10 Best Robotic Pool Cleaners of 2021 Compared & Reviewed

Best Robotic Pool Cleaner
Photo: Dolphin

Robotic pool cleaners can do a much better job at cleaning your pool as compared to water-propelled pressure and suction pool cleaners.

This is because they are powered by electricity and this makes them a little bit smart, with some even having the capability to map out the entire pool for efficient cleaning.

However, there is an overwhelming amount of robotic pool cleaners in the market, and selecting a good one might be a bit tricky if you do not ​know what to look for. For this reason, this article looks at 10 of the best robotic pool cleaners that you should consider buying.

What to Check Before Buying Best Robotic Pool Cleaner?

How to Buy the Best Robotic Pool Cleaner
Photo: Dolphin

1. Pool Size

Before buying a robotic pool cleaner, the first thing that you should consider is the pool size that it can handle. Usually measured in feet, this size is mostly dependent on the power cable that the cleaner is equipped with.

With the power supply being recommended to be at least 10-12 feet from the pool’s edge, this means that with a 50-foot cable, the cleaner is suitable for a maximum 40-foot length pool size.

​With this in mind, ensure that you have your pool’s dimensions ​beforehand. Generally though, the longer the cable (such as in ​Polaris’ F9550​​​), the better. 

2. Weight

Because of the lifting and carrying into or out of storage as well as into and out of the pool, a robotic cleaner’s weight is something that you should put into consideration.

That said, lightweight cleaners like Dolphin’s Escape Robotic are generally recommended. ​However, some units like Hayward’s RC9742CUBY come with caddies for easier transportation. This is recommended if the cleaner is too heavy.

3. Cord

There are two things that you should check when it comes to the power cord. First is its length and second, whether it’s tangle-free.

As explained earlier, the length of the cable determines the pool size that the robot can clean. You should pick a cleaner that has just enough length for your pool so that it does not tangle or become messy as it cleans.

For the second property, this is a no-brainer. ​Robotic pool cleaners like Dolphin’s 99996212-US are highly recommended because of their tangle-free power cables, which cannot tie themselves up. ​

4. Filter Capacity

Different makes of robotic cleaners come with different sizes of filters. The best ​one should have a large filter (such as Dolphin’s Premier) because this will ensure that it runs for a long time uninterrupted.

With a small filter, you might have to empty it after short intervals, especially if the pool is dirty, and this can be a nuisance.

5. Clean Cycle

A clean cycle basically means the amount of time that the cleaner runs in order to clean your pool.

Some run for an hour, others for 2 or 3 while some advanced models such as Polaris’ F9550 have weekly programmable timers that let you set exactly when you want it to start or stop on a 7-day schedule.

Although the programmable option is the best, most cleaners having that feature are a bit more expensive. Therefore, the best thing is to buy according to your pool size.

If your pool has a big surface area, then it needs more time to clean and thus, a clean cycle with more hours is befitting. If it is small, then an hour might just ​be enough. 

6. Wheels

Most robotic pool cleaners are driven by motors through the wheels. Therefore, the best thing is to buy one with high-grip wheels such as Dolphin’s 99996403-PC​, which has hyper grip continuous tracks.

However, some models like Dolphin’s 99996212-US​ and Aquabot’s AJET121 are driven using pressurized water jets and in this case, the grip provided by the wheels is not such a big factor to consider. 

7. Remote Control

Having remote control over almost everything is very convenient. Be it by phone or a dedicated remote controller, being able to direct the operations and movement of a robotic pool cleaner while seated comfortably beside your pool is very convenient.

If you prefer this kind of convenience, check out Dolphin’s Oasis Z5i​ and 9996212-US​, as well as Polaris’ F9550

10 Best Robotic Pool Cleaners of 2021 Reviewed




Dolphin 99996403-PC

1. Dolphin 99996403-PC (Best Overall)

  • 60-foot anti-tangle swivel power cable
  • CleverClean advanced navigation algorithms
  • Hyper grip continuous track with dual brushes
  • 2-hour cleaning cycle
Aquabot AJET121

2. Aquabot AJET121 (Best Budget)

  • Affordable
  • Hydro-Robotic propulsion technology
  • 40-foot kink-free, EZ swivel cable
  • Powerful suction force; exceeds 80 gallons per minute
Dolphin Escape Robotic

3. Dolphin Escape Robotic (Best for Above Ground)

  • Lightweight. Easy to lift into and out of above ground pools
  • 2-hour cleaning cycle
  • Large debris cartridge bag
  • SmartNav 2.0
Polaris F9550

