How many times did it happen that you were getting ready to go for a swim and then saw a bunch of leaves and twigs floating around in your backyard pool? To be honest, these irritating moments can be really frustrating when you just want to relax and unwind.
But, what if there is a solution to all those problems? Even more, would you believe that you actually do not have to do anything? And no, we are not talking here about hiring a neighborhood kid to be your pool boy. Instead, the best robotic pool cleaners of 2021 are here to save the day!
If you continue reading our robotic pool cleaner reviews, you will discover the secret of having super-clean pools at all times. The best pool cleaners will make your life much easier. So, do your diligence and learn all there is to know about them before splashing the cash.
- Best robotic pool cleaner of 2021
- 1. Dolphin Nautilus CC Plus – Best overall
- 2. Polaris F9550 Sport
- 3. Hayward RC9955CUB TigerShark
- 4. Aquabot Pool Rover Hybrid – a highly versatile model
- 5. Pentair 360032 Kreepy Krauly Prowler 830
- 6. Dolphin Premier
- 7. Dolphin Escape – Best robotic pool cleaner for above ground pools
- Features to look for while choosing a robotic pool cleaner
- Pool maintenance tips & tricks
- Robotic pool cleaner troubleshooting tips
Best robotic pool cleaner of 2021
1. Dolphin Nautilus CC Plus – Best overall
The following entry on our list is often classified as the best pool cleaner for leaves. As all pool owners know, leaves are one of the most common problems when it comes to having a private pool area. Here is what makes the Dolphin Nautilus CC Plus so special.
Maytronics, the company that created this model, is one of the leaders in the world of pool cleaners. The superior quality of their products is exemplified in the Nautilus CC Plus as well. For instance, this Dolphin features CleverClean technology. What this means is that the robot uses advanced algorithms to create a 3D image of the pool. After that, it goes into action. CleverClean system provides maximum coverage and optimizes performance.
Dual scrubbing brushes
Unlike some other models on our robotic pool cleaner reviews, Dolphin Nautilus CC Plus does not have wheels. Instead, this model moves around with the help of dual scrubbing brushes and a set of tracks. The tracks are the ones that perform the majority of work when it comes to moving forward. But, the brushes also help with movement, while simultaneously removing debris and dirt out of the water.
Two large filters
Filtration systems are very important when it comes to the best robot pool vacuums. To maximize the cleaning power of the device, Maytronics equipped the Nautilus CC Plus with two different filters. One of them is made of polyester and it can catch small particles and algae. The other one is a mesh filter, ideal for capturing larger debris such as leaves that sinks to the bottom of the pool.
Cleaning cycle and performance
Dolphin Nautilus CC Plus is an in-ground robotic pool cleaner. It can efficiently scrub the floor of the pool as well as walls up to the waterline. The working cycle of this cleaner is set to 2 hours. During that period, the pump of this cleaner will process a large quantity of water. To be precise, Nautilus CC Plus filters around 4.200 gallons per hour. On top of that, this model features a weekly timer.
2. Polaris F9550 Sport
Equipped with an aquadynamic design, Polaris F9950 Sport is one of the best automatic pool cleaners in the market. The list of features of this model is long and extensive, so let’s get down to it right away.
ActivMotion sensor technology
Polaris F9950 Sport is an in-ground pool cleaner, and this device features a highly sophisticated mapping system. The AI-based technology, nicknamed ActivMotion, allows this pool cleaner to efficiently clean your pool. In other words, Polaris will use a system of sensors to navigate around the pool area without your interference.
Furthermore, Polaris F9550 Sport also features a programmable timer. What this means is that you can set up a 7-day program for the device.
Another important reason why Polaris F9550 Sport is considered one of the best pool cleaners for in-ground pools is its 4-wheel drive system. In other words, this model features the so-called Aqua-Trax tires. As a result, this pool cleaner can easily overcome obstacles in the water. Most importantly, Aqua-Trax tires are known for providing superior traction.
Vortex vacuum technology
Aside from being agile and intelligent, Polaris F9550 Sport is also highly powerful when it comes to its suction power. With the help of its Vortex vacuum technology, the Polaris can filter large quantities of water. This model uses a rear water propulsion system. Plus, it features a wide mouth intake. All of these characteristics allow Polaris to suck in small particles as well as large debris, leaving your pool area as clean as a whistle.
