12 Best Automatic Pool Cleaners – Reviews & Buying Guide

Best Automatic Pool Cleaner

If you own a swimming pool, then you probably know that skimmers are not enough to clear out debris, especially after it has sunk to the bottom. Using a leaf net skimmer can work but this is a very manual process.

The ideal thing to do is to use an automatic pool cleaner and even though most of them are expensive, they are very handy when it comes to getting rid of debris as well as doing some scrubbing on the floor and walls.

With this in mind, this article looks at the best automatic pool cleaners in the market, with a view of helping you get the perfect fit for your pool.

12 Best Automatic Pool Cleaners – Reviews

Product Name

Image

​Features/Benefits

Rating

Current Price

1. Hayward Poolvergnuegen 896584000 Automatic Pool Cleaner


Hayward Poolvergnuegen 896584000 Automatic Pool Cleaner

Suction pool automatic cleaner that is available in either a 2- or 4-wheel drive and features self-adjusting turbine vanes for optimal performance

4.1

2. Zodiac Polaris Vac-Sweep Pressure Pool Cleaner

Zodiac Polaris Vac-Sweep Pressure Pool Cleaner

Pressure side in-ground pool cleaner with a large debris bag and a wide debris opening, for sucking in large leaves, pebbles and the like

4.2

3. Zodiac Baracuda G3 W03000 Advanced Suction Pool Cleaner

Zodiac Baracuda G3 W03000 Advanced Suction Pool Cleaner

Very reliable in-ground suction pool cleaner with a single moving part technology for easy maintenance and reduced wear and tear

4.1

4. Pentair GW7900 Inground Automatic Pool Cleaner

Pentair GW7900 Inground Automatic Pool Cleaner

Easily maneuverable suction pool cleaner having a small and compact size and a programmed steering system for improved performance

4.0

5. Dolphin Nautilus Robotic Pool Cleaner

Dolphin Nautilus Robotic Pool Cleaner

Easy to use robotic pool cleaner with a drop and go mechanism, two scrubbing brush wheels and a bottom load fine and ultra-fine cartridge filter

3.9

6. Hayward AquaNaut Suction Automatic Pool Cleaner

Hayward AquaNaut Suction Automatic Pool Cleaner

Very versatile suction pool cleaner that is available in 2- and 4-wheel options and self-adjusting variable vanes for sucking in small and large debris

3.9

7. Dolphin Premier Robotic In-Ground Pool Cleaner

Dolphin Premier Robotic In-Ground Pool Cleaner

Very costly robotic pool cleaner with very efficient DC motors and Smart Nav software for navigation

4.0

8. Dolphin Escape Robotic Above Ground Pool Cleaner

Dolphin Escape Robotic Above Ground Pool Cleaner

Sleekly designed above-ground robotic cleaner with an oversized debris cartridge for minimal interruptions and hyper grip tracks for better traction

4.1

9. Hayward Suction Above Ground Pool Cleaner

Hayward Suction Above Ground Pool Cleaner

Very affordable suction pool cleaner with a quiet turbine gearing system and a streamlined body for easy movement

3.6

10. Pentair LL505PMG Pressure-Side Automatic Pool Cleaner

Pentair LL505PMG Pressure-Side Automatic Pool Cleaner

Powerful pressure-side pool cleaner with dual thrust jets, a large capacity debris bag, and a large throat intake

3.6

11. Pentair 360032 Robotic Pool Cleaner

Pentair 360032 Robotic Pool Cleaner

Eco-friendly robotic pool cleaner that circulates the water thoroughly to distribute chemical treatments evenly, a weekly timer for automated control and a wireless remote for customized controls

3.9

12. Polaris Sport Robotic In-Ground Pool Cleaner

Polaris Sport Robotic In-Ground Pool Cleaner

Very expensive in-ground robotic cleaner with a powerful vortex vacuum technology, a 4-wheel drive system and a streamlined body for quick movement under water

4.0

1. Hayward Poolvergnuegen 896584000 Automatic Pool Cleaner

Best suction pool cleaner

Editor's Rating: 4.1 out of 5 stars (4.1 / 5)

Hayward Poolvergnuegen 896584000 Automatic Pool Cleaner
  • Suitable for: in-ground pool, max 33 feet depth

Hayward’s Poolvergnuegen might have a long and hard-to-pronounce name, but it does perform very well. It is a suction pool cleaner that features a 2-wheel drive system with treaded tires that provide the required grip for easy movement inside the pool.

