Many people are looking for ways to save money and time when it comes to keeping their swimming pools clean. One option is a robotic pool cleaner, which will automatically vacuum the bottom of your pool without needing any human input at all!
This sounds like an attractive option, but are robotic pool cleaners worth the money?
In this blog post, we’ll discuss the benefits and drawbacks of owning a robotic pool cleaner so that you can make an informed decision about whether or not one might be right for you.
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Are Robotic Pool Cleaners Worth It?
In a word, yes. A robotic pool cleaner is expensive, but it will quickly become a valuable pool cleaning asset. They are fast, they are way more energy-efficient than many other pool cleaning options, often saving you up to 90% on your energy bills. They also replace the need for you or hired help, to spend hours cleaning your pool.
On top of that, pool owners find the super easy to use, just plug in and play. They can be left to run on their own, and will perform all the pool cleaning tasks you would need them to do, including waterline cleaning, without needing any human input at all!
However, before investing in a robotic cleaner it is important that you ask yourself if your pool needs are specific enough for this type of investment.
What type of pool do you have?
While you can find robotic pool cleaners that suit almost any type of pool, there are some considerations to take into account. For example, if you have a concrete pool deck or steps then it might be worth considering getting one with wheels that can climb over these obstructions in order for them to do the job properly.
Likewise, if you have a vinyl-lined pool, it may be that not all models are suitable.
If you have an above-ground pool, then make sure that you choose a cleaner that is designed to work with these types of pools, and one that can handle the size of larger pools.
How dirty does your pool get?
This is another consideration before deciding if a robotic cleaner would be helpful or not. If your pool is located under trees, then you might have a problem with leaves and other large debris falling into it. In this case, a robotic cleaner will be a big help to keep on top of it all.
But, if your pool could use some vacuuming but it’s not super dirty then an automatic cleaner might be a waste of money.
Different Types of Automatic Pool Cleaners
An automatic cleaner does most of the work for you. Let’s take a look at the upsides and downsides of automatic pool cleaners and see how they compare.
Pressure-Side Pool Cleaners
Pressure side cleaners are the most popular type of automatic pool cleaner on the market. They work by using a filter bag that is located near the pump which creates pressure to suck in debris and dirt from your swimming pool water.
However, dirt will often get stuck in the filter bag, so it needs to be monitored regularly which is a hassle for some people. They are also more likely to clog up than other types of cleaners because they work by using suction force rather than scrubbing.
Suction-Side Automatic Pool Cleaner
Suction side cleaners are one of the cheapest options when it comes to maintaining a clean swimming pool. They do not need a filter bag and instead use your pool’s filtration system to release water back into the pool.
This can be a bad thing, however, using a pool’s filtration system can cause the filter’s motor to work overtime, which can be expensive and lead to problems down the road.
Although a suction-side cleaner is cheaper in terms of upfront costs, it may end up costing you more in long-term expenses because your pool will need its water filtered much more often than if you were using other types of cleaners.
Read more: Suction cleaner vs robotic pool cleaner
Robotic Automatic Pool Cleaner
These cleaners tend to be a self contained unit that come with an inbuilt filter canister and pump systems saving you the installation time.
The device will have motorized wheels and patterned cleaning, unlike the other two pool cleaners, to ensure peak performance and minimizes cleaning time.
They clean both large and small debris, don’t get dirt into their filtration system while helping to circulate chemicals.
Some more expensive models include navigation technology to help manage the most efficient cleaning route including all coves, corners, steps, and ladders, something a suction cleaner or pressure side cleaner will not offer.
With features like a center scrubbing brush, wall climbing and waterline scrubbing and remote control compatibility, most models can help you clean the entire pool surface of large pools.
However, this does come at a cost. These cleaners are more expensive to purchase but you can make the cost back over time with saved energy and labor expenses.
The Benefits of a Robotic Cleaner
As seen, robotic pool cleaners are the priciest of the bunch. But what should they be at the top of your list if you are considering automatic pool cleaners? What makes them so much better than suction-side and pressure-side pool cleaners?
Efficient Cleaning of the Pool Floor, Steps, and Pool Walls
Automatic pool cleaners do a great job vacuuming dirt and leaving your pool system clean. Robotic pool cleaners are unique in that, besides the debris collection, they filter your water to provide high hygienic standards when swimming.
Additionally, some robotic pool cleaners have active brushes that move faster than the cleaner itself, thereby scrubbing the surface. Thanks to this, they offer a more efficient cleaning solution than other automatic pool cleaners that merely vacuum debris.
All of this is done quickly and efficiently leaving you more time to enjoy your pool rather than labor over it.
