We had to spend time with dozens of pool vacuums before we could confidently say that we’d found the ten best options on the market.
The guide before you today is the product of hours of research, testing, and comparative evaluations, but the hard work paid off. Our robotic pool cleaner reviews describe products that are suitable for a wide range of buyers. Whether you’re looking for the best product you can get your hands on, or something that will respect your budget, there are options here for you.
A Quick Summary of our Favorites
10 Best Robotic Pool Cleaner Reviews 2019
1. Dolphin Nautilus CC Plus Automatic Robotic Pool Cleaner – Editor’s Choice
The Dolphin Nautilus comes with sophisticated algorithms for maximum ease of use. The scheduling feature allows you to select dates that will keep your pool cleaned on a regular schedule.
It has advanced programming that adapts to the shape and size of your pool for the implementation of an algorithm that allows complete coverage of the pool. The brush system is also high-end and includes a pattern that lifts and subsequently sucks up dirt and grime for hyper-efficiency.
As an added bonus, the Dolphin Nautilus is also eight times more energy-efficient than other options, minimizing environmental impact and consistently saving you money.
The Dolphin Nautilus is made to be used in pools that are fifty feet in length or less.
This is an expensive robotic cleaner, but if money is no object, the cost will be well worth it.
2. Dolphin Premier Robotic Pool Cleaner
The Dolphin Premier has much in common with our first pick. It has an energy-saving design (in this case, 90% more effective than AC-powered cleaners). The unit includes a scheduling component, and a variety of different attachments for the removal of pollen, algae, leaves, and debris. There’s also a hyper-grip track that means it’s 40% better than competing models at sticking to the walls of your pool.
The Dolphin Premier is an expensive cleaner. In fact, you can find above ground pools that cost significantly less than this unit. It also struggles a little bit with oval or rounded pools. Still, as in the case of our number one pick, your money buys you high-end features.
3. Aquabot Pool Rover – Best Robotic Pool Cleaner for the Money
If the price tags of the last two vacuums frightened you off, the Aquabot Pool Rover Hybrid Robotic Pool Cleaner may be an enticing alternative. Our best for the money pick manages to stay affordable while offering a robust range of features. The cleaner has a sizable 19-quart filter bag, a customizable cleaning pattern, and the ability to clean up algae, leaves, dirt, and grime.
The propeller system can accommodate the length of a 24-foot pool, and the wheels are specially designed to tread carefully on delicate materials like vinyl.
Note that the Aquabot won’t do much good on walls, nor with deeply embedded dirt and grime. For the money, however, you may find the compromises manageable.
4. Polaris F9550 Sport Robotic In-Ground Pool Vacuum
The Polaris F9550 Sport Robotic In-Ground Pool Cleaner has four-wheel drive ActivMotion sensor technology, and a sizeable 70-foot length capacity. This makes it a comprehensive and high-end option.
The powerful vacuum can lift deeply embedded dirt even in tight corners. The robot also features a seven-day programmable cycle for ease of use.
Unfortunately, this is another cleaner that doesn’t do well with walls. The traction system gives out from time to time, which leads to the cleaner floating aimlessly in the pool.
The programming feature also shorts out occasionally, which means you may need to reset it regularly to enjoy scheduled cleanings. Though they’re relatively common complaints in their own right, these problems are further exacerbated by the cost. It’s a pricey unit, so budget buyers beware.
5. Aquabot X4 Robot Pool Cleaner
The Aquabot X4 is designed to be used on all pool shapes and features a sixty-foot range that’s compatible with most pools. It’s also available for a moderate price that’s suitable for the needs of budget buyers.
This is a hyper-efficient cleaner, with mapping algorithms that detect the layout of the pool so that it works better even with unique shape designs. The unit also includes a high-end pump filter that allows you to use fewer chemicals in your pool.
One major consideration pertains to the brush bristles. They are very fragile and prone to mangling, which means you may need to replace them regularly.
