Best Pool Cleaner - Dolphin Premier

Best Pool Cleaners 2018: Top Picks For Every Pool (Plus Buying Guide)

Are you looking for a top-rated pool cleaner for your in-ground or above ground pool?

You’ve come to the right place.

There are three types of pool cleaners to choose from. They include:

In this buying guide we the review best automatic pool cleaners for a variety of pool types and common situations.

If you are still unsure about which type of pool cleaner you need, then we also provide a helpful buying guide so you can pick your own.

For more advice on robotic pool cleaners, check out our other guides to the best inground robot pool cleaners and the best above-ground robot pool cleaners.

Best Pool Cleaners on the Market Compared

These are the best pool cleaners on the market, according to our research and other independent, owner-verified robotic pool cleaner reviews.

How to use the table below:

  • Our #1 picks are marked with a green circle check-green_640.
  • Cleaners for above ground and in-ground pools are noted.
  • Rotate your phone for best viewing.




Polaris Vac-Sweep
Polaris Vac-Sweep Pressure Side Pool Cleaner
Side PressureIn-ground Pool 4.4 stars
Dolphin Triton Plus
Maytronics Dolphin Triton Plus Robotic Pool Cleaner
RoboticIn-ground Pool4.4 stars
Dolphin Nautilus
Dolphin Nautilus Robotic Pool Cleaner with Swivel Cable
RoboticIn-ground Pool4.3 stars
Dolphin Premier
Dolphin Premier Robotic Inground Pool Cleaner
RoboticIn-ground Pool 4.3 stars
Polaris F9550 Sport
Polaris F9550 Sports Robotic Inground Pool Cleaner
RoboticIn-ground Pool 4.0 stars
Hayward Poolvergnuegen Automatic Suction Pool Cleaner
SuctionIn-ground Pool 4.2 stars
BARACUDA G3 Advanced Suction Side Automatic Pool Cleaner
SuctionIn-ground Pool 4.2 stars
Hayward AquaNaut
Hayward PHS21CST AquaNaut Suction Pool Cleaner
SuctionIn-ground Pool 4.0 stars
Kreepy Krauly
Xtremepower US Automatic Vacuum-generic KreepyKrauly Climb Wall Pool Cleaner
SuctionAbove-ground and in-ground Pool3.7 stars

Best Pool Cleaner Reviews

Best Robotic Pool Cleaner: Dolphin Triton Plus

Best Pool Cleaner Reviews


The Dolphin Triton Plus robotic pool cleaner is for in-ground pools of up to 50 feet in length.

It scrubs dirt and debris from your pool, vacuums them up and filters out everything from leaves to small algae. It has at angle-free swivel cable, a convenient top-access cartridge and a caddy for transport and storage.

Best Features

  1. Pool scanning software

The Dolphin Triton Plus uses IntelliScan Technology to scan your pool’s shape and dimensions. It then determines the most efficient route to take while also ensuring that every inch of your pool’s floor and walls are covered.

So whether you have the classic rectangular pool, a circular pool or an irregularly shaped pool, the Triton Plus will clean any of them quickly and efficiently.

  1. The dual drive motor and split brushes for optimal maneuverability

If you look at a video of a bulldozer or tank turning, you can see how it easily turns in place by slowing down or stopping one track. The Triton Plus robotic pool cleaner maneuvers in the same way.

When you turn it over, you’ll notice that the tracks are split.

Best Pool Cleaner

Each side of the tracks is powered by its motor. When the cleaner is moving about on your pool floor or wall, it can slow down or stop one side of the tracks to turn around.

This is great for making tight 90-degree corners and drastically improves maneuverability.

  1. Modular design

Maytronicsensured that the Triton Plus would not be a headache to maintain. Instead of complex components that are tightly fixed in place, this pool cleaner has a modular design that makes it easy to remove and replace parts.

If one part breaks down, it’s easy to get a new replacement to keep your pool cleaner going.

  1. Swivel cable

A 360-degree swivel design ensures the pool cleaner cable doesn’t get tangled in the water.

