Best Pool Cleaners of 2021

Robotic pool cleaners make short work out of what was once a much-dreaded task. No one wants a filthy pool, but pools in clean themselves. You must be proactive about pool maintenance. Pool robots can shorten your cleaning time so you can take advantage of a cool dip any time you want during those hot summer days.

Being proactive about pool cleaning does do mean you have to work harder. You just need to work smarter. This is where an automatic pool cleaner can save the day. But they’re not all created equally. Suction cleaners and pressure-side cleaners are okay, but they make your pool pump work harder. Therefore, we’ll show you how to find the best robotic pool cleaner in this handy guide.

A Comparison of Our Favorite Products

Image Product Details
Best Overall
Winner
Anker Soundcore Flare Polaris Vac-Sweep 280
  • Pressure side pool cleaner
  • Works in all in-ground pools
  • Compatible with model Polaris 480 and 280 cleaner
  • Second place
    Anker Soundcore Flare Dolphin Escape Robotic Above Ground Cleaner
  • Delivers unmatched performance
  • No messy bags
  • Hypergrip Continuous Tracks
  • SmartNav 2.0 Robotic Scanning
  • Best Value
    Third place
    Anker Soundcore Flare Dolphin Premier Robotic Pool Cleaner
  • Easy to use, single button plug
  • CleverClean delivers a smart and efficient clean
  • Powerful, dual scrubbing brushes
  • Multiple filter options
  • Anker Soundcore Flare Pentair Model GW7900 Automatic Pool Cleaner
  • Automatic pool cleaner
  • Exclusive smarttrac programmed steering system
  • Cleans faster than random-style cleaners
  • Anker Soundcore Flare DOLPHIN Sigma Robotic Pool Cleaner with Bluetooth
  • Hassle-free clean
  • Powerful, dual scrubbing brushes
  • Smart Navigation
  • No messy bags to clean
  • Anker Soundcore Flare Zodiac MX6 In-Ground Suction Side Cleaner
  • Innovative low-flow design
  • Cyclonic suction for powerful vacuuming
  • Swiveling hoses
  • Includes automatic Weir Valve
  • Buying Guides

    What to look for in a pool cleaning machine?

    Manual versus robot
    Manual cleaners are much cheaper but require more heavy work. They are more suitable for terrestrial pools and small indoor pools. If you have a larger or short pool of time, the robot pool cleaner is a much more efficient way to get that crystal clear water.

    Type
    There are two main types of automatic pool cleaning machines: pressure side and suction side. Pressure cleaners use pressure water to move along the bottom and wall of a swimming pool and collect dirt and debris from bags. These cleaners are ideal for leaves, twigs and larger debris. The suction side cleaner connects to your pool’s filtration system and is better for dirt, sand and smaller debris.

    Filter
    The suction side pool cleaner depends on a built-in filtration system for normal operation, while the pressure and robot pool cleaner can operate automatically. The pressure side cleaner uses a bag to collect debris and the robot pool cleaner uses a filter that needs to be changed periodically.

    The best pool cleaners for you

    1. Polaris Vac-Sweep 280

    The Polaris Vac-Sweep 280 pressure pool cleaner works in all underground swimming pools and requires a booster pump. It is powered by dual nozzles, providing greater vacuum strength and faster cleaning (3 hours or less).

    When it comes to quick, efficient cleaning, the Polaris Vac-Sweep 280 pressure side cleaner covers almost every pool owner’s need. With a 31-foot hose set, an external filter bag for large debris and the ability to quickly and efficiently clean, the Vac-Sweep 280 will make your pool sparkle in no time.

    Polaris promises that the Vac-Sweep 280 will clean your pool in three hours or less. And that’s whatever the size or shape – any indoor pool is compatible.

    Pros
    • Filter bag helps preserve the life of your filtration system
    • Cleans a pool in three hours or less
    Cons
    • Can get caught up on stairs

    2. Dolphin Escape Robotic Above Ground Cleaner

    Ignore any stereotypes you might have about robot pool and throw them away. The all-new Escape is here with groundbreaking technology to ensure that your pool is cleaned to new heights.

    For those owners of a terrestrial pool, the Dolphin Escape can cover all your cleaning needs. No need to worry about stairs, Dolphin Escape runs along the bottom of your pool, scouring all the time. It won’t climb walls, but its scrub brush will effectively remove algae and other buildup on the bottom of your pool.

