10 Best Robotic Pool Cleaners 2019: Review and Buyer’s Guide

There are plenty of benefits when it comes to owning a pool, but one major aspect that no pool owner enjoys is cleaning. While you certainly have a number of options for the cleaning process, most of them involve doing the work yourself, or placing added strain on your filter and pump system.

Fortunately, they have taken most of the stress out of ensuring your pool is at its best, taking on the vast majority of the work for you. This makes finding the best robotic pool cleaners an essential component to keeping your pool sparkling clean.

Below, you’ll find our list of top products, grouped by pool type. We’ve represented a wide range of budgets and features, and you’ll also find some helpful buying advice at the end.

Let’s get right to it!


The Best InGround Robotic Pool Cleaners

1. Hayward RC9990CUB TigerShark – Top Pick

Hayward RC9990CUB TigerShark

Specifications

  • Timer: Yes
  • Cord Length: 55 feet
  • Clean Cycle Time: 3 hours or 90 minutes
  • Weight: 21.5 lbs.
  • Warranty: 3 Years

The TigerShark line of pool cleaners from Hayward is definitely one of the most acclaimed on the market, and rightfully so. The RC9990CUB QC is a great example as to why so many turn to Hayward products for pool cleaning, offering efficient and precise cleaning that will keep your pool looking its best every day.

While the RC9990CUB has “vacuum” in its name, it does much more than that, scouring every inch of your pool as it scrubs and brushes, getting rid of every last imperfection, debris, and dirt that may be inside.

User-friendliness is another great aspect to the RC9990CUB. Operation is simple: just drop the unit into the pool, choose your cleaning cycle, and it will determine its own plan for making use of the allotted time. You can choose from either a thorough 3-hour setting, or opt for the quick clean (QC) that cleans the pull in 90 minutes — both perfect for pools up to 20 x 40 feet.

Aside from offering detailed cleaning in a fast amount of time, energy efficiency is also a major feature of this product. The RC9990CUB operates off of a 24-volt motor, using just enough electricity to get the job done, while keeping your bills low. When it comes time to clean the filter system, all that must be done is remove the filter, hose it down, and place it back in. That’s it.

The Hayward RC9990CUB QC Robotic Pool Vacuum checks off all the most important aspects. It’s efficient, versatile, thorough, has different time settings, and easy to care for — all reasons as to why it’s our top pick.


2. Dolphin Triton – Best Lightweight Robotic Pool Cleaner

Dolphin Triton

Specifications

  • Timer: Yes
  • Cord Length: N/A
  • Clean Cycle Time: 2 hours
  • Weight: 16.5 lbs
  • Warranty: 2 year

No surprise to see several Dolphin models make this list, as they are easily the industry leader, with a full lineup of top-tier pool cleaners available in any type, or for any budget. The Dolphin Triton may very well be the best of them all, offering a mix of new technology, and flawless design.

The Triton vacuums, brushes, and scrubs, and effortlessly works its way across your pool’s surface to catch every last bit of debris and sediment, fitting it all into a spacious filter basket that allows it to move freely.

The Triton uses a mixture of smart features in order to scale everything from steps to walls, sucking in dirt while circulating your pool’s water. This is made even easier thanks to a tangle-free cable system.

While the Triton has onboard controls, you can control it via smartphone or tablet by using the Dolphin app, which lets you schedule cleaning cycles, adjust times, and more. The average full cleaning cycle is two hours, for pools up to 50 feet.

Maintenance is very easy with the Triton. After its done cleaning, just take out the top load filter, rinse it off, and empty the basket, and you’re all set for more cleaning.

The Dolphin Triton may be pricier than some others, but the added convenience and performance are certainly worth it, and reinforced by a generous warranty.


3. Polaris 9550 Sport

Polaris 9550 Sport

Specifications

  • Timer: Yes
  • Cord Length: 70 ft
  • Clean Cycle Time: 90-180 minutes
  • Weight: 43.6 lbs
  • Warranty: 2 years

The Polaris 9550 Sport is everything a high-quality pool cleaner should be — plus much more. Rather than rely on gimmicky features and a lot of flashy options, the 9550 Sport leverages superior design and materials for one of the best pool cleaning performances you can buy, period.

