If your pool has seen better days and the chore of keeping it clean has become a nightmare, finding the best robotic pool cleaner is the solution you’ve been looking for.
If you'd like to spend more time enjoying your pool rather than fighting with hoses, connections, pumps, and backwashing, the best pool cleaners can help you achieve this!
Robotic cleaners take the stress out of pool maintenance and give you back your time and your summer. To find a well-suited option for your pool, please read on for a review of the premier, best selling robotic pool cleaners.
Best Robotic Pool Cleaner Reviews 2021
1. Dolphin Nautilus CC Plus: Editor's Pick
The range of Dolphin Robotic Cleaners has positioned itself as the top overall robotic pool cleaning systems, and the Dolphin Nautilus CC Plus is no exception. It’s clear that Maytronics have years of experience in designing and manufacturing the best robotic pool cleaners and they have positioned themselves as the benchmark in pool cleaners industry.
The Dolphin Nautilus CC Plus is the premier robotic pool cleaner; it has the right combination of technology, efficiency, and a good old-fashioned work ethic. It's considered as the best Dolphin pool cleaner available in the market right now.
It is intelligent enough to set and forget according to your specific pool cleaning requirements. Within approx. 2 hours, you'll have stellar results and a spotless pool, bottom, sides, and stairs. The internal navigating system is the brains behind the Dolphin Nautilus CC Plus and ensures that not one inch is left unclean.
On the other hand, the dual scrubbing brushes are the brawn, actively attacking scum and stubborn dirt. While the scrubbing brushes remove stuck on algae and grime, the internal filtration cartridges capture all the debris.
The Dolphin Nautilus CC Plus doesn’t rely on your pool’s pump or filtration system, meaning less were and tear on your equipment. This product would be perfect for pools up to 50ft, and for those pool owners who want an automated and reliable cleaning system for their pool.
- Programmable cleaning schedule
- Scrubbing brushes
- Internal filters
- Anti-tangle cord
- Fast and effective cleaning
- Simple operation and setup
- Will not suit all budgets
2. Polaris F9450: Best For Up To 50 Feet Inground Pools
The F9450 is the flagship robotic pool cleaner for Polaris. It is packed full of features and new technology to ensure your pool is kept in pristine condition. The Polaris F9450 is best for up to 50 feet in-ground pools and works effectively and efficiently. Larger pools will benefit from the large filter canister that loads from the top of the unit.
Similar to the Dolphin models, the Polaris F9450 operates independently from your pool’s pump and filtration system meaning less wear and tear on your equipment. The Polaris has an intelligent navigational system that can be set and programmed over a seven-day cycle, according to your needs. It is easy to set up and connect, just plug and play.
This unit also features Active Motion sensor to speed up the cleaning process. I also like the fact that the robot can find out which is the best cleaning pattern of your pool. Moreover, it also gives you the option to see how it's positioned in the water so that you manually control it.
This is the heaviest pool cleaner in this review, and while it's not going to suit everyone, Polaris has considered this. Weighing in at just less than 44 pounds, the F9450 does come with a transport caddy to aid in maneuvering this unit while out of the water and not in use. The CleverLift system will also help in bringing the robotic cleaner to the surface of the water so it can be more easily removed.
For the price tag on this Polaris model, you would expect all the bells and whistles, and it doesn’t disappoint. While it will not suit all budgets, the Polaris F9450 will suit the pool owner that needs their robotic pool cleaner to be fully automated, fully programmable and require minimal pool owner intervention.
- Superior suction capabilities
- Large filter canisters
- Automatically adjust cleaning pattern.
- Included transport caddy
- Fully programmable
- Reduce cable tangling
- This unit is heavy weighing 43 pounds
- Sometime miss small areas.
3. Dolphin Nautilus: Best Robotic Pool Cleaner for the Money
One thing that Dolphin understands is that people who invest in robotic pool cleaners don’t want to spend hours on pool maintenance. The Dolphin Nautilus takes ease of use to a whole new level. From the box to your pool, there is no set up required apart from plugging it into external power and one-button operation.
