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Top 3 Pool Cleaner Robots: An Engineer’s Pick (2020)

Top robots that will clean your pool like never before! Meta: Tired of cleaning your pool? Why not invest in a robotic pool cleaner? Read our article to find out why it’s worth the investment and get more time to relax.

If you have tried finding a pool robot, you probably noticed that there are quite a lot of different types of models on the market. The demand for these robots is growing and manufacturers in the competition for the consumer are increasingly expanding their range. 

As a result, you as the owner of the pool can find it difficult to pick the right one for your needs. And when you ask Google for help with your search query “which pool cleaning robot is better” Google returns a bunch of articles — 10/12/15 best pool cleaning robots. It doesn’t make it any easier. 

So we asked ourselves the question, which robot will be the most effective? Which robot is the easiest to use? Which one has the best additional functions, and which combines good work and a pleasant price?

To answer these questions, we held a “competition” between different pool cleaners and presented you with the models that were among the best. Scroll down to see the results of our research.

Best Pool Cleaner Robots

Dolphin Nautilus
CC Plus

Good cleaning at an affordable price

For in-ground pools
up to 50′
Cleans the floor and walls (2 hours)


Read More
Cost: $$

Polaris Sport Robotic F9550

Convenience with added benefits

For in-ground pools
up to 60′
Cleans the floor, walls, and waterline (1.5 / 2.5 hours)

Read More
Cost: $$$

Dolphin E10


Best for above-ground pools

For in-ground pools
up to 30′
Cleans the floor only
(1.5 hours)

Read More
Cost: $

These models were obtained after analysis of the market of pool robotic cleaners (identification of companies that have proven themselves, a study of their range, the exclusion of models with weak characteristics), and research consumer experience (survey of owners and analysis of reviews). 

You can read more details about each model to know which model is most suitable for you. Or if you’re still hesitant about whether you need one, read about the reasons to invest in a pool cleaner.

Also, you should consider that choosing even the best robot does not guarantee you durability and smooth operation if you misuse it. To save you from the risks of poor performance, this article will also tell you how to use a pool robot cleaner.

Is it worth buying 

Pool robots are generally not a low-cost purchase and that is why customers have to think twice before investing in one. Here are the main reasons why it will be useful for you. If these reasons resonate with you, you will not regret your purchase. 

A pool robot vacuum cleaner would be a great deal for you:

  • If you are tired of cleaning the pool

Perhaps you’ve always had to connect the hose to the skimmer and start working, or you’ve cleaned the pool with brushes and nets. These are labor-intensive and time-consuming ways to clean the pool, so it’s no wonder that you want an easier solution. Pool robots will only require you to start them up and after they have cleaned, you have to clean the filter. 

  • If you want to have a clean pool all the time

Pool robots remove large and small debris, they even remove the dirt that you usually do not notice. Many robots will also climb the walls of the pool to clean all the algae and dirt and clean the waterline. Some robots also have a programming function for cleaning that helps keep your pool clean regularly.

  • If you’re worried that cleaning is difficult

When you don’t have much experience cleaning a pool yourself, especially if it’s your first pool, you may find it very difficult and effort-consuming. Or you always hire a guy to clean your pool and you want to save money. In these cases, the pool robot will rescue you. Robots do not need any additional equipment or connections (except for electrical outlets). They are easy-to-use, and instructions are super simple. 

  • If you want smaller electricity bills

You might be thinking between pool cleaners running on a skimmer, pump, or electricity. When making your choice, you should consider that cleaning with pumps consumes the most electricity. Cleaning with skimmers is second place. The most energy-efficient robots are those that use electricity. Their average cost of operation is only about 5-7 cents per hour.

  • If you want to save time

If you want to spend more time relaxing (not cleaning the pool all day), the robot cleaner will do most of the work for you. Besides, all the robots that entered the top of the best have a trash can, not a bag. This nuance makes cleaning of the filter very fast.

But it’s important to remember that pool robots don’t balance pool chemicals, you still have to take care of that.

Winners

#1 Dolphin Nautilus CC Plus

Good cleaning at an affordable price

Dolphin Nautilus
CC Plus

Pool Type: in-ground, all surfaces
Pool Size: up to 50′
Cord Length: 60′
Coverage: floor and walls
Cleaning Cycle: 2 hours
Warranty: 2-year
Cost: $$

Note that for pools with low step risers, the robot can sometimes get stuck, and you’ll have to pull it out. 

