Best Robotic Pool Cleaner: Top Picks for 2019

Are you looking for a Robot Pool Cleaner For Your Inground or Above Ground Pool?

 

You have come to the right place.

On this page, I review the 18 best robotic pool cleaners sold in 2019 for every budget and type of pool.

To make it on this list, a robotic pool cleaner must earn a rating from our team of 4 stars or more.

I hope this short list saves you time and money.

If you have any questions, please leave a comment for me below!

John Davis
Editor


What’s On This Page

In this guide I first introduce my top 3 picks for three different budgets. These are proven performers that continue to be top-sellers in US pool stores and online.

After that, I’ll review the best robot pool cleaners sold right now – one at a time.

Then, I’ll finish up with an explanation of the features you should consider when buying a robotic pool cleaner.


Three Top-Rated Robotic Pool Cleaners We Like in 2019

 

My team and I have reviewed over 40 robotic pool cleaners in the past few years.

In my opinion, the following 3 robot pool cleaners continue to impress us with their reliability, user-friendly design, and value.

These are the models I recommend to my friends and family.

NOTE: For other kinds of automatic pool cleaners, see my guide to the best automatic pool cleaners sold today. In it, I review the best side pressure and suction pool cleaners in addition to robot pool cleaners.

Under $500

Aquabot Pool Rover

Aquabot Pool Rover

  • For above-ground pools only
  • For pools up to a 27 ft diameter
  • Scrubs and vacuums floors
  • Does not clean walls or steps
  • Includes 41 ft long power cord
  • Short 30-minute cleaning cycle
  • 2-hour automatic shut-off
  • 34-quart capacity filter
  • Extra wide wheels roll easily over ripples and bumps
  • Simple and affordable

see-it-on-Amazon

$500-$1,000

Dolphin Triton series

Dolphin Triton Plus

  • For in-ground pools
  • Cleans floors, walls & steps
  • Cleans in 3 hours
  • Optional remote w/ touch-guided operation
  • Optional spring cleaning filter
  • Swivel cable prevents tangling
  • Includes transport caddy
  • Great 24 mo. Warranty

see-it-on-Amazon

Over $1,000

Polaris 9550

Polaris 9550 Sport Robotic Pool Cleaner

  • For in-ground pools up 50 ft
  • Cleans pool floor, walls, and tile line
  • 7-day programmable timer
  • Oversized intake for large debris
  • Four-wheel drive + water jets
  • Large canister with a full-bin alert
  • Auto-lift system
  • Includes transport caddy

see-it-on-Amazon


Top 10 Robotic Pool Cleaners: Comparison Table

 

The following table summarizes the key differences among the best 10 robot pool cleaners we have reviewed to date:

Disclamer: All links below go to Amazon.com

CLEANER RATINGPOOL TYPEWEIGHTWARR.HOSECYCLE
Aquabot
Pool Rover Jr.

Aquabot Pool Rover Junior Robotic Pool Cleaner
$282.09 on Amazon

Above Ground11 lbs1 year41 ft1 hr
Hayward
Ultra XL

Hayward Ultra XL Robotic Pool Cleaner
Check on Amazon

In-Ground20 lbs1 year40 ft4 hrs
Dolphin
Triton

Dolphin Triton Robotic Pool Cleaner
Out of stock

In-Ground19 lbs2 year60 ft3 hrs
Dolphin
Nautilus

Dolphin Nautilus Robotic Pool Cleaner
$689.00 on Amazon

In-Ground16 lbs1 year60 ft3 hrs
AquaBot
Pura 4X

Aquabot Pura 4x Robotic Pool Cleaner
$379.21 on Amazon

Above Ground
& In-Ground
20 lbs2 year40 ft2 hrs
Maytronics
DX3

Maytronics DX3 Dolphin Robotic Pool Cleaner
$799.00 on Amazon

In-Ground19 lbs2 year60 ft3 hrs
Polaris
9550

Polaris 9550 Sport 4WD Robotic Pool Cleaner
$1,072.98 on Amazon


* large capacity filter
In-Ground16 lbs
*lightweight
2 year50 ft3 hrs
Dolphin
Premiere

Dolphin Premiere 2016 - best overall value
$1,097.00

In-Ground22 lbs3 year51 ft3 hrs
Pentair
Prowler 830

Pentair Kreepy Krauler Prowler 830 Robotic Pool Cleaner
$829.96 on Amazon

In-Ground45 lbs2 year60 ft3 hrs
Hayward TigerShark
QC

Hayward Tigershark Robotic Pool Cleaner
Out of stock

In-Ground40 lbs3 year55 ft3 hrs


Best Robotic Pool Cleaners: Detailed Reviews

 

If you still aren’t sure which cleaner is right for you, then check out following 18 top-rated robotic pool cleaners sold on Amazon and other retailers online.

You should find what you need with one of these.

