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Choose from top models from the top brands.

The Ultimate Guide

2024 Pool Robot Guide

A Step-by-Step Guide to New Models

2024 Pool Robot Guide

Welcome to the Poolbots Robot 2024 Buying Guide! With over 50 different pool robots on the market, we understand that finding the right pool robot can be a difficult task. That's why we have created this guide to help you make an informed decision. We hope this guide will help you navigate the confusing data and cut through the clutter to what really matters.

Real World Testing
Hundreds of hours of hands-on testing and experience

We guarantee it will the best damned Buying Guide you will ever see. We break down the jargon and try to explain things on a practical level. We focus on the key features that will make a huge difference in performance and user satisfaction. For example, did you know most pool robots don't have real filters? Instead they have mesh screens that allow small dirt and debris to pass right through. Now let's get started.

Why Trust Poolbots?

Dolphin Cayman Filter
Hands-On Experience from Certified Pool Experts

Why is Poolbots the authority on Pool Robots? We are pool robot specialists. Nobody sells more pool robots. We live and breathe pool robots every day and have extensive experience in testing over 40 different robots in our laboratory equipped with five 8’x20’ tanks. From the best Dolphin pool robots to top robotic pool cleaners, we collected and compiled the most up-to-date data on the latest technology and feature sets. Within 10 minutes, you can find the perfect pool robot to keep your pool clean and well maintained. So, let's get started!

In this article, we will outline the Top 10 nuggets of knowledge that every buyer should know when selecting a robotic pool cleaner for 2024.

1 Robot Filtration

Standard vs NanoFiltration

NanoFilter™ vs Standard Filters
NanoFilter™ (left) vs Standard Filters (right)

Often overlooked, the filter is the most important part of any pool robot. Without the right filter, small particulate and algae will pass right through. The most common contaminant in pool water is green algae which passes right through the standard or fine filters. Filters work via a mechanical process called sieving. The pore size determines what size particles are stopped and what size pass through. The basic filter (often called fine filter) found on most pool robots is a large pore plastic mesh which is first generation technology. This type of filter is now common on discount pool cleaners old online and on Amazon. While fine for large particles, it allows small particles to pass through.

Dolphin Sigma's Oversized Cartridge Filters
Dolphin Sigma's Dual NanoFilters™


The Ultimate Filter Technology

NanoFilter™ capture fine dirt and debris that passes through the standard filters. It’s basically a high-efficiency HEPA filter for pools. This is the lastest second generation filter technology. Built to clean deeper than other pool filters, these filters are only included on the top models such as the Dolphin ProLine™ and Dolphin Max-Series™.

NanoFilters™ capture fine dirt and debris that passes through the standard filters

Micro Pore Innovation Onboard

The second generation type of filter is the NanoFilter™ cartridge, a high-efficiency particulate filter that effectively prevents contaminants from recirculating in the water we swim in.

This micro-pore spun-bonded polyester fabric looks much different. Under a high-powered microscope, you’ll see the individual fibers intersect, creating a tight mesh through which water flows and small particles are trapped. This webbed structure can sieve small micron particles. The deep pleats really grab hold of so much gunk that you’ll be shocked at what comes out of your pool. A pleated filter delivers a second advantage – it has a much larger surface area, capturing more waterborne particles while maintaining a relatively low resistance to waterflow.

Turbidity Has Met Its Match

Pleated robot filters deliver a higher level of filtration and are more efficient than non-pleated filters at capturing all types of microscopic waterborne particles. Both types of filters will capture leaves, large sediment, and insects but only pleated Nanofilters capture pollen, algae, bacteria, pet dander, and other microscopic debris. Once trapped, the increased pleated surface area can handle a higher volume of contaminants. Turbidity is the cloudy appearance of pool water caused by small suspended particles, leading to a very difficult or impossible to properly disinfect water. Pool water with little or no turbidity will have that crystal clear and polished look sought after by pool owners.

The Science of Clean

There’s a 3rd advantage which cannot be overlooked. Polyester has a tendency to absorb oil. That’s a good thing because you don’t want sunscreen creating an oil slick on the surface of the pool or scum lines on the tile. When oil is caught in the robot’s Nanofilter, it forms a transparent sheath over the trapped debris. This gunk is then washed off when the filter is cleaned, providing a valuable method to improve turbidity and improve the transparency of the water.

So, think of NanoFiltration as the booster to your pool’s overall water quality, removing a large amount of contaminants before it ever gets to your pool’s main filter. For these reasons, the pleated NanoFilter is the preferred filter type and is highly recommended.

Go Big with MaxBin Filters

Massively Size Debris Bins

Dolphin Escape MaxBin
Dolphin Escape's MaxBin™

The Max-Series is differentiated from all other robotic pool cleaners by MaxBin™, a second-generation update to the standard filters. The major change is found in the design and size of the filters. The twin smaller filters have been replaced by a massive top-loading debris bin.

According to the engineers that designed it, MaxBin was direct result of consumer feedback. Earlier models like the Dolphin Nautilus CC Plus relied on two smaller filters and six total parts. Those parts required disassembly of each filter to clean. It was always a pain point.

For the first time ever, there is now nothing to disassemble. This next gen design reduces the number of steps to clean the robot and speeds up cleaning by 80%. The new design makes emptying the debris less messy because the number of touch points during cleaning has been reduced from six to just one.

100% Larger Bin. 200% Easier to Clean.

Cleaning a Max-Series robot has been reduced to just seconds. In fact, you can clean the filtration bin using just one hand. Lift the top panel and a convenient handle pops up. Turn the bin upside down and debris effortlessly falls out, leaving you with an empty bin in mere seconds. No more messy, time-consuming clean-ups.

