This buying guide is for robot pool cleaners for inground pools. We believe the cheapest, best, and lowest maintenance method to clean a pool is with a robot pool cleaner. Besides doing it by hand, there are two other mechanical ways to clean your pool. Below, we’ll tell you why we think robotic pool cleaners are the best for the job. And we’ll give you information to help you make the best decision for your pool.
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Types of Pool Cleaners
There are three types of pool cleaners:
1. pressure side cleaners,
2. suction side,
3. and robotic.
Pressure Side Cleaner
- They connect to an inflow (return to the pool) of your existing filtration system
- Most require a booster pump to give adequate pressure for a cleaner
- Booster pumps add cost, require installation, and added maintenance
If your water cleaning system has a booster pump and is Pressure Side cleaning ready, then the Polaris Vac-Sweep 280 is a good choice.
Suction Side Cleaner
- These units also use your existing filtration system but connect to the side that is pulling water into the system
- Use is restricted to your hose length
- The hose can easily get clogged
- The pump basket can fill fast restricting flow to the filtration system
- They are the cheapest and a good option is the BARACUDA G3 W03000 Advanced Suction Side Automatic Pool Cleaner
Robot Pool Cleaner
- Does not depend upon your existing filtration system
- Low power usage
- No hoses to clog
- No boost pumps to buy
Click here to read reviews of our Top Picks.
Robot Pool Cleaners
The best robot pool cleaners are self-contained with their own propulsion, filters, computers, and sensing devices. They put no pressure on your existing filtration system. They are low-voltage for safety and energy efficiency. They have their own pump to draw water in and filter debris into an easily removable basket and motorized wheels to move around the pool. They are smart enough to map out your pool, know how to clean a wall or stairs, and even the water line. They can be remotely controlled from a wireless handheld device or your phone.
Not all units have all of the features described above and you may not need them all. Below we’ll discuss features to consider for your pool.
Features to Consider in Choosing a Robot Pool Cleaner
There are a few considerations to make when choosing a machine. See the list below and check off the features you need. It will help you later when making a decision.
- In-ground capable
- Does it clean walls
- Can it clean stairs
- Does it clean waterline
- Cable length – effects pool size capacity
- Cable tangle – some units have a swivel cable
- Manages oddly shaped pools – smarter units do this better
- Weight – effects ease of lifting in and out of the pool
- 2 or 4 wheel drive – 4 wheel are more agile
- Filtration method – course to fine
- Filtration capacity – small to large
- Programmable for scheduling
- AI – how smart does it learn to clean your pool
- Remote control – wired, wireless, or cell phone app
- Belt or direct drive motor – belts add to maintenance
- Ease of repair, replacing parts, and maintenance
For above-ground pools, a less capable and less expensive unit is all you need. Here are 2 we recommend.
For in-ground pools, the beauty of a smart robot pool cleaner can be fully realized and enjoyed. We think the best units meet these minimum requirements:
- Clean bottoms (of course)
- Cleans walls
- Cleans stairs
- Cleans waterline
- Cable length of at least 60 feet
- Weight of no more than 35 lbs
- Decent AI
- At least a 2-year warranty
We think these units meet those requirements:
You can read an in-depth analysis of our Top Picks here.
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