Published on January 3rd, 2018 | by Roger Corbinetti4
The 4 Best New Robotic Pool Cleaners of 2018 (In-Depth Reviews)
These are the best NEW robotic pool cleaners on the market right now according to our independent research & reviews:
Click on a link above or keep reading this page to learn about each of these outstanding units.
Below, we discuss each pool cleaner’s unique features, pros, cons and common owner complaints.
Ready to dive in?
For many years, Maytronics has been on the leading edge of robotic pool cleaner innovation.
Its most iconic line of automatic pool cleaners is the Dolphin Series.
Dolphin systems have proven themselves to be the best at what they do, bringing unparalleled efficiency and cleaning quality to pool owners. This is why they are the best-selling robotic pool cleaners ever made.
The latest in the Dolphin series is the Dolphin Premier.
The new Premier is described by many as “the best Dolphin robotic pool cleaner ever made”.
A quick look at its many features and broad cleaning capability shows why the Dolphin Premier really is in a class of its own.
The price tag is on the higher end (about $1200), but the difference it will make to your pool should be worth it.
1. High energy efficiency
The Dolphin Premier is one of the most energy efficient robotic pool cleaner in the market. According to the manufacturers, the cleaner reduces your energy usage by up to 87 percent. High performances does not have to mean high energy usage. The Dolphin Premier is adequate proof of that.
The pool cleaner uses an advanced 24 Volt DC motor, which is super efficient as well as high performing.
The engineers at Maytronics have designed a robotic cleaner that goes beyond customers’ expectations while at the same time saving them money.
2. Multi-media filtration system
High energy efficiency is not the only way that the 2016 Dolphin Premier stands out. Unlike any other robotic pool cleaner, the Dolphin Premier offers four different kinds of cleaning and filtration media to suit different situations.
The four types of media are: micro-cartridges, standard size cartridges, an oversize debris bag and disposable debris bags.
Regardless of the size or nature of your cleaning challenge – algae, twigs or sand – the Dolphin Premiere can handle it.
For example, when cleaning algae and other very small particles, you use the micro-cartridges. They have an ultra fine filter that easily captures the smallest of particles.
For bigger particles, the standard cartridges work fine.
If your pool has a lot of leaves and twigs in it, then the oversized debris bag is the way to go. It can hold a lot of debris before you need to empty it.
At first glance, it might come seem tedious to keep changing from one media to another.
Except that changing a filter only takes a few seconds. And, using the right media for the right job ensures a thorough cleaning.
Most other cleaners make tradeoffs here, resulting in less-than-satisfactory results – that you cannot change!
Customers are reporting far better results than with other pool cleaners.
3. HyperGrip rubber tracks
Most robotic pool cleaners are equipped with wheels.
Though wheels might work fine on the pool floor, they lose their traction on walls. So, the walls don’t get cleaned as well.
The Dolphin Premier ditches the wheels, using strong-grip rubber tracks instead. These tracks grip the walls with surprising strength, giving them unprecedented vertical agility.
4. SmartNav intelligent Scanning
The Dolphin Premier is equipped with advanced microprocessor that helps it clean the pool efficiently and in the shortest time possible.
When dropped in the pool, the Dolphin scans it, determining the best navigation strategy, ensuring that every inch is passed over.
5. Proprietary anti-tangle swivel
The cable swivel uses a patented design that ensures the cable can twist and turn without any tangling taking place. This helps the system move underwater with no problem.
6. Convenient modular design
The Dolphin is exceptionally easy to repair, as it consists of only 5 modular parts. This lets one part to be quickly replaced if it breaks down, instead of having to replace or repair the entire system.
• Scrubbers to help agitate stubborn dirt along the walls, floor, waterline and coves.
• A water mixing rate of 75 gallons per minute.
• Uses 24 Volts DC motors.
• Has an air sensor to improve water line cleaning.
• Automatic timer allows for daily cleaning. You can also set it to clean 2 or 3 times a week.
• LED indicator showing when media is full.
• Simple plug-and-play operation.
See It In Use
Dolphin Premier is a relatively new product.
