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We researched the best robotic pool cleaners available online, evaluating effectiveness, maintenance, ease of use, and value. Our best overall pick, the Dolphin Nautilus CC Plus Robotic Pool Cleaner, has dual scrubbing brushes, three one-touch cleaning settings, and a tangle-resistant cable.
Here are the best robotic pool cleaners.
Best Overall: Dolphin Nautilus CC Plus Robotic Cleaner
Suitable for pools up to 50 feet
Cleans pools in two hours
Built-in weekly timer
Not effective on stairs
Power supply isn’t waterproof
Who else recommends it? Bustle and Bob Vila also picked the Dolphin Nautilus CC Plus Robotic Pool Vacuum Cleaner.
What do buyers say? 90% of 8,500+ Amazon reviewers rated this product 4 stars or above.
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.
Plus, its built-in scheduler automatically starts a cleaning cycle every day, every other day, or every third day. 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.
Best Budget: Aiper Smart HJ1102 Cordless Automatic Pool Cleaner
Lightweight and compact
Rechargeable, cordless design
Automatically stops near a pool wall
Only works on flat floors
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 Cordless 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 50 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.
When the AIPER robot is done cleaning or running low on battery, it automatically stops near a pool wall, allowing you to pull it out using the included hook. The unit recharges in just three to four hours, and it can clean up to a 15 x 35-foot pool 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.
Best Splurge: Dolphin Premier Robotic Pool Cleaner
Suitable for pools up to 50 feet
Cleans walls and waterline
Built-in weekly timer
Three types of filters
If you have a large pool or just want a pool cleaner with all the bells and whistles, the Dolphin Premier is a worthwhile investment. This high-end pool cleaner is suitable for in-ground pools up to 50 feet long, and it generally needs about three hours to complete a cleaning cycle. Unlike less-expensive models, this robot cleans the pool’s walls and waterline, ensuring every inch is free from dirt and algae. A unique three-filter system captures all manner of debris and keeps it out of the water.
Two powerful scrubbing brushes provide a deeper clean, and smart navigation software scans the pool and creates an efficient cleaning route. The tangle-free cable prevents the unit from getting stuck, and the unit features an automatic weekly timer, LED indicator light that tells you when the filter is full, and an optional remote control. While this pool cleaner does have all of the latest technology, it's still rather heavy, so it may require an extra set of hands to pull out of your pool, especially if it finishes a cleaning cycle in the deep end. A three-year warranty backs this pricey model, which is ideal for anyone who wants to keep their pool pristine with minimal effort.
Best Smart: Polaris 9650IQ Sport Robotic Pool Vacuum Cleaner
Suitable for pools up to 60 feet
Easy Life removal system
For the ultimate pool-cleaning convenience, the Polaris P965iQ 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. Plus, this high-end robot cleans even the largest in-ground pool, thanks to its 70-foot tangle-reducing cable.
The four-wheel-drive helps it to clean the walls, floor, and waterline, and its rear water-cleaning system 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. It’s even Alexa-enabled, allowing you to simply ask your voice assistant to start cleaning the pool—how cool is that?
Best for In-Ground Pools: Polaris P825 Sport Robotic Pool Cleaner
Able to clean coves, stairs, and waterline
Oversized intake area for large debris
Easy-to-empty debris canister
Includes robot caddy
Cord easily tangled
The Polaris P825 Sport Robotic Pool Cleaner has unique triangular trends that 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 the power cable easily gets twisted, inhibiting the unit’s cleaning abilities.
Best for Above-Ground Pools: Aqua Products Sol AG Auto Robotic Pool Cleaner
Designed for vinyl above-ground pools
Suitable for pools up to 30 feet
Compact and lightweight
Can't climb walls
The Aqua Products Sol AG Robotic Pool Cleaner is designed for use in vinyl above-ground pools. The compact unit can handle pools up to 30 feet wide, and it cleans the floor and coves with its pleated scrub brushes. Although it's great at cleaning vinyl, this model can’t climb walls. The powerful vacuum head sucks up dirt and dust, and the large-capacity basket can accommodate larger debris like leaves.
This unit gets your pool clean in around two hours, and its plug-and-play operation is easy to set up and use immediately. The debris basket is easy to remove, and you can spray waste out of it using the garden hose. Overall, this unit is simple and compact, making it a top choice for your above-ground pool.
Best for Leaves: DOLPHIN Triton PS Automatic Robotic Pool Cleaner
Suitable for pools up to 50 feet
Thorough wall and waterline cleaning
Extra-large filter basket
Built-in weekly timer
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. Plus, 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, 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.
Best Skimmer: Instapark Betta Robotic Pool Cleaner
Automatically removes floating debris
Wireless remote control
Large capacity debris basket
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.
We recommend the Dolphin Nautilus CC Plus Robotic Pool Vacuum Cleaner for hands-free cleaning of your in-ground pool. This model is able to 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 Cordless Automatic Pool Cleaner is a budget-friendly pick. The lightweight design actually runs on battery power, and it can clean for around 50 minutes before needed to be recharged.
What to Look for in a Robotic Pool Cleaner
Do you want the power to clean your pool with a swipe on your phone? Do you want to preprogram 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 it generally collects should be factored into which features you want in a cleaner.
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.
Pool cleaners can vary widely in price. In most cases, the more functionality and features a unit has, the higher the price tag. Consider your budget and the size of your pool and how much debris you regularly find in it when determining how much to spend on a unit.
How do robotic pool cleaners work?
If you’re tired of manually pushing a vacuum around your pool, a robotic vacuum can take the hard work off your hands, automatically cleaning the walls and floor of your swimming hole. “Robotic cleaners are the priciest, yet the easiest pool cleaners to use,” explains Stewart Vernon, COO, and founder of America’s Swimming Pool Company. “They use software to determine how to clean your pool and do not need to be attached to a pump or circulation system. Instead, they use their own filter bag.”
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 3 to 5 years, with some extending the longevity of their machine to 7 years or more with basic maintenance and occasional parts replacement.
How much do robotic pool cleaners cost?
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 tag 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 be sure to remove it when adding chemicals to the water. Also, it’s not recommend to leave the cleaner in the pool for long periods of time. Instead, store it in a covered area when not in use. 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.