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ARE YOU LOOKING FOR THE BEST ROBOTIC POOL CLEANER YOU CAN BUY TODAY?
YOU’VE COME TO THE RIGHT PLACE!
Based on our extensive research and experience, below we review and compare the best robot pool cleaners selling today.
We’ve done all the hard work of reviewing and comparing the top robotic cleaners – so you don’t have to.
We aim to help you find and buy the best robotic cleaners that fit your needs, the type of pool you have, the unique cleaning issues you are faced with, and your budget.
Whether you want a cleaner for your above ground or in-ground pool, we have a few great recommendations below.
This buying guide also educates you on how to intelligently shop for a robot pool cleaner – including the most important features to look for and the best place to buy one.
THE BEST ROBOTIC POOL CLEANERS COMPARED
- THE BEST ROBOTIC POOL CLEANERS COMPARED
- Best Robotic Pool Cleaners
- 1. BEST ROBOTIC POOL CLEANER OVERALL: DOLPHIN PREMIER
- 2. BEST ROBOTIC POOL CLEANER FOR AN IN-GROUND POOL: POLARIS F9550
- 3. BEST VALUE DOLPHIN ROBOT POOL CLEANER: DOLPHIN NAUTILUS CC PLUS
- 4. MOST POWERFUL: DOLPHIN SIGMA
- 5. Best WiFi Connected: Dolphin Triton PS Plus
- 6. Best Hayward Robotic Pool Cleaner: Hayward TigerShark
- 7. BEST ROBOTIC POOL CLEANER FOR AN ABOVE GROUND POOL: DOLPHIN ESCAPE
- 8. BEST VALUE ROBOTIC POOL CLEANER: AQUABOT X4
- 9. BEST AQUABOT FOR ABOVE GROUND POOLS: AQUABOT POOL ROVER S2 40
- 10. BEST BUDGET ABOVE GROUND ROBOT POOL CLEANER: AQUABOT POOL ROVER JUNIOR
- 11. Best Robotic Pool Skimmer: Instapark Betta Automatic Solar Powered Pool Skimmer
- 12. BEST ROBOTIC CLEANER FOR POOLS WITH STAIRS: DOLPHIN QUANTUM
- 13. Best Cordless Robotic Pool Cleaner: PAXCESS Cordless Automatic Pool Cleaner
- HOW WE RATE THEM
- WHAT IS A ROBOTIC POOL CLEANER?
- HOW DO ROBOTIC POOL CLEANERS WORK?
- WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF USING ROBOTIC POOL CLEANERS?
- ROBOTIC POOL CLEANER VS. SUCTION SIDE VS. PRESSURE SIDE CLEANERS
- WHY BUY A ROBOT POOL CLEANER?
- THE FEATURES THAT MATTER
- WHERE TO BUY AN AUTOMATIC ROBOTIC POOL CLEANER
- ROBOT POOL CLEANERS FAQ
Different robotic cleaners are optimized for certain types of cleaning environments. Some are ideal for in-ground pools while others are best for above ground pools.
Some are best for uniquely shaped pools with complex surfaces, while others are ideal for pools with simple designs.
See the table below for a summary of our top picks for each category.
Best Robotic Pool Cleaners
- BEST ROBOTIC POOL CLEANER OVERALL: DOLPHIN PREMIER
- BEST ROBOTIC POOL CLEANER FOR AN IN-GROUND POOL: POLARIS F9550
- BEST VALUE DOLPHIN ROBOT POOL CLEANER: DOLPHIN NAUTILUS CC PLUS
- MOST POWERFUL: DOLPHIN SIGMA
- BEST WIFI CONNECTED: DOLPHIN TRITON PS PLUS
- BEST HAYWARD ROBOTIC POOL CLEANER: HAYWARD TIGERSHARK
- BEST ROBOTIC POOL CLEANER FOR AN ABOVE GROUND POOL: DOLPHIN ESCAPE
- BEST VALUE ROBOTIC POOL CLEANER: AQUABOT X4
- BEST AQUABOT FOR ABOVE GROUND POOLS: AQUABOT POOL ROVER S2 40
- BEST BUDGET ABOVE GROUND ROBOT POOL CLEANER: AQUABOT POOL ROVER JUNIOR
- BEST ROBOTIC POOL SKIMMER: INSTAPARK BETTA AUTOMATIC SOLAR POWERED POOL SKIMMER
- BEST ROBOTIC CLEANER FOR POOLS WITH STAIRS: DOLPHIN QUANTUM
- BEST CORDLESS ROBOTIC POOL CLEANER: PAXCESS CORDLESS AUTOMATIC POOL CLEANER
For in-ground pools up to 50ft
Fine & ultrafine basket plus a debris bag
Best for in-ground pools
For in-ground pools up to 60ft
Dolphin Nautilus CC Plus
Best value Dolphin
For in-ground pools up to 50ft
For in-ground pools up to 50ft
Fine & ultrafine basket
Yes, via app
Dolphin Triton PS Plus
Best WiFi connected
For in-ground pools up to 50ft
Yes, via app
Best Hayward Robot cleaner
For in-ground pools up to 40ft
Yes (QC Model)
1 year (3yrs for QC & Plus models)
For in-ground and above ground pools up to 60ft
Aquabot S2 40
Best Aquabot for above ground pools
For above ground pools up to 40ft
Aquabot Pool Rover Junior
Best budget above ground pool cleaner
For above ground pools up to 40ft
Best robotic pool skimmer
For all pools
Best for cleaning pool stairs
For in-ground pools up to 50ft
Fine & ultrafine basket
Best cordless robot pool cleaner
For in-ground and above ground pools up to 860 sq ft
1. BEST ROBOTIC POOL CLEANER OVERALL: DOLPHIN PREMIER
We chose Dolphin Premier as the best overall for two main reasons: its cleaning performance and high energy efficiency.
Essentially, it delivers what every pool owner wants in a robot pool cleaner: a machine that cleans well without using too much power.
The Premiere is packed full of features aimed at enhancing its cleaning ability. Smart scanning software starts the cleaning session by mapping out the best path for the cleaner to take.
Spinning brushes work on any stuck dirt and debris along the way while the powerful suction system vacuums and filters it. You can choose from four different types of filters depending on how dirty your pool is.