The first customers are really excited about their purchase. One customer was particularly thankful for the different media options and the ease of changing from one to the other.
The only issue customers have is the relatively high price.
But considering the many features and benefits of the Dolphin Premier, it’s probably money well spent.
The Dolphin Premier is the platinum choice of robotic pool cleaners, today.
It goes a mile further than any other robotic pool cleaner in terms of performance, technology, advanced features and energy efficiency.
The Oasis Z5 is another great new product from Maytronics.
The Dolphin Oasis Z5 retains the high performance and advanced technology the Dolphin series is known for. The Z5 is designed for use with in-ground pools of 50 feet maximum length.
It comes with a range of features to make cleaning easy to live with, including a remote control and a caddy.
The Oasis Z5 is a bit different from the extremely popular Dolphin series, with several feature differences in the two models.
1. Top access filter cartridges
Many robotic cleaners have their cartridge openings at the bottom. This makes it hard to empty the accumulated debris. With Oasis Z5’s top access filter cartridges, cleaning out the collected debris is fast and easy.
Simply take the unit out of the water and open the top cover. Remove the filters and use a hose to clean them out. No need to turn the unit upside down to remove the filter cartridges.
2. Fine and coarse filters
The Dolphin Oasis Z5 comes with two types of filters to help handle different situations.
The ultra fine filter is ideal for capturing very small bits and particles such as sand and algae. Use the ultra fine filter if you clean your pool regularly.
But if your pool has gone sometime without any cleaning, the coarse filter is best. It will capture the twigs and leaves that have accumulated in the pool.
After two cycles or so, you can perform another clean using the fine filter to get any small bits that have been missed by the coarse filter.
Switching from one filter to another is a breeze. No complex methods or tools needed.
3. Dual motor power
One of the most unique features of the Oasis Z5 is the dual motor power.
It is standard for robotic pool cleaners to feature only one motor.
The Oasis Z5 takes performance a notch higher by having two. One motor is dedicated to powering the unit’s propulsion system. The second motor powers the filtration system. This helps in creating strong, dedicated suction.
By having propulsion and filtration powered separately, the Oasis Z5 is able to achieve a much higher performance than most robotic pool cleaners.
4. Guided navigation
The Dolphin Oasis Z5 is capable of navigating the pool on its own.
It comes with intelligent scanning (CleverClean) to help achieve efficient navigation and quick cleaning time for in-ground pools of all shapes. As an added bonus, the unit also comes with a remote for guided navigation.
If you want the cleaner to focus on a specific section or take a certain path through the pool, the remote can be used to navigate it to that point.
• Includes a caddy cart
• Adjustable cleaning cycle of 1.5 to 2.5 hours
• 60 ft swivel cable
• Split brush for a more effective scrubbing
Customer feedback for the Oasis Z5 is generally positive with most verified owners giving it five stars. Overall, the Oasis Z5 cleaner currently has a 4.2/5 rating from a few dozen customer reviews on Amazon.
One Amazon customer claims the cleaner gets 99 percent of the dirt. The only problem is in one hidden corner, where he can easily steer the unit to clean using the remote control.
This inability to thoroughly clean corners is common with other users. But the remote control solves that rather easily.
See It In Action!
Maytronics makes the best robotic pool cleaners in the business, and the Oasis Z5 is another great machine.
It cleans well and is extremely easy to use. If you are looking for a proper high-end robotic pool cleaner that will give solid value for your money, it’s a good choice.
The Polaris P955 is the same unit as the popular Polaris 9550, except that it now comes in white, too.
I think it looks a lot better than the typical blue.
The P955/9550 is one of the most expensive robotic pool cleaners in the market, so there is a lot to expect from this top-of-the-line four-wheel drive unit. And it does not disappoint.
The P955/9550 is decked out with several features that make it one of the most thorough cleaning units on the market. It never gets stuck in corners, and can pick up every kind of debris reliably.
From the revolutionary 4WD system to the 7-day programmable timer, the Polaris P955/9550 is a seriously powerful and flexible cleaning device.
