Are you looking to use an automatic pool cleaner?
You have come to the right place.
This buying guide reviews the best pool cleaners by Zodiac, Polaris, and other brands.
Our Top 3 Picks
What’s in This Buying Guide
Table of Contents
Questions We Answer In This Guide
Best Automatic Pool Cleaners 2022
All links below go to Amazon.com
Best Robotic Pool Cleaner
Polaris Vac-Sweep 3900
Best pressure cleaner
Best suction cleaner
Dolphin Nautilus CC Plus
Best value robotic cleaner
Polaris Vac-Sweep 280
Best value pressure cleaner
Pentair 360042 Kreepy Krauly
Best value suction cleaner
Aquabot Pool Rover
Best For Above-Ground/Vinyl Pools
Dolphin Triton PS
Best For In-Ground Pools
Best For Extra-Large Pools
Best New Robotic Cleaner
Polaris F9550 Sport
Best Wall Climber
Zodiac Baracuda G3 W03000
Pool owners prefer Robotic cleaners over other types of pool cleaners, namely pressure and suction side cleaners.
They’re easier to use, don’t require setup, and clean up better.
The Dolphin Premier is our favorite robotic cleaner. The Dolphin Premier is not cheap but well worth the investment for pool owners looking for a reliable and long-lasting pool cleaner.
The Dolphin Premier is a powerful cleaner. The Dolphin Premier vacuums nearly every inch of your pool, including the walls.
There are a few things that will increase its cleaning power.
Smart Nav software scans the pool to determine the best cleaning route and guides the robot. This allows the cleaner to cover all areas and not have to go over the same area repeatedly.
Two HyperGrip tracks offer traction on the pool surface and allow the robot to scale walls and navigate obstacles without getting stuck.
The Dolphin Premier uses dual scrubbing brushes to remove dirt and grime from the pool surface. It also has powerful suction to vacuum debris.
The robot includes multiple filter media you can swap out depending on your cleaning requirements.
The large bag is helpful for the first cleaning of the season if the pool is full of leaves. While the micro-filter is ideal for daily cleaning to remove sand, pollen, and algae, the bag is also useful.
A pressure-side cleaner has the advantage of having its own debris bag, which reduces wear on your pool filter.
The Polaris Vac-Sweep 3900 Sport is our top choice for in-ground swimming pools.
It works similarly to other pressure-side cleaners and relies on your pool pump to provide mobility and suction.
The Vac-Sweep 3900 covers most of the pool, including the walls with its 3-jet venturi and a strong-torque stainless-steel drive chain.
TailSweep Pro attaches do a great job agitating algae and debris stuck in corners or on the pool surface.
The dual-chamber filter bag captures more dirt than previous Polaris models. Although it is more difficult to clean, it does a better job of cleaning your pool.
The new dual-chamber filter bag captures finer bits of dirt compared to previous Polaris models. To get rid of the debris, simply unzip the bag.
The Vac-Sweep 3900 Sport comes ready to set up. It comes with a 31-foot feed hose, which connects to a 1.5-inch dedicated pressure cleaner line.
If the valve gets stuck, an in-line backup valve is used to reverse it.
If you don’t already own one, a booster pump is all you need.
The Polaris Vac-Sweep 3900 Sport pressure-side cleaner is an excellent option for pool owners.
This is an excellent upgrade for anyone looking to replace their Polaris 380.
Suction side cleaners are the cheapest of the three types of automatic pool cleaners. Their main downside is that they rely on your pool pump and filter.
However, cleaning performance is comparable with that of pressure-side cleaners.
Our top choice is the Hayward Poolvergnuegen 2-wheel suction side automatic cleaner. This can clean pools up to 16’x32 that cover most residential swimming pools.
Two wheels drive the Hayward Poolvergnuegen. They are powered by the water that flows out of the pool.
To increase traction on the pool surface, the wheels have treads. The cleaner is not likely to get stuck on drains or other obstacles.