If this is not enough for you, there is a 4-wheel drive option that is slightly more expensive but can cover more ground faster, making suitable for larger pool sizes of up to 20 × 40 feet, as compared to the max 16 × 32 feet pool size that the 2-wheel option can cover.

Regardless of the size, this product features patented self-adjusting turbine vanes, which ensure that it operates at maximum power at any water flow rate, resulting in an almost effortless debris suction and management.

For guided movement, the Poolvergnuegen has multiple pre-programmed internal steering sequences that occasionally cause the left wheels to reverse. This changes the direction of the cleaner so that it can cover the whole pool.

This steering system also gives the unit the ability to climb up the swimming pool’s walls and navigate through obstacles for full coverage. Additionally, it has a patented adjustable roller skirt that makes it possible to clean on uneven surfaces for even better coverage.

Pros:

  • Available in 2- and 4-wheel drive options
  • Self-adjusting turbine vanes for optimal performance
  • Multiple pre-programmed internal steering sequences
  • Adjustable roller skirt for easy cleaning on uneven surfaces

Cons:

  • Requires a running pool pump
  • Transfers debris to the pool filter, putting a lot of strain on it

2. Zodiac Polaris Vac-Sweep Pressure Pool Cleaner

Best automatic pool vacuum pressure cleaner

Editor's Rating: 4.2 out of 5 stars (4.2 / 5)

Zodiac Polaris Vac-Sweep Pressure Pool Cleaner
  • Suitable for: in-ground pool, max 31 feet depth

Zodiac’s Polaris is also an in-ground pool cleaner, but for the pressure side, which means that it should be connected to the return lines from the pool pump. It is actually designed as ready to connect to a 1.5-inch dedicated pressure return line and comes with a 31-foot hose.

However, the unit does require an additional booster pump so as to provide sufficient pressure for efficient debris collection. This means that you may have to buy the pump as an extra to help you with this.

For debris collection, a large filter bag is attached above the cleaner, and this helps to collect as much dirt as possible before requiring to be emptied. This bag helps to reduce the pressure on your pool’s filtration system and thus, prolongs its lifespan.

Other features include a large debris-opening intake for sucking in small and large particles alike, a dual venturi jet vacuum for powerful intake and a 3-wheel iconic design. Collectively, these features make this the top-rated automatic pool cleaner in this review.

On the downside, this cleaner does not have treaded tires, which might compromise on its grip to the pool floor. However, it has an in-line back-up valve that helps free itself once it gets cornered, and this help to maintain a continuous cleaning cycle without interruptions.

Pros:

  • Comes with a long 31-foot feed hose
  • Large filter bag
  • Large debris opening for sucking in large leaves and pebbles
  • Dual venturi jet vacuum for a powerful intake
  • In-line backup valve for freeing itself when stuck

Cons:

  • Requires a booster pump
  • Non-treaded wheels

3. Zodiac Baracuda G3 W03000 Advanced Suction Pool Cleaner

Very reliable suction cleaner

Editor's Rating: 4.1 out of 5 stars (4.1 / 5)

Zodiac Baracuda G3 W03000 Advanced Suction Pool Cleaner
  • Suitable for: in-ground pool

Zodiac’s Baracuda is a very reliable in-ground suction pool cleaner because it has only a single moving part, which is its diaphragm. This means that it is very durable because a single moving part means minimal wear and tear.

The product is also very easy to maintain because of its quick release cassette, which then gives you access to the diaphragm for cleaning and removing any debris that may be stuck there.