Other important features
Polaris comes with a 70ft cable and a large-capacity filter canister. Also, Polaris F9550 Sport weighs only 21 lbs, which allows the users to get it out of the pool in a hassle-free manner. On top of that, a handy caddy is there to help you maneuver the cleaner around.
3. Hayward RC9955CUB TigerShark
Just like a real-life tiger shark glides through the water effortlessly, Hayward’s TigerShark also moves around in an elegant and agile manner. But, this model features a lot of other important characteristics. Therefore, let us examine the Hayward RC9955CUB TigerShark in more detail.
Dual cleaning mode
Pool owners know that you don’t always have time to wait for a couple of hours for the pool sweeper to do its job. For example, the unexpected arrival of family or friends could force you to speed up the process.
For that reason, Hayward equipped their TigerShark model with two cleaning speeds. The standard cycle takes about 3 hours to complete while the QuickClean mode finishes the job in a 90-minute cycle. Pool owners can opt for the cycle that best suits their needs. Clearly, Hayward TigerShark is a highly flexible swimming pool vacuum.
All sorts of leaves, dirt, and debris can land in your pool over time. If you are not performing regular cleaning, the ‘population’ of bacteria and algae can also get out of hand.
With that in mind, Hayward robotic pool cleaner can provide unrivaled suction power. In a way, that is why this model is one of the top-rated robotic pool cleaners. TigerShark features a 24V energy-efficient motor. Strong suction will remove all the unwanted particles from the water, making your pool area a sight to behold.
Design and other characteristics
TigerShark features a contemporary design, but it was clear that Hayward focused on performances and not on the looks with this model. As a result, the company provides a 3-year warranty on the Hayward RC9955CUB TigerShark. But, this robotic cleaner is built from sturdy materials, which should provide it with certain durability.
TigerShark comes with a 55ft ‘tail’, which means that you can use this robotic cleaner on an average residential pool. Plus, Hayward threw in a convenient wireless remote controller. This little gadget will allow you to control the cleaner from the distance, changing the settings if need be.
4. Aquabot Pool Rover Hybrid – a highly versatile model
More often than not, versatility is a good thing. When it comes to the best cheap robotic pool cleaners out there, Aquabot Pool Rover Hybrid is one of the models that can do a lot of various things. Do you want to know the secret? Here it is.
Aquabot is an American company, well-known for its reputation for building quality products. Yet, it seems that they like to experiment from time to time. That could be the reason why the Pool Rover Hybrid features a jet-powered system.
What this means is that this electric pool vacuum can process the debris with the help of its hydro scrubs. All the grime that was stuck to the bottom of your pool will quickly fall off once this robotic cleaner goes over the particular area.
In order to travel around the pool in a self-controlled manner, the Aquabot Pool Rover Hybrid uses a high-tech navigation system. Without going into the technical terms, let’s just say that this system incorporates a set of sensors, complex algorithms, and mapping technology. All of these elements allow the Aquabot’s pool cleaner to create an image of your pool. After that, it will go around and scrub the surface in an efficient and systematic method.
Aquabot Pool Rover Hybrid is powered by a 24V pump motor that features a patented SimplyReliable system. What this means is that you will be 100% protected from electric shock when using this pool sweeper. At the same time, the pump is highly efficient, and it can process 70 gallons of water per minute.
With an auto shut-off feature, the Aquabot Pool Rover Hybrid can end its cycle in 2 hours. Once the process is done, you will have no problems extracting it from the pool. The reason for this comes from the fact that Poor Rover Hybrid weighs only 10 lbs! Also, it features a 41-feet floating cable and a 19-quart micro filter bag.
5. Pentair 360032 Kreepy Krauly Prowler 830
With their new model, Pentair tried to improve the qualities of their previous pool cleaners. It seems as though the redesigned version comes equipped with a range of innovative features. Here are some of them.
A set of high-precision sensors works together with sophisticated algorithms to allow Pentair 360032 Kreepy Krauly Prowler 830 to navigate around your pool. More importantly, this top-rated pool cleaner has the ability to go in reverse on its own. The auto-reverse feature is a characteristic that prevents hang-ups in corners and similar spaces. As a result, Pentair 830 offers intelligent and effective cleaning, no matter the shape of your pool.