    The rubber grooves grip the bottom of the pool and the top load filter can hold debris of any size. When the filter is full, open the top-down filter to empty it.

    Smart scanning software helps your vacuum to navigate the pool floor and clean it efficiently. It can even sense walls, ladders and drains to avoid obstacles.

    Pros
    • Works in both above- and in-ground pools
    • Dual motors for efficiency
    • Scanning software to keep it moving around obstacles
    Cons
    • Doesn’t climb walls/clean stairs
    • Ultrafine filter not included

    3. Dolphin Premier Robotic Pool Cleaner

    Engineers at Maytronics created the world’s first swimming pool cleaning robot with on-board low-voltage motors. And with an entire system using only 180 watts, you’ll save TONS of money on your electricity bill.

    The manufacturer has equipped the robot with special overhead ballasts and hypergrip double rails to help carry out its mission. These game-changing improvements have dramatically improved Premier’s ability to climb up a team’s composition.

    Premier’s powerful scrub brushes strike stubborn slime against pool walls. Then, like Arnold Schwarzenegger underwater, the robot kills this unhealthy enemy for you.

    Pros
    • Its wall climbing ability beats that of other models
    • Programmed navigation
    • Quick-connect hoses and flow regulator
    Cons
    • Works with a range of pump outputs and speeds

    4. Pentair Model GW7900 Automatic Pool Cleaner

    Pool cleaner Pentair model GW7900 got a price score; depending on where you get it. It is designed for aboveground swimming pools. It follows a specific pattern, so it avoids the accidental stains of some other pool cleaner. It works in concrete, vinyl, gunite and fiberglass pools.

    At 13 square inches, it can fit into obstacles like modern safety drains. It receives medium-sized debris, gets into trouble with large oak leaves and dirt, though it picks up small leaves, twigs and dead bugs without problems.

    The rocks in the pool make it confused. Suction capacity is dependent on the filter, so it is necessary to regularly clean the filter to keep the filter able to suck anything. However, it is one of the few pool cleaners that do a good job at cleaning and collecting algae.

    One benefit of the Pentair design is that it does not require periodic wheel changes. In fact, this pool cleaner requires very little maintenance except for regular filter cleaning.

    Pros
    • Powerful and durable
    • Good longevity
    • Reaches corners well
    Cons
    • Weights don’t always stay in position

    5. DOLPHIN Sigma Robotic Pool Cleaner with Bluetooth

    Sigma’s advanced navigation and scanning software always ensures that your swimming pool is completely cleaned. It has larger filters than you would normally see on a pool cleaning robot. This means more water flows through them, capturing more pollutants in a shorter time.

    And on the energy front, it’s incredibly efficient, powered by 90% less electricity than previous pool cleaners. Over time, this will save you a lot of cash.

    Its gyroscope-activated navigation system lets the robot know, with precision, where it needs to go next. This ensures that every square inch of your pool is scrubbed clean. With the extraordinary control this gyroscope gives your mechanical assistant, he won’t be swayed or flipped over when trying to widen a wall.

    Pros
    • Can suck up large debris
    • Good instructions
    • Works fast
    Cons
    • Might turn on its side

    6. Zodiac MX6 In-Ground Suction Side Cleaner

    The Zodiac MX6 is a compact yet powerful, super efficient poolside vacuum cleaner that features the best in class vacuuming and programmed navigation for a completely clean pool without any hassle

    If your little pool is often cluttered, the Zodiac MX6 spot cleaner might be just right for the bill. The low flow function means you can use it with either a dual-speed or variable-speed pump, and it can climb wall easily.

    It doesn’t have to run along and clean the stairs, but for many smaller pools you won’t need that function. Plus, the low flow design means you can use the vacuum with a lower capacity pool pump and it will still clean efficiently.

    Pros
    • Can climb walls with the suction setting high enough
    • Works with a range of pump outputs and speeds
    • Trapdoor lid makes it easy to remove larger debris
    Cons
    • Not ideal for stairs/seats

    Final Thoughts

    Having the best pool cleaner can make sure your pool is free of dirt and debris that could damage your water condition. Just like some chlorine disinfection equipment for saltwater pools and other pool maintenance products and equipment, many of them can be set up to do the cleaning without your supervision. It saves you a lot of time over the years! If you have any thoughts on the pool cleaning products that we have chosen to rate, please let us know in the comments.

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