Pool Cleaning in the 21st Century
The game isn’t the same as it used to be with robotic pool cleaners moving us away from the days of putting in hours of work. From the smallest of kiddie pools to Olympic sized behemoths every pool needs to be cleaned once in a while. Actually more often than that but we can follow that up later. For now, you need to know you’re in the right place to learn everything you need to know about taking care of your pool. From the good old tried and true manual method to space-age robotic pool cleaners, there are many ways to go. Finding a solution that fits within your price range and effort required is easier than ever. Still, it’s important to cover all your bases so you don’t end up shopping again in a few months.
Best Robotic Pool Cleaners
Short Reviews Of The Best Robotic Pool Cleaners
The Dolphin Premier robotic pool cleaner stands as a fine testament to their innovation in the market. Capable of cleaning floors, walls, and the water line this machine is full of tricks. Switch between four different media for holding debris from micro-filters to disposable trash bags. Twin DC motors allow this machine to get powerful 4500 GPH suction while staying energy efficient. More efficient than 90% of the market, the wide tracks and dual brushes give you a great clean.
A price of over $1000 makes you pay for the value while the SmartNav efficiently maps pool surfaces. A three-hour cleaning cycle, programmable scheduling, and microprocessor keep operation smooth. The Dolphin Premier contends with any high-end robotic pool cleaner for best in class. Read full review.
With its smooth rubber wheels and sleek profile, the Polaris 9550 robotic pool cleaner is a marvel to behold. The power is apparent with strong suction and a solid blade scrubber to give you a nice clean. Patented Vortex Vacuum technology keeps debris suspended for extra suction ability.
The rear exhaust and four-wheel drive also help to make it maneuver across all surfaces. Settings for waterline cleaning alone and 7-day programmable timers highlight useful abilities. Easy Lift System helps you easily move around its 40-pound weight when cleanings are done. The Polaris 9550 easily navigates any obstacle with its ActivMotion Sensor. While the easy-clean filter keeps things moving smoothly with a simple shake to empty. Read full review.
The Dolphin Nautilus CC Plus robotic cleaner manages to fit a lot into its 19-pound frame. With the ability to accurately map and clean your pool with minimal setup this machine excels for medium-sized pools. A nice long cord allows for cleaning up to 50 feet pools as the Clever Clean technology plans the route. It can detect any obstacles and reroute to continue its cleaning process. A 2-hour cleaning cycle gives it a speedy time for cleaning.
While an $800 price point puts it on the lower end of robotic pool cleaners. Only missing the ability to clean up your waterline, these cleaners two filters allow for quick and easy cleaning. Read full review.
Four-wheel drive isn’t typically a consideration when it comes to robotic pool cleaners however the Aquabot X4 isn’t typical. Powerful water rotation and efficient design make this cleaner a solid option for a mid-tier robotic cleaner. A convenient caddy design also makes it easier to move despite its taxing 35-pound weight. The extra workout is made up for with rubber wheels that allow it to scale 90-degree walls.
Capable of cleaning all surfaces the Aquabot X4 has multiple settings and cleaning cycles for automated cleaning. With the help of AutoX Pool Mapping, this cleaner simply gets to work. Dual filter storage and a 3-year warranty also contribute to giving this model tremendous value. Read full review.
The name Hayward is synonymous with pool cleaning and the TigerShark carries that forward as a reliable robotic pool cleaner. The Quick Clean technology allows you to switch between a normal 3-hour cleaning cycle and a 90-minute blitz. You can easily move between full cleaning and quickly preparing for company. A reinforced capsule filter grabs debris down to 2 microns and is also easy to clean.
The DC motor also keeps it running efficiently at low power for an energy-saving machine. A weight of 22 pounds does make it a bit of a chore to get out of the water, however. The TigerShark effectively covers the basics for a reliably clean pool across every surface and material. Read full review.
The Aquabot Pool Rover S2-40i is the blue-collar worker of robotic pool cleaners. You can’t expect it to reinvent the game or have special attention to detail. You can, however, expect it to go to work and simply get the job done. A powerful suction ability comes from the hydro-robotic technology that allows it to swiftly clean.
This pool cleaner can clean a large pool in just 2-hours though it lacks the ability to climb up every wall. Curved surfaces are necessary for it to climb. Despite this its strong brushless suction and rubber wheels allow it to clean any type of surface. A 2-setting 2-hour runtime and 2-micron filters help to make this machine a solid entry-level robotic pool cleaner. Read full review.
