Top 10 Automatic Pool Cleaners for 2018

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Dolphin Nautilus Robotic Pool Cleaner, Model 99996323

The Dolphin Nautilus 99996323 robotic pool cleaner has a long, sixty foot cord that lets it reach the far points of many pools larger than the standard 20’x40’ in ground pool. Its small compact design lets it clean both the walls and floor of the pool, even getting the coves that some other pool cleaners miss. It sometimes has issues with curved walls and steps. It is lightweight, easy to pull out of the pool for replacing tire treads and cleaning out the filter.

One of the minor drawbacks is the fact that the tires can leave black marks on the bottom of the pool, when the housing rubs against the pool walls. Finding replacement motors and gears can be a challenge. If your local pool supply dealer can’t get parts, you have to pay fifty dollars or more to ship the unit back.

This is one of the best automatic pool cleaners for those with unusually shaped pools and larger pools that can be reached with the cord, especially those that don’t want to have to rely on water pressure to propel the pool cleaner.

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Baracuda G3 W03000 Advanced Suction Side Cleaner

The Baracuda G3 W03000 pool vacuum is designed to clean the sides of your pool. It works its way around steps, ladders, corners and other surfaces with ease on its own. It will remove the dirt collecting on the sides of the pools and leaves stuck there. It can adjust its performance to suit the water flow, so it can work with low power water pumps.

The Baracuda G3 W03000’s filter is straightforward to access and easy to clean. It can double as a pool skimmer but doesn’t do as well as dedicated skimmers getting leaves and floating debris. One benefit of this model is the fact that it won’t scuff the pool the way some four wheel drive pool cleaners will.

This is a good choice for those with deep pools or a lot of pool walls, steps and so forth that many bottom cleaners just can’t get. It is a fair accompaniment to an existing skimmer that can’t do the pool walls, as long as they don’t have to rely on the same water lines to run. One of the benefits of this model is that it can connect to a dedicated suction line or even the skimmer you already have in the pool.

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Polaris Vac-Sweep 280 Pressure Side Pool Cleaner

The Polaris Vac-Sweep 280 works in any in ground pool, cleaning everything from the floor to the walls to the steps.

The high price tag is offset by the need to buy a Polaris booster pump, if the pool does not already have one. The cost is not bad when you realize it comes with thirty feet of feed hose, something some other pool cleaners make you buy.

If the hose breaks or other parts wear out, repairs are expensive. The filter gets the fine particles well, but this can cause the small screen in the line to get clogged, so that needs to be cleaned along with the filter bag every so often.

The filter bag of the Polaris Vac-Sweep 280 captures the fine dirt along with leaves, twigs, seeds and other debris that some other pool cleaners miss. This is the best pool cleaner for those who have a problem with dirt or finely chopped leaves filling the pool.

This is one of the few pool sweepers on the market available in black, making it the best choice for those with dark bottom pool that don’t want a pool cleaner that literally stands out like a sore thumb.

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Hayward TigerShark Swimming Pool Robotic Cleaner, Model QC RC9990GR

This model has a long 55 foot cord that lets it get the bottom of 20’ by 40’ pools with a diving end. It can make its way up inclines, steps and walls. One of the strengths of the Hayward TigerShark pool cleaner, model QC RC9990GR, is the easy to clean filter. You pop it out and rinse it off with a garden hose. It gets almost everything except algae.

Like a programmable robot vacuum, it can map out the bottom of the pool and try to design a more efficient route. This can result in a faster pool cleaning process, assuming it doesn’t decide to miss a spot. Yet you can save energy when it finds a faster, better way to clean the pool. And this electric pool cleaner won’t sap energy from the pool pump or require the addition of a booster pump. It is almost plug and play, assuming you have the strength to move the forty pound pool cleaner to the pool.

One of the cons of the Hayward TigerShark QC RC9990GR is the price. You will find the price similar to some of the more expensive pool cleaners on this list.

This pool cleaner has a lot of steel screws prone to rusting in a salt water pool, making maintenance a hassle. This pool cleaner is best for fresh water / chlorinated pools. If you want a thorough cleaning of a traditional pool without relying on water flow to run, and you can afford this model, it is a great choice.

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The Poolcleaner 896584000020 4X Suction Pool Cleaner for Concrete Pools

This pool cleaner is one of the most affordable ones on the list.

The Poolcleaner brand pool cleaner (now owned by Hayward) works on pools that don’t have a dedicated suction line. There’s no need to install a booster pump to get it to work.

This model has four wheel drive, allowing it to handle nearly all types of pool shapes. If you have a very large pool, it may need extra hoses. It handles minor obstacles well like grooves to improve traction in the shallow end of the pool but may get stuck on a raised safety drain.

The four wheel drive model is better than the two wheel drive for larger or deeper pools.

You have to be careful of the RPM settings if you want it to climb the walls. If it climbs the walls, it may not come down correctly on the wheels and resume cleaning the pool. Be careful of the tires on it, because the tires it is shipped with don’t work well in vinyl pools, only concrete ones. Vinyl pool wheels cost around forty dollars.

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Pentair Model GW7900 Automatic Pool Cleaner

The Pentair model GW7900 pool cleaner gets points for price; depending on where you get it.

It is designed for in ground swimming pools. It follows a specific pattern, so it avoids the random dirty spots of some other pool cleaners. It operates in concrete, vinyl, gunite and fiberglass pools.

At thirteen inches square, it can fit in and around obstacles like modern safety drains. It gets mid-sized debris, having trouble with large oak leaves and fine dirt, though it picks up small leaves, twigs and dead bugs with no problems. Rocks in the pool cause it to get confused. Suction depends on the filter, so regularly cleaning the filter is necessary to keep it capable of picking anything up. However, it is one of the few pool cleaners that does a good job scrubbing off and collecting algae.

