The 9 Best Robotic Pool Cleaners of 2023, Tested and Reviewed

The Dolphin Nautilus CC Plus Robotic Pool Cleaner is our top pick

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Dolphin Nautilus CC Plus Robotic Pool Cleaner

The Spruce / Sarah Vanbuskirk

A robotic pool cleaner keeps your swimming pool clean without clogging the skimmer or burning out your filtration system.  Aside from taking the labor out of cleaning your pool, some robotic pool cleaners come with features that allow you to schedule cleanings, check water temperature, and even monitor cleaning. “They use software to determine how to clean your pool and do not need to be attached to a pump or circulation system," says Stewart Vernon, COO and founder of America’s Swimming Pool Company. "Instead, they use their own filter bag.”

We tested and researched the best robotic pool cleaners available, evaluating effectiveness, maintenance, ease of use, and value. Our best overall pick, the Dolphin Nautilus CC Plus Robotic Pool Cleaner, was praised for its dual scrubbing brushes, three one-touch cleaning settings, and tangle-resistant cable. 

Here are the best robotic pool cleaners, tested by us.

Our Top Picks

Best Overall

Dolphin Nautilus CC Plus Robotic Cleaner

4.6
Dolphin Nautilus CC Plus Robotic Cleaner

Amazon

What We Like
  • Suitable for pools up to 50 feet

  • Tangle-free cable

  • Cleans pools in two hours

  • Built-in weekly timer

  • Dual filters

What We Don't Like
  • Not effective on stairs

  • Power supply isn’t waterproof

Our top pick, the Dolphin Nautilus CC Plus offers all the functionality and convenience you’d expect from a robotic pool cleaner at a mid-tier price point. This robotic cleaner is designed for in-ground pools up to 50 feet long, and it cleans your pool end-to-end in around two hours. It requires no pumps or hoses, and it features dual scrubbing brushes to help remove dirt, algae, and other debris.

This robot uses smart navigation to clean the floors and walls of your swimming pool, and its tangle-free cable ensures that it won't get stuck as it works. It’s easy to empty the two cartridge filters from the top of the machine, and it captures large and small debris. Our tester found that this pool cleaner is extremely easy to set up and start, and it picked up a noticeable amount of silt, as well as small leaves, petals, and bugs. "This cleaner-bot really gets the pool sparkling clean, even after a big crowd of swimmers, and I don’t need to run it as often as I did with my previous one to maintain that level of freshness," our tester said. "I was also impressed by how quiet the machine is and how well it navigates the pool walls, tracking all the way up and down the sides and even breaking the waterline."

Plus, its built-in scheduler automatically starts a cleaning cycle every day, every other day, or every third day. Our tester also noted that this cleaner easily climbed the walls of their older-style pool, which are set at a 90-degree angle and have very little curvature between the floor and sides. They had also previously purchased a used Dolphin M400 model last year and said that the Nautilus was overall easier to use, faster at cleaning, and better at tracking with the floor.

Keep in mind that you should remove the robot after each use to empty it and rinse the filters, and rinse off any excess chemicals. While the power supply to this robot vacuum isn't waterproof, its quick cleaning capabilities make up for a minor design error. Overall, this robot pool cleaner is a great choice for just about any pool style and is reasonably priced compared to other models with similar technology.

Price at time of publish: $899

Pool Type: In-ground | Cleaning Cycle Time: 2 hours | Cleaning Coverage: Floor, walls | Brush Type: Dual scrubbing | Filter Type: Twin cartridge | Smart Capabilities: No

Dolphin Nautilus CC Plus Robotic Pool Cleaner

The Spruce / Anna Knief

Best Budget

Aiper Seagull 1000 Cordless Robotic Pool Cleaner

4.6
Aiper Seagull 1000 Cordless Robotic Pool Cleaner

Amazon

Our Ratings
  • Design
    4/5
  • Ease of Use
    5/5
  • Effectiveness
    4/5
  • Value
    4/5
What We Like
  • Lightweight and compact