How this Guide Works
We all have differing levels of knowledge when it comes to how to take care of a pool properly. This guide is separated into individually labeled sections so you can skip ahead to what you need to know. There’s a whole lot to cover like whether your pool is above ground or in-ground, pumping schedules, and more to make you a true pro. Primarily we will focus on robotic cleaners while giving you all the necessary knowledge to make the choice that’s right for you. From finding the best pool cleaner robot to a solid cheap robotic pool cleaner everything you need is right here.
The Importance of Circulating your Swimming Pool
The first thing to think about when considering the purchase of an automatic pool cleaner is understanding swimming pool circulation. There are many types of robotic pool cleaners and each can function differently when combined with filtration systems and pool circulation. Stagnant water is the worst thing you can have when it comes to keeping a pool clean. It’s important to keep things moving or it won’t matter how much chlorine you dump in. Whether above ground or inground any pool worth taking care of is going to have a filtration system.
Most systems operate by starting where the water is sucked out at the skimmer and ending with a jet. Above ground, pools can work with a single jet while inground pools need multiple jets. The pump will suck the water into your skimmer and through pipes towards your pool filter. The filter takes over and catches sediment, trash, or any other erroneous materials. Finally, the pump sends freshwater back out through the return jets for the basics of the method.
In a perfect world, you’d be able to run your pump 24 hours a day to keep your pool eternally clean. This, however, isn’t very practical with the expenses of operation adding up. Most people settle on a 12 hour a day pump cycle to conserve energy. Definitely the more eco-friendly route to go in many cases that still allows the pool water to turn over once. The last thing you need to know is the difference between suction and pressure side. The suction side is where the water is pulled out while the pressure side is where the water is pushed back in.
Exploring the Options
Before you jump straight in with the latest and greatest in remote control pool cleaners it makes sense to look at the other possibilities. Even though owning a pool isn’t exactly for the frugal-minded it’s always important to know where we came from. With the technology being rather new finding the best robotic pool cleaner might not be the best way to go in some situations. At the end of the day, technology can only be so reliable when compared to what you can accomplish with knowledge and simple tools. There are easier ways to go though so feel welcome to skip ahead. You never know however when it’d be great to have an easy backup plan.
Manual Pool Cleaners
Even if you have the most brilliant state of the art robotic pool cleaner on the market it’s always nice to cover the basics. Establishing a good maintenance routine is important and you aren’t always going to want to start something up. Beyond the standard tools, you might want to keep reading to pick up some general tips on lightening the load. There are three tools every pool owner should have regardless of any other bells and whistles.
This is your right-hand man/woman (Poseidon doesn’t judge) and should always be nearby. From grabbing leaves to more aggressive pool invaders this will often be the quickest solution. The most important thing to look for here is a long reach that can extend if possible. You should also consider the shape and material of the net for grabbing hard to reach areas.
While many of the robotic pool cleaners on the market are capable of cleaning walls sometimes human strength is needed. Taking the time to brush the stairs and wall as much as possible can go a long way. Algae and debris growing on places that are often used or hardly used can sometimes be too much for a machine to handle.
Manual Pool Vacuum
Just like the others a fancy robotic pool cleaner isn’t always the best for spot work. A pool vacuum serves as a nice in-between for problems in the middle of the skimmer and a full clean.Buy on Amazon: Net Skimmer, Pool Brush, Manual Pool Vacuum.
Shocking the Pool
While sometimes it might be necessary to have an easy method to get every one out this is not that. Shocking is generally done at least twice a season by raising the chlorine levels of a pool. It isn’t a catch-all but should be done after a pool party or whenever the water loses clarity. At night time you’ll want to mix in chlorine and warm water depending on your pool size. Shocking in the day will waste money due to evaporation. Make sure you wear protective goggles and gloves while mixing chlorine!
Try using tennis balls to catch excess oils in the pool. With sunscreen, hair supplies, natural oils, and many other foreign liquids being part of the normal swimming experience. A couple of tennis balls in your skimmer basket can help out with the cleaning.
Keep the area around the pool clean. Most pools get dirty from the stuff you directly bring in so take the time to keep your area clean. Over time you can collect buildup that could ruin your pool for good. Stopping to clean the area around your pool once a month can go a long way.