Hayward Poolvergnuegen does not have a navigation system. Instead, it moves according to pre-programmed patterns.
After a distance of 8-10 feet, the left wheels turn and cause it to turn five times between 90° and 450°.
This makes sure there are no areas left unexplored.
The adjustable skirt is another feature we love. If the cleaner comes across an obstacle, the skirt raises to ensure maximum suction, particularly useful for uneven surfaces.
The Hayward Poolvergnuegen includes a 33-inch hose that connects to a suction line. Therefore, a booster pump is not required.
The automatic cleaner does not come with a filter bag. Therefore, make sure to backwash your pool filter regularly to maintain its good condition.
An inline leaf container is also a good option. This will catch leaves and other large particles before they reach the pool filter. The leaf canister reduces the frequency you need to clean your pool filter and increases its lifespan.
If you’re looking for an economical but powerful pool cleaner, we recommend the Dolphin Nautilus C Plus robot cleaner.
The Nautilus CC Plus is the most cost-effective option when compared to other automatic cleaners.
It is cheaper than other in-ground robot cleaners, and it has the reliability and cleaning performance that you would expect from a model costing $1,000+.
The Dolphin Nautilus CC Plus features the CleverClean navigation software to increase efficiency and maximize coverage.
It scans the pool and automatically directs the cleaner on the best cleaning path. It knows which areas it has covered and where it has not yet. As a result, it can clean a standard pool in just 2 hours.
Dual scrubbing brushes are used to remove stubborn dirt, algae, and grime from the pool floor and walls as the cleaner moves about.
The powerful suction vacuums then the debris into two large cartridge filters – one for fine debris and another for larger debris like leaves.
The cartridges are easily accessible from the top and, unlike filter bags, are easy to clean.
The Nautilus CC Plus includes a handy weekly scheduler. You can set it to automatically clean daily, every other day, or every two days.
This is great if you are away from your home a lot. The robot can be left in your pool and will clean it.
It will only be necessary to do so when the filter cartridges are empty, when chemicals are added or when the pool is closed in winter.
The Polaris Vac-Sweep 3900 Sport may not be within your budget. The Vac-Sweep 280 does the sweeping and scrubbing.
The attachment bag holds the debris. It easily captures leaves, pebbles, and acorns, as well as other medium-to-large debris.
The bag is not able to catch fine debris. We recommend the Polaris Fine Mesh Bag for everyday cleaning. The Vac-Sweep 280 is excellent for cleaning pool walls and floors.
However, it can get stuck on the bottom step of steps. The Polaris Vac-Sweep 280 may require you to clean the steps.
The cleaner does not include a booster pump. However, the feed hose can be purchased separately. The hose is 31 feet long and attaches to a 1.5-inch dedicated pressure line.
The Kreepy Krauly Ultimate inground pool cleaner from Pentair is our top choice for anyone looking for a reliable, affordable suction-side cleaner.
This is a newer Kreepy Kreuly model with the better build quality and additional features to improve cleaning performance.
The wings, for example, are stronger and more durable. However, it also feels more difficult to use the plastic tube.
Keep Krauly’s renowned one-moving-piece design means that it will last many years without needing any maintenance.
The greatest improvement is the cleaning ability. The 360042 Kreepy Krauly provides greater coverage and allows for easy cleaning of the floor and walls up to the waterline.
It can even handle steps better than other automatic cleaners, and it rarely gets stuck on the ladder.
It can pick up small and large pieces of debris. However, it doesn’t come equipped with a filter bag, the debris is directed through your pool filter instead.
To reduce the strain on your pool filter, you can also install an in-line canister filter.
Kreepy Krauly installation is quick and easy. Simply connect the included hose and suction line to your Kreepy Krauly. There is no booster pump needed.
An automatic pool cleaner is not required if you have an above-ground pool. A less expensive cleaner will work for a smaller pool.
We recommend the Aquabot pool Rover S2-40 robot cleaner.
Although it is more expensive than other pressure and suction side in-ground pool cleaners, it does an excellent job cleaning above-ground vinyl swimming pools. In addition, it is used to clean smaller in-ground pools.