  1. Super-fine filtration

Best Pool Cleaner 2016

The Triton Plus has two types of filters. There is a mesh screen which captures the larger particles like leaves, twigs and small rocks. A pleated polyester fiber filter then captures the smallest bits including algae, fine dust, and bacteria.

Your pool’s filtration system doesn’t have to work as hard (so it lasts longer), and you use fewer chemicals.

An indicator light will tell you when the cartridge is full. Easily open it from the top to empty the collected debris.

  1. Remote control and weekly timer

Best Pool Cleaner

Using a remote control, you can guide the Triton Plus where you need it to clean. You can also set a quick clean mode (1 hour) or the ordinary mode (2.5 hours).

The Triton Plus also comes with a weekly scheduling feature. Set it to clean every day, every two days or every three days.


  • Includes caddy for transport and storage.
  • For inground pools of up to 50 feet in length.
  • Dual motor and split track system.
  • Customizable cleaning cycles.
  • Weekly timer.
  • Remote control.

Customer Feedback

Customers love this pool cleaner. They say it’s easy to use, cleans well and maintenance is a breeze.

The main complaint is that it sometimes gets stuck in the drain.


This is one of the best robotic pool cleaners of 2018. It’s hard to find a robotic cleaner that combines cool technology and ease of use in one unit. The Dolphin Triton Plus does it with ease.

If you are looking for a high quality inground robotic pool cleaner, this is our top recommendation.

Best In-Ground Pool Cleaner: Polaris F9550 Sport Robotic Pool Cleaner

Best Pool Cleaner

Polaris F9550 uses wheels instead of tracks and is equipped with a 4-wheel drive system. This allows it to move easily and quickly on any pool surface.

A pool scanning system allows it to achieve almost complete coverage while powerful vortex vacuum technology and oscillating brushes scrub and lift all kinds of debris from the pool.

Best Features

  1. 4-wheel drive system

Best Pool Cleaner

Most robotic pool cleaners use tracks to move. The Polaris F9550 has wheels which are powered by a 4-wheel drive system. Compared to tracks, wheels have better maneuverability. They don’t get stuck on drains and can move easily to different types of pool surfaces from tile to fiberglass.

  1. ActivMotion sensor technology

Best Pool Cleaner - Polaris F9550

The Polaris F9550 uses an integrated sensor to ‘see’ the pool. It can measure how big it is and recognize its shape. Whether your pool is freeform, rectangular, circular, bean-shaped or whatever another shape, the Polaris F9550 is up to the task.

  1. High-efficiency cleaning

The Polaris F9550 cleans your pool using three features.

  • Vortex Vacuum Technology

Powerful suction vacuums up dirt and debris from the water. The debris is collected in a top-access large-capacity canister. An indicator will light up when the canister is full.

Best Pool Cleaner

  • Rear water propulsion

This gives the pool cleaner improved maneuverability in tight corners and under the stairs.

  • Oscillating brushes and a solid-blade scrubbing brush

The Polaris F9550 uses oscillating brushes to agitate any debris stuck on the floor or walls of the pool. It also has a special solid-blade scrubbing brush to get the dirt off the tile line.

  1. Customized cleaning cycles and weekly timer

There are three cleaning cycles to choose from: a bottom-only cycle (1.5 hrs), a full cleaning cycle (2.5 hrs) and a waterline-only cycle with different time settings.

A 7-day schedule allows you to set the pool cleaner to clean on specific days of the week.


  • Remote control.
  • 4-wheel drive system.
  • Easy-lift system.
  • Pool scanning sensor and software.
  • Caddy for storage and transport.
  • Top-access filter canister.

Customer Feedback

The Polaris F9550 is a favorite among pool owners. They love how easy it is to use and how well it cleans. The cleaning cycles, weekly scheduling, and easy-lift system are especially popular.

The two common complaints are that the remote control can be a bit difficult to use (it tends to disconnect from the receiver) and that you still have to manually scrub a couple off of missed spots after the pool cleaner is done.


If you worried whether a robotic pool cleaner would handle your pool’s shape, get the Polaris 9550. It’s also great if you have a special pool surface such as fiberglass.