In addition to not putting extra pressure on your pool's pump or filtration system, the Dolphin Nautilus uses far less energy than suction and pressure side pool cleaners. This can potentially save your money on running costs such as chemicals in the long term.
The large filtration cartridges are loaded from the bottom of the unit and effectively pick up leaves and fine debris with its powerful suction. Dual scrubbing brushes make light work of stuck-on muck and algae. The CleverClean technology ensures that no spot is missed with unreliable and random patterns; this technology scans pool surfaces for a thorough clean.
The Dolphin also comes with anti-tangle swivel cord to ensures that it can move freely about your pool without being obstructed by the cord.
While robotic pool cleaners can get expensive, this Dolphin model is cost-effective and a real "best budget buy" This unit would be a great buy for those that are budget conscious but still require excellent performance from a reputable brand.
- No random patterns
- Swivel Cable to prevent tangling.
- Dual scrubbing brushes for more effective cleanup.
- Internal cartridge filters
- Simple set up and operation
- Fast and effective cleaning
- Has trouble cleaning steps occasionally
4. Dolphin Escape: Best For Above Ground Pools Up To 30 Feet
The first noticeable difference with this pool cleaner is the wheel design. While most robotic pool cleaners have wheels, the Dolphin Escape has continuous tracks similar to an army tank. Dolphin explains that these HyperGrip Tracks are for superior grip and improved traction, which could be great for tiled in-ground pools.
If running costs are at the forefront of your mind, the Dolphin Escape is an incredibly energy efficient choice of pool cleaner. The internal DC motor only requires 180W of power, which is far less than most other cleaners, without effecting performance and quality clean. The filter that is supplied with this model will not pick up ultra-fine dirt, however, an ultra-fine filter can be purchased separately.
This is one of the lightest robotic cleaners in this review, allowing it to be easily brought to the surface and carried when not in use.
This cleaner would be best for above ground pools up to 30 feet, and those that do struggle with larger debris such as leaves and seed pods or acorns. This Dolphin model has a “larger than average” debris chamber which is capable of trapping large leaves and small twigs. You could also imagine having to clean and empty this compartment less frequently due to its generous size.
- Active scrubbing brush
- Top loading filter
- Simple set up and easy to use
- Great traction
- Smart Navigation system
- Ineffective on ultra-fine dirt
5. Hayward RC9950GR TigerShark
This Hayward unit is built solid with quality materials. It’s able to complete a cleaning cycle in approx. 2-3 hours based on a 40ft pool. The Hayward TigerShark cleans effectively and proficiently and is capable of navigating stairs and ladders very well. The Hayward TigerShark runs on 24V motor which is very energy efficient, and owners of this model should not see too much of an increase in their energy bills.
One of the standout features of the TigerShark is the easy clean filtration system. The filter is a breeze to remove and simply rinse under the hose to remove dirt and debris. Any stubborn debris that remains, give the filtration cartridge a gentle tap and another rinse.
While the TigerShark is incredibly effective, it does have a slightly smaller compartment to store the debris that is has collected, but for a smaller pool I wouldn’t think this would be an issue; it may just need to be emptied more regularly than models that have a larger capacity.
The scrubbing rollers are effective in removing stuck-on dirt and also the grimey marks that can sometimes build up around the tile line. Overall, this unit would suit the pool owner who doesn’t need all the automated and programming bells and whistles. The TigerShark is a simple, but effective cleaning system for a pool on the smaller end of the scale, under 40 feet.
- Easy filter cleaning
- Intense suction power
- Cleans floors and walls
- Tile Line scrubbing
- Powerful and efficient
- Effective on most pool surfaces
- No swivel/anti-tangle cord feature
6. Dolphin Triton PS Plus: Best Robotic Pool Cleaner For Leaves
What sets the Dolphin Triton apart from the rest is its massive filter basket. It loads from the top, is easy to remove and holds lots of debris before needing to be emptied and cleaned. This means less intervention from the pool owner.
The Dolphin Triton is fully programmable and can be set to a schedule depending on your requirements. The scrubbing brushes make light work of built-up grime and residue, powering through scum and trapping debris as it goes. PowerStream technology allows the Triton to navigate vertical surfaces with ease without compromising its effectiveness. You can expect crystal clear water and sparkling results when combined with powerful suction.