In terms of use, the Baracuda is meant for almost all types of floor surfaces, be they concrete, vinyl or tiles. This is made possible by a wide 36-finned disk, which adheres to these surfaces and provides a wide cleaning path for faster and more efficient cleaning.

Operationally, this unit runs very quietly and works well with low-speed pumps, maximizing on efficiency. On the upper side, the machine features a wheel deflector that helps navigate around tight corners for easier movement.

However, with its medium-sized diaphragm and low speed, low-pressure operation, the cleaner is only suitable for picking up small to medium-sized debris from the pool floor.

Pros:

  • Reliable and durable due to its single moving part
  • Easy to maintain
  • Can be used on almost all types of floor surfaces
  • Works well with low speed, low-pressure pumps
  • Wheel deflector for navigation around tight corners

Cons:

  • No filter-bag. Moves all the debris to the skimmer
  • Not suitable for collecting large debris

4. Pentair GW7900 Inground Automatic Pool Cleaner

Easily maneuverable automatic pool cleaner

Editor's Rating: 4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

Pentair GW7900 Inground Automatic Pool Cleaner
  • Suitable for: in-ground pool

Pentair’s GW7900 is quite a small suction cleaner, measuring only 13 inches in length, width, and height. This means that it easily maneuvers above the pool floor while attached to the suction port of the strainer, from which it utilizes the suction from the pool pump to function.

To give it even better maneuverability, this unit features an exclusive smart track programmed steering system, which makes it possible to move around obstacles such as ladders and even around tight corners. The result of this is an evenly cleaned floor, without missing any spot.

With such a system, the GW7900 can effectively clean a 12 × 20 feet pool size, while moving the collected debris back to the strainer where it should be attached.

For this attachment, a hose is included in this pack, and it connects to the cleaner via a vac port that comes tightly closed using a spring-loaded cover. This is necessary for additional safety and must be opened using a tool.

Pros:

  • Compact size makes it easy to maneuver
  • Features a steering system that further improves its maneuverability
  • Designed to clean a relatively large 12 × 20 feet pool
  • Closed vac port for additional safety

Cons:

  • Adds a lot of strain to your strainer and filtration system in general
  • Requires a running pool pump

5. Dolphin Nautilus Robotic Pool Cleaner

Easy to use pool cleaner

Editor's Rating: 3.9 out of 5 stars (3.9 / 5)

Dolphin Nautilus Robotic Pool Cleaner
  • Suitable for: in-ground pool, max 50 feet depth

Being a robotic pool cleaner, Dolphin’s Nautilus is a very easy-to-use product, having a drop and go, or the popular plug and play mechanism that most people are familiar with. This is because it does not need to be connected to a booster pump and requires no hoses.

Instead, all you have to do is to connect the unit to the power supply and that’s it. It even requires minimal supervision because of its tangle-free power cable, which ensures that there are no interruptions as the cleaning continues.

Apart from getting rid of debris, Nautilus also features two scrubbing brushes, which double up as the driving wheels. This design ensures that as the cleaner runs over the floor and walls, it tackles the tough dirt that is stuck on the surface for a more thorough cleaning cycle.

To collect the loosened dirt, the cleaner features a bottom-load fine and ultra-fine cartridge filter, which makes it possible to collect the small dirt and algae particles as well as the large leaves and twigs.

Pros:

  • Easy to use
  • Tangle-free power cable
  • Two scrubbing brushes as wheels for scrubbing floors and walls on every pass
  • Fine and ultra-fine cartridge filter

Cons:

  • Requires the filter to be cleaned frequently
  • Many moving parts mean more maintenance

6. Hayward AquaNaut Suction Automatic Pool Cleaner

Very versatile suction pool cleaner

Editor's Rating: 3.9 out of 5 stars (3.9 / 5)

Hayward AquaNaut Suction Automatic Pool Cleaner
  • Suitable for: in-ground pool, max 33 feet depth

Hayward’s AquaNaut is a very versatile suction pool cleaner that is available in 2 and 4-wheel options, with all having treaded tires that give a lot of traction when moves over the slippery floor, uneven surfaces, and walls.