Never wear your street clothes in the pool. Swimsuits are specially made to allow things to move freely through them. This helps to keep your pool clean by minimizing sediment. You never know what chemicals and containments street clothes could be introducing to the water.
Suction Side Pool Cleaners
A step above manual if you are looking to keep your pool cleaned on a budget. Suction-side pool cleaners are the place to look for economical swimmers. Generally, these models operate by connecting to the end of your skimmer. As long as it has some sort of suction line it will roll around the floor of your pool sucking in sediment and debris. Often working in cohesion with your filtration systems these are usually best for removing medium-sized debris. You’ll want to be extra careful if you need a model for small debris or silt.
There isn’t much effort required thanks to the power of suction helping the cleaner move along. Among the different cleaners you can find, some have wheels to move quickly. Others have the ability to climb walls or both.
The main benefit when it comes to the suction side cleaner is that you won’t have to spend a lot of money to clean your pool efficiently. While the best remote control pool cleaner might be well over $1000. You can find a suction side pool cleaner for between $70 and $400. There is a trade-off for the reduced price range however as they rely on your pool filter. In the end, you may end up spending much more time cleaning your pool filter. Everything breaks eventually as well, shortening the life of your pool filter.
Buying a Suction-Side Pool Cleaner?
If you decide on a suction-side pool cleaner here are a few things to keep in mind. Keeping the hose cared for is one of the best ways to keep things operating properly. Always try to store the hoses flat to avoid creating kinks. If a kink is formed use hot water to soften the plastic and store properly. Check the pressure if the cleaner doesn’t sit on the floor of the pool properly. Sometimes you need to clean out some gunk or to check the flow gauge. Familiarizing yourself with the parts and manuals can never go wrong as well.
Pressure-Side Pool Cleaners
Probably the current most popular method to clean pools pressure-side pool cleaners are the precursor to robotic pool cleaners. They operate in a way that is close to automation by hooking up to your return jets for their propulsion. Using that water pressure and their wheels beneath the move around the water. There other main parts are a sweep hose, return-jet hose, and filter bag. Specializing in picking up medium or large debris these machines efficiently clean your pool at varying degrees of success.
They aren’t too complicated as they use your pool pump to gain the force necessary to operate its hoses. Pressurized water from the sweep hose moves the pool cleaner along to simultaneously loosen debris and capture it within the filter bag. It then picks up the big particles while the fine particles flow through to the pool filter system. You can find above ground specific models that don’t rely on a filter bag and use your pool’s filter system. You’ll want to use your manual skimmer for large materials with these to avoid too much maintenance.
The price you’ll pay for a quality pressure-side cleaner can vary significantly depending on what you’re looking for. At the low end, you can pay $200 while some on the upper echelon can reach $1000. Familiarizing yourself with features like rubber wheels and advanced wall gripping abilities will help you maximize your value. Finding a model that is compatible with your pool walls will be most important here.
Some pools might require a booster pump to run a pressure-side cleaner due to a lack of water pressure. You’ll want to keep this in mind when selecting to fit your pool. You’ll probably want professional help if you are looking to install a booster pump. Another thing you’ll want to look into is if your robotic pool cleaner has a backup valve. These will stop water every once in a while building up force until it releases and scoots the robot forward. Knowing how your cleaner moves is an important step to having the best pool cleaner robot.
Robotic Pool Cleaners
Finally, its time to get down to the reason why you’ll never need to worry about those other methods again. While that isn’t necessarily true finding the best robotic pool cleaner can do wonders for easing your workload. The relaxing activity of taking a dip deserves to be treated in a form that fits its nature. What more relaxing way is there to clean a pool than to have something do it for you? With the ability to pick up debris of all sizes and no reliance on your pool filter, they’re certainly self-sufficient.
By simply plugging them into electricity and letting them get to work your off. Specialized low wattage designs keep things safe even when submersed. Thanks to this they often have extra-long cords to fit into ground-fault circuit interrupter(GFCI) outlets. These outlets are made to shut off automatically on detection of electrical imbalances. You can take an extra step with the “double insulated” models that work without a GFCI outlet. You can never be too careful however when dealing with water and electricity.
The best pool cleaner robots define the market with all sorts of special features. You can find solar powers robotic pool cleaners that scoot around like underwater water mocassins. Robotic pool cleaners take the scrubbing and vacuuming into their own hands or brushes. The majority of models will be capable of cleaning both your floors and the walls of your pool. It’s rare to find one that uses your filter system and that’s why many include a filter bag.
