Manually cleaning a swimming pool can be a time-consuming chore, but an automatic pool cleaner will do the bulk of the work for you. There are three basic automatic pool cleaner types, each with its own set of advantages and disadvantages.

The first and most basic step is cleaning. The dirt and debris that inevitably end up in your pool not only make it uninviting, but they can clog and damage your pool’s filtration system as well. The big floating debris can be quickly and easily scooped out with a skimmer, while heavier sediment can be managed by an automated pool cleaner.

There are several types of automated cleaners — and each does the work while you sit back and enjoy your pool.

Regardless of the type of swimming pool you have, there are three basic types of automatic pool cleaners:

  •  suction side pool cleaners
  •  pressure side pool cleaners
  •  robotic / electronic pool cleaners.

Trying to decide which automatic swimming pool cleaner is right for you? With all of the cleaners and options on the market today, you may have a tough time choosing. Once you understand the different types of pool cleaners available – pressure-side, suction-side and robotic – and determine which is right for your swimming pool, we’ve taken the next step for you and have made recommendations based on research of the top brands in the industry.

Robotic Automatic Pool Cleaners


Robotic cleaners are powered by low-voltage electricity, rather than your pool pump or a booster pump. Since your pump runs less, your energy costs are reduced. Plus, their built-in filter further reduces use of your pool’s primary filtration system lowering energy costs even more, extending the life of both your pump and filter, and increasing the amount of time between filter cleanings. Robotic cleaners are also convenient, you just plug it in and place it in your pool. Some even have remote controls so you can steer the unit from a lounge chair for easy spot cleaning!

Many consumers are now selecting incredibly efficient robotic units as their cleaners of choice. These are great at cleaning small debris and sand as well as one of the only types that clean and scrub the walls and tile line. The Dolphin Supreme M3 and M4 automatic pool cleaners from Maytronics are great options for robotic cleaners. These award-winning models have features that are designed for customers and are backed by the Maytronics name which has provided 25 years of technological leadership.

Advantages of the Robotic Pool Cleaner:

  • Effective at cleaning large debris and small particles from your pool water.
  • Filters what is vacuums
  • Scrubs pool walls and tile line.
  • Circulates water around the pool. Improving water quality, especially in Salt Water Pools
  • Costs less than $0.15 to clean the pool
  • Does not require the main pump to be running
  • Convenient for you to clean
  • Optimizes pool chemicals
  • Can be operated with remote controls
  • Weekly timers
  • Cost to operate 3 hours/day *365 days/year = $28/yr.

Disadvantages of the Robotic Pool Cleaner:

  • Range of movement limited by length of electrical cord.
  • Built in dirt collection needs to be emptied
  • Cost more than other automatic pool cleaner models.
Maytronics Robot

Suction-Side Automatic Pool Cleaners


Suction side cleaners attach to one of the suction ports in your pool – the plumbing that pulls water out of the pool to be filtered. Usually, this port is the skimmer, or your pool may have a separate vacuum port especially for a pool cleaner. With the hose attached and the filter pump running, suction is created on the underside of the cleaner. The cleaner moves around the pool while vacuuming dirt and debris through the hose and sending it to the pump strainer basket and filter…where it belongs. Dirt and debris are sucked up by the cleaner and then through the hose, past the suction port, through the pipe, and is trapped in the filter pump strainer basket.

Advantages of the Suction Pool Cleaner:

  •  Very thorough at cleaning up the tiny, particulate debris that causes cloudy water, such as dirt and sand.
  •  Scrubs your swimming pool’s walls, which means you won’t have to brush them as often.
  •  Less expensive than other automatic pool cleaner types.
  •  Acts like moving drain, moving more water through the filtration system over a shorter period of time.

Disadvantages of the Suction Pool Cleaner:

  •  Sends debris straight to your pool’s filter and basket, which means you’ll spend more time cleaning and maintaining your pump.
  •  Inefficient in pools with lots of large, floating debris.
  •  Does not scrub the walls or tile line.
  •  Cost to operate 3 hours/day *365 days/year = $250/yr.

Pressure-Side Automatic Pool Cleaners


Pressure side cleaners attach to the return (pressure side) of your circulation system. This is the side of the plumbing that returns clean, filtered water to your pool. Pressure side pool cleaners use the power of the water pressure to pick up dirt and debris and collect it in an attached bag. The whip stirs up fine particulates for the main filter to filter.  An accessory pump is needed for most models, requiring the main filter pump and the accessory booster pump to both be running.

Advantages of the Pressure Pool Cleaner:

  • Doesn’t move debris into the pump basket or filter, which means they won’t have to     be cleaned as often.
  • Very thorough at cleaning up large, floating objects such as leaves, blades of grass, and dead bugs.
  • Durable and low-maintenance.

Disadvantages of the Pressure Pool Cleaner:

  • Doesn’t scrub your swimming pool’s walls or tile line
  • Not as effective at removing fine particles from the pool water.
  • Cost to operate 3 hours/day *365 days/year = $448/yr.