1. Four wheel drive
The four-wheel drive feature gives the P955 and extra boost when it comes to navigating the floor of the pool. It is especially important when it comes to time to scrub the walls. The cleaner has an easy time with vertical navigation.
2. 7 day programmable timer
This is one of the unique features of the Polaris P955. The automatic timer allows you to set a variety of schedules within a 7-day period.
If your pool gets dirty often, then set the P955 to automatically clean the pool every day. You can also set the timer for every other day.
This feature allows users to relax and let the P955 clean as often as they wish. You never have to worry that your pool is not clean enough in time for a party, etc.
You can choose different cycles for cleaning specific areas of the pool, as well. There is one for the waterline, for the bottom only and another for the bottom and sides. You can also select the pool shape (rectangular or freeform) for better cleaning.
3. Pleated scrubbing brush
Sometimes it can be hard for robotic cleaners to completely clean corners, the waterline and other sections with stubborn dirt. P955’s pleated brush helps to scrub the dirt off the walls and floor for it to be filtered off.
4. Easy Clean Filter Canister
The filter canister is easy to access and clean. Just remove it, give it a shake and then spray it with water to get the debris off. You can easily tell when the cartridge is full using the LED light indicator.
5. Zodiac’s Vortex Vacuum Technology
The P955 robotic pool cleaner has a suction system that uses Zodiac Vortex Vacuum Technology. This technology give the cleaner 25 percent more vacuum power and 4 times the debris capacity of most other robotic cleaners.
Vortex Vacuum Technology allows for drastically increased performance and therefore, better and faster cleaning.
6. Motion sensing remote
To give you more control over the cleaning, the Polaris P955 comes with a motion sensing remote.
Using this remote you can give the cleaning unit a more specific path to follow. This comes in handy when there are corners the cleaner cannot reach.
• Convenient caddy that helps in moving and transporting the cleaner and the power unit.
• ActivMotion Sensor to control robots position and movement in the pool, thus allowing complete coverage.
• Handles pools up to 60 feet.
• Convenient lift system that tells the robotic cleaning unit to climb to the top of the pool for you to lift it out.
Currently, the P955 has a stellar rating from verified owners on Amazon.
Customer feedback is very positive with customers claiming that the product far exceeds expectations in terms of cleaning ability and performance.
Some customers have noted that the remote sometimes lags when communicating with the underwater unit.
See It In Action!
The Polaris P955 is a powerful, flexible robotic pool cleaner that lives up to its claims.
Despite its somewhat high price tag, its cleaning performance is nothing short of spectacular.
The Aquabot X4, in terms of price and value, falls between high-end luxury robotic cleaner models that cost over $1,000 and average models costing $300-$600.
While it may lack the features and performance levels of robotic pool cleaners like the Dolphin Premier, it provides superb value for its price. It is one of the best cleaning units you can buy today.
The Aquabot X4 is designed for use with both above ground and in-ground pools of 60 feet maximum length.
1. High performance motors
One of the reasons behind the X4’s cleaning performance are the powerful motors driving the pump, which can filter a super-high 85 gallons per minute.
The high performing motors ensure that your pool is cleaner for longer, hence no need to use aggressive chemicals.
2. Ultra filtration
Filtration is one of the areas where the Aquabot X4 really shows its strength. The filters are 2 microns, so even the smallest particles are not left in the pool. Even algae and bacteria are filtered-out, in addition to larger debris like leaves and twigs.
The unit comes with two baskets that collectively hold 190 cubic inches of debris. The larger capacity means you do not have to change the baskets as often.
When the basket is full, you are alerted via the control panel. Lifting it out and cleaning is a breeze.
3. Rotating micro-brushes
The toughest debris in a pool is stuck on the walls and bottom, with only a little of it floating in the water. The Aquabot X4 has advanced rotating micro brushes to clean every surface.
4. Anti-tangle swivel
The extra long 60 feet floating cable is connected to a 360 degrees rotating swivel. This makes sure the cable never gets tangled during cleaning.
5. Four wheel drive
The powerful 4WD system gives the non-marring wheels an extra boost when in action. The strong-grip wheels handle pools of any shape and easily travel along the pool wall for a thorough clean.
