The 10 Best Automatic Pool Cleaners

Best-Automatic-Pool-Cleaners

If you’re lucky enough to have a pool in your yard, chances are you don’t want to spend your valuable time constantly cleaning it.

To avoid the requirement for a pool cleaning crew, taking the time to find the best automatic pool cleaner will streamline things.

Any new pool owners might feel that a pump, the right chemical balance, and some regular skimming will be enough to see off the accumulating debris. In some cases, it might be. More often, though, you’ll find that flotsam and jetsam crowding your pool.

By making the investment in a pool cleaner, you’ll not only save yourself some time and hassle, but you’ll also improve the overall water quality in your pool.

The best news? These things are not as expensive as you might imagine!

Now, in today’s comprehensive guide, we’ll be walking you through all aspects of choosing a pool cleaner the easy way. We’ll also be reviewing the top 10 cleaners in this class so you can readily find the most suitable fit.

Once we’ve shone a light on the finest pool cleaners out there, we’ll be giving you a concise buying guide so you can further firm things up.

Before that, a very brief snapshot of what you’ll need to consider with automatic pool cleaners.

These cleaners can be broadly divided into 3 types:

  • Robotic pool cleaner: Straightforward, automated cleaning
  • Suction pool cleaner: Works in tandem with your pool skimmer
  • Pressure pool cleaner: Ideal for larger debris

As you’ll see down below, there are plenty more pointers to consider on the buying trail, but you have a solid overview now that should help you better navigate our reviews.

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The 10 Best Automatic Pool Cleaners

1. Our #1 Pick: Dolphin Nautilus Robotic Pool Cleaners

Dolphin-Nautilus-CC-Plus-Robotic-Pool-[Vacuum]-Cleaner

Features

  • In-ground pool cleaner
  • For pools to 50 feet
  • 16 x 10 x 16 inches

Our overall favorite automatic pool cleaner comes from the highly reputable Dolphin in the form of the Nautilus Plus.

This model is more keenly priced than the Premier while still offering capable cleaning performance, even with larger in-ground swimming pools up to 50 feet long. Let this machine buff up the floors, walls, and waterline of your pool so you don’t need to.

You’ll be good to go with this pump right out the box. There’s no need to concern yourself with pre-installation, and you won’t have to connect this to your pool system either. Just slip it in the pool and let the robot do the work.

For anyone always crunched for time, you’ll appreciate the ability of this pool cleaner to blitz the whole pool in around 2 hours. Your only requirement is to punch in how many times each week you want the Nautilus to do its work.

Thanks to the CleverClean technology baked in, your robot will establish the optimum method of cleaning your pool rather than scouring in completely random patterns.

Cables rotate through a full 360 degrees, meaning you won’t be burdened by a tangled bird’s nest of cables. Not only this, but you’ll also extend the lifespan of your robot into the bargain.

Since this cleaner operates separately from the filter and pump, you’ll end up making significant savings on your power bills over time.

The filter system of this cleaner is accessible through the top. There’s an oversized opening which is the main differentiator between this and the cheaper baseline Nautilus. The manufacturer throws in a pair of filter cartridges so you can effectively eliminate both big and small pieces of debris cluttering up your pool.

The only real grip we could unearth among a sea of positive testimony concerns the way this cleaner tends to struggle with the steps of your pool.

Crowned by a 2-year guarantee, Dolphin delivers fully with this outstanding automatic pool cleaner.

Things We Like Things We Dislike
  • Cleans pool in 2 hours
  • Weekly scheduler
  • 2-year limited warranty
  • Struggles with steps

2. Best Budget: Zodiac Baracuda Automatic Pool Cleaner

Zodiac-Baracuda-G3-W03000-Advanced-Suction-Side-Automatic-Pool-Cleaner

Features

  • Suction-side pool cleaner
  • For in-ground pools to 40 feet
  • 9 x 18.2 x 8.5 inches

A suction-side pool cleaner makes a much more affordable option than a robot cleaner without stiffing you when it comes to cleaning power. If you’re uncertain of how these types of cleaners differ, scroll down to our buying guide below where we highlight this.

The G3 would make a perfect fit for anyone with a low-speed pool pump and a pool that accumulates small and medium-sized pieces of debris.