Polaris F9550 Sport

 

Polaris F9550 Sport review

Buy from amazon

The Polaris F9550 is one of the most powerful robot pool cleaners sold today, and one of our top 3 picks for in-ground pools of any size.

The 9550 boasts a 4-wheel drive system combined with water jets that help it effortlessly move it up and down stairs and stick firmly to vertical surfaces and walls.

The AquaTrax tires provide a strong grip on any type of pool surface, while the Polaris ActivMotion Sensor technology helps the pool cleaner to clean any pool shape efficiently, without getting stuck.

When it comes to cleaning effectiveness, the F9550 does an exceptional job, relying on two features:

  • Oscillating brushes that scrub stubborn dirt and debris off the pool floor and walls.
  • Vortex vacuum technology that picks up larger debris without losing suction on any kind of surface.

With respect to features, the F9550 features a 7-day programmable timer and a cleaning surface selector that lets you choose between the bottom, bottom and sides or waterline only.

You can also select the shape of your pool (rectangular or freeform) and cleaning level (intensive or high intensity)to optimize cleaning performance.

For more targeted cleaning, use the included remote control to pilot the cleaner to exactly where you want.

The remote control also features an Easy Lift System button that brings the pool cleaner to the surface for easier lifting.

Finally, we love the full filter indicator, which lets you know when the rather large debris bin is ready to be emptied. This is one of the upgrades Polaris added over its earlier model, the Polaris 9450 (which is still sold today and is significantly lighter).

Pros

  • Includes caddy
  • Excellent cleaning performance
  • Does not fall from sides or stairs
  • Works in all pool types regardless of shape or type of surface
  • Targeted cleaning options
  • The remote control works well
  • Weekly programmable timer
  • Full bin indicator

Cons

  • Pricey
  • A bit heavy (the automatic lift system eliminates most of the hassle, though)

Read Our Review

 


Dolphin Nautilus

Best Pool Cleaner

Buy from amazon

If you are looking for a time-proven, mid-range robotic pool cleaner for a large in-ground pool for a fair price, then you cannot go wrong buying the Dolphin Nautilus.

The Dolphin Nautilus series of pool cleaners provide excellent cleaning performance and a range of convenient features at a lower price tag.

The Nautilus is fitted with Maytronics smart navigation system, called CleverClean, that uses clever algorithms to provide 100% pool coverage in less time and using less power.

The tread-based drive provides excellent grip in a broader variety of pool surfaces (wheels can slip on slippery/algae-covered surfaces). As a tank, treads help the Nautilus climb over challenging obstacles such as steps, large debris, and curved walls without getting stuck.

Dual scrubbing brushes at the front, and back scrub away at stubborn dirt stuck on the walls and floor while the powerful suction system picks up suspended debris. Compared with jet-washing and other kinds of debris removal methods, brushing is the best.

Dual fine and ultra-fine filters trap large and small bits of debris – from leaves down to sediment and algae.

Pros

  • A proven, reliable cleaner for in-ground pools
  • Swivel cable prevents tangling
  • Smart navigation saves energy without missing spots
  • Dual brushes and powerful suction provide excellent cleaning performance
  • Ideal for all pool surfaces thanks to the high-grip treads

Cons

  • Older model so lacks advanced controls and features
  • No timer
  • No targeted cleaning modes
  • No remote control
  • Misses some tight-radius corners

Read Our Review

 


Dolphin Nautilus Plus

 

Dolphin Nautilus Plus review

Buy from amazon

The Dolphin Nautilus Plus adds top-loading filter basket and a bit more power to the proven cleaning performance of the original Dolphin Nautilus. It also costs more.

The top-loading filter basket is a nice addition for people who struggle to lift heavy cleaners out of the water and for pool owners who have to run their cleaners constantly.

The Nautilus Plus also comes with CleverClean scanning technology to optimize cleaning patterns. This allows the cleaner to cover the entire pool in just 2 hours.

Like the original Nautilus, treads provide a strong grip on pool surfaces. And help this cleaner scale pool walls with ease.

The Nautilus cleaning system of dual brushes, powerful suction, and dual fine and ultra-fine filters ensure that your pool will be free of all kinds of debris and dirt.

Pros

  • Cleans really well and in less time compared with most other pool cleaners
  • Convenient top-loading filter system means less effort
  • Dual filters pick up both large and small particles

Cons

  • No timer, no cleaning modes, and no remote control
  • Some customers claim they have had to take theirs in for repair multiple times

 


Dolphin Premier

 

Dolphin Premier review

Buy from amazon

The Dolphin Premier is one of the most full-featured and capable pool cleaners ever released by Maytronics. It is also considerably more expensive than the Nautilus and Nautilus Plus.

On the other hand, it also offers more power, more features, and more thorough cleaning.

The Dolphin Premiere uses the same CleverClean scanning system available in the other two pool cleaners. It provides smarter navigation around the pool instead of a random cleaning pattern.