One benefit of the Pentair design is that it doesn’t need wheels replaced periodically. In fact, this pool cleaner is very low maintenance except for cleaning the filter regularly.

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Hayward RC9740 SharkVac Robotic Pool Cleaner

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The Hayward model RC9740 SharkVac pool cleaner is middle of the pack on price. You can get this pool cleaner with or without a caddy. Buying the larger “XL” size means it gets the job done faster, but that adds another hundred and hundred and fifty dollars to the purchase price.

This pool cleaner does a good job with small and fine debris like dirt and pulverized leaves. It doesn’t do as well with large leaves. Its greatest weakness is the risk of much of the debris it was sucking up landing back in the pool when you try to take it out to get it out of the water so you can change the filter.

This pool cleaner doesn’t climb pool walls. Either scrub the walls yourself, hire help to do that once in a while or buy a secondary pool cleaner just for the pool walls. It typically misses pool steps. If the pool has a steep drop off for the deep end, it will migrate to the deep end and fail to get back to the shallow end.

This is a decent pool cleaner if you don’t have a tree shedding leaves directly into the pool. It is an affordable option if you are careful pulling it out of the water and have a pool with a basic slope, no drop-offs nor a lot of steps.

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Zodiac Model F5B Polaris Vac-Sweep 280 Black Max Pressure Side Pool Cleaner

This pool cleaner is at the low cost end of the spectrum. It does require a Polaris booster pump. If you need a booster pump, that will, of course, increase the cost. It comes with thirty feet of hose, eliminating that cost unless you have a large pool and need even more hose length. Fortunately, this model’s hose rarely tangles.

It works in any in ground pool, vinyl, gunite, fiberglass or concrete. One of the strengths of this pool sweeper is how well it cleans the sides of the pool. It does clean the bottom of the pool, too.

One minor annoyance with this model is the occasional water jets this pool cleaner can spurt out.

This is an affordable, durable and reliable pool cleaner, sufficient to do the job unless you have a lot of fine debris or lack a booster pump.

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Polaris Model F9450 Sport Robotic In-Ground Robotic Pool Cleaner

This vacuum cleaner is powerful, getting almost all debris of any size. It has a large canister, so it doesn’t need to be cleaned very often unless your pool gets a lot of debris like a molting tree leaning over it. The filter is easy to remove and empty, then rinse it out and replace.

The Polaris model F9450 pool cleaner can cover pools up to fifty feet long. The power cord rarely tangles, and because of the cord, it doesn’t rely on a booster pump or water pressure to operate. It does an excellent job cleaning the bottom of a pool. Some pool designs cause it to flip when it tries to climb the walls; you can turn off that mode if necessary. If it has no problems climbing the sides of your pool, you’ll love the brushes that scrub off dirt and even algae.

You can program the cleaning cycle so it can be set up to only run late at night or early in the morning.

This pool cleaner is towards the expensive end of the price spectrum. However, you get both a caddy and high quality filter with the unit.

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Pentair Model 360032 Kreepy Krauly Prowler 830 Robotic Inground Pool Cleaner

This pool cleaner is heavy, 45 pounds, but it is heavy duty. It has a 19” by 19” footprint, so it cleans large pools surprisingly fast. It scrubs, vacuums and filters the water, scrubbing debris like dirt off the floor and bottom of the pool while removing almost all of the debris from the water. The filter is easy to access and clean, a necessity given how often it needs to be cleaned.

You can schedule cleanings so that it doesn’t run while kids are in the pool, and you can control it like a modern Roomba, directing it return to particular spots or get spots it missed. It is smart enough to reverse itself if it gets caught on a modern safety drain. It typically misses steps.

This pool cleaner comes with both deluxe features and a premium price. The pool cleaner comes with a caddy and extra filter.

Finding someone to service this model can be challenging. While it has the Pentair label, service is done by Dolphin. They prefer to repair things instead of replacing defective models, a serious negative if you get a defective unit.

The unit itself is easy to set up and put in the pool. Assembly of the caddy takes more time than setting up the pool cleaner itself; simply get the brushes wet before you ease the pool cleaner into the water. There’s no need to mess with water hoses and pressure pumps. The unit is relatively quiet.

This is one of the best automatic pool cleaners if you want to ensure that the pool is as spotless as your living room floor.

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The 4 Most Important Questions Pool Owners Ask When Buying an Automatic Pool Cleaner

#1 – What are the benefits of automatic pool cleaners?

If you don’t feel like forking up the money for a professional pool cleaning person every few weeks, or spending your weekend vacuuming and cleaning out the pool by hand, a pool cleaner is an ideal choice for you. The pool cleaner will prove to be a cheaper option over the long run than hiring someone, and it will free up your time to enjoy your pool and accomplish other tasks rather than cleaning.

#2 – What is a Robotic (electric) Pool Cleaner?

A robotic pool cleaner is a unit that runs from an outside power source rather than your pool’s filtration system. It is sort of like a Roomba for your pool. They run on wheels or tank treads and have removable filter bags that you take out and clean after each use.

#3 – What is a Pressure Pool Cleaner?

Pressure pool cleaners connect to your pool’s filtration system and use the filter’s power to shoot jets of filtered waters at the bottom and sides of your pool so your filter can remove the debris there. They also have attached filter bags to contain any larger pieces of debris like leaves or twigs so they don’t get sucked into the filter. They are a much more affordable option than robotic cleaners.

#4 – What is a Suction Pool Cleaner?

A suction pool cleaner acts like a vacuum attached to your filter system. It travels along the bottom of your pool and sucks up debris as it goes. It isn’t as good at climbing the walls as robotic cleaners but does a thorough job cleaning the bottom.


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