The wheel deflector on this pool cleaner is a neat touch, allowing the G3 to glide with ease even around tighter corners. Maneuverability is one of the key selling points here.

Water flow is adjusted automatically thanks to the FlowKeeper valve in place. For anyone with a weaker pump, this allows you to keep the cleaning power maximized.

With the Baracuda, you can efficiently clean you entire pool, even the walls and the steps. Not all pool cleaners are capable of such versatility.

As mentioned, this cleaner is super-maneuverable. Beyond this, you’ll also benefit from lengthy hoses. They help with freedom of movement while preventing any nasty scuffing of your pool surface.

This cleaner runs quietly and you won’t be disturbed even if you’re relaxing poolside with a drink while the Baracuda goes about its business.

You don’t need to fret about installation. It couldn’t be much more straightforward. All you need to do is attach the hose, disc, and wheel deflector. Then, connect the Baracuda to your pool skimmer, or use a dedicated suction line instead.

Maintenance is equally simple thanks to the quick-release cassette.

If anything goes wrong, you’re covered by a robust guarantee and the company offers responsive customer service.

The Baracuda G3 is an efficient and affordable pool cleaner from a brand you can rely on.

Things We Like Things We Dislike
  • Scuff-resistant hoses
  • 36-fin disc
  • Attacks walls and steps
  • Expensive replacement parts

3. Upgrade Pick: Dolphin Premier Robotic Pool Cleaner

Dolphin-Premier-Robotic-Pool-Cleaner-with-Powerful-Dual-Scrubbing-Brushes

Features

  • In-ground pool cleaner
  • For pools to 50 feet
  • 16 x 10 x 16 inches

Dolphin is a heavyweight in the pool cleaning vertical. The upscale Premier model certainly isn’t cheap, but when you factor in the time you’ll save not being shackled to pool cleaning duties all summer, it suddenly seems like a smart investment.

Flexibility is uppermost with the Premier. You’ll find it mops up just about anything it encounters in your pool. From sand and tiny, fine particles through to limbs and leaves from trees, this cleaner takes everything in its stride.

The multimedia filtration makes this possible. Flick between the following modes to take care of any debris in your pool fuss-free:

  • Algae
  • Mulch
  • Fine debris
  • Leaves

You also get a micro-filter and a jumbo debris bag thrown in. Dolphin products might not be cheap, but you benefit from these extras that go some way to compensate for the stiff sticker price.

The powerplant is powerful and agile. The 24V motor runs at up to 3000 RPM. At the same time, it’s also extremely energy-efficient. You’ll actually find yourself using less power than if you used a booster bump.

The highly effective SmartNav software in place ensures that your Dolphin doesn’t thrash around wildly in the pool. After establishing the optimum cleaning pattern, the cleaner snaps right into action.

The Dolphin cleans the pool thoroughly thanks to a pair of brushes. These get to work on any surface marks and the robot vacuums up afterwards.

You should experience every little by the way of tangled cables thanks to the 360-Degree Anti-Tangle Swivel utilized.

This cleaner won’t clean the tops of any ledges or steps, it manages to neatly avoid them. Navigation is first-class, and you should be left with the very minimum of manual cleaning to take care of.

Now, the instructions on this cleaner are weak, but there is plenty of advice available online if you run into any problems.

Backed by a solid 3-year warranty, you’re getting a top-notch pool cleaner from a highly reputable brand. We really can’t recommend this model highly enough.

Things We Like Things We Dislike
  • Multimedia filtration
  • Brisk twin motors
  • Smart weekly controls
  • Difficult to repair

4. Polaris Vac Pressure Side Pool Cleaner

Polaris-Vac-Sweep-280-Pressure-Side-Pool-Cleaner,-280-Model

Features

  • Pressure-side pool cleaner
  • For pools to 50 feet
  • 20 x 23 x 10 inches

Next up in our quest for the best automatic pool cleaners comes one of the impressive Polaris stable. How does the Vac-Sweep 280 shape up, then?

With this iteration of the Polaris, you get a powerful and efficient pool cleaner. This is a pressure-side model. If you’re unclear on what that entails, scroll down to our buying guide below. Essentially, it simply means that you can easily hook this thing up to a dedicated pressure line.