The Premiere also uses the same dual filtration system to capture everything from the tiniest bits of sand and algae to large sand particles and leaves.

Unlike the Nautilus, however, the Dolphin premier offers four kinds of filtration media – from a micro-filter for fine debris to a bag for leaves and twigs. So if your pool sits under trees or you live in a dusty environment, this option will definitely make a difference.  Just m and match the filters depending on your pool situation and season.

Dual scrubbing brushes remove stubborn dirt and biologicals from walls and floor, while the powerful vacuum picks up even the largest of debris.

A few other things we love in the Dolphin Premier are the excellent weekly timer, a full filter indicator, and the optional remote control.

Pros

  • A same proven cleaning system as the Dolphin Nautilus: treads, dual brushes, strong vacuum, etc.
  • Intelligent navigation with a short cleaning cycle
  • Advanced features: weekly timer, remote control, and filter-full indicator
  • Four types of filter media clean a wider range of debris
  • Excellent cleaning performance

Cons

  • Included instructions are not the best
  • This unit is heavy

Read Our Review

 


Dolphin Sigma

Dolphin Sigma review

Buy from amazon

As it is one of the most expensive and largest-capacity Dolphin robotic pool cleaners ever made, we had big expectations for the new Dolphin Sigma.

Is it worth the price tag? Yes, we think so – especially if you own a large (50 ft+) in-ground pool.

What makes a difference are the triple motors that deliver more power while saving energy. Sigma can handle walls and floor of any size or shape without a problem. It also works great on all types of pool surfaces.

The SmartNav 3.0 Gyroscopic Navigation provides nearly 100% coverage in less time than other pool cleaners. If that is, the other cleaners could clean pools as large as this one can.

The Dolphin Sigma also employs another trick to improve navigation: independent track drive.

An independent track drive works as tank tracks do. When the cleaner needs to turn in place, tracks move in opposite directions. This makes tight turns possible and helps the cleaner navigate around obstacles and clean tight corners where other pool cleaners struggle.

That said, we are not in love with the Sigma smartphone/Bluetooth control. It is a nicely done app, but it feels like a gimmick. You can set a weekly timer, select a cleaning mode and navigate the pool cleaner with it, though – which is nice.

Unfortunately, in our opinion, Bluetooth is probably not the right choice for controlling pool cleaners – especially for larger pools and homes, which the Sigma is designed to handle. Bluetooth range is technically limited to 30 feet, which means you probably cannot direct it from your upstairs bedroom. 

Overall, however, the Sigma is one of the most capable pool cleaners you can buy and is a top choice for anyone with a really large in-ground pool.

Pros

  • Can handle extra-large in-ground pools
  • Powerful cleaning performance
  • Convenient Bluetooth control via an app
  • Smart navigation reduces cleaning times and saves energy
  • Independent tracks provide better coverage in tight corners

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Bluetooth app does not always work

Read Our Review

 


Dolphin Quantum

 

Dolphin Quantum review

Buy from amazon

The Dolphin Quantum is a powerful tread-driven pool cleaner for large in-ground pools that provide excellent wall-cleaning capability due to its water jet drive.

The Dolphin Quantum does not have the wireless capability like the Sigma does, and the tracks do not turn independently.

But it has its own list of impressive features, most notably its Power Jet drive.

As the Quantum pool cleaner runs, it ejects powerful jets of water from three nozzles – similar to rocket thrust.

The Jets push the Quantum against the surface of your pool which helps it maintain a strong grip when moving up a wall. Thanks to the water jets, the Dolphin Quantum can move both vertically and laterally along the wall.  It does indeed clean walls better than other Dolphins.

The jets also help the Quantum more easily navigate over or around obstacles.

Like other Maytronics cleaners, the Dolphin Quantum uses dual brushes to scrub algae and debris off the pool surface. The high RPM brushes can remove the most stubborn of grime stuck on the pool.

All debris is sucked into one of the largest filter cartridges of any robotic pool cleaner. This 400 square inch cartridge can hold more dirt and debris than most other pool cleaners, which means you will have to empty it less.  

Pros

  • Programmable weekly timer
  • Powerful, energy-efficient motors
  • Water jets provide best-in-class vertical wall cleaning
  • Huge filter cartridge means less frequent emptying

Cons

  • Pricey
  • Lacks swivel connector on the cord

Read Our Review

 


Dolphin Escape

 

Dolphin Escape review

Buy from amazon

The Dolphin Escape is an above-ground pool cleaner that provides the energy efficiency, smart navigation and cleaning power of many larger in-ground pool cleaners – for way less money.

The Dolphin Escape is unlike the other Dolphins we have discusses so far in several ways.

First of all, the Escape is designed for above ground pools. And, it costs quite a bit less than the Nautilus, Triton, Quantum and Sigma series.

