The Best Robotic Pool Cleaners

If you want the quick answer, I think the best robotic pool cleaner for most people is the Dolphin Nautilus CC Plus. I have a lot more details on that one, my other top picks, and robotic pool cleaners that I didn't pick below.

In recent years, robotic pool cleaners have made it easier than ever to clean pools of various sizes and materials. This has turned the once numbing task of manually scrubbing, or vacuuming your pool, into something much easier for everyone. Here are my top choices for the best robot pool cleaners currently on the market, as well as some information on my criteria for research.

My Top Picks For The Best Robotic Pool Cleaners

Below are my top 6 picks for the best robotic pool cleaners after my research.


Dolphin Nautilus CC Plus

⭐ Best Overall Robotic Pool Cleaner

Research Score: 4.5 out of 5

  • Cleaning Power: 5
  • Mobility: 5
  • Durability: 4
  • Price: 4
  • Compatibility: 4

What’s Great:

  • Energy-efficient cleaner
  • Anti-swivel cable helps prevent tangles
  • Flexible scheduling times
  • High suction rate of 4500 GPH

Limitations & What Needs Improvement:

  • Does not clean stairs or waterline
  • Cannot be connected to a smartphone or wi-fi
  • Some manufacturing concerns
  • Cleans pools up to 50 feet
  • Large, top-loaded filter
  • Cleans floors and walls only
  • 2-hour cleaning cycle

Research Notes

The Dolphin Nautilus CC Plus is a top-notch overall robotic pool cleaner that is affordable and does the job. It features a variable cleaning schedule, a large, top-loaded filter, and an anti-tangle cable. As an additional plus, it is also energy-efficient.

This is a great product that can clean a pool of up to 50 feet in just two hours. Although on paper, this product seems perfect, it is unable to clean stairs or the waterline. This robotic cleaner is unable to connect to a smartphone or wi-fi either, so keep that in mind if that is a deal-breaker for you!

Cleaning Power

When it comes to the cleaning power of the Dolphin Nautilus CC Plus, it cannot easily be faulted. This Dolphin model has an incredible suction rate of 4500 GPH. It features a highly rated suction power that is able to clean pools in just 2 hours. This product has a dual scrubbing brush that works hard to remove debris from the pool floor and walls.

On top of all this, it has a weekly scheduler programmed into it, which can come in handy. The Nautilus CC Plus also has an easy-to-access top-loaded filter that can capture debris of all shapes and sizes.

Mobility

This Maytronics product comes with a 60 ft. tangle-free swivel cord that makes it easy for it to move around the entirety of an average-sized pool without getting tangled. It is able to move around the pool with ease with its reliable traction. The Clever Clean scanning system works out the best way to clean your pool while also moving around obstacles.

It must be mentioned that although this product does a great job moving around the floor and walls of a pool, it is not meant to clean stairs. So if you are looking for a product that can move around and clean stairs as well, it would be wise to look elsewhere.

Durability

The Nautilus CC Plus comes with a one-year warranty, which can come in handy if you find a fault in your product. Most other testers attest to the product’s durability as can we as nothing has come up in my own testing. However, there have been a couple of reports of some manufacturing issues that can impact its performance. The warranty can come in handy here if this is the case for you.

Price

The Dolphin Nautilus CC Plus is not the most affordable robotic pool cleaner out there. But it is certainly one that is fairly priced, especially compared to the quality of the product you get. On top of that, Maytronics claims that this product reduces water, chemical, and energy usage with every pool cleaning, saving you even more money. My own testing has shown that this is definitely a more energy-saving product than other robotic pool cleaners of its caliber, so you can save money when it comes to your energy bills.

Compatibility

This product is compatible with all types of inground pools only. It can clean all pool surface types, so whether you have gunite, tile, or anything else, the Nautilus CC Plus can handle it. Although this product is compatible with vinyl liner pools, the suction power may be of concern. This product is also not meant for above ground pools.

