Best automatic pool cleaner

We analyzed and compared 36 different robotic, suction-side and pressure-side pool cleaners from Hayward, Polaris, Maytronics, and so on. We rated the Dolphin Nautilus CC Plus as the best automatic pool cleaner for most consumers as it is quite affordable and comes with impressive features such as auto mapping.

Our second choice is the Dolphin Oasis Z5i. It has many of the same features as our first pick and a lot of improvements and extra goodies, but is also more expensive and probably not appropriate for homeowners who want to spare a few hundred dollars.

Best automatic pool cleaners: Our 2019 picks

Our review process

Time spent reviewing
13 hours
Products considered
51
Products reviewed
5

Advantages of having an automatic pool cleaner

pool cleaning

Let’s face it. No one wants to dive into a dirty pool where you can’t see the bottom of it.

Swimming in a pool during the hot days in summer is a relaxing experience many of us can’t imagine life without. But keeping the pool clean and free from debris and other particles is a completely different story that is often an opposite of a relaxing experience a pool is meant for.

Hiring a professional pool cleaning service is one way to avoid stress, but it also costs a lot of money and a drained wallet can be another cause of stress.

Cleaning the pool by ourselves with cleaning traps, telescoping poles and other equipment is an affordable solution, but it takes time which many of us don’t really have.

Most of us want an inexpensive way to do the pool cleaning job for us and that’s where automatic pool cleaners come into play. They are much less expensive than hiring a professional cleaning service on the long run and they don’t require you to spend much precious time to get the pool clean.

Types of automatic pool cleaners

There are three types of automatic pool cleaners; suction side, pressure side and robotic.

All of them are able to clean the pool on their own once you drop them in the water, but the difference between them is whether they use your pool’s existing filtration system and pump. This is the area where robotic pool cleaners have massive advantage over the rest of them.

If you aren’t sure which one to choose, feel free to read through our entire buying guide that will help you find the right type for your swimming pool cleaner.

1. Suction side pool cleaners

Suction side cleaners are two things; the most affordable and the most popular type of automatic pool cleaners in the United States.

A typical suction side cleaner costs up to about $400. It hooks up to a dedicated suction line or skimmer and sucks the debris from the pool into the pool’s filtration system. Because it utilizes the power of existing pool pump and doesn’t have its own filtration system, it’s often quite small and affordable.

Most models on the market are designed to pick small and medium sized debris which is why suction side cleaners aren’t the best idea for pools that are exposed to a lot of large debris such as tree leaves.

The main downside of a suction pool cleaner is high long-term cost. Despite the fact that you can get one for about $400, it wears down the pool filtration system which often isn’t cheap. It also requires the power of a pool pump which means that it will increase your electricity bills.

Pros

  • The cheapest type of automatic pool cleaners
  • Often not designed for large debris
  • Easy to install
  • Easier to maintain
Cons

  • Cleaning power is dependent on the size of pool pump
  • Not as efficient when it comes to collecting large leaves and sticks
  • The most energy inefficient type of automatic pool cleaners

2. Pressure side pool cleaners

Unlike suction side, a pressure side pool cleaner uses its own filtration bag to capture debris and dirt. They are capable of picking up large and medium debris and because they have their own filtration bag, they don’t wear the pool’s filtration system.

A typical pressure side pool cleaner costs anywhere from $200 to about $1000. It’s connected to the pool jets in the pool and uses water pressure to move itself around the pool.

The downside is that it often needs an extra booster pump which makes it less appropriate for some swimming pool setups and increases expenses.

Pros

  • Doesn’t wear the pool’s filtration system
  • Easy to install
  • Easier to maintain
Cons

  • Requires pool pump to run
  • Usually more expensive than suction side pool cleaners
  • Often requires a booster pump

3. Robotic pool cleaners

Robotic pool cleaners are the most advanced and the most “easy to use” type of automatic cleaners. They have their own filtration systems which is either a filter bag or in-built cartridge to collect debris and don’t need any of the pool’s existing equipment. Most are able to pick up debris of all sizes and clean the pool steps, floor, and even the waterline.