Rubber tracks (instead of wheels) provide a firm grip, allowing the cleaner to reach every spot in the pool for a thorough clean.
It will clean the floor, wall, corners, and waterline. The only place it falters is on the stairs where it does a less-than-perfect job.
- Anti-tangle swivel cable. The cable can rotate 360 degrees as the cleaner turns. This prevents tangles that can stall the unit.
- 4 different filters. From fine sand and algae to large leaves and twigs, there is a filter for every kind of cleaning. Switching from one filter to another only takes a couple of seconds.
- HyperGrip rubber tracks. For easy navigation and maximum energy efficiency, the premiere has continuous rubber tracks, like those in a battle tank. Their strong grip is especially important when the cleaner is climbing walls.
- Big energy savings. The premiere has been designed with high-efficiency DC motors that require less energy than other motors. This translates into significant cost savings for you.
One of the concerns customers have is about the cleaner’s inability to clean the stairs properly.
Another common complaint is that the accompanying manual has poor instructions, forcing most users to resort to the internet for help on how to use the cleaner.
THIS ROBOTIC POOL CLEANER IS BEST FOR YOU IF…
You want the absolute best in class, design, and performance.
If you don’t mind paying a premium for a high-performing in-ground pool cleaner, the Dolphin Premier is your best choice.
2. BEST ROBOTIC POOL CLEANER FOR AN IN-GROUND POOL: POLARIS F9550
The Polaris F9550 Sport robotic in-ground pool cleaner does look sporty both in appearance and performance.
Everything from the wheels to the suction system has been primed for top performance, just as you would expect in a sports car.
In-ground pools are significantly tougher to navigate and clean compared to above ground pools. The Polaris 9550 uses its top-spec features to handle the challenging environment and produce great results.
It means a sparkling clean pool with every inch, including the walls, stairs, and corners thoroughly cleaned.
It is on the higher end of the price range, but it quickly proves itself worth the price tag.
- Aqua-Trax tires and 4-wheel drive for easy navigation in pools with different types of surfaces. This also allows the unit to reach all areas, including tight corners and the walls.
- ActivMotion Sensor Technology that maps out the pool, allowing the robot cleaner to navigate in the most effective and energy-efficient manner. Thanks to these sensors, the Polaris 9550 can navigate easily regardless of the pool shape.
- A rear water propulsion system that helps in navigation especially around hard-to-reach sections of the pool.
- Vortex vacuum technology and scrubbing brushes work together to rid your pool of stuck dirt and large debris. This is especially beneficial for pools that haven’t had a clean in a while.
- A customizable 7-day programmable timer. You can set up automatic cleaning cycles, ensuring that your pool remains clean even when you are away.
- Remote Control. Comes with remote control (ideal for spot cleaning) and a caddy for easy transportation and storage.
- Easy Lift System. You do not have to do the hard work lifting the unit from the bottom of the pool. Simply press a button, and the unit rises to the surface and drains itself automatically so that you can easily lift it onto the ground.
One improvement the manufacturer could make is the addition of a swivel cord. The 70-foot cable tends to get coiled up occasionally, requiring you to untangle it. But the tangling does not often happen, so it should not deter you from buying this cleaner.
You should also be careful when using the caddy. It feels flimsy and could break if not handled carefully. Always store it inside together with the robotic cleaner after every cleaning session.
THIS CLEANER IS BEST FOR YOU IF…
You are looking for a high-performance robot pool cleaner for your in-ground pool.
If you are willing to spend slightly more than usual for a cleaner pool, we highly recommend the Polaris 9550.
3. BEST VALUE DOLPHIN ROBOT POOL CLEANER: DOLPHIN NAUTILUS CC PLUS
If you want a capable robot cleaner for your in-ground pool without spending too much money, the Dolphin Nautilus CC Plus is a great choice.
It’s almost as powerful as the Dolphin Premier or Polaris F9550, but costs a lot less.
The Nautilus CC Plus can clean in-ground pools of up to 50 feet in length.
To ensure maximum cleaning efficiency, it is equipped with Clever Clean smart navigation that scans your pool and calculates the optimal cleaning path.
This allows the Nautilus CC Plus to clean the entire pool in a quick two hours.
Two scrubbing brushes remove dirt and grime stuck on the floor and walls while powerful 4500 GPH suction sucks up the debris into the large cartridge.
It scales the walls with ease but has trouble going up the stairs. At most, it will only clean the bottom two stairs.
- Top-load filter. The Nautilus CC Plus comes with convenient top-loading fine filters. You can also order the cleaner with ultra-fine filters if you struggle with sand and fine debris in your pool.
- Weekly scheduler. You can program the Nautilus Plus to clean automatically every day, every other day or every third day. This scheduling is great if you spend a lot of time away from home.
- Anti-tangle swivel. It put the robot with no risk of getting stuck on its own tangled cable. The swivel cable turns with the robot’s movements, ensuring it stays tangle-free.
- Smart navigation system. The Clever Clean system reduces cleaning time (which saves energy) while ensuring there are no missed spots.
- Optional caddy: At 19lbs, the Nautilus CC Plus is fairly heavy. If you think you’ll have trouble moving it to and from the pool, you can choose the package that includes a transport/storage caddy.
As I’ve mentioned, Nautilus CC Plus has trouble with stairs. You may have to scrub those yourself. But this is an issue with all robot pool cleaners.
The robot cleaner is also quite hefty, requiring some elbow grease to lift it out of the water and carry it to storage. If you want help moving it about, you’ll have to pay more for a caddy.
THIS CLEANER IS BEST FOR YOU IF…
You want a reliable robot pool cleaner with excellent cleaning performance and an affordable price tag.
While it is still not as high-tech as other pricier pool robots, it delivers where it counts – keeping your pool clean.
4. MOST POWERFUL: DOLPHIN SIGMA
Dolphin Sigma is one of the premium models from Maytronics, and one of the most powerful residential robot pool cleaners.
For your money, you get a powerful, triple motor robotic cleaner that cleans better than most other pool cleaners.
Extra features like the weekly scheduler and Bluetooth connectivity make this an even more worthwhile buy.
A majority of buyers on Amazon rate the Sigma’s performance highly.
