Now that you have the swimming pool of your dreams, you want to keep it looking pristine. You don’t want any leaves, dirt or algae marring the sparkling water and that beautiful surface. One of the products that you may consider is a robotic pool cleaner. But what do you look for? What features are the ones you need versus the ones that you might want?

Are Robotic Pool Cleaners Any Good

What is a robotic pool cleaner?

A robot pool cleaner differs from its earlier cousins the suction cleaner, which uses the pool’s pump to run, and the pressure-side cleaner, which has its booster pump to vacuum up debris. The robotic cleaners are fully independent of your pool’s filtration system and pump. They tend to have their filtration system and can run any time.

Where do you start?

You will want to choose the unit based on your pool type. Some units are built to clean in-ground pools, and some are designed for above ground pools. A few units are made for both. To maximize the cleaning ability of your unit, you need to buy the one specific to your type of pool, the shape of your pool and the surface material of your pool’s walls.

Most units clean the bottoms and the walls of your pool without issue. If you have special wants, for instance, you want stairs to be cleaned; you need to verify that the robotic vacuum is capable of meeting those needs.

Are Robotic Pool Cleaners Any Good?

What are your specific needs?

What types of concerns are specific to your pool? Is it uncovered and you tend to find large leaves and debris or is it more protected so that you only need algae and smaller pieces of dirt cleaned? Does the robot need to scrub extra hard or are there relatively few areas that get dark spots? There are a variety of brush types and number of brushes that are designed to clean in particular situations.

If you are concerned with mostly algae and bacteria, you’ll want a filter system that has a small micron or pore size. If your pool is unprotected, you may need a filter device with a larger micron size that won’t get overwhelmed with pieces of leaves and bark. You want to ensure the filter does not get blocked by larger debris preventing the unit from cleaning properly.

You also have to look at how the unit stores the debris it collects. Is it a filter that needs to be replaced on a regular basis or is it cleanable? Is it a bag that can be emptied? How fine is the mesh? How much capacity does the unit have? Does the unit have a cartridge that you just pull out of the machine and wash off? You will want to determine how many times you can run the unit before you have to empty the trash.

Robotic Pool Cleaners

The robotic pool cleaner’s cleaning plan

The robotic pool cleaner will also have its own internally programmed pattern to clean up debris. Some brands have a random path. Others systematically navigate so that the cleaning time and pattern are optimized. Some brands use algorithms that clean in such a way that the hoses and cords won’t get tangled. This helps ensure that the unit will run smoothly without your intervention or assistance. Additionally, some units are capable of navigating around ladders and other potential traps.

With the flexibility of when to clean you will have to determine how fast do you want the vacuum to clean? Many units will clean a pool in less than two hours. This is partially determined by the number of brushes and partly by the navigation system the vacuum uses. Most units have a set run time. You will want to know whether or not a full cycle will routinely clean the entire pool. There are also units with automatic shut-off. The unit will shut down after its cleaning cycle to make sure that unit doesn’t run unnecessarily.

Robotic Pool Cleaners Guide

Fun stuff

Robotic pool cleaners can come equipped with remote controls that allow you to direct the unit to a troublesome spot. It also allows you when to run the unit or where to run the unit. Others are Bluetooth enabled to direct when to clean and where to clean. By using your phone, the app can allow for scheduling times and which portions of the pools are to be cleaned. The apps can tell you the status of your unit or if your attention is needed.

Do your research

With technology changing rapidly, the robot pool cleaner is gaining in popularity. This brings a greater number of options that can make your life easier and enable you to spend time in your pool instead of maintaining it.

Top 15 Best Robotic Pool Cleaners for Tiled/Vinyl/Above Ground Pools

Well, that’s it for this Robotic Pool Cleaner Article. We hope you found it helpful!

If you’re still having trouble deciding the Robotic Pool Cleaner that’s best for you see our full guide on these robotic pool cleaners.

5 Recommended Robotic Pool Cleaners from Dolphin
Best of the
Best Overall Budget Pick
(< $600;)
For Above Ground
Swimming Pools
Dolphin Oasis Z5i Dolphin Premier Dolphin Nautilus CC Dolphin E10 Dolphin Nautilus CC Plus
Oasis Z5i Premier Nautilus CC E10 Nautilus CC Plus
Up to 50 ft. Up to 50 ft. Up to 33 ft. Up to 30 ft. Up to 50 ft.
XL Cartridge Fine Cartridge Large Cartridge Medium Cartridge Large Cartridge
2.5 hours 3 hours 2 hours 1.5 hour 2 hours
23 x 19.5 x 13.5 in 23.5 x 19.5 x 14 in 16.4 x 16.8 x 9 in 18 x 22 x 12 in 16 x 10 x 16 in
40.6 pounds 37.2 pounds 14 pounds 22.8 pounds 19 pounds

Buying Guides
Top 10 Best Robotic Pool Cleaners
Best Robotic Pool Cleaner Brands: An Overview
Best Robotic Pool Cleaner under $600
Best Robotic Pool Cleaners for Saltwater Pools
Best Robotic Pool Cleaner for Above Ground Pools

Info Articles
Robotic Pool Cleaner Filter Bags: How They Work and Where to Buy
Robotic Pool Cleaner vs. Pressure Cleaner
How Often to Run a Robotic Pool Cleaner?