It covers the pool floor, cove, and a portion of the wall.
The Pool Rover S2-40’s powerful suction (over 80 Gallons per minute) is the best tool for cleaning. It does not have scrubbing brushes.
The suction can pick up any debris or algae, even slime, and grime that has been leftover from winter.
It also collects leaves, acorns, and sand.
The top-access bag contains all the debris. It would have been much easier to clean filter cartridges, but this is a small price.
The Rover S2-40 uses Hydro-Robotic Technology for navigation instead of motors and gears. It navigates through the pool using the force of the water.
Because there are fewer moving parts, maintenance is easier and cheaper. This also increases durability.
If you have an in-ground pool, you need a capable pool cleaner that can provide full coverage – including the walls – and scrub all the gunk that accumulates at the bottom and in corners.
Robotic cleaners are the best for the job, and our top pick is the Dolphin Triton.
We believe it is the best in-ground pool option for several reasons.
One, it has scanning technology (what Maytronics calls CleverClean). The robot can clean a standard-sized residential pool in two hours.
Its coverage is also a big plus. It is very comfortable hugging walls and cleaning up the waterline. It does this using a feature called PowerStream.
It emits water jets which give it a better grip against the wall.
It relies on its high-grip tracks at the bottom of a pool to get over obstacles and avoid energy-wasting slippage.
Its ability to clean in-ground pools is also a significant advantage, particularly for more frequented and thus dirtier.
It has active brushing. The brush is not driven by the robot, but it is separately powered, making it spin twice as fast as normal brushes.
This increases the pool’s scrubbing power and is helpful to remove algae, calcification, and other grime from the walls and floor.
No debris is left behind when combined with powerful suction.
A large filter basket captures the debris as the water passes through the robot cleaner. Two filters capture ultra-fine and fine dirt.
They are accessible from the top because they are loaded directly from the top. The cartridges are easy to empty and clean, thanks to their snap-apart design.
Like other robotic cleaners, the Dolphin Triton PS does not require any setup.
It is super simple to use. The set-it and forget weekly scheduler is one of the most useful features.
You can set the days that the robot will clean the pool and leave it there. You don’t need to be at home to turn it on each time you clean the pool.
The standard size for in-ground pools is 16 by 32 feet. We recommend the Dolphin Omega robotic pool cleaner for older pools larger than 20 by 40 feet.
This cable is suitable for pools up to 50 feet long and has a long enough swivel cord to provide full coverage without tangling.
The Dolphin Sigma is ideal for larger pools, thanks to its long cable. In addition, smart navigation, large filter cartridges, and powerful motors give it an advantage over other newer robotic pool cleaners.
Let’s begin with navigation.
The Dolphin Nav Software scans the pool to determine the best cleaning route. It also makes sure it doesn’t miss any spots.
A 3-axis gyroscope monitors the robot’s tilt and orientation and supports smart navigation. This is useful when the robot is cleaning steps and climbing walls.
Triple 24V DC motors power Sigma’s cleaning and mobility.
They send power to the tracks that, by the way, can be operated independently from each other. This allows the robot’s ability to turn quickly, even in tight spaces.
The dual active scrubbers also get some of the power. The brushes move as the robot cleans. They clean the pool floor and walls of grime and other debris.
The Dolphin Sigma is powered by powerful motors with high-traction tracks and can effortlessly scrub up to the waterline.
The Dolphin Sigma has large filter cartridges to contain all the debris from large pools. Two types are available: one for larger and smaller debris, such as leaves, bugs, and pebbles, and another for fine debris, such as sediment and sand.
Top-load cartridges can be easily removed and cleaned.
The Sigma is similar to the top Dolphin models and comes with a weekly planner. The robot is set to clean daily, twice per week, or three days per week.
Bluetooth is a feature that allows you to control the robot using your smartphone.
Although it’s nice to have, it’s not always useful. To use it, you must be within reach. Customers say that they don’t bother to use it.