4. Polaris F9550 (Best Automatic Cleaner)

  • 7-day programmable timer
  • 4-wheel drive system with Aqua-Trax tires
  • ActivMotion Sensor Technology
  • Wireless remote control
Dolphin Oasis Z5i

5. Dolphin Oasis Z5i (Best Dolphin)

  • Smartphone remote-control via Bluetooth
  • CleverClean scanning technology
  • Hypergrip continuous tracks with 2 brushes
  • 2.5-hour cleaning cycle
Hayward RC9990CUB

6. Hayward RC9990CUB (Best Hayward)

  • Efficient 24-volt motor
  • 2 cleaning speeds with a 90-minute quick clean cycle
  • 55-foot power cord
  • 3-hour cleaning cycle
Dolphin Premier

7. Dolphin Premier (Large Filter Media)

  • Two micro cartridges and one oversized debris bag
  • LED indicator lights for basket emptying alerts
  • Energy-efficient commercial grade DC motors
  • 3-hour cleaning cycle
Hayward RC9742CUBY

8. Hayward RC9742CUBY (Smart Steering)

  • Smart steering technology
  • Relatively lightweight with a low-profile design
  • Top access cartridge filters
  • Includes a caddy for easy transportation
Dolphin 99996212-US

9. Dolphin 99996212-US (Smartphone Connectivity)

  • Smartphone remote-control via Bluetooth
  • Powerstream mobility
  • Hypergrip continuous tracks with 2 brushes
  • Top load filter basket with fine and ultra-fine cartridges
Smartpool NC22

10. Smartpool NC22 (Versatile)

  • Ideal for above ground pools and in-ground pools
  • Intelligent navigation with a direct-drive motor
  • 2.5-hour cleaning cycle with auto shut-off every 2 hours
  • Brush-to-port suction

1. Dolphin 99996403-PC – Best and Overall Robotic

Dolphin Nautilus CC Plus Robotic Pool Cleaner
Photo: Dolphin

  • Weight: 19 pounds
  • Cord length: 60 feet
  • Clean cycle: 2 hours
  • Cleaning modes: Floor, Walls

The Nautilus CC Plus is our overall best pool cleaner because it is both smart and practical. Being a plug-and-play in-ground pool cleaner, it has a 60-foot anti-tangle patented swivel power cable, which provides hassle-free and uninterrupted cleaning.

In terms of smartness, the unit is equipped with CleverClean advanced navigation algorithms that enable it to traverse and clean your pool in the most efficient way.

On top of this, it also has dual scrubbing brushes that scrub even the toughest dirt and debris so that it cleans thoroughly on every sweep.

These brushes assist the hyper grip Continuous Track driven cleaner in providing more grip, especially as it climbs up the walls so that it moves faster, giving your pool a deep clean in as little as 2 hours.

For practicality, Nautilus CC features fine and ultra-fine cartridge filters that are capable of trapping both small and large debris, ranging from leaves to small dirt particles.

Additionally, these filters are quite large and this means that the cleaner can run uninterrupted for quite some time.

On the downside, this product has no remote control and therefore, you have to access its control panel physically when you want to make any changes.


  • Anti-tangle patented swivel power cable for uninterrupted cleaning
  • Advanced navigation algorithms for efficient cleaning
  • Dual scrubbing brushes that also provide additional grip to the wheels
  • Fine and ultra-fine cartridges for trapping small and large debris
  • Lightweight


  • Only ideal for cleaning walls and floors

2. Aquabot AJET121 – Best in Budget

Aquabot Rover S2 40 Robotic Pool Cleaner
Photo: Aquabot

  • Weight: 22 pounds
  • Cord length: 40 feet
  • Clean cycle: 1 or 2 hours
  • Cleaning modes: Floor, Cove, Walls

If you are looking for an affordable robotic pool cleaner, then Aquabot’s Rover S2 is a good option to consider.

Although most ideal for above-ground pools, this cleaner is designed to scrub pools of all shapes and surfaces and is equipped with a 40-foot kink-free, EZ swivel cable that makes it capable of cleaning pools that are up to 40 feet.

For propulsion, this robot uses quite a unique Hydro-Robotic Technology system that pushes out water at the rear end, then utilizes the reaction force to drive the cleaner forward. This means that it is not motor-driven, and this leads to cheaper repairs and maintenance.

Other features include a powerful suction force of over 80 gallons per minute and top access filter bags that are easy to access for quick maintenance when cleaning them.


