The Best Robotic Pool Cleaners of 2022

Robotic pool cleaners scrub your pool while saving you time and money.

By Timothy Dale | Updated Jun 2, 2022 3:33 PM

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The Best Robotic Pool Cleaners Option

Photo: amazon.com

Vacuuming a swimming pool is an important maintenance task that limits the growth of algae and allows the chemicals in the water to work more efficiently. The newest gadget, robotic pool cleaners, allow you to set up sensor boundaries and choose cleaning cycles for a constant, hands-free clean pool.

The best robotic pool cleaners scrub pool surfaces of any shape with the push of a button, or operate on a weekly cleaning cycle. When you’re ready to swim, your pool will be clean and ready. Read on for some tips to consider and some of the best robotic pool cleaners available.

  1. BEST OVERALL: Dolphin Nautilus CC Plus Automatic Robotic Cleaner
  2. RUNNER-UP: Dolphin Escape Robotic Above Ground Pool Cleaner
  3. BEST BUDGET: PAXCESS Cordless Robotic Pool Cleaner
  4. UPGRADE PICK: Polaris 9650iQ Sport Robotic Cleaner
  5. BEST FOR INGROUND POOLS: Hayward W3RC9740WCCUB SharkVac Robotic Pool Cleaner
  6. BEST FOR ABOVE-GROUND POOLS: Dolphin E10 Automatic Robotic Pool Cleaner
  7. BEST FOR CUSTOM-SHAPED POOLS: Dolphin Sigma Robotic Pool Cleaner with Bluetooth
  8. BEST FOR VINYL POOLS: Polaris 9350 Sport Robotic Pool Cleaner
  9. BEST FOR LEAVES AND GUNK: Dolphin Premier Robotic Pool Cleaner
The Best Robotic Pool Cleaners Option

Photo: amazon.com

What to Consider When Shopping for the Best Robotic Pool Cleaner 

Before you choose a robotic pool vacuum to better maintain your swimming pool, take the time to consider a few parameters to help guide your purchasing decision.

Pool Floor Material

One of the most important points to consider when choosing a robotic pool cleaner is your pool’s floor type and material. If that sounds basic, remember that swimming pool floors can be flat, rocky, irregular, or have sloping floors. Once you consider the floor type, make sure you know whether it’s made of fiberglass, vinyl, tiles, gunite, or plaster pools. Not all robotic pool cleaners work with all floor materials. In fact, some robotic floor cleaners can damage certain types of floors, so make sure you choose one rated for your pool floor’s specific material.

Pool Shape

The shape of your pool plays a key role in your robotic pool vacuum options. If you have a round or rectangular pool with no irregularities, you will easily find a robotic pool cleaner that scours every inch without fail (with the exception of stairs). Another basic consideration is whether you have an inground or above-ground pool. Robotic pool cleaners that can clean the sides of your pool are great for inground pools but can put too much stress on the wall of above-ground pools.

Look a bit further and you’ll find many manufacturers pack their cleaners with advanced smart features that use artificial intelligence to learn the layout of your pool so they clean efficiently and quickly. If you have a custom pool with rising slopes, built-in bars, and sharp angles, you’ll want to find a cleaner with more advanced features that may include deflecting mechanisms, gyroscopic mobility, and scanning software.

Pool Size

The size of your pool is another major factor to consider when you choose a robotic pool cleaner. Every robotic pool cleaner comes with an extension cord, and length is important. If you have a small 20-foot pool, the required extension cord length will be much shorter than for a 50-foot pool. Also, the pool size determines the speed at which your robotic pool cleaner will do its job.

A pool cleaner rated for a 30-foot pool can clean that pool in just 2 hours, but if you try to use the same pool cleaner in a 50-foot pool you will find the extension cord isn’t long enough to complete the job. Even if the cord was long enough, the robotic pool cleaner would take twice as long to complete the cleaning and may not have the storage capacity to hold the collected debris.