Notes From Other Testers

This Dolphin model is rated 4.5 stars out of over 8,500 reviews, which is no small feat. Almost 90% of testers report this product positively, with it being able to perform in the correct manner by cleaning their pools well in just 2 hours. Many claim that this product has changed the look of their pool and made maintaining their pool much easier. And although this product is not touted to clean stairs, some testers have detailed that the Nautilus CC Plus has managed to clean their stairs fairly well. However, on the downside, other testers had a lot less positive things to say. Most negative reviews seem to focus on some manufacturing issues that don’t seem to be consistent throughout Maytronics’ product line. For this reason, it might be best to look into purchasing a good warranty just in case.

Dolphin Triton Plus

⭐ Best Controllable Robotic Pool Cleaner

Research Score: 4.0 out of 5

  • Cleaning Power: 4
  • Mobility: 5
  • Durability: 4
  • Price: 3
  • Compatibility: 4

What’s Great:

  • Multiple speed settings are useful
  • One active brush provides additional cleaning support
  • Lightweight and easy to carry around
  • Excellent manual controls for spot cleaning
  • Two cleaning cycles: quick clean and standard

Limitations & What Needs Improvement:

  • Some issues with stairs and corners
  • Buggy Wi-Fi and Bluetooth feature
  • Pricey
  • Cleans pools up to 50 feet
  • Extra large, top-loaded filter
  • Cleans floors, walls, and waterline
  • 1 or 2 hour cleaning cycle

Research Notes

The Dolphin Triton Plus is a pretty amazing cleaning powerhouse! This energy-efficient robot cleaner is able to thoroughly clean the floors, walls, and surface of your pool for you while you make yourself a cocktail. It does come with a hefty price tag, so that’s something to keep in mind if you’re on a budget.

It is always preferable for your pool cleaner to get things right the first time; a device that can’t clean your pool properly defeats the purpose of a robotic pool cleaner. That being said, I do think there’s some value in being able to remotely control your cleaner robot and clean any missed spots.

Cleaning Power

The Dolphin Triton Plus does a decent job of cleaning your pool. It boasts a 4000 GPH suction rate, giving it a lot of power in its cleaning ability. A feature that I really enjoyed about this robot cleaner was the quick clean feature, which does a basic cleaning of the pool in just 1 hour. This feature is great if you are in a rush and want to do a basic surface clean. If your pool is dirtier and needs a deep cleaning, the standard cleaning takes about 2 hours. I found that the thorough 2-hour mode does a pretty good job, but still missed a few spots.

The Triton Plus comes with a large top-loaded filter that is perfect for extra dirty pools. If your pool gets lots of sizable debris such as leaves and sticks, the Triton Plus will be a good fit for your pool. The Triton Plus also connects to Wi-Fi and Bluetooth and can be controlled through a mobile app. This feature can be quite finicky but is still useful for getting any spots the machine may have missed.

Mobility

The Dolphin Triton Plus has a swivel cord that prevents the cleaner from getting tangled while it moves around the pool. The last thing you want is to turn on your pool cleaner and find out later that it is stuck in your pool, not doing its job.

The cord that the Triton Plus comes with gives it the ability to clean pools up to 50 feet. And the rubber tire tracks on the Triton Plus make it easy for the cleaner to move around and climb stairs and walls.

Durability

The Dolphin Triton Plus comes with a 24-month warranty, which is definitely a relief when you are spending this much money on a product. Although the Triton is made of high-quality plastic and the moving parts are designed well, things can go wrong. So having that assurance for the first 2 years will put your mind at ease.

Price

I rated the pricing section lower on this product because it is by no means an affordable robot cleaner. It comes out to around $1100, so if you are on a budget, I wouldn’t recommend this product. There are plenty of great robotic pool cleaners on the market for a lower price than this one.

That being said, you get what you pay for, and this cleaner is worth the money you pay for it when it comes to power, mobility, and sturdiness. The Triton is also energy efficient, which will save you money in the long run.