The motors are not as powerful as those others, and the cord is shorter.  There are also no water jets to press the Escape against the surface.

Unlike most other cleaners in its price range, the Escape is fitted with the Maytronic SmartNav 2.0 system that optimizes the cleaning patterns to provide complete coverage and waste less energy.

Dual active brushes (meaning they spin as the cleaner moves), scrub away at algae and debris stuck to the pool surface.

The Dolphin Escape works well on any type of pool surface thanks to the HyperGrip Continuous Tracks. The tracks also make it easy for the cleaner to climb over pool features and scale pool walls without slipping.

You will also appreciate how light the Dolphin Escape is, too – something that cannot be said for most pool cleaners. You will have a much easier time putting it into the pool and lifting it out.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Cleans leaves, sand and most other kinds of debris
  • Can climb walls (uncommon in above-ground cleaners)
  • Works in all types of above ground pools, including vinyl
  • Large filter cartridge

Cons

  • No ultra-fine filter included (can buy separately)
  • No swivel cord

Read Our Review

 


Dolphin Triton

 

Dolphin Triton Robotic Pool Cleaner

Buy from amazon

The Dolphin Triton is one of the highest rated Dolphin pool cleaners ever sold.

The triton is certainly not a new model, but it remains one of the best wall-cleaners on the market.

The Dolphin Triton is loaded with many of the advanced features available in other high-end Dolphin models, including smart scanning, a programmable weekly timer and an ultra-fine filter that can capture the tiniest of debris.

Active dual brushes leave your pool walls and floor looking pristine.

Thanks to its swivel cable and high-grip treads, the Dolphin Triton rarely gets stuck, whether navigating over the pool drain or climbing the wall.

Unlike many other pool cleaners that manage to go only halfway up a wall, the Triton reliably cleans all the way to the waterline to provide complete coverage.

Although heavy and not a new technology, this is a proven workhorse that we continue to recommend to friends and family.

Pros

  • Excellent cleaning performance
  • A master at climbing walls and steps
  • Swivel cable does not tangle
  • Weekly Timer

Cons

  • Not as energy-efficient as newer Dolphin models
  • Takes 3 hours to clean (vs. 2 hours for newer models)

Read Our Review

 


Dolphin Triton Plus

 

Dolphin Triton Plus review

Buy from amazon

The Dolphin Triton Plus adds more power and more features to the base Triton model.

You may or may not care about these features, however. If not, then stick with the original (it costs quite a bit less).

The main difference between the Dolphin Triton and the Dolphin Triton Plus is the Bluetooth remote control included with the Triton Plus. To use it, download the Dolphin app to your phone and sync it to your cleaner.

Using the app, you can navigate the cleaner manually, set a weekly timer and select your preferred cleaning mode.

Another feature that makes the Triton Plus worth the extra money is its PowerStream drive. Basically, the same concept as the PowerJet in the Dolphin Quantum.

PowerStream uses water jets to provide more grip and better directional control, allowing the Triton Plus to navigate over obstacles and climb walls without getting stuck.

Like in the original Triton model, active dual brushes scrub the floor and walls to remove stuck debris, bacteria, and algae. This keeps your pool cleaner and healthier free.

Powerful suction vacuums the debris through fine and ultra-fine filters, ensuring everything from tiny sand particles to large leaves and twigs are picked up.

The Triton Plus is a nice modern upgrade of a reliable pool cleaner that we love, the original Dolphin Triton.

If you appreciate smartphone control and the addition of more powerful water jets, then add this one to your shortlist.

Pros

  • Convenient Bluetooth control
  • Includes weekly timer and cleaning modes
  • Excellent cleaning performance; scrubs away algae and debris and has no trouble climbing walls.
  • Includes fine and ultra-fine filters
  • Smart algorithms prevent the cable from tangling

Cons

  • The non-swivel cable still tangles occasionally

Read Our Review

 


Hayward Tiger Shark QC

 

Hayward TigerShark review

Buy from amazon

The Hayward Tiger Shark QC is a proven, excellent robot pool cleaner designed for large in-ground pools of up to 20 by 40 feet.

Dolphin models are by far the most popular robotic pool cleaners sold today – and as you can tell already, there are a lot to choose from.

But there are other great brands, too.  We really like Hayward pool cleaners, specifically the Tiger Shark Quick Clean (QC).

One of the best features of the Tiger Shark is its flexible cleaning modes. It can clean at two different speeds, depending on how dirty your pool is and how soon you want to use it.

If you want a thorough clean, select the full 3-hour cleaning cycle. If you are readying the pool fora home party or an afternoon swim, the cleaner also offers a quick cycle that lasts 90 minutes.

The Tiger Shark QC cleans really well, too (on thorough mode). It is not as good as higher-end Dolphin models, but it does a great job removing most of the debris and algae from the pool.

The Tiger Shark QC also cleans walls, floors, coves and up to the waterline, although it struggles a bit on stairs and walls depending on the surface type.