  • Cordless design

  • Automatically stops near a pool wall

  • Cleaning angles can be adjusted to fit pool shape

What We Don't Like
  • Doesn't clean corners and asymmetrical pools as well

  • Some debris falls out when removing cleaner

Many robotic pool cleaners are quite expensive—some even cost over $1,000—but if you don’t want to spend that much, consider the AIPER Seagull 1000 Pool Cleaner. Unlike most robotic cleaners, which get power via a cord, this compact robotic cleaner runs on a rechargeable lithium-ion battery that provides up to 90 minutes of runtime per charge. All you have to do is drop the robot into your above- or in-ground pool, and it navigates from wall to wall, sucking up dirt, sand, debris, and more. The cleaning angle is also adjustable, so you can find a path that works best for your pool shape. Our tester noted that this cleaner did an exceptional job of cleaning silt and other debris off the bottom of their pool, but she noticed that it had a hard time navigating corners and curves in their kidney-shaped pool. She said finding the correct cleaning angle was slightly tricky, but figured it out after some trial and error.

When the AIPER robot is done cleaning or running low on battery, it self-parks near a pool wall, allowing you to pull it out using the included hook. Our tester said that some debris did fall out of this pool cleaner's filter while she removed it. She also said that it struggled to navigate the deep end of their pool and seemed to get stuck down there, which meant that it didn't always clean their entire pool. However, she noted that it likely would perform better in a pool with a shallower deep end, as the product is designed to climb inclines up to 15 degrees. The unit recharges in just four to six hours, and it can clean an in-ground pool up to 17 x 50 feet on a single charge. It might not do as thorough a job as some more expensive models, but it’s a great budget-friendly model for light everyday pool maintenance.

Price at time of publish: $270

Pool Type: In-ground or above-ground | Cleaning Cycle Time: 90 minutes | Cleaning Coverage: Floor | Brush Type: Independent brush | Filter Type: Tray | Smart Capabilities: No

Aiper Seagull 1000 Cordless Robotic Pool Cleaner

The Spruce / Anna Knief

Best Splurge

Dolphin Nautilus CC Supreme WiFi Operated Robotic Pool Cleaner

4.7
Dolphin Nautilus CC Supreme WiFi Operated Robotic Pool Cleaner

Amazon

Our Ratings
  • Design
    5/5
  • Ease of Use
    5/5
  • Effectiveness
    5/5
  • Value
    4/5
What We Like
  • Remote steering

  • Anti-tangle cable

  • Cleans walls and waterline

  • Three cleaning levels

What We Don't Like
  • Cannot clean steps

  • Misses some spots during automatic cleaning cycles


If you have a large pool or just want a pool cleaner with all the bells and whistles, the Dolphin Nautilus CC Supreme Wi-Fi Operated Pool Cleaner is a worthwhile investment. This high-end pool cleaner is suitable for in-ground pools up to 50 feet long, and it needs about one and a half to three and a half hours to complete a cleaning cycle, depending on your selection. Unlike less-expensive models, this robot also cleans the pool’s walls and waterline, ensuring every inch is free from dirt and algae. Its two-filter system captures all manner of debris and keeps it out of the water. 

Our tester said they enjoyed using this robot’s corresponding app to keep up with its cleaning progress and see its location in their pool. Our tester tried this robot’s pre-programmed standard and enhanced cleaning times and noted that the cleaner was able to get her pool about 95 and 99 percent clean, respectively. For the remaining debris, she enjoyed using the remote steering to direct the robot to the small spots it missed throughout the pool. 

This pool cleaner is equipped with powerful scrubbing brushes—three to be exact—that provide a deeper clean, and smart navigation software scans the pool to create an efficient cleaning route. The tangle-free cable prevents the unit from getting stuck, and the unit features an automatic weekly timer and an LED indicator light that tells you when the filter is full. Although this model is effective at climbing walls and cleaning the waterline, our tester did note that it cannot clean steps that are too narrow for it. However, it did manage to clean their wider sun ledge.