Compatibility

The Dolphin Triton Plus is compatible with most inground pool surfaces. But it is worth noting that it will not work with above ground pools. This is because the cleaner is not compatible with vinyl liners as the combination of its suction power and rotating brushes will damage the liner and likely form holes.

Notes From Other Testers

This robot pool cleaner received a lot of praise from pool owners who used it. Out of nearly 350 reviewers, more than 80 percent were happy with the product. Testers were happy with the cleaning ability and versatility of the pool cleaner.

Some customers were unhappy with the performance and expected a robot cleaner with this price tag to clean much more thoroughly than it did. Other users complained about the bugginess of the Bluetooth and Wi-Fi compatibility.

Polaris 9550 Sport Pool Cleaner

⭐ Best for Pools with Tight Corners

Research Score: 4.4 out of 5

  • Cleaning Power: 5
  • Mobility: 5
  • Durability: 4
  • Price: 3
  • Compatibility: 5

What’s Great:

  • Excellent at sharp corners
  • Four-wheel drive system provides outstanding mobility
  • Tangle-free cable system works well
  • Waterline-only cleaning cycle

Limitations & What Needs Improvement:

  • Heavier than most of the competition
  • More expensive than most other cleaners
  • Cleans pools up to 60 feet
  • Large, top-loaded filter
  • Cleans floors, walls, waterline, and steps
  • 1.5 or 2.5 cleaning cycle

Research Notes

For medium to large inground pool owners, the Polaris 9550 is a great option due to its 70’ long swivel cord. This gives it great reach while its 4WD technology allows the product to move around the pool with ease. The cleaning power of this model is also commendable. If your pool has particularly tight corners, this pool cleaner might be for you. Its front-focused brush system lets it get right up to the edges of any sharpness and brush out dirt and debris.

However, some testers have found that the Polaris 9550 is not able to clean the corners well. The sheer weight of this product might be an issue for some as well, but if you don’t plan to pick up the robotic cleaner much, this shouldn’t be an issue.

Cleaning Power

The Polaris 9550 Sport uses Vortex Vacuum technology to suck up all the dirt and debris in your pool. This technology provides an excellent standard for cleaning. This pool cleaner also features a solid blade scrubbing brush that works hard to clean your pool.

Another reason I rated this Polaris model highly in cleaning power is due to its 7-day programmable timer. This is a great feature that lets you customize your settings and leave it. It also has an easy-to-access filter with a window that shows you when it needs to be emptied. Furthermore, the Polaris 9550 Sport has a waterline-only cleaning cycle, which is not something you see in every pool cleaner.

Mobility

Mobility is another strong suit for this robotic pool cleaner. The 9550 Sport uses 4-wheel drive technology that makes its maneuverability superior to many other pool cleaners. With this, it is able to climb walls, move over obstacles, and maneuver its way around the pool without getting stuck. This model also has a 70’ long swivel cord that will not get tangled as it cleans the pool.

Although this Polaris model features all of these great things to help its mobility, some testers have found that it does not do corners or stairs as well as it could. I have not found this to be true in my own testing, but it’s something worth noting.

Durability

This pool vacuum comes with a 2-year warranty, which can come in handy if you have a faulty product. Although it is good to have a warranty for a worst-case scenario, Polaris has passed all of my tests on durability. It is a hard-wearing pool cleaner, which may be in part due to its heavy-duty manufacturing.

The reason I have docked off a point in durability for the Polaris 9550 Sport is due to the fact that there seem to be a few complaints from other testers regarding its durability.

Price

The Polaris 9550 Sport is not a very budget-friendly robotic pool cleaner. In my opinion, this product certainly is worth the money, but to shell out over $1,000 will not come easy to many. On top of that, this robotic vacuum is not known for its energy efficiency. You will certainly save energy compared to pressure-side or suction-side pool cleaners, but there are other robotic pool cleaners that can save you even more money in the long run.