Nautilus CC Plus has many positive features at an affordable price. Models similar in functionality, at other manufacturers, usually cost 300-500 dollars more. And, what is particularly rewarding is that Dolphin is continually striving to improve its products. For example, a later version of the Nautilus CC Plus left black marks on the pool. The company has reviewed this problem and fixed it.

Cleaning

The description says that this machine works with “smart cleaning technology.” However, in reality, it moves randomly but covers 90% of the pool every time it is cleaned, which I think is excellent. If you want something close to “smart cleaning,” then consider the Polaris F9550

The Nautilus CC Plus handles are perfect for climbing almost anywhere. This allows it to effectively clean not only the floor but also the ledge, steps, walls, and the waterline. However, during climbing, it can sometimes get stuck in inconvenient places.

The CC Plus comes with two sets of filters (which is a bonus, because, usually, you have to buy the extra filters yourself): 

  • The first set (a more open weave design) is for large debris, which is ideal for use when you’ve just opened a swimming pool or when your pool is near trees, and there’s large debris in it. 
  • The second set picks up smaller debris, ideal for regular cleaning when it’s essential for the robot to remove even the most minor garbage. 

A long cord (60 feet) allows easy cleaning of all the parts of a large pool. Plus, the cord has swiveling technology, so it doesn’t get tangled at all, unlike other models.

After cleaning

The loading filters are easy to remove and clean using a hose. 

It’s not difficult to get the robot out of the pool. The loading filters are easily removed and cleaned with a hose. But unfortunately, a caddy does not come with the set like with the Polaris F9550. The caddy makes using and storing the robot much more convenient and neat. So, it’s a good thing that you can buy the caddy separately. 

Dolphin Universal Caddy

– Compatible with all Dolphin robots
– Simplifies transportation
– Keeps the cord organized
– Provides a safe place for the power source
– Keeps pressure on the brushes to keep them in shape

Costs of time

One work cycle lasts 2 hours. If you are using the robot for the first time or after a long break, you may have to make several runs. Old dirt, bleach, and mold won’t disappear in the first run.

Also, to save you more time, the CC Plus can be programmed to run every day, every 2nd day or every 3rd day. However, for automatic launches only, it is better to ensure that you do not have any pool areas where the robot is likely to get stuck.

Issues

There’s an instruction manual that’s easy to follow. But some people who have not used such a robot before noted that there are still some questions despite following instructions. The online version has videos that are nice, but not detailed. 

So, it would be better if there were detailed instructions. And while Dolphin hasn’t addressed the issue, you can read our guide to using pool robots for better understanding. 

#2 Polaris Sport Robotic F9550

Convenience with added benefits

Polaris Sport Robotic F9550

Pool Type: in-ground, all surfaces
Pool Size: up to 60′
Cord Length: 70′
Coverage: floor, walls, and waterline
Cleaning Cycle: 1.5 / 2.5 hours
Warranty: 2-year
Cost: $$$

The model that has everything for ease of use. You can control it with a remote control, a program for cleaning, plus all this in the kit includes a caddy. 

Cleaning

The filter it comes with is useful for removing leaves, sand, and other debris. But some users noted that when the robot was working, it only sucked in large garbage, while small garbage seemed just to mix. This can happen if you have a lot of tiny debris and silt in your pool. And, it’s effortless to fix with an ultra-fine filter.

The Sport Robotic amazes with its ability to fix itself when it gets stuck or turns over — it takes a minute or two, but it comes up with a way to get back on its feet and start running again.

Another advantage of this model is the remote control. With the remote, you can direct it to where it missed the dirt or make it climb up the side of the pool when you want to clean it. 

The cord of the device is very long (70 feet). But you shouldn’t worry since the cleaner doesn’t get it in the way.

After cleaning

The advantageous addition that distinguishes the Polaris from others is that it comes with its own caddy. With the remote control, you can direct the vacuum to the lift when the work is done, and it will allow you to easily remove the Polaris from the pool.

Cost of time

You can use one of two options — 1.5 or 2.5 hours, depending on how thoroughly you need to clean the pool. Besides, the device has a 7-day programmable timer. You can program 7 cleaning cycles. This can be once a day for 7 days or once every 2 days for 2 weeks. This is especially useful if you are going away for some time.

Issues

Some people may need time to figure out how to use a remote control. But it’s a lot better than trying to drag it to the missed spots.