Price at time of publish: $1,500

Pool Type: In-ground | Cleaning Cycle Time: 1.5 - 3.5 hours | Cleaning Coverage: Floor, walls, waterline | Brush Type: Triple scrubbing | Filter Type: Extra large twin cartridges | Smart Capabilities: Yes

Dolphin Nautilus CC Supreme WiFi Operated Robotic Pool Cleaner

The Spruce / Anna Knief

Best Smart

Polaris VRXIQ+Robotic Pool Cleaner with iAquaLink Control

4.6
Polaris VRXIQ+Robotic Pool Cleaner with iAquaLink Control

Walmart

Our Ratings
  • Design
    4/5
  • Ease of Use
    5/5
  • Effectiveness
    4/5
  • Value
    3/5
What We Like
  • Suitable for pools up to 60 feet

  • 70-foot-long tangle-reducing cable

  • Easy Lift removal system

  • Caddy requires no tools to assemble

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

  • Heavy

For the ultimate pool-cleaning convenience, the Polaris VRXIQ+ is Wi-Fi enabled, allowing you to control it right from the iAquaLink app. Using your smartphone, you can start or stop the cleaner, create customized schedules, and even see when the filter needs cleaning. This high-end robot cleans even the largest in-ground pool, thanks to its 70-foot tangle-reducing cable. It’s important to note that our at-home tester was using this cleaner in an above-ground pool, so she could not test its wall, step, or waterline cleaning ability. All in all, though, she was impressed by this cleaner’s capacity, which easily handled her pool’s floor, which was covered in algae and leaves. It also learns your pool's size and dimensions during the first automatic cleaning cycle, so that it can further enhance and expedite cleaning during subsequent cycles.

The four-wheel-drive helps this cleaner to clean the walls, floor, waterline, and even steps. Thanks to its rear water-cleaning system, it easily blows debris off stairs and out of tight corners, so the machine can suck it up.  Although this model is more expensive, innovative features like a convenient storage caddy and the patented Easy Lift removal system, which drives the robot up the wall to be easily removed, make this cleaner worth the splurge. This cleaner is quite heavy, weighing 21 pounds, but our tester noted that it was still relatively easy to lift out of the pool. However, she didn’t think it would be very difficult for older users, since it has the Easy Lift technology, which aids in most of the exertion of lifting from the bottom of the pool.

Price at time of publish: $1,600

Pool Type: In-ground | Cleaning Cycle Time: Not listed | Cleaning Coverage: Floor, walls, steps, waterline | Brush Type: Dual blade | Filter Type: Extra large filter canister | Smart Capabilities: Yes

Best for In-Ground Pools

Polaris P825 Sport Robotic Pool Cleaner

Polaris P825 Sport Robotic Pool Cleaner

Amazon

What We Like
  • Able to clean coves, stairs, and waterline

  • Oversized intake area for large debris

  • Easy-to-empty debris canister

  • Includes robot caddy

What We Don't Like
  • Cord easily tangled

The Polaris P825 Sport Robotic Pool Cleaner has unique triangular treads that enable it to clean just about every surface in your in-ground pool. This cleaning robot tackles stairs, coves, and even benches with ease—it even scrubs down the waterline. Designed for in-ground pools up to 40 feet, it uses Polaris' cyclonic vacuum technology to capture debris without losing suction power. 

Through the transparent lid on the Polaris P825, you can see into the debris canister, so you know when it needs emptying, and the Push’N’Go emptying system saves you from having to touch the filter contents. The oversized intake area easily sucks up large leaves and their remnants, and the robot comes with its own caddy for convenient storage. The only major downside of this model is that the power cable easily gets twisted, inhibiting the unit’s cleaning abilities.

Price at time of publish: $900

Pool Type: In-ground | Cleaning Cycle Time: 1.5 hours | Cleaning Coverage: Floor, walls, stairs, coves, waterline | Brush Type: Dual pleated | Filter Type: Not listed | Smart Capabilities: No

Best for Above-Ground Pools

Dolphin Escape Robotic Above Ground Pool Cleaner

4.7
Dolphin Escape Robotic Above Ground Pool Cleaner

Amazon

Our Ratings
  • Design
    5/5
  • Ease of Use
    5/5
  • Effectiveness
    5/5
  • Value
    4/5
What We Like
  • Suitable for pools up to 30 feet

  • Plug-and-play operation

  • Compact and lightweight

  • Top-load filter easy to empty and rinse

What We Don't Like
  • Can't climb walls

The Dolphin Escape Robotic Above-Ground Pool Cleaner is designed for use in vinyl above-ground pools up to 30 feet wide. It easily navigates the floor of any above-ground pool, while even smoothing out the liner, our tester noted. The vacuum head sucks up dirt and dust, and the large-capacity basket can accommodate larger debris like leaves. 