There have also been some user reports that the entire cleaner dies very prematurely. Granted, this is not the case with most units, but it is a concern to be mindful of.
6. Hayward RC9950GR TigerShark Automatic Robotic Pool Cleaner
The Hayward RC9950GR TigerShark Automatic Robotic Pool Cleaner is made to work with 20′ x 40′ pool dimensions. It has an onboard pump that lifts dirt and filters grime and algae for efficient, thorough operation. It’s also very easy to clean and requires only a garden hose hookup to be rinsed out completely.
One of the main problems with this Hayward cleaner is the quality of its cleaning algorithms. Most of the time, the robot will clean the entire length of your pool without issue. However, it does glitch occasionally, in which instances it limits its cleaning path to a very small section of your pool, leaving the rest of the pool unattended. Like many robotic vacuums, it also struggles with pool walls.
7. Nu Cobalt NC52 Wall Climber Smart Logic Robotic Pool Cleaner
The Nu Cobalt NC52 Wall Climber Smart Logic Robotic Pool Cleaner is affordable and simple but does include a few noteworthy features. It has multiple modes of use. You can use the standard three-hour cleaning cycle, which takes a thorough approach to lifting dirt and grime, or use the one-hour cycle that gets the job done much faster. It also features a lightweight design and a large vacuum bag.
You should be aware that this cleaner does not always clean evenly and will struggle with walls and corners. Still, for a decent cleaner at an affordable price, this is a good option to consider.
8. Hayward RC9740CUB SharkVac Robotic Pool Vacuum
The Hayward RC9740CUB SharkVac Robotic Pool Vacuum has a user-friendly design that makes setup simple, and operation a breeze. To use it, you essentially plug it in and allow the pre-programmed algorithms to do the rest. It’s also easy to clean, making it as low-maintenance as possible.
These things said, this cleaner is, by design, limited in what it can accomplish. The robot has been made to work only on pool floors, so your walls will go completely neglected. It’s also inconsistent in its cleaning patterns, which means sections of your pool floor are likely to go unaddressed.
9. Aquabot Breeze 4WD In-Ground Robotic Pool Cleaner
The Aquabot Breeze 4WD In-Ground Robotic Pool Cleaner features a sixty-foot length capacity and four-wheel drive, which will make pool navigation simple.
The rest of the features don’t necessarily impress, especially when compared to the other options on our list. The algorithm is very simple, leaving many spots unattended. Additionally, it struggles significantly with walls and corners.
The storage capacity is also very small, which means it will need to be emptied and cleaned regularly. It’s not a bad pool robot, but it also doesn’t compare well to the rest of our list.
10. Pentair Kreepy Krauly Prowler Pool Cleaning Robot
Our final pick, the Pentair 360032 Kreepy Krauly Prowler 830, has both remote control operation and algorithms so you can customize your cleaning approach. It’s also very affordable to run, operating at just a quarter a day.
There are, however, several issues that cut against the features we appreciate about the Pentair. For one thing, it’s extremely bulky. At 45 pounds, most users will have a hard time getting the vacuum in and out of the pool.
It also clogs regularly and struggles to stay on the walls. To make matters worse, it’s one of the pricier selections here. It’s not a complete wash, but there are better ways to spend your money.
Here are some buying considerations that will help you choose your robotic pool cleaner.
One of the first things you’ll notice when you begin your hunt for a pool cleaner is that the price can really go off the deep end (pun intended).
High-end robotic cleaners can cost as much as a decent above ground pool. However, moderate options are available. It’s all a matter of your needs. Do you need something smart and intuitive, or formulaic and effective? Go in with an idea of the features you want, and you should be able to avoid blowing your budget.
How Smart Do You Want Your Robotic Pool Cleaner To Be?
Early robotic vacuums were formulaic and unsophisticated, operating with basic algorithms that ensured the same patterns every time.
Not anymore. High-end robotic pool cleaners can determine the layout of your pool and clean accordingly. This means you don’t need to worry about large swaths of your pool bottom going unattended. A sophisticated cleaning cycle process will cost you more money, but it’s worthwhile for buyers that prioritize performance.