Wheels and Treads

Robotic cleaners typically use rear propulsion to drive them through the water, but without the right wheels and treads, this propulsion system is severely limited. You need to find robot pool cleaners that feature wheels capable of gripping the slick pool floor. Wheels with rubber treads are common for above-ground robotic pool cleaners because they move easily across the bottom of the pool, completing cleaning cycles in no time.

If you want the robotic pool cleaner to tackle the dirt and grime on the walls, then the wheels should be designed with distinct tread patterns that allow the robotic pool cleaner to retain its position and balance on the side of the pool while propelling itself forward. Consider a robotic pool cleaner that uses long, tank-style treads because these treads are always in contact with the pool surfaces.

Filtration 

Automatic pool cleaners function best if you also consider the type of debris in your pool. That will depend on your landscape, the climate, and your geographic location. These all contribute to the type of dirt, sand, pollen, seeds, leaves, twigs, and bugs that drift into your pool.

For example, if your yard is filled with trees, you will want a robotic pool vacuum with a large filtration basket that doesn’t fill up too quickly. If dirt, sand, and pollen are the main types of debris in your yard, consider robotic pool cleaners with ultra-fine filters that capture dirt from the water. Remember, the more debris in the pool the more stress experienced by the pool’s filtration system.

Programming & Scheduling

Not all robotic pool cleaners live up to their technological potential and require you to manually start them. Some of the best robotic pool cleaners allow you to set a daily or weekly cleaning cycle for their operation. The cleaner can either stay in the pool or you can remove it and put it back in time for the scheduled cleaning.

Our Top Picks

The top-rated robotic pool cleaners listed below were chosen for quality, price, and customer satisfaction to help you find the right one for your pool.

Best Overall

The Best Robotic Pool Cleaners Option: Dolphin Nautilus CC Plus Automatic Robotic Cleaner
Photo: amazon.com

The Dolphin Nautilus CC Plus Robotic Pool Cleaner uses dual scrubbing brushes and a large filtration system to clean and collect leaves, twigs, dirt, pollen, and other debris in just about 2 hours. You can schedule the robotic pool cleaner to run every day, every other day, or every third day.

The robotic pool cleaner has wall-climbing capabilities to clean inground swimming pools up to 50 feet in size. This cleaner can be used on all types of pool floors without issue and has a tangle-free swivel cable to let it freely circulate.

Product Specs 

  • Pool type: Inground
  • Cable length: 60 feet
  • Cleaning time: 2 hours

Pros

  • Capable of climbing walls
  • Large filtration system is suitable for sticks and leaves
  • Can be used on all pool surface types
  • Schedule cleaning weekly

Cons

  • Does not have smartphone capabilities
  • May become stuck on steps

Runner-Up

Best Robotic Pool Cleaner ption Delphin Escape Robotic
Photo: amazon.com

If the goal is to find a robotic pool cleaner that can clean up a large volume of debris on a regular basis, then look no further than the Dolphin Escape robotic pool vacuum. This machine is designed with continuous grip tracks to help improve propulsion while reducing slippage. It takes about 1.5 hours to complete a cleaning cycle and comes with a 40-foot power cable. Just keep in mind that this limits the use of this robotic pool cleaner to pools that are a maximum of 30 feet.

While the robot vacuum can’t connect remotely through a smartphone app, it is equipped with a SmartNav 2.0 robotic scanning and navigation system that allows the vacuum to keep track of the parts of the pool that were already cleaned. This improved efficiency means that the vacuum spends less time going over the same old spot, so users can start and complete the cycle in under 2 hours.

Product Specs 

  • Pool type: Above-ground
  • Cable length: 40 feet
  • Cleaning time: 1.5 hours

Pros

  • Continuous grip tracks improve propulsion
  • Oversized debris collection cartridge
  • SmartNav 2.0 robotic scanning navigation system
  • Use on gunite, plaster, vinyl, and fiberglass pools

Cons

  • Does not have smartphone capabilities
  • Only suitable for 30-foot pools

Best Budget

Best Robotic Pool Cleaner Option Paxcess Cordless Robotic Pool
Photo: amazon.com

Keep the pool clean and reduce the risk of accidental electrocution by making the switch from a corded robotic pool cleaner to the PAXCESS cordless robotic pool cleaner. Instead of having a power cord that creates a tripping hazard at the side of the pool, users only need to worry about pulling the vacuum out once it has completed a 60- to 90-minute cleaning cycle.