#3 Dolphin E10

Best for above-ground pools

Dolphin E10

Pool Type: above-ground, all surfaces
Pool Size: up to 30′
Cord Length: 40′
Coverage: floor only*
Cleaning Cycle: 1.5 hours
Warranty: 2-years
Cost: $

* 1 out of 8 clients says that E10 has sometimes climbed a wall. But the manufacturer doesn’t claim the robot can do that. So, you better not expect it to happen.

No wonder there’s another model from Dolphin on our top list. Dolphin always maintains its reputation for good cleaning solutions at an attractive price. This model was no exception. This little robot does a great job sometimes exceeding expectations. 

Cleaning

This little guy is incredibly simple in operations. Half of the users share their experience with this robot and note how easy it is to use. And no one said they had any misunderstandings about how to use it.

The Dolphin E10 handles large debris (coarse sand, leaves, needles, twigs, etc.) thoroughly, and powerful moving brushes will clean the pool floor from stains. For small garbage, it is better to buy an Ultra Fine Basket. Unlike the CC Plus, this model does not have this extra filter included, but at its price, it is not difficult to forgive.

The Dolphin E10 has a 40 feet cord, which is enough for pools up to 30′. But it has no hinge connection to prevent tangling, so some users have reported cord tangling issues. However, if you use it properly, you can easily address the issue.

After cleaning

Removing the Dolphin from the water after work and cleaning the filters is easy and mandatory. The robot gets out of the water, thanks to the handle. When you press the latch on top of the unit, the filter is easy to remove. The filter is then rinsed out of the hose and inserted back in.

Cost of time

Personally, it only takes 5 minutes to start the robot, take it out after cleaning, and clean the filter basket. The Dolphin E10 is also impressively fast — one cycle of 1.5 hours. At this time, it will clean your pool thoroughly. But if your pool is filthy (after winter or because of the extended absence of cleaning), you may need several cycles.

Issues

Be careful, even though the listing says the robot has a 2-year warranty, there are some concerns. The warranty card says 2 years for the plastic parts and 1 year for the cable, power supply, and the motor. It is very unlikely that the plastic part will fail in 2 years.

Other models

In our research, we considered three significant pool manufacturers robots: Dolphin, Polaris, and Hayward. Hayward has a proven track record of making heaters, pumps, controllers, and other equipment for pools, but pool robots from Hayward did not make it to our list of the top 3 winners. However, due to its technical characteristics and feedback from loyal customers of Hayward, two models of this company were in our top 5 list. So we wanted to talk a little bit about its models.

#4 Hayward TigerShark

Hayward TigerShark

Pool Type: in-ground, all surfaces*
Pool Size: up to 20′ x 40′
Cord Length: 55′
Coverage: floor, walls, coves, and waterline
Cleaning Cycle: 1.5 / 3 hours
Warranty: 1 year
Cost: $$$

*For very slippery surfaces, a foam roller may be required.

The TigerShark is good for both small and large garbage. Depending on the level of contamination, you can choose between 2 options: quick cleaning (1.5 hours) and thorough cleaning (3 hours — the longest cleaning time compared to other models).

The area this robot will be working on will be perfectly cleaned up. However, it doesn’t have a good grasp of where to go. Many users have noted that it spends more time on the walls than on the bottom of the pool. If your main problem is dirty waterline, you can benefit from it.

#5 Hayward Navigator Pro

Hayward Navigator Pro

Pool Type: in-ground, 925ADC — Gunite, 925ADV — Vinyl
Pool Size: up to 40′
Hose Length: 40′
Coverage: floor, walls, coves
Cleaning Cycle:
Warranty: 2-year
Cost: $

Hayward Navigator, unlike other models from our list, works through a hose that connects to the skimmer. It’s an average robot in terms of characteristics and performance. And the operating principle that distinguishes it from others makes it a little more inconvenient but eliminates the need to empty the garbage bags.

This requires a lot of water flow. Also, you should make sure the hose length (40 feet) is long enough for your pool. The description is a bit misleading. It won’t clean a 40-foot pool or even a 35-foot pool unless your skimmer is in the middle of the longer side of your pool. But you can get an extra piece of hose.

The Navigator cleans all surfaces of the pool, moving up the sides of the pool (sometimes almost “crawling” out of the pool). If it loses contact with the pool surface, it drifts to the bottom and restores the connection.

