Best Robotic Pool Cleaners 2020 – Reviews of Top Picks
Let’s have a look at some of the best robotic pool cleaners on the market. There is a wide choice to suit every need and pocket.
If one has a private swimming pool cleaned once or twice a week, you will find it remarkable to see how quickly wind blows in new leaves and seed pods and other vegetative debris.
In no time at all a new column of sediment lines the seams of the lining at the bottom of the pool. Robotic pool cleaners are a real boon. They can work away tirelessly as long and as often as one needs them, keeping a pool pristine every day.
10 Best Robotic Pool Cleaner 2020 Review
1. Dolphin Nautilus CC Plus Automatic Robotic Pool Cleaner
The Dolphin Nautilus Plus is, as the name implies, like the 99996323 Nautilus Robot, but with some additional features. It has, for example, what it calls “Clever Clean Technology” which allows it to reach those awkward to access coves as well as the floor and walls.
It has a two-filter system that allows the Nautilus Plus to clear away both large and very fine debris. It can do a three-point turn and it has an extra-large cartridge with easy access from the top. It also enables clearing out of filtered water very quickly.
Because the Nautilus Plus works independently of the swimming pool’s pump and filtration system, meaning that the pool is cleaned using a fraction of the electricity that you might expect to use. The warranty period is longer – two years instead of the 99996323’s one.
2. Premier Dolphin Premier Robotic In-Ground Pool Cleaner
The Dolphin Premier takes us one step further both in terms of quality and price. It offers the same benefits as the Nautilus Plus, but everything about it is of superior construction.
Starting with its top commercial grade DC motor which is said to substantially increase the efficiency of energy usage, running as it does on 24 volts and consuming just 180 watts.
The scanning system is even better than that of the Nautilus Plus. SmartNav software calculates the optimum pattern path for best pool cleaning. You can tackle even more sizes of debris than with the Nautilus Plus. Four different options from very fine filters to large bags for large debris.
As one might expect with a unit that is the first amongst the first, the Dolphin Premier comes with an above average warranty – three years. This might be the best robotic pool cleaner for inground vinyl pools.
3. Dolphin Escape Robotic Above Ground Pool Cleaner
The Dolphin range of robotic pool cleaners are amongst the most popular in America. We are going to have a look at some of the range, starting with the least expensive.
This particular entry-level model is for above ground pools, though it is with the below-ground pools that robot cleaners are particularly appealing.
Algae formulations can be quite a problem with above ground pools and the Dolphin Escape is really good at keeping this away with its double scrubbing brushes which also help remove stains left from suntan lotion.
There is generally nothing to install on Dolphin Robot cleaners. You just plug in and use them. Pool debris is sucked in to a large removable cartridge which periodically has to be cleaned and eventually changed. There is a good warranty on Dolphin robots. The Dolphin Escape comes with a one year’s manufacturer’s warranty.
4. Aquabot Junior Automatic Robotic In Ground Pool Cleaner
Now this is an Aquabot in-ground entry-level robot. It does have tracks which do allow it to climb the lower pool walls and reach those awkward coves.
As with the above-ground model it will clean and scrub with twin brushes and suck in leaves and filter particles to 2 microns.
The manufacturers, Aqua Products Inc, claim to provide the finest filtration system to be found on such robot pool cleaners. It was the first, incidentally to introduce pool cleaning robots back in 1982. A built-in micro processor will enable it to turn and adapt to any pool shape. It can be set to run continuously or on a four-hour cleaning cycle.
The Aquabot Junior comes with a 50 ft cable which is shorter than some, but it will cover most home pool sizes. As an alternative to a Manufacturer’s warranty, Amazon offers a four-year protection plan. According to the expert this become the best robotic pool cleaner for fiberglass pools.
5. Dolphin 99996323 Robotic Pool Cleaner with Swivel Cable
The Dolphin 99996323 is the entry level Robot of the range for below ground pools. Same fundamental ways of working that we find on the Dolphin Escape.