For complete suction of all kinds of debris, this unit features patented, self-adjusting variable vanes, which allow small and large debris to pass through easily. This leaves you with a very clean pool, with the waste being passed off to the strainer for removal.

The suction vacuum created by these vanes is maintained by an adjustable roller skirt, which is designed to ensure that the Aquanaut never loses suction, even on uneven surfaces. Therefore, it can navigate through main drains and other objects while still pulling in all the dirt.

Other features include multiple pre-programmed steering sequences for complete pool coverage and 3 interchangeable throats that help improves the suction force at lower flow rates while also allowing large debris to pass through.

Pros:

  • Available in 2- and 4-wheel options
  • Self-adjusting variable vanes
  • Adjustable roller skirt maintains suction
  • Multiple pre-programmed steering sequences
  • 3 interchangeable throats to adjust to different flow rates

Cons:

  • Puts a lot of strain on the strainer
  • Requires a running pool pump

7. Dolphin Premier Robotic In-Ground Pool Cleaner

Best inground automatic pool cleaner

Editor's Rating: 4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

Dolphin Premier Robotic In-Ground Pool Cleaner
  • Suitable for: in-ground pool, max 60 feet depth

Dolphin’s Premier is a very expensive in-ground pool cleaner but it is very advanced, having up to 3 types of filter media per robot. These include dual filter cartridges plus an oversized filter bag, which gives you ample storage space to store debris without requiring frequent emptying.

In terms of power consumption, this unit features two of the latest commercial grade DC motors that operate on up to 90% less energy than suction or pressure cleaners.

These motors are responsible for driving the robot and actually rotate dual scrubbing brushes via hyper grip dual tracks, with each motor driving its own side. This gives it superior scrubbing power, good grip, and good maneuverability

For controls, a Smart Nav software scans the entire pool and provides effective coverage by driving the motors using very advanced algorithms, which clean 100% of the pool’s floor and wall surfaces in a very short time.

Other features include an advanced weekly control timer with optional remote control and an anti-tangle swivel technology on the power cable for hassle-free cleaning.

Pros:

  • Features 3 filter media
  • Highly energy efficient
  • Dual scrubbing brushes
  • Smart Nav software for navigation
  • Advanced weekly timer for additional control

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Higher maintenance due to a lot of moving parts

8. Dolphin Escape Robotic Above Ground Pool Cleaner

Best automatic pool cleaner for above ground pool

Editor's Rating: 4.1 out of 5 stars (4.1 / 5)

Dolphin Escape Robotic Above Ground Pool Cleaner
  • Suitable for: above ground pool, max 16 feet depth

Dolphin’s Escape is a sleekly designed above-ground robotic pool cleaner that has a compact design and weighs only 14 pounds.

Despite this small size, the unit features a large, oversized debris cartridge, which holds up to 60% more dirt than other above-ground robots of a similar size. This means that it requires less frequent emptying and thus, uninterrupted cleaning cycles.

For movement, 4 wheels with hyper grip continuous tracks are used to drive the cleaner, and these provide a lot of grip for improved traction over the slippery pool floor.

A separate hyper brush is fitted at the front of the unit, and this helps to scrub the stubborn contaminants and dirt for more thorough cleaning.

Other features include Smart Nav 2.0 robotic scanning for optimizing cleaning patterns and energy efficient DC motors for driving the wheels.

Pros:

  • Compact and lightweight
  • Oversized debris cartridge for minimal cleaning interruptions
  • 4 wheels with hyper grip continuous tracks
  • Hyperbrush for scrubbing off stubborn dirt
  • Smart Nav 2.0 scanning

Cons:

  • Only suitable for shallow above-ground pools
  • Plenty of moving parts translate to high maintenance requirements

9. Hayward Suction Above Ground Pool Cleaner

Best automatic pool cleaner for the money

Editor's Rating: 3.6 out of 5 stars (3.6 / 5)

Hayward Suction Above Ground Pool Cleaner
  • Suitable for: above-ground pool

Hayward’s above-ground pool cleaner is the most affordable automatic pool cleaner in this review, but it still performs really well.