The Dolphin Triton is easy to set up with no complicated connections and hoses. It connects to external power and does not rely on your pool's filtration system. The team at Maytronics has engineered this unit to be 8x more energy efficient than standard suction and pressure cleaners. This will keep ongoing running costs low. The swivel cord ensures the Dolphin Triton can cruise around your pool without getting tangled and obstructing itself.
The Dolphin Triton will successfully and proficiently clean in-ground pools of any surface up to 50 feet. It is reliable and comes with a 2-year warranty for complete buyer confidence.
The Dolphin Triton Plus is one of the most efficient pool vacuums for leaves. If deciduous trees and other foliage surround your pool this might be the right pool cleaner for you.
- Extra-large filter basket
- Cleans walls and floors
- Excellent scrubbing capabilities
- Powerful suction
- Fully automated and programmable
- Not ideal for curvy pools
7. Aquabot Pool Rover: Best Robotic Pool Cleaner For Vinyl Pools
The Aquabot Rover Hybrid is one of the fastest robotic cleaners on the market. It works quickly without compromising the quality of the clean and can complete a 40-foot pool in approx. one hour. While the speed is impressive, the Aquabot Rover Hybrid will pick up debris and bacteria while vacuuming up dirt and grime.
One of the main selling points of this model is the superior filtration system. The range of Aquabot robotic pool cleaners boasts a filtration system that can capture and filter particles that are 10 times smaller than most other models on the market.
When water is passed through the Aquabot, all the micro dirt and bacteria are sifted out, meaning only clean and filtered water is returned to your pool. This can lead to better overall pool health and less money spent on chemicals and ongoing pool care.
The Aquabot Rover Hybrid will work autonomously and will not require intervention very often. It runs independently from your pool's pump and filtration system, no need for booster pumps, hoses, and backwashing.
Set up is easy, just plug into external power and it’s ready to go.
The wheel design on the Aquabot Pool Rover makes it a quality pool cleaner for vinyl pools. The large wheels will easily navigate small to medium ripples in the vinyl floor without becoming stuck. If you have a vinyl pool that is less than 40 feet, the Aquabot Rover would be a good choice.
- Superior filtration
- Automated cleaning
- Extra-wide wheels
- Reusable micro filter bag
- Fast and effective
- Suitable for above ground and in-ground pools
- No scrubbers or brushes
- Does not clean vertical surfaces
8. Dolphin Premier: Best For In-ground Pools
The Dolphin Premier Robotic pool vacuum is a feature-packed model for cleaning in-ground pools up to 50 feet. It boasts Dolphin's patented CleverClean technology that uses advanced algorithms rather than random patterns to navigate your pool and clean every inch.
You can also customize its cleaning capabilities with multiple filter options depending on your pool’s needs. Easily switch between fine and ultra-fine cartridges which load from the bottom or change to the large fine filter bag. You can also set a cleaning schedule that will automatically clean the pool daily, weekly or on alternate days. The Dolphin Premier is best for in-ground pools of all surfaces and will expertly cover the floor, walls and tile line.
Two 24V motors make the Dolphin Premier both energy efficient and a powerful cleaning force. This robotic pool cleaner also takes automation to a whole new level. It can be programmed to operate completely independently and LED lights will indicate when the unit needs to be emptied.
The dual scrubbing brushes on the Dolphin Premier are incredibly effective, aggressively tackling built-up dirt and stuck-on debris. Expect your pool to be sparkling in approx. 3 hours as it efficiently navigates to all the far corners of your pool. The anti-tangle swivel cord prevent your robot to got stuck in a corner.
Having the option to change filters and add the oversized leaf bag depending on your requirements is a fantastic option. The large leaf bag may come in handy for Fall when leaves and large debris are a problem, while the ultra-fine filter will collect small particles if the weather has been particularly windy or dusty.
The Dolphin Premier is one of the best robotic cleaners on the market for in-ground pools. It's recommended for those who like options with their pool cleaning or live in areas with changing climates and conditions.
