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Best Automatic Pool Cleaner

Owning a pool is both a blessing and a curse – you get to enjoy the luxury of having your very own water oasis in your backyard on a hot summer day, but it comes at a cost. Pools require a surprising amount of upkeep. If you live in a place with a lot of trees or have a lot of kids swimming in it, that pool can get even dirtier even quicker.

What if there was a way to maximize the upside to owning a pool while minimizing the downside? That way is called an automatic pool cleaner. Almost everyone who finally buys own says they wish they had owned it the whole time.

But which is the best automatic pool cleaner? Should you get suction or pressure or robotic? Will it work in an above ground pool as well as an in ground pool? We’ve compiled a list of the 10 best automatic pool cleaners, as well as a buyer’s guide so you know what to look for. Read on!

Best Automatic Pool Cleaner – Comparison Table

Check out the table below for a quick look at the best automatic pool cleaners on the market right now. We included a couple of key features as well.

So without any further ado, here are the best automatic pool cleaners, up-to-date as of February 2018.

Pool CleanerPool SizeTypcWeight
Dolphin 99996323Recommended for 50 foot in ground poolsRobotic32.5 pounds
Hayward RC9990GR TigerSharkRecommended for 20 feet by 40 feetRobotic40 pounds
Aquabot JuniorUp to 40 feetRobotic16.5 pounds
Polaris 9550Up to 50 feetRobotic43 pounds
Maytronics Dolphin TritonUp to 50 feetRobotic24 pounds
Hayward PoolvergnuegenUp to 16 feet x 32 feetSuction4.9 pounds
BARACUDA G3 W0300040 feetSuction19 pounds
Hayward 900All above groundSuction18 pounds
Pentair GW9500 Kreepy Krauly40 feetSuction19 pounds
Polaris Vac Sweep 38031 feetPressure16 pounds

Alright, perfect. Now let’s get into the details of each of the pool cleaners.

1

Dolphin 99996323 - Popular and Reliable

This is a popular, reliable choice for a pool cleaner. This is a robotic pool cleaner which means that it doesn’t connect to your pool’s filtration system whatsoever. You simply plug it in, drop it in your pool, and forget about it! It’s great because it doesn’t put any pressure or strain on your filtration system and allows it to keep skimming the top of the pool while your automatic pool cleaner focuses on doing the heavy cleaning at the bottom.

In addition to getting your floors squeaky clean, it does a great job at cleaning your walls! Unlike a lot of other models, it does an amazing job at cleaning the actual water line as the Dolphin actually comes out of the pool a few inches, turns around, then continue back down! It’s very efficient which only means less time for you touching up what the cleaner missed. Another great feature that the Dolphin 99996323 has is that it’s silent while cleaning! Some pool cleaners can make annoying noises that can disturb rooms close by or even the neighbors but there’s no need to worry about that with this model.

This is recommended for in ground pools only as it can potentially damage the liner of above ground pools. It does a great job at removing medium to large pieces of debris, as well as smaller pieces of dirt. Again, it’s self contained so it doesn’t hook up to the pool whatsoever. That means it does have a filter, but that filter is very easy to remove and clean to get it ready for the next round.

A couple of downsides. This isn’t the best option if your pool has a lot of steps. It can and will clean them, but it tends to get stuck or leave debris behind. Another down side is a lot of people report that it’s pretty heavy. This can be both good and bad. It’s good because it will stay in the pool safely, including when it comes to clean the water line. It can be bad because that means it’s much more difficult to lug it out of the pool.

Overall this is a very solid robotic cleaner that will get the job done and provide you with a hassle free clean pool!

PROS
  • Very reliable
  • Doesn't strain your filter
CONS
  • Hard to get out of the pool
2

Hayward RC9990GR TigerShark - Environmentally Friendly

Next on our list we have another popular brand, the Hayward TigerShark. This is another robotic cleaner which again means that it’s completely self-contained and doesn’t hook up to your pool’s filtration system whatsoever. Alright, so what are the benefits?