Overall, however, it does an excellent job for the price.

Pros

  • Convenient quick clean cycle
  • Cleans most areas of the pool very well
  • The filter cartridge is easy to remove and clean

Cons

  • It is a bit heavy
  • Struggles on walls and stairs at times

Read Our Review

 


Hayward Tigershark (Plus & Standard)

Hayward Tigershark Plus review

Buy from amazon

The TigerShark Plus adds a longer warranty plus a remote control to their Standard TigerShark… for significantly more money.

Both the Standard and Plus Tiger Shark robot pool cleaners come with the same powerful vacuum suction powered by a 24V DC motor, full pool coverage including walls and cove and a patented filter cartridge that is super easy to remove and clean.

The addition of a remote control increases the price of the TigerShark by quite a bit, so if you think you can do without remote control, we recommend the Standard model.

On the other hand, the Plus model carries a longer 3-year warranty and is an excellent performer.

Pros

  • Pricey
  • Three-year warranty
  • Excellent cleaning performance. Removes almost all debris including sediment, sand, and leaves
  • Includes remote control with manual navigation buttons
  • Easy to clean filter cartridge

Cons

  • The remote control is not worth the price
  • No quick clean cycle

 


Aquabot X4

Aquabot X4 review

Buy from amazon

For about half the price of a comparable Dolphin model, the Aquabot X4 robot pool cleaner provides 4WD traction, intelligent pool mapping for efficient cleaning and an anti-tangle swivel cable.

You also get a caddy for free.

The Aquabot X4 is designed for above ground and in-ground pools.

This cleaner has no problem cleaning any kind of surface, thanks to the 4WD navigation and high-grip wheels.

Micro-brushes fixed to the underside of the X4 rotate as the pool cleaner moves over the pool, agitating debris and algae stuck to the pool walls and floor.

All debris is trapped by the ultra-fine filters that can catch particles as small as 2 microns.

When it comes to programmability and scheduling features, the X4 offers more than most Dolphins.

For example, it is one of the few robotic pool cleaners that give you control over the cleaning cycle duration. You can choose a 1, 1.5 or 2-hour cleaning cycle.

The longest cycle is shorter than more expensive pool cleaners because the X4 has a smart pool mapping feature to increase efficiency.

You can also set the pool cleaner to clean automatically every two days, three days or four days.

As I said, great value for your money. And the programmable cleaning options really help you weather different seasons easily.

Pros

  • Excellent cleaning performance
  • Works in above ground and in-ground pools
  • Programmable cycles and weekly timer
  • Swivel cable to prevent tangling
  • Great value for money

Cons

  • Struggles with some areas like the steps and waterline
  • Wheels do not provide the same level of traction of jet drive or treads

Read Our Review

 


Aquabot Spirit

Aquabot Spirit review

Buy from amazon

The Aquabot Spirit maintains the same more-for-less spirit of the Aquabot X4 but adds an upgraded jet flow propulsion system – a feature usually offered only in far pricier Dolphin & Polaris cleaners.

Jets of water force the unit to your pool surface, improving mobility and dislodging more dirt from the pool surface.

Unfortunately, however, the Aquabot Spirit lacks scrubbing brushes at the bottom, which does hinder its cleaning ability. The jets help a bit with stuck dirt and algae, but brushes would have done a much better job.

For this reason, we recommend the Aquabot Spirit for pools that does not suffer from algae and other kinds of hard-to-remove surface grime.

Nevertheless, lots of happy customers claim their pool stays clean with only a manual scrubbing required now and then.

Other compromises include using bags instead of filter cartridges (bags are messier) and the lack of a smart mapping system.

Despite these omissions, we still think the Aquabot Spirit represents a great value for money.

We highly recommend it if you are looking for a budget pool cleaner for your in-ground or above ground pool – as long as you does not suffer from algae blooms, mud or mold.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Efficient and energy-saving propulsion system
  • Swivel cable
  • Convenient top-access filters

Cons

  • No scrubbing brushes. You have to occasionally scrub the pool manually
  • Bags are messier and harder to clean compared to cartridges

Read Our Review


Aquabot Pool Rover S2 40

Aquabot Pool Rover S2 40 review

Buy from amazon

The Pool Rover S2 40 is an extremely affordable robot bottom-cleaner for above ground pools of up to 40 feet in length. It does a fine job cleaning the pool floor, the cove and parts of the wall.

The Pool Rover S2 suction system filters 80 gallons of water a minute and cleans the entire pool in 2 hours.

If you want a quick clean, there is a 1-hour option – although it will not leave your pool totally clean.

Ultra-fine filter bags capture debris and particles as small as 2 microns. The filters are located at the top, making maintenance easier.

Like the Aquabot Spirit, the Pool Rover S2 40 lacks scrubbing brushes. So you have to occasionally scrub the pool manually.