There are a few complaints about the robot missing some spots and getting hung up on the drain, but generally, it does an excellent job keeping your pool clean.
The Dolphin Sigma is equipped with the gyroscopic SmartNav 3.0 smart navigation system. Instead of randomly moving about the pool, it calculates the most efficient path.
Thanks to the navigation system, it can deep clean a large in-ground pool in about 2.5 hours. The built-in gyroscope improves navigation on the wall and on the stairs.
Dual scrubbing brushes remove debris from the pool surface while the powerful suction sucks the dirt through the filter and into the large top-load cartridge.
The Dolphin Sigma comes with two filters to tackle both fine and large debris.
- Powerful but energy-saving motors. The 24-volt triple DC motors deliver more power while using less energy.
- Independent tracks. The high-traction tracks can turn independently from each other. This tracking allows the robot to make tight turns, which is handy when cleaning corners and evading obstacles.
- Bluetooth control. You can manually navigate the robot using your phone. You can also select a cleaning program or set the weekly scheduler via the app. However, the Bluetooth feature doesn’t work as advertised. A lag between transmission and reception makes manual navigation difficult.
- Swivel cable. A robot doesn’t need any tangling cable to get the stack in the middle of a cleaning session.
- Weekly scheduler. Set your Dolphin Sigma to clean daily, twice a week or three times a week even if you are not at home.
The biggest concern is the cost. If you are looking for a budget or even a mid-range robotic pool vacuum, this is not it.
If you are willing to spend more to enjoy the Sigma’s impressive capabilities, don’t put too much hope in the Bluetooth feature.
It’s handy for certain circumstances, but it feels more like a gimmick. They should have included a traditional remote control for manual navigation.
THIS CLEANER IS BEST FOR YOU IF…
You want a powerful high-performance robotic pool vacuum that can keep your large in-ground pool clean.
You’ll have to pay more, but we think it’s worth it.
5. Best WiFi Connected: Dolphin Triton PS Plus
If you want a robot pool cleaner you can control and steer from an app, we recommend the Dolphin Triton PS Plus.
In addition to being one of the most capable pool cleaners, the PS Plus comes with WiFi connectivity, allowing remote app control.
The Triton PS Plus has PowerStream mobility. This consists of multidirectional jets of water that improves the cleaner’s ability to grip the pool’s surface and climb walls.
PowerStream, combined with a smart navigation system, allows the PS Plus to cover the entire pool from the floor to the waterline quickly.
A front high-speed scrubber and a rear scrubber remove grime and algae on the pool surface, while the 4000 GPH suction picks up debris floating in the water.
You can get the PS Plus with a standard fine filter. If your pool gets dirty with lots of sand, silt and algae, we recommend ordering the cleaner with ultra-fine filters.
- WiFi connectivity – Once you connect the Triton PS Plus to your home network and download the app, you can tell it to clean your pool from anywhere (as long as the cleaner is in the water). You can also set a weekly schedule, select the length of the cleaning cycle, and manually steer the cleaner to spots it missed.
- Quick release system – Triton PS Plus weighs 16.5lbs. To make sure it’s not even heavier with water when you lift it out of the pool, it has a quick release system that quickly pours out water trapped in the cleaner as you lift it out of the pool. Don’t worry; none of the debris gets back into the pool.
- Optional caddy – If you don’t want to lug the heavy robot around, get the package with a caddy. It’ll make it easier to move the cleaner to and from storage. It also provides a safe place to store the robot and power unit.
If you are shopping for a budget pool cleaner, the Dolphin Triton PS Plus is probably not the best choice. It’s one of the most expensive residential pool cleaners.
Another issue is app control. Having a WiFi connected pool cleaner you can control from anywhere is a cool idea, but only if it works smoothly. As it is, the app needs a lot of work to make it friendlier and easier to use.
Luckily, that’s something Maytronics can keep updating and improving.
This Cleaner is Best for You If…
You’d like a WiFi connected robot pool cleaner that you can control from an app wherever you are.
6. Best Hayward Robotic Pool Cleaner: Hayward TigerShark
If you don’t want a Dolphin robot pool cleaner, Hayward is another great brand. They mostly sell suction and pressure pool vacuums, but they also have a few robotic models within their TigerShark series.
You can choose the Hayward TigerShark standard, the TigerShark Plus with a remote control, or the TigerShark QC with a fast 90-minute cleaning cycle.
Whichever TigerShark model you choose, you’ll get a cleaner with good cleaning performance. They all have brush rollers to scrub off stubborn dirt and grime, and powerful suction to suck debris into the large filter basket.
The filter does a good job trapping all sizes of debris, including fine sand and silt.
Unlike Dolphin models, Hayward TigerShark cleaners lack an intelligent navigation system. As far as we can tell, they move randomly though they do manage to cover most of the pool including the walls.
However, the cleaning cycle is longer (3hrs). If you want a quicker clean, get the TigerShark QC model. It cleans in 90 minutes.
- Easy to empty basket: The top-loading filter basket is easy to empty and clean. A quick hose down is enough to get it clean.
- Optional remote control: If you get the Plus model, you’ll receive a remote control you can use to manually steer the cleaner to specific spots. However, many pool owners say the remote control is difficult to use.
- Full pool coverage: All Hayward TigerShark robot cleaners are designed to clean the entire pool including the floor, walls and waterline.
Overall, we recommend a Dolphin over a Hayward TigerShark. Hayward robot pool cleaners are fairly pricey but lack many of the features of similar or even lower priced Dolphins such as weekly scheduling, intelligent navigation and a cycle timer.
The cleaning performance of TigerShark pool robots is also a notch lower than Dolphins. Hayward cleaners tend to leave more missed spots, have more trouble climbing the wall, and take longer to finish cleaning.
The other major issue with Hayward TigerShark pool cleaners is their weight. A single pool robot weighs 21.5lbs. If you have back or joint issues, stay away from Hayward; Maytronics sells lighter Dolphin cleaners.
This Cleaner Is Best For You If…
You are looking for a Hayward robotic pool cleaner.
7. BEST ROBOTIC POOL CLEANER FOR AN ABOVE GROUND POOL: DOLPHIN ESCAPE
Generally, robotic cleaners for above ground pools are lower priced compared to those designed exclusively for in-ground pools.
