Suction Pool Cleaner vs Robotic: Which is best?

What should you buy? Suction Pool Cleaner Vs. Robotic

You want to keep your pool crystal clear and clean all year around. Filthy pool water puts your health and your family’s health in danger. The problem is, there are just too many options to choose from when it comes to keeping the pool clean. A common comparison would be between a suction pool cleaner vs robotic option. Both of these have their pros and cons, which makes it even more difficult to choose between them. 

Swimming is good for your health – but the benefits can be outweighed by the adverse effects that come into play when you do not clean your pool properly. 

We’ll take a closer look at what the primary differences are. By the end of this post, we should have a better idea of what type of pool cleaning equipment will be best suited to your property. 

Choosing between a Suction Pool Cleaner vs Robotic will help you keep your pool clean all summer

Suction pool cleaner vs robotic quick guide

The two main types of pool cleaners on the market today include a suction pool cleaner, as well as a robotic cleaner. The robotic pool cleaners are still relatively new compared to the older suction cleaners. 

When you compare a suction pool cleaner vs robotic cleaner, you will notice that both of these have the same purpose. They are both responsible for keeping toxins and dirt out of the pool. They can also help to sweep up leaves and other items that might have entered your pool. 

The differences between the two devices are what make the process of deciding between the two so difficult.

The main differences often come into play when you consider the effort needed to use each of these. 

When you buy a standard suction pool cleaner, it means you will have to leave it in the pool and then frequently take it out and manually clean the device. It relies on using your current pool filtration pump so failure to regularly maintain and clean it can cause it to become clogged and potentially break your whole filtration system. This can be a very expensive disaster and pretty soon you would soon find your pool filthy and an environment that you do not want to swim in.

Finally, the cleaning pattern they make is completely random so there is a good chance large areas of your pool may not get cleaned unless you manually move the suction cleaner around.

With a robotic pool cleaner, things are much easier. These devices are generally equipped with smart technology. They can move around the floor and sides of the pool, effectively sucking up dirt, leaves, and other items that might have entered your pool. 

These devices are equipped with special technology that helps them map the floor of your pool and ensure they navigate and clean the whole area.

A pool cleaning robot will come with a rotating scrubbing brush meaning they can scrub and lift dirt that suction cleaners may miss and they operate independently to any filtration system you already have set up.

However, you will still need to remove the robotic pool cleaner from your pool, empty out and clean the basket to keep it in good working order, but this is usually a pretty quick and simple operation.

If you would like to learn more about how robotic pool cleaners work, take a look at our pool cleaning robot buyers guide.

What to consider before deciding

You want to know whether you should buy a suction pool cleaner vs robotic cleaner. This is a tough choice. They each come with pros and cons, the biggest of which being the price difference between the two.

To help you with this decision, we want to focus on a few things that you should keep in mind. When trying to decide between these two pool cleaning mechanisms, it might be a good idea to start looking at your own pool, budget, and other related elements first. This can help you decide which of the two might be your most appropriate option.

Consider the following factors before you make a decision: 

How big is your pool, and how often do you use it? 

A smaller pool might not require a full robotic cleaning system as the technology that elevates the cleaning above a suction cleaner, such as mapping feature, will not be so important. If you have a large pool and frequently use it, however, a robotic system may be the more appropriate option to consider. 

How much time you have to do maintenance on your pool?

This is another important question to answer. If you are busy most of the time and cannot clean out the suction cleaning tool and filter on a very frequent basis, then this might not be the option for you. In such cases, a robotic cleaner would be a better idea. This particular option requires less ongoing maintenance and cleaning giving you more time to enjoy your clean pool.

A robotic pool cleaner also requires less supervision. Some even come connected to WiFi so you can set it going and monitor the progress while enjoying your breakfast.

How much money can you spend?

Of course, this is probably the most important factor. The cost of a robotic pool cleaner may well be prohibitive to many as suction pool cleaners are generally much more affordable than a robotic option. You can find a good suction cleaner for around $100 whereas decent robot pool cleaners start from around $500.

A few product examples

Consider the Kreepy Krauly Inground SuctionSide Cleaner option. This is a generic tool that will automatically clean the walls and floor of your pool. This product does, however, require more frequent cleaning. If the pipes of the suction vacuum become clogged, then they will also need to be fixed appropriately. 

A robot vacuum for the pool is much more convenient and requires far less cleaning. It is, however, a more expensive investment that you will need to make. There are a few affordable options on the market. 

Take the Dolphin Nautilus CC Automatic Robotic Pool Cleaner, for example. It offers great value as it costs much less than most competitor options but performs consistently well. It features a filter basket and comes with a large internal capacity. This means it can continue to filter your pool for an extended period of time before they need to clean out the filter and container. 

There are also a couple of more expensive options. These will generally come with more advanced features too. The DOLPHIN Oasis Z5i Robotic Pool Cleaner is a great example. At well over $1,000, this device is fitted with Bluetooth technology. It also comes with a series of other technologies and features. 

Pros and cons of suction pool cleaner vs robotic

You should now have a better idea of whether you might want to consider a suction pool cleaner vs robotic option. We also want to list out a few pros and cons associated with each. It is better to be thoroughly informed when you decide to buy one of these devices. It is going to be a long-term investment, after all. 

Let’s consider the pros and cons of both options that we are comparing to give you a better idea of which option may be ideal for you. 

Suction pool cleaner

Suction pool cleaners are the more basic options. We start with these devices. Let’s take a look at the benefits and drawbacks of a standard suction pool cleaner. 


  • These are the more affordable options on the market
  • Suction pool cleaners are generally easy to get set up


  • Without scrubbing, suction pool cleaners may not have the same cleaning power as a robotic option
  • They have to be manually hooked up each time you want to use them
  • Not smart programming to know where to clean.
  • The pipes can easily get clogged

Robotic pool cleaner

We will also consider the pros and cons that come with buying a robotic pool cleaner. 


  • These are set-and-forget devices that you do not have to worry about as frequently as with a general suction pool cleaner.
  • These products are simple to get set up, and most manufacturers will provide you will full instructions for the process. 
  • The tank of a robotic pool cleaner will usually be relatively large. This means less frequent cleaning, while your pool can still remain fresh and sparkling clean. 


  • Price tags for robotic pool cleaners are generally much higher compared to suction cleaners. In fact, many suction cleaners can be obtained for under $100, while robotic options tend to have a starting price point of $500 and above. 
  • These devices still require cleaning – just on a much less frequent basis. 

Final thoughts on a suction pool cleaner vs robotic

Comparing suction pool cleaner vs robotic can be hard. Both of these are able to get the job done, but there are a few important differences that you need to consider. 

For minimal effort and best cleaning performance, you surely want to consider investing in a robotic pool cleaner. These devices will do it all and require minimal input from your side to keep your pool clean, all the time.

However, if you are on a tight budget, a suction pool cleaner will still do a good job of keeping your pool clean all summer long.

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