The wheeled mobility gives this pool cleaner an edge over tracked models. The 4WD system gives it extra power especially for wall climbing and moving over drains and other pool features.

Most Proven Robot Pool Cleaner: Dolphin Nautilus

This is a lightweight robotic pool cleaner designed for residential in-ground pools. It can clean pools of all shapes as long as they are within the 50ft length limit. It is ideal for all types of pool surfaces.

It can clean the floor, climb the walls and scrub the stairs and cove clean. But you may still have to manually scrub a few spots that it misses especially on the walls.

Best Pool Cleaner

It lacks a lot of the advanced features found in other pricier robots –remote control, pool scanning software, weekly timer, etc. – but it still cleans well. If you are looking for an affordable robotic inground pool cleaner, the Dolphin Nautilus is a good choice.

Best Features

  1. Swivel cable

A swivel cable prevents any messy tangles as the robotic cleaner moves about in the pool. You don’t have to waste your time to untangle the cleaner each time it gets stuck.

  1. Two filters

There are two filters included with the Dolphin Nautilus robotic pool cleaner: a course filter for large debris like leaves and twigs and a fine filter for smaller particles.

If your pool hasn’t been cleaned in some time and contains a lot of leaves, use the coarse filter first for an initial cleaning and then switch to the fine filter. The fine filter is also ideal for everyday maintenance cleaning.

  1. 3-hour cleaning cycle

The Dolphin Nautilus has only one cleaning cycle which runs for 3 hours. When the cycle ends, the pool cleaner will automatically turn itself off.

There is no weekly scheduling feature.


  • For inground pools with maximum 50ft in length.
  • Bottom-access filters.
  • 3-hour cleaning cycle.
  • Weight: 34.5lbs.
  • 60ft swivel cable.

Customer Feedback

Many customers say that it cleans better than they expected for its price. It climbs walls well enough and doesn’t get stuck on raised drains. The filters do an exceptionally good job of capturing almost everything from sand to worms to spring leaves.

The filters have bottom-access, so you have to turn the unit upside down to take them out for cleaning. This takes just a few seconds more than if they were top-access.

At 3 hours, the cleaning cycle is considerably longer than that of most pool cleaners. It also tends to miss some spots because it cleans randomly rather than with the help of scanning software.


Overall, this is a solid robotic pool cleaner for half what you’d spend on a more advanced model. If you just want to clean your pool and don’t care much for extra features, get the Dolphin Nautilus Plus.

Most Advanced Pool Cleaner: Dolphin Premier Robotic Pool Cleaner

Best Pool Cleaner

The Dolphin premier inground pool cleaner is full of advanced features including multimedia filtration, specialized tracks, and pool scanning algorithms.

If you have a more generous budget, we recommend this model.

  1. 4 media

The Dolphin Premier has a multimedia filtration system. You can use different types of media depending on the condition of your pool.

  • Micro-cartridges for fine debris.
  • Standard cartridges for larger debris like sand and small rocks.
  • Oversized debris bag for leaves and twigs.
  • Disposabledebris bags if you don’t want to keep cleaning the filter bag.
  1. Swivel cable

 Dolphin Premier Best Pool Cleaner

A 360-degree swivel cable turns with every turn the robotic cleaner makes. This prevents tangling which could shorten the reach of the cleaner or even get it stuck.

  1. Pool scanning

Best Pool Cleaner

The microprocessor-controlled SmartNav™ software scans the pool and guides the cleaner along the most optimal path. This not only saves time and energy, but it also ensures there are no missed spots.

The software can even detect drains and ladders and avoid getting stuck on them.

  1. Energy efficient

This is one of the most energy-efficient robotic pool cleaners thanks to its efficient DC motors. Compared to pressure side and suction pool cleaners, the Dolphin Premier uses up to 87% less power.

  1. Dual scrubbing brushes

Best Pool Cleaner

Dual scrubbing brushes clean on the pool floor, scrub the walls and reach into tight corners to get rid of any stubborn dirt and algae.

