Built-up dirt, algae, debris, and grime can quickly made your pool look dirty and uninviting. A robotic pool cleaner can save you a tremendous amount of time and energy, giving you more time to relax and enjoy swimming in clear, refreshing water. Robotic pool cleaners aren’t a cheap investment, but you also don’t have to go over your budget to find a decent cleaner that will get the job done right.
The type of pool you own, desired features and budget will make it easier to narrow down possible options. For example, if you own a larger in-ground pool that accumulates a fair amount of debris, you may want to invest in a bigger and more powerful cleaner that can keep up with falling leaves and other debris. On the other hand, a smaller and less powerful cleaner might be all you need to adequately maintain a smaller pool.
Your budget and the type of pool you own are some of the biggest factors to consider. However, you’ll also want to keep in mind which robotic pool cleaner will be best for the specific needs of your pool. For example, if scum tends to build up along the water line, you might want to invest in a vacuum that is specifically designed to sweep away build-up in that area. Some vacuums are better at climbing stairs, while others maximize performance and efficiency to get the job done faster. As these vacuums can get quite heavy when full, you may want to look for one that lets you drain out the water. Some also come with a carrying caddy for easier portability.
1. Best In-Ground Pool Cleaner: Dolphin Premier
The Dolphin Premier is considered the flagship Dolphin pool cleaner, and for good reason. Dolphin has a solid reputation among pool owners for its dependable products, and this Dolphin pool cleaner doesn’t disappoint. In addition to its reliability, the Premier comes with a number of products to make pool cleaning and maintenance less stressful. For example, it comes with four distinct media filters to make sure the job is done right. You can choose the micro-cartridges for cleaning algae and other fine particles, then swamp it out for the large debris bag when cleaning out leaves.
Aggressive rubber tracks help secure the vacuum to the side of the pool for effective cleaning. Innovative navigation software helps guide the vacuum in a methodical pattern, while sensors keep it from getting stuck on obstacles such as drains and pool ladders. Other highlights include 360 degree swivel cords to avoid tangles, dual scrubbing brushes and efficient motors that use less energy without sacrificing performance.
Is the Dolphin Premier right for me? If it’s within your budget, the Premier is a solid investment if you’re looking for a vacuum with maximum power and the latest technology to reliably clean your in-ground pool.
- Comes with four media filters
- 360 degree anti-tangle swivel cable
- Aggressive rubber tracks add security on walls
- Can be heavy to remove after cleaning
- Some find it struggles to climb walls
- Limited operating instructions
2. Best Pressure Side Pool Cleaner: Polaris Vac-Sweep 360
The Polaris Vac-Sweep 360 is a no-frills pressure side pool cleaner that runs on the pool’s circulation pump. The cleaner sweeps, scrubs and vacuums as it goes, while its three jets provide maximum suction for thorough cleaning. This vacuum is compatible with in-ground pools of nearly every shape and size. Debris is captured and stored in the large filter bag before it reaches the pump basket and filter. A back-up valve ensures continuous operation by getting the vacuum out of corners or other tight spaces if it gets stuck.
Is the Polaris Vac-Sweep right for me? It’s nothing fancy, but this vacuum is one of the best for pressure side pool cleaning with its three jets and the ability to sweep, scrub and vacuum as it goes.
Price: $439.99 (22 percent off MSRP)
- Works with most in-ground pools
- Three jets provide extra suction power
- Auto-reverse technology keeps it from getting stuck
- Filter bag needs to be cleaned frequently
- Only has one bag size
- Can be heavy when bag is full
3. Best Value: Dolphin Nautilus CC Plus
The Dolphin Nautilus Plus is equally suited for above ground and in-ground pools with vinyl, tile and plaster materials. It’s ideal for pools up to 50 feet long. This well-rounded cleaner snatches up all types of debris, from large leaves to silt, sand and other bits. A handy spring clean-up option keeps the focus on deep and thorough cleaning that’s often required when it’s time to open your pool for the season.