Two cleaning modes
Speaking of cleaning, the Pentair 830 provides two distinct cleaning modes. Depending on the situation, the users can opt for a QuickClean or they can use the Standard cleaning method. QuickClean’s cycle lasts for 1 hour. On the other hand, the standard cycle runs for 3 hours. So, it seems Pentair 360032 Kreepy Krauly Prowler 830 provides more intelligent solutions than meets the eye.
Weekly timer built-in
Another intelligent component of this model is the built-in weekly timer. Pentair 830 allows you to set up a plan for the upcoming week. By creating the schedule, the cleaner knows when to start scrubbing and when to rest. That is why Pentair’s model belongs to the best inground pool cleaners in the current market.
Other important elements
Pentair 830 boasts of being an Eco-friendly robotic cleaner. What this means is that this model can help circulate the chemicals in the water. Furthermore, this is an electric pool vacuum that can successfully clean all types of surfaces.
But, the weight of the redesigned Pentair could present an issue to some users. Pentair 830 weighs as much as 45 lbs, which is above the industry standard. But, the model does come with a convenient caddy, which helps with maneuvering it when out of the water. Also, Pentair 360032 Kreepy Krauly Prowler 830 features a 60-foot cable, with a swivel that eliminates tangling.
6. Dolphin Premier
As the name suggests, Dolphin Premier robotic in-ground pool cleaner is the flagship model in the Dolphin series. But, does this model deserve such a position? Here are the most important characteristics of this particular swimming pool vacuum.
Since robotic cleaners need to be able to find their way around without human assistance, the quality of their navigation systems is of the utmost importance. That is why Dolphin Premier comes equipped with the renowned SmartNav software. With optimized scanning and improved mapping technology, this pool cleaner can go around any obstacle. Also, this particular Dolphin can scrub any type of surface on the floor of your pool or on the walls.
Being a top-shelf model, it is reasonable to expect high-quality suction power from the Dolphin Premier. And yes, this pool vacuum certainly can pack a punch when it comes to cleaning performances. The main reason for this comes from the fact that the Dolphin Premier uses Dual 24V DC motors. They save up energy, reducing the costs of owning a pool cleaner in the first place.
Dual filtration system
Most of the top robotic pool cleaners on the market today come with one of two options. They either feature cartridges or disposable bags. Well, Dolphin Premier incorporates both of these filtration methods. In fact, it has dual filter cartridges and a large-capacity bag. On top of all that, Dolphin Premier provides an LED indicator light. This convenient little feature will inform you that the filters need cleaning.
Patented swivel system
Tangled cables are a nightmare for pool owners. That is why Dolphin Premier can save you from a lot of headaches. This model features a patented swivel system, which provides tangle-free operations. With a 60-foot cable that can easily rotate for 360 degrees, you will forget about the issues you once had with those tangled cables.
7. Dolphin Escape – Best robotic pool cleaner for above ground pools
With a name like Dolphin Escape, you would expect that this robotic cleaner would jump out of your pool and run for freedom. Don’t worry, it will not leave your pool area. But, there must be a reason why this is the best above-ground pool vacuum. Let’s examine it in more detail.
Improved SmartNav technology
Maytronics, the manufacturer of the Dolphin Escape pool cleaner, has equipped this model with SmartNav 2.0 system. This enhanced technology provides the robotic cleaner with top-notch guidance. In other words, the Dolphin will never miss a spot in your pool that needs cleaning. Highly sensitive sensors and GPS-like mapping services all work together to navigate this agile little machine through the water. Also, Dolphin Escape is bi-directional, which means that it can go forward and in reverse.
To easily move around the pool, Dolphin Escape uses a pair of hyper grip tracks. Instead of relying on wheels, which can often lose traction when they come across a large pile of debris, this model always sticks to the surface. By doing so, Dolphin Escape scrubs the surface in a thorough and meticulous manner, leaving no leaves, dirt, or algae behind.
When it encounters the mentioned debris, Dolphin Escape relies on a premium brush that features the so-called Active Scrubbing technology. The brush works together with a 24V motor. All in all, Dolphin Escape provides top-quality cleaning performances, and it can process 75 gallons of water per minute.
