July 21, 2023
min read
Maintenance & Care

Types of robotic pool cleaners

Are you tired of manually cleaning your pool every week? An automatic pool cleaner may be the solution you're looking for. These devices use suction or pressure to remove dirt, debris, and leaves from your pool's floor and walls. But before you invest, it's essential to understand the pros and cons of owning an automatic pool cleaner.

Tony Loxton
Automated robotic pool cleaner

If you're considering investing in an automatic pool cleaner, you may be overwhelmed by the variety of options available. From suction-side cleaners to robotic cleaners, there are several different types of automatic pool cleaners on the market. Understanding the pros and cons of each type can help you choose the best one for your pool.

Suction-side cleaners

Suction-side cleaners are the most basic auto pool cleaners you can purchase today. They use the suction from your pool's skimmer or dedicated vacuum line to move around the pool and clean its surface. These relatively simple and inexpensive cleaners make them popular among pool owners.

Benefits of suction cleaners

  • Thorough Cleaning: Suction pool cleaners can easily reach the floor of your pool to provide a deep and thorough clean.
  • Inexpensive: Most suction cleaners are much more affordable than pressure side or robotic models, plus there are additional savings as they don't require any other power usage.
  • Simple to Maintain: As no additional energy is needed, you don't have to worry about the extra costs associated with using these cleaners - all you have to do is remember to take them out now and again for cleaning!
  • Easy Fixes: If your suction cleaner needs fixing, repairs are relatively inexpensive, and parts typically aren't too hard to come by.

Drawbacks of suction cleaners

  • Reduced suction: As suction cleaners run off the main circulation pump, the suction from your skimmers and main drain is adversely affected - both are needed to keep your pool water clear.
  • Dedicated line needed: Without a dedicated line for your cleaner, you'll have to plug it into a skimmer or main drain line. However, this can reduce your pool's circulation and put additional strain on those lines.
  • High suction requirements: These cleaners need a large amount of suction to work correctly, so often, customers will need to reduce the output from the skimmers and main drain by up to 75%.
  • Leaf canister essential: To prevent clogged lines, you should invest in a leaf canister - this will usually be an extra cost as they are typically sold separately.

Pressure-side cleaners

Pressure-side cleaners use the pressure from your pool's pump and filter system to move around the pool and clean its surface. Unlike suction-side cleaners, pressure-side cleaners require a booster pump to function. Despite the added expense of a booster pump, pressure-side cleaners tend to be more effective and efficient than suction-side cleaners.

Benefits of pressure-side cleaners

  • Cost-effective: Pressure-side pool cleaners offer great value for money due to their lower cost. Plus, the parts required to run them are often less expensive and more widely available than other models. Some manufacturers even provide rebates and extended warranties!
  • Lower maintenance costs: While any pool cleaner needs regular maintenance, pressure-side cleaners are typically less expensive in this respect - just make sure you get routine repairs and keep up with the care of your equipment.
  • Readily available parts: The components that make up a pressure side cleaner is easy to come by, so if you ever need to carry out repairs, it doesn't have to be too tricky.

Drawbacks of pressure-side cleaners

  • Increased energy usage: You may need a separate booster pump to run your pressure side cleaner, which could lead to higher electricity bills. Setting up a time clock or using an automation system also adds additional complexity that can increase the chances of something going wrong.
  • More wear and tear: With more ""wear items"" than other types of cleaners, such as tail scrubs, wear rings and tires that all need replacing periodically, pressure-side cleaners have more maintenance needs.
  • Requires more water flow: Pressure side cleaners use a large amount of water for operation, taking away from the pool filtration and return systems which in turn can reduce water clarity.
  • Chemical exposure: Leaving the cleaner in the pool 24/7 significantly increases its exposure to chemicals like chlorine, which can break down parts of the cleaner over time.
  • Limited cleaning capabilities: Since they only work via suction, these cleaners cannot reach everywhere or pressure clean surfaces - meaning your entire pool area may not be entirely cleaned.

Robotic cleaners

Robotic cleaners are the most advanced type of automatic pool cleaners. They are powered by their motor and do not require a booster pump or connection to your pool's skimmer or vacuum line. Robotic cleaners are also equipped with advanced filtration systems to clean your pool's water as the cleaner moves around. While the initial cost of a robotic cleaner is typically higher than other automatic pool cleaners, many pool owners find that the improved cleaning performance and reduced maintenance make it worth the investment.

Advantages of robotic pool cleaners

  • Ease of use: Robotic pool cleaners are effortless to operate and require minimal effort when it comes to maintenance.
  • Energy efficient: Robotic cleaners run off their motors and pumps, making them more efficient than traditional pool cleaners that use the pool's filtration system.
  • Thorough cleaning: These advanced machines can clean up every inch of a swimming pool - including walls, floors and steps.
  • Quiet operation: Most robotic pool cleaners are designed to be pretty silent when in operation, making them great for anyone who wants to clean without disrupting their poolside tranquility!
  • Cost-effective: In the long term, these efficient machines can save you money on your energy bills and provide a lower maintenance burden.

Disadvantages of robotic pool cleaners

  • Pricey: Investing in a robotic pool cleaner may not be an option for those who can't afford the higher initial cost.
  • Compatibility: Before making a purchase, it's essential to make sure that the robotic cleaner is compatible with the type and size of the pool.
  • Electricity requirement: These cleaners need to be plugged into an electrical outlet to work, which means they may not be suitable for all outdoor settings.
  • Large pools not suitable: While some advanced models can handle large bodies of water, most are designed for smaller pools, so check before you buy!
  • Getting stuck: Due to autonomous designs, robotic cleaners can sometimes run into obstacles or dead ends while cleaning, which requires manual intervention to get them moving again.

How to choose the right automatic pool cleaners?

Choosing the right automatic pool cleaner can be a daunting task. The choices available today vary in features and capabilities, from robotic cleaners to suction cleaners. Here are some important considerations to keep in mind when choosing the best automatic pool cleaner for your needs:

  • Size of pool: Determine the size of your pool before making any purchasing decision. This will help narrow down which type of pool cleaner suits you.
  • Type of cleaner: Decide between robotic and suction-type cleaners as they have different cleaning techniques and effectiveness levels depending on the surface material (vinyl, concrete, etc.)
  • Capacity: Make sure that your cleaner has enough capacity to clean your entire pool in an efficient amount of time. A larger model may require more powerful engines or higher speeds for faster results.
  • Price point: Consider what features you want in an automatic pool cleaner and compare prices between models to find one within your budget range.
  • Warranty & repairs: Investigate warranty information before buying so that you know who to contact if repairs are needed. Also, look into service plans offered by the manufacturer to ensure quality upkeep over time if required.

Once you've considered these factors and have narrowed down your choices, read reviews from other people who have purchased these products so that you can make an informed decision about which automatic pool cleaner is right for you!


When selecting an automated pool cleaning solution, there is no one-size-fits-all answer. Depending on the size of your pool, preferred type of cleaner, budget, and other needs or preferences, you must research to find the perfect match for you.

From suction cleaners that are easy to maintain to robotic cleaners with the latest technology available on the market today, any problem can be solved with little effort.

Now that you know more about the different types of automatic pool cleaners and their pros and cons, you have enough knowledge to make an informed decision!

Tony Loxton
Founder & CEO of Poolz
Tony, a seasoned expert in sales, marketing, and technology, has propelled iconic brands like Mercedes Benz and Chanel. His mission with Poolz is to simplify the process of designing, building and owning a swimming pool by offering a platform that paves the way for smoother interactions between homeowners and pool industry professionals.
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