Compatibility

This pool cleaner model can be used for all inground pools, including vinyl. Despite the weight of the product, it is soft on the pool surface. Even perusing the 800+ reviews on Amazon, one can see that this product is compatible with all inground pools, as advertised.

Notes From Other Testers

Testers from around the world have rated the Polaris 9550 Sport at 4.4 stars out of 5, with around 85% of reviews at 4 or 5 stars. Most love the 4WD system that gives it the ability to climb walls well. The long swivel cord that comes with the product is another point of praise. In general, testers commend this robotic vacuum’s ability to clean their pools well. On the flip side, it seems some testers have found that this pool cleaner is not able to clean corners or stairs well.

Aquabot Breeze IQ

⭐ Best for Small Debris

Research Score: 4.35 out of 5

  • Cleaning Power: 4
  • Mobility: 4
  • Durability: 4
  • Price: 5
  • Compatibility: 5

What’s Great:

  • Capable of filtering debris as small as bacteria
  • Large, high-capacity baskets
  • Fewer manufacturing defects than many competitors
  • Great for above ground pools

Limitations & What Needs Improvement:

  • Relatively heavy
  • No remote control options
  • Filters are fragile
  • Cleans pools up to 50 feet
  • Dual, top-loaded filter
  • Cleans floors, walls, and waterline
  • 1.5 or 2-hour cleaning cycle

Research Notes

If you want a robot cleaner that can clear out the smallest possible particles, consider the Aquabot Breeze IQ. It boasts a 4800 GPH suction power and can filter out particles so small you won’t even be able to see them with the naked eye. You can use the Aquabot for almost any type of pool surface including above ground pools.

The Aquabot is pretty heavy-duty, with extra emphasis on heavy. It weighs almost 20 pounds, which is a bit much in my opinion. Although there are some issues with its filter and roller track’s durability, it is still a good, affordable option for those looking to automate their pool cleaning.

Cleaning Power

The Aquabot Breeze is a powerful cleaner that has over 4800 GPH of suction power. The strong suction coupled with its rubber brushes give this robot the ability to clean your pool’s surfaces incredibly well. The Aquabot also comes with 2 cleaning cycles, 1.5 hour and 2 hours. The shorter clean cycle is helpful for those with a bit of a time constraint.

Something that really sets this cleaner apart from other robot cleaners on the market is the filter basket’s ability to collect very fine particles. It can filter out debris as small as 2-5 microns, including bacteria! Due to this, the filters fill up fast. For larger pools, you may even have to empty them after every use.

Unfortunately, the customizable programs and timers are very limited, so it isn’t easy to set an automated cleaning schedule. It is a simple set up and you will have to manually start the cleaning cycle, but the Aquabot still packs a punch.

Mobility

The Aquabot follows suit with most other robot pool cleaners with an anti-swivel cord that fends off tangles. It comes with a 60-foot cord that allows the cleaner to clean pools of up to 50 feet.

Although the Aquabot is advertised to be able to clean walls and waterline, it does sometimes have trouble going all the way up the wall, occasionally missing parts of the wall. Another downside is that it is unable to clean stairs.

My testing concluded that the Aquabot cleans about 90 percent of the pool's surfaces, not including stairs or ledges.

Durability

The main components of the Aquabot are pretty durable. It is manufactured well and isn’t known to have many defects. I did, however, notice that the wheels are a bit cheaply made compared to similar pool cleaners and would likely not last more than 3-4 years.

The main durability issue with the Aquabot is the filters. They are made of flimsy plastic and easily break. With my testing alone, I broke one of the baskets and had to purchase another filter set. I would recommend purchasing a few spare filters when you initially buy the machine.

The Aquabot also comes with a 2-year warranty, which is definitely helpful if the robot cleaner has any malfunctions or issues.

Price

The Aquabot comes at a pretty fair price, at only around $800. When compared with other robot cleaners with similar abilities, it definitely comes out on the cheaper end of the spectrum. Also, despite its high suction power and cleaning ability, it only costs around 5 cents an hour to operate.