It has an on-board pump for intense vacuum power, first of all. This is another one that does a great job at sucking up both dirt and larger pieces of debris. You also don’t have to worry about the hassle of any bags as this has an easy to clean filter cartridge system.

If you’re environmentally conscious or worried about your electricity bill, then this is definitely the pool cleaner for you. Compared to the other automatic pool cleaners on this list at a similar cleaning level, this definitely uses the least amount of power.

So exactly how does this know exactly the size of your pool and how to clean it? It actually uses an on-board smart computer to calculate the size of the pool and is able to clean it from there! So it will adjust to each individual pool sizes. Hey, if you’re friends with your neighbors, you two could share it and split the costs! But that might cause some drama down the road, so maybe it’s best to stick to your own.

Unlike the Dolphin, this works much better on steps so if your pool has larger steps or a lot of steps, consider going with the TigerShark. It will also power off automatically after it’s done cleaning so you don’t have to worry about it going rogue or running up your electricity bill if you go on vacation. It also does a great job at cleaning the water line as well, but just make sure it’s on the correct setting. There’s a quick clean setting in which it focuses on the pool and won’t clean the water line, but on the full clean setting it does a great job of making sure the water line is clean.

PROS
  • On-board smart computer for navigation
  • Works well on steps
CONS
  • Expensive
3

Aquabot Junior - Great For Fine Particles

To be a reliable pool cleaner people will consider, you have to have been around for a while. Hence why we have another trusted brand on our list – the Aquabot Junior. This cleaner will vacuum, scrub, and also micro-filter your dirt making sure it gets even the finest of particles. It will climb the pool wall but unfortunately won’t clean the waterline, so if that bothers you then you’ll have to clean that yourself. That being said, it is also been reported that it’s not the best at cleaning the walls. It will definitely get the job done, but you might have to touch it up. This is on the lower end of the price spectrum however, so it could be worth the compromise.

The Aquabot Junior also has ultra fine filtration bags ensuring that it will get all of that very small debris. It has a four hour cleaning cycle and is more than thorough. Another winning feature of the Junior is that it is very good at navigating miscellaneous obstacles. So if you have an abnormal pool or random fixtures, this could be a good fit.

Overall, the Aquabot Junior does fall short in a few areas but where it really shines is where it micro-filters dirt. It’s one of the best at getting small debris and also one of the best at navigating tough obstacles – and with a four hour cycle, it’s one of the most thorough. So if those are important factors to you, consider giving the Aquabot Junior a try.

PROS
  • Great at tiny particles
  • Efficient at navigating tough obstacles
CONS
  • Not the best at cleaning walls
4

Polaris 9550 - Top of the Line

This is definitely a top-of-the-line cleaner and is at a much higher price point than a lot of the other cleaners on the list, clocking in at just over a grand. But we truly believe that it is worth every cent. While this looks more like a car than it does a pool cleaner, it is efficient, powerful, modern, and comes with a couple of extra bonus features.

First of all, it boasts a four wheel drive that makes it work on any pool surface. It has an ActivMotion Sensor Technology, unique to the Polaris, that provides great navigation even in free form pools! With these monster wheels, combined with its powerful navigation – this pool cleaner can navigate better than most people!

The Polaris 9550 also contains Vortex vacuum technology which allows it to pick up even the largest of debris. But that doesn’t mean that it will skip all the dust and little particles – it is versatile in every way and will leave your pool floor squeaky clean. This is a robotic cleaner that contains no bags whatsoever and allows you to empty all the debris right from the top of the cleaner.

More features: it has a rear water propulsion system which allows it to really get under the stairs and into tight corners to get debris from every corner. This is definitely something that you won’t find on most standard models of automatic pool cleaners.

Up next, our three favorite features! It has a 7 day programmable cycle! So not only can you program it for 24 or 28 hours – you can actually plan it out for 7 full days so it will maintain your pool while conserving electricity while you’re away on vacation. It also comes with a remote so when you are home, you can quickly and effortless guide it to spot clean any areas that need attention. Lastly, the Polaris 9550 contains a power lift system, which is the only cleaner on our list to have. At the touch of a button on the remote, the Polaris will float to the top of the pool so you can easily grab it. As opposed to having to drag a water-logged pool cleaner out of the pool, we think this is a much nicer alternative.