Our tester appreciated how easy it was to dump debris from the top-load filter after a cleaning run, which they said took about three hours. You can also clean out the filter basket with a garden hose. This cleaner’s plug-and-play operation is easy to set up and use immediately. Our tester loved how much time this cleaner saved them from having to manually clean the pool, especially since their pool is covered by a tree, which frequently drops leaves. Overall, this unit may be simple in performance, but it’s compact and effective, making it a top choice for an above-ground pool.

Price at time of publish: $729

Pool Type: Above-ground | Cleaning Cycle Time: Not listed | Cleaning Coverage: Floors | Brush Type: Active scrubbing brush | Filter Type: Top-load filter | Smart Capabilities: No

Dolphin Escape Robotic Above Ground Pool Cleaner

The Spruce / Anna Knief

Best for Leaves

DOLPHIN Triton PS Automatic Robotic Pool Cleaner

DOLPHIN Triton PS Automatic Robotic Pool Cleaner

Amazon

What We Like
  • Suitable for pools up to 50 feet

  • Thorough wall and waterline cleaning

  • Extra-large filter basket

  • Built-in weekly timer

What We Don't Like
  • Power supply isn’t waterproof

Not all robotic pool cleaners suck up leaves well, but the Dolphin Triton PS’s top-loading filter basket is spacious enough to capture even the largest debris without clogging. It manages to trap fine dirt and sand particles, preventing them from escaping back into the water. This robotic cleaner is designed for in-ground pools up to 50 feet long, and it can have your pool sparkly clean in as little as two hours. 

Thanks to its powerful treads and high-speed pleated brush, this robot can scrub the floor, walls, and even the waterline, removing algae and grime. Its weekly scheduler includes three frequency options, and the tangle-free cable prevents the power cord from getting twisted while it works. It’s easy to remove and empty the large filter basket, and the unit automatically dumps out any water when you remove it from the pool, leaving debris trapped in the filter.

Price at time of publish: $999

Pool Type: In-ground | Cleaning Cycle Time: 2 hours | Cleaning Coverage: Floor, walls, waterline | Brush Type: High-speed pleated | Filter Type: Extra-large fine filter basket | Smart Capabilities: No

Best Skimmer

Instapark Betta Robotic Pool Cleaner

Instapark Betta Automatic Robotic Pool Cleaner Solar Powered Pool Skimmer - White

Amazon

What We Like
  • Automatically removes floating debris

  • Solar-powered design

  • UV-resistant exterior

  • Wireless remote control

  • Large-capacity debris basket

What We Don't Like
  • Only ships domestically  

  • Gets stuck in corners

Most robotic pool cleaners are designed to scrub a pool’s walls and floor, but the Instapark Betta is a robotic skimmer, floating on top of the water to capture leaves, dust, pollen, and other debris from the surface. This cool unit is solar-powered, so it doesn’t require any cord or battery, and its quiet underwater motor helps it make its way around the pool. Basically, you just put it in your pool and let it go to work—the only maintenance it requires is occasional emptying. 

This robotic skimmer’s UV-resistant exterior isn’t damaged by the sun, and its large-capacity debris basket can hold lots of leaves and twigs. When it needs emptying, you simply pull the basket out via the top handle; you don’t even have to remove the robot. The included remote control allows you to direct the robot to a certain area for spot cleaning. However, it sometimes can get stuck in corners or other tight spots.