This cleaner features the classic 3-wheel design giving it a great deal of agility. It’s designed to work in all in-ground pools of all shapes and sizes.

You’ll get 31 feet of feed hose included which gives you ample room for maneuver.

You should be aware in advance that you’ll need a booster pump like this one.

The double jets onboard optimize cleaning by providing superb vacuum power. You can get the whole pool cleaned in around 3 hours, and you won’t need to follow up with much manual cleaning either. The cleaner sweeps, scrubs, and then vacuums your pool so you get a comprehensive clean-up without needing to lift a finger.

The design of the filter means that debris is removed before it barrels into the filter. This filter bag is single-chambered.

This is one of the most versatile and capable pool cleaners in its class and well worth popping on your shortlist if it makes a neat fit for your pool at home.

Things We Like Things We Dislike
  • Sucks debris powerfully
  • Oversized filter bag
  • 3-wheeled design
  • Needs Polaris booster pump

5. Dolphin Triton Robotic Pool Cleaner

DOLPHIN-Triton-PS-Robotic-Pool-[Vacuum]-Cleaner

Features

  • In-ground pool cleaner
  • For pools to 50 feet
  • 4 x 16.8 x 9 inches

Dolphin’s Triton PS allows you to buy into this mighty brand without bankrupting yourself. What do you get for your money, then?

Well, you should find this cleaner suits pretty much any in-ground pool to 50 feet. What can you expect in terms of performance?

All you need to do is punch into the weekly scheduling how often you’d like a 2-hour pool clean. That’s as long as it takes for this nifty robot to power its way through your pool. You can choose between daily cleaning, cleaning on alternate days, or cleaning once every 3 days.

This clean-up isn’t just a quick once-over that will have you manually scrubbing up afterwards either. The Triton delivers powerful cleaning to both the walls and the waterline.

A few disgruntle customers have pointed out that there is an issue with tangling, so bear this in mind and be warned.

Unlike a suction-side pool cleaner, this one won’t be relying on your existing pool pump or filter. The filtration on this unit is solid and leaves your pool gleaming and free of litter.

Dolphin has been in the business for decades helping pool owners just like you reclaim their time without hiring a pool cleaning crew, and without needing to lift a finger. You can rely on their pool cleaners to work seamlessly and efficiently, while delivering outstanding lifespan. While these things are not exactly cheap, we feel the Triton PS is a smart investment rather than a niggling expense.

Things We Like Things We Dislike
  • 2-hour cleaning
  • Weekly scheduling
  • For walls, floors, and waterline
  • Poor anti-tangle algorithm

6. Polaris Sport Robotic In-Ground Pool Cleaner

Polaris-F9450-Sport-Robotic-In-Ground-Swimming-Pool-Cleaner-Vacuum

Features

  • In-ground pool cleaner
  • For pools to 50 feet
  • 22 x 18.5 x 22 inches

Next up we have another first-class pool cleaner from the legendary Polaris. The F9450 is a new and improved version of the outgoing classic, but is it any good?

The raw cleaning power of the Polaris is arguably its chief selling point. The manufacturer claims that cleaning is the best in its class, and we feel this claim is justified. The Vortex Vacuum Technology enables this cleaner to confidently cope with all kind of pool terrain while delivering a spectacular deep clean. The best thing? This unit is pretty reasonably priced compared to the opposition, too.

This is the only robot in the Polaris line to offer 7-day programmability, perfect for anyone with a hectic lifestyle and a pool that needs frequently cleaning without fanfare or a pool cleaning crew.

The innovative all-purpose filter canister has up to four times the capacity of most of the competition. This results in needing to clean the filter far less often while also reducing operating costs. What’s not to love?

Well, it’s only the customer service arm of Polaris that lets things down. A handful of annoyed users complain about unresponsive and unhelpful engagements with customer care.

The four-wheel-drive of this robot lends to its agility and completes a winning package from a brand you can trust.

Things We Like Things We Dislike
  • 7-day programmable cycle
  • Large filter canister
  • 4WD technology
  • Weak customer service

7. Hayward Pool Cleaner

Hayward-W3PVS40JST-Poolvergnuegen-Pool-Cleaner-(Automatic-Pool-Vacuum)

Features

  • Suction-side pool cleaner
  • For pools to 50 feet
  • 4 x 13.6 x 11.9 inches

The Hayward stable offers up another first-rate pool cleaner in the form of this classic flagship model. How does this thing stand out in a crowded field, then?