- Several filter options
- Dual Scrubbing brushes
- Simple setup and operation
- Anti-tangle swivel cord
- Automated and programmable
- Intelligent and efficient
9. Aquabot Pool Rover S2: best For Concrete Pool
AquaBot has always had the best and most comprehensive filtration systems and the S2 is no exception. The AquaBot S2 has been engineered to filter particles as small as 2 microns, which is the most effective in the industry. To put this in perspective, a speck of dust is approx. 10 microns.
It works well on all pool surfaces and most effective on concrete pool. The Pool Rover S2 is recommended for pool 40 feet or smaller. The Aquabot Pool Rover S2 is remarkably efficient, filtering 80 gallons each minute and creating powerful suction. This speed of filtration is also what powers the Aquabot S2. Once the water has been filtered, the crystal clear water is expelled from the Aquabot essentially propelling it around the pool.
This type of filtration capabilities will give you peace of mind, but can also save you money on the chemicals required to keep your pool in optimum health.
Set up is simple, no hoses or complicated connections, just plug in and go. While the Aquabot is missing some of the programmable technology found in other robotic pool cleaners, it is cost-effective and budget-friendly.
If your priority is ridding your pool of bacteria and microscopic nasties, AquaBot might be the best aquabot pool cleaner for you.
- Powerful suction
- Easy operation and set up
- Suitable for all pool surfaces
- Superior filtration system
- Kink free swivel cable
- No scrubbers or brushes
10. Dolphin Nautilus CC: best robotic pool cleaner for algae
The Dolphin Nautilus CC has a very large debris chamber capable of containing everything from large leaves to microscopic dust particles. Its powerful suction traps all dirt leaving your pool in tip great shape. The powerful scrubbing brushes on the Dolphin Nautilus CC spin twice as fast as most models and lift any stubborn dirt or grime from both walls and pool floors.
You will never come home to a filthy pool again with the Dolphin Nautilus CC. This intelligent pool cleaner has three automated settings to keep your pool sparkling. Choose from every day, every second day, and every third-day cleaning settings and forget about it.
The Dolphin Nautilus CC will not place any extra pressure on your pool's filtration system or pump. It runs independently on external power and doesn't require booster pumps, clumsy hoses or complicated connections. Set up is simple. Operation is child's play. Just remove from the box, plug it in and away it goes. The absence of an anti-tangle swivel cord was surprising in this price range, but the Dolphin Nautilus CC seems to navigate around its cord despite this.
The Dolphin Nautilus CC uses Maytronics CleverClean technology; this machine will not wander in random patterns. The Dolphin Nautilus CC scans you pool and intelligently navigates to ensure every inch of the pool is covered and clean, no spots missed.
The Dolphin Nautilus CC would be a great choice for those pool owners who want a completely automated pool cleaning solution. Those superior scrubbing brushes would also make this model the best robotic pool cleaner for algae.
- 3 automated cleaning settings
- Cleans walls and pool bottom
- Active scrubbing brush
- Energy efficient
- Simple operation and set up
- No anti-tangle swivel cable
How do Robotic, Suction and Pressure Side Pool Cleaners Compare?
There are three main types of pool cleaners that can keep your pool in great shape. Although all types of pool cleaners aim to achieve the same results, they are very different in how they operate, and how effective they are. What pool cleaning system you choose will be decided by your budget, your priorities and what equipment you have available to you.
1. Suction Side Pool Cleaner
The large rubber flange usually visually identifies suction cleaners. These types of cleaners connect to your pool's main filtration pump (or via the skimmer) and use its power to create suction. Any debris and dirt that is sucked up will end up in your pump's basket. Although some models of suction vacuums do have their own bag to collect the debris, more often than not, the pool owner will need to manually empty the pump’s basket once full.
Suction pool cleaners require pool owners to manually connect the vacuum, but once they are operational they are capable of working independently. Suction side cleaners move randomly over the pool bottom and walls sucking up debris and dirt as it goes. They are recommended for light cleaning duties and can manage dust, sand, and small leaves.