6. Programmable timer
The Aquabot X4 makes your work even easier by letting you program when it will run automatically, whether you are around or not.
You can set the unit to clean every 2, 3 or 4 days. For more control on the timing, there is the option of connecting an external timer.
Additionally, you can set the length of the cleaning cycles to last1 hour, 1.5 hours or 2 hours.
- Cleans all pool shapes (in-ground and above ground) with 60 feet maximum length.
- Top filter access
- Clear view filter baskets.
- Cleans 450 square feet per hour.
- AutoXTM Pool Mapping for efficient cleaning regardless of pool shape.
The Aquabot X4 also gets high praise from its owners.
Many verified owners on Amazon say it is the best robotic pool cleaner they have ever used, with excellent cleaning efficiency. Some say it outdoes more expensive models in terms of performance.
Currently, it has a very high rating on Amazon.
There are no consistent complaints from customers, so far.
The Aquabot X4 is a great robotic pool cleaner for the money.
For significantly less than $1,000, the unit’s cleaning performance and timing options are in the same class as other models costing north of $1,500.
If you are looking for a mid-priced robot cleaner that cleans well, keeps it simple and sticks to any surface, this is the one.
Dolphin Sigma is one of the newest releases by Maytronics. It joins an already impressive lineup of Dolphin pool cleaners but still manages to stand out with its cleaning performance and features.
While pricey, the Sigma’s excellent cleaning ability is worth it.
It comes with several advanced features including a gyro-based navigation system, a smart scanning and mapping system, strong-grip independent tracks and triple motors.
If you are looking for a high-performance robotic pool cleaner for your in-ground pool, the Dolphin Sigma is the best choice.
1. SmartNav™ 3.0 and Gyroscope Navigation
The SmartNav scanning and mapping system has been used in several Dolphin pool cleaners before. In the Dolphin Sigma, Maytronics used an upgraded version that has better scanning smarts.
The sigma automatically maps out your pool’s shape and size and can calculate the most efficient cleaning path.
Also, Maytronics added Gyroscope sensors to improve the robot’s locational awareness. It can tell which direction it’s going, how fast it is going and whether it’s climbing the wall or crawling along the floor.
All this improves the robot’s navigation for faster, better and more efficient cleaning.
2. Triple Motors
This is one of the unique features of the Dolphin Sigma.
Most robotic pool cleaners contain just one motor. A few others use two. But Sigma is the only pool cleaner with three motors.
The high-efficiency motors provide powerful propulsion, ensuring the robot never gets stuck on any obstacle and can scale the wall with ease. They also provide powerful suction power which improves its cleaning ability.
3. Independent HyperGripTM Tracks
Like most premium robotic pool cleaners, the Dolphin Sigma uses rubber tracks instead of wheels. They provide better traction and can roll over most kinds of obstacles.
What’s unique about Sigma’s tracks is that they operate independently. So when the robot wants to turn – a surprisingly difficult maneuver for most robotic pool cleaners – it simply moves the tracks in opposite directions.
The tight turning ability allows it to change direction on the dime and navigate more easily around tight spots.
4. Two Scrubbing Brushes and Two Filters With Dual Cartridges
The Dolphin Sigma is a robot of twos: two active scrubbing brushes to get rid of stubborn dirt and algae, two filters to capture large and fine debris and two cartridges that can hold plenty of debris.
The cartridges have a top-access design. It takes about 1-2 minutes to remove them, empty the debris, hose them down and slide them back into the pool cleaner.
5. Bluetooth Control and Weekly Timer
Another unique feature of the Dolphin Sigma is the Bluetooth connectivity. You can connect your phone to the robot and then use the companion app as a remote control.
The app also allows you to set a weekly timer for daily cleaning, 2X/week cleaning or 3X/week cleaning.
- For in-ground pools of up to 60ft in length.
- Dual filters and cartridges.
- Independent HyperGrip tracks.
- Automatic pool mapping and scanning.
- Dual active brushes.
- Triple high-efficiency DC motors.
Most customers say the Dolphin Sigma is worth the high price tag. It cleans better than any other robotic pool cleaner they have ever owned. Many say it collects more debris that they thought was in their pool.