Other important features
Dolphin Escape weighs only 14 lbs, which is a remarkable characteristic. Its compact design offers superior maneuverability and convenience. Also, it comes with a 40-foot cord, which features tangle-free technology. The cartridges are easy to access, and they provide super-fine filtration of particles. A 1,5-hour working cycle of the Dolphin Escape can clean a pool area up to 40 feet in length.
Features to look for while choosing a robotic pool cleaner
Robotic pool cleaners run on electricity and do not depend on your pool circulation and filtration system. The cleaner comes with several features, such as a microfilter cartridge, an anti-tangle swivel cord, and a mobility design that allows it to carry out a smooth operation.
The software-backed scanning and coverage system helps the robot to navigate during the cleaning cycle. The best robotic pool cleaners consist of all these features and several more, making them the best bet for your hard-earned money.
If you have decided to invest in a robotic pool cleaner, go through the following features to not regret your decision!
Premium or entry-level
When searching for a robotic pool cleaner, compare the machine price with the feature it offers. Generally, the robotic cleaners that are cheaper have major features eliminated. You might want to buy them because of their low price, but they will not give the optimum results.
For example, the entry-level robotic cleaners that are under $1,000 cannot clean the waterline; the area where most of the litter and debris is collected. Factors such as suction power, ultra-fine mesh filter, and vacuum width, also determine the cleaner’s productivity.
The robotic cleaner that has low voltage motors, larger filter bags, and keen navigation completes the job in less time. Buying a premium-level robotic pool cleaner might be heavier on the pocket but the return on investment will always be greater than an entry-level robotic pool cleaner.
Cords are unavoidable in the case of pool cleaners. The cords without swivel tend to tangle up while moving around the pool, climbing stairs, or making turns. Untangling those knots can be a tedious task nobody wants to take up. Tangled cables also reduce the performance and the efficiency of the machine.
Imagine having to untangle a 60 ft cord every time you use the cleaner. In some cases, the kink formed in the cable afterward can cause minor opposition in the current flow.
That is why a swivel cord is a must-have feature for a pool cleaner. The swivel enables the robot to move horizontally and vertically without any restriction. It also prevents the formation of knots in the cable.
Another way to avoid the formation of knots is to choose the correct cord length depending on the size of your pool. The optimum cord length will prevent tangles, and will also ensure the cleaner reaches every corner without cord limitation.
While purchasing a robotic cleaner look for an anti-tangle, 360-degree swivel cord that enables the robot to spin and rotate in water to make your pool sparkling clean.
People who manually clean their pools use brushes to sweep the bottom of the pool, steps, and sides. The robotic pool cleaners having dual scrubbing brushes tend to give the best cleaning results. They scrub away all the dirt from the bottom of your pool by moving in both forward and backward directions.
Using a robot with oscillating brushes also prevents mineral build-up on the sides and is an effective way to remove stubborn stains. Good quality and firm bristle brushes are also convenient to remove all kinds of silt, algae, and sediments. They can spotlessly clean all kinds of surfaces without any difficulty.
If you periodically clean your pool with a robotic cleaner, you will not have to spend a large sum on your pool maintenance.
The water line area of the pool – where the water touches the tile – can be a hub of algae growth and debris if not cleaned properly. The waterline ability of a pool cleaner is the ability to clean the stubborn deposits around the waterline area to keep the water healthy and safe.
Read also: Best solar pool covers
A robotic pool cleaner that has the feature of waterline ability is desirable. It conveniently cleans the area above and below the tile line. Some robotic pool cleaners do not come with this function. Hence, it is necessary to confirm beforehand, or you will have to clean the waterline manually.
The robotic pool cleaners having water line ability consist of sensors, multiple high power DC motors, and navigation software that help them identify the waterline and clean it thoroughly.
If the robotic pool cleaners are devoid of these features, chances are they are entry-level pool cleaners that will not clean the waterline.
Another prime feature to consider when looking for a premium robotic cleaner is its ability to climb. Even though we aren’t climbing mountains, but a good climb ability in a robotic cleaner ensures that the entire wall is cleaned without a spot missed.