  • Affordable
  • Kink-free swivel power cable
  • Hydro-Robotic Technology propulsion system makes it cheaper to maintain
  • Powerful suction force of over 80 gallons per minute
  • Easy to maintain top access filter bags


  • Ideal for above ground pools

3. Dolphin Escape Robotic – Best For Above Ground

Dolphin Escape Robotic Above Ground Pool Cleaner
Photo: Dolphin

  • Weight: 14 pounds
  • Cord length: 40 feet
  • Clean cycle: 2 hours
  • Cleaning modes: Floor

This robotic pool cleaner is particularly ideal for above-ground pools because it is very lightweight. Weighing in at only 14 pounds, this makes it very easy to lift into and out of the pool.

Despite its light construction, the cleaner is well equipped on the inside, featuring a large, oversized debris cartridge bag that holds up to 60% more debris as compared to other filter cartridges. This means that it can run uninterrupted for quite some time.

For the actual cleaning, the Escape has a Hyperbrush Active scrubbing brush on its front side that effectively gets the hard-stuck stains and dirt out of the pool floor and into the filter.

In terms of propulsion, hyper grip continuous tracks are used and these give better traction as compared to wheels, resulting in faster coverage of the entire floor.

This fast movement-and-cleaning is made even better using its SmartNav 2.0 Robotic Scanning system, which optimizes the cleaning patterns so as to save on time and electricity consumption.


  • Lightweight
  • Large, oversized debris cartridge bag
  • Very effective Hyperbrush Active scrubbing brush
  • Hypergrip ​continuous tracks for propulsion
  • SmartNav 2.0 scanning for cleaning optimization


  • Single scrubbing brush

4. Polaris F9550 – Best With Automatic Qualities

Polaris Sport Robotic In-Ground Pool Cleaner
Photo: Polaris

  • Weight: 43.6 pounds
  • Cord length: 70 feet
  • Clean cycle: 7-day programmable timer
  • Cleaning modes: Floor, Walls, Waterline

What stands for this product is that it has a 7-day programmable feature, which means you can set it to clean your pool on a preset 7-day schedule. This makes it one of the best because it is fully automatic and will ensure you get a clean pool every day as you arrive home from work.

Although expensive, the cleaner also carries a lot of useful features that make it fast and efficient. For starters, it has a 4-wheel drive system and all the 4 wheels are fitted with Aqua-Trax tires that make it suitable for traversing through all pool surfaces, be it smooth or rough.

These wheels are driven and directed using an ActivMotion Sensor Technology, which gives unmatched navigation performance, even in large, free-form pools.

Coupled with a long 70-foot power cable, this cleaner can reach every corner and climb every wall just to ensure the pool is clean.

Other features include wireless remote control, vortex vacuum technology for picking up large debris, and a rear water propulsion system for agility when cleaning round stairs and tight corners.


  • 7-day programmable cleaning cycle
  • 4-wheel drive system with Aqua-Trax tires
  • ActivMotion Sensor Technology for navigation
  • Vortex vacuum technology for picking large debris
  • Rear water propulsion system for agility around stairs and tight corners


  • Expensive
  • Heavy

5. Dolphin Oasis Z5i – Best Clean Scanning With 3 Year Warranty

Dolphin Oasis Z5i Robotic Pool Cleaner
Photo: Dolphin

  • Weight: 30.9 pounds
  • Cord length: 60 feet
  • Clean cycle: 2.5 hours
  • Cleaning modes: Floor, Walls, Waterline

For a top-rated robotic pool cleaner, this product is the best in Dolphin’s lineup and this is due to a number of reasons. 

To begin with, the cleaner’s control panel has Bluetooth connectivity that enables it to connect to a smartphone. With this connection established you can use the “My Dolphin app” to control the cleaner remotely as well as to make any weekly schedules or set the cycle time.

For optimized cleaning, the Z5i uses CleverClean scanning technology, which enables it to map out the entire pool floor so as to traverse and clean it in the most efficient way.

Propulsion is done using hyper grip continuous tracks, which are used to do 360° pinpoint turns. This ensures that the cleaner does not miss any spot on the floor and thus, results in optimal cleaning coverage in the shortest time possible.

Other features include top load rinse and reload filters (fine and ultra-fine), an anti-tangle patented swivel cable for hassle-free cleaning, and dual scrubbing brushes for getting rid of the toughest dirt. 