It is the Most Energy-Efficient Automatic Pool Cleaner
One of the best features of a pool cleaning robot is its non-reliance on your pool’s filter or pump system, unlike the typical automatic pool cleaner. Robotic pool cleaners like Dolphin Nautilus CC come with a small inbuilt low voltage transformer, different from your pool’s massive pump motor.
For this reason, energy consumption is much less and you can save money on your energy bill.
While robotic pool cleaners demand an average of 180 watts to run, a booster-pump-powered hydraulic cleaner requires about 1 kW.
Imagine how time-consuming it is to brush your pool manually and then employ another atomic pool cleaner instead of a robotic pool cleaner. You realize the amount of money you save at the end of several cleanings is quite substantial.
Other features present in robotic cleaners like a programmable timer allow you to spend minimal time setting up your machine while efficiently using your power source.
Though they are the expensive type, these machines are worth buying thanks to their convenience and power-saving designs.
Quiet and Welcoming Environment
Hardly can you relax and clean your pool at the same time. When you manually clean it, you need your strength and have to move around the pool. When using a suction-side or pressure-side pool cleaner, you are certainly automating the process. But what about the noise?
A robotic pool cleaner handles the job silently, unlike other automatic cleaners relying on the noisy pool pump. Using a robotic pool cleaner allows you to relax around the pool as it gets cleaned.
Allow for Multitasking
If you want to spend less time when doing your pool operations, robots offer the best cleaning system to have on your pool. Since they work independent of your pool’s pump and pool filter, they allow you to multitask when conducting pool maintenance.
You can change the sand on your filter, soak the filter cartridge in a cleaning solution, do some plumbing, and more while your robotic pool cleaner cleans in the background.
Unlike pressure-side and suction-side pool cleaners, robotic pool cleaners don’t move randomly across pool surfaces. A robotic pool cleaner features inbuilt navigation systems allowing them to clean every corner of your pool floor, including the hard-to-reach places.
They have advanced features enabling them to climb walls and steps while maintaining a defined cleaning pattern and offering comprehensive coverage.
How Long Do Robotic Pool Cleaners Last?
Their lifespan varies with the frequency and care involved. However, most robotic pool cleaners last three to five years, with some extending to even seven years or more.
Can You Leave a Robotic Pool Cleaner in the Pool?
While you can, it’s not in your best interest. Leaving your robotic cleaner in the pool over-exposes it to chlorine and the elements, increasing its deterioration. It also becomes more challenging to clean due to clogging and turbulent currents when swimming. So, you need to remove it after use to eliminate collected debris and prolong its lifespan.
How often should I use my robotic pool cleaner?
Depending on your pool size, and how much debris accumulates, you may need to clean your pool twice a week with the robotic cleaner. For smaller pools, once daily is sufficient for keeping it maintained.
IMPORTANT: Always keep your filter running while using your robotic pool cleaner- otherwise dirt will get stuck in the filters (causing them to be less effective).
What should I look for in a robotic pool cleaner?
The key things are to check it is OK with the size of your pool, safe with your pool liner and the cleaning performance. If you would like more information, check out our buying guide for robotic pool cleaners.
Top Picks: What Is the Most Reliable Robotic Pool Cleaner?
Money’s no problem – Nautilus CC Supreme
My top pick at the moment has to be the Nautilus CC Supreme. It is a very reliable and powerful cleaner that will work well for both in ground pools up to 50 feet by 20 foot, as well as above ground pools of the same size. It’s also safe with all pool liners (both pebbled and smooth), so it won’t make any damage or scratches on your surface.
Read more in our Nautilus CC Supreme review.
Best Value – Dolphin Nautilus CC & CC Plus
The Dolphin Nautilus CC and CC Plus are two of the best value robotic pool cleaners you can currently buy. They have a very strong suction, which means it’s able to pick up all types of debris from your pool floor. Plus its filter is top-notch and will not clog easily, even when the water gets really dirty (something that often happens during the summer).
Best for above ground and smaller pools
I love both the dolphin escape and the E10. The Escape is best if you need your pool wall cleaned, however, if you have an above-ground pool and this is not important, then the E10 is a fantastic choice.
You can read more about these models in our Dolphin E10 review and our rundown of the best robotic pool cleaners for above ground pools.
While a large initial outlay, a robotic cleaner is a great idea if you would like to save money, but it’s not always the right choice. Some considerations before deciding are how dirty your pool gets and where it is located because some dirtier pools might require more attention than others so they need less time spent cleaning.
Emma Marie is a valued writer at the Little Robot Shop. She studied robotics and deeply understands technology, which shows in her writing. She consistently produces high-quality content, making her a perfect fit for the Little Robot Shop team.
While not writing, Emma works in a popular electronics retail chain. Emma also enjoys running and has two dogs with whom she loves spending time.