Price at time of publish: $490

Pool Type: In-ground or above-ground | Cleaning Cycle Time: Not applicable | Cleaning Coverage: Surface only | Brush Type: Not applicable | Filter Type: Large-capacity debris basket | Smart Capabilities: No

Best for Coves

Polaris 7000 Above Ground Robotic Pool Cleaner

4.6
Polaris - 7000 Above Ground Robotic Pool Cleaner

Polaris

Our Ratings
  • Design
    4/5
  • Ease of Use
    5/5
  • Effectiveness
    4/5
  • Value
    3/5
What We Like
  • Easy-to-clean filter

  • 40-foot power cable

  • Very effective at removing debris of all sizes

  • Powerful suction

What We Don't Like
  • Difficult to tell when cleaning cycle completes

  • Expensive

Finding an above-ground pool cleaner that effectively cleans coves, as well as the floor, can be a challenge. Our tester was impressed by the sheer suction power of the Polaris 7000 Above Ground Pool Cleaner, which disturbs the surface of the water when in use. This cleaner features an easy-to-clean filter canister that has a transparent lid, so you can easily tell when it has become full of debris. It’s also capable of cleaning a 30-foot-wide pool and has a 40-foot-long cable for extra maneuvering around corners and obstacles on the pool deck. Our tester said that the only set up required was attaching the power hose to the cleaner. The rubber tracks also give this pool cleaner an edge in gripping the slope of a cove around your pool's circumference.

Our tester experienced heavy rain between testing phases of this cleaner, and they noted they were particularly impressed with the clear and thorough path that this cleaner cut through a significant amount of algae at the bottom of their pool. Although this cleaner is powerful, our tester wished there were a better way to know when it was done with a cleaning cycle. The only status symbol is a small red light on the control panel, which turns off once the cycle has completed. Our tester did have to periodically stop their other household tasks to check on the cleaner’s movement and the status light. Despite this pool cleaner’s time-saving design and effectiveness, we recognize that it’s an expense that may be more than your above-ground pool’s initial cost. However, our tester said this pool cleaner is well worth the splurge if you dislike the maintenance involved in your pool or cannot physically maintain the upkeep of manual cleaning.

Price at time of publish: $549

Pool Type: Above-ground | Cleaning Cycle Time: N/A | Cleaning Coverage: Floor, cove | Brush Type: Pleated | Filter Type: Top-load filter basket | Smart Capabilities: No

Polaris 7000 Above Ground Robotic Pool Cleaner

The Spruce / Anna Knief

Final Verdict

We recommend the Dolphin Nautilus CC Plus Robotic Pool Vacuum Cleaner for hands-free cleaning of your in-ground pool. This model can scrub down the walls and floor of pools in just two hours, and its built-in scheduler makes it incredibly convenient to operate. For smaller pools, the AIPER Seagull 1000 Robotic Pool Cleaner is a budget-friendly pick. The lightweight design actually runs on battery power, and it can clean for around 90 minutes before needing to be recharged. 

How We Tested the Robotic Pool Cleaners

To test the best pool cleaners on the market, we sent 21 pool cleaners—robotic, manual, suction-type, and pressure-type—home to volunteer testers, who used the cleaners for several weeks in their own pools. For the robotic pool cleaners, we asked our testers to note how long it took to set up the cleaner before dropping it in the pool. If the cleaner had smart features, we also asked them to note the ease of pairing the cleaner to their Wi-Fi, the user experience of the app, and the remote capabilities of the cleaner. As testers placed the cleaner into the pool, we asked them to start a stopwatch and track how long the cleaner took to clean their entire pool.

Testers made note of how easily the robotic cleaners navigated walls, water lines, steps, ladders, and sun shelves, if applicable. They also noted whether the cleaner had a methodical movement, especially if it was equipped with pool mapping technology. After completing at least two separate cleanings, about a week or so apart, we asked our testers to rate the cleaners on their design, ease of use, effectiveness, and value. We also asked them to consider whether they would recommend the cleaner to a friend or family member, and whether they'd consider purchasing the cleaner themselves.