They also say it’s very easy to use especially with the top-loading filters and the use of cartridges (rather than bags).
The Dolphin Sigma is easily one of the best robotic pool cleaners in this list. It’s not cheap, but it’s worth it.
If you are looking for a deep-cleaning robotic pool cleaner that will keep your pool super clean and healthy for your family, I highly recommend this one.
Features to Look For When Buying a Robotic Pool Cleaner
Here are the most important features you should take into account when selecting a robotic cleaner for your pool.
Robotic cleaners are constantly spinning around and climbing steps and walls, so your cable can end up a tangled mess without a good cable swivel.
Tangled power cables is the most annoying part of owning a pool cleaner. Do not cheat yourself out of a tangle-free setup just to save a few bucks!
Luckily, the underwater robot cable swivel has arrived. In our opinion, it’s one of the best engineering achievements for automatic pool cleaners.
Without a swivel in place, pool owners spend a lot of time detangling the power cords.
When the power cord becomes a tangled spider web, efficiency and efficiency both disappear – for owner and robot.
Some automatic cleaners move randomly around the pool. Others use microprocessor-controlled navigation to tackle cleaning the pool in a very determined and reliable way.
Pool cleaners without Intelligent Navigation cost less, but they take more time to clean your pool, which uses more energy is used. This also can reduce the number of cleaning cycles you get out of your unit before it’s damaged.
We particularly like the new Variable Interval Timer feature. A number of the newer cleaners are so effective that there’s no reason to operate them every day for many pools.
Variable Interval Timers allow your cleaner complete flexibility to run every two days, daily, or every three days. Now that’s energy efficient!
Did you know just 1% of the debris in a typical pool is in the water? The remaining 99% is on the wall.
Many cleaners only vacuum up loose trash, whereas others will clear every square inch of the pool with powerful spinning brushes. This is the key to dislodging dirt, dust and other contaminants.
A number of the newer units are not bad at removing material that’s stuck on the wall including the bacteria, algae, and biofilm which tend to attach themselves to the wall of every pool.
Larger wheels, a jet propulsion unit and grabbing brushes all help a unit walk up a wall effectively.
Some pool cleaners function for 6 or more hours a day. Others use only 3 hours to complete the cleaning cycle.
A cleaner that’s more effective in cleaning in a shorter period of time will cost less to run.
For the best robotic pool products, there’s no need to manage them every day; 2-3 times weekly is sufficient for many pools.
Getting a robotic cleaner repaired can be very expensive.
To avoid this expense, choose a unit with at the least a two-year non-prorated warranty. A couple of models have three year low-prorated warranties which are even better.
You’ll eventually have to replace a motor after the warranty expires. This can be a costly surprise for swimming pool owners, as some motors cost almost as much as a new unit.
Search for cleaners using a substitute motor price that’s $450 or less.
Modern automatic pool cleaners feature 12- or 24-volt DC motors that consume about 90% less power than AC motors. Robots with DC motors can work for about 5 cents an hour on as little as 180 watts.
Energy Star will begin reviewing robotic cleaners in the next several years.
That will be great, but you cannot focus just on the watts when considering the power efficiency. The power rating is just one component in energy efficiency.
There are 3 other things to think about, too:
- Brush Contact w/ Surface: cleaners with rubber tracks possess a large desperate contact patch that grabs the pool surface a lot better than wheels and plastic tracks can. Efficiency increases.
- Intelligent Navigation further increases efficiency and allows the microprocessor to manage the road taken. Entry-level cleaners move the pool. There isn’t any since in within the same element of the share over and over. Intelligent Navigation works intelligent, saving you money.
- A Variable Interval Timer will allow your cleaner start only once needed, that may increase productivity by up to 3X. Nearly all products include just a daily timer. Why clean your pool when every other day is all that is expected?
How We Pick The Best
We use the scale below to rate the best robotic pool cleaners in our reviews.
We also consider customer ratings and reviews on popular retail shopping sites like Amazon.com.
Finally, we attempt to offer a few pool cleaners for every type of pool and budget.