The 9 Best Robotic Pool Cleaners of 2022 for Your Backyard Oasis, According to Testing

Enjoy crystal clear waters with the Dolphin Nautilus CC Robotic Pool Cleaner.

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The 9 Best Robotic Pool Cleaners of 2022 for Your Backyard Oasis, According to Testing

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Whether you're splashing around with the family or enjoying poolside cocktails with friends, a backyard pool is a great way to spend time with loved ones. While keeping your pool sparkling clean and free of debris may seem like a daunting task, there are many robotic pool cleaner options available that will take care of your regular pool maintenance, so you don't have to.

"Robotic cleaners are pricier but are also the easiest pool cleaners to use," says Stewart Vernon, COO and founder of America's Swimming Pool Company (ASP). "They use software to determine how to clean your pool."

To find the best robotic pool cleaners, we put 19 of the best pool cleaners to the test. Over two weeks, our testers tried out their given styles in their pools right at home. Using a pre-determined methodology, they evaluated each model based on four categories: design, ease of use, effectiveness, and value. We also consulted Vernon for additional insight. 

Overall, the best robotic pool cleaner is the Dolphin Nautilus CC, a lightweight robotic pool cleaner that has excellent suction and traction, works well on all pool surfaces, captures debris, and cleans your pool in just two hours. 

Here are the best robotic pool cleaners. 

Best Overall: DOLPHIN Nautilus CC Automatic Robotic Pool Cleaner

4.7
pool cleaner

Amazon

Why You Should Get It: It’s lightweight and has handles that made it easy for the tester to lift it out of the water. 

Keep in Mind: It doesn’t have any Bluetooth capabilities, unlike other styles.

Overall, Dolphin Nautilus CC Automatic Robotic Pool Cleaner is the best robotic pool cleaner. It’s lightweight and has handles that made it easy for the tester to lift it out of the water. Plus, it’s designed to work with both in-ground and above-ground pools

Our tester felt that the model was user-friendly and highly effective in cleaning their pool. That’s due in part to the model’s strong suction and its ability to climb pool walls. Plus, it can traverse any pool surface type, including gunite, tile, vinyl, and fiberglass. 

One of the best parts about the model is its weekly timer, which allows the cleaner to run its two-hour cycle time at set intervals throughout the week. With the timer set, you won't have to worry about your pool being clean when you want to take a dip or when guests drop by. Just keep in mind that unlike some other styles it doesn’t have Bluetooth capabilities. 

Price at time of publish: $699

Product Details:

  • Cycle Time: Two hours
  • Cable Length: 50 feet
  • Weight: 13.8 pounds
  • Suggested Pool Type: Above-ground, in-ground
  • Pool Length: Up to 33 feet

Best Budget: Polaris 7000 Above Ground Robotic Pool Cleaner

4.6
Polaris 7000 above ground pool cleaner with control panel and 40-foot power cord

Leslie's Pools

Why You Should Get It: The model was effective, and the filter was easy to remove and clean. 

Keep in Mind: Our tester would have appreciated a clearer indication that the cleaning cycle was complete. 

The Polaris 7000 Above Ground Robotic Pool Cleaner is the best robotic pool cleaner if you’re in the market for a model that’s less expensive than other options. According to our tester, the pool cleaner was effective and had a filter that was easy to remove and clean.

Our tester appreciated that the model was compact and had a clear panel that made it easy to see the filter contents. There’s a small red light that turns off when a cleaning cycle is complete, though our tester would have preferred a clearer indicator. 

The pool cleaner was easy to assemble and use. Our tester used it in their pool after 12 days of storms in the area and noted that it was effective in cleaning up debris. If it missed an area in one cleaning cycle, it would cover it in another—according to our tester, it appeared to never miss the same spot twice. 

Price at time of publish: $549

Product Details:

  • Cycle Time: Not listed
  • Cable Length: 40 feet
  • Weight: Not listed 
  • Suggested Pool Type: Above-ground 
  • Pool Length: Up to 30 feet

Best Splurge: Dolphin Premier Robotic Pool Cleaner

4.4
Dolphin Premier

Amazon

Why You Should Get It: According to our tester, it offers a gentle yet effective cleaning. 

Keep in Mind: The instructions were not very clear, which made assembly more difficult. 

