Do I Need A Robotic Pool Cleaner? Alternatives, Types & Recommendations

Do I Need A Robotic Pool Cleaner Showing Cleaner On Bottom Of Pool

This Article Was Last Updated on March 18, 2023

There comes a time when you look at your pool and see some leaves on the floor of the deep end. Or, maybe you notice some dirt next to the pool steps. Lastly, perhaps you just got a pool built and are worried about cleaning. This might cause you to wonder, do I need a robotic pool cleaner? We will explain the value that robotic pool cleaners bring and offer our two favorite cleaners.

Do I Need A Robotic Pool Cleaner To Clean My Pool?

There are many solutions to consider for keeping your pool clean. However, you may be right to consider a robotic pool cleaner. In this article, we’ll explain the various options that you have for cleaning your pool. We’ll also look at the best robotic pool cleaners on the market to choose from. Truthfully, nobody “needs” a robotic pool cleaner, but if you can afford them and live in a location where leaves or dirt in pools are common, we recommend them. Otherwise, even with a weekly visit from a pool cleaner, you can find yourself unhappy with how much nature finds its way into your pool.

A robotic pool cleaner is the perfect “in between” solution from low-end cleaning options such as manual vacuums, pressure side or suction cleaners and high-end options like in floor pool cleaning systems. They are worth every penny that you’ll spend on them for the amount of time they save and comfort they bring to your backyard.

Kelly Skelton, Backyard Assist

Do I Need A Robotic Pool Cleaner Or A Lower End Cleaner?

Next, we’ll walk through the various options you have, including robotic cleaners and other cleaner types. For each, we’ll recommend which products are worth the investment. Keep in mind, we have a combined 30+ years of pool experience, so we’ve seen plenty of robotic pool cleaners. There are plenty of cheap robotic cleaners on the market not mentioned, and that is intentional.

Manual Vacuum

First there is the manual vacuum. You probably have a manual vacuum head if you have a pool. These attach to your pole, then you plug a hose into the head and into either your skimmer or your dedicated vacuum port. Then you manually move them around the interior of the pool to vacuum the surface. This is a time consuming and tiring process to do regularly so you’re probably looking for something a bit more automated.

Automatic Suction Cleaners

Next you have automatic suction cleaners. These work by automatically roaming around the interior of the pool in a somewhat random pattern and vacuuming the surface of the pool. These work great if your primary debris load is dirt. If you have a lot of leaves, the suction cleaner will have some trouble as the head often gets clogged with leaves, and you have to pull the unit out of the pool and clean it.

Pressure Side Pool Cleaners

Alternately you can install a pressure side cleaner. These work by using water pressure, pushing debris off the floor of the pool and catching it in a net as the cleaner moves about randomly. These cleaners need to have their nets cleaned regularly depending on the leaf load. These are tough cleaners to add after the fact if you aren’t pre-plumbed for one. They require a dedicated pressure return port as well as a dedicated booster pump at at the pool equipment.

Do I Need A Robotic Pool Cleaner And What Is The Best?

Automatic suction and pressure side cleaners do come with drawbacks. You have to leave the, in the pool all the time and that can get frustrating. Therefore, you may find yourself considering robotic pool cleaners. These cleaners have been evolving over the last 20 years or so and have become a great solution for many pool owners.

Our #1 Favorite Robotic Pool Cleaner: Dolphin Nautilus

Do I Need A Robotic Pool Cleaner Dolphin Nautilus beside pool and spa

One of our favorite robotic pool cleaner companies is Dolphin. They have a range of products to suit any budget. One of their most successful products is the Dolphin Nautilus. This cleaner is plugged in to an electrical outlet, and operates automatically inside the pool to scrub the floor, walls, and coves. There is actually a rotating wheel of rubber brushes that scrubs the floor as it moves around the pool. These cleaners reliably climb the walls and coves. That’s something that suction and pressure side cleaners claim they do but rarely perform well.

Our #2 Favorite Robotic Pool Cleaner: Polaris 9550 Sport

Do I Need A Robotic Pool Cleaner Reviewed With Close Up Of Polaris 9550 Sport and Remote Included

Another quality manufacturer of robotic cleaners is Polaris. They have a full family of robotic cleaners, with one of their most popular being the 9550 Sport Robotic Pool Cleaner. Polaris has long been known as a pressure side cleaner company. However, their development of robotic pool cleaners is getting more and more attention as they add options homeowners really like. For example, they have a sensor built in to let you know when the dirt canister is getting full. That way you don’t have to constantly check the cleaner as it’s doing its work.


Ultimately, the ease of adding a robotic pool cleaner makes them excellent options. For homeowners looking to keep their pool clean without any costly plumbing changes, they are the best option. The added benefit of not needing to leave the cleaner in the pool all the time makes robotic pool cleaners a step up from traditional pressure side cleaners and suction cleaners.

If you are building a new pool and aren’t quite sure what to do to keep things clean, remember you have another option, in floor cleaning systems. Even with all your options, the robotic cleaner often comes up on top for budget and simplicity. Whatever you do, a clean pool is a pool worth swimming in!