The 9550 Sport combines Vortex Vacuum Technology with an oscillating brush head the sucks in loose sediment and debris as it’s loosened by the rotating brushes. The oscillation allows the cleaner to clean corners and rounded areas that other ones can’t, while still drawing in loose and floating sediment in the water.

Aqua-Trax tires that operate independently enable the cleaner to properly scale every inch of the pool without any issues, regardless of wall height or shape. ActivMotion Sensor Technology is used to guide the cleaner along your pool’s interior, letting it map the shape out and maximize efficiency within the cleaning cycle time.

The cleaner includes a 7-day programmable timer that lets you hone in specific days and times for it to run. There are also a number of pre-programmed cleaning cycles you can use, all of which can be chosen using the included remote. Cleanup requires merely removing the high-capacity filter basket and rinsing it off.

The Polaris 9550 Sport may be the most expensive robotic cleaner on this list, but if you have the budget to accommodate it, you’ll gain a truly superior pool cleaner that will keep your electric bills down, and your pool consistently clean — with no effort on your end.


4. Dolphin Nautilus

Dolphin Nautilus

Specifications

  • Timer: Yes
  • Hose Length: 60 ft
  • Clean Cycle Time: 3 hours
  • Weight: 32.5 lbs.
  • Warranty: 12 months

If you really want a Dolphin pool cleaner, and the Triton is a little out of your price range, the Dolphin Nautilusis likely your best option. It offers similar cleaning ability to the Triton, but at a much more affordable price, which is likely why it’s one of the best-selling cleaners on the market.

While the Nautilus doesn’t use any smart-reading technology, it can still “learn” your pool’s shape after a few cleaning cycles. At first it may appear to be just driving around bumping into stuff, but it’s using trial and error to learn your pool, and will get more efficient over time.

The Nautilus uses vacuum suction and a rotating brush in the front to capture debris as it moves along walls and floors, and then deposits them into a high-capacity cartridge that can go for days without needing to be emptied. Cleaning cycles tend to take around 3 hours, depending on pool size, and how well the cleaner has mapped the pool out.

The Dolphin Nautilus is popular for a reason. While simpler than some other cleaners, the Nautilus offers a great combination of features and performance to match a modest price, offering inground pool owners a viable cleaner that will keep theri pool clean for years.


5. Aquabot ABTTJET Turbo – The Best Budget Robotic Pool Cleaner

Aquabot ABTTJET Turbo T Jet

Specifications

  • Timer: Yes
  • Hose/Cord Length: 50 ft
  • Clean Cycle Time: 1-2 hours
  • Weight: 32 lbs
  • Warranty: Full warranty 1st year, limited 2nd year

In need of a fully robotic pool cleaner that’s incredibly versatile, energy-efficient, and easy to use? The Aquabot ABTTJET Turbo T Jet is worthy of your attention. This cleaner lacks some of the scrubbing and smart technology of other ones, but it does just fine without them.

Rather than using a scrubber, the ABTTJET draws in water from the pool, and then uses it as a power washer, while vacuuming up sediment in the water and under the cleaner. Inside, the cleaner uses a filter bag that allows it to trap algae and extremely small particles, reducing the load on your pool’s filter system.

The ABTTJET makes use of just one motor, which uses just a small amount of electricity. The average cleaning cycle uses about $0.05 worth of electricity per cycle, which comes out to just $0.35 per week, if that. And as mentioned, it’s simultaneously reducing your pool filter’s workload, saving even more on your electric bill.

When it’s time to clean the bag, simply remove, empty, and wash out with a hose. The cleaner doesn’t need the bag to operate, but it’s recommended, and a free bag iis included. Oh, and no worrying about tangled cords thanks to the ABTTJET’s swivel cord. All of this for under $400


6. Smartpool NC22 SmartKleen

Smartpool NC22 SmartKleen

Specifications

  • Timer: Yes
  • Hose/Cord Length: 40 feet
  • Clean Cycle Time: 2 hours
  • Weight: 18 lbs
  • Warranty: 1 year

The Smartpool NC22 SmartKleen offers an excellent mix of value and quality, utilizing much of the design and features of much more expensive pool cleaners for an affordable price point, while adding a few unique features of its own.