The Dolphin Premier is the best robotic pool cleaner for anyone looking to invest. According to our tester, it offers a gentle yet effective cleaning. Plus, our tester noted that it was lightweight, and the handle at the top seemed to help the robot adjust when climbing stairs. 

There are plenty of reasons to love this robot, including its easy-to-use single-button cleaning setting and technology that allows it to remember the parts of your pool that have already been cleaned. This robot also works efficiently on vertical surfaces, so it can optimally scrub even the grimiest waterlines. 

It's compatible with multiple filter cartridges and fine filter bags, so you can set this machine for cleaning functions, including algae scrubbing and leaf removal. Our tester felt that assembly was simple due to the fact that the fine mesh filter bag was already in place. However, the included instructions weren’t clear, and they had to go to the brand’s website for more information. 

When it comes to design, the Dolphin Premier features an anti-tangle, 60-foot cord that will never get twisted or interfere with your robot's work. Its long cord allows the robot to clean pools up to 50 feet in length. A three-year warranty will protect your purchase, providing peace of mind.

Price at time of publish: $1,447

Product Details:

  • Cycle Time: Three hours
  • Cable Length: 60 feet
  • Weight: 36.6 pounds
  • Suggested Pool Type: In-ground
  • Pool Length: Up to 50 feet

Best for Above Ground Pools: Dolphin Escape Robotic Above Ground Pool Cleaner

4.7
Dolphin Escape

Amazon

Why You Should Get It: The design is compact and lightweight. Plus, it even flattened the lining in our tester’s pool. 

Keep in Mind: The instructions aren’t very clear and recommend videos to watch for assembly. 

Above-ground pools are either made of steel, aluminum, or resin, so you'll need a robotic pool cleaner, like the Dolphin Escape, that is made to tackle these surfaces. According to our tester, the design is compact and lightweight. Plus, it even flattened the lining in our tester’s pool.

One thing to love about this robot is the ultra-durable dual scrubbing brushes that can scour away algae and other stubborn contaminants that can build up on the pool's floor. According to our tester, the pool cleaner was very effective, and it cleaned up all of the debris and leaves in the area–the tested pool is located near a tree, so there’s quite a bit of build-up.

The brush and tracks work seamlessly with this robot's smart navigation feature, which acts much like a GPS and helps the cleaner navigate your pool quickly. In fact, an entire clean cycle can be completed in just 1.5 hours. Just keep in mind that while the box was neatly organized and the instructions were accessible, they weren’t very clear. In fact, they recommend videos to watch for assembly, which the tester found helpful.

Price at time of publish: $999

Product Details:

  • Cycle Time: 1.5 hours
  • Cable Length: 40 feet
  • Weight: 14 pounds
  • Suggested Pool Type: Above-ground
  • Pool Length: Up to 30 feet

Best for In-Ground Pools: Dolphin Nautilus CC Plus Robotic Cleaner

4.6
Dolphin Nautilus CC Plus Robotic Pool [Vacuum] Cleaner

Courtesy of Amazon

Why You Should Get It: The cleaner features three cleaning frequency options, so it's easy to decide how often you want your pool to be cleaned.

Keep in Mind: It won't work for scrubbing your waterline.

The Dolphin Nautilus CC Plus is the best robotic pool vacuum for in-ground pools. Easy to use and ideal for in-ground pools up to 50 feet, this machine will clean your pool in just two hours. Plus, our tester noted that it was lightweight and user-friendly. 

Dual scrubbing brushes effortlessly wipe down algae and grime, while a filter picks up even the finest particles of dirt and sand. Built-in sensors can detect obstacles at the bottom of your pool and avoid them with little interruption. It's also designed to scale up pool walls and clean around stairs—just keep in mind it won't scrub your waterline. Overall, our tester felt that it was a highly effective model to consider. 

It's also worth noting the Dolphin Nautilus CC Plus has an easy-to-use, three-setting function, which allows you to schedule your robot to clean every day, every other day, or every third day. Thanks to the timer, you'll never have to worry if your pool is clean when you want to use it.

Price at time of publish: $899

Product Details:

  • Cycle Time: Two hours
  • Cable Length: 60 feet
  • Weight: 19 pounds
  • Suggested Pool Type: In-ground
  • Pool Length: Up to 50 feet

Best Smart Features: Polaris 9650IQ Sport Robotic Pool Vacuum Cleaner

Polaris

Amazon

Why You Should Get It: It’s quiet and climbs the waterline, unlike other models. 