Overall rating

To compile our ratings, we do not only research technical specifications and consult with specialists. An important part of our research is the analysis of user experience. Below is a table with estimates based on all the information we have obtained. 

ModelCovering area
Thorough cleaning
Easy to use
Time saver
Post-service
Total score
Dolphin Nautilus CC+
98101089
Polaris Sport Robotic
999999
Dolphin E10
9910989
Hayward TigerShark
879898,2
Hayward Navigator Pro
789898,2

We also suggest you see a little bit of the research process. The image below shows the results of the consumer experience analysis, what characteristics they mentioned, and whether they were satisfied with it or not.

ByRossi methodology

How to use the Pool Robot Cleaner to keep it working smoothly

Robot pool cleaners are very easy-to-use. But there are some crucial nuances that even experienced users may not think about. And those who will use the robot for the first time may have many questions. That’s why we have compiled some important points when using robot cleaners. These will help you out.

Unwind the cable to its full length

People sometimes complain that the cord is being twisted while the robot is working. To avoid this, before using the robot, unwind the cord long enough to allow the robot to reach the far end of the pool and make sure it has no kinks.

Also, after each use, roll the cord properly. Think about old phones with the cord. If you had never let your phone hang on a pair of spins after a call, it would have turned into a knot, same concept. 

The power source

Connect the power supply, but leave it in the OFF position (until you put the robot in water).

Use only the original power supply. Position the power supply so that it is approximately in the middle of the longest part of the pool, at least 12ft/3.5m from the pool’s edge.

Soak the sponges in water

If you have chosen a robot cleaner that includes sponges, you will need to completely wet them. You need to immerse them in water and squeeze them out. This should be done before the first use and when they will dry between uses.

There have been cases where the robot has floated up if it hasn’t been done.

Removing a robot from a pool

Do not leave the robot in the pool because the salt and chlorine will form seals and cause corrosion of the metal parts.

Use the cord to pull the robot towards you. Pull it out by the handles and place it on the edge of the pool so that the water can escape from it.

Do not try to pull it out by the cable!

Cleaning the filter basket

It is recommended to clean the filter basket after each cleaning cycle. This keeps your cleaner efficient. 

The structure of the robot is simple, you will intuitively understand how to remove the filter. Before doing this, make sure the power supply is switched off and the cord is not plugged into an outlet. And it is important to keep the filter panels from drying out before cleaning.

Filters of all the models that entered our top list pose no problem to clean. You just have to hose-wash them and put them back in. 

Source: Youtube

Summary 

The pool robot is a great helper, which will make the pool cleaning process much easier and give you more free time. But before buying, make sure that it will meet your needs and expectations.

If you need a robot that just needs to clean the pool effectively on its own and you don’t want to overpay for extra features, we would recommend the Dolphin Nautilus for you.

If you want a robot that can be controlled by the remote control, will clean the entire pool (floor, walls, waterline) and you do not want to buy an additional caddy later, for you a good solution is the Polaris F9550.

If you have an above-ground pool and you want a fast and easy-to-use robot that will clean it efficiently, the Dolphin E10 is ideal for this task. 

Dolphin Nautilus
CC Plus

Pool Type: in-groundPool Size: up to 50′
Coverage: floor and walls
Cleaning: 2 hours
Remote control:
Cost: $$



Polaris Sport Robotic F9550

Pool Type: in-groundPool Size: up to 60′
Coverage: floor, walls, and waterline
Cleaning: 1.5 / 2.5 hours
Remote control: yes
Cost: $$$

Dolphin E10


Pool Type: above-groundPool Size: up to 30′
Coverage: floor only
Cleaning: 1.5 hours
Remote control:
Cost: $



FAQ

💎 Is a robotic pool cleaner worth it?

This type of cleaner saves a lot of time and effort. If you decide to buy and choose a quality model, you will hardly ever regret it. 

🏆 What is the best robotic pool cleaner to buy?

What is the best robotic pool cleaner to buy?

Dolphin Nautilus CC Plus — Good cleaning at an affordable price

Polaris Sport Robotic F9550 — Convenience with added benefits

Dolphin E10 — Best for above-ground pools

✨ How often should I run a robotic pool cleaner?

For daily use, it is better to use the pool robot once every 1-2 days. If you use it less often, look at the degree of contamination. 

🏊‍♂️ Can I swim when there is a robot vacuum cleaner in the pool?

No, you can’t swim when the pool robot is turned on.

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