Despite the price tag, there really isn’t much we can fault the Polaris 9550 on. If you have the cash, there’s not much that can go wrong by giving this a shot – this is one of the best robotic pool cleaners on the market.

PROS
  • Comes with remote
  • 7 Day programmable cycle
  • 4 Wheel drive
CONS
  • Expensive
5

Maytronics Dolphin Triton - Remote Operated

Another solid offering on our list – the Maytronics Dolphin Triton and the last of our robotic cleaner recommendations. This automatic pool cleaner vacuums, scrubs, and filters all in one. While it may not look as modern and relevant as the previous Polaris 9550, it still gets the job done.

A useful and convenient feature is the top load cartridge that makes this exceptionally easy to clean. The cartridge is also extra large, allowing it to run without anything getting clogged. The Maytronics Dolphin comes with a caddy as well, which easily keeps it safe and secure when it’s not in use and you’re forced to store it.

It operates on two different cycles: either a 1 hour rapid clean cycle or a 2.5 hour comprehensive clean. The Maytronics Dolphin can complete full 90 degree turns, making sure it gets in every corner and around every stair. One of our favorite features, it also comes with a remote control! One of the reasons we think this is so important is it allows you to really focus your cleaning if you have a few spots you need to get done in a hurry. It also allows you to drive it over to a convenient part of the pool for when you’re ready to take it out. In addition to the remote control, you can also operate it on an app that allows you to guide and change the degree of the tilt accordingly to pick up any necessary debris.

Even more technology: it has an anti-tangling algorithm built in to its path sequence to limit the amount of times it tangles – and it appears to have an affect. Most report autonomous cleaning and very limited tangling.

We really can’t fault the Maytronics Dolphin Triton on anything significant – it’s a reliable cleaner with a remote and an app, completes 90 degree turns for corners, and comes with a caddy to keep it safe. All thumbs up in our book.

PROS
  • Reliable brand name
  • Short and long cleaning cycle
  • Comes with caddy for protection
CONS
  • On the pricier end
6

Hayward Poolvergnuegen - Slow But Thorough

Okay it’s on to suction cleaners, which are really the original iteration of automatic pool cleaners. While robotics offer a lot of technological upgrades and the added benefit of not running through your filter, there’s still something to be said for suction-based pool cleaners. The main difference with suction vs. robotic is that suction cleaners actually do run through your pool filter. However that means they don’t use as much electricity and are able to run for longer.

The Hayward Poolvergnugen is an automatic turbine suction cleaner with the ability to clean a variety of surfaces. It’s able to clean Gunite, Vinyl, Fiberglass, Pebble, as well as tile. It covers floors, as well as wells, and even any coves you might have in your pool. Just looking at this cleaner you can tell it’s going to perform well going up walls. The tires on this model are actually patented and some of the most reliable tires on the market. It allows it to travel up walls with little to no effort.

Within the turbine suction, it actually has self-adjusting turbine vanes that allows large debris to go through while still maintaining suction! This is a great feature because usually when a large piece of debris is picked up, suction will suffer however briefly, and will take a while to get back on track. This doesn’t happen on the Hayward Poolvergnuegen – it will automatically self-adjust and maintain its suction as the large piece of debris makes its way through.

There are multiple pre-programmed internal steering sequences that will operate depending on your specific pool. It also operates on about a 5 or 6 hour cycle, making this one of the longest running cleaners. While some people may view this as a downside, it really allows it to performa  thorough cleaning job. Just pop it on while you’re at work, and you’ll come home to a clean pool. Being the first suction cleaner we’ve featured, the other ones have a lot to live up to.

PROS
  • Doesn't use additional electricity
  • Works on variety of surfaces
CONS
  • Long cleaning cycle
7

BARACUDA G3 W03000 - Silent and Powerful

This is an efficient, powerful, and quiet pool cleaner that works best in picking up small and medium size debris. And at just under $250, it is a powerhouse at that price. This is a suction based automatic pool cleaner which again, does mean that it will hook up to your filtration system and filter the debris through there. Its specialty is small and medium size debris, but it still does a decent job at picking up larger leaves, pine needles, etc.