Keep in Mind: It's 44 pounds, which is heavier than other options. 

With built-in Wi-Fi and the option to connect to its own iAquaLink app, the Polaris 9650iQ is the best pool cleaner if you prefer smart features. Whether home or away, you'll be able to control your robot right from your phone, including scheduling cleans and checking how dirty the filter is. You can also manually drive your robot around the pool and customize its cleaning pattern.

Overall, our tester found that the pool cleaner was effective at suctioning the pool walls and floor. It was able to easily climb up the waterline, unlike some other models. Plus, it runs quietly and can be programmed to different cleaning modes based on what your pool needs. 

The cleaner is 44 pounds, which is heavier than some other options out there. However, with this model, you can activate the cleaner's lift system through the app, which will tell your robot to scale the wall so you can easily lift it out of the water.

Price at time of publish: $1,490

Product Details:

  • Cycle Time: Variable programming
  • Cable Length: 70 feet
  • Weight: 44 pounds
  • Suggested Pool Type: In-ground
  • Pool Length: Not listed

Best for Small Pools: Aiper Seagull 1000 Cordless Robotic Pool Cleaner

4.6
Aiper Seagull 1000 Robotic Pool Cleaner

Amazon

Why You Should Get It: The compact, cordless design made it easy for our tester to set up and store. 

Keep in Mind: It took our tester a few tries to find the best angle setting for the cleaner to work effectively. 

The Aiper Seagull 1000 Cordless Robotic Pool Cleaner is the best pool cleaner if your pool is on the smaller side. Testers appreciated that it was simple to assemble, and the cordless style made it easy to store between cleanings. 

The model is ideal for pools that are up to 50 feet. Since it’s cordless, you won’t have to worry about any tangled cords while it navigates your pool. Our tester found that it was effective and was impressed with how much the small model cleaned. However, you’ll want to be careful when you lift it out of the water as some debris may fall back into the pool. 

It took our tester a few tries to find the best angle setting for the cleaner to work effectively. They also noted that the model spent a lot of time in the deeper end of the pool, so you should start it in the shallow end and return it there to ensure your whole pool gets cleaned. However, they recommend the compact model, which is less expensive than other options

Price at time of publish: $370

Product Details:

  • Cycle Time: 90 minutes 
  • Cable Length: Not listed
  • Weight: Not listed 
  • Suggested Pool Type: Above-ground 
  • Pool Length: Up to 50 feet 

Best for Large Pools: Aquabot X4 Robotic Pool Cleaner with Active Scrubbing Brush

Aquabot X4 Robotic Pool Cleaner with Active Scrubbing Brush

Amazon

Why You Should Get It: This robot comes equipped with four-wheel drive traction to ensure a thorough clean, even on walls.

Keep in Mind: Our tester would have appreciated a more detailed instruction manual. 

When it comes to large pools, the best robotic pool cleaner is the Aquabot X4 model. The cleaner features a long cable and cycle time that ensures it'll get the job done.

The cleaner features a 60-foot cord as well as an oversized top-loading filter cartridge that can scoop up to 190 cubic inches of leaves, twigs, dirt, and debris before needing to be cleaned. Plus, it also has four-wheel drive traction and micro brushes that ensure optimal cleaning on both floors and walls, a feature highly recommended by our tester. 

You can also choose your preferred length and frequency of cleanings. Program settings are available for one-, 1.5-, and two-hour cleaning cycles, and the convenient timer can be set to automatically run every 48, 72, or 96 hours. When it came to the cleaning cycles, however, our tester found that the instructions were not detailed and didn’t indicate the length of each cleaning program, so they weren’t sure they were using the best cycle for their pool 

No matter the shape of your pool, you'll appreciate the AutoX Pool Mapping technology, which calculates your pool's shape and the best cleaning approach for speed and efficiency. As it runs, you won't have to worry about the cord getting tangled thanks to the anti-tangle swivel feature. Be aware, though, that this pool cleaner, at 30 pounds, does weigh a bit more than others on our list.