What to Look for in a Robotic Pool Cleaner

Features

Do you want the power to clean your pool with a swipe on your phone? Do you want to pre-program a cleaning schedule or access a quick-cleaning mode to get the job done in a flash? There are robotic pool cleaners that can do all this and more. Your budget, the size and the shape of your pool, and the amount of debris your pool generally collects should be factored into which features you want in a cleaner. Some smart robotic cleaners, like our best smart pick, the Polaris - VRXIQ+ Robotic Pool Cleaner with iAquaLink Control, have features such as delayed scheduled cleanings, temperature monitoring, and remote steering. Our tester loved that she could easily control this cleaner from the app and move it to spots that it missed while on an automatic cycle.

Functionality

Some pool cleaners skim the top surface of your pool to get dirt and debris before it sinks, while others will crawl the sides and bottom to get anything that has sunk. You also want to consider the size of the basket that collects all the debris, mainly if your pool is surrounded by trees and plants that regularly deposit leaves and dirt into the pool.

Value

Pool cleaners can vary widely in price. In most cases, the more functionality and features a unit has, the higher the price tag. When determining how much to spend on a unit, consider your budget and the size of your pool and how much debris you regularly find in it. Our tester loved our best-for-coves pick, the Polaris 7000 Above Ground Robotic Pool Cleaner, because it completely removed the labor out of cleaning their above-ground pool. However, this model is not equipped with any smart features and is still rather pricey. It's a worthy investment if you consider the cost per use and time saved on manually cleaning.

FAQ
  • How do robotic pool cleaners work?

    This type of pool cleaner uses its power supply and onboard filtration to clean your pool, with little user intervention required during a cleaning cycle. Robotic pool cleaners usually connect to a power supply outside the pool using a long power cord. Some are cordless. Once placed in the pool, the robot travels along the pool's floor and walls, collecting dirt and debris in an onboard canister, filter tray, or bag. 

  • How long do robotic pool cleaners last?

    These advanced pool cleaners involve plenty of moving parts and electronics, and the average lifespan of a robotic pool cleaner will vary, depending on use frequency and maintenance. However, most people will find that a robotic pool cleaner lasts for at least three to five years, with some extending the longevity of their machine to seven years or more with basic maintenance and occasional parts replacement.

  • How much do robotic pool cleaners cost?

    “Robotic cleaners are the priciest, yet the easiest pool cleaners to use,” explains Stewart Vernon, COO and founder of America’s Swimming Pool Company. On average, robotic pool cleaners cost between $500 and $1,200. Some budget robotic pool cleaners cost as little as $200 to $300 but are more limited in cleaning capacity and features. Options like advanced programmed steering, built-in Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, and multiple filter media types tend to increase the price of a robotic pool cleaner. 

  • Can you leave a robotic pool cleaner in the pool?

    It’s safe to leave a robotic pool cleaner in the pool when not in use, but it’s not recommended to leave the unit in the pool for long periods of time. Instead, store it in a covered area when not in use. Be sure to remove it when adding chemicals to the water. Some of the best robotic pool cleaners feature a built-in timer that automatically runs the cleaner at certain intervals if it’s left in the pool.

Why Trust The Spruce?

This article was written by Camryn Rabideau, a freelance writer and product tester for The Spruce. While researching the pool cleaners, she spoke with Stewart Vernon, COO and founder of America’s Swimming Pool Company, for insights on how to select the best option for your pool. As she evaluated different robotic cleaners, she considered factors such as their setup, ease of use, versatility, and overall cost, aiming to select top-rated products at a wide range of price points to cater to different shoppers. This article was also updated by Emma Phelps to include our insights from a new round of testing top-rated pool cleaners in real-world scenarios. Our volunteer testers tested the pool cleaners in their own pools for several weeks and recorded their positive and negative experiences with each model.

What is Spruce Approved?

Here at The Spruce we want to ensure that we fully stand behind every product we recommend and that when we say something is the best, we mean it. You might have noticed The Spruce Approved badge next to the products on this list. Every product with this badge has been carefully selected by our expert team of lab testers and editors and rigorously tested in person. In most cases, we buy all of these products ourselves, though occasionally we get samples provided to us directly by companies. No matter how we procure products, they all go through the same tests and must meet the same strict criteria to make the best-of cut. We also pride ourselves on transparency and will always let you know if we received a product for free.

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