When it comes to price for the best robotic pool cleaner you probably don’t want to look at anything under $500. While you may find a few you’ll most likely end up paying much more in the long run. Some of the more expensive models are over $1000 while aiming for $700 is usually a place to start. Paying the extra penny can get you nice features like rapid water release, waterline scrubbing, and remote controls. There’s something cool about a remote control pool cleaner that doubles as a miniature submarine.
How do they work?
This will depend on the brand and machine you use as many companies use clever methods to help their product get around. Beyond just how they move around different robotic cleaners have the ability to map your pool for efficiently cleaning. Everything starts with how they get the power which will always be through an electric cord. The longer the cord the bigger your pool should be kept in mind to make sure it can get the job done. Many methods can work for moving around the pool though wheels are often the most common way. With four-wheel drive, many models use rubber wheels for the traction to climb and clean walls.
By efficiently moving along pumping water through the machine itself your pool is cleaned over time. Some models can operate along with your pumping cycle to ensure your pool stays as clean as possible. As far as tracking their cleaning goes. Some models use abilities like AutoX Pool Mapping to plan out their movements. Others have ActivMotion Sensor Technology to navigate around various pool designs. Using the combination of a large power range, versatile tires, and advanced sensing technology robotic pool cleaners are mainly limited by your needs.
How to use1You’ll always want to consult your manual first when it comes to using your individual robotic pool cleaner. There are however some guidelines you can follow to get moving quickly or make sure this is the method for you. The operation process of a cheap robotic pool cleaner can help it far exceed all lesser machine’s value. 2The first thing you’ll want to do is to make sure everything is assembled properly. Taking the time to put everything together correctly the first time is often the best way to preserve longevity. After that’s complete you’ll want to identify the nearest GFCI outlet. Even if your remote control pool cleaner doesn’t require one taking the extra precaution never hurts. 3Select your preferred settings depending on the model. Some models are able to access modes like Waterline Only or Bottom Only that can limit your machine’s actions for specific tasks. 4Take your robotic cleaner to the halfway point of your pool. This will not only give you a good reference point for tracking your cleaner’s progress. It also serves another purpose in reducing cable tangling. Then you’ll slowly submerge the cleaner letting it rock from side to side. This will allow the built-up air inside to escape. 5Only then will you want to turn on the pool cleaner to its operating mode. If you turn on the cleaner before you submerge it properly the machine might end up damaged. Make sure you take the time to ensure the settings are adjusted to clean walls properly. 6When the cleaner is finished with its task always remove it from the pool. Lift it out of the pool and allow all of the water to drain away before storing it. Taking the time to take care of your robotic pool cleaner is paramount to maintaining its value.
How to Pick the Best Robotic Cleaner
You know what it is, how it works, and how to use it, now you need to know how to choose it. The competition is fierce for the best robotic cleaner. This is what you’ll need to wade through the muck and get right to the features you’re looking for. Hopefully, you’ll be able to find your own model with an adequate combination of these features to find the perfect cleaner for you.
Types of Filter
With filtering ability being one of the main strengths of going with a robotic pool cleaner this is certainly an important aspect to watch. Thankfully with the added attention, most companies do their best when it comes to not cutting corners here. With quality under control, size is the biggest thing to keep in mind here. The bigger the filter the less time you’ll have to spend cleaning it. Some models will have a single filter basket while other models can have two or more. Pay special attention to how many cubic inches can fit as well as how tiny the holes in the filter are. Bacteria and algae can get extremely small so the smaller the better.
Cables (Pool Size)
Your cables are relatively self-explanatory but also an area where you can certainly be dead on arrival. Having enough slack to be able to reach all parts of the pool from your outlet is most important here. Try not to settle for anything under 40 feet as this can be pushing it even in the smallest of pools. You can find cables reaching from 30 feet all the way to 100 feet plus though generally, around 50 will do the trick.
Wheels vs. Tracks
Just like any age-old battle, you will find different advantages with going in either direction. Tracks are the best way to start as the more classic form of movement. Tracks ensure a tight grip to the surface for strong suction. Wheels, on the other hand, are becoming the new way for robotic cleaners thanks to their superior maneuverability. Wheels will often climb walls and stairs better while also being available in a variety of packages. The best robotic pool cleaners often combine wheels and tracks together to cover all bases.