That does not mean that you should buy any cheap above ground robotic pool cleaner. Look for a brand that puts performance and quality ahead of the price.
The Dolphin Escape is a great example of such a brand.
At the end of its 1.5-hour cleaning cycle, the Dolphin Escape does far better than a pool brush or a traditional pump-driven cleaner.
To be completely honest, it will not clean to 100% perfection, and nothing really can. But it gets close. We would say it gets 98 percent of the dirt and most customers who have used it agree.
- Scrubbing brush. No matter how much gunk has stuck on your pool floor and walls, it does not stand a chance against the Dolphin Escape’s HyperBrush system. It ensures that every inch of your pool is left clean.
- Smart scanning. The Dolphin escape uses its SmartNav system to map out the pool shape and plan how to navigate it best and in a way that uses the least time and power.
- Easy to use. Firstly, Dolphin Escape has a lightweight design. It weighs 14lbs. Secondly, it has a carrying handle for easy transportation to and from the pool area. When it comes to cleaning and maintenance, the large filtration cartridge is easy to remove and clean.
If you have a really dirty pool – perhaps after a long winter without use – the Dolphin Escape will require more time to get a good clean.
After the first cycle, the pool will still have some debris and particles in it. Just put it in for a second cycle, and your pool should be ready for the summer.
Otherwise, in normal situations, a single cleaning cycle is enough.
THIS CLEANER IS BEST FOR YOU IF…
You are seeking an above ground robotic pool cleaner that will not disappoint. Dolphin Escape is a high quality, high-performance machine that does exactly what it promises.
8. BEST VALUE ROBOTIC POOL CLEANER: AQUABOT X4
The Dolphin Nautilus CC Plus is the best bargain if you are looking specifically for a Dolphin pool robot. But the Aquabot X4 is the best value robotic pool cleaner overall. It offers better value for your money than a comparable Dolphin cleaner.
Aquabot robotic pool cleaners are cheaper than Dolphin models but deliver most of the same features and cleaning ability.
The Aquabot X4 delivers a lot for half the price of a Dolphin Sigma or Premier including 4WD mobility, a swivel cable, a free caddy, and dual filters.
On top of it all, the manufacturer guarantees the reliability of the Aquabot X4 with a 3-year warranty.
The Aquabot X4 can clean above ground and in-ground pools of up to 60 feet in length.
Being a wheeled robotic pool cleaner (Most Dolphin cleaners use tracks), you’d think it would have trouble climbing walls.
But it covers every inch of the pool from the floor to the waterline.
Micro brushes scrub away at the dirt on the pool wall and floor as the robot moves, powered by the high-traction 4WD system.
It rarely gets stuck.
The integrated smart pool mapping system greatly improves the X4’s mobility and navigation, ensuring it covers as much area as possible in the shortest time.
An onboard pump filters the water at a rate of 85 gallons per minute. This mixes the water more efficiently, allowing the pool cleaner to filter out more debris out of the water.
The debris is dumped into two ultra-fine filter baskets that can capture particles as small as 2 microns.
The two baskets can hold up to 190 cubic inches of debris. The control panel will alert you when they are full.
The filters are easy to remove and clean.
- 4-wheel drive. Delivers more power and traction for effortless cleaning on all types of pool surfaces. It also gives the Aquabot X4 better wall climbing capability
- Caddy. Makes transporting and storing the robot easy and convenient
- Cleaning cycles. Select from 1, 1.5 or 2 hours depending on the size of your pool and how dirty it is
- Timer. Set the Aquabot to start cleaning automatically every 48, 72, and 96 hours. You can also use an external timer for more control
- Swivel cable. Turns 360 degrees as the robot moves, ensuring it doesn’t tangle
The Aquabot X4 does not clean the steps as well as other pool cleaners. It may only clean a bottom couple of steps or miss them entirely.
Users also say the robot doesn’t quite get the pool sparkling clean on the first run especially if it’s really dirty such as at the beginning of the season.
You may need two full 2-hour cycles to get all the debris.
THIS CLEANER IS BEST FOR YOU IF…
You are looking for an affordable in-ground or above-ground robotic pool cleaner with excellent cleaning performance.
9. BEST AQUABOT FOR ABOVE GROUND POOLS: AQUABOT POOL ROVER S2 40
The Aquabot S2 40 is one of the most affordable robotic pool cleaners from Aquabot.
The S2 40 cleans above ground pools of up to 40’ in length. You can also use it on a small in-ground pool, but it will only clean the bottom (doesn’t climb walls).
The Aquabot S2 40 focuses mostly on the bottom of the pool. But it also cleans part of the wall.
It doesn’t have a fixed or active brush, so you’ll have to scrub algae manually, and other debris stuck on your pool floor and walls.
But it does a great job cleaning up leaves and dust suspended in water as well as grime at the bottom of the pool.
The pump filters water pretty fast (80 gallons per minute), which enhances water mixing and leaves the water cleaner.
Debris is dumped in a sizable filter bag. It’s a bit messy to clean, but at least it has convenient top access. You don’t have to turn the cleaner over to remove the filter bag.
- Swivel cable. Keeps the cable straight and kink-free
- Hydrorobotic Technology. The robot relies on the force of water to move around the pool, eliminating the need for a complex and high-maintenance mechanical propulsion system
- 2-micron filtration. The filter bag captures the tiniest of particles including fine dust, sand, and algae
The filter bag is more tedious to remove and clean compared to a filter cartridge. But considering the low price tag, it’s a small sacrifice.
Another issue is the lack of a brush. The robot relies only on suction to pick up debris. It doesn’t clean hard-to-remove dirt on the floor.
THIS CLEANER IS BEST FOR YOU IF…
You are looking for an affordable Aquabot pool cleaner for your above ground pool.
10. BEST BUDGET ABOVE GROUND ROBOT POOL CLEANER: AQUABOT POOL ROVER JUNIOR
Are you looking for a low budget robotic pool cleaner for your above ground pool? We recommend the Pool Rover Junior from Aquabot.
While it lacks plenty of advanced features and it feels a bit flimsy, it does a great job in above ground pools.