Any decent pool cleaner is going to cost you, but the Aquabot Breeze is definitely a good bargain for the quality.

Compatibility

The Aquabot is compatible with most pool types and surfaces. The cleaner does have strong suction, but it has soft rubber brushes that won’t damage the liner of your pool. The Aquabot can even be used with above ground pools! Many pool cleaners with black brushes are known to leave marks on white surfaces, but the Aquabot has soft gray brushes that do not leave streak marks.

The one surface that this pool cleaner is not compatible with is tiles.

Notes From Other Testers

Out of nearly 200 reviews, the Aquabot Breeze IQ is rated 4 out of 5 stars on average. Testers with large and small pools alike were happy with the cleaner’s performance and filtering power. The Aquabot received a lot of praise for its ability to remove small particles, and it also didn't seem to get stuck in one place as easily as other pool cleaners.

There are some negative reviews worth noting. Some customers were not happy with the bulkiness and weight of the Aquabot. At more than 20 pounds, I do agree that it may be too big for some pool owners to carry around. A few other testers were unhappy with the quality of the roller tracks, 3 reviews even claimed the wheel broke within the first year after purchasing.

Hayward SharkVac

⭐ Easiest to Clean

Research Score: 4.2 out of 5

  • Cleaning Power: 4
  • Mobility: 4
  • Durability: 5
  • Price: 3
  • Compatibility: 5

What’s Great:

  • Easy to transport, especially with the cart
  • Easy to clean filter
  • Excellent for smaller pools
  • Available in two sizes

Limitations & What Needs Improvement:

  • Not good at cleaning walls unless you get the XL
  • No remote control options
  • Floating cord may get tangled
  • Cleans pools of about 40 feet
  • Large, top-loaded filter
  • Standard model cleans floor only, XL cleans floor and walls
  • 2-hour cleaning cycle, 3 hours for the XL

Research Notes

Hayward’s SharkVac is an impressively easy-to-clean robot with a single large, top-access filter. There are two sizing options to fit small to medium pool owners. Along with the pool cleaner itself, you have the option to purchase the caddy system. This can be incredibly handy to carry the unit, and it is particularly useful for any mobility-challenged pool owners.

The standard SharkVac can only clean floors, so if wall-cleaning is a necessity for you, try the SharkVac XL. Both models do a great job of cleaning pools, and most other testers are very satisfied with the product. Just keep in mind that this Hayward product does not have a swivel cord and there are a few complaints regarding the hinges that can make the lid hard to open.

Cleaning Power

The Hayward SharkVac is an efficient robotic pool cleaner that uses its smart steering technology to figure out the best cleaning pattern. The cartridge filter can filter through debris as small as 5 microns. Both models of this Hayward product are able to clean the pool floors with ease with their wheel brushes. However, only the SharkVac XL can clean the walls and waterline.

Both models feature a top-access filter for quick debris removal and easy cleanup. If you are looking for a robotic pool cleaner that is easy to use, this is a great option. However, the SharkVac is not as powerful as its competition, with a cleaning cycle of 2 or 3 hours depending on the model.

Mobility

In terms of mobility, the SharkVac does well. Both models thoroughly clean the pool floors, and the XL model does a great job of cleaning walls as well. The smart steering technology helps the vacuum to maneuver its way around obstacles in the pool, so no complaints here!

The one downside to its mobility is the cord or cable. The floating power cable does not have a swivel cable device, so I have found that you may need to untangle it at times. And for the standard model, it comes with only a 50’ cable, making it suitable for small pools only.

Durability

The Hayward SharkVac is built with high-quality materials that make this product sturdy and durable. The last thing you would want is for your robot pool vacuum to break down after just a few uses. The SharkVac has a robust design that is built to handle usual wear.

The standard SharkVac model comes with a one-year limited warranty, and the XL comes with a two-year limited warranty.