The first thing you’re getting is unbeatable brand heritage. This company has been making pool cleaners for almost a century and brings all that expertise to bear here.

This is a suction-side pool cleaner, so you’ll need to hook it up to the filter and pump in your pool so it can be powered.

Once it’s in action, the cleaner follows pre-programmed steering sequences to guarantee complete pool coverage and efficient cleaning.

You can manipulate suction by swapping out the interchangeable throat. You’ll be supplied with three throats in the package.

The knobbly tire tread in place gives this pool cleaner superb traction when it counts. The PoolCleaner is more than able to negotiate just about all pool terrains.

This model is also available in a two-wheel-drive version if that seems more appealing.

Overall, you’re getting a first-class automatic pool cleaner you can power with your existing equipment. Save money over hiring a pool cleaning crew, and save yourself the trouble of breaking a sweat.

The vast majority of consumer feedback is positive, although we found some isolated complaints about problems developing with the hose links. This aside, we feel you’ll be more than satisfied if you invest in this automatic pool cleaner.

Things We Like Things We Dislike
  • Pre-programmed steering
  • 3 interchangeable throats
  • Optimal suction on uneven surfaces
  • Hose link issues

8. Dolphin Escape Above-Ground Pool Cleaner

Dolphin-Escape-Robotic-Above-Ground-Pool-Cleaner

Features

  • Above-ground pool cleaner
  • For pools to 50 feet
  • 4 x 17.8 x 13 inches

As we edge to the end of our search for the best automatic pool cleaner, we have yet another entry from Dolphin. When they make gear to such a high standard, it’s no surprise the company has such a stranglehold on this vertical.

Firstly, this is an above-ground pool cleaner, so make sure that’s the right fit for you and your swimming pool. If so, how does the Escape shape up?

To lead off, the SmartNav 2.0 scanning system ensures that this robot nimbly and efficiently navigates your pool while delivering a thorough deep clean as it travels around.

Dual scrubbing brushes powerfully slice through even the most stubborn marks on the surface of your pool.

Packing a low-voltage motor, you can run this cleaner at the cost of just 5 cents an hour.

Unlike most wheeled pool cleaners, the Escape runs on continuous tracks like a tank.

With a generous cartridge to trap all the debris this cleaner sucks up, you can kiss goodbye to the mess, hassle, and expense of bags.

Overall, this is a potent yet energy-efficient pool cleaner from an industry thoroughbred. You can buy with complete confidence here.

Things We Like Things We Dislike
  • Highly energy-efficient
  • Robotic scanning
  • Smart controls
  • Sleep mode engages after 80 minutes

9. Zodiac In-Ground Pool Cleaner

Zodiac-MX6-In-Ground-Suction-Side-Pool-Cleaner

Features

  • In-ground suction-side pool cleaner
  • For pools to 50 feet
  • 4 x 8.9 x 14.8 inches

Zodiac’s in-ground pool cleaner is a great pick if you a twin-speed or variable-speed pumps. This is due to the pioneering low-flow design of this thing.

If you’re looking for a pool cleaner that’s lightweight and compact but doesn’t compromise you when it comes to cleaning power and performance, look no further.

Not only do you get such impressive results, but this model also draws down very little power making it one of the most energy-efficient pool cleaners on our list.

This cleaner can climb walls aggressively thanks to the articulated turbine blade.

Hoses swivel and come with quick connects to make your life super-simple. You’ll get just under 30 feet of hose thrown in giving you ample maneuverability.

Although the 1-year limited warranty could be lengthier, considering the pricing and overall performance, we feel this is a minor gripe. Overall, you’re getting a very effective pool cleaner for a pretty reasonable price.

Things We Like Things We Dislike
  • Low-flow design
  • Works well with variable speed pumps
  • Swiveling hoses with quick connect
  • Build could be improved

10. Hayward TigerShark Robotic Pool Cleaner

Hayward-RC9955CUB-TigerShark-Robotic-Pool-Vacuum-(Automatic-Pool-Cleaner)

Features

  • In-ground pool cleaner
  • For pools to 50 feet
  • 5 x 16.5 x 11.5 inches

Last but certainly not least in our quest for the best automatic pool cleaner comes the iconic TigerShark from the inimitable Hayward.

