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"It doesn’t rely on your pool’s pump, helping to extend the life of your pool’s system."
"Its simple design makes for far less upkeep."
"An ActivMotion Sensor allows the unit to adapt its path for better cleaning."
"You can schedule it to clean on a recurring basis."
Best for In-Ground Pools: Hayward 2-Wheel Poolvergnuegen Pool Cleaner at Amazon
"It provides a powerful suction and navigates stairs and walls with ease."
Best for Above-Ground Pools: Water Tech Pool Blaster Max Leaf Pool Vacuum at Home Depot
"Several reviewers note that the cleaner holds a charge for multiple uses."
Best for Small Pools: Zodiac Baracuda G3 Advanced Suction Side Automatic Pool Cleaner at Amazon
"A special valve automatically regulates water flow for better performance."
Best for Large Pools: Hayward 4-Wheel Poolvergnuegen Pool Cleaner at Amazon
"Its self-adjusting turbine vanes deliver maximum suction and allow larger debris to be sucked up."
Best Overall: Dolphin Triton PS Automatic Robotic Pool Cleaner with Extra-Large Filter Basket
There are a few key characteristics you should look for in a pool cleaner—including powerful suction and a spacious filter bag—and the Dolphin Triton PS Automatic Robotic Pool Cleaner, which can tackle pools up to 50 feet, ticks all the necessary boxes.
The Dolphin Robotic Pool Cleaner scrubs your pool’s floor, walls, and waterline by itself, saving you the hassle of manual scrubbing. It has an extra-large single-click basket that’s simple to empty, and its standard cleaning time is two hours. You can schedule it to automatically clean your pool every day, every other day, or every third day, and unlike other suction and pressure cleaners, this unit doesn’t rely on your pool’s pump, helping to extend the life of your pool’s system.
Reviewers say the Dolphin Triton PS does a great job cleaning all surfaces in their pools—including benches and stairs—and many say the top-loading filter is incredibly easy to clean.
“I'd recommend most pool owners buy a model that has strong, consistent suction and a large filter bag. These two features combined will assure the cleaner is able to suck up plenty of debris.”
Dan Bailey, President, WikiLawn
Best Robotic: Dolphin Nautilus CC Plus Automatic Robotic Pool Cleaner
Robotic pool cleaners like the Dolphin Nautilus CC Plus make pool maintenance a hands-off task, as they scrub down the floor and walls of your pool while you kick back and relax. This top-rated pool cleaner can handle pools up to 50 feet long, and it will leave your pool fresh and clean in just two hours. It has dual-scrubbing brushes and superior filtering capabilities, and it can even be scheduled to clean on a recurring basis. Plus, it will save you money, as it operates independently, not relying on your pool’s pump.
Best for Small Pools: Zodiac Baracuda G3 Advanced Suction Side Automatic Pool Cleaner
A mid-priced model that comes recommended by experts is the Zodiac Baracuda G3 Advanced Suction Side Automatic Pool Cleaner. This suction side cleaner hooks up to your pool’s pump, and it’s effective at picking up small- and medium-size debris from the floor, walls, and steps of your pool. It has a special valve that automatically regulates water flow for better performance, even with low HP pumps, and one of the major benefits is the Baracuda G3 is easy to set up and has just one moving part, minimizing its chances of breaking. Reviewers say this automatic pool cleaner works great on dirt and sand, but you will probably have to skim out larger debris by hand.
Best for Large Pools: Hayward 4-Wheel Poolvergnuegen Pool Cleaner
If you have a larger pool, you may want to upgrade to the Hayward 4-Wheel Poolvergnuegen Pool Cleaner—the next model up from our pick for in-ground pools. This model can be used in pools that have deep ends up to 20 x 40’ and it has four-wheel drive to help it climb walls and navigate around obstacles.
This suction vacuum needs to be hooked up to a pump with at least ½ HP power, and its self-adjusting turbine vanes deliver maximum suction and allow larger debris to be sucked up. It has multiple pre-programmed internal steering programs to deliver better coverage in larger pools, and reviewers say it works wonderfully and is well worth the price.