Price

The actual price of this vacuum depends on what you get. There are four different models for this product: the standard, the XL, the standard with caddy, and the XL with caddy. Although the SharkVac is fairly priced, there are certainly cheaper robotic pool cleaners on the market. Especially considering the fact that the standard SharkVac is unable to clean walls, this may be a dealbreaker for many. For that price, you could find another vacuum that can clean walls as well.

Compatibility

All versions of the Hayward SharkVac are compatible with inground pools. They can clean fiberglass, gunite, pebble, tile, and vinyl pools, so you shouldn’t have an issue with compatibility as long as your pool is inground.

Notes From Other Testers

The Hayward SharkVac has an average rating of 4.1 stars out of almost 450 reviews. Almost 80% of reviews are 4 or 5 stars, so most testers are quite happy with this product. There is a mix of reviews from testers that have bought the standard and XL models, but whichever they get, most are happy with the quality and cleaning ability of the vacuum. The SharkVac rates particularly highly for ease of use.

A common complaint about this product seems to be the cord getting tangled up, which makes it a bit of a pain for pool owners to deal with after a cleaning cycle. There are also a few issues with the hinges, making the lid harder to open.

Pentair Kreepy Krauly Prowler

⭐ Best Energy-Efficient Robotic Pool Cleaner

Research Score: 4.1 out of 5

  • Cleaning Power: 4
  • Mobility: 4
  • Durability: 4
  • Price: 5
  • Compatibility: 3

What’s Great:

  • Extremely affordable to run
  • Improves pool chemical distribution
  • Two speed settings
  • Ability to manually override automatic cleaning mode for spot cleaning

Limitations & What Needs Improvement:

  • Common issue with debris container
  • Too rough on some surfaces, especially textured ones
  • Heavy unit at 45 pounds
  • Cleans pools of about 50 feet
  • Large, top-loaded filter
  • Cleans floor and walls
  • 1 or 2.5-hour cleaning cycle

Research Notes

If you are looking for an energy-efficient robotic pool cleaner, it doesn’t get any better than the Pentair Kreepy Krauly Prowler. It will clean an entire large pool for only around 15 cents. The Prowler is an efficient cleaner that is able to do its job and even features remote control to do some spot cleaning if necessary. Other notable features include an auto-reverse, a chemical circulator, and an optional quick-clean that focuses only on the pool floor.

This is a pretty solid product as long as you don’t mind the weight or the issues with the full cartridge indicator.

Cleaning Power

The Pentair Kreepy Krauly Prowler features advanced design scrubs, vacuums, and filters. This pool cleaner is able to clean most pools in two and a half hours, so it’s not as fast as other models on the market. However, it still does the job well and cleans the entire pool while also using its internal filtration system to circulate the chemicals throughout the pool. There is also a fast cleaning option, which will clean the pool in an hour.

One main advantage of this product is the ability to override the automatic cleaning mode with the remote control for some spot cleaning if necessary. The Prowler also has a weekly timer which can come in handy to schedule regular cleanings.

This Pentair product is able to clean debris of all sizes, including algae and debris as small as 5 microns. The Prowler will let you know that the cartridge is full, and it is easy to empty and clean it. Unfortunately, there is a bit of a track record with the product misreading how much debris is actually in its container.

Mobility

The Kreepy Krauly Prowler has rubber tracks and a rubber brush that help it to move around the pool with no issues. And if the Prowler runs into any issues with corners or gets caught by steps or ladders, there is a very helpful auto-reverse feature. This robot cleaner does a pretty decent job climbing walls as well. The Prowler comes with a 60’ swivel cord so that it can seamlessly move throughout the pool without getting tangled up in its own cord.

Although this product rates fairly well on mobility, I did have to dock off a point simply for the weight of the product. At 45 pounds, this is not particularly easy to handle and move around. Expect a bit of a workout when you carry around this pool cleaner. It does come with a transport caddy to help move it around.