Also, be aware that the Pool Rover series are among the flimsiest-feeling units you can buy. They are lightweight and rattle a bit.

That said, looks can be deceiving. The Pool Rover S2 40 is actually a reliable and easy-to-repair cleaner that works just fine for keeping simple above ground pool floors clean.

Pros

  • Surprisingly affordable
  • Two cleaning cycle options
  • Surprisingly good cleaning performance, considering it has no brushes
  • Convenient top-access filters

Cons

  • Occasional manual scrubbing required. This cleaner lacks brushes
  • Does not fully scale walls
  • No intelligent navigation

 


Aquabot Pool Rover Junior

 

Aquabot Pool Rover Junior review

Buy from amazon

Are you looking for the least expensive cleaner for an above ground pool? The Pool Rover Junior is our perennial top pick, if so.

Yes, it is small, a bit flimsy and runs on plastic wheels – but the Aquabot Pool Rover Junior cleans flat above-ground pool floors like a beast.

Like the S2 model just described, the Aquabot Pool Rover Junior has no scrubbing brushes. Instead, it relies on the Aquabot Hydro-Robotic technology to move around the pool and dislodge dirt stuck on the pool surface using water jets only.

The extra-wide wheels allow it to move easily on different types of pool surfaces.

You will, however, have to set the wheel pins to establish the correct direction/angle for optimal cleaning. This takes a few tries to get right.

The Pool Rover Junior can filter up to 70 gallons a minute, passing the water through an ultra-fine 2-micron filter bag.

The filter bag is a bit tedious to clean, but it is a small sacrifice for saving so much money.

Note: Aquabot recently updated the Pool Rover Junior. Unfortunately, in 2017 lots of customers reported poor build quality, requiring frequent repair. Aquabot jumped onto the issue quickly, appears to have resolved it based on the many positive recent reviews.

Pros

  • Super-affordable
  • The ultra-fine filter picks up even the smallest of particles
  • Works on all kinds of pool surfaces

Cons

  • Occasional manual scrubbing required. This cleaner lacks brushes
  • Does not fully scale walls
  • No intelligent navigation
  • Wheel pins used to manually set direction (takes a few tries to set it right)

Read Our Review

 


Pentair Kreepy Krauly Prowler 830

Pentair Kreepy Krauly 830 Robotic Pool Cleaner

Buy from amazon

The Kreepy Krauly 830 is in the same price range as high-end Dolphin models and does an equally good job cleaning larger in-ground pools.

Using two scrubbing brushes and powerful suction, the Kreepy Krauly picks up all kind of debris from algae and grime stuck on the walls to leaves and twigs floating in the water.

The Kreepy Krauly moves on treads rather than wheels, so it has no problem climbing walls and cleaning stairs. It does not get stuck on the drain, either.

If it gets stuck in a corner, an auto-reverse feature ensures the 830 can rescue itself easily.

This is a hands-off automatic pool cleaner – just set the timer and leave it in your pool to clean.

The downside?

At 45 lbs, it is easily one of the heaviest robotic pool cleaners sold.

Luckily, it comes with a transport caddy for moving it to and from storage (if only it also lifted the cleaner from the pool).

But you do not have to remove it out of the pool every time it cleans.

If you are busy, just leave it in and use the included remote control to set up a weekly schedule. It will clean automatically at the set times even if you are not home.

Pros

  • Excellent cleaning performance
  • Easy mobility. Swivel cable, strongly gripping treads and auto-reverse ensure it never gets stuck
  • Includes remote control with a weekly timer
  • Free transport caddy included

Cons

  • Pricey
  • Very heavy

Read Our Review

 


Smartpool NC22 SmartKleen

Smartpool NC22 SmartKleen review

Buy from amazon

The Smartpool NC22 SmartKleen is an advanced brush-cleaning robot cleaner for above ground and smaller in-ground pools.

The NC22 features high-traction, direct-drive wheels to improve mobility on different types of pool surfaces.

The SmartKleen also comes with an intelligent navigation system that allows the cleaner to turn without relying on the walls like most above ground pool cleaners.

The system detects when the cleaner has traveled a certain distance and triggers a change in direction.

A couple of spinning brushes on the rear end of this cleaner scrub dirt off the pool floor while an efficient brush-to-port suction system vacuums up large and small bits of debris without losing suction.

Thankfully, the NC22 SmartKleen pool cleaner is also relatively light. Most people will find it easy to lift it from the pool.

The quick-drain system helps by allowing water collected in the cleaner to spill out the back as you lift it. This lightens the cleaner considerably.

Pros

  • Quick-drain system makes it easy to lift
  • Cleans above ground and small in-ground pools quite well, including walls
  • Works on all pool surfaces including vinyl and fiberglass.
  • Efficient suction system

Cons

  • Uses bags instead of cartridges, which is messier and harder to clean
  • The frame on the filter bag breaks too easily

Read Our Review

 


How We Rate Them4 and a half stars

We look at four main criteria to assign our 5-star rating to each robotic pool cleaner.