Best Budget: XtremepowerUS Automatic Suction Vacuum Pool Cleaner
High-tech pool cleaners can cost hundreds—and sometimes even thousands—of dollars, but you don’t have to empty your savings account to keep your pool sparkling clean. The XtremepowerUS Automatic Suction Vacuum Pool Cleaner is a budget-friendly model that automatically picks up fine debris from your pool.
This cleaner is recommended for both in- and above-ground pools up to 16 x 34’, and it must be connected to a pool pump of 3/4 HP or higher. Because of its simple design, there are no wheels or gears that are prone to breaking, and the soft, thick base plate gently cleans pools of all shapes and sizes. However, this affordable pool cleaner does have some limitations—it can’t clean areas less than 3-feet deep, and it won’t pick up leaves and large particles, so you’ll need to skim those out yourself.
Best Splurge: Polaris F9450 Sport Robotic In-Ground Swimming Pool Cleaner
If you want the best of the best, the high-end Polaris F9450 Sport Robotic In-Ground Pool Cleaner will make it easier than ever to keep your pool pristine, thanks to its powerful suction, large filter canister, and four-wheel drive technology. This robotic pool cleaner can be used in pools up to 50 feet, and it cleans the walls, floors, and tile line with its pleated scrubbing brushes.
The Polaris F9450 Sport has vortex vacuum technology that captures four times more debris than other cleaners, and it has an extra-large top-access filter than can hold four times the debris, allowing you to empty it less frequently. It features an ActivMotion Sensor that lets the unit automatically sense its position in the pool and adapt its path for better cleaning, all while reducing cord tangling, and reviewers are typically quite pleased with the machine’s performance, writing that it uses significantly less electricity than cleaners that hook up to the pool’s filtration system.
Even though the thought of hands-off pool maintenance is appealing, keep in mind that robotic pool cleaners aren’t necessarily the best choice for everyone: “A word of caution,” says Bailey, “If you don't have a pool screen or some way to keep out debris from the trees, a robotic cleaner probably won't be a good choice. There are a variety of things that can fall from trees, including sticks, leaves, even slugs—it's too much debris for any automated cleaner to handle.”
Best for In-Ground Pools: Hayward 2-Wheel Poolvergnuegen Pool Cleaner
For in-ground pools, one of your best options is the Hayward 2-Wheel Poolvergnuegen Pool Cleaner, which is specially designed to deliver maximum power, no matter how powerful your pump is, and suck up large debris. This unit can be used in pools up to 32 feet long, and it weighs a mere 5 pounds, making it easy to carry.
This suction pool cleaner hooks up to your pool’s existing pump, and it requires a minimum of ½ HP to run. Its tread tires can climb any surface and navigate uneven terrain with ease, and it comes with three interchangeable throats that help it to optimize suction and suck up debris of different sizes. The Hayward 2-Wheel Poolvergnuegen Pool Cleaner comes highly recommended from users, who say it delivers powerful suction and navigates stairs and walls with ease.
Best for Above-Ground Pools: Water Tech Pool Blaster Max Leaf Pool Vacuum
For those with above-ground pools, a product like the Water Tech Pool Blaster Max Leaf Vacuum will work best. This cleaner vacuums alga, sand, dirt, and leaves from your pool, but unlike many of the other options on this list, this machine needs to be guided manually. This pool vacuum features a rechargeable electric motor that lasts for around 60 minutes per charge, and it attaches to most standard pool poles for easy setup. It has an extra-large filtration bag, and reviewers say it’s simple to use. Many write that the pool cleaner holds a charge for multiple uses and several note that it does a great job picking up dirt and leaves.
Manual vs. robotic Manual cleaners are much cheaper but require more grunt work. They are more suitable for above-ground pools and small inground pools. If you have a larger pool or are short on time, a robotic pool cleaner is a much more efficient way to get that crystal clear water.
Type There are two main types of automatic pool cleaners: pressure-side and suction-side. Pressure-side cleaners use water pressure to move along the bottom and sides of the pool and collect dirt and debris in a bag. These cleaners are ideal for leaves, twigs, and larger debris. Suction-side cleaners connect to your pool’s filtration system and are better for dirt, sand, and smaller debris.
Filtration Suction-side pool cleaners depend on a built-in filtration system to work properly, while robotic and pressure-side pool cleaners can operate autonomously. Pressure-side cleaners use a bag to collect debris, and robotic pool cleaners use filters that need to be changed periodically.