Same track on wheels system, same removable type of cartridge. The extra technology of the 99996323 Nautilus is really quite mind boggling. Its scanner for measuring the size of the pool is quite amazing. It feels as if one has an underwater GPS.
What is really surprising is seeing the robot actually climb up the pool walls and scrub away at those Nautilus products usually have a 60 foot patented swivel cable making them suitable for pools up to 50 feet long. The swivel cable minimizes any tangling that may occur.
Very lightweight, this Nautilus model gives a good price/performance ratio. It comes with a one-year parts and labour warranty.
6. Aquabot APRVJR Pool Rover Junior Robotic Above-Ground Pool Cleaner
Aquabot is another company that provides a range of robot pool cleaners. The APRVJR is an entry level robot for an above-ground pool. It does have an extremely competitive price.
The APRVJR has wheels rather than the track we saw on the Dolphin Products, but tracks are more important on in-ground pool, where the robot is going to have the task of cleaning the walls as well.
This unit is designed to provide an economical way of cleaning pool floors only. It has a convenient 2-hour automatic cut-off so that you don’t waste electricity by forgetting the Robot switched on. In spite of its low price the APRVJR will filter anything from leaves to the tiniest of particles as little as 2 microns and its pump has incredible suction power.
It can filter more than 70 gallons per minute. The manufacturer’s Warranty covers the motor for a year.
7. SmartPool Smart Kleen Universal Robotic Swimming Pool Cleaner - NC22
We finish off our review with a low-cost robot that has been designed for use both in above-ground pools and small in-ground pools of a size up to 14’ x 28’ x 6’ deep. It runs on wheels rather than tracks. It will run up the lower section of the walls. Cable length is 40 feet.
Built into the robot is an intelligent navigation system that homes in on dirty areas of the pool to suck up the debris instantly. It does not depend on reaching a wall to change direction.
Debris is filtered into extra large bags. To save energy the NC22 switches off automatically after two hours. Although it does not have the refinements and extras of more expensive units, the NC22 provides, at a relatively low price, effective robotic pool cleaning even for the in-ground pool as long as this is not too large. The NC22 is light and compact and therefore easy to store away when not in use.
8. Aquabot Elite Inground Robotic Pool Cleaner
This is, as the name implies, the elite of the Aquabot range, brought out fairly recently – in 2017. While offering many attractive features it still comes in at a tad under 1000 dollars. It is a serious contender in the high range pool-cleaning robot market.
Algae and the most determined of bio film are scrubbed away with double brushing whilst huge twin filtration cartridges suck up large volumes of leaves and other debris.
A good 360 degree swivel mechanism stops cables from getting tangled. A timer allows you to set the intervals after which the Aquabot Elite will switch itself on.
As one might expect from an “Elite” model the unit climbs walls to keep the pool sides clean as well as the floor and the coves. A caddy for transport and storage is a special extra. Warranty is a respectable three-year one
9. Polaris F9550 Sport Robotic In-Ground Pool Cleaner
The Polaris F9550 is another high-value Pool cleaning robot that is available in the market place. Unusually for an in-ground pool robot, this one runs with a four-wheel drive rather than on rubber tracks.
This is to make it easier to reach under difficult to access places such as stairs. Such access is further facilitated by a powerful rear water propulsion system.
The Polaris F9550 has its own proprietary sensor technology to enable it to navigate itself around the pool and has a special 7-day programmable timer that allows you to pre-set a whole week’s worth of cleaning patterns. There is also a remote-control device to allow you to adjust settings without taking the robot out of the pool.
A special extra that comes with the F9550 is an alloy caddy for transportation and storage. There is a rather complex warranty structure with different warranty periods for different components.
10. Hayward RC9990CUB TigerShark Robotic Pool Vacuum
The Tiger shark from Hayward is another upmarket robot pool cleaner. It certainly looks very robust. It offers two alternative cleaning cycles: a three-hour cycle and a “quick clean” 90-minute cycle.
