Suction Pool Cleaner vs Robotic Pool Cleaner | Which Is Best?

Swimming is great for you, but dirty swimming pool water puts your health and your family’s health in danger. The benefits can be outweighed by the adverse effects that come into play when you do not clean your pool properly. 

But what is the best, or easiest, way to achieve this? In this post, I want to compare two of the most popular methods in a suction pool cleaner vs robotic pool cleaner to help you make the right choice for your swimming pool.

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

Robotic vs suction pool cleaners overview

It is important to keep your pool crystal clear and clean all year around. Not only for you to be able to enjoy your swimming pool to its most, but also for the health benefits.

From leaves on pool surfaces to bacteria and algae on the walls, there are quite a few things that you do not want in your pool. For this reason, you should consider buying either suction or robotic cleaner to go around your pool and clear out any dirt and debris.

From electricity usage to cleaning power, there are a few factors to consider. By the end of this post, we should have a better idea of what type of pool cleaning equipment will be best for you. 

When you compare a suction cleaner to robotic pool cleaners, you will notice that both of these have the same purpose. The differences between the two devices are what make the process of deciding between the two so difficult.

Clean Swimming Pool

You need to consider a variety of factors, like pool maintenance, cleaning performance and much more. Generally, things are often much easier with robotic cleaners (to find out more, take a look at our pool cleaning robot buyers guide).

What about a pressure-side pool cleaner?

Making use of your pool filtration system, pressure-side cleaners differ from both robotic and suction devices. The booster pump pushes its wheels through the water and a water vortex vacuums up dirt and debris, catching everything on the pool floor and surface into its filter bag through its hose. Often, their biggest limitation is that pressure cleaners aren’t quite as advanced as robotic ones.

What to consider before deciding

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

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 features, will not be so important. Large pool owners, however, may find an automatic pool cleaner to be the most suitable option. 

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.

An automatic 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 robotic cleaners may well be prohibitive to many as suction 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, so they may not be ideal for a lower budget.

How much money can you spend?

A few product examples

Both the Zodiac Baracuda G3 W03000 and the Kreepy Krauly Suction-Side Pool Cleaner options are great and included in my round-up of the best above-ground pool cleaners.

They are tools that will automatically clean the walls and floor of your pool. This product does, however, require more frequent cleaning.

A robot vacuum for the pool is much more convenient and requires far less cleaning and maintenance as well as being easier to set up as it operates independently from your filtration system.

It is, however, a more expensive investment that you will need to make.

There are a few some great value robotic pool cleaners on the market

Take the Dolphin Nautilus CC Automatic Robotic Pool Cleaner from Maytronics (more information on it in that link above).

It offers great value as it costs much less than most competitor options but performs consistently well, being energy efficient and offering exceptional cleaning efficiency. 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 robotic cleaners with more advanced features, like the Dolphin Oasis Z5i, for example, or the ever-popular Dolphin Premier.

If you have a large in-ground pool, I would certainly recommend looking at one of the premium models due to the additional reliability. Although it is more expensive up front, it can save you a lot of money in the long run.

Pros and cons of a suction pool cleaner vs robotic

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 cleaners may not offer as powerful cleaning around the pool as robotic ones
  • 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

  • These are set-and-forget devices that you do not have to worry about as frequently as with a general suction pool cleaner.
  • The tank of a robotic pool cleaner will usually be relatively large. This means less frequent cleaning, while your water can still remain fresh and sparkling clean. 
  • Good models will have high vacuum power, a quality filtration bag, navigation software and more to help it move around and clean your pool.
  • 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.

Final thoughts on a suction vs robotic swimming pool cleaner

Comparing suction to robotic swimming pool cleaners 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. You can checkout our comparison between pressure and robotic pool cleaners.

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.

About the author

Matt is the founder of the Little Robot Shop, who has spent much of the last decade hacking home cleaning with various robots and devices to make keeping his home clean as easy as possible. Not an easy task with two young children.

When not working on the Little Robot Shop website or YouTube channel, he works as technical support and product specialist for a fast-growing digital company. He does his best to get his younglings to code, which will be an essential skill in the future.

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