of the best at wall climbing. That said, it’s best to consider what your specific wants and needs are and look for the high-end robot that most closely aligns with them.

Jilly Ruby Jane
February 17, 2020 at 9:02 am

Your post was very useful for me and it was a pleasure reading your post. Thank you for sharing!

Eric Grossman
February 12, 2020 at 1:43 am

Maytronics M600 recently came out. Would this be the “gold standard” of robotic pool cleaners now, or would Dolphin Premier or Polaris F9550 (or even Aquabot) still be in the running?

Kevin (Cleanup.Expert Team)
February 18, 2020 at 10:10 am

Hi, thanks for your question. We haven’t had the pleasure of reviewing the M600 yet, but it certainly looks promising! As far as being the gold standard, that might not be the case just yet. As we’ve seen with many of the newest robotic Wi-Fi connected devices, right after they are put on the market, bugs in the app and software will often pop up, causing more frustration than convenience.

Within a few months, however, those bugs will probably be fixed. Also, right now the price is quite a lot more than the Dolphin Premier and will likely go down after a few months. So as of now, you’d probably have a better experience for less cost with the older models.

Gary Kiefer
February 7, 2020 at 11:52 pm

Is the size of the pool important when choosing a robot pool cleaner? We have a 50-foot long in-ground pool.

Kevin (Cleanup.Expert Team)
February 10, 2020 at 8:52 am

Yes, size is very important actually (at least when it comes to robotic pool cleaners). The cleaner is limited by the reach of its power cord. Plus you have to keep the power supply 12 feet from the pool’s edge. Then you also have to consider the pool’s depth so it will reach the bottom of the deep end.

For a 50-foot pool, your best bets are the Dolphin Premier, Nautilus CC Plus, or Quantum, which all work for pools up to 50 feet. There’s also the Polaris F9550 Sport, which will work for pools up to 60 feet.

October 8, 2019 at 5:54 pm

I have a Vanishing Edge pool. Are the robotic pool cleaners that climb on walls suitable or the robot will fall at the gap?

Kevin (Cleanup.Expert Team)
October 15, 2019 at 9:55 am

Hi, thanks for your question. A vanishing edge (also called infinity, negative, or zero edge) pool can be tricky when it comes to cleaning since you have to worry about both the main pool and the catch pool. However, most robotic cleaners should be fine in a vanishing edge pool. As soon as they reach the waterline and determine they’re coming up out of the water, they’ll stop and go back down.

It most likely won’t be able to clean your catch pool since catch pools are usually so narrow. You’ll have to manually clean that part.

Customers who have used the Dolphin Premier, Dolphin Nautilus, and Polaris F9550 Sport have all commented that they work well in infinity edge pools. Just to be safe, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to call the manufacturer of whichever pool robot you are considering.

September 8, 2019 at 2:36 am

My wife keeps saying we should get a robot pool cleaner. I’m really on the fence after using suction cleaners for the last several years. Are robotic pool cleaners really worth the money? Do they actually work as well as the suction cleaners?

James (Cleanup.Expert Team)
September 8, 2019 at 7:07 am

Ten years ago, that would have been iffy. Like robot vacuums (ex: Roomba), robotic pool cleaners have come a long way in technology in the last decade. They’ve also become much more affordable.

In many cases, you still get what you pay for with a pool robot, so if you’re concerned about performance, opting for a premium model with an extended warranty would be your best bet. It’ll last longer and have the tech to clean more efficiently than the simpler, cheaper robots.

The Dolphin Nautilus Plus CC offers a lot of functionality for the price, so that might be a good one to start with.

Raymond Triggs
September 6, 2019 at 4:14 am

I just got a Dolphin Premier robotic pool cleaner. How long should I expect it to last?

James (Cleanup.Expert Team)
September 6, 2019 at 8:04 am

One of the downsides to robotic pool cleaners is once they’re done, they’re done. While there are a few parts that can be replaced such as brushes and filters, the electronics within can’t be replaced easily. So, you can expect between 3 – 5 years with most models.

The Dolphin Premier and other higher-end models can often last up to 8 years so long as you practice good maintenance and maintain your pool’s chemistry to lessen the chances of corrosion to the internal parts. Always opt for an extended warranty when you can, which will likely save you money if your pool robot dies young.

Daniel I. Metzler
September 3, 2019 at 3:55 pm

Hi, my neighbor leaves his robotic pool cleaner in the pool all the time, I think he said even over the winter. We do have mild winters, but his cleaner is still running after a couple years. The guy down at the pool store says that’s not a good thing to do, that we should take it out after every cycle. So, who’s right? Can I leave my robotic pool cleaner in the pool?

James (Cleanup.Expert Team)
September 3, 2019 at 7:21 pm

Thanks for your question. As far as leaving a robotic cleaner in the pool, your pool guy is right. You really should take it out and store it out of the elements after cleaning cycles and definitely over the winter, even a mild winter. Pretty much every owner’s manual will say the same thing.

While you may luck out like your neighbor and not have any issues, what you’re risking is damage to the rubber seals and plastics, hardware corrosion, etc. This is even more likely if your pool chemistry is off, which can easily happen over the winter.

Think about it this way. If you keep your car in a garage, it’s less prone to damage from rust, salt, hail, and so forth. If you leave it on for a cycle and go to work and take it out when you get home, this would probably be fine. Just take it out when you home, drain out the water, clean off the filters and brushes and store it in a dry, covered place out of the elements.

July 15, 2019 at 5:16 pm

One of the best pool cleaner buyer’s guide for newbies. Thanks a lot for sharing!

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