The final star rating is the unweighted average of the following four scores:

1. Value: for the price, how does this pool cleaner compare with competitors on features, cleaning ability and maintenance costs?

2. Wall Cleaning: how well does this pool cleaner clean hard-to-reach vertical surfaces?

3. Energy Efficiency: how much does it cost to run the pool cleaner each month?

4. Floor Cleaning: how well does this robotic cleaner pick up all sizes of debris – including fine particles like sand and grit?


Things to Know Before You Buy

Selecting a robotic pool cleaner is easy, once you know the key features to look for.

Does It Scrub Walls?

Robotic pool cleaner on wall

Most robotic pool cleaners clean every square inch of the pool floor with whirling brushes and vacuum loose debris.

But only a few pool cleaners are good at removing algae and other contaminants from vertical surfaces like walls, steps, and stairs.

Use our Wall Cleaning Rating to get a general idea of how well each cleaner performs on this important job.

Check The Energy Efficiency

Sadly, millions of older style pool cleaners are in use, and some are still available to buy.

These older models can consume over 1,000 watts, which is far more than newer low-voltage units.

The latest robotic pool cleaners feature energy-efficient 24 volt DC motors that consume 80% less energy per hour of cleaning than their AC forerunners.

In fact, the latest robotic cleaners only cost about 5 cents per hour to run because they operate on just 100-200 watts – about the same as a single light bulb!

Use our Energy Efficiency Rating to understand how much money you can save each year.

Watch Out For Twisted Cables

tangled hose

Twisted cables are the most frustrating aspect of owning an automatic pool cleaner.

Tangles impair the cleaning function by not letting the device reach every nook and cranny of the pool. Make sure you buy a unit with an underwater cable swivel to avoid this problem.

Get a Multi-Year Warranty

Getting a robotic pool cleaner repaired is not cheap.

You will eventually have to replace a motor, and the cost can be a real eye-opener – some replacement motors cost almost as much as a new cleaner.

There are two ways to minimize this risk:

1. Look for models with a replacement motor that costs less than $500.

2. Buy a pool cleaner with a 24-month non-prorated warranty or better. Some of the more expensive models carry a 3-year non-prorated warranty.


Upgrades That Will Save You Money

The best pool cleaners are not cheap.

That said, there are times when you need to consider loosening your grip on the almighty dollar.

Here are three important features that are worth the additional expense.

1. Cable Swivel

robotic pool cleaner swivel

Robotic cleaners turn and twist their cables all the time and sometimes climb vertical walls. This complex unattended movement can easily tangle the power cord unless a 360-degree swivel is in place.

While a no-tangle cable swivel is absolutely recommended, be aware that a cable swivel will eliminate most tangles, but not all of them.

2. Intelligent Navigation

Older pump-driven and suction cleaners may cost less up-front, but they use a random walk navigation. This means they wander around the pool randomly. In addition, they operate during a fixed timeframe every day, whether or not your pool needs cleaning.

Random movement and fixed timeframes mean the cleaning process will be spotty and inefficient, wasting energy and adding unnecessary wear-and-tear on your unit.

The best new robotic pool cleaners such as the Dolphin Nautilus and Dolphin Triton uses Intelligent Navigation, which relies on more sophisticated software and location monitoring to compute an optimizes pattern for cleaning your pool and keep track of where the device has already been.

Intelligent Navigation makes robotic pool cleaners far more energy efficient than other kinds of automatic pool cleaners and require less time to clean your pool.

3. Programmable Timer

In addition to navigation, the ability to program when and how frequently your cleaner operates is important.

We prefer units with Adjustable/Variable Timers. Variable timers let you run your cleaning cycle as needed – every two days, daily or every week. This saves on utilities and wear-and-tear. It is just a smarter way to clean that will save energy over time.

4. Adjustable Filter Media

Selecting the right filter media is a tough decision if the unit only accepts one filter at a time. Traditionally pool cleaner buyers have had to choose between a tote or cartridge based system.

However, some of the newer robotic pool cleaners no longer force you to make this tradeoff.

For example, Maytronics cleaners make it east to swap filter media. And the best Hayward pool cleaners like the Hayward Tiger Shark use reinforced cartridge filters that are easy to clean and swap.

Media flexibility is important because as the seasons change, your filtering needs change. To pick up bigger debris and tree leaves, make use of the coarse filter or a bag. To clean your pool from an algae rash or pollen, pop in a fine mesh cartridge.


Energy-Saving Features

If low running costs are high on your priority list, then consider the following energy-saving features when choosing your next swimming pool cleaner. In all of our product reviews, we assign an Energy Efficiency Rating to give you an idea of how our robotic pool cleaner picks compare on this important feature.