  1. HyperGrip tracks

The Premier moves around on specialized rubber tracks that grip the pool surface strongly. This allows it to move quickly and reduces energy wastage because of slippage.

With help from the scanning software, the HyperGrip tracks roll seamlessly over raised drains and other features without getting stuck.


  • Made for residential in-ground pools of any shape.
  • Remote control (sold separately)
  • Caddy for transport and storage (sold separately)
  • Four filtration media.
  • 360-degree 60-foot swivel cable.
  • 2.5 hours cycle.
  • Dry weight: 22lbs
  • Warranty: 3 yrs.

Customer Feedback

  • Here are some tips from customers who’ve bought this pool cleaner.
  • Get this pool cleaner is you can afford it. It’s worth the higher price tag.  The list price is around $1,500, although you can get it for much less on
  • You don’t need the remote control or the caddy. This will save you $220.


Best Pool Cleaner

If you are looking for a top-rated in-ground robotic pool cleaner with the latest features, awesome wall-cleaning ability and advanced navigation, then definitely consider buying a Dolphin Premier.

Best Pool Suction Cleaner: Polaris Vac-Sweep

Polaris Vac-Sweep Best Pool Cleaner

The Polaris 380 is the go-to suction pool cleaner for most pool owners. It’s popular because of how well it cleans, how easy it is to use and the low price tag.

If you are looking for a great reliable pool cleaner, you can’t go wrong with the Polaris 380.

Here are its best features.

Note: The Polaris 380 requires a booster pump which is sold separately.

Best Features

  1. Good maneuverability

Polaris Vac-Sweep Best Pool Cleaner

The Polaris 380 is designed for use in in-ground pools of any shape and size. It can clean the bottom and walls of your pool. It easily tackles drains and stairs without getting stuck.

  1. Oversized filter bag

Best Pool Cleaner

The large sized filter bag collects all kinds of debris from your pool including sand, leaves, twigs, dead insects and small rocks. You just need to run it for a few hours every day to keep your pool clean.

It leaves your pool sparkling clean and reduces the load on the pool’s filtration system.This extends the life of your pool filter.

  1. Triple jets

Best Pool Cleaner

The Polaris 380 is powered by three jets (unlike the two jets of the Polaris 280), which gives it more power. It cleans the pool quicker compared to the 280 and can tackle stairs and drains with ease.


  • For inground pools of any shape and size.
  • Requires separate booster pump.
  • Weight: 16.4 lbs.
  • Average cleaning time: 3 hours.
  • The 31-foot hose which can be cut to a custom length.
  • All-wheel belt drive system.
  • Ideal for all pool surfaces.

Customer Feedback

With 81% positive feedback on Amazon, the Polaris 380 is one of the highest rated pool cleaners. Customers love how thoroughly it cleans their pool and how easy it is to set up.

The main complaint from users is that the wheels tend to lock up occasionally. You then have to take it out of the water to get it going again.


The Polaris 380 is a highly popular choice for good reasons.

Pool owners love its performance and the fact that it has almost no setup and maintenance headaches.

If you want to keep your pool clean without much hassle, this is a great buy.

BARACUDA G3 Advanced Suction Side Pool Cleaner

Best Rated Pool Cleaner

The Baracuda G3 is an in-ground suction pool cleaner designed to work with low-speed pumps to remove small and medium-sized debris. It can remove sand, small pebbles, leaves, algae, and twigs.

With just a single moving part, the G3 is easy to set up and maintain.

It comes in three versions. You can get the basic one with just the fin disc. For an extra $20 or so, you can get one with an additional scrub disk. And for a few more bucks, you can buy it with an extra replacement fin disk.

Best Features

  1. Ideal for low-power pumps

Best Suction Pool Cleaner 2016

Most skimmers require the pool pump to have a minimum power rating, usually 3/4 hp. The Baracuda G3 can work with all kinds of pool pumps, even the low-powered ones.

It uses a FlowKeeper valve to regulate water flow, and this creates the right amount of pressure to steer the cleaner and suck debris through the hose. The valve allows the G3 cleaner to work quickly and efficiently even when connected to a low horsepower pump.