This is for above-ground pools that are up to 30 feet long. It can clean above-ground pools in as little as 1.5 hours.
Active brushing is another feature it takes from high-end Dolphin cleaners. The filter holds all debris and dirt from one cleaning with a fast-rotating brush. The robot doesn’t need to stop mid-cleaning from emptying it.
We also love the fact that the filter is accessible from the top. The E10’s biggest drawback is the absence of a fine filter. The basket can catch leaves, bugs, and small pebbles. But silt and sand pass right through.
For best cleaning results, we highly recommend buying the Dolphin ultra-fine filter basket.
When shopping for an automatic pool cleaner, one of the most important features to consider is its ability to climb walls.
While pool cleaners can do an excellent job cleaning the floor, they struggle to clean the walls. They either don’t get up at all, or they do not climb enough.
For improved wall climbing, the Polaris F9550 Sport features a 4-wheel drive. Aqua-Trax tires provide better traction on all types of pool surfaces.
The F9550 Sport has an ActivMotion Sensor that aids in navigation. It can clean efficiently and quickly, even in large (up to 60ft) or free-form pools.
The robot uses its water propulsion system to move and clean in difficult-to-reach areas, such as corners and stairs.
The Polaris F9550 Sport has two oscillating brushes that are used to clean the pool’s surface.
Vortex Vacuum Technology allows the robot to pick up large and small particles without losing its suction power.
The extra-large filter container traps any debris. It is much easier to reach the top of the canister than a filter bag and also makes it easy to clean.
This filter is used for small and large pieces of debris. For everyday cleaning, we recommend the ultrafine sand filter.
Polaris F9550 Sport includes a remote control that allows you to set up a weekly cleaning schedule. There is also a storage caddy that is used for transporting and storing your robot cleaner.
A simple, easy-to-use pool cleaner that will clean your pool with minimum problems.
It’s a highly rated (currently around 80% 4 and 5-star ratings)suction-side pool cleaner that’s also quite affordable.
Setting it up is easy and quick. You don’t need a booster pump, even if you have a low-powered pool pump.
Even with low-powered pumps, the Baracuda G3 works well. FlowKeeper Valve adjusts the water flow to maintain good suction depending on the pump flow rate. Once you hook it up to a dedicated suction line, it wobbles around the pool picking up small and medium debris.
We highly recommend getting the Zodiac Cyclonic Leaf Canister to capture the large bits of debris and keep them from overloading your pool filter.
The Baracuda G3 has pretty good coverage. It cleans the floor, walls, and even the steps, using a large fin disc to maintain suction as it moves. As for reliability, the Baracuda G3 has only one moving part. You are going to be using it for years to come with minimal maintenance.
What is an Automatic Pool Cleaner?
An automatic pool cleaner takes most of the work out of cleaning a pool. Instead of manually scrubbing and vacuuming the pool, an automatic pool cleaner does it with little human intervention.
You only need to set it up, and it will take care of the rest.
An automatic pool cleaner makes pool maintenance easy, less time-consuming, and cheaper since you don’t have to hire someone to clean the pool.
How to Choose the Right Automatic Pool Cleaner
These are the top factors to consider when looking for an automatic pool cleaner.
1. Type Of Pool
A robotic pool cleaner is the best choice for in-ground pools. It has better cleaning and coverage than other automatic pool cleaners.
Robotic cleaners are also faster. A pressure or suction pool cleaner can take a whole day to clean a pool. Robotic pool cleaners usually only take 2-3 hours.
If you have an above-ground pool, you can use an automatic pool cleaner explicitly designed for above-ground pools.
2. How Much Debris Do You Struggle With
We recommend a robotic pool cleaner if you have trouble with debris of all sizes, from leaves and acorns, to sand, dust, and algae.
It can pick up all types of debris. Make sure you use the correct filter. You will need to purchase an ultra-fine filter for some robot cleaners.
