Types of Pool Cleaners: Which One Do You Need?

Let’s face it: pool cleaning is one of the most tedious and tiring chores to do. While everyone likes swimming in it, no one likes cleaning it. Pool maintenance is a lifetime responsibility of its owner. If you have all the money in the world, you can just call a professional cleaner once a week to clean it for you. If not, you better get an automatic pool cleaner for hassle-free pool maintenance.

What Is an Automatic Pool Cleaner?

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An automatic pool cleaner is a machine that can independently clean your pool. It sucks dirt and debris out of your pool, leaving it clean and safe for swimming. If you have a robot vacuum that picks up dirt on the floor, that’s precisely how a pool cleaner works, except that it’s underwater.

While a skimmer can take out debris that stays afloat, it is inutile when removing debris on the pool floor or algae on the walls. An automatic cleaner uses water jets and pressure to agitate the water to disturb dirt that has settled already. The same elements allow the device to move around the pool to cover as much space as possible quickly.

The pool cleaner uses a scrubber to scour the surface to loosen up the dirt. This dirt is being sucked by the vacuum and goes to the filter. The filter traps dirt and debris to prevent them from going back to the pool.

Some types of cleaners have filter bags attached to the machine itself. You will need to pull out the filter cartridge from time to time to clean it. You can visit tech review sites like to see the latest models of automatic pool cleaners, including Dolphin Nautilus.

Advantages of an Automatic Pool Cleaner

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If it takes you around 3-4 hours to manually clean your pool, an automatic cleaner will probably take the same time to finish cleaning. Since it’s the one doing the work, it gives you free time to do something else. Instead of spending your whole Sunday afternoon cleaning your pool, you can use that time to have quality time with your friends or family.

Less Hassle

It takes so much effort every time you clean the pool by yourself. You have to be full of energy to do all the skimming, scrubbing, and post-cleaning tasks.

Pool cleaning can be very taxing work. You may experience muscle fatigue with all the scrubbing and the back-and-forth motion. If you use a robot, muscle pain will never be an issue. All it takes is to put the machine in the pool, turn it on, and remove it once it’s done.

Low Maintenance Cost

You don’t have to worry about maintenance costs because owning a pool cleaner incur very minimal expenses. Minor fixes can be done by yourself. A product warranty can cover most of the major issues as well.

The machine doesn’t consume a lot of electricity, so you will only notice a small addition to your monthly energy consumption. Depending on what pool cleaner you are using, how often you’re using it, and the size of the pool, you will only see an additional $10-20 on your electric bill.

Great for Large Pools

It’s evident that the bigger the pool is, the harder it is to clean it. You need a heavy-duty cleaner to clean a large pool. Imagine if you have a large pool and you have to do the cleaning all by yourself. You might need to spend your entire afternoon cleaning it.

Disadvantages of an Automatic Pool Cleaner

Upfront Cost

An automatic pool cleaner is more expensive than manual tools for obvious reasons. Weigh in the pros and cons first and see if buying it is more practical than not having one. If you have a small pool and live within a budget, you can use manual tools.

Less Accurate

The machine’s performance depends on many factors. If your pool has some tight corners the cleaner may not reach them. Also, if your pool is too big the length of the power cord or hoses may prevent the device from cleaning an entire pool area.

Hard Time Cleaning Stairs and Walls

Manual cleaning is better than using a robot in cleaning walls and stairs. Many pool cleaners don’t have enough power to support the machine as it attempts to scrub these areas.

Types of Pool Cleaners

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A robotic cleaner is the most expensive yet the most powerful type among the three.  It runs automatically once programmed and dropped in the water. It is automatic, which means it can work on its own most of the time.

A robot pool cleaner doesn’t require a connection to your pool’s pump or water circulation system. It has a filtration system of its own. The machine is completely plug-and-play. Just plug the cord in a power outlet, turn it on, and you’re good to go. You can just come back to pull it out from the water once the cleaning is done.


·         Convenient to use, especially using a remote control or mobile app;

·         Prevents wear and tear of pool accessories like filter and pump;

·         Enhances pool circulation system;

·         Can cover more areas, including walls and stairs.


·         Expensive;

·         You need an extension cord if you have a large pool;

·         Empty and clean the filter basket after each session.


A suction-side pool cleaner depends solely on the suction generated by your pool’s pump to collect particles. It comes with a long hose that connects to the water intake port on the skimmer. The pressure from the pump allows the cleaner to move around the pool.

A suction-side cleaner can climb up the walls and stairs. It’s also simple to use, even for first-time pool owners. However, you have to ensure that the pump is in good working condition. You need to backwash the filter and clear out the skimmer basket after each session. Some versions have their own filter cartridge, but many rely on the pool’s filter to suck dirt and debris.

Because the pump is the sole source of energy for these cleaners, your electric cost will be higher than other cleaners. It also puts a strain on your pool’s filter. On the bright side, it’s one of the most affordable cleaners available on the market.


·         Less expensive;

·         Less maintenance cost;

·         Can climb walls and stair efficiently;


·         You might need a leaf canister to prevent debris from entering the pipework.

·         Energy inefficient since it uses the pool’s pump system.

Pressure-Side Cleaner

A pressure-side cleaner works with your pool’s pump as well, but it uses the water on the pressure side of the pump. The pressurized water is forced into the pool from the pump. Hence, the name pressure-side cleaner.

The cleaner’s wheels are powered by pressurized water, which provides a suction that picks up dirt and debris. Like the robotic cleaner, a pressure-side also has its own filter bags, decreasing the wear and tear on your swimming pool’s filter. The filter bag must be cleaned after each usage.

The electric consumption is the same as the suction-side cleaner powered by your swimming pool’s pump. Pressure-side cleaners are priced in the middle of suction-side cleaners and robotic cleaners.


·         Completes the cleaning faster;

·         Easy maintenance since it only has a few parts;

·         Works great on larger pools.


·         Need the pool’s pump to work;

·         May require a booster pump.

Which Pool Cleaner Do You Need?

When choosing between the three types of pool cleaners, the most essential factor to consider is your current pool equipment arrangement. A suction-side pool cleaning may be the most cost-effective option if you have a powerful pump. A pressure-side pool cleaner is your best bet if you want the cleaning tasks to be done faster. A robotic type is the best choice if you want the most convenient model without adding anything to your pool.

Written by Eric

37-year-old who enjoys ferret racing, binge-watching boxed sets and praying. He is exciting and entertaining, but can also be very boring and a bit grumpy.