There are some complaints about the newer 2017 model with users saying it breaks down often and doesn’t last as long as the older model.
The 1-year warranty should help with maintenance issues.
The Pool Rover Junior cleans flat-bottomed above ground pools of any shape.
It doesn’t have scrubbing brushes. Instead, it vacuums dirt resting at the bottom of the pool and floating in the water through a fine filter.
This works fine most of the time, but you may need to manually scrub the pool occasionally to remove stubborn grime and algae.
The filter bag is fairly big. It captures every kind of debris from leaves to dust and sand.
With a suction rate of 70 gallons a minute, the Pool Rover Junior works fairly fast. It can clean a standard above ground pool in 1 hour.
- Hydrorobotic Technology. The robot uses water to propel itself around the pool. This requires fewer moving parts, making the robot lighter and easier to maintain
- Two-cycle options. You can select between a 2hr or 3hr cleaning cycle
- Adjustable axle. You can adjust the wheel pins to improve the robot’s mobility and reduce the risk of tangling
- Extra-wide wheels. The wide non-marring wheels work great on all types of pools surfaces
Users are not too happy about the 2017 Pool Rover Junior. They say it doesn’t clean as well, and the build quality is lower.
But at least it comes with a 1-year warranty.
Beyond the warranty period, we don’t expect it to last for more than 2-3 summers.
THIS CLEANER IS BEST FOR YOU IF…
You are looking for an inexpensive above ground robotic pool cleaner.
11. Best Robotic Pool Skimmer: Instapark Betta Automatic Solar Powered Pool Skimmer
A robotic or automatic pool skimmer floats on the surface of the pool, vacuuming up leaves and other debris that fall in the water.
A pool skimmer reduces how much debris collects in the pool. It’s especially helpful if you have trees near your pool.
The best automatic pool skimmer in the market is Instapark Betta. It is a solar powered skimmer with an onboard filter basket and powerful suction.
Keep in mind that the Instapark Betta automatic skimmer doesn’t sink to the bottom of the pool like a robot pool cleaner. It will not scrub the pool floor or walls, and will not vacuum debris at the bottom of the pool.
Instead, it floats on the water, vacuuming up leaves and debris floating in the water. The filter basket captures leaves, pollen, dust and bugs that fall into the water.
It keeps your pool cleaner, keeps it healthy, and reduces the burden on your pool filter. It also reduces how often you need to clean your pool, since not as much debris collects in the pool.
- Solar powered – The Instapark Betta automatic skimmer doesn’t need to be plugged in. It is 100% powered by the sun. It stores enough power in the internal battery to run all night and then recharges the next day.
- Remote control – Want to clean a particular spot? You can use the included remote control to steer the skimmer to pick up debris in specific areas of the pool.
- Easy to remove basket – The filter basket is easy to remove and clean. The best part is that you don’t even have to remove the entire skimmer from the water. Just pull out the basket.
- Navigation sensors: The Instapark Betta has sensors to help it navigate around the pool without getting stuck or hitting obstacles.
The Instapark Betta automatic skimmer is pricey. It costs about as much as an above ground robotic pool cleaner. Considering it only picks up debris on the water’s surface, it feels a bit overpriced.
Another issue is that it has too many blinking LED lights. They can be especially annoying at night. One pool owner painted over one of the lights.
This Cleaner Is Best For You If…
You are looking for an automatic pool skimmer to make pool maintenance easier for you.
12. BEST ROBOTIC CLEANER FOR POOLS WITH STAIRS: DOLPHIN QUANTUM
Many robotic pool cleaners struggle with stairs. Some cannot climb them while others do a poor job of scrubbing them.
Dolphin Quantum is an in-ground robot pool cleaner designed for all-round performance.
It will do a good job on the floor, corners, and walls of your pool and an equally great job on the stairs.
Dolphin Quantum scores highly in cleaning performance. By using various high-tech features, it ensures that every spot of your pool is left sparkling clean.
With two scrubbing brushes and a powerful suction system, nothing can stand in the way of the Dolphin Quantum.
The availability of different filtration media allows it to scoop up both large and tiny debris.
- Dual scrubbing brushes. Rapidly spinning brushes attack stuck dirt, bacteria, and algae on the wall and made it easier for the suction system to vacuum them up.
- Multiple filters. You can easily change between different types of filters, depending on the kind of cleaning you need. The NanoFilter tackles the finest debris and algae while the standard filter will handle all the other debris, including leaves.
- Strong-grip continuous tracks. Instead of wheels, the Quantum cleaner uses rubber tracks. These provide stronger traction for easier navigation, especially on the walls, around tight corners and on the stairs.
- Smart navigation system. The SmartNav 2.0 system guides the Quantum’s navigation, ensuring that it covers every inch of the pool in the most efficient way.
When using the Dolphin Quantum, you might notice that it occasionally gets stuck around the pool drain. But it is usually only for a moment, and then it is off again. So, it is not a major concern.
THIS CLEANER IS BEST FOR YOU IF…
You have an in-ground pool with stairs. The Dolphin Quantum cleaner is exceptionally good at tackling challenging areas, including the stairs, corners, and walls.
If every cleaner you buy fails to clean the stairs properly, it is time you tried Dolphin Quantum. It will not disappoint.
13. Best Cordless Robotic Pool Cleaner: PAXCESS Cordless Automatic Pool Cleaner
Tired of dealing with a messy cord and a bulky power supply unit? Cordless robotic pool cleaners are now a reality.
They come fitted with a watertight rechargeable battery that’s big enough for at least one hour of cleaning.
Currently, our favourite battery powered robot pool cleaner is the PAXCESS cordless automatic pool cleaner. Let’s see how it matches up to traditional corded pool robots.
The PAXCESS automatic pool cleaner is designed to clean pools up to 860 square feet. It can easily handle a 20 by 40 pool.
It has intelligent navigation and moves pretty fast in the pool. A bottom brush attacks algae and dirt on the pool surface, though many pool owners say it’s not strong enough to clean off stubborn grime. A thicker brush or multiple brushes would have been better.
Suction power is impressive. The PAXCESS easily vacuums up debris into a filter screen. The filter traps particles down to 180 microns. This covers leaves, bugs, debris and coarse sand particles. The filter screen is easy to remove and clean.