A robotic pool cleaner equipped with gyroscopic sensors and commercial motors can climb the wall of your pool to perform thorough cleaning. The commercial-grade motors enable the robot the climb better and clean the sides easily. The sensors measure the lateral orientation of the robot and maintain its angular velocity.
This sensor system also assures that the robot follows a set path while cleaning the dirt along the way.
Efficient pool cleaning cycles
There are two types of cleaning cycles: standard cleaning cycle and quick cleaning. You can choose whichever you want based on your convenience. If you are in a rush, you can go with the quick cleaning one that allows the robotic cleaner to clean the pool efficiently in less amount of time.
Another option is to customize the cleaning cycles. You can set the robot for cleaning the walls, floors, and steps. If you have some time on your hands, you can program the robot to perform a standard cleaning cycle for intensive pool cleaning.
The various cleaning cycles result in different levels of pool cleaning.
A robotic pool cleaner is an agile machine that can vacuum debris even in the tightest corners and pick them through suction into its filter bag.
If you live in an area where dust storms or other climatic conditions are common, you have to look for a robotic cleaner that serves your pool the best. Some robotic cleaners under $1,000 have only one filter media that makes their function limited. They can only clean certain types of impurities based on their mesh size.
Robotic pool cleaners with multi-media filters offer the convenience of changing the filter depending on the contamination in the pool. Filters having mesh size up to 2 microns can remove algae spores and sediments. A standard cartridge filter is used for everyday cleaning, while an oversized debris bag is handy to clear the pool of leaves and larger debris.
The filter capacity of the robotic cleaner is also essential to determine its efficiency. Some robotic cleaners feature an oversized leaf bag that is helpful in pools that contain lots of leaves. The robot will function for long periods without the need of emptying the filter bag
Programming and scheduling
Programming and scheduling feature in a robotic cleaner for pools makes the experience fully automated. A programmable timer eliminates the need for manually starting and stopping the cleaner every time. You can set the program and schedule beforehand and relax while the robotic cleaner does its job.
This feature makes your life easier in seasons where the pool requires often cleaning. You can set the weekly timer and enjoy the leisure of a clean pool without much hassle.
Today people want to invest in robotic pool cleaners because of their energy-efficient performance. Robotic pool cleaners consist of efficient electric motors that work independently from the pool filtration system.
The low voltage DC motors require less energy to create suction than the massive motor of a standard pool pump. Generally, robotic pool cleaners consume 180W to 1000W energy that depends on the size of the unit. When buying a robotic cleaner; check the size of the motor, its power consumption, and the time required to clean the pool.
Cleaning your pool with an automatic pool cleaner and brushing the sides yourself takes up more of your time and power than using a robot altogether.
2-wheel drive vs 4-wheel drive vs tracks
Robotic cleaners make use of either wheels or tracks to maneuver their way through the water. The four-wheel drive has outspread rubber tires that can safely get over bumps and provide excellent traction on slippery surfaces.
The two-wheel-drive system is preferred for smaller pools as there will not be any trouble navigating through it. There are also fewer chances of the wheels getting jammed by leaves and debris in this drive system.
However, the ultimate traction and efficiency are offered by tracks due to the higher contact surface. Some robotic cleaners feature hyper-grip tracks to minimize slippage up to 40% when climbing stairs and sides.
Pool floor material
This is an important consideration which most people disregard. Pool floors can either be flat, uneven, or lop-sided. They have fiberglass, vinyl, or concrete lining. Once you know the pool specification, look for a robotic pool cleaner that will work best for your pool surface. Some robotic cleaners do not have features to work on certain surfaces, e.g., a two-wheel-drive robot cleaner will have difficulty cleaning a slippery and irregular surface.
Pool type, size, and shape
It is important to invest in a pool cleaner that suits your pool size, type, and shape. A larger pool requires a robotic cleaner to have a longer cord. If the cable is short and your pool is large, you will face challenges during cleaning.
If you have a pool with a unique shape, you have to look for a robotic cleaner that will comply with its peculiarities. A simple robotic cleaner used for a round or rectangular-shaped pool might not do the job properly.
The pool size is an important factor that determines how quickly the cleaner will finish its job. A robotic cleaner for a 30 ft pool will complete its job in 2 hours. If the same cleaner is used for a 50 ft pool, the time will increase either because of a small cord, or the increase in the amount of water it has to clean. Also, the filter bag will fill much faster with trash and need to be clean more often.
