Best Automatic Pool Cleaner

When it comes to cleaning your pool, you want an easy and hassle-free system in place. You can cut down the time spent cleaning and maintaining your backyard oasis by buying the best automatic pool cleaner available.

However, as there are literally hundreds of options to pick from, it's extremely easy to get overwhelmed by the sheer volume of choices available. The best way to approach this is to consider the important parts of how each individual device can work, and match it to the device that hits the most points. Let's break down the important points you want to look for first, and then I'll review my choices for the best automatic pool cleaner so you can make an informed decision.

AUTOMATIC POOL CLEANER BUYING GUIDE

In-Ground or Above-Ground

There are generally two types of automatic cleaners available, and whether you have an in-ground or an above-ground pool is very important. The device that you get to clean your in-ground area is usually designed to handle larger spaces and clean more than just the floor. There may be specific types depending on what sort of base you have like fibreglass, concrete, or a vinyl liner.

An above-ground system will usually only clean the floor, and are meant to be used in smaller areas. They don't climb very well, if at all, which can leave you with a lot to clean if you get the wrong type.


Suction-Based

Suction type setups get the power they need to run from your current pump and filtration system. You usually just hook them straight to the pump and let them go. The head will move around the bottom and walls picking up debris and scrubbing it. Anything that they pick up is automatically sent straight to the pump basket and filtered out.

These types of setups are usually more cost-effective and user-friendly than other types of cleaners. This is also what makes them very popular, and you can get different ones for your above-ground or in-ground system.

Pressure-Based

These setups typically come with a time clock and a booster pump so you can set when you want it to start working, and then leave it. They use water pressure to create a vacuum suction that scrubs and sucks up debris from the floor, sides, and surface of your pool. This debris will end up in the device's filtration bag or in the filtration chamber, which then have to be emptied to prevent clogging.

Low-pressure setups are generally better for in-ground pools. They don't need a booster pump to run, and you install the hose into your current pump and filtration system connector. They're powered by the water pressure that comes from your water being returned after it cycles through the pump system. A drawback is that they're running constantly until you disconnect them.

High-pressure setups use a booster pump, and it's recommended that you run them on a time clock, so they're not constantly on. You get consistent and high-quality results from using these, and they run independently from your pool's filtration and pump system. You can set the timer and forget about them. They'll run for the allotted time frame and shut off when it's over.

Robotic

A robotic system runs via electricity, and it also runs independently of your pump and filtration system. There is no installation with these, you usually remove them, plug them in, drop them in the water, and let them work. Some models come with a timer, and the dirt and debris go into a filter bag and collect until you empty them out. These are usually more expensive, but you get a lot for what you pay for.

Filter Bag or Basket Capacity

Ideally, you'd like to buy a model that came with more than one filtration option so you could customize it to suit your needs. If that's not possible, you want your device to have a filter bag or basket that can filter out particles down to at least 2 microns to leave you with a better finished product. You also want it capable of filtering out both large and small debris, and it should have a larger capacity basket or bag, so you don't have to change it as much.

Ease of Use

There are some very complicated setups out there, and you want one that you can set up and use without any hassles or complications. You can double check reviews or look for helpful YouTube videos if you have questions. You may also want to check and make sure you don't need any specific tools or requirements for your new device to run at its peak performance.

Pool under water

The top five automatic pool cleaner reviews

Baracuda G3 W03000 pool cleaner

This powerful but quiet suction device works very well with low-speed pumps, and it sucks up both small and medium-sized debris while it scrubs your pool's walls, floors, and steps. It has a FlowKeeper Valve that automatically regulates the water flow to help maintain peak performance the entire time it works, even with lower horsepower pumps. The wheel deflector allows for easy movement and tight corner maneuverability.

The device's hose is scuff-resistant to ensure that there aren't any residue or scuff marks on the surface or edges of the walls when it's finished. It comes with a large 36-fin disc that helps adherence to the surface, and this helps prevent tangling or catching on drains, fittings, lights, and other common features. You get one moving part technology combined with a durable long-life diaphragm.

Pros

  • This automatic device skims the surface to prevent getting tangled or stuck on drains
  • The wheel deflector allows it to get into tight spaces and around corners easily

Cons

  • A few customers reported the system does't cover the entire pool (source).
  • Customers notice that it gets stuck in tight corners (source).

We recommend this product for hard-sided in-ground pools or larger flat-bottomed above-ground models.