The manufacturers claim that their filter cartridge system is unique and very easy to clear out and hose down and that reinforced elements give their filters a longer life span.
This filter system is much easier to clean than the bag type offered by Dolphin and Aquabot and is perhaps the main difference between this product and the high-end products of those companies.
As with the other items in this review, the Tiger Shark runs independently of the pools main pumping system and its own built-in pump is so powerful that it will even vacuum stones and large chunks of mulch.
Manufacturer’s confidence in the product is evidenced with the three-year warranty that they offer. Haywards have eighty years of experience in making advanced pool equipment.
Above-ground Robot Pool Cleaners versus In-ground
‘Smaller Pool’ means ‘simpler cleaning’ means ‘lower price' Robots for cleaning above-ground pools tend to cost a lot less than robots for in-ground ones. They don’t usually need to be climbing up walls or need complex navigational systems.
They generally run on rubber wheels rather than tracks. If you have a small in-ground pool you may be able to get away with a low-cost robot designed mainly for above-ground pools. The important factor is to be able to pass all the pool’s water through the filtration system in eight to ten hours.
The in-ground pool robot will generally need a more powerful pump Quite simply there is more water to filter in the bigger pool which will be bigger both in area and volume of water that the pool holds. It is to be anticipated that larger items of debris, including stones even, are to be removed. The pump must have the necessary suction power.
Smart navigation is one of the features that tends to be found in the more expensive of in-ground pool robots. Scanning technology will often enable the robot to understand the pool’s layout and work out it’s crawling itinerary accordingly. In some cases, it is dirty spots that are sensed allowing the robot to home in on these.
Walls of in-ground pools are usually higher than those of above-ground pools. Leaves, flower buds and seed pods tend to get stuck to these as well as to the swimming pool floors, so it is quite important to be able to climb pool walls and scrub and vacuum these also. Not to mention coves and awkward-to-access areas such as stairs.
The water-line of in-ground pools is constantly getting stained with people’s sun-tan lotion that has floated off their bodies into the water. The better pool robots will reach and scrub away at these as well as vacuum the debris that sticks there.
Larger filtering systems are usually needed for in-ground pools simply because they are bigger. Debris can be collected in bags or in large filter units that can be emptied and washed out. The above ground pool filter units are probably the easiest to use and to maintain, just needing a quick hose-down once they are cleared of the rubbish that they have collected.
The cable can easily get tangled when a robot is crawling over a large area. That is why robots for cleaning in-ground pools tend to have swivel systems that minimize tangling. The cable itself is generally longer for an in-ground pool robot-cleaner in anticipation of greater length.
Preset cleaning timings are a benefit of both above-ground and in-ground pool robot cleaners. Set the times, switch on and you can let the robot clean away at the appointed intervals. Some of the more expensive above-ground robots give you an option of a quick clean cycle or a longer one lasting several hours.
How to Pick the Best Robot Pool Cleaner For The Money
The first part of the process of elimination is really easy. Quite simply, do you have an above-ground pool or an in-ground pool. If you have an above-ground pool, you do not need anything very complicated.
The purchase will be much lighter on the pocket and your decision of which to choose will probably boil down to a few considerations such as price, warranty cover, aesthetics, type of filtering system and ease of use/storage.
For in-ground pools, the choice of pool robot is more complex. All the considerations listed relative to above-ground pools are relevant here also. However, there are for an in-ground pool far more factors to consider.
Warranties seem to be quite a complicated issue when it comes to robot pool cleaners. When you are spending something in the order of $1000 on a product, you want to be sure of exactly what is covered by warranty. Before you make your final decision on which robot to buy it is probably worth studying in detail the exact terms of the unit that appeals to you most.
Hope, after reading this, you are also interested to read about manual cleaners. Check this informative articles about best manual pool vacuum cleaners.