The product features a unique turbine/ gearing system, which provides a constant and balanced water flow all the while operating quietly and moving gently across the pool floor as it picks up dirt and debris.

In terms of design, this unit has a contoured head design that is streamlined for easy maneuvering under the water and allows the steering pattern to be completed in minimal time.

Other features include an easy 10-minute or less installation time and a deluxe bumper ring, which minimizes friction as the cleaner moves along the walls.

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Unique turbine/ gearing system that operates quietly while the cleaner moves across the floor
  • Contoured head design for streamlined movement
  • Easy to install
  • Deluxe bumper ring minimizes friction with the pool walls

Cons:

  • No gripped wheels
  • Puts a lot of pressure on the strainer

10. Pentair LL505PMG Pressure-Side Automatic Pool Cleaner

Very powerful pressure pool cleaner

Editor's Rating: 3.6 out of 5 stars (3.6 / 5)

Pentair LL505PMG Pressure-Side Automatic Pool Cleaner
  • Suitable for: in-ground pool

Pentair’s LL505PMG is a very powerful pressure-side pool cleaner, featuring dual thrust jets that give it a fast operating speed and suction so that it can clean up pools in 1 – 3 hours. To achieve this, it should be boosted by an additional independent pump, which should be bought separately.

To make its cleaning action hassle-free and uninterrupted, the unit features a large capacity debris bag, which is ideal for storing leaves, twigs and other large debris. This feature is complemented by a large throat intake, which easily picks up any large debris with ease.

However, having a large bag means that it is quite big in size. To counter this, the cleaner features 4 large treaded wheels that provide maximum traction, with a front-wheel-drive system for efficient movement.

Additionally, it has a very lightweight frame that makes it easier to move around concrete, vinyl-lined and fiberglass pool floors and walls.

Pros:

  • Dual thrust jets for quick cleaning
  • Large capacity debris bag
  • Large throat intake
  • Four, large treaded wheels, with an efficient front wheel system
  • Lightweight frame for easy maneuverability

Cons:

  • Requires an independent booster pump
  • Quite large in size

11. Pentair 360032 Robotic Pool Cleaner

Best eco-friendly automatic pool cleaner

Editor's Rating: 3.9 out of 5 stars (3.9 / 5)

Pentair 360032 Robotic Pool Cleaner
  • Suitable for: in-ground pool

Although relatively costly, Pentair’s 360032 is a very efficient and eco-friendly robotic pool cleaner because its internal filtration system cleans the water as it circulates the present chemicals thoroughly throughout the pool.

This helps reduce the chemical requirements and as a result, you get clearer water and reduced expenses because of the reduced chemical treatment.

On the cleaning, the 360032 features advanced design scrubs, vacuums and filters, which enable it to clear out the dirt and debris in most pool sizes in under two and a half hours.

For controls, a built-in weekly timer automates the cleaning cycles when you are away while a wireless remote gives you full control over the operations of the robot as it works underwater.

Pros:

  • Efficient and eco-friendly
  • Advanced design scrubs, vacuums, and filters for quick cleaning
  • Built-in weekly timer for automated control
  • Wireless remote for full customized controls

Cons:

  • Costly

12. Polaris Sport Robotic In-Ground Pool Cleaner

Best automatic pool vacuum

Editor's Rating: 4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

Polaris Sport Robotic In-Ground Pool Cleaner
  • Suitable for: in-ground pool, max 50 feet length

Design wise, Polaris’s Sport is like the expensive, sporty version of a robotic pool cleaner, having a small and streamlined body that cuts through the water easily for quick movement.

The unit even has a 4-wheel drive system with heavily treaded tires that provide superior grip as all 4 wheels push through for easy and quick maneuverability across pools of up to 50 feet in length.