  1. Easy maneuverability in tight spots

The G3 is fitted with an extra-large 36-inch fin disc. The large surface area creates stronger adhesion with the pool floor and walls. This allows the cleaner to move smoothly all over the pool surface without getting stuck in the drains and any other fittings inside the pool.

Also, it has a wheel deflector which comes in handy when the cleaner is navigating around tight corners.

  1. Simple easy-maintenance design

Best Suction Pool Cleaner 2016

If you look at most suction side pool cleaners, they look a lot of like robotic pool cleaners. They are big and have wheels.

The G3 has only one moving part. There are no wheels, gears or flappers.

The main advantage of this is ease of maintenance. It’s easy to troubleshoot when there is a problem, and if something breaks, replacement is not an issue.

With fewer moving parts it also means the pool cleaner will have more uptime, so your pool stays clean all the time.

  1. Simple 2-step installation

Installing the G3 pool cleaner takes just a couple of minutes.

Start with the pool end of the cleaner and attach the disc, wheel deflector and hose. Then connect the hose to your skimmer or a dedicated suction line if your pool has one.That’s all.

Leave the cleaner in the pool for a few hours (around 5-6) to get the best results.


  • For inground pools of any shape and size.
  • Weight: 19lbs.
  • Self-adjusting control valve for maximum performance.
  • Cleans small and medium-sized debris.
  • 39ft feed hose.

Customer Feedback

The G3 has over 1,500 reviews on Amazon with 79% positive feedback. In other words, most customers like it.

What surprised most users is how thoroughly it cleans. Within just a few hours, even a really dirty pool is sparkling clean.

The only sorta downside is that you have to do a bit of cleaning first if you have very large debris like large twigs and acorns. The G3 only handles small and medium-sized debris.


Suction side cleaners are a cheap, efficient way to keep your pool clean. The Baracuda G3 is one of the best. It’s easy to install (no tools required), cleans like a champ and maintenance is a breeze.

Poolvergnuegen Automatic Suction Pool Cleaner

Best Suction Pool Cleaner

The PoolCleaner comes in 2-wheel and 4-wheel versions ($30-$50 price difference). The two-wheel cleaner is designed for smaller pools of up to 16 by 32 ft while the 4-wheel version can be used in large pools measuring up to 20 by 40 ft.

They both require a minimum pump size of 1/2 horsepower or 35 gpm (gallons per minute).

Best Features

  1. Efficient navigation for full coverage

The wheels on The Pool Cleaner are fitted with strong-grip treads that hold strongly onto the pool surface. The patented treads allow the cleaner to navigate the pool floor and climb the walls effortlessly. They also prevent it from getting stuck on pool fittings such as raised drains and lights.

Best Suction Pool Cleaner

It is pre-programmed with internal settings that steer the wheels in a different direction automatically after every 8-10 feet.

So instead of moving randomly like most other suction pool cleaners, The Pool Cleaner moves in a series of sequences to ensure full coverage.

  1. Excellent cleaning performance

Even with a small 1/2hp pool pump size, The Pool Cleaner will still perform at maximum capacity if it were connected to a 2hp pump. This is thanks to the self-adjusting turbine vanes that adjust water flow.

The self-adjusting mechanism also allows large debris to pass through easily.

When the pool cleaner encounters an uneven surface, it has adjustable roller skirts ensure that suction power does not let up. When the wheels reach an uneven surface like a raised drain, the skirt will lift up to maintain optimal suction power.

  1. Variable throat sizes

Best Suction Pool Cleaner

One of the things I like most about this pool cleaner is that it can handle all sorts of debris, not just the small ones.

The cleaner comes with three interchangeable throats to cater for different debris sizes. Use the largest one if your pool is full of leaves and other large bits. The medium one is great for weekly cleans while the smaller one is ideal when you just need to clean up small debris.


  • For inground pools of all shapes.
  • Cleans floor, wall, and coves.
  • Ideal for fiberglass, vinyl, pebble, gunite, and tile pool surfaces.
  • Hose length: 33ft for the 2-wheel, 40ft for the 4-wheel.
  • Weight: 4.9lbs for the 2-wheel, 6.6lbs for the 4-wheel.