The size of your pool is a factor that you won’t want to ignore. Even really good cleaners have their limitations, and each cleaner is pre-programmed with a specific range. Too small a range and your pool will suffer.
If you have a pool that is of typical size and shape, most options will suit your needs, but it’s always best to make sure before finalizing a purchase.
What Is Your Pool Made Of?
Your pool’s liner material can also determine the type of cleaner you need. Some cleaners specifically state the type of material they are best used with—pebble tech, vinyl, etc.
Others claim to be universal but may still damage softer materials. If your pool includes delicate materials like fiberglass or tile, be mindful of the vacuum you choose.
Brand name snobbery is not usually a good way to make a buying decision, but there is something to be said for investing in products from reputable manufacturers.
However, in the case of robotic pool cleaners, there is something to be said for buying a product with a good reputation. Reputable companies will generally include more sophisticated features and a more reliable performance. If you do need to buy from a more obscure company to save some money, it won’t be the end of the world, but you are taking a gamble.
One of the unexpected costs of pool upkeep is an increase in energy bills. Pumps, filters, and cleaning equipment all add up, adding hundreds to your expenses throughout the course of the year. Getting an energy-efficient cleaner can help you keep your costs low. You can read more about this here.
Some pool cleaners can be set to clean your pool regularly on specified days. These features make the equipment much more user-friendly. The only thing you need to do is keep the vacuum plugged in to enjoy regular upkeep.
One of the number one complaints about pool robots is that they struggle with scaling the walls of your pool. Without the right level of traction, the wheels will lose their grip, and the robot will essentially float uselessly in the pool for the duration of its cleaning cycle.
Virtually every pool cleaner will have its occasional floater day, but some options navigate the issue better than others. Specialty grip wheels will help ensure that the cleaner operates as intended.
Clean Cycle Time Frame
The clean cycle time frame does not have enormous implications for how you can enjoy your pool. After all, you can still swim even when the vacuum is in the water. However, it’s handy to know if you’re hosting a gathering, or you just don’t like the feeling that you’re being pursued by a robot as you swim laps.
The average run time is around two hours, though you will find options in the three to four-hour range. Pool size will also have a bearing on the clean cycle.
The objective of our robotic pool cleaner reviews was to connect you with the perfect product for your backyard pool. Hopefully, we have been successful in this endeavor, but if you still have questions, a couple of recommendations might clear things up.
If you’re the type of person who is happy to spend more money if it means getting a fantastic product, then the Dolphin Nautilus CC Plus Automatic Robotic Pool Cleaner will be an enticing choice.
However, if you need good features and can’t spend a lot of money to get them, you may like our best for the money pick, the Aquabot Pool Rover Hybrid Robotic Pool Cleaner.
Note that the products mentioned in this guide are for in-ground pools. But, don’t forget that there are also models designed for above ground pools.
Table of Contents
- A Quick Summary of our Favorites
- 10 Best Robotic Pool Cleaner Reviews 2019
- 1. Dolphin Nautilus CC Plus Automatic Robotic Pool Cleaner – Editor’s Choice
- 2. Dolphin Premier Robotic Pool Cleaner
- 3. Aquabot Pool Rover – Best Robotic Pool Cleaner for the Money
- 4. Polaris F9550 Sport Robotic In-Ground Pool Vacuum
- 5. Aquabot X4 Robot Pool Cleaner
- 6. Hayward RC9950GR TigerShark Automatic Robotic Pool Cleaner
- 7. Nu Cobalt NC52 Wall Climber Smart Logic Robotic Pool Cleaner
- 8. Hayward RC9740CUB SharkVac Robotic Pool Vacuum
- 9. Aquabot Breeze 4WD In-Ground Robotic Pool Cleaner
- 10. Pentair Kreepy Krauly Prowler Pool Cleaning Robot
- Buying Considerations:
- Final Verdict