Still, you don’t need to worry about going for a swim to retrieve the robot every time it cleans the pool because this vacuum automatically docks poolside when it detects that the battery level is low, making retrieval easy.

Just keep in mind that while this above-ground robotic pool cleaner can work on any type of pool surface, it can only ascend slopes that are a maximum of 15 degrees. If the slope is steeper, then the robotic vacuum will not be able to climb the wall or step. Additionally, it takes about 4 to 6 hours to charge fully before this robotic pool cleaner can be used again.

Product Specs 

  • Pool type: Above-ground
  • Cable length: No cable
  • Cleaning time: 60 to 90 minutes

Pros

  • Cordless functionality improves movement
  • Reduced risk of accidental electrocution with battery
  • Automatically docks poolside when the battery is low
  • Safe for all pool types

Cons

  • Takes 4 to 6 hours to charge
  • Maximum 15-degree slopes

Upgrade Pick

Best Robotic Pool Cleaner Option Polaris 9650iQ Sport Robotic
Photo: amazon.com

As long as the premium price doesn’t hurt their wallets too much, consumers will find this high-quality robotic pool cleaner by Polaris is easily one of the top products on the market for suction, propulsion, efficiency, and user control. Not only can the pool vacuum climb the walls, it also goes up and down steps without an issue due to the 4-wheel drive system that improves the traction, control, and stability of the device.

The robotic pool cleaner is Wi-Fi compatible, allowing users to connect directly to the vacuum through the iAquaLink app on their smartphone. Additionally, users can connect the vacuum to Amazon Alexa smart-home systems for convenient voice control. The pool cleaner has a 70-foot power cable, so it is suitable for pools up to 60 feet.

Pool owners can customize the cleaning time to their preference. Just make sure to pay attention to the dirty canister indicator so that the vacuum can be emptied and cleaned when necessary.

Product Specs 

  • Pool type: Inground
  • Cable length: 70 feet
  • Cleaning time: Customizable

Pros

  • Capable of climbing walls
  • Wi-Fi and Amazon Alexa compatible
  • Dirty canister indicator
  • 4-wheel drive improves control and stability

Cons

  • High price

Best For Inground Pools

Best Robotic Pool Cleaner Option Hayward SharkVac XL Robotic Pool
Photo: amazon.com

Designed for cleaning inground pools with any type of surface, the Hayward SharkVac robotic pool cleaner effectively scrubs the floor of the pool and collects dust, dirt, and organic debris to help prevent algae blooms. The total cleaning time takes about 2 to 3 hours and the vacuum is directed by smart-steering technology that allows the robotic pool cleaner to take the most efficient route during the cleaning cycle.

This pool vacuum is only suitable for pools up to 40 feet because it has a 50-foot power cord, which must be able to travel the length, width, and depth of the pool without pulling in the power supply. Out-of-water sensors automatically turn off the vacuum when it’s out of the water to protect the motor, while beach-entry sensors reverse the direction of the vacuum, preventing it from coming up out of the water on a beach-entry ramp.

This vacuum is effective but heavy and bulky, and could be difficult for some to remove from the pool. Additionally, the smaller wheels have a tendency to slip when the robotic pool cleaner is attempting to climb the pool walls.

Product Specs 

  • Pool type: Inground
  • Cable length: 50 feet
  • Cleaning time: 2 to 3 hours

Pros

  • Comes with a vacuum and cord caddy
  • Out-of-water sensors protect the motor
  • Smart-steering technology improves cleaning efficiency
  • Beach-entry sensor reverses direction automatically

Cons

  • Bulky and hard to take out of the pool
  • May slip on the sides of the pool

For Above-Ground Pools

The Best Robotic Pool Cleaners Option: DOLPHIN Sigma Robotic Pool Cleaner with Bluetooth
Photo: amazon.com

Many robotic pool cleaners don’t work on above-ground pools, but the Dolphin E10 Robotic Pool Cleaner is designed specifically for them. This robotic pool cleaner does not climb walls, but it cleans pool floors made from any material in pools up to 30 feet.