A pressure-side pool cleaning is best if you have large debris such as leaves, twigs, and acorns. It can easily remove large and medium-sized debris without becoming stuck or breaking down.
This hose works exceptionally well with a leaf container.
A suction-side pool cleaner is an excellent option if your pool fills up with small debris such as insects, pebbles, and leaves. This cleaner is excellent at picking up finer debris.
3. Your Budget
A suction-side pool cleaner costs the least of all three types of automatic cleaners due to its basic, minimalist design. If you have a limited budget, this is a great choice.
The most expensive robotic pool cleaners cost close to $1,500. However, above-ground robotic pool cleaners are usually cheaper at $500.
The pressure-side pool cleaners are somewhere between robotic and suction cleaners. They are as expensive as $900 and start at $300.
4. Your Existing Pool Pump
If you’re buying a pressure-side pool cleaner, the pool pump’s power rating is necessary. Most pool pumps have a minimum pool horsepower.
A suction-side pool cleaner is a good option for pool pumps with low power – between 1/2 and 3/4 horsepower – but you don’t need a booster pump.
Suction cleaners work with any pump.
You can also buy a robot pool cleaner. It does not rely on the pool pump.
5. How Busy Are You?
The cleaning of the pool is usually done manually by most automatic pool pumps. It is still necessary to set it up and place it in the water.
Robotic pool cleaners work best for busy pool owners with little time to clean and maintain the pool.
The robot cleaner does not require hose connections. It is easy to plug it into a GFCI outlet, and then you can just plunge it into the pool. It will clean itself by pressing a button.
With most models, you can set an automatic cleaning schedule.
Robotic vs. Suction vs. Pressure Pool Cleaners
You are probably familiar with the three types: pressure, suction, robotic. Here are the details on each one.
Robotic Pool Cleaners
These pool cleaners are fully self-contained and include a brush and vacuum. They do not rely on the filter or pool pump.
They are easier to install because you don’t need to connect any hoses.
To move about in the pool, the robotic pool cleaner rely on motors that drive wheels or tracks.
They are also more expensive and require replacement parts.
Suction Side Pool Cleaners
Pool cleaners rely on your pool pump to move the water and remove any debris.
They attach to a suction line, then move around the pool, cleaning up any debris and redirecting it towards the filter.
Because they have only one moving part (usually just one), suction-side cleaners are easy to clean and last year. They are also very affordable.
Pressure Side Pool Cleaners
The pool pump is not required for pressure-side cleaners. The filter bags can catch medium and large debris.
The pressure pool cleaner connects with a return line and uses the force of water to move and vacuum up any debris.
How to Install an Automatic Pool Cleaner
Robotic Pool Cleaner
- If necessary, put together the robot cleaner. It is possible that you need to attach parts such as the cartridge or filter bag.
- The power unit should be placed near the pool or close to a GFCI outlet.
- Place the robot cleaner in the pool. Unroll the cable, straightening it. Only roll the cable that you require.
- Plug the power unit into a GFCI outlet, and then press the on button.
- Keep an eye out for any potential problems with the robot during the initial cleaning.
Suction Pressure Pool Cleaners
A hose is included with your pressure pool or suction cleaner.
Connect the hose to an appropriate suction line for suction cleaners. To install the valve cuffs and the flow keeper valve, you will need to take out the skimmer basket.
Connect the hose to the dedicated return line for pressure cleaners using a universal fitting. This allows for quick disconnect and connection.
Check that the water returning to your tap has sufficient pressure. You can get a booster pump if it does not.
Pressure cleaners require some assembly, primarily to attach the filter bag.
Refer to your manual for detailed instructions on how to set up your automatic pool cleaner.
Pool Cleaning Accessories: What Else Do I Need To Buy?
Leaf canister This is required for suction-side cleaners. This canister captures large debris, such as leaves, before they reach your pool filter.
A filter for medium or large debris is not included in some robotic pool cleaners. You will need a bag or basket with a fine or ultrafine filter to get rid of silt or sand.