The cleaner finishes most jobs in about 2.5 hours and vacuums, scrubs and filters as it goes. Smart navigation technology guides the vacuum around the pool in a sensible manner. Other features include dual scrubbing brushes, a large filter system that can easily be accessed from the top and a swivel cable design to keep the cord from getting tangled. You can use the weekly timer function to schedule automatic cleanings.
Is the Dolphin Nautilus CC Plus right for me? With its ability to clean in-ground and above ground pools and ample suction to pick up everything from large leaves to the smallest particles, the Dolphin Nautilus Plus is a sensible investment for any pool owner. A common complaint is that it’s not the best on stairs.
Price: $730.01 (9 percent off MSRP)
- Equally suited for in-ground and above-ground pools
- Spring clean-up option provides deep cleaning for pool opening season
- Weekly timer function makes it easy to schedule automatic cleanings
- May occasionally miss spots, especially in corners
- Some wish it had more scrubbing power
- Can struggle to properly clean stairs
4. Best for Deep Cleaning In-Ground Pools: iRobot Mirra 530
You might recognize iRobot for its popular iRobot vacuum cleaning robots, but the same company also makes this powerful pool cleaning robot. The Mirra is best suited for in-ground pools of all sizes. An integrated pump and filter system filters through 70 gallons of water each minute. The result is a vacuum that can filter out dirt and algae for cleaner water. A powerful PVC scrubbing brush cleans up oil, bacteria and other small particles that tend to accumulate, particularly at the water line.
The self-contained vacuum doesn’t require any installation, and will start working at the push of a button. A built-in sensor detects where the vacuum is headed and allows it to change direction accordingly without getting tangled. Drain valves at the bottom allow you to empty the vacuum so that it’s easier to handle after a cleaning.
Is the iRobot Mirra 530 right for me? The hallmark feature of this vacuum is its powerful scrubbing brush, which cleans along the water line and water surface to sweep away oils, bacteria and other debris that tends to settle. Several owners note that the basket design and quality could be better.
Price: $999.99 (33 percent off MSRP)
- Ideal for deep cleaning
- No installation required
- Bottom drain valves for emptying water
- Poor basket design
- Instruction manual could be better
- Some question the durability of the foam wheels
5. Best for Deep Cleaning Above-Ground Pools: Kreepy Krauly Prowler 910
If you have an above-ground pool that could use some deep cleaning, this pool cleaner could be a worthwhile investment. The Prowler cleans pools up to 40 feet long, and comes with a 40-foot power cord to ensure it reaches all parts of the pool. A high-speed scrubbing brush removes even stubborn bits of algae and other debris that can build up inside a pool. The filter basket sits on top for fast access and removal. Other features include a mesh filtration basket and powerful suction.
Is the Kreepy Krauly Prowler 910 right for me? If you’re looking for a pool cleaner that can deep clean your above-ground pool, consider the Kreepy Krauly Prowler 910. Some owners wish it was better at climbing walls.
- Deep cleans above-ground pools
- Works in pools up to 40 feet long
- Top-access filtration basket
- A bit heavy
- Not the best at climbing walls
- Cord can get tangled
6. Best Solar-Powered Pool Cleaner: Solar-Breeze NX
Rather than dive down to scrub up debris on the bottom of the pool, the Solar-Breeze NX takes care of the water surface by skimming away debris before it has time to settle. This cleaner runs entirely on solar energy, which can greatly reduce your pool maintenance cost. Since it doesn’t require cords or hoses for operation, you won’t have to worry about undoing kinks or tangles. A built-in fine mesh filter removes dust, dirt and bugs as the device skims, leaving sparkling clean water in its wake. There’s also a chlorine tray for sanitizing the pool along the way.
Is the Solar-Breeze NX right for me? As long as you’re not counting on it for deep cleaning, this solar-powered cleaner is a sensible and eco-friendly investment for pool surface cleaning.