Performance and Suction Ability
This is going to count on a variety of factors but will mostly come down to whats the most important factor for you. Strong suction will be the primary factor in deciding your overall performance. The majority of robotic pool cleaners have excellent suction. Though varying levels of maintenance can be required to maintain it. This is probably also where you’ll want to consider how much work is required to get started. Look for high GPM of over 70 if you can to make sure you’re getting a good rotation.
While this can largely come down to wheels vs tracks there are a variety of ways to go when it comes to climbing. While treads may work for smooth walls wheels will be better for more rugged surfaces. The basic robotic pool cleaners are only capable of cleaning the pool floors. Finding an effective solution for cleaning walls is important. Taking the next step to make sure its functional on stairs will make sure you’re prepared for anything.
What use is buying an automated robot if you always have to tell it when to get started? Making sure you purchase a remote pool cleaner with a programmable timer goes a long way for ease of use. The ability to synchronize schedules or operate while your away can be huge when it comes to later clean up. Setting up hourly, or automatic cleanings while also getting alert settings when the filter is full can be crucial.
This is another important aspect because its gonna decide how long it takes to clean your pool. Most robotic pool cleaners only have one option for the setting. While the best robotic pool cleaners give you multiple options for cleanliness. Some models can program ahead for a full week while others will require more attention. A 3-hour cleaning cycle is about the standard though some can operate in 90 minutes or less.
Detecting Features and Sensors
Your detecting features are gonna be the main attribute that separates the contenders from the pretenders. Looking for features like ActivMotion Sensor will give robotic pool cleaners the ability to clean free form pools. Other versions like AutoX Pool Mapping will calculate the pool’s shape for speed and efficiency.
Taking care of any investment is important and even more so when it comes to robotic pool cleaners. With proper maintenance, your robotic pool cleaner could be the only part of your pool you have to take care of. Even with their high tech designs, there’s nothing to be afraid of. Most robotic power cleaners are designed to be easy to clean so don’t neglect them. Features like quick-draining will allow you to speed up the process so look out for cleaning features as well. As long as you follow the following steps though your robotic pool cleaner might outlast its owner.
No matter what always removed your robotic cleaner from the pool after its cycle is complete. Waterproof only goes so far when it comes to constant movement and pressure. Once you drain the cleaner rap the cord around the holder. Try to avoid kinks and if they arise try wrapping it up in the opposite direction. Remember to do your best to remove the filter bag or canister and clean it after each use. The use of a high-pressure hose will make sure nothing builds up. The drive tracks, impellers, and brushes should be checked after each use for large debris. Debris can get stuck and wear down the brushes over time. Replacing the brushes is often the best way to return to optimal cleaning efficiency.
The task of cleaning your pool has truly developed into a science with hundreds of robotic cleaners moving into the market. Luckily the technology itself is solid enough that it isn’t too hard to find something that should at least suffice. Spending the money to move away from the manual has many forms that might work for you. Though considering you’ll want a basic set anyway robotic pool cleaners are certainly a luxury. You still won’t find an easier way to clean your pool. When other methods can take multiple hours the ability to set and forget cannot be underestimated. No matter which way you go basic maintenance is going to be a requirement. With that in mind finding the perfect combination or traction, mapping, filter, and suction could make your life a lot easier.
Are Robotic Cleaners Worth It?
If you are going to spend the money it takes to own a swimming pool its certainly worth taking the steps to take care of it. There’s nothing worse than a once beautiful swimming pool that’s too beyond repair to approach. A robotic pool cleaner can take out a lot of that effort that contributes to that neglect. With prices comparable to some pressure-side suction models pure automation is certainly nice.
Can You Leave a Robotic Cleaner in the Pool?
It is never recommended to leave your robotic cleaner in the pool though one night won’t break it. Over time, however, it can wear down the machine as they are built to function while underwater. If they are underwater and not functioning it’s only natural that things will malfunction in time.
How Long Do Robotic Cleaners Last?
Like many things, it’ll often depend on the model you buy and how well you take care of it. Looking for brands with a long history or solid warranty offers is never a bad way to go. Under two years is likely unlucky or a bad product. If you replace the parts and take care of your robotic cleaner though some models can last a lifetime.
How Much is a Robotic Cleaner?
You generally don’t want to spend less than $500 on a robotic cleaner. Searching for a cheap robotic pool cleaner could be something you grow to regret. Spending around $700 is a nice price point to aim for with a decent set of features. The best pool cleaner robots will cost around $1000 and often come with extravagant features.