Cleans even large pools very well. Durable – will last longer than other models. Auto-mode allows you to set to work while you're away. Easy to clean filter makes maintenance a breeze.
It's a little heavy, especially when removing it from the pool. It's not great at cleaning stairs and has a fairly short cord.
This effective cleaner is budget friendly and can clean both the bottom and walls of a pool. Easy to assemble and install.
Not as durable as more expensive models. It also tends to get stuck in corners and doesn't always clean all the way up pool walls.
Filter on this model is easy to clean and the cleaner itself is great at handling even fine particles on your pool's bottom. It rarely gets stuck and climbs walls with ease.
There's no quick-clean option and sometimes when removing it from the pool, debris can escape.
Cleans really well and is easy to use. It gets stuck a lot less than other models and runs quietly. It also happens to be priced quite fairly.
Instruction manual is useless and those with larger pools may need to add an extra hose section to reach all areas.
Easy to put together and does a great job cleaning. Removing it from the pool is simple thanks to its handy lift feature. Will surface on its own for easy retrieval. Compact enough to be stored almost anywhere.
Very expensive unit that doesn't do a great job with cleaning pool steps. It also sometimes doesn't respond to the included remote.
We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.
Few things in life are better than a day by the pool. However, for the owner of said pool, all of that refreshing cool water and relaxation comes with some challenges. Outdoor pools are exposed to falling debris and bacterial contaminants, which means they require significant maintenance and upkeep. Thankfully, an automatic pool cleaner can do most of the heavy lifting for you, allowing you to sit back, chill out, and soak up the rays.
Automatic pool cleaners wheel, scoot, and slide themselves over the various surfaces in your pool, using brushes, scrubbers, and filters to remove unwanted objects. There are three main types: Inexpensive suction-side cleaners, which skim around the walls of your swimming area, using the pool’s existing suction line and filtration system to work; mid-range pressure-side cleaners, which have their own filters and use a dedicated booster pump to propel themselves; and robotic cleaners, which are all-in-one programmable devices that effectively act like aquatic Roombas.
No matter which design you choose, the convenience is simply unbeatable. To learn more, read our shopping guide, which is full of helpful tips for picking the right automatic pool cleaner. When you’re ready to buy, consider one of our recommended models.
This is a simple one, as it essentially boils down to how large of a pool the machine can clean. This is determined by how fast the cleaner can move and how much water it can cycle, which is generally designated by a gallons-per-minute rating (for example, 75 gallons per minute is near the top of the range for consumer-grade automatic pool cleaners). Some are specifically rated for pools of a certain volume.
Keep in mind that the shape of your pool is a factor as well, as intricate basins filled with steep angles and steps will take longer for cleaners to navigate. Four-wheeled robotic cleaners are adept at scanning and cleaning open areas and offer a lot of convenience, but their width can present issues in narrow areas. Narrower suction-side units may be better for tricky spots, so buy according to your pool shape.
Power cable and hose length are important considerations, too, if applicable, as they physically limit the machine’s range and can cause tangles if they’re designed poorly.
A fast pool cleaner is great, but if it doesn’t do the job thoroughly, it’s not worth your money. That means the style of brushes and filters are just as important to quality as the machine’s speed, especially when you’re dealing with deep stains and fine particles.
Pool cleaners use a combination of suction and physical removal to do their jobs, and in our research, we’ve found hard bristle brushes and rotating scrubber brushes to be extremely effective. The matter they disturb is sucked into the machine and caught by flapper valves and filters. Coarse mesh is best for catching leaves and large-textured debris, while pleated polyester fine mesh filters are best for finely textured debris. To make the process even easier, seek out cartridge filters for simple removal and cleaning.
On the whole, though, robotic pool cleaners typically boast superior cleaning abilities to alternatives that use the pool’s integrated circulation pump.
A feature unique to robotic pool cleaners is programmability. Select machines use software and sensors to determine the size and shape of your pool, cleaning it in an efficient manner rather than the random “navigation” of other automatic pool cleaners.
High-end units take it one step further, offering scheduling and various cleaning modes through their power station or remote. Some even connect to a smartphone app through Bluetooth, allowing the user to literally point and click on an area in the pool, commanding the machine to go there and clean it. This is a fantastic feature if you have a labyrinthine swimming hole that the cleaner’s sensors have trouble with.
The point of an automatic pool cleaner is to cut down on labor. That makes the weight of your product significant, and some units are legitimately heavy due to their electric motors and complex housings. Robotic cleaners can weigh 40 pounds or more, so if you’d like an easier time lugging your gadgets in and out of the pool, consider a lighter model.
Automatic pool cleaners can get expensive and considering their work environment and high chance of failure, you should protect your investment with a fair warranty. These can pay for themselves if your machine happens to fail, but not every manufacturer offers the same level of insurance. Warranties range from short-term parts-replacement guarantees to full-device exchange promises spanning several years, so factor the warranty into your purchase decision.
Inexpensive: Suction-side versions are the most inexpensive, as they link to your pool’s filtration system and are relatively simple. Expect to pay between $75 and $150 for these. However, some high-end models can cost $300 or more.
Mid-range: Pressure-side pool cleaners occupy the mid-range price segment, typically costing between $500 and $1,000. Keep in mind that, while they can clean more thoroughly than suction-side variants due to their powerful booster pumps, these pumps are not always included and will necessitate a separate purchase.
Expensive: A budget between $1,000 and $2,000 will net you a top-of-the-line, ultra-convenient robotic pool cleaner. You’ll pay a pretty penny up front for these, but you’ll save money down the line on chemicals, hired cleaning professionals, and your own time.
Q. How long will it take an automatic pool cleaner to clean my pool?
A. Cleaning times can vary wildly depending on the size of your pool and the efficiency of your product, specifically its gallons per minute and mobility ratings. Somewhere between one to three hours is a common average, but certain models can take as long as six hours.
Q. Can automatic pool cleaners filter out extremely small objects and bacteria?
A. Some automatic pool cleaners are better for scrubbing, some are better for particulate filtration, and some excel at both. Check product ratings for specifics, but high-end models are capable of filtering out objects as small as 2 microns. A human hair measures 50 microns, so these products are more than capable of filtering small debris and even bacteria.
Q. My pool hasn’t been used in a while and is discolored and saturated with debris. Will an automatic pool cleaner fix it?
A. Put simply, no. Automatic pool cleaners are geared toward consistent maintenance rather than complete renovation, and their filters can’t handle contaminants of that scale. If your uncovered pool has been stagnant for a month (covered pools will last much longer), it likely needs to be drained, cleaned, and refilled.