Caddy: Suitable for heavy robotic pool cleaners. It makes it easy for the cleaner to move from one place to another and also provides a safe location to store the power unit while cleaning.
Benefits of Using an Automatic Pool Cleaner
- Saves you time. It’s no longer necessary to spend a Saturday cleaning and vacuuming the pool.
- Saves you money. Pool cleaning is done for less money.
- Maintains the cleanliness of your pool. An automatic pool cleaner can be used as often as needed to keep your pool clean and healthy. You will even notice a decrease in the number of chemicals you use for your pool.
Frequently Asked Questions About Automatic Pool Cleaners
What Is The Best Type Of Automatic Pool Cleaner?
For most pool owners, a robotic pool cleaner is the best choice. It offers excellent cleaning performance, better coverage, and more energy savings.
A suction pool cleaner is the best option if you have a tight budget. A pressure-side pool cleaner is a good choice if you want more features than a vacuum cleaner but are not too costly.
How Long Will An Automatic Pool Cleaner Lasten?
A suction-side pool cleaner lasts for over ten years if it is adequately maintained. However, some parts may need to be replaced.
A pressure-side pool cleaner has more moving parts and can last for about eight years.
Robotic pool cleaners are more complex and have many moving parts. They can last up to 5 years, depending on how well they are maintained and maintained.
Do I Still Need To Clean The Pool If I Have An Automatic Cleaner?
You may need to clean your pool every now and again, depending on the type of automatic cleaner.
A robotic cleaner is an option, but it is unnecessary as the cleaner does a great job cleaning and vacuuming the pool.
However, even then, it is possible that you will still have to clean the steps or other areas that the cleaner may miss.
Why Does My Automatic Pool Cleaner Stop Working?
If your pool cleaner stops working, the first thing you should check is a blockage. The cleaner could have debris that is preventing it from working correctly.
Also, stones can get in the wheels and stop the cleaner from working properly.
Check the filter and pump for suction. You might have a problem with the pump or filter.
For other problems, refer to the troubleshooting section of the manual or contact customer service.
Do I Have To Leave A Robotic Pool Cleaner In My Pool?
Yes. But make sure to check the manual. You’ll need to do it if you have a weekly schedule for auto-cleaning.
However, don’t leave the parts in the water too long. If you leave it in the water for too long, some parts may deteriorate faster.
The robot should be taken out every week to clean and dry the filters. You should also take the cleaner out if you add chemicals to the pool or when the pool is closed for winter.
What Is The Best Suction Pool Cleaner?
Hayward Poolvergnuegen is our favorite suction side-by-side automatic cleaner. This two-wheel cleaner is affordable and has pre-programmed patterns that cover the entire pool. It also features an adjustable skirt that allows it to move over obstacles.
The Pentair Kreepy Krauly is a reliable suction side cleaner, as well as the Zodiac Baracuda G3, which has a long-lasting reputation.
Which Is the Best Pressure Side Pool Cleaner?
Polaris Vac-Sweep 3900 Sport is our favorite pressure-side automatic cleaner. It features a tail sweep that agitates debris and produces powerful suction to vacuum it into an attached bag.
Another great option is the Polaris Vac-Sweep 280. It’s also a much cheaper option.
What Are The Downsides Of Automatic Pool Cleaners?
Their cost is the main drawback of automatic pool cleaners. The main drawback of automatic pool cleaners is their high price.
Most automatic cleaners are well worth the extra cost. These cleaners can save you a lot of time and keep your pool clean. They also reduce the number of chemicals that you need. Robotic cleaners can save you even more money because they don’t depend on your pool pump or filter.
As you can see, there is an automatic pool cleaner that suits everyone’s needs, regardless of whether they have an in-ground or above-ground pool.
We hope this guide has helped you narrow-down your choices and made you a more informed buyer.
If you have any questions, please drop us a comment below.
I’m a degreed ME (mechanical engineer) who is passionate about machines of all kinds. I created MachineWonders.com as a way to connect with others who love machines like me – or need help choosing one for their needs, application, or situation.