When it comes down to it, there are few things in life which are more satisfying than owning a robot. The stark reality of the fact that we can’t yet purchase Rosie the Robot can be offset somewhat and robotic pool cleaners are a great way to keep that water sparkling and clean without having to hire human help.
If you’ve been checking out the market, you know there are a lot of choices to make but as always, we’re here to help. If you’re in a hurry, make sure to check out the Dolphin Premier before you leave.
For the best pool cleaner around, pick up the Dolphin Premier. It’s worth the investment if you’re seriously obsessed with a sparkling clean pool.
Top 5 Robotic Pool Cleaners
|Name||Cord Length||Best For|
|Dolphin Premier Robotic||60 feet||In-Ground Pools||Check Price|
|Dolphin 99996403-PC||60 feet||In-Ground Pools||Check Price|
|Polaris F9550 Sport||70 feet||In-Ground Pools||Check Price|
|Hayward RC9740CUB SharkVac||60 feet||In-Ground Pools||Check Price|
|Dolphin Escape||40 feet||Above Ground Pools||Check Price|
1. Best Overall Pool Cleaning Robot
Dolphin Premier Robotic In-Ground Pool Cleaner
The Dolphin Premier is the perfect solution for most pools. You’ll find that it handles even the dirtiest pool with a surprising amount of ease and the Smart Sensor technology is smarter than ever in this iteration.
Of course, it’s also the most expensive of the machines on our list.
If you’re looking to make sure you have the absolute best, and only the best, it’s well worth the cost. It has the ability to spin a full 360° in order to handle pretty much any situation, it can climb walls and steps and even steep slopes with a surprising amount of ease and without losing suction.
The only glaring flaw is the fact that the instructions which come with it are a bit vague.
Pros and Cons
- Super-efficient sensors
- 360° rotation
- Swiveling cord
- Easy to work on
- Handles all sizes of debris
- Included instructions are terrible
- High cost
2. Best Value For Your Money
This robotic cleaner from Dolphin might be the perfect solution for those who are planning on getting some heavy usage without breaking the bank. There are certainly higher quality pool cleaners out there, but in a buck for buck ratio this one reigns supreme.
The integrated Clever Clean technology allows it to clean the sides and bottom of your pool with ease and it averages about 2.5 hours to clean a pool. This one can also be programmed to start itself up and get some work done once a week if you get tired of having to haul it out each time it’s used.
The Easy-Fix modular capacity is great, sooner or later even the hardiest pool cleaning robot is going to break down and that means repairs. Rather than having to mess with the unit for prolonged use it was designed with future repairs in mind.
That said, the sensor technology seems to occasionally “miss” spots which can be a bit problematic but isn’t much of an issue considering the low price.
If you want your dollar to go far, then the Dolphin 99996403-PC is exactly what you’re looking for.
Pros and Cons
- Great cash to value ratio
- Automatically senses pool dimensions
- Weekly timer
- Swivel cord to prevent tangles
- 360° suction
- Sometimes has sensor errors
- Sometimes has trouble with steps
3. Best for Irregular Pools
Polaris F9550 Sport
While it boasts a fairly high price point, you’ll find that the Polaris F9550 has the right sensor technology to make sure that it can clean even the most oddly shaped pools. The wheeled design allows it a lot of mobility as well, and it can handle even the strangest curves and twists in a custom in-ground pool.
The specialized wheels will also allow it to handle pretty much any kind of pool surface that you might be dealing with. Even the slickest of surfaces will be gripped and allow this robot to clean up quickly and efficiently.
The 70 foot cord also allows it unparalleled range compared to anything anywhere near its price point. Since you won’t be able to use an extension cord, that extra ten feet over the standard sized cords is a huge advantage.
It does have some issues around tight corners as well, and you may want to spring for another unit if you don’t have a free form pool. It also lacks a swiveling cord, which is occasionally problematic.
For cleaning an irregular pool, you really can’t do any better but for a standard shaped pool you may be better off springing for one of the higher end Dolphin models.
Pros and Cons
- Handles irregular pools easily
- Amazing sensor technology
- Wheels can grip just about anything
- 70 foot power cord
- Multiple filters available
- Has trouble with squared corners
- Cord sometimes tangles
4. Best for a Tight Budget
Hayward RC9740CUB SharkVac
We don’t all have the money to spend on an enormously expensive pool cleaning robot but Hayward makes an affordable option which can be fit into most budgets. This one is designed to handle in ground pools and it does a more than passable job while coming in at a budget price.
Don’t knock it because it’s cheap however, it still boasts some pretty impressive sensors and cleans quickly and easily. Its fine filtration system handles silt and sand without any issue, and it definitely won’t have a problem sweeping the walls. Larger debris definitely isn’t on the menu, however.
Of course, it’s definitely not without some issues. For some reason it simply doesn’t like to handle steps and the filtration system sometimes has some hiccups which prevent it from working as well as higher end models.