Durability

This robotic pool cleaner is a very sturdy model that comes in a 45-pound body. A 2-year limited warranty comes with this purchase as well to cover any manufacturing mistakes or other issues that may arise over time. That said, some testers have reported this product breaking down after just a year.

Price

The strong point for the Kreepy Krauly Prowler is its overall affordability. The price of the product itself is not that affordable, but the real cost-saving comes from running the pool cleaner. The Prowler has a low-voltage operation which reduces energy use. To put this into numbers, this robotic pool cleaner can clean most pools for as little as 15 cents of electricity per cleaning.

Compatibility

The Kreepy Krauly Prowler is compatible with most inground pools, but the size and weight of the product make it a bit too rough on textured surfaces, like tiles.

Notes From Other Testers

Amazon reviews for this Pentair product are quite middling; it has 3.8 stars on average out of 76 reviews from around the world. 71% of the reviews rate the product 4 or 5 stars. The other testers seem to love that this pool cleaner is easy to clean and maintain. The Prowler also does a great job cleaning pools, which is the main thing. Most people that have something negative to say mention the fact that there is a manufacturing error where the full cartridge indicator wrongly indicates that it is full when it is not. Hopefully, this is something Pentair will fix in future models.

Recap: Best Robotic Pool Cleaners

How They Compare

Cleaning Power and Price Comparison

I plotted my cleaning power scores vs. price on this scatterplot to create a chart where you can easily see what the best value for your dollar is. The Dolphin Nautilus CC Plus stands out from the competition, but Pentair and Hayward robotic cleaners are also a good value.

Mobility Comparison

  1. Dolphin Nautilus CC Plus - 5
  2. Dolphin Triton Plus - 5
  3. Polaris 9550 Sport Pool Cleaner - 5
  4. Aquabot Breeze IQ - 4
  5. Hayward SharkVac - 4
  6. Pentair Kreepy Krauly Prowler - 4

Dolphin and Polaris lead the pack on mobility. At the bottom of my top picks, Pentair still performed well.

Durability Comparison

  1. Hayward SharkVac - 5
  2. Dolphin Nautilus CC Plus - 4
  3. Dolphin Triton Plus - 4
  4. Polaris 9550 Sport Pool Cleaner - 4
  5. Aquabot Breeze IQ - 4
  6. Pentair Kreepy Krauly Prowler - 4

The Hayward SharkVac was a clear winner for me on durability.

Compatibility Comparison

  1. Polaris 9550 Sport Pool Cleaner - 5
  2. Aquabot Breeze IQ - 5
  3. Hayward SharkVac - 5
  4. Dolphin Nautilus CC Plus - 4
  5. Dolphin Triton Plus - 4
  6. Pentair Kreepy Krauly Prowler - 3

Polaris, Aquabot, and Hayward all scored well on compatibility with various types of pools. Pentair lagged the pack.

Other Robotic Pool Cleaners Researched

  • Dolphin Escape Robotic Above Ground Pool Cleaner - I didn't cover above ground pool cleaners a ton here, but this is a good value buy and a cleaner that I mentioned in my research on the best automatic pool cleaners.
  • PAXCESS Cordless Robotic Pool Cleaner - This cleaner is about as cheap as it gets and the performance certainly shows that. I don't recommend it.
  • Dolphin Sigma Robotic Pool Cleaner - This one is pretty similar to the Pentair Kreepy Krauly that I have on my list, which is cheaper.
  • Aiper Smart Cordless Automatic Pool Cleaner - Once again, a very cheap product. So, if you're on a budget, you could get this one, but don't expect the world's great cleaning performance.
  • Aqua Products Sol AG Auto Robotic Pool Cleaner - This cleaner really struggles with suction power.
  • Instapark Betta Automatic Robotic Pool Cleaner - This one is just for floating debris. It doesn't clean the bottom of your pool.

