What You Should Know About Robotic Pool Cleaners

What You Should Know About Robotic Pool Cleaners

Depending on the way you go about it, keeping your swimming pool clean can definitely be an ongoing battle that drains your time, energy, and resources. The fight to continually ensure that your pool is clear, blue, and sparkling throughout the season can sometimes be a bit too much for some.

You certainly have numerous options for cleaning your pool, and many of them can actually be quite effective. However, technology and innovation has led to a superior option for cleaning a pool, and that’s the robotic pool cleaner.

Robotic Pool Cleaner Working in Pool

Robotic pool cleaners have slowly become the go-to method for those wanting to use minimal effort while cleaning a pool, without sacrificing overall cleaning quality. These miniature tank-like devices posses the ability to comb your pool all on their own, eagerly sucking up anything in their path.

Indeed, robotic pool cleaners possess a wide range of benefits and advantages that make them so effective. Before going into all the vital aspects of robotic pool cleaners, let’s first go over some important information about pool and cleaner types in general.

What Makes A Pool Cleaner A Robotic Cleaner?

The vast majority of pool cleaners require the pool owner to operate them, whether it’s a simple net style cleaner, or side suction and side pressure cleaners. While the latter two can operate on their own in some sense, they are rather limited in their scope.

Non-robotic cleaners also rely on the pool’s filtration and pump systems to operate. They act as an extension of both, depositing sediment through the pools filters, and using the pump to move across the pool and create a suction.

Working Robotic Pool Cleaner on Pool Side

Robotic pool cleaners are more complex, and possess the ability to fully function on their own without having to be connected to the swimming pool’s systems. These cleaners operate on low voltage power, and can scour the surface of your pool’s walls and floors collecting dirt and debris.

Robotic pool cleaners use their own filtration system and containers to store all of the sediment and particles they gather. They usually have the ability to scale the walls and steps of a pool as well.

Most of these cleaners run on programmed cycle times, and can determine your pool’s shape and size after a few cycles to ensure better efficiency. They run on low-voltage motors, and don’t require an external hose connection during use. You can simply just turn the unit on, put it in the water, and walk away while it completes the cycle.

Differences Between Above-Ground And In-Ground Pools

The two most common pool types are above-ground and in-ground. Both have some unique advantages, and both require different cleaning methods that could be dependent on several factors.

Example of an Above Ground Pool

Above-ground pools are any pool that isn’t set inside the ground, and relies on an external casing that isn’t made of concrete. Most are made with metal walls and flooring that is lined with durable vinyl material.

These pools are almost always cheaper than in-ground pools, and tend to be smaller as well. They provide users with the opportunity to have a larger-sized swimming pool on their property, but without permanent and costly construction.

In-ground pools require extensive construction, and are set completely in the ground. They are made from different kinds of rock material, tile, and concrete, and involve an implemented drainage system and water supply.

Example of an In-Ground Pool

In-ground pools are larger and have a more complex shape. The larger surface area requires stronger pumps and filters, and also results in more debris to removes from the water. In-ground pools are generally preferred over above-ground versions, and usually require more maintenance and care.

How Robotic Cleaners Operate In Each Pool Type

While there are a few robotic cleaners that can function in both in-ground and above-ground pools, the vast majority are relegated to one pool type or the other.

Since in-ground pools are made of hard materials, robotic cleaners made for them are a bit harsher in the way they clean. They will use much stronger water pressure and suction, and often have brushing attachments that generate a scrubbing effect as they move.

Above-ground pools have a liner inside that covers at least the flooring, and usually the walls as well. This liner is very durable but still shouldn’t be dealt with harshly. The bunching and wrinkling that occurs with the liner may be to obstructive for some in-ground robotic cleaners to traverse over.

Why Use A Robotic Pool Cleaner?

Robotic pool cleaners have been rapidly rising in popularity for quite some time, and there are always plenty of new models coming out on the market. So why do so many people use them?

There are numerous advantages to using a robotic pool cleaner, from energy savings to their actual cleaning abilities.

Benefits Of Robotic Pool Cleaners

Reduce Chemicals

Pool chemicals are used for a number of reasons, with the main one being to ensure a proper ph level in the water. Chlorine is most often used to do this, along with destroying any bacteria in the water.

Debris, dirt, and algae can have a significant effect on the ph levels of the water. As more foreign particles enter the water, they immediately begin to break down and decompose -- even the smallest pieces. This alters the ph levels, and requires the use of more chemicals to keep the level balanced.

Pool PH Level tester

Robotic pool cleaners offer a way to constantly keep the pool clean of any particles, helping prevent decomposition and fluctuating ph levels. These cleaners are more thorough in their operation, using a number of methods to remove dirt lining the pool’s surface, and while capturing leaves, bugs, and any other things that may cause changes in ph levels.

Over time, you’ll find yourself using far less chemicals, as the pool’s ph level will be much more consistent. This keep the pool healthier, while also saving you time and money. It’s a win-win.

Energy Savings

Here’s the thing with all other pool cleaners: they all need to be linked to the pool’s filtration and pump system. Automatic pool cleaners may be able to roam around the pool on their own, but they are fully reliant on your pool’s water pressure and pumps.