Customer Feedback

With over a 1,000 customer reviews and 79% positive feedback, The Pool Cleaner is a favorite.

Customers say it doesn’t leave even a single speck of debris behind. From large twigs to algae, it picks up everything with ease. Many love its reliability. One customer has had it for eight years without a major breakdown and spending only a few bucks on replacement parts.

If you live in a warm area where pools are open all year round and hence need daily cleaning, get this suction cleaner.

The only downside is that it doesn’t work well in pools with low flow pumps. If the flow rate is less than 35gpm, it’s going to be very sluggish.


This is hands down one of the best suction side pool cleaners. It leaves your pool spotlessly clean while demanding very little in maintenance costs.

Make sure you pick the right version for your pool. If your pool is more than 32 feet long and 16 feet wide, you’ll need the 4-wheel version. It’s more powerful and can drag a longer hose.

Hayward AquaNaut Suction Pool Cleaner

The Hayward AquaNautsuction pool cleaner is very similar to ‘The Pool Cleaner’ above (both are Hayward models). It comes in two versions, a 2-wheel one, and 4-wheel one, and has many similar features.

Best Suction Pool Cleaner

But based on customer feedback, The PoolCleanerseems to be the better option. It’s more reliable and cleans better. It’s also cheaper.

If you still want the AquaNaut, here are it’s best features.

Best Features

  1. Self-adjusting vanes

Self-adjusting vanes help to boost suction when there is low flow. This allows you to use the cleaner with any pool pump size (minimum 1/2hp) without affecting cleaning performance.

  1. Adjustable roller skirts

Best Auto Pool Cleaner

The roller skirts can adjust when the cleaner moves over pool features. This allows maintaining full suction even when moving over a raised drain.

  1. Strong-grip tire treads

Patented tire treads provide a strong grip on the pool surface. This is especially helpful when the cleaner is going up the walls.

  1. Interchangeable throats

The cleaner comes with three interchangeable throats of different sizes. Use each throat depending on how dirty your pool is and what kind of debris is in the water. The small throat is useful for dust, sand, and algae while the largest one is best for leaves, twigs and other large debris.

  1. Internal drive sequences

Best Auto Pool Cleaner

Rather than just moving randomly about the pool, the AquaNautis pre-programmed with precise steering sequences that change its direction automatically every few feet. This provides better coverage.


  • For inground pools of all shapes.
  • Cleans floor, wall, and coves.
  • Ideal for fiberglass, vinyl, pebble, gunite, and tile pool surfaces.
  • Hose length: 33ft for the 2-wheel, 40ft for the 4-wheel.
  • Minimum pump size: 1/2hp or 35gpm.

Customer Feedback

Feedback for the AquaNaut is more negative compared to that of The Pool Cleaner. It doesn’t clean as well especially if your pool has large debris. It is also not as good in climbing walls. It’ll either fail to climb at all or just go halfway up.

Several customers also complained about frequent breakdowns.


If you are looking for a good suction cleaner, this is a decent choice, but I would recommend‘The PoolCleaner’ also from Hayward. It has more positive feedback and is overall a better suction cleaner than the AquaNaut.

Kreepy Krauly Pool Cleaner

Best Pool Vacuum Cleaner

If you have a pool, the chances are that you’ve heard of the Kreepy Krauly. It one of the least expensive suction side pool cleaners you can buy.

It requires a bit of work and experience to get it working properly, but once it’s ready, it cleans well.

It’s designed to pick up dirt, sand, algae and other small and medium-sized debris. It does not pick up leaves.

Another thing to note is that your pool pump must be at least 1hp to use with the KreepyKrauly.

Best Features

  1. Custom hose lengths

Best Pool Vacuum Cleaner

It is important to get the length of the hose right. Too long and the hose tangles into a mess, too short and the cleaner is going to miss some spots.

The KreepyKrauly comes with adjustable hose lengths. There are ten hoses in total. You can take off or add a hose to get the best length for your pool.