It is also necessary to select your cleaner based on whether your pool is in-ground or above-ground. Robotic cleaners that work well in-ground can put stress on the above-ground pool walls.
Pool maintenance tips & tricks
Once you find a suitable robotic pool cleaner for your pool, it is critical to perform its maintenance now and then to keep it up and running.
Maintenance is crucial for any electronic device to carry out its function without a glitch. Some general care tips like consulting the manual for any malfunction, cleaning the filter media after use, and storing the cleaner properly, will save you a lot of time and money in the long run.
These are few tips that will keep your cleaner always in action
- After cleaning your pool, remove the plug from the power supply before doing anything.
- Drain any remaining water from the cleaner by laterally placing it over the pool edge.
- Remove the filter element from the cleaner and empty it. You can also scrub it to remove any silt by following the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Clear the wheels and brushes from debris or any other impurity. Keep an eye out for the condition of the cleaner’s brush and replace them if they wear out. Do this to ensure optimum cleaning.
- After cleaning the cleaner, coil its cord in large loops on a caddy. It is important to prevent the cord from getting kinked.
- Place the cleaner on the caddy. This is recommended to dry the cleaner quickly and prevent the brushes from deformation.
- Wheel the caddy to a sheltered area and properly store the cleaner.
Lastly, do not do anything based on your judgment. Electronic devices, especially, robots are sensitive. One wrong button press can keep you struggling all day. Remember to consult the manual for any query.
Robotic pool cleaner troubleshooting tips
Troubleshooting tips come best from the manual, but here are some tricks for common issues that every robotic cleaner owner should know of.
- For any issue, first, make sure that the cord is plugged in tightly and has no damage whatsoever.
- If the cleaner gets stuck mid-way during cleaning, remove it from water and clear the filter bag, wheels, and brushes. Most of the time cleaners stop due to loaded filter bags, or debris stuck in the wheels.
- If your cord gets tangled a lot, here are few things you can do. After removing the cleaner from water spread the cord on a dry surface and let it dry and remove any memory of kink by sunlight. Afterward, loop it loosely and place it on the hook on the caddy. Another way to prevent tangling is to leave as much cable in the pool to allow your cleaner to reach the farthest end. Tie the remaining cable with a zip tie to secure it safely.
- If your robot doesn’t suck water properly, it is best to get t checked and fixed by an expert.
How do robotic pool cleaners work?
Robotic pool cleaners consist of low voltage DC motors that set them in motion and create suction. Thus, they work independently of the pool’s filtration system. They are incorporated with smart sensors and software that help them clean and cover the entire pool strategically.
Can robotic pool cleaners be left in the pool?
Er, No. Although it may seem tempting to do so, it will damage your expensive and sensitive equipment. A robotic cleaner is not meant to replace your pool cleaning system. It is auxiliary to provide extra cleaning and maintenance.
Although you will not face any immediate consequences of leaving the cleaner in the pool for an extended period, however, it won’t be the same as removing the cleaner from water and storing it in a dry place once it completes its cleaning cycle.
What is the average lifespan of robotic pool cleaners?
Good quality robotic pool cleaners, if taken care of properly, last you 6 to 8 years. The key is periodic maintenance and not overstressing the equipment by placing it in water for long periods.
Cheaper models can also serve you for 3 years if given proper care
How often should I clean my pool with a robot cleaner?
If you use the pool frequently, the chances of it getting dirty are more. In that case, the cleaner should be used every day. If that’s not the case, weekly cleaning should do the job.
If the pool is near trees or your area is often stranded with dust storms, cleaning the pool every 3 days should be enough.
Robotic cleaners albeit expensive, are a smart investment for your home pool. Why? Because you can place them in water and leave the cleaning up to them. They save your time as well as energy. Robot cleaners incur less running costs than automatic pool cleaners – that run on your pool pump or booster pump. They preserve water by extending the time of backwashing your fiberglass filter and filter cartridges. Their intelligent navigation software prevents them from roaming and makes your water sparkling clean in less time. They also minimize the need for pool service and repair.
Aren’t these reasons enough to go for the best pool cleaner? What are you waiting for?