  • Bluetooth connectivity for smartphone app control
  • CleverClean scanning for efficient mapping and movement
  • Hypergrip continuous tracks for grip and making 360° pinpoint turns
  • Anti-tangle patented swivel power cord
  • Dual scrubbing brushes


  • Expensive

6. Hayward RC9990CUB – Best Hayward Robotic Pool Cleaner

Hayward TigerShark Series Robotic Pool Cleaner
Photo: Hayward

  • Weight:  21.5 pounds
  • Cord length: 55 feet
  • Clean cycle: 3 hours
  • Cleaning modes: Floor, Walls, Waterline

A fast robotic pool cleaner is good but a fast and energy-efficient pool cleaner is much better. This is exactly what you get in Hayward’s TigerShark because it features a 24-volt motor that uses a lot less energy as compared to other conventional pool cleaner motors.

The unit is also equipped with 2 cleaning speeds, which are “fast” and “really fast”. All TigerShark series robots have these settings, which enable them to clean the pool floor, walls, coves, and waterline in just 3 hours.

There is even a faster option found in the Tiger Shark QC, which offers a superfast 90-minute Quick Clean (QC) cycle.

However, with this speed and efficiency, it is limited to in-ground pools of up to 20 × 40 feet in size because of the length of its power cord, which is 55 feet in length.

For filtration, a unique and easy-to-use cartridge filter system is used. This system is designed to make emptying easy, requiring you to only open up the cleaner, remove the cartridge, then rinse it with water running from a hose.


  • Efficient 24-volt motor
  • 2 cleaning speeds (fast and really fast)
  • Superfast 90-minute quick clean cycle option
  • Easy-to-maintain cartridge filter system


  • No hyper grip continuous tracks

7. Dolphin Premier – Best with Large Filter Media

Dolphin Premier Robotic In-Ground Pool Cleaner
Photo: Dolphin

  • Weight: 36.2 pounds
  • Cord length: 60 feet
  • Clean cycle: 3 hours
  • Cleaning modes: Floor, Walls, Waterline

Dolphin’s Premier is a very practical robotic cleaner because it contains large filter media, consisting of two micro cartridges and one oversized debris bag. With this setup, it can do its cleaning for a very long time uninterrupted.

Additionally, the cleaner has an advanced weekly control that has full LED indicator lights for alerting you when it’s time to empty the filled basket. This means that you don’t have to keep lifting it out of the water to check if it’s time.

On energy efficiency, the Premier is equipped with the latest evolution of commercial-grade DC motors, which reduce its energy consumption by up to 87%.

This is topped off by a microprocessor-controlled SmartNav software, which provides highly optimized scanning and navigation for faster coverage in the shortest time possible.

For propulsion, hyper grip continuous tracks provide the traction required to traverse the floor and walls of your pool and as this happens, dual scrubbing brushes give a very thorough scrub and vacuum the pool’s surface as well.


  • Large filter media consisting of two micro cartridges and one oversized debris bag
  • LED indicator lights for alerting you when the debris bag is full
  • Latest commercial grade DC motors that are very energy efficient
  • SmartNav software for navigation
  • Hypergrip continuous tracks for propulsion


  • Expensive

8. Hayward RC9742CUBY – Best with Smart Steering

Hayward SharkVac Robotic Pool Cleaner
Photo: Hayward

  • Weight: 21.5 pounds
  • Cord length: 50 feet
  • Clean cycle: 2 hours
  • Cleaning modes: Floor, Cove

This SharkVac uses smart steering technology to map the pool floor, providing an efficient cleaning pattern that the cleaner uses to sweep through the entire floor surface in as little as 2 hours.

In terms of weight, this product weighs only 21.5 pounds, making it very easy to handle when carrying it out of storage, to the pool, and vice versa. To make it even easier to handle, it comes with a caddy, but there is an option that comes without this caddy at a lower price.

On construction, the SharkVac has a low profile design, which makes it very robust and efficient in cleaning since the scrubbing brush is placed much closer to the floor.

For filtration, top access cartridge filters are used, and this design allows for quick debris removal when cleaning up the filters after they get filled up.


  • Smart steering technology for efficient and fast cleaning in as little as 2 hours
  • Relatively lightweight
  • Comes with a caddy for easy handling
  • Low profile design makes it robust and efficient in cleaning
  • Top access cartridge filters allow for quick debris removal


  • Will not scrub the waterline

9. Dolphin 99996212-US – Best Smartphone Connectivity

Dolphin Triton plus Robotic Pool Cleaner
Photo: Dolphin

  • Weight: 16.5 pounds
  • Cord length: 60 feet
  • Clean cycle: 1 or 2 hours
  • Cleaning modes: Floor, Walls, Waterline

If you fancy having a smartphone remote-controlled robotic pool cleaner, then this is the best one to consider.

