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The best pool vacuum robots for 2021

Summertime means summer chores. Between cutting the grass, trimming trees, and power-washing your exteriors, there’s plenty to keep us sweating in the hot daylight hours. For those lucky enough to retire to the backyard swimming pool after a hard day’s work, we salute you and wish you would invite us over for a dip. Like all things under the umbrella of homeownership, though, your swimming pool requires plenty of its own attention and upkeep.

From chemicals and visual inspections to filtration, your pool has its own list of duties that, if neglected, can lead to a dirty vat of algae-green water. That’s where a great pool vacuum robot can come in handy.

Designed for autonomous use, a pool vacuum robot is built to be turned on, submerged, and essentially forgotten. An onboard power supply and filtration system does all the dirty work, vacuuming all the dirt and detritus from the bottom of your pool. Premium pool vacs even offer features like mobile app controls for scheduling and progress monitoring, as well as wall-cleaning.

If you’re sick of skimming, here’s a list of the best pool vacuum robots you can buy right now.

Dolphin Nautilus CC Plus

The Dolphin Nautilus CC Plus in a pool.

From walls to floors, the Dolphin Nautilus CC Plus is your go-to pool vac for every cleaning job. Designed to be used for in-ground pools up to 50 feet deep, the Nautilus gets the job done by way of its powerful suction motor, dual filtration system, and twin side brushes.

Whether your pool uses gunite, tile, or another finish altogether, the Nautilus should get everything in only two hours. That’s walls, floors, and stairs. In terms of power, there’s no battery to speak of, but the 60-foot, tangle-free cord ensures your Nautilus won’t get tangled in the wiring during its cycle — you’ll just want to make sure there’s a power outlet outside.

Need to keep to a calendar? The Nautilus can be programmed to clean your pool on a weekly schedule, with options for daily, every other day, or cleanings every third day. Do note that the Dolphin Nautilus CC Plus doesn’t have a companion app, so all of your adjustments are made on the vac itself.

Polaris 9650IQ Sport

The Polaris 9650IQ outside of a pool.

The Polaris 9650IQ Sport may rock a steeper price point than the other entries on this list, but for good reason. For starters, the vac is equipped with Polaris’ all-powerful Vortex Vacuum tech. This feature keeps the dirt and debris suspended as the vac makes its passes, allowing for easier and more efficient suction.

Whether your pool is only 5 feet or 10, the Sport is rated for submergence up to 60 feet. Equipped with four-wheel drive, this means the Sport can handle any kind of pitch and surface, including vinyl, fiberglass, gunite, tile, and pebble, and the 70-foot anti-tangle cord ensures a smooth cleaning without getting tripped up in wire-tangle. Keep in mind that a power wire means no battery operation, so be sure there’s an outlet available.

Our favorite feature with the Sport has to be the iAquaLink app for iOS and Android devices. iAquaLink allows you to start/stop the vac, pilot it in a certain direction, and create weekly cleaning schedules. There’s even built-in Alexa integration for start/stop voice commands. While a first glance may elicit some sticker shock, rest assured, the Polaris 9650IQ Sport is packed with enough features to be well worth your investment.

Aiper Smart Cordless Pool Cleaner

The Aiper Smart pool vac in a pool.

If you’re looking for a pool vac but are shopping on a budget, look no further than the Aiper Smart Cordless Pool Cleaner. Equipped with a 2600mAh rechargeable lithium battery, the Aiper will last for up to 50 minutes on a single charge, making it perfect for flat-surface, above-ground pools that measure up to 538 square feet. When the vac is drained, you can expect a recharge time of about three or four hours.

In terms of cleaning tech, the Aiper uses two motors to zip the vac around your pool. The dual suction doors are designed to suck in tough debris as small as two microns, ensuring you’ll have a spotless pool when the unit is finished.

Lightweight and easy to clean, the vac also features adjustable wheel sockets that you can alter based on the type of pool bottom you have. While you won’t get wall-cleaning and advanced scheduling features, the Aiper Smart Cordless Pool Cleaner will get your entire pool clean without breaking the bank.

Hayward W3PVS40JST

Product still of the Hayward W3PVS40JST.

When it comes to tackling the biggest messes your pool can muster, the Hayward W3PVS40JST is a top contender. Available in both two- and four-wheel drive designs, the vac’s self-adjusting turbine blades are designed to deliver ultimate power to the Hayward regardless of the water flow around it.

Capable of cleaning in-ground pools that measure 20 feet by 40 feet, the heavy-duty tires are perfect for unique elevations and pool drains. Best of all, the Hayward features several internal cleaning sequences that are initiated once the left wheel reverses, allowing the vac to begin moving in another direction.

If you’re worried about battery life and power overall, you’ll be glad to know that the Hayward is actually powered by your pool’s existing pump/filtration system. A 40-foot hose connects to your skimmer’s suction port, with the other end connects to the vac. You can also choose from three different suction throats based on the type of cleaning you’ll be tackling.

If you’re not willing to employ your pool’s existing pump, or you want a companion app to get the cleaning done, the Hayward W3PVS40JST may not be the best pick for your pool, but it’s plenty powerful and built for robust and rugged performance.

Dolphin Premier

The Dolphin Premier on top of pool water.

The almighty Dolphin Premier is the king of all pool robot vacs, with a price point that matches its performance and versatility. Capable of cleaning pools up to 50 deep and sporting a 60-foot tangle-free cord (outlet required), the vac uses two 24-volt DC motors and twin scrub brushes for chipping away at every square inch of your pool.

While there’s no companion app to speak of, the onboard Smart Nav software automatically maps your pool by way of algorithmic sensors, ensuring no corner goes untouched. If you’re worried that the Premier won’t be able to handle certain messes, think again. Whether your pool needs a simple touch-up or a full-bodied cleaning, three different cartridge types allow for quick and interchangeable filtration.

While the nearly $1,800 price point would suggest you’re getting a companion app, the Dolphin Premier has no mobile interface. It’s a bit of a disappointment, but you are able to schedule weekly cleanings directly from the vac’s power/control interface.

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