How Robot Pool Cleaners Work
A robot cleaner is essentially a tiny motorized vehicle that can go under water and brush the floor and sides of a pool and suck debris into a bag or cartridge filter. A GPS-like navigational system is usually on board (at least on robots for in-ground pools) to enable the robot to travel up and down the pool.
A robot cleaner needs an electric motor to propel the robot and to turn the scrubbing brushes and power the pump that sucks in the debris. The better the motor, the more effective will be the pump and in consequence, the vacuuming of debris.
It needs the pump itself to perform the suction. The debris that gets sucked up goes into a bag or cartridge filter that has to be removed cleared out and cleaned when it becomes full. Cartridge filters are easier to empty and clean than are bags.
It needs a means of traveling across the pool. Sometimes, especially for above-ground pools this is through four wheels as on a car, but more often it is on tracks such as those of a tank, but in rubber of course. The more sophisticated ones, probably most of them, will have a back-propulsion system that allows the robot to climb walls and clean the pool everywhere.
A GPS type of navigation system may scan the pool to work out the best route to adopt for its backward and forward meanderings and may even home in on particularly dirt spots.
The more sophisticated robots have a swivel mechanism at the cable outlet to stop the cable from getting tangled.
A built – in timer enables the robot to spring to action at pre-set times without the need of human intervention when you want it to come on. You can even instruct the robot to clean away while you are sleeping, and the pool is not in use.
Frequently Asked Questions
It is hoped that this article has given a pretty good understanding of what a robotic pool cleaner can do for you, but you might still have some questions lingering in your mind or you might be perplexed by some aspects after you have made your purchase. Here are some typical questions that people ask:
Why does my pool cleaner not move?
If you were in a car and wondering why it does not move the first thing to check would be if it had petrol. In the same way, the first thing to check is if the pool robot is receiving its electric power. Is electricity switched on? Is the fuse working?
Is the power supply disconnected or out of order? Is the cartridge filter or bag overloaded? Are the wheels or tracks blocked with a foreign object? It is always possible that the pump motor and drive motor has simply failed. In the last resort these should be checked.
How do you use an Automatic pool cleaner?
It’s pretty simple really though you should still check your individual instructions. Fundamentally you need to:
1) plug in correctly to electricity through a socket that is approved for use near water.
2) Lower your appliance into the water vertically to remove any pockets of air.
3) Set your timer.
4) Spread the cable loosely around a side of the pool to avoid tangling and
5) Switch on. It’s that simple. It is important to empty the bag or filter cartridge before it gets overfull and clean it each time you empty it. The robot will stop working if it is overfull with debris.
How long do you run a pool cleaner with an automatic pool cleaner?
The answer to this depends on the weather. When the pool is warm enough for swimming, probably 4 or five hours a day. In winter, less time would be fine and in peak summer periods you should have it on for longer. If you see any hint of the pool turning green, and you know that you have put in enough chemicals then that is a sign that you need to leave the cleaner on for longer.
Can I use my robotic pool cleaners to clean suction of my pool?
A pool robot works completely independently of a pool’s suction pump and skimmer system. It has its own pump and its own filtration system, drawing debris either into bags or into filter cartridges. In either case these need to be emptied before they get full.
You also need to wash them down. So, in answer to the question, you can use a robotic pool cleaner in addition to a weekly or twice weekly clean through your pool’s own pump and suction system, but the two cleans are completely separate and do not integrate in any way. Read more about the suction pool cleaner.
Robotic pool cleaners are a real bonus to pool owners and they do make it a lot easier to keep a pool clean, especially if a pool is surrounded by trees and shrubs that keep shedding their leaves into the pool.
If you have a pool and don’t yet own one of these gadgets, you will surely be tempted. We have reviewed some of the most popular ones and discussed the points you should consider when making your choice. We hope you have found this article useful in determining what are the best robotic pool cleaner for your pool.