If you’re on a tight budget, however, this Hayward pool cleaner might be exactly the right choice for your in-ground pool.
Pros and Cons
- Sensor technology
- Will clean walls and bottoms
- Super low price
- Can be purchased with a caddy for ease of use
- Comes in two sizes
- Doesn’t handle steps well
- Hard to work on
5. Best for Above Ground Pools
While you can use an in-ground pool bot for above ground pools, why not save the money and purchase one specifically formulated to handle your above ground pool? Like all of Dolphin’s products it comes with amazing value for the dollar and the Escape is specifically designed for above ground pools.
With awesome Smart Scan technology it uses it’s continuous tracks to scrub your pool nice and clean no matter how dirty you’ve let things get. It’s also remarkably easy to work on in the event of a break, which is a massive bonus if you’re planning on putting it through some heavy use.
The forty foot power cord is attached to a float to keep it from tangling. It’s not quite as efficient as a swivel, but it’s definitely nothing to be laughed at.
Of course, it’s not entirely without issues. The tires sometimes have some gripping trouble which leads to it raising the front end or spinning in place on occasion, which can cause it to have some trouble removing all of the contaminants you’re looking at.
If you’re looking for a perfectly engineered solution for cleaning an above ground pool, the Dolphin Escape might be right up your alley. Give it a shot.
Pros and Cons
- Smart sensors maximize efficiency
- Continuous tracks handle larger debris flawlessly
- Easy to work on
- Float on cord to prevent tangles
- Cleans walls as well as bottom
- Tendency to slip on slick surfaces
- Shorter than standard power cord
Why Use a Robotic Pool Cleaner?
Essentially, you can think of your robotic pool cleaner as a Roomba for the bottom of your pool. They’ll go around and take care of any debris they find and give the whole thing a good scrub to keep things nice and clean.
The main reason to use one is simple: less time spent cleaning means more time being able to enjoy your pool. Since they’re essentially a “fire and forget” solution to the problem of smaller debris that can fall into a pool you’ll be able to have more time enjoying things with less maintenance.
That is, of course, so long as you get a quality one since an inferior robotic pool cleaner might not be able to do much at all.
The high end models will even clean pool walls for you, in addition to giving the bottom a nice scrub and picking up loose debris. They tend to operate quietly and quickly as well, with most models able to handle an average sized pool within a couple of hours at the most.
Keep in mind that, depending on the strength of the pool cleaner that you decide on, it may just be able to put the finishing touches on a pool. To be fair, however, the tediousness of scrubbing the bottoms and sides of the pool often takes much longer than getting rid of leaves and debris.
That said, stronger ones should be able to handle small leaves and other macrodebris, but you’re still going to want to give the whole pool a once over before you cut your robot loose.
How to Pick a Robotic Pool Cleaner
Picking one out can be a bit tough, since they’re made for such a wide variety of different pools and surfaces. You’ll need to know roughly the surface area of your pool and what kind of obstructions are most commonly dropped into the water.
If you’re looking at a frequent large quantity of sticks and other heavier debris then it might be best to look for a different type of cleaner to handle things. On the other hand, for small leaves and sand, they make one of the best solutions possible.
In general, robotic pool cleaners are made for either in-ground or above ground pools. Since above ground pools have a steep 90° angle along the sides the cleaner will be lighter and need less parts than those which will have to climb steps and slopes.
Make sure that you check out the movement capabilities of the robot you’re looking at before you commit to making the final purchase. If it can’t handle your pool then you’re going to be out a lot of money at the end of the day.
Cleaning Power and Technique
You’ll also want to take a look at the different types of cleaners which it comes with. Some will have a great deal of brushing and vacuum power, while others will be more minimalist in their approach.
In general, the dirtier your pool tends to be the more you want to focus on the power to the detriment of special features.
Make sure you purchase accordingly, or you’re bound to not have a good time.
You’re going to need to make sure that you have enough cord to adequately handle your pool. This takes a bit of planning, since you need to measure the length from the socket to the far side of your pool. Using extension cords or other methods of extending things usually isn’t an option, since it will create a weak link in the cord which water can breach to the predictable, disastrous results.
Seriously, don’t use an extension cord with your robotic pool cleaner.
Take a look over the extra features that the robotic pool cleaner you’re examining has carefully. Some of them are just gimmicks but others can be quite handy. Things like beach entry will let the cleaner get into the pool by itself and save you some work, for instance.
Obviously the cost is going to go up when you’re looking at some serious features but it might be worth it if you can fit it into your budget.
Warranties are always a good thing to keep an eye out for, no matter what you’re buying, but with a robotic pool cleaner they become pretty much required. These are complex electronics… which you’re going to submerge in water on purpose.
They’re also pretty expensive, even for the cheaper ones, so you’ll want to make sure that your investment is protected for a considerable period of time.