Suction cleaners are suitable for most pool surfaces and sizes, depending on the model; however, they are vulnerable to flow issues if the filter is less than ¾ horsepower. Some suction cleaners can also become snagged or stuck on steps, ladders and larger types of debris and do require infrequent intervention from pool owners.
2. The Pressure Side Pool Cleaner
Although the name 'pressure cleaner' might conjure up images of water being blasted against your pool surfaces, it actually works in the opposite way. Similarly to suction pool cleaners, pressure-side pool cleaners work like a vacuum.
Pressure Side pool cleaners connect to your pool’s pump and filter and use your pool’s return water to create suction. As the water is forced through the cleaner, it moves the unit and creates suction. The suction draws in debris and dirt, which is collected in a bag that is usually on top of the pressure cleaner. This will reduce the general wear and tear on the pool’s filtration system.
Pressure side cleaners are designed with quite a large throat making them great for sucking up large debris. If a pool is located amongst foliage and is prone to lots of leaves, twigs, seedpods, and acorns, a pressure side cleaner can be incredibly helpful and effective.
They often require a dedicated booster pump to operate successfully. Some models will not require a booster pump, but this is usually the case with Pressure Side Cleaners. Dedicated booster pumps are generally installed when a pool is originally constructed, but if not, you will need to assess if you have room for one to be installed.
3. Robotic Pool Cleaners
Robotic pool cleaners are the simplest pool cleaners in terms of operation and setup. They do not require hoses, connections to pumps, filters or skimmer boxes. Robotic pool vacuums are great for those who find other cleaners complicated to set up, connect and maintain. They work completely independently from other pool equipment and only require external power. Once connected, they are ready to go.
These intelligent pool cleaners are often programmable and able to be set to a schedule to suit your pool's requirements. They are efficient, very effective and require very minimal intervention from the pool owner.
Dirt and debris are captured and trapped inside the robotic unit, which places no added pressure on the pool's pump or filtration system. Some models also come with rotating scrubbers or brushes to remove stubborn dirt and grime.
Being connected to external power does mean that there will be ongoing running costs in the form or electricity usage. Robotic units are also typically more expensive to purchase than suction and pressure side pool cleaners.
These automated pool cleaners are the premier style of pool cleaner that is on the market. They are popular due to their ease of use, the ability to work independently, and for their superior efficiency and programmable features.
Why are Robotic Pool Cleaners Superior?
While some pool owners might be frightened by the price tag associated with some robotic pool cleaners, it should be viewed as an investment. The best robotic pool cleaners will require a larger initial outlay; they will pay dividends in the long term.
This type of pool cleaner operates independently from your other pool machinery. Your pool pump and filtration system are already working constantly to do their job, connecting a suction pool vacuum to your equipment just makes them work harder and increases the rate of general wear and tear.
Pool cleaners that are technologically advanced are an investment in your precious time. Robotic cleaners eliminate the need for fussy hose connections and backwashing the filter. This is also helpful for those pool owners who are not versed in the inner workings of pool pumps, priming, and backwashing. Reputable robotic pool vacuums literally just plug into external power and away they go.
Automatic pool cleaners are efficient and some are even incredible quick. Some models are able to clean an entire 50ft pool in approx. 2 hours; you just can't get that kind of performance with suction or pressure side models.
Not only are your pool surfaces free from debris, but also the internal filter cartridges essentially purify your pool water, pick up microscopic debris and algae spores that can't be seen by the naked eye. This improves the overall health of your pool water and can potentially lead to using and paying for fewer chemicals.
Robotic cleaning systems are suitable for a range of in-ground pool surfaces from vinyl liners to gunite, cement, and pebbletec. The right robotic cleaner will take the guesswork out of what you need to maintain your pool with minimal effort and fuss.
Factors To Consider When Buying The Robotic Pool Cleaner:
Efficiency can be broken down into two parts. One is the efficiency regarding the effectiveness and speed of the robotic cleaner, and the second is energy efficiency and running costs.
How quickly and effectively the pool cleaner you choose navigates your pool surfaces will depend on the model. High quality automated pool vacuums should be capable of achieving great results and crystal clear water in a matter of a few hours based on a 50-foot pool.