Another great benefit with this cleaner is that it’s able to work with low speed pumps! It’s able to do so because the Baracuda G3 W03000 automatically regulates water flow so it maintains peak cleaning performance, even with the lower horsepower pumps.

Although not immediately visible, this does have a wheel deflector so it’s able to move swiftly around tight corners. It also makes it so there are no delays in suction when it bumps into a corner, ladder, or stair. On the same note, it also has a scuff-resistant hose that will leave little to no scuffs on your pool for you to have to get out.

To make things even more simple, this Baracuda only has one moving part! This is great on a lot of fronts – it makes it less likely for anything to break as well as making it very easy to put together straight out of the box. It also contains a quick release door on the cleaner, giving you quick and easy access to the diaphragm for simplified maintenance.

This model of the Baracuda is a great, powerful pool cleaner for the price. It doesn’t necessarily have all the bells and whistles of the newer expensive models, but it will still get your pool clean without adding any hassle to your life.

PROS
  • Works with low speed pumps
  • Only has one moving part
  • Very affordable
CONS
  • Not the best with larger debris
8

Hayward 900 - Perfect for Above Ground Pools

This little cutie is our first above ground pool cleaner that we’re featuring. While this one looks like a cute little whale, they have two other designs that you can choose from. While this might seem silly, it’s a good way to make it look like you have a pool toy zooming around as opposed to an industrial looking pool cleaner. Don’t let the cuteness fool you, however! They still do an amazing job at keeping your pool clean.

First off, installation is very easy and can be completed in less than 10 minutes. This is another suction based cleaner so you will have to hook it up to your filtration system. It features a deluxe bumper ring around so it minimizes impact against your pool, and allows it to easily resume its path and quickly continue cleaning the pool.

As the Hayward 900 cleans the pool, it also pulls water from the bottom of the pool and pushes it to the top. This does wonders in helping to circulate the water throughout the pool to help keep it clean. As we mentioned, they come in a couple of other different characters so they’ll look fun in your pool. For most above ground pools, it’ll complete the job in 2-3 hours and these little guys come with a 1 year warrantee. If you have an above ground pool and are looking for a cheap addition (less than $150!) to your pool cleaning arsenal, we highly recommend giving the Hayward 900 a go.

PROS
  • Very tiny
  • Affordable
  • Works in above ground pools
CONS
  • Not that great at large debris
9

Pentair GW9500 Kreepy Krauly - Trusted Brand

A Kreepy Krauly, one of the beloved names in automatic pool cleaners makes our list! And we think this is one of the best ones that there is. This Pentair GW9500 Kreepy Krauly boasts a 15 inch path, which is much wider than most pool cleaners, allowing it to clean a larger surface area of your pool much faster. It also has a unique turning mechanism built in that makes it one of the best at easily escaping from difficult areas.

Another area where this Kreepy Krauly really shines is cleaning specialty pool surfaces. So if you have Gunite, Vinyl, Fiberglass, or any other specialty surface and have had trouble in the past finding a pool cleaner that will work, we highly recommend giving this a go. It’s a very powerful cleaner and is able to get up even the most stubborn of dirt at the bottom of your pool. Since it is so powerful, it’s able to manager larger debris very easily.

It’s very easy to set up straight out of the box and is ready for immediate use. Again, this is a suction based cleaner so it will hook up to your filtration system. This is also a very reliable brand name in automatic pool cleaners that has been around for years and a lot of people put their trust in, and rely on this brand to keep their pools clean.

It also features a clear hose so if a jam ever does occur, it’s very easy to spot exactly where it is and immediately clean it out. It does have a longer clean cycle but the plus side to that is that it’s very thorough and there will be very minimal touching up, if any at all. One down side to this cleaner is that it’s not able to climb stairs, which is kind of a bummer depending on your pool. But we firmly believe the efficiency, power, and reliability of this cleaner still makes it well worth it.