The NC22 cleans by using a combination of suction and scrubbing, pulling in debris in the front as it moves, while simultaneously using rear scrubbers and an additional port vacuum point for a multi-pronged approach.

One unique aspect of the NC22 is its tracking technology, which seeks out dirt spots and spends extra time on these areas to ensure a full clean, while being faster in the cleaner areas of the pool.

This improves the already fast two hour average cleaning cycle, and sometimes trims the time down even more, saving energy in the process. And for those who wait pulling a heavy cleaner out of the pool, the NC22 uses a quick-release feature that drains unneeded water before you pull it out upon completion of the cycle.


7. Blue Wave NE3290F Aquafirst

Blue Wave NE3290F Aquafirst

Specifications

  • Timer: Yes (Auto shut-off)
  • Hose/Cord Length: 50 feet
  • Clean Cycle Time: 1.5 hours
  • Weight: 17 lbs
  • Warranty: 2 years

The Blue Wave NE3290F Aquafirst may not be as known as some of the other products in this list, but that doesn’t mean it’s not equally capable of cleaning your in-ground pool quickly and efficiently, with some notable advantages of its own.

First off, the Aquafirst is smaller than many of its competitors, yet offers twice the cleaning efficiency thanks to scrub brushes on the front and back of the unit. These rotating scrub brushes work with a vacuum suction to loosen dirt, and then remove it.

Designed for pools up to 20 x 40 feet, the Aquafirst usually completes a cycle in around 2 hours, while also filtering up to 4,500 gallons of water in the process. The powerful suction often draws in dirt from several feet away as it moves along the pool.

Using the Aquafirst requires a simple placing on your pool floor, and turning the cycle on. The unit will shut itself off once complete, depositing all the dirt and debris into a fine mesh filter bag, including small debris like algae. To empty, just pull the bag out, dump it out, and hose it off before placing back in.

Simple, powerful, and affordably-priced, the Blue Wave Aquafirst offers efficient pool cleaning that costs just a few cents a day against your electric bill.


Best Above Ground Robotic Pool Cleaners

8. Dolphin Escape Above Ground Pool Cleaner – The Best Above Ground Pool Cleaner

Dolphin Escape

Specifications

  • Timer: Yes
  • Hose/Cord Length: 40 feet
  • Clean Cycle Time: 1.5 hours
  • Weight: 10 lbs
  • Warranty: 2 years

The Dolphin Escape is the best above ground pool cleaner for anyone looking for the performance of a superior in-ground robotic pool cleaner, but in an above ground body. With the Escape, you get no drop off in cleaning power and capability whatsoever.

The Escape uses a combination of suction and scrubbing to clean, highlighted by the front rotating brush that easily loosens dirt and sediment along the bottom of the pool. It uses tracks in place of wheels, giving it improved traction on any floor surface or condition.

Cleaning time is kept to a minimum even for the largest pools, always staying around 1.5 hours or less. This is largely due to the SmartNav 2.0 system that allows the Escape to learn your pool’s size and shape, and create a time-efficient customized program.

Rather than the usual bag, the Escape uses the same cartridge design as other Dolphin cleaners, allowing you to quickly remove debris and discard it right from the inside of the cleaner. Simply rinse the cartridge afterwards, and the Escape is ready for more work.

The Escape does all of this using a small 24-volt motor, which will save you plenty of money on your electric bills, and also reduce the load on your filter system — eventually offsetting the mid-range price you’ll pay for this exceptional robotic pool cleaner.


9. Aquabot APRVJR

Aquabot APRVJR Pool Rover Junior

Specifications

  • Timer: Yes (Auto shut-off)
  • Hose/Cord Length: 40 feet
  • Clean Cycle Time: 1-2 hours
  • Weight: 26 lbs
  • Warranty: 2 years

Not everyone wants to spend a good portion of money on a pool cleaner for above ground pools. The Aquabot APRVJR Pool Rover Junior offers a lot of capability for the price, and is a suitable alternative for those in need of a budget-minded robotic pool cleaner that’s tailored for above ground pools.