1. Contact Adhesive Drive

Look for robotic pool cleaners with rubber tracks that have a big sticky contact patch on them. These adhere to vertical pool surfaces better than plastic tracks and wheels.

Your cleaner will spend less time cleaning with a contact adhesive drive because this design minimizes slippage on horizontal surfaces.

Our Floor Cleaning Rating covers this aspect of pool cleaning.

2. Intelligent Navigation

When your pool cleaning route is controlled by intelligent navigation software, it takes less time to clean your pool and reduces energy consumption.

3. Variable Timer

With a variable timer installed, your pool cleaner will only turn on when needed – not every day, which is the default for cheaper cleaners.

This single feature can triple your energy efficiency!

NOTE: Many cleaners come with only a day-to-day timer and do not let you set times.


What Is a Robotic Pool Cleaner?

A robotic pool cleaner is a self-contained machine that cleans a swimming pool automatically using 12V DC power fed from a wall power supply and an AC/DC converter.

By automatically I mean that you do not have to do anything. Just put the pool cleaner in the water, press a button on the power unit and the cleaner propels itself around the floor and sometimes up the wall.

By self-contained, I mean that it has everything it needs to move and clean within it. In contrast, traditional suction-side and pressure-side pool cleaners rely on your pool pump and filter (for the suction-side cleaner) to clean.

In addition, suction and pressure cleaners agitate dirt but do not filter it. The pool pump must also be on for them to work.

In contrast, robotic pool cleaners use high-pressure jets and scrubbing brushes to agitate debris, a suction system to vacuum the debris and internal mesh filters to capture the debris and remove it from the water.

Different robotic pool cleaners vary in capability depending on the price.

Less expensive ones are usually for above ground pools. They clean the floor and part of the wall.

More expensive robotic pool cleaners are designed for large in-ground pools with steps and complex surfaces. They can scrub the floor, go up the wall to the water line and even clean the steps.

The Inside of a Robotic Pool Cleaner

How Robotic Pool Cleaners Work

Mobility methods differ among the leading robot pool cleaners.

Most use a motor to drive wheels or treads. Others use a jet propulsion system where jets of water push the pool cleaner forward.

Some use both types, in which a motor pushes wheels while jets of water provide a powerful thrust downwards, increasing the grip of the pool cleaner, especially when moving vertically on the wall.

But how does a robot cleaner know where to clean?

Well, the truth is that cheaper robotic pool cleaners do not. They move randomly for 2 or 3 hours then shut down, hopefully having covered most of the pool.

Spend a bit more money, and you can get a robotic pool cleaner with smart mapping and navigation that will map out pool surfaces and optimize its cleaning pattern to ensure 100% coverage in the shortest time.

As for cleaning, most robotic pool cleaners combine scrubbing brushes that agitate debris stuck on the pool surface with a vacuum system to pull the debris-containing water through the filters.

The dirt is trapped in a filter bag or cartridge that you remove later when the robot cleaner is done.

Lower Energy and Maintenance Costs

Because they are not connected to your pool water pump, robotic pool cleaners generate no additional back pressure on your pool system, unlike a pressure or a a suction-based cleaner.

This means you avoid the need to add a booster pump or install new plumbing, which saves in up-front costs.

Maintenance costs are better-managed due to the use of intelligent and efficient cleaning algorithms that prevent over-use of the device.

Excellent Filtration

Every robotic pool cleaner relies on an efficient pool filter that is easy to clean.

Many pool robots come with extremely efficient filters.

A fine mesh down to 2 microns is not uncommon, and this fine of a filter can catch even the finest particles.


What Are the Main Benefits of Using Robotic Pool Cleaners?

  • Robot cleaners save you the trouble of cleaning your pool manually.
  • Robotic pool cleaners minimize the use of chemicals, making for a healthier pool – and saving you money.
  • Robot cleaners inhibit the growth of algae in the pool, especially during winter.
  • Lowers pool maintenance and utility costs, because you do not have to use the pool pump and filter as often.

 


10 Great Reasons To Buy a Robotic Pool Cleaner

Robotic pool cleaners are one of the most popular upgrades for pool owners, for lots of good reasons.

Here are 10 awesome reasons why buying a robotic pool cleaner is worth the investment:

1. Maintenance-friendly
2. Lower running costs
3. Less chemical usage
4. Climb and scrub walls, too
5. Extremely efficient cleaning
6. Super-simple installation
7. Lower noise level
8. No pump or pump upgrade is needed
9. Hands-off cleaning: just drop it in the water and walk away
10. Great product warranties

 


Learn More About Robotic Pool Cleaners

To simplify your shopping, we provide more information on this website including:

Side-by-side comparisons of the Top 10 Robotic Pool Cleaners, organized by budget.

Robot Pool Cleaner Buying Guides for In-ground Pools and Above Ground Pools.

Good luck shopping!

 

 

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