- Runs entirely on solar energy
- Can greatly reduce pool maintenance costs
- Built-in chlorine tray sanitizes water
- Not for deep cleaning
- A bit pricey
- Can get heavy
7. Best Vacuum for Large Pools: Polaris F9550 Sport
If you have a larger pool, you’ll want a robust pool cleaner with enough power and performance to match. This cleaner tackles in-ground pools up to 60 feet long. It also comes with a carrying caddy so that you won’t have to strain trying to get it into the pool. The cleaner features a 4WD system that propels it across any pool terrain and helps it climb up walls and stairs.
A solid scrubbing brush cleans up the tile line, where film tends to form. A dirty canister filter lets you know when it’s time to empty. You can use the remote to guide the vacuum and to have it surface at a desired location with the push of a button. A programmable timer lets you schedule cleanings ahead of time.
Is the Polaris F9550 Sport right for me? This Polaris model isn’t cheap, but it’s a worthwhile investment if you have a larger in-ground pool.
Price: $1,118.78 (43 percent off MSRP)
- Ideal for in-ground pools up to 60 feet long
- Comes with a carrying caddy
- 4WD technology helps power the vacuum up walls and stairs
- Some find the remote awkward and difficult to operate
- Not the best at cleaning steps
8. Best for Complete Pool Maintenance: Aquabot Turbo T4RC Plus
The Aquabot Turbo T4RC Plus is a powerhouse. Not only does it vacuum, the T4RC also scrubs and power washes surfaces to get your pool as clean as possible. A microfilter helps keep the water clean by filtering out even the smallest particles. Rotating brushes loosen up debris and build-up along the floors, walls and waterline, while the pressure washing jets clear away stubborn bits of debris.
An onboard filtration system means you won’t have to worry about extras such as hoses and filters. Dual-drive motors propel the robot pool cleaner as it cleans. You can use the included wireless remote control to steer the pool cleaner in the right direction.
Is the Aquabot Turbo T4RC Plus right for me? It’s not the cheapest, but this Aquabot model is worth a close look if you’re seeking one of the most powerful robot pool cleaners on the market.
- Learns angles and curves to cut down on missed spots
- Deep cleans in just one hour
- Power washing feature
- Bottom loading filter
- Can get heavy
- A bit pricey
9. Best at Climbing Walls: Dolphin Quantum
Finding a robot pool cleaner that’s powerful enough for thorough cleaning yet can also efficiently climb and clean walls is challenging. In lieu of the traditional wheels found on most vacuum cleaners, the Dolphin Quantum has rubber tracks with deep tread for climbing slippery surfaces. This innovative design helps to eliminate the buildup of water between wheels, which can cause them to lose traction.
The rubber traction provides a secure grip, even when the vacuum is climbing up a vertical wall. Other features include a water release system that makes the vacuum easier to carry when it’s done cleaning, and programmable cleaning modes for automatic cleaning. This pool robot also has the largest cartridge filtration system on the market, which allows it to pick up even more debris as it goes.
Is the Dolphin Quantum right for me? If your pool walls need frequent cleaning, the Dolphin Quantum could be your best bet. A common complaint is that the cord can get twisted during cleanings.
- Designed to climb walls
- Large filtration system
- Programmable cleaning modes
- Cord can get twisted
- No Bluetooth connectivity
- Doesn’t clean very quickly
10. Best Budget Cleaner for Above-Ground Pools: Aquabot Pool Rover S2-40i
Robot pool cleaners aren’t cheap, but some models are more affordable than others. One example is the Aquabot Pool Rover S2-40i. While this vacuum is especially suited for above-ground pools, it can also clean smaller in-ground pools. The vacuum covers all the basics, including a top access filtration system that sorts out even the smallest particles and bits of debris to keep your pool water clear. It’s also safe for all pool surfaces.
Is the Aquabot Pool Rover S2-40i right for me? If you’re looking for a budget-friendly automatic cleaner for your above-ground pool, consider this vacuum.
- Top access filtration system
- Can be used on all in-ground pool surfaces
- Cord can get tangled
- Some caution debris tends to get stuck in fine mesh bags
- Not great for deep cleaning