Tired of staring at the mucky, green water in your pool? While keeping up with a swimming pool involves chemical treatments, along with maintenance and replacement of essential hardware like skimmers, pumps, and heaters, it's also important to vacuum your pool as often as you can. Sure, you can invest in a cheap hand skimmer to get leaves and insects off the surface of the water, but what about all the debris at the bottom? Ideally, we allocate such dirty work to a pool robot vacuum.
Designed for autonomous use, a pool robot vacuum 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 monitoring progress, as well as wall cleaning.
If you're sick of skimming, here's a list of the best pool robot vacuums you can buy right now.
Dolphin Nautilus CC Plus
The best pool vacuum overall
- Can be used for in-ground pools up to 50 feet deep
- Powerful motor
- Great filtration
- 60-foot, tangle-free cord
- On the expensive side
Why you should buy it: You need a powerful and reliable pool vacuum from a trusted name.
Who it's for: Pool owners that want a vacuum that can handle any mess thrown at it.
Why we picked the Dolphin Nautilus CC Plus:
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 pool vacuum with the best app
- Amazing Vortex Vacuum technology
- Rated for submergence up to 60 feet
- Includes 70-foot anti-tangle cord
- iAqua Link app adds remote features
Why you should buy it: You want a great pool vacuum with an excellent companion app.
Who it's for: Pool owners that need a lot of power to get their pool clean.
Why we picked the Polaris 9650IQ Sport:
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 wires. 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 Vacuum
The best budget pool vacuum
- Includes 2,600mAh rechargeable battery
- Lasts up to 50 minutes on a single charge
- Can take in debris as small as two microns
- Lightweight and easy to clean
- Lacks more advanced features
- Not ideal for in-ground pools
Why you should buy it: You've got a mid-sized, above-ground pool that requires a solid cleaning once or twice per week.
Who it's for: Pool owners that want to ditch the clutter and upkeep of a wired pool vacuum.
Why we picked the Aiper Smart Cordless Pool Cleaner:
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 Suction Pool Cleaner
The best budget pool vacuum
- Self-adjusting turbine blades
- Handles in-ground pools measuring 20 feet by 40 feet
- Powered by your pool's filtration system
- Lacks more advanced features
- Can wear down over time
Why you should buy it: You want a pool vacuum that can be integrated with your in-ground pool's existing pump and filtration system.
Who it's for: Those shopping for a pool vacuum with a smaller budget.
Why we picked the Hayward Suction Pool Cleaner:
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, while 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 Robotic Pool Cleaner
The best pool vacuum for features
- Powerful 24-volt motor and twin scrub brushes
- Smart Nav software automatically maps your pool
- Capable of cleaning pools up to 50 feet deep
- Can schedule automated cleanings
- No companion app
Why you should buy it: Money is no object - you simply want the most intelligent, autonomous pool vacuum you can buy.
Who it's for: Pool owners that want to leave all the thinking and cleaning to the pool vacuum.
Why we picked the Dolphin Premier Robotic Pool Cleaner:
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.
Frequently Asked Questions
Absolutely — if you can spare the upfront expense. A solid pool robot vacuum takes all the pain and toil out of manual pool-cleaning in the hot summer months, keeping your above- and in-ground pools spotless with relatively little maintenance involved.
No, this isn't a good idea. While technically you can leave a pool robot vacuum submerged, the powerful chemicals, minerals, and other water-based detritus will start to wear out your pool vac's vital components overtime, making for a shortened life for whatever unit you decide to purchase.
Yes, in most cases. A number of pool robot vacuums are equipped to handle algae as small as two microns, in addition to leaves, dirt, insects, and more. If algae removal is of the utmost concern though, we recommend shopping for a pool vac that touts "algae removal" as a leading cleaning feature.
Ideally, you want to run your pool robot vacuum at least twice a week during the summer months, in order to keep up with all of the dirt, debris, and other gunk that can settle on the liner and around different parts of the pool.
If you can manage to run the vacuum an additional one or two times per week, especially if you have a lot of people using it, then your pool's hygiene will be even better.
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