Price at time of publish: $797

Product Details:

  • Cycle Time: One to two hours
  • Cable Length: 60 feet
  • Weight: 30 pounds
  • Suggested Pool Type: Above-ground, in-ground
  • Pool Length: Up to 60 feet

Best with Caddy: Polaris VRXIQ+Robotic Pool Cleaner with iAquaLink Control

4.6
Polaris

Leslie's Pool

Why You Should Get It: The pool cleaner has multiple cleaning modes, can be controlled with an app, and has a long floating cable.

Keep in Mind: The unit is more expensive than other options.

The Polaris VRXIQ+ Robotic Pool Cleaner with iAquaLink Control is the best pool cleaner if you prefer a unit that has multiple settings and is easy to transport. The pool cleaner comes with a steel caddy that makes it easy to move the unit from the pool to its storage spot. 

The robot cleaner features a 70-foot cable that comes in handy with each of the unit's cleaning settings: SMART cycle, quick clean, deep clean, waterline only, and custom. It can be controlled via an app, which allows you to also do targeted spot cleanings.

Once you're done using the pool cleaner, you'll appreciate the included powder-coated alloy caddy. The design, which doesn't require any tools to assemble, has a handle that'll make it easy to move the robotic pool cleaner to a storage space in your backyard, so you won't have to worry about doing any heavy lifting. 

The wheeled caddy was easy for our tester to set up as it snaps in place and doesn’t require any hardware. Plus, the caddy allows the unit to sit upright, which may end up saving you space depending on where you store it. 

Price at time of publish: $1,599

Product Details:

  • Cycle Time: Not listed
  • Cable Length: 70 feet
  • Weight: Not listed
  • Suggested Pool Type: In-ground
  • Pool Length: Up to 60 feet

The Bottom Line

We chose the Dolphin Nautilus CC Automatic Robotic Pool Cleaner as our pick for the best robotic pool cleaner because it's lightweight enough to drop in and lift out of your pool, and it's designed to clean both your pool floor and walls. We also love the weekly scheduler option that lets you set it and forget it, ensuring your pool will always remain sparkling clean. 

Our Testing Process

To find the best robotic pool cleaners, we put 19 robotic and non-robotic pool cleaners to the test. Over the course of two weeks, our testers tried out their given styles in their pools right at home. Using a pre-determined methodology, they evaluated each model based on four categories: design, ease of use, effectiveness, and value. Our testers did not know the price of each unit during testing. 

To start, each tester timed themselves setting the pool cleaner up. They followed the instructions with each pool cleaner, keeping in mind that the instructions were clear and easy to follow. 

Then, over the course of two weeks, the testers were asked to use the cleaner at least once a week. Prior to using the cleaner, they recorded the pool conditions, like what kinds of trees and plants surround the pool, as well as any weather conditions that may have contributed to the level of debris. 

In terms of design, testers evaluated if the pool cleaner had an ergonomic design and was comfortable and easy to use. A pool cleaner received a higher score if it had features like a handle or caddy. Ease of use was evaluated based on if the unit came already set up, as well as how easy it was to do any necessary assembly.

A pool cleaner’s effectiveness was scored based on how well it removed debris from each tester’s pool. The best pool cleaners received high scores if it was easy for testers to remove debris from the product, as well as clean or replace the filter. 

After evaluating each category, testers were given the price of the product they were testing. Value was then determined based on the tester’s opinion of the product, like if they felt the price was reasonable and if they would recommend it.

Other Robotic Pool Cleaners We Tested

Aiper Seagull 600 Cordless Robotic Pool Cleaner

Overall, our tester felt that the Aiper Seagull 600 Cordless Robotic Pool Cleaner is ideal for smaller pools. They appreciated that it came with a hook that can connect to the cleaner’s long handle, making it easier to take it out of the water. Assembly took them a bit of time as there weren’t very clear instructions. After the cleaner went through a cycle, our tester still noticed leaves and other debris on the bottom of the pool. 

What to Know About Robotic Pool Vacuums Before Shopping

Pool Size and Cord Length

One of the most important factors to consider when shopping for robotic pool cleaners is the size and depth of your pool. Robotic pool cleaners have varying cable lengths, so you want to make sure you choose one that's going to reach the entire span of your swimming pool, from your power source to the furthest, deepest point of the pool. Most robotic pool cleaners come with cables that range from 50 to 60 feet.