The machine has dual scrubbing brushes, and the large-capacity filter traps all sizes of debris during the 90-minute cleaning cycle. You automatically activate the pool cleaner with a remote start.

Product Specs 

  • Pool type: Above-ground
  • Cable length: 40 feet
  • Cleaning time: 1.5 hours

Pros

  • Quick, 1.5-hour cleaning cycle
  • Remote start function
  • Can be used on all pool surface types

Cons

  • Cannot climb pool walls

For Custom-Shaped Pools

The Best Robotic Pool Cleaners Option: Dolphin E10 Automatic Robotic Pool Cleaner
Photo: amazon.com

The Dolphin Sigma Robotic Pool Cleaner is a great choice for custom-shaped pools that have features like benches and stools. It has advanced navigation and scanning software to avoid those and other obstacles. The 3-axis gyroscope allows it to climb walls, steps, and benches without falling by automatically adjusting to the angular velocity around the cleaner. Link this cleaner to your phone’s Bluetooth for instant spot cleaning.

The massive filters can capture debris ranging from large leaves and twigs to ultra-fine pollen and sand particles, cleaning the pool in just 2 ½ hours. Schedule rigorous cleaning daily, twice per week, or three times per week to keep your pool looking and feeling clean. The robotic pool cleaner can be used on any pool floor material on pools up to 50 feet in size.

Product Specs 

  • Pool type: Inground
  • Cable length: 60 feet
  • Cleaning time: 2.5 hours

Pros

  • Multiple scrub brushes for enhanced surface cleaning
  • Gyroscopic wall-climbing features for custom-shaped pools
  • Connect through Bluetooth for spot cleaning
  • Schedule cleaning daily, twice, or three times per week

Cons

  • High price

Best For Vinyl Pools

Best Robotic Pool Cleaner Option Polaris 9350 Sport Robotic
Photo: amazon.com

Users don’t need to worry about accidentally destroying their inground pool liner when they invest in this Polaris robotic pool cleaner that is suited for use on all pool surface types including concrete, fiberglass, tile, and vinyl. The pool vacuum can complete a cleaning cycle in just 1.5 hours and it comes with a 60-foot cable, making it ideal for pools with a maximum size of 50 feet.

This vacuum is equipped with an extra-large debris collection canister with a volume of 1.3 gallons, allowing it to suck up a significant amount of pool debris before needing emptying. However, the treaded wheels are more vulnerable to slipping than uninterrupted tank treads, so the vacuum may have trouble climbing some pool walls or steps.

Product Specs 

  • Pool type: Inground
  • Cable length: 60 feet
  • Cleaning time: 1.5 hours

Pros

  • Short cleaning cycle
  • Extra-large, 1.3-gallon debris collection canister
  • Works on all pool surface types, including vinyl
  • Comes with a vacuum and cable caddy

Cons

  • Wheels are vulnerable to slipping

Best For Leaves And Gunk

Best Robotic Pool Cleaner Option Dolphin Premier Robotic
Photo: amazon.com

Overhanging trees and bushes can look great around the edges of a pool, but plants drop leaves, twigs, dirt, and other organic debris into the pool, clogging the filtration system and increasing algae growth. To keep the yard and pool looking great throughout the year, use this Dolphin Premier robotic pool vacuum to clean up sticks, twigs, and leaves.

The vacuum comes equipped with multiple debris collection systems including micro-filtration cartridges for fine dust and dirt, standard-filtration cartridges for the usual pool debris, and oversize leaf collection bags to efficiently clean and collect large organic debris.