Hayward 100 Penguin pool cleaner

Choose from three different fun and colorful animal covers with a Smart Drive Steering system for efficient and fast coverage. You won't need any additional tools for this device, and it uses the pool's filtration system to help circulate the water through its filters. It works with both flat-bottomed and above ground systems, and it cleans in two hours or less.

​All you do is plug the vacuum hose into the skimmer, set it in the water, and let it go to work scrubbing the sides and walls. It sucks up large and medium-sized debris from the floor, leaving sparking and crystal-clear water. You get 30 feet of hose, a skimmer cone, penguin vacuum head with a ladder guard, and three different boy ties.

Pros

  • You can install it in minutes and let it go.
  • You get over a 20-foot range to clean everywhere

Cons

  • Some people said that the ladder guard may stop working, and this leads to the device getting stuck (source).
  • People who bought this product said that it can suck air into the pump if you don't monitor it (source).

We recommend to use it in hard-sided above-ground or in-ground pools. It's too harsh for soft-sided models.


Dolphin 99996403 Nautilus pool cleaner

Dolphin's Robotic device comes with a patented swivel cable that helps to prevent any tangling or snarling. The cartridge filter system has a spring pop-up option for an easy clean and a thorough filtration. It scrubs, vacuums, and filters the entire area in under two and a half hours.

This robotic pool system also lets you set a weekly timer so you can set it and then forget about it. It'll clean, scrub, and vacuum when the timer goes off without you doing anything extra. It has a 360-degree suction that can reduce the amount of backwash in your water by as much as 30% for a cleaner environment. It automatically scans the entire area with built-in software to ensure it doesn't miss anything.

Pros

  • It comes with built-in scanning software, so it doesn't miss anything.
  • The swivel cables are tangle-free, and the filtration system filters out fine particles.

Cons

  • Customers said that the filters have a smaller volume so it can pick up less debris between changes (source).
  • People noticed that it may not get into tight corners or spaces well (source).

We recommend this device for in-ground systems as it may be too harsh on soft-sided models or some liners.


Zodiac Baracuda Automatic Suction pool cleaner

You get a low-flow design with this option that is perfect for systems that have 2-speed or variable pumps. You get powerful cyclonic suction capabilities combined with an articulating turbine blade so it can quickly and easily climb and scrub the walls as well as the floor. The hoses swivel to prevent catching, and they feature quick-connect technology for a hassle-free assembly.

​When you purchase this kit, you get the scrubber, hoses, hose protector, and a one-year warranty to protect you against damage or failure. The built-in water flow regulator control the pace of the water flow, so you don't have to worry about adjusting anything. You can use it in above-ground and in-ground models without an issue.

Pros

  • This is a very compact and lightweight setup.
  • It's very easy to setup, and it is very user-friendly.

Cons

  • Someone had some issues with the hose (source).
  • Someone found the devide spend too much time along the sides (source).

We recommend this setup for anyone that has a smaller flat-bottomed pool. It works in both above-ground and in-ground models.


XtremepowerUS Automatic Suction Vacuum pool cleaner

You get 10 hoses that allow you to reach up to 30 feet and there are no tools or electricity required to assemble this device or run it. It attaches directly to your current filtration system, and requires at least a 1 HP pump or a 1600 GHP for it to run correctly.

​You use adjustable weights and a water flow regulator valve to ensure this system cleans like it's supposed to. You get a very lightweight design, and it has a rounded ladder guard that attaches to prevent it from getting stuck as it works. The yellow clips keep the hose afloat and out of the way, and you want to place them three feet apart.

Pros

  • This system climbs and scrubs walls and the floor.
  • The round ladder guard prevents it from getting caught on anything.

Cons

  • Someone claims that it has problems dealing with leaf/twigs (source).
  • Someone found that it gets stuck at the steps (source).

We recommend this product for anyone that has hard-sided in-ground pools because it may poke into certain liners.


Conclusions

I chose the BARACUDA G3 W03000 Advanced Suction Side Automatic Pool Cleaner as the winner of the best automatic pool cleaner roundup. It has a very quiet but powerful suction action that allows it to pick up both large and small debris. It also scrubs the walls, floors, and sides of your pool in a timely and efficient manner.

It features a scuff-resistant lining on the hose so it won't mark up the edges or the walls while it works. You get a 36-inch fin that helps it avoid getting hung up or stuck on any drains, railings, stairs, or miscellaneous objects. Finally, you get a very user-friendly design with one moving part technology and easy snap together hose for a quick and effortless design.