The APRVJR Pool Rover Junior uses suction to eliminate dirt and sediment, and can also trap smaller particles such as algae. The unit uses jet propulsion to quickly make its way around your pool, regardless of shape. The propulsion also lifts any trapped dirt on the bottom.

Cleaning cycles vary between 1 or 2 hours. To use the cleaner, all you do is select the cycle, turn it on, place it in the pool, and let it get to work. The APRVJR Pool Rover Junior learns the shape of your pool, and makes any adjustments needed in order to complete the cycle within the time frame.

On the inside, a mesh 2 micron filter traps even the smallest particles, and holds them secure until you remove it to empty the filter with the simple spray of a hose.

With a price of around $250, the Aquabot APRVJR Pool Rover Junior is one of the better deals you’ll find online.


10. Kreepy Krauly Prowler 910

Kreepy Krauly Prowler 910

Specifications

  • Timer: Yes (Auto shut-off)
  • Hose/Cord Length: 40 feet
  • Clean Cycle Time: 1.5 hours
  • Weight: 22.6 lbs
  • Warranty: 2 years

The Kreepy Krauly Prowler 910 may look like an in-ground robotic pool cleaner, but it’s specifically designed to take on the shape and demands of an above ground pool. The Prowler 910 can quickly rid your pool of most any dirt and sediment that’s found its way inside, with minimal effort on your end.

The Prowler 910 uses a combination of suction and scrubbing, using a rotating front brush to continually loosen dirt as it makes its way across the floor and walls. The traction relies on a track design in place of separate wheels, giving it improved maneuverability and consistency while it moves.

The cleaning cycle of the Prowler 910 takes around 90 minutes initially for pools up to 40 feet, although the time may decrease as it learns your pool’s size better. A simple push-button operation is all that’s needed for itg to begin, and the unit shuts off when cleaning is complete.

Large and finer debris are both trapped by the fine mesh filter, which can be conveniently removed from the top of the unit and rinsed in between cleanings

With the Prowler 910, you may be a little more than lesser above ground pool cleaners, but the difference in performance will be apparent from the moment you use it.


What Makes a Pool Cleaner a Robotic Cleaner?

Pool cleaners have always existed in some form or another, but robotic pool cleaners have some distinct features that set them apart from other types.

Most other types of pool cleaners rely on human operation, such as side suction cleaners, or the familiar skimmer and pole that every pool owner uses at some point. Automatic pool cleaners are also a popular choice, and can function on their own to a certain degree.

They are basically a more refined and independent version of an automatic pool cleaner. The basic auto pool cleaner can makes its way along the bottom of your pool, but relies on your pool’s pump and filtration system in order to move and clean.

In contrast, they stores debris and sediment on its own, and uses its own propulsion methods that have nothing to do with your pool’s pump or filter in order to move around. Robotic cleaners are usually able to scale the floor, walls, and stairs in a pool as well.

What to Look for When Shopping for a Robotic Pool Cleaner

  • Cord Length – Cord lengths will vary from one model to another. Try to match the cord length to the length or circumference of your pool, otherwise you may need to use an extension cord.
  • Weight – Some pool cleaner owners may have a hard time lifting the unit out of the water, especially when it’s full, or has taken on water from the pool. In this case, look for models under 20 lbs.
  • Programmable? – The majority of robotic pool cleaners can “learn” the shape of your pool and create their own cleaning cycle, but it can be helpful to have multiple program options if you’d like to create a custom cycle, or adjust the length.
  • Cleaning Method – All of the above products will use suction, but it’s better to have one that also scrubs and brushes in order to capture every last spec of debris and dirt.
  • Cleaning Cycle Time – Cleaning cycle times are often between one and three hours for a full cycle. Shorter cleaning cycles will use less energy, and let you quickly clean the pool in between uses without having to wait for an extended period.
  • Extra Features – Instant surfacing, lighting, sensors, remote control operation, and timers are just a few of the helpful extra feature you’ll sometimes see on them.

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