  1. Removable flapper

Best Pool Vacuum Cleaner

A removable flapper makes cleaning and maintenance easy. You just need to open a single screw to remove the flapper and check for any lodged debris.

Clearing away debris from the flapper before a clean ensures the highest water flow.

  1. Easy installation

Best Pool Vacuum Cleaner
You just need to connect the cleaner to a dedicated suction line or skimmer. Adjust the hose lengths as you see fit, the weights and valve and the eyeball diverter.


  • For above ground and inground pools.
  • 30ft maximum hose length
  • Weight: 12lbs
  • Minimum pump size: 1hp

How to Choose the Best Pool Cleaner For Your Pool

To find the best pool cleaner for your pool, ask yourself these five questions.

What Type of Debris Do You Struggle With?

If you mostly struggle with medium size debris – think small leaves, dead insects, small rocks, etc. – a good quality suction side cleaner will do. If you get a really good one like Hayward’s The PoolCleaner, it can even pick some of the small and large debris.

If your pool is surrounded by trees and is often strewn with leaves, twigs, and acorns, a pressure side cleaner is best. It will easily pick up medium and large debris. Some have filters capable of picking smaller particles like sand.

If your pool has all sorts of debris from algae and fine sediment to large leaves and insects, get a robotic pool cleaner. These hardworking pool cleaners can handle all kinds of pool dirt. Some like the new Dolphin Premier come with interchangeable filters which you can use depending on what kind of debris is in your pool.

What is Your Pool Type?

Best Pool Vacuum Cleaner

If you have an inground pool, you can use any pool cleaner. But robotic cleaners are especially ideal because they can pick all sorts of debris and easily climb walls.

If you have an above ground pool, look for automatic cleaners specifically made for above ground pools. There are plenty of suction, pressure and robotic cleaners designed to be used with these types of swimming pools.

Do You Have a High or Low-Pressure Pump?

Check the pressure requirements of a suction or pressure side cleaner before you buy it. If you have a low-pressure pool pump (1/2-3/4 hp), there are models designed to work in such conditions.

Note that you can also get a booster pump to supplement the pressure from your main pump.

Or just get a robotic pool cleaner. Since it is self-contained – it has its motor and filter –it doesn’t matter what pressure your pool pump has.

How Much Does An Automatic Pool Cleaner Cost?

Suction side pool cleaners are the best option if you are on a tight budget. They start at $100, and the most expensive ones are around $400.

Pressure side cleaners are in the mid-range, costing somewhere between $200 and $900.

Robotic pool cleaners are the most expensive. Most start at $500 while the top-rated ones can go as high as $1,300.

How Much Time Do You Want to Commit?

If you have a very busy schedule, I recommend a robotic pool cleaner. It takes just a couple of seconds to set up. Once you plug it in, just drop it into the water, and it gets to work cleaning.

Some models come with auto-scheduling. You can set it to clean the pool at regular intervals automatically even when you are not at home.

In contrast, pressure and suction side cleaners need a bit more time to setup and can’t clean automatically.

What Types of Automatic Pool Cleaners Are There?

There are three types of automatic pool cleaners.

Pressure Pool Cleaners

Best Pool Vacuum Cleaner

These pool cleaners attach to the pressure or return side of your pool system. They use the pressure of the water coming back into the pool to move.

To use a pressure pool cleaner, you attach it to your pool’s return line. The water coming into the pool goes through the pool cleaner and is emitted by jets underneath the unit. The pressure from these jets of water moves the pool cleaner along while also agitating any debris stuck on the pool surface.

If the pool cleaner has an integrated filter bag, it will collect most of the debris in the water. But smaller particles may pass through and get handled by the pool’s filtration system.

Cheaper pressure pool cleaners, especially for above ground pools, completely rely on the pool’s filter to catch the stirred-up debris and particles.

Suction Pool Cleaners

These pool cleaners are attached to the suction side of your pool. This is the outlet where pool water flows out of the pool for filtration. They use the suction pressure from the pump to move around the pool as they clean.