A robotic pool cleaner has its own motor that uses much less electricity than a typical pool pump which makes it the cheapest type of automatic cleaners, at least on the long run. It has

The downside of robotic pool cleaners is higher initial cost which can go well above $1000. Cheaper models are often able to do the job just fine, but the top-end cleaners come with fancier features such as advanced mapping systems, programmable cleaning cycles, and so on.

Pros

  • Doesn’t wear the pool’s equipment
  • Energy efficient
  • Offers superior cleaning efficiency
  • Easy to install
Cons

  • High upfront cost

Top 10 reviews

With that said, you probably know which type of automatic pool cleaner is the right one for your needs and budget. Now without a further ado, here are some of the most interesting pool cleaners

Best robotic pool cleaners

Dolphin Nautilus CC Plus

nautilus cc plus

Pros
  • Easy to use
  • Dual scrubbing brushes
  • Easy to clean filters
  • 2-year warranty
Cons
  • Doesn’t scrub the waterline
Features
  • Dimensions: 16 x 10 x 16 inches
  • Pool size: up to 50 feet
  • Weight: 18 pounds

The first on our list is the Dolphin Nautilus Plus CC, a robotic cleaner that’s comes with quite a few impressive features. It has an easy-to-empty basket with four filters that can handle large or small debris, a state-of-the-art mapping system and it comes with 2 year warranty.

Despite the fact that it’s more affordable than most robotic cleaners we took into consideration, it’s advertised as the “best in its class” and we believe it’s one of the most interesting choices for pool owners who want a cleaner that’s easy to use and doesn’t cost a fortune.

Clever Clean technology

The word “CC” stands for Clever Clean. It’s a state of the art scanning system that uses in-built sensors to scan the entire pool and calculate the fastest and optimal route to clean it. The CC also recognizes obstacles at the bottom of the pool and avoids them automatically.

Water release function

The Nautilus Plus weighs just 18 lbs which means that it’s extremely lightweight compared to most robotic cleaners on the market.

Bottom line

There are better and more powerful automatic pool cleaners on the market, but the reason why we picked the Nutilus CC Plus as our favorite is because of its value for the money. It’s much more affordable than the top-end pool cleaners and if you don’t want to break the bank, we believe that the CC Plus is one of the most interesting choices.

Dolphin Oasis Z5i

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Can be connected to a phone app through Bluetooth
  • Easy to clean filters
  • 3-years warranty
Cons

  • One of the most expensive pool cleaners we have analyzed
Features
  • Dimensions: 23.2 x 19.2 x 14.1 inches
  • Pool size: up to 50 feet
  • Weight: 30.9 pounds

The Oasis Z5i is a monster among robotic pool cleaners and if the price wasn’t one of the factors we took into consideration we would easily place it on the top spot above the Nautilus CC Plus. They have many features in common including the Clever Clean technology, but the Z5i offers a lot of extra goodies and comes with additional year of warranty coverage, but it costs nearly twice as much.

Bluetooth connectivity

One of the things where Oasis Z5i completely outshines the Nautilus CC Plus is the Bluetooth connectivity module. It allows you to connect it to your smartphone or any other device that has Bluetooth. The device becomes a remote controller which you can use and navigate the robot through problematic and dirty areas around the pool, or for scheduling cleaning cycles.

Single button operation

Like most robotic pool cleaners, the Oasis Z5i is very easy to use. Plug it in, drop it into the swimming pool and come back in 2,5 hours when the cleaning cycle is over.

Cleans floor, walls, and scrubs the waterline

The Z5i is able to clean the pool floors and walls. It also scrubs the waterline which is one of the areas our top pick, the Nautilus CC Plus falls short.

FAQ

How energy efficient are automatic pool cleaners?How efficient are automatic pool cleaners?
Depends on the type of the cleaner. Suction side cleaners require a high voltage pool pump to operate which uses a lot of energy. Some pressure-side cleaners require a booster pump which also isn’t the cheapest option. Robotic pool cleaners however have their own low voltage motors that consumer for about a dollar of energy per day, depending on how your Kwh are calculated.
About the same as any manual conventional pool cleaner. They collect small and large debris and their main advantage is that you don’t have to clean the pool manually which leaves you with more free time.
Urska Pav

Urska Pav

Urska is a full-time interior designer with a bachelor's degree in dental hygiene. Coming from a family of dentists she specializes in copywriting, blogging, and interior design.
Urska Pav

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