Overall, the PAXCESS cordless cleaner cleans better than we expected for the price and for a battery-powered cleaner.
- 5,000 mAh battery – The internal battery lasts between 60 and 90 minutes. That’s enough time to clean a 32 by 16 or 20 by 40 residential pool. It takes 4-6 hours to recharge it from a standard outlet.
- IPX8 protection – Unlike corded pool cleaners that have all electronics in an external unit, the PAXCESS cleaner has the battery and all electronics in one unit that goes into the water. IPX8 protection, the highest possible, guarantees safe operation. So far, we’ve not seen customers complaining about a damaged cleaner.
- Great price – The PAXCESS cleaner is cheaper than traditional above ground and in-ground robot cleaners. So if you are shopping on a budget, the PAXCESS cordless pool cleaner is an excellent option.
- Adjustable nozzle – The PAXCESS cordless cleaner comes with a nozzle that you can adjust to determine how the cleaner moves in the pool. If you have a rectangular pool, set it at zero degrees. For round or curved pools, set it at 20 degrees or higher. The cleaner will move in circles, ensuring easier navigation and faster cleaning.
- Floating handle – Because the PAXCESS cleaner lacks a cord, it comes with a floating handle that you pull to lift the robot out of the water. And since the cleaner weighs just 12.1lbs, you shouldnt have any trouble lifting it out.
The PAXCESS automatic cleaner is not a wall climber. It can partially climb curved walls, but won’t go high. But they do have a pricier wall-climbing PAXCESS cleaner that has a bigger battery and can clean bigger pools.
Another issue with the PAXCESS cleaner is its inability to pick up fine debris. If your pool gets lots of dust, pollen and other fine debris, you may need to get a traditional robot pool cleaner like the Aquabot X4 that can trap particles down to 2 microns (compared to 180 microns for PAXCESS).
The PAXCESS cordless cleaner also doesn’t brush the pool as thoroughly as corded cleaners. Now and then, you may need to brush the pool yourself to remove algae and stubborn dirt.
This Cleaner Is Best For You If…
You are looking for an affordable cordless robot pool cleaner that cleans well.
HOW WE RATE THEM
We rate all robotic cleaners using the following 5-star scale.
1. CLEANING ABILITY
This is the most important metric of all. We assess the ability of a robot pool cleaner to clean all areas of the pool, including the stairs and walls.
A 5-star rating means that the pool cleaner does an excellent job. This means scrubbing every spot and filtering all debris.
Of course, no pool cleaner has yet to achieve a perfect 5-star rating, but some come pretty close.
2. ENERGY EFFICIENCY
As they become more advanced, robotic pool cleaners are achieving increased energy efficiency.
By incorporating features such as efficient motors, strong-grip tracks, and smart scanning, manufacturers are helping pool owners save on energy costs.
A 5-star rated pool cleaner should have significant energy savings. The Dolphin Premier cleaner, reviewed above, is a good example of a highly rated pool cleaner in regard to energy efficiency.
3. EASE OF USE
Simply because they are high-tech robotic machines does not mean that pool cleaners should be hard to use.
The best 5-star cleaners come ready to use – just plugin and it is ready to roll.
If it feels like you need a degree in rocket science to learn how to operate a specific pool cleaner, it is not the right choice.
We ensure that our recommended pool cleaners are easy to set up, program, and maintain.
4. VALUE FOR MONEY
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, we take into consideration whether a robotic pool cleaner provides value for money.
We compare its price range to its performance. If a unit is pricey but keeps frustrating users, it gets a low score.
But if it performs well and fulfills the manufacturer’s promises – regardless of the price range – we give it a 5-star rating.
WHAT IS A ROBOTIC POOL CLEANER?
It is a self-contained machine that cleans a swimming pool automatically.
By self-contained I mean it cleans the pool independently from the pool pump and filter. There are no hoses that connect to the pool’s water inlet or outlet.
The only connection is a power cable that runs from the robotic pool cleaner to a power supply unit outside the pool.
The machine works automatically, meaning you don’t have to do anything.
Once you put it in the water and switch it on, it moves on its own around the pool as it scrubs and vacuums debris into an onboard filter bag or basket.
HOW DO ROBOTIC POOL CLEANERS WORK?
I’ll explain it in 5 easy steps.
One, the pool cleaner has a propulsion system.
The system can be driven by a motor (a motor turns the wheels or treads) or water jets.
Water jet propulsion systems reduce maintenance load and make for a lighter robot cleaner but are not as powerful as motor-based systems.
Two, the robot pool cleaner might have a scanning system.
This system is only found in premium models.
The system calculates the shape of the pool and determines the best path to take. Scanning also allows the robot to know where it has and hasn’t cleaned.
Cheaper robots move randomly or in a preset pattern until the auto-off timer elapses.
Three, the robot pool cleaner might have a brush or two underneath.
The brushes scrub dirt and debris off the pool floor and walls. Some cheaper robots don’t have brushes.
Four, all robot pool cleaners have vacuum/suction systems powered by a built-in pump.
The pump sucks the debris-containing water through the robot cleaner to filter it.
Five, all robot pool cleaners have a filter or two.
The filters trap debris and other contaminants, which collect in a bag, basket or cartridge.
Your work is to lift the robot out of the water when it’s done cleaning, remove the filter bag/basket, and clean it.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF USING ROBOTIC POOL CLEANERS?
PLUG AND PLAY OPERATION
There are no hoses to setup. Just put the robot in the water and press the power button on the power supply unit. No setup or installation required.
Because the robotic pool cleaner doesn’t rely on the pool pump or filter, you don’t have to switch on the pump every time you want to clean the pool.
It also reduces the need for the pool pump to cycle the water as often since the water stays cleaner.
SAVES YOU TIME AND MONEY
You don’t have to manually scrub and clean the pool, saving you precious weekend time when you should be relaxing. If you employ a pool boy or pool service company, you can fire them and keep your money.
REDUCES POOL MAINTENANCE AND INCREASES DURABILITY
A robotic pool cleaner does not put more burden on the pool pump, unlike other automatic cleaners. This reduces pool maintenance and ensures the pump and filters last longer.