This causes the pool’s pump to remain engaged the entire time the cleaner is doing its job. In most cases, you’ll have to hook up an extra pump, or use a pump booster that provides enough power for the cleaner in the first place.

These actions cause your pool to work overtime, which can get very expensive over time. It’s already energy-consuming enough to operate the pool’s pump and filtration systems as is, and that doesn’t include using automatic cleaners. In some cases, you may see your electric bill essentially double during the busiest seasons.

Automatic Pool Cleaner Cleaning Pool

Robotic pool cleaners bypass this system, and handle all of the filtering, water pressure, and suctioning on their own with an internal motor and power system.

Yes, the cleaner uses electricity to get around, but at a much, much lower rate than what’s needed to power a pool. In most cases, the costs are around $.10 to $.50 per cleaning cycle. That’s a significant amount of savings.

Less Stress On Your Pool System

Pool systems do an awful lot of work during a pool’s open season, sucking in water, pushing out water, and of course running the water through filters. These systems are expensive, and require an high amount of maintenance over time.

Using automatic pool cleaners that rely on the pool’s system doubles the amount of stress on the pump and filters. This result in the constant need to change the filters, and decreases the mileage you can get out of the pump system.

Robotic cleaners have nothing to do with your pools essential systems, so they can work in peace and at a normal rate. The slashes the stress amount put on these components, helping reduce maintenance, prevent failures, and decrease the amount of replacement parts needed.

They Don’t Require An Extra Booster Pump

More often than not, the average pump system on a swimming pool is not powerful enough to ensure effective operation of automatic cleaners. This gives you two options: you can accept the mediocre cleaning ability, or use a booster pump to increase power.

Example of a Booster Pump

Booster pumps can be a bit difficult to deal with, and then there is the whole issue regarding increased utility bills and having to replace parts due to increased usage and stress.

As you know by now, robotic cleaners don’t need any kind of pump, and which means you won’t have to even worry about hooking up an extra pump. That saves a lot of hassle and money.

No Extra Hoses

Non-robotic cleaners operate via a hose that runs from the cleaner itself to the pool’s filtration and pump systems. These hoses are bulky and can get in the way if you are trying to enjoy your pool while the cleaner runs along the bottom of the pool.

Robotic pool cleaners don’t need any kind of hose as their filter is self-contained, and they run off of electricity. Yes, there is a cord running from the cleaner to your power source, but it’s a lot smaller, and a lot less intrusive. Plus, many robotic cleaners have swivel cords, preventing tangling.


Perhaps the biggest advantage to using a robotic cleaner is the added convenience you have. Manual cleaners require you to operate them the entire time, which is very annoying for most, and isn’t even really that effective.

Automatic pool cleaners do operate on their own to a certain extent, but they still need to be checked on frequently. They also aren’t the best at covering all of your pool, and almost always lack the ability to scale walls and stairs.

Robotic cleaners are designed to do all of the work. They can make their way across every inch of your pool, vacuuming, scrubbing, and sweeping nearly all of the dirt, algae, and whatever else is floating around or resting on the floor and walls of the pool.

Working Robotic Pool Cleaner Cleaning Pool Sides

Most of the time, all you need to do is push the on button, and the cleaner does the rest. Once the cycle is completed, the cleaner shuts itself off and waits to be removed from the pool. Many models have the ability to dump excess water, and then rise to the top of the pool.

Cleaning a robotic pool cleaner filter is usually as simple as pulling it out of the slot and hosing it down for a few seconds. Higher-end cleaners can be programmed and left in the pool, turning on periodically and running their own cleaning cycles as needed.

What To Consider When Shopping For A Robotic Pool Cleaner

Robotic pool cleaners are fairly similar as a whole, with some variances in specifications and added features determining their price points.

  • Cord Length - Cord length varies greatly with robotic cleaners, and many manufacturers will suggest that you not use an extension cord. Check the specs on the product you are thinking about buying to be sure it can reach your electrical outlet.
  • Weight - These cleaners can get rather heavy depending on the model, and extra water will add to the weight as well. If you don’t want to have to use a caddy to haul the cleaner around, look for units around 17 lbs.
  • Programmable? - Not every model can be programmed for certain cleaning cycles and operation times. If you want greater flexibility and convenience, look for programmable models.
  • Scrubbing Ability? - Some models have external scrubbers that will work harder to get dirt off the pool’s surface. Others rely strictly on suction.
  • Particle Size - Micron size is a big deal with cleaners. The smaller the micron size of the filter, the smaller the particles it can pick up.
  • Cleaning Cycle Time - Three hours is the standard full cleaning cycle time for most robotic pool cleaners, but some may be either faster, or give you the option of faster cleans that may not be as thorough.
  • Extra Features - Remote control, lights, instant surfacing, and water dumping are just a few of the extra features you can find on robotic pool cleaners.
Dolphin Premier Pool Cleaner Next to Pool


Now you should have a much better grasp on robotic pool cleaners, how they operate, and why they are the best type of cleaner for both above-ground and in-ground pools.

Looking for a few popular models to take a look at? We are very fond of the Dolphin Nautilus and Polaris 9550, as well as the Dolphin Premier robotic cleaner. Do you have any of your own reasons for using robotic pool cleaners, or any tips you’d like to pass along? Let us know in the comments below!

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