First up, you’ll need to choose from a trip of configurations:

  • Standard
  • Quick Clean
  • Plus

The pricing of these models differs quite significantly, so it’s worth doubling down on which makes the smoothest fit. This is the top-tier Plus model and it comes with a wireless remote for your complete convenience.

You’ll benefit from two cleaning speeds so you can blitz the pool in 90 minutes, or leave the TigerShark swimming around for 3 hours and a deep clean. On the quick cycle, you won’t get the walls of your pool thoroughly cleaned.

This cleaner is ideal for most residential swimming pools, although it always pays to check the sizing of your pool before committing to purchase. You’ll be good to 50 feet with this model.

You’ll find the filter cartridge system is very quick and easy to remove, reducing your maintenance to almost nil.

The Hayward will cope with most types of pool debris up to medium-sized leaves. If you find your pool is frequently deluged with larger leaves, you might find these block up the intake port. This severely impairs performance.

Auto shut-off and overload protection are valuable safety features.

The minor drawbacks of this cleaner include a leaking trail of dirt when you remove the cleaner from the pool. You’ll also need to clean the filter after every use.

With no hoses, pumps, or hookups to worry about, and a 3-year limited warranty to protect you, this is one of the best automatic pool cleaners out there.

Things We Like Things We Dislike
  • Wireless remote
  • Efficient 24-volt motor
  • Innovative cartridge filter
  • Sticks on drains

Things You Should Consider

Pool-Cleaners

OK, with our reviews put to bed, here is a more detailed breakdown of what to consider on the buying trail.

Pool cleaners come in many shapes and sizes:

  • Robotic Pool Cleaner: Perfect for effortless, automatic cleaning
  • Suction Pool Cleaner: Hook this up to your pool skimmer and kiss goodbye to sand and dust in the water
  • Pressure Pool Cleaner: If you have fallen leaves or acorns causing a problem in your pool, pressure side cleaner work wonders with bigger pieces of debris

You can also get manual pool cleaners but we’re looking to save time and effort here. The last thing you need is a workout when it comes to cleaning! Since a larger pool could take hours with a manual cleaner, they are not suitable for many and we’ll leave you to explore those yourself if you think a manual would work.

We’ll take a glance now at each of these 3 styles of cleaner in a little more detail…

Robotic Pool Cleaner

At the top of the food chain are robotic pool cleaners.

Fully automatic, self-contained units, this is a stress-free way to take care of your pride and joy.

Robotic cleaners have a pump and internal motor. You’ll get an electronic control unit so you can take care of things from a distance.

Running on low voltage, there’s no danger at all.

Artificial intelligence is improving. Robots can learn their way around your pool. They become accustomed to the layout and dimensions. Cleaning becomes even more efficient.

The degree to which you can program the robot varies from brand to brand. Think about what sort of functionality would be useful for you. Don’t become obsessed with features that would hold no value for you. Instead, focus sharply on your personal needs and buy accordingly.

The debris collected is stored onboard. Robotic cleaners use either a bag or a canister for this.

There are a few things to take into account when looking for the most suitable robot…

Do you have an in-ground or above ground pool? Not all robotic cleaners work effectively with all types of pool.

The size of your pool influences which robot would be best. Look for one specifically designed for the rough dimensions of your pool.

Pools come with a range of different surfaces.

  • Concrete
  • Fiberglass
  • Vinyl
  • Tile

Getting the right cleaner for the surface is crucial. Don’t buy blind and end up wrecking your pool rather than cleaning it.

Your robotic cleaner will work separately from your filtration system. They will filter and clean your water and so prolong the life of your filter.

Suction-Side Pool Cleaner

Suction-side pool cleaners are a cheap and cheerful way to maintain your pool without taking out a bank loan.

These suction cleaners attach to your skimmer with a hose. They harness the suction of your pool pump and suck up any debris that would otherwise have clogged up your filter.

Suction models are perhaps the most popular automatic cleaners.