A HEALTHIER POOL
Your water will be cleaner, and you’ll find that you can use fewer chemicals. A robotic pool cleaner also reduces algae growth.
ROBOTIC POOL CLEANER VS. SUCTION SIDE VS. PRESSURE SIDE CLEANERS
ROBOTIC POOL CLEANERS
The cleaner is completely self-contained. Other than power supply from a wall outlet (via an AC/DC converter), the robot has everything else it needs, including a pump, propulsion system, and filter.
The cleaner connects to the suction side of the pool and relies on the start/stop pulse movement of water as it is sucked out of the pool to move.
As it moves, it agitates debris on the pool floor. The debris travels through the hose, through the pool filter, and into the strainer basket.
A suction-side pool cleaner relies on both the pool pump and pool filter.
The cleaner connects to the pressure side of the pool and relies on the force of water coming back to the pool to move.
As it moves around the pool, it agitates debris and sucks it into an onboard filter bag.
A pressure side-cleaner relies on the pool pump but not the pool filter.
WHY BUY A ROBOT POOL CLEANER?
It is understandable if you are skeptical about spending hundreds of dollars on a robot pool cleaner.
But I can assure you that these amazing pool cleaners are not a gimmick. They are not a trick to get you to spend money on something you could easily do yourself.
A good robot pool cleaner can actually save you money while also doing a better job of keeping your pool clean. You also have to agree; it’s cool to have a robot clean your pool.
Here are 6 more reasons why you should buy a robot pool cleaner.
1. SAVE TIME AND EFFORT
Cleaning your pool the traditional way requires a lot of time and effort. Most homeowners will spend an average of 3 hours every week, scrubbing and vacuuming the pool.
This is the time you could be relaxing, working, or spending with your family. With a robot pool cleaner, you only spend a few minutes setting up the cleaner and cleaning out the filters.
The cleaner does all the rest.
2. A CLEANER AND HEALTHIER POOL
Compared to a traditional vacuum cleaner, a robotic cleaner does a much better job cleaning the pool. Most cleaners these days are equipped with scrubbing brushes to ensure that even the most stubborn dirt is removed.
With a cleaner pool, you will find that you need fewer chemicals to keep the water clean. This cleaning makes for a safer swimming environment for everyone and especially children.
3. FEWER COSTS
Traditional pool cleaners cost a lot of money over time. For one, they often require additional accessories.
Secondly, they rely on your pools pressure pump and filtration system. This results in increasing your pool’s energy and maintenance costs.
A recent Oracle study found that homes with pools spend significantly more on power bills than homes without them. This was mostly because of pool pumps which come in second (after air conditioners) in-home energy expenditure.
A robot pool cleaner does not need any attachments or accessories to work. Furthermore, it does not require a connection to your pool. This reduces pool maintenance and energy costs.
4. EASY TO USE
Despite their high-tech nature, robot pool cleaners are fairly easy to use. No complicated setup or installation is necessary. You just unpack it, plug it in and place it in the water.
Most cleaners have quick-access filters that are easy to remove and clean. Other than clearing the filters after every cycle, no other major maintenance is required.
Instead of spending three hours scrubbing and vacuuming the pool, a robot pool cleaner allows you to set it and leave it. You can do whatever you want while it cleans.
Some units have programmable timers. You can set them to clean automatically either every day or on certain days of the week. This means that you don’t even have to be home for the cleaner to work.
6. BETTER FOR THE ENVIRONMENT
Robotic pool cleaners are environmentally friendly. For one, your pool needs fewer chemicals, which is a good thing for the environment.
Two, robot pool cleaners are energy efficient, which reduces energy expenditure. This is another positive thing for the environment.
THE FEATURES THAT MATTER
1. TYPE OF POOL (ABOVE GROUND OR IN-GROUND)
The first thing you should check when buying a robot pool cleaner is the type of pool it is meant for. Is it an in-ground or an above ground pool cleaner?
In-ground pool cleaners are often bigger, pricier, and have more features. Above ground pool cleaners, on the other hand, are lighter, cheaper and more compact.
You will also come across cleaners that can be used in both types of pools. But unless you have both pool types in your home, I highly recommend getting a pool cleaner that matches your swimming pool.
Using the wrong type of pool cleaner will result in poor cleaning performance. A smaller above-ground cleaner may be unable to handle the challenging and complex environment of an in-ground pool.
On the other hand, using an expensive in-ground cleaner for an above ground pool is overkill. You can achieve the same quality of cleaning with a cheaper above ground unit.
2. ABILITY TO HANDLE COMPLEX SURFACES SUCH AS STAIRS AND WALLS
Most robotic pool vacuums do a fine job scrubbing the floor and filtering debris out of the water, where many struggles are on the stairs, walls, and tight corners.
Avoid cleaners that cannot climb walls or reach tight corners. If your pool has a complex design with plenty of curves and stairs, make sure you buy a cleaner that can handle it.
Generally, you will not find a perfect robotic pool vacuum. Even the best ones do not do a perfect clean. But you can easily find one that does a close-to-perfect job. Start with our recommendations above.
3. TYPE OF FILTERS AND FILTER BASKET CAPACITY
The best pool cleaners today come with multiple filters to deal with different debris sizes.
The finest filters are able to capture particles and algae as small as 2 microns while larger filters are designed for larger debris such as leaves.
If you cannot find a cleaner with different filters, make sure the single filter available can handle both large and small debris.
Another important feature to look for is a large filter basket. Don’t get a cleaner with a small cartridge that fills up even before the cleaning cycle is complete.
A large filter cartridge is especially important if your pool is frequently dirtied by leaves and twigs.
4. SCRUBBING BRUSHES
At first, scrubbing brushes were reserved for premium in-ground pool cleaners. Today, however, even cheaper above-ground units have them.
Scrubbing brushes complement the cleaning efforts of the suction system, helping to get rid of any dirt and algae that have stuck to the pool’s floor and walls.
For a cleaner pool, buy a robotic cleaner with this feature. Most have a single spinning brush while more expensive ones may come with a dual brush system.
You may have to spend slightly more on a brush-equipped unit, but you will see the difference in your pool. Suction-only systems tend to leave a lot of grime behind, only picking up floating debris.