My Research Criteria

Let’s take a closer look at the research criteria I used to determine the best robotic cleaners and some of the other factors you should consider when you’re searching for the right one for your pool. Each of my criteria is weighted slightly differently based on importance which is reflected in my research scores for each robotic pool cleaner.

Cleaning Power And Performance

Power has a direct correlation to the performance of robotic pool cleaners. In general, higher suction power means a cleaner pool, and their ability to use electricity means robotic cleaners can offer significantly higher suction than pressure-powered or suction-powered cleaners.

Not all robotic pool cleaners are created equal in terms of cleaning ability though. I looked at the suction rate measured in GPH (gallons per hour), the cleaning cycle time (most good models should be about 2 hours), and the quality of the brushes on the cleaner. The brushes need to be able to stand up to tough dirt and debris and get your pool surface clean in just one cycle.

I also looked at extra features here like programmable timers and digital displays. Having a programmable timer, in particular, is a big advantage – you want to be able to "set it and forget it" when it comes to cleaning your pool.

Overall, cleaning power and performance accounted for 25% of my total score for each robotic cleaner.

Reach and Mobility

Let’s face it – your motorized pool cleaner isn’t going to be very efficient at cleaning your pool if it can’t reach the entire surface and all the nooks and crannies. There are a few specific factors I looked at when it comes to reach and mobility that you should consider when you’re trying to find a good match for your pool.

First, I looked for robotic cleaners with wide tires made of rubber and four-wheel drive. A lot of cheap pool cleaners will come with plastic tires, which aren’t as good at getting traction and moving around the bottom of your pool. Those tires also need to be able to climb your pool walls, so the climbing ability was another factor I looked at here. A good pool cleaner should climb your pool walls and pool stairs with ease.

Second, there are a lot of potential obstacles that your cleaner can encounter when it’s humming around your pool. The best models have deflecting sensors that can sense obstacles and easily move around them without getting stuck in corners or behind other stuff.

And finally, I looked at the swivel cord and the length of the cord to make sure it can reach the far edges of the most popular sizes of pools. A swivel cord is also an important feature because it helps prevent tangles and keep your robot pool cleaner moving freely.

Reach and mobility accounted for 20% of my scores.

Durability

Longevity and durability is an important consideration for any piece of pool equipment, but it’s especially important for a hefty investment like a robotic pool cleaner. I looked at construction, how much cheap plastic is used, and their warranty to make sure you can get any needed repairs or replacements in the first year or two if something breaks. Ideally, a robotic pool cleaner should last you at least a few years. Durability accounted for 20% of my overall score.

Price

I always want to make sure that you are getting a good bang for your buck. So, I looked at the price of each robotic cleaner and how it stacked up to the quality, durability, and ultimately value that you are getting. Energy efficiency also comes into play here. Small cleaners shouldn’t take up more than about 200 watts per hour and large cleaners should consume around 800-1,000 watts per hour. Price accounted for 20% of my research scores.

Compatibility With Your Pool Surface

Compatibility with different pool surfaces is a crucial part of evaluating a robotic pool cleaner. Unlike pressure-side and suction-side cleaners, which aren’t strong enough to damage normal pool materials, robotic pool cleaners occasionally damage the components of pools. This is especially true around areas like decorative tiles, which may be glued in place and therefore be less sturdy than the rest of the pool.

This wasn’t a make-or-break factor because some cleaners simply aren’t made for all surfaces, but this did influence my final selections and it’s something you should keep in mind when making a purchasing decision. Compatibility made up 15% of the final research score for each model.

What Else to Consider

Note on Electrical Safety

Robotic pool cleaners aren’t as dangerous as they might sound. It’s true that electricity and water is usually a bad combination, but modern cleaners use a variety of techniques to limit the possibility of electrifying the water.

That said, a robot is only as good as its parts, so I took a careful look at the wires and plugs. You should be able to plug it into your GFCI outlet near your pool and forget about it. Manufacturing defects are always a concern when there’s a possibility of harm, so I removed any unit with inferior components or reports of electrical problems from the final list.

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