There are 2 varieties of this type of pool cleaner:

  • Inertia-Driven: These suction cleaners operate in a random fashion. They’ll get the job done but the inefficiency means it takes a while
  • Geared: Working to a pre-set pattern means geared suction cleaners will get the job done quicker. Accessing tight corners presents them with no problem. They work especially well with smaller pools and those with steps or ledges built in

A couple of things to watch out for with suction-side pool cleaners…

The dirt and debris will be dumped in the filter and basket. This can tax and overload them.

You also need to make sure your filter is clean enough or you’ll notice weaker results.

For most pool owners, a suction-side cleaner is at least worth considering.

Pressure Pool Cleaner

Rather than using the plumbing of your pool to pull themselves around, pressure-side cleaners are pushed by a pump.

This type of cleaner is more powerful than a suction model.

Take note that you might need a separate hose connection in the wall of your pool to accommodate the booster pump. Think very carefully about choosing a pressure-side cleaner if your pool is already built. It could be costly to make the alteration.

If you are hell-bent on one of these cleaners, consider one that doesn’t need an extra pump. Just bear in mind that the type without a booster pump will slow down when the filter starts getting overloaded. They are cheaper to install though, pretty much plug and play.

Pressure cleaners excel with larger debris like leaves.

What Else To Think About When Buying a Pool Cleaner

To round out, here are a few more crucial elements to factor in when you’re comparing the best automatic pool cleaners.

  • Steps and Walls
  • Length of Hose
  • Adjustability
  • Pool Covers
  • Extras

Steps and Walls

You need to think about how your pool cleaner will deal with the entire area not just the pool proper.

Look at the arrangement of steps. Think about the walls. Make sure the cleaner you have in mind can deal with what you’ll throw its way.

Length of Hose

You’ll need to ensure the hose is long enough to go from your skimmer box to the far extent of your pool. It pays to have some surplus hose too.

Don’t buy something that will leave you too close for comfort.

Adjustability

You can fine-tune most cleaners by tweaking the hose buoyancy or adjusting the incoming pressure.

This helps the cleaner deal with your pool more effectively.

Pool Covers

While you can use some cleaners under a covered pool, others require you to remove the cover.

How important is that to you?

If it’s a non-issue, no problem. If you want to clean a covered pool, choose a suitable model.

Extras

Whatever type of vacuum you go for, manual or automatic, skimming your pool remains a core component of maintenance.

Pool skimmers have a long pole with a net attached.

Use your skimmer as a pre-emptive strike against debris.

Skimmers are extremely cheap. Pressing it into action on a regular basis will extend the lifespan of your filter by easing its load.

Also, the steps and surface of your pool pick up all sorts of marks and stains.

A decent stiff brush to keep on top of things is essential.

Brushes also come in handy for agitating any particularly stubborn areas. Your vacuum can then take control and finish the job.

OK…

If you bear these pointers in mind, you should have no snags finding the right pool cleaner for your needs.

We’ll round out today with some of the most frequently asked questions concerning automatic pool cleaners.


FAQs

1) How does a robotic pool cleaner work?

Unlike regular pool cleaners, a robotic model is both autonomous and smart. It will navigate your pool while cleaning as it goes. This is achieved through an onboard navigation system combined with an array of sensors. The debris picked up is filtered and retained in a dirt bag or cartridge system. You can remove your robot after use, or leave it in the pool to act as a filtration system.

2) What’s the best automatic pool cleaner?

There’s no such thing. You need to focus on what works for you and the type of pool you have. Our guide should help you establish which makes the smoothest match.

3) Is it worth buying an automatic pool cleaner?

If you value your time or you dislike manually cleaning a pool, an automatic pool cleaner makes a cheaper long-term proposition than continuously engaging a pool cleaning crew.


Conclusion

We hope you’ve enjoyed today’s guide to choosing the best automatic pool cleaner.

If you take the time to explore our buying guide, you should be well-versed with what to look for in the best pool cleaner and what to avoid on the buying trail. If you stick with any of the models we review today, you’re in safe hands. You can buy with your eyes wide open and a very clear idea of what to expect.

Perhaps you’ve come across a pool cleaner not on our shortlist. We’d refer you to that buying guide and we hope it makes your buying decision easier.

We’d ask you to bookmark Wild River Country before you head off. We’ve just started up but we’re here to bring you fresh content daily, so be sure to check in again soon!

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