This can lead to unchecked growth of algae and bacteria, making your pool unhealthy, especially for children.
5. SMART SCANNING SYSTEM
It is another feature that is no longer limited to expensive robot cleaners. Most brands are equipped with smart software and sensors that can map out the shape and size of a pool.
It allows the unit to navigate around efficiently and cover every inch of the pool, which results in quicker and better cleaning.
If you have a uniquely shaped pool, then this feature is absolutely important. Otherwise, the cleaner will just be meandering around, wasting a lot of energy without providing a thorough cleaning.
In the future, I expect pool robots to get even smarter. They will navigate the pool more intelligently and perhaps communicate with other smart devices in your home. Perhaps they will also be able to test you how clean your water is.
Already, there are some robot pool cleaners that can be controlled remotely via your phone. The robot pool cleaner of the future will be far smarter, better, and more efficient than what we have today.
Not many people check the weight when buying a robot pool cleaner. Remember you have to lift it into the pool and again out of the pool when it is done.
If it is too heavy, handling it can be a problem, especially when you are lifting it out of the water.
If your preferred cleaner is heavy, consider getting a caddy too. This will help you move it around.
Also, consider getting one of those cleaners that can float on their own at the press of a button. This makes it easier to lift it out of the water.
7. CABLE LENGTH AND DESIGN
The ideal cable length will depend on the size of your pool. The maximum cable length you will find for residential pool cleaners is 60 or 70 feet. It is long enough for a 50-feet pool.
In addition to the length, check whether the cable has a swivel design. One of the most common issues with pool cleaners is the tendency of the cable to get tangled as the robot moves.
A swivel cable rotates along with the cleaner’s movements. It prevents it from tangling. Avoid pool cleaners with a non-swivel cable. They can cause a lot of frustration since you have to keep untangling the cord.
8. EASE OF USE
How easy is it to operate the cleaner? Does it need a complicated installation? Does it require professional maintenance?
Look through robotic pool cleaner reviews to determine whether users had an easy time plugging it in, removing the filter, cleaning it and so on.
Also, ensure that the pool cleaner comes with a manual containing clear instructions on setup and maintenance.
9. Weekly Scheduler and Timer
Most robot pool cleaners come with a scheduling option on the control panel. You can set the robot to automatically clean the pool every day, every other day, or every three days. Just remember to leave the cleaner in the pool and regularly empty the filter basket.
Some cleaners also let you select the length of the cleaning cycle. Common cycle timer settings are 1 hour, 2 hours and 3 hours.
10. BONUS FEATURES
All the above features are essential basics. Some cleaners go beyond these to provide additional features.
One common bonus is a remote control. By using this, you can navigate the cleaner yourself, handy for spot cleaning — other extras to look for include self-floating and Bluetooth or WiFi connectivity.
But be careful not to pay too much for unnecessary bells and whistles. Make sure any additional features you pay for are actually worth it.
WHERE TO BUY AN AUTOMATIC ROBOTIC POOL CLEANER
There are two choices here when purchasing a new automatic robotic pool cleaner: buying online or at a local pool supplies store.
Buying automatic pool cleaners physical store has some advantages. You can see and touch the product before you buy it and directly ask any questions you may have.
Buying online, on the other hand, does not provide the privilege of examining the pool cleaner before you pay for it.
Some manufacturers also provide shorter or no warranties for units bought online as compared to those bought from a local store.
But there are also many advantages when you buy a robotic pool cleaner online.
For one, you can compare many different brands and models. Unlike a local store, an online retailer is likely to have a wider variety, thus allowing you to find a pool cleaner that perfectly fits your needs and budget.
You can also easily find the best price of a product, hence saving money.
Another huge benefit of buying online is the access you get to customer insight.
Customer reviews form a crucial part of the buying process. They can help you determine how good a product actually is and if it has any hidden flaws.
Basically, they will tell you what the manufacturer’s product description will not. Local stores lack this advantage, thus increasing the risk of buying a poor quality product or one that does not match your needs.
Then there is, of course, the fact that the pool cleaning robot will be delivered right to your home. You do not have to go anywhere to purchase a good robotic pool cleaner.
Both options are good. But weighing the pros and cons of each, buying online is much better and more convenient not to mention that it saves money.
ROBOT POOL CLEANERS FAQ
WHY SHOULD I CHOOSE A ROBOT POOL CLEANER?
If you want to prolong the life of your pool while also saving yourself some time, then you definitely want to invest in a robot pool cleaner. They are just as effective as manual pool cleaners and leave your water just as filtered and as clean.
WHAT ARE THE BIGGEST BENEFITS OF A ROBOT POOL CLEANER?
With a robot pool cleaner, you will find that your pool is getting cleaned much more regularly than if you had to set aside the time to do it yourself manually. This means you will have clean and clear pool water all the time and have to keep up with far less maintenance.
HOW DOES A ROBOT POOL CLEANER ACTUALLY WORK?
These devices are both smart and autonomous. They have two main functions: navigation and cleaning. The navigation is being controlled by the robot’s motherboard or sensors, and the programming used helps ensure smooth pool cleaning operations.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE A ROBOT POOL CLEANER TO CLEAN A POOL?
Typically, it should only take your robot pool cleaner up to three hours to clean your pool effectively. However, this can also depend on the size of the pool as well as the surface of the pool.
IS IT MORE AFFORDABLE THAN A POOL CLEANING SERVICE?
While you may need to make a more significant upfront investment to purchase your robot pool cleaner, you will find that it is definitely going to be much more affordable in the long run when you don’t have to use the services of a professional pool cleaning service. You will save on both energy costs as well as cleaning costs.
WHAT ACCESSORIES ARE INCLUDED WITH MY ROBOT POOL CLEANER?
Most robot pool cleaners will come with bags and filters already installed. This is a standard feature on many robot pool cleaner models.
HOW MUCH MAINTENANCE IS INVOLVED?
Maintenance is definitely important, but it is relatively simple to do. Ensure that the bag of the pool cleaner is emptied and cleaned. You should also make sure the brushes and side brushes of the cleaner are also clean and debris free.
Often, they include a special cleaning tool with your purchase to help you with this. Eliminating any and all debris will help keep your pool cleaner performing at optimal levels.