For the actual cleaning, the Sport features vortex vacuum technology, which captures four times more the debris collected by other similar robotic cleaners.

The captured waste is collected inside a large canister filter, which has four times the capacity of other similar cleaners, and this ensures that it runs uninterrupted for a long time without emptying.

Pros:

  • Small, streamlined body
  • Strong 4-wheel drive system
  • Suitable for large pools of up to 50 feet in length
  • Powerful vortex vacuum technology
  • Large canister filter for uninterrupted cleaning

Cons:

  • Very expensive
  • No remote control

How to Buy the Best Automatic Pool Cleaner

How to Buy the Best Automatic Pool Cleaner

#1. Type of Automatic Pool Cleaner

Suction

Suction side pool cleaners are attached to the suction end of your pool’s circulation system and they use the generated suction force to move around the pool while scrubbing and collecting debris.

Pros:

  • Usually very affordable
  • Require less maintenance because of having few moving parts

Cons:

  • Require running pool pumps to function
  • Puts a lot of stress on the strainer

Pressure

Pressure side pool cleaners are like the opposite of suction side units because they are attached to the return lines of your pool’s circulation system. They usually come with a filtration bag for debris collection because they don’t use the pool’s filter.

However, for the best performance, most of them require a booster pump, which should be bought separately.

Pros:

  • Relatively affordable
  • Fewer moving parts mean reduced maintenance
  • Does not task the pool strainer with filtration

Cons:

  • Requires a running pool pump
  • Depending on the model, an additional booster pump may be required

Robotic

Robotic pool cleaners are easy to use, plug and play appliances that are powered using electricity as opposed to water pressure or suction pressure.

This means that they are self-contained units, featuring driving motors, debris filters, and debris bags. As a result, they can function without requiring a running pool pump.

Pros:

  • Energy efficient
  • Suitable for cleaning floors, walls, stairs etc.
  • Does not strain the pool’s filter

Cons:

  • Many moving parts require a lot of maintenance
  • Very expensive

Buying Guide: If you have the money, a robotic pool cleaner is the best option to consider. However, if your funds are limited, the other two options are still good options, although you must always check your filtration system if you decide to use a suction side cleaner.

#2. Type of pool

Swimming pools are either in-ground or above ground. If you have an above ground pool, which basically means that the base of the pool is at ground level, then you need to buy a cleaner that is specifically meant for such pools.

Otherwise, you should get an in-ground cleaner if your swimming pool is sunk in the ground.

The reason for this is because above ground cleaners are usually smaller and designed to handle a smaller workload because of the small size and shallow design of above ground pools. On the other hand, in-ground cleaners are designed to handle larger and deeper in-ground pools.

#3. Filter System

Filter systems ultimately determine the quality of the water that will leave the cleaner. While suction cleaners do not have their own filtration systems, pressure-side and robotic cleaners usually have cartridge filters, with some high-end robotic models having canister filters.

Canister filters are designed as high-performance strainers, but for cartridges, ensure that it has both fine and ultra-fine screens so that large and small debris (such as algae) can be removed after being scrubbed off the floor and walls.

#4. Ease of Use

There are a number of ways to look at this factor. Robotic cleaners are usually very easy to set up because they are plug and play. No hose pipes are required.

However, having its own filtration system and bag, you might have to empty the debris very frequently, especially if it is small or if the pool is very dirty.

In the case of a suction-side cleaner, although it may add a lot of pressure to the pool’s filtration system, you won’t have to get it out of the water every now and then. Instead, you only have to clear the pool’s main filtration system after some time.

Therefore, an automatic pool cleaner’s ease of use factor depends on how you prefer running your system.

Conclusion

Pool cleaners are a must have if you own a swimming pool. They simplify the cleaning process and help the existing filtration system in getting rid of debris and stubborn dirt that is sunk to the pool floor.

However, you need the best automatic pool cleaner so as to do a thorough cleaning job and after going through the article above, you should be in a better position to pick the most suitable one for your needs.

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