Weight

A robotic pool cleaner can be anywhere from six to 30 pounds, more or less, so it's worth noting the weight of the unit while you shop—once you factor in water and collected debris, lifting your robot out of the water could be difficult to manage. To help, consider a model with a wheeled caddy that allows you to roll your robot to and from storage as well as designs with sturdy handles. Some models even have settings that'll bring the robotic pool cleaner up the side of the pool when it's done cleaning, making it easier to take it out of the water.

Run Time

Automated robotic pool vacuums typically run between two and six hours, with some models offering a quick clean in as little as 1.5 hours depending on your pool size. Keep in mind that you should never program your robot to run continuously as it can wear out the motor and filter.

Filter Canister

When picking up debris from your pool's floor, your robot deposits that waste into a bag or cartridge. Some models use disposable filter bags, while others offer reusable filter bags or cartridges that can be cleaned with a quick spray from your garden hose. If your pool gets particularly dirty, choose a model with a larger capacity; otherwise, you'll find yourself frequently emptying the bag. More advanced models even have multiple filters for different types of debris.

Pool Type

When choosing the best robotic pool cleaner for your needs, consider the shape, slope, and material of your pool.

In-ground pools are either made of concrete, vinyl, or fiberglass, so it is important to make sure your vacuum is compatible with cleaning those surfaces," says Vernon.

For above-ground pools, you'll want to look for something compatible with your pool's material type, often aluminum or steel, as well as a model with larger, sturdier wheels that will be able to tackle a less-smooth pool floor.

You'll also want to consider the shape of your pool and the slope of its floor, making sure the pool cleaner is compatible with it.

"Choose a model that will clean your pool well and not get stuck on obstacles such as stairs, ladders, and drains," says Vernon.

Your Questions, Answered

How do robotic pool cleaners work?

These devices use advanced motors that allow them to operate seamlessly without consuming a ton of power. Much like a traditional vacuum, robotic pool cleaners suck up dirt and debris, storing it in an attached filter bag or canister that can be emptied after each use. High-quality robotic pool cleaners have exceptional mobility, allowing them to easily move around curves, stairs, and sharp corners.

Robotic pool cleaners often use software to determine how to clean your pool, using built-in sensors to detect things like the size and shape of your pool as well as areas with more debris, allowing for a more effective clean. Some models also offer additional features like the ability to schedule pool cleanings via remote control or smartphone app.

Can you swim in your pool while using the cleaner?

Pool cleaners should be handled with care, but are perfectly safe to use while swimming. However, the robot may not do as great of a job cleaning while you're in the pool with it.

"Technically, you can swim while your vacuum is at work but, I do not recommend it," says Vernon. "It's best for debris to settle at the bottom of the pool for the vacuum to suck it up."

If you are swimming, Vernon explains, the water will be churning and make it harder for your vacuum to do the same job.

How often should you clean your pool cleaner?

Though keeping your pool clean is an important step, how often you should run your robotic pool cleaner is based on a few factors.

"The answer depends on how often you use your pool, how dirty it gets from the surrounding area, and the model of vacuum that you purchase," Vernon says. " If you use your pool daily or find a lot of debris sweeping into your pool, you can run your cleaner daily."

If you do not use your pool as often, Vernon suggests running it once a week for optimal upkeep. It's also important to be mindful of your filter and ensure you're cleaning it out regularly. "For the best results, you'll want a clean filter so that it can pick up as much debris as possible within its capacity," Vernon says.

Who We Are

This article was written by Adria Greenhauff, who has been writing about food and lifestyle topics for over a decade. To come up with this list of the best robotic pool cleaners, she researched top-selling models, considering factors like size, filter capacity, and added technology. She also consulted Stewart Vernon, COO and founder of America's Swimming Pool Company (ASP).

What Is BHG Recommends?

Next to all of the products on this list, you may have noticed our BHG Recommends seal of approval. Products that earn the seal have been put through rigorous testing to make sure they're worth a spot in your home. We buy most of the products we test ourselves, but occasionally we are provided samples by companies if buying isn't an option. In these cases, we use the same testing criteria we use to test the purchased products and we let you know that we got it for free to remain as transparent as possible about our picks. 

Looking for more products that have earned our BHG Recommends seal of approval? Check out our picks for everything from picnic blankets to humidifiers. 

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