This robotic pool cleaner has a 60-foot power cord that’s suitable for up to a 50-foot pool. Additionally, it can climb walls, scrub tile lines, and schedule operation daily, twice per week, or three times per week. However, it has a long, 3-hour cleaning cycle and while it can be used with a remote, the remote is sold separately.

Product Specs 

  • Pool type: Inground
  • Cable length: 60 feet
  • Cleaning time: 3 hours

Pros

  • Can climb walls and scrub tile lines
  • Large filtration system suited for sticks and leaves
  • Multiple debris collection types
  • Schedule cleaning daily, twice, or three times per week

Cons

  • Remote control is available but sold separately
  • Long cleaning cycle

Our Verdict

To keep inground pools clean and algae-free, the Dolphin Nautilus CC Plus Automatic Robotic Cleaner is an excellent option with powerful suction and an efficient cleaning cycle. However, if you are looking to maintain an above-ground pool, the Dolphin Escape Robotic Above Ground Pool Cleaner is both an affordable and effective choice.

How We Chose the Best Robotic Pool Cleaners

To put together this list of top robotic pool cleaners, it was necessary to extensively research more than 30 products to determine the standout features and shortcomings of each pool vacuum. We paid close attention to the cable length and pool type as these two factors could be used to determine the situations a product was best suited to tackle.

Overall cleaning time of a standard cleaning cycle, as well as the ability to schedule or remotely control the cleaning cycle and function of the pool vacuum also were considered. Any products with special features that improved efficiency or user convenience were preferred over similar models that lacked these qualities or functions.

The Advantages of Owning a Robotic Pool Cleaner

Regularly cleaning your pool is a must, though it’s a time-consuming and tiring chore. A robotic cleaner does the work for you in about 2 to 3 hours.

Regular cleaning will also prolong the life of your pool because it removes dirt and debris more efficiently than manual cleaning. Plus, a robotic pool cleaner captures debris that would otherwise become trapped in your filtration system. A robotic pool cleaner lessens the need for repairs and a pool cleaning service, saving you time and expense. The following points sum up the benefits of robotic pool cleaners.

  • Robotic pool cleaners remove more dirt and debris from your pool than other cleaning methods.
  • A simple-to-use robotic pool cleaner will also save you money on a professional cleaning service.
  • Robotic pool cleaners save you time and energy because most clean pools within 3 hours.

FAQs 

Still curious about how robotic pool cleaners work? Consider these frequently asked questions about robotic pool cleaners and the answers.

Q: Do robotic pool cleaners pick up leaves? 

Robotic pool cleaners do pick up leaves, though if you have a pool that gets a lot of leaves, it’s important to invest in a robotic pool vacuum that has a large filtration basket to prevent the pool cleaner from filling up before it can finish the cleaning cycle.

Q: Can you leave a robotic pool cleaner in a pool? 

You can leave the robotic cleaner in the pool without experiencing immediate negative consequences, but the extended time spent underwater will wear out the cleaner faster than if you remove and clean it following the completion of its cleaning cycle.

Q: Can you use an extension cord with a robot pool cleaner? 

An extension cord isn’t a good idea to use with a robotic pool cleaner because the connection between the extension cord and the robot can be pulled into the water. When a live extension cable is dropped into a pool it can shock anyone in the water, putting yourself and your family at risk of electrocution and drowning.

Q: How often should I use my robotic pool cleaner? 

Robotic pool cleaners can run on a daily basis if the pool is heavily used. If the pool is not used every day, weekly cleanings should maintain your pool.

Q: How do you maintain a robotic pool cleaner? 

Robotic pool cleaners function like robotic vacuums. Like robotic vacuums, you must empty the collection bins, inspect the filters for damage, and clean robotic pool cleaners to keep them working properly. The brushes under the robot and the side brushes need regular cleaning to prevent the robotic pool cleaner from malfunctioning. Undertake any repairs only after referring to the product warranty.

Q: How long do robotic pool cleaners last? 

On average, a robotic pool cleaner will last for about 5 years, though they can last longer if they are properly maintained and stored.