Dolphin’s Triton Plus allows you to navigate it remotely, and program weekly cleaning schedules as well as cycle times all from your smartphone using MyDolphin’s app. This app utilizes Bluetooth connectivity between the two so as to give you control.

Apart from this, the cleaner also provides advanced cleaning using Powerstream, which basically involves using powerful jets to provide better friction when climbing walls and more latitude when scrubbing the waterline.

For the actual cleaning, dual scrubbing brushes are installed (one at the front and the other at the rear). This design ensures they attack all the tough dirt and debris, then scoop them up to the filter inside, leaving you with a clean 50-foot pool in just 2 hours.

Other features include a top load filter basket with fine and ultra-fine cartridges, hyper grip Continuous Tracks for propulsion, and an anti-tangling patented swivel power cord. However, the robot is not ideal for cleaning stairs.


  • Smartphone connectivity for remote control
  • Powerstream technology for better friction and more latitude when climbing walls and scrubbing the waterline respectively
  • Dual scrubbing brushes
  • Top-load filter basket with fine and ultra-fine cartridges
  • Hypergrip Continuous Tracks


  • ​Not ideal for cleaning stairs

10. Smartpool NC22 – Best and Versatile

Smartpool NC22 SmartKleen Robotic Pool Cleaner
Photo: Smartpool

  • Weight: 18 pounds
  • Cord length: 40 feet
  • Clean cycle: 2.5 hours
  • Cleaning modes: Floor

Despite its affordability, this robotic cleaner is very versatile because it can be used in above-ground pools as well as in-ground pools of up to 14×28 feet in size, with a depth of 6 feet.

While working in either of these pools, the unit uses an intelligent navigation system that does not require walls to change direction. This system is aided by a Direct-Drive motor, which gives greater traction when driving it over vinyl, concrete, fiberglass, or any other surface.

For cleaning, the product’s brush-to-port suction enables it to provide a thorough vacuuming of acorns, leaves, and other debris then transfers all these into its extra-large filter bags, which enable it to run for a long time uninterrupted.

In terms of energy conservation, the NC22 is designed to power off automatically after 2 hours of cleaning, which means that even if you leave it on, this feature will protect you from unnecessarily high power bills.  


  • Ideal for above ground pools and in-ground pools (of up to 14 × 28 x 6 feet)
  • Intelligent navigation system
  • Direct-Drive motor for better traction
  • Brush-to-port suction with extra-large filter bags
  • Shuts off automatically after 2 hours so as to conserve energy


  • Recommended for floor cleaning only


Robotic vs Suction-Side vs Pressure Side Pool Cleaner

Robotic vs. Suction-Side vs. Pressure Side Pool Cleaner
Photo: Dolphin

There are 3 main types of pool cleaners. These are:

1. Suction-Side Cleaner

Suction-side pool cleaners are the least expensive type and are powered by the main pool pump, utilizing the suction force that is created as the pump pulls in the water for circulation and filtration.

The major problem with this setup is that the cleaner puts a lot of strain on your pump and filter because it reduces the sucked volume of water to the main pump and uses the pool’s filter to get rid of dirt and debris.

2. Pressure-Side Cleaner

Pressure-side pool cleaners are the opposite of suction-side cleaners. Basically, they utilize the pressure from the pump’s return lines to propel them around and clean the pool.

However, most people usually install an additional pressure booster pump to help in running the cleaner much faster.

As compared to their suction-side counterparts, these carry their own mesh bags, which means that they do not strain the pool’s filter.

On the downside, this type of cleaner still depends on the pool’s pump or an additional booster pump in order to do the cleaning.  

3. Robotic Cleaner

Robotic cleaners are the most expensive type of pool cleaners, but they are self-operated, having filters and mesh bags, intelligent scanning technologies, and motors for propulsion. This makes them more efficient because they are smarter than the rest.

However, apart from being expensive, they also have many moving parts, which translates to higher maintenance costs in case of a breakdown.


In conclusion, robotic pool cleaners are the best type of cleaners that you can buy for your pool, but they are quite expensive. There are also a wide variety of them in the market and finding the best one might be a little bit tricky.

​That said, we highly recommend Dolphin’d 99996403-PC as the best robotic pool cleaner because of its smartness, ​practicality, and reasonable pricing.