Others clean just the floor and cove while others can climb the walls. You’ll find others with wheels while some have a rubber disk that sticks to the pool surface.

Robotic Pool Cleaners

Best Pool Vacuum Cleaner

These are the most advanced automatic pool cleaners. They do not rely on your pool’s pump to move nor do they need its filtration system.

A robotic pool cleaner consists of a motor that drives wheels or tracks, a filter cartridge to collect debris and a cable connecting it to a power source.

Unlike suction and pressure cleaners that use pressure for movement, robotic cleaners need electricity. They are low voltage and very well insulated to prevent short-circuiting or a shock. Most are connected to a GFCI (ground-fault circuit interrupter) outlet which instantly cuts off power if it detects an electrical problem.

The most basic robotic cleaners will move around the pool randomly for 2-3 hours. They use brushes attached on the underside to scrub debris off the pool surface. An integrated vacuum then pulls the water through filters to collect the debris.

More advanced robotic cleaners have an intelligent scanning system. They can detect the size and shape of the pool and therefore determine the most efficient cleaning path. They can also tell where they have cleaned so do not waste time passing over the same areas again.

What Type of Pool Cleaner Should You Use?

Use a suction side pool cleaner if:

  • You are on a tight budget.
  • You mostly struggle with medium size debris.
  • You want something that’s easy to maintain.

Use a pressure side pool cleaner if:

  • You don’t want to buy a $1,000 robotic pool cleaner.
  • You mostly struggle with medium and large size debris.
  • You want your pool filter to last longer.

Use a robotic pool cleaner if:

  • You want something that will easily handle all kinds of debris.
  • You want a cleaner that will clean even when you are not home.
  • You have a non-standard or freeform pool shape.
  • You want to save on utility bills.

What Are The Benefits of Using An Automatic Pool Cleaner?

Cleaner Water

An automatic pool cleaner will do a better job than you would with a manual vacuum and brush. Since you leave it in the water for 3 hours or more, it has plenty of time to clean every inch of the pool surface.

Automatic pool cleaners are especially helpful if your pool tends to get dirty. If it is a suction or pressure cleaner, just leave it overnight, and by morning, your pool will be crystal clear. If it is a robotic cleaner, 1 or 2 cycles should be enough to get all the dirt and algae out.

More Time for You

Scrubbing and vacuuming the pool yourself takes anywhere from 30mins to 3 hours depending on how dirty it is. If it has gone a whole season without use, you might have to clean it repeatedly for several days before it’s good enough to swim in.

You could hire a pool guy, but those are unnecessary costs for something that a machine can do ten times better.

An automatic cleaner needs just 3 hours to get your water sparkling again.

You just need to set it up and then remove it when it’s done. You’ll have more time to do whatever you want. With some robotic cleaners, you can set an automatic weekly schedule where it cleans daily, every other day or twice a week.

Extends The Life Of Your Pool

There is no doubt that a cleaner pool will last longer. Too much buildup of algae, sediment and debris, can damage your pool.

But if you want your pool to last even longer with minimal repair issues, get a pressure side or robotic pool cleaner.

These pool cleaners collect most of the debris in the pool rather than directing it towards your pool’s filtration system. This reduces the burden on your pool’s filter and pump, ensuring they last longer.

Saves Energy

With a cleaner pool, you don’t have to run the pool pump as often.

Normally, you have to run the pool pump for 4-8 hours daily. You could instead use an automatic cleaner for 2-3 hours and only run the pump every other day.

What Else Do I Need To Buy?

When buying an automatic pool pump, check whether there are any extra accessories you need. Some pressure side cleaners need a booster pump to increase the water pressure.

You may also need to buy extra filter bags to collect the debris.


If you are still cleaning the pool manually or relying on an expensive pool cleaning service, it’s time to get an automatic pool cleaner.

I know how frustrating and tedious it can be to maintain a pool especially if you live in warm areas where the pool is open all year round. It’s even worse if there are trees near the pool.

Save yourself the frustrations and the money you spend on a pool cleaning service and buy an automatic pool cleaner. The only person who’ll regret it is your pool boy.

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