To measure the energy efficiency of your robotic cleaner, you should take into consideration the number of watts they expend. Some larger models can expend a massive amount of energy, up to 1800W, which will make a noticeable spike on your energy bill.
Thankfully, those who manufacture these clever cleaners have focused more on energy efficiency in recent years, with some models only expending approx. 180W of power. This output results in approx. 5c per hour, which is an entirely manageable amount to be spending on pool cleaning.
Set Up, Installation and Maintenance:
If you’re someone that it technically minded who enjoys tinkering and constructing things, this might not be a concern of yours at all. However, if the idea of putting things together and connecting different components makes you break out in a rash, the majority of robotic vacuums come fully assembled.
Industry leaders have made set up and installation of your new cleaner unit a breeze, and most just need to be connected to external power, then a flick of the on/off switch and away it goes. Before you buy a robotic cleaner for your pool, check the length of the power cable as you may need to get a suitable extension lead to reach the socket depending on the size of your yard.
Cleaning and removal of the internal filters should be considered also. Although these cleaners are designed to do the work for you, at some stage you will need to clean debris from the basket and clean filter cartridges (depending on the model.) Some robotic cleaners are top loaded, and some need access to the bottom of the unit – this is where the weight of the model should be considered too.
Automation And Programming:
As mentioned above, these innovative pool cleaners are designed to be plug and play; but if you do want to get into the nitty-gritty of what your robot cleaner can do, you may like to research the automation and programmable capabilities of the unit before you buy.
Understanding the technology behind how your pool cleaner scans and navigates your pool, will ensure you are getting the best performance from your machine and the best value for your dollar.
While some pool owners are happy to turn on their robotic cleaners and be involved in the process, others may like to set a schedule and completely forget about pool cleaning until it's time to empty the basket or clean the internal filter cartridges. The good news is that there are options for all types of pool owners.
While most of the robotic pool cleaners in this review will work on a variety of surfaces, it can be worth considering your specific pool surface before making your purchase. Some systems will be better suited to vinyl liners and may need less power to achieve an effective clean. Large wheels will also help navigate any ripples in the lining. Alternatively the right robotic vacuum for gunite pools or concrete pools might be a little more robust without being concerned about damage.
It’s important to factor in the surface of your pool when making your choice, as well as additional cleaning features like brushes and scrubbers, and how they will work with your pool surface.
Whether your pool is 20ft or 50ft there will be a robotic cleaner to suit your pool size. Smaller pools will not require super large filter baskets. Owners of larger pools will need to check power cord length and obtain additional extension leads if required. Some more powerful models may be overkill for smaller pools, and perhaps you won't need the biggest robotic pool cleaner, or the biggest price tag to get great results.
Debris Type And Size:
The type of debris that frequently ends up in your pool will be specific to your yard, your area, and your climate. Robotic cleaners will operate at their best if you consider the type of debris that they will be coming up against most frequently.
The opening that sucks debris into the robotic pool cleaner is referred to as "throat size" or "throat width." The throat size should be considered if you have particular trouble with large leaves, fragments of bark and sticks as well as nuts and acorns that fall from trees bushes.
If the area you live in is particularly dry or prone to dust storms, throat size might not be a contributing factor for you, however, it may be worth looking for a pool cleaner that has ultra-fine filtering capabilities. Weather and debris type will be specific to your pool's location, so give some thought to what ends up in your pool most regularly and the environment around you.
There will be some aspects of choosing a robotic vacuum that will be totally up to your personal preference. Things like style, design, weight, brand awareness, and confidence will be specific to the individual buyer.
Whether or not you require automation, or whether you prefer to manually turn your cleaner on and off will also be a personal decision.
The whole objective of robotic pool cleaners is to take the stress and fuss out of pool cleaning and maintenance. For anyone that is looking to invest in the best robotic pool cleaner, I cannot go past the Dolphin Nautilus CC Plus. This robotic pool cleaner combines power and effectiveness with minimal effort. While its technology is cutting edge, it’s simple to operate and set up.
With all that’s been discussed here, I have no doubt you are equipped and ready to choose the best robotic pool vacuum to suit you; and spend less time cleaning and more time relaxing in your pool this summer.