PROS
  • Reliable brand
  • Wide cleaning width
  • Clear hose to easily see jams
CONS
  • Can't climb stairs
10

Polaris Vac Sweep 380 - Powerful Pressure Cleaner

This is the only pressure cleaner on our list, but for good reason. It’s a powerful cleaner that will deal with any type of debris that your pool throws at it. It comes with a large bag meaning that it will suck up any large leaves, pine needles, rocks – anything really that’s in your pool.

It works in in-ground pools of all shapes and sizes and will climb both the walls and stairs in your pool. While this the Polaris Vac Sweep 380’s specialty is picking up large debris, it still performs very well in picking up fine debris.

Different than both the robotic and suction cleaners, it runs off a separate Polaris booster pump that you will have to install.

The main draw to having an automatic pool cleaner like this one is that it is able to handle large debris. So if you live around a lot of trees with bigger leaves, pine needles, or for some reason large debris just seems to find its way into your pool, you should give the Polaris Vac Sweep a try. We’re confident it will solve your large-debris issues.

PROS
  • Great at picking up large debris
  • Climbs walls and stairs with ease
CONS
  • Requires a lot of maintenance

Best Automatic Pool Cleaner - Buyer's Guide

Thankfully when buying a pool cleaner there really aren’t too many factors to consider. There are three main differentiators that you want to look out for when purchasing an automatic pool cleaner: suction cleaners, pressure cleaners, and robotic cleaners. There are obviously a few more, but that’s where you should begin. So what are the differences?

Suction

Suction automatic pool cleaners are the original design of the automatic pool cleaner. They plug into your pool’s already existing filtration system and sends all the debris through the skimmer box. These are great because it doesn’t use any additional electricity and goes through your existing pool ecosystem! One downside is that your pool filter will be working extra hard since all that debris will be going through it.

Pressure

Pressure automatic pool cleaners are similar to suction cleaners. The main difference here is that they come up with a bag attached. This is mainly because they are designed to pick up larger pieces of debris and are much more powerful than suction cleaners. They also allow the skimmer to still work while it’s running, which isn’t the case with suction cleaners. This also means the debris isn’t going through your filters. The downsides to this type is that they are generally more maintenance and since there are so many components, they carry a higher risk breaking and needing replacing.

Robotic

These are becoming more and more popular in the automatic pool cleaner market, and for good reason. They combine the best parts of suction and pressure – they’re lower maintenance like suction but they are self-contained and don’t go through your pool’s filter system like pressure cleaners. All you have to do is plug them in, drop them in the pool, and leave them. They’re not quite as powerful as some pressure cleaners but the higher-end models can get pretty close. They also tend to have more advanced features like having a remote, app, and different programming abilities.

Hose Length

Make sure you check exactly how long the hose is that comes with the cleaner! You might need to purchase addition segments if you have an abnormally long pool.

Ability to Navigate Steps

If you have a lot of steps, or really don’t want to have to do any additional maintenance – make sure the pool cleaner you’re buying can efficiently lean steps.

Conclusion


Pool cleaners are becoming more and more advanced by the year. It’s always hard to find a pool cleaner that will do everything. However, we think we might have found an option that comes pretty close.

The best automatic pool cleaner 2017 that we suggest is the Polaris 9550. There really isn’t much that this is missing. While we acknowledge that this is an expensive pool cleaner, we think the benefits make the price well worth it. It has 4 wheel drive, can easily go on stairs and walls, has a propulsion system that allows it to reach debris under stairs and in tight corners, has a 7 day programmable cycle, easy to clean debris container, picks up larger debris a well as smaller debris, and has ActivMotion Sensor Technology making it great in any pool layout, even free form pools. Not to mention, it has a power lift system that makes the it float to the top of the pool at the press of a button for easy removal! Also, it looks futuristic and pretty cool if you ask us.

So yes, this is an expensive piece of equipment but the hours it’ll save you make it well worth it. It has features that you can’t find in any other pool cleaner and is just as powerful as the other big names. We can confidently say you will not be disappointed with your purchase.