You don’t need to get your hands dirty emptying this vacuum. With the previous generation Dolphin filters, the pool owner had to open two smaller cartridges and touch six parts. Each one may require spraying off with the water hose. This can be a messy process.

Engineers added a single trap door in the Max Series top-loading robots. Simply open with an easy one handed motion and a convenient handle pops up. Grab and empty the MaxBin by dumping the contents. If there’s fine debris, a quick spray with the water hose will remove the small particulate. Found on units such as Dolphin Escape, Dolphin Cayman, and Dolphin Quantum, cleaning these robotic pool cleaners have never been easier.

Pick Your Platform

Or go Multimedia to Get the Best of Both Worlds.

Dolphin Premier MultiMedia
Dolphin Premier's MultiMedia™

Are you looking for a robotic pool cleaner with different micron levels of filtration to capture the finest particles, like algae? Or do you need to pick up leaves and acorns? You can now buy pool robots with one type of filter, two types of filters, three types and now even four types. This is important because different jobs call for different micron ratings. Smaller micron filters are great for fine debris, but not so great for picking up acorns a leaves. This is because the small micron rating will have a lower flow rate, and provide less suction power.

In the past, you typically had to choose between two types of filtration: cartridge or bag. Each of these systems were much better at serving one purpose than the other. Some user find that cartridges are a bit easier to clean than non-disposable leaf and debris bags, but are quite a bit smaller than the debris bags so you had to make a compromise. With the flexible 4-in-1 Multi-Media™ system, this is no longer the case. Plus, disposable leaf & debris bags are available (more in next section).

There only one model that offer Multi-Media, so we’ll cover it – the Dolphin Premier. No other pool cleaner offers the same level of choice as Dolphin’s flagship, the Dolphin Premier. Featuring three sets of filtration media—Fine, NanoFilter, and a Leaf Bag — You’ll be able to easily customize your pool cleaning experience for whatever the day calls for.

Need to Pick up a Bushel of Leaves?

Swap in a Reusable Leaf Bag

Dolphin Premier Leaf Bag
Dolphin Premier's Exclusive Oversized Leaf Bag

Tired of struggling with leaves and other large debris? The leaf bag is perfect for leaves, twigs, and other small debris. There are now two types of leaf bags, reusable and disposable. This innovative feature allows you to quickly and easily swap out the bag when it's time. Dolphin Premier's Multi-Media® makes it easier than ever to keep your outdoor living space clean and beautiful.

Tired of Washing the Media?

Disposable Leaf & Debris Bags

For the first time ever, you can choose disposable leaf and debris bags that can be thrown away when you’re done. Have a nasty spring clean-up job? Simply toss the disposable bag in the trash and skip the cleaning at the end. Plus, you can even subscribe to a service and have these bags delivered to your door each month. Dolphin Premier with Multi-Media™ is the only pool cleaner out there with such a selection of filtration options.

2 Why Waterline Scrubbing is Important

Clean the dirtest part of your pool - The waterline

The top pool robots have dual stabilizers that allow them to clean and traverse the waterline, horizontally. If you’ve never seen this, it’s a sight to behold. Waterline cleaning robots have the ability to clean your pool from the bottom to the upper part of the wall, including the notorious scum line. With dual stabilizers, pool robots attach to the wall and scrub even when up to 40% of the robot is above the water, eliminating bacteria, algae, and biofilm quickly and efficiently. Don't settle for budget models that only clean pool floors and partial walls. Invest in a pool robot to reach and scrub your waterline as well.

3 Robot Color Is More Important Than You Think

Pool Robot Leaving Black Scuff Marks
Black Colored Robots Leave Scuff Marks

One would think that color of pool the robot doesn’t matter much. This is true, except for one color. Black. There have been reports of black pool robots leaving scuff marks on gunite and plaster swimming pool surfaces. The plaster is abrasive and the black plastic is removed and deposited into the plaster surface. Reports indicate that the black can be difficult to remove. The solution is simple - choose any color but black.

Pool Robot Leaving Black Scuff Marks on Blue Pool

It turns out that black-colored plastic gets the color from carbon black pigment. This seems to be the issue as scuff marks have not been reported on other colors such as grey, blue or white. For this reason, we highly recommend choosing a robot that is grey, blue, white or some combination of those colors.

4 How much warranty is enough?

Dolphin Quantum Waterline
Dolphin Premier includes the longer, 3 year warranty

We understand the importance of warranties when it comes to investing in a quality pool robot. That’s why we recommend pol robots with a full three years warranty of coverage. We recognize that pool robots work hard daily in harsh chemicals and weather and that’s why we recommend longer warranties. Enjoy the peace of mind knowing that your investment is backed by a strong warranty. A three year warranty provides the ultimate coverage to ensure that your pool robot will be running smoothly for years to come. Don’t take a chance on a budget machine with a shorter warranty.

5 The Case Against Robot Batteries

Dolphin Liberty 200
Dolphin Liberty 200 Cordless Pool Robot

There is a movement at the lower end of the market to battery operated robots. In April of 2024, we just cannot recommend them. The reason is simple. First, battery technology is not there yet so they are underpowered. The flow rates of cordless robotic pool cleaners are much lower than the corded models so they just don’t deliver adequate suction power. Second, a battery operated pool robot requires the owner to fetch the robot from the pool daily and charge it. This defeats the purpose of an automatic pool cleaner and goes against basic automation principles.

Found on Maytronics' Liberty lineup such as the Dolphin Liberty 200, it is Dolphin's newest cordless pool robots. Recently launched in 2023, they provide an good solution if there is no power available near your pool. Otherwise, a corded cleaner provides a deeper and better clean every time.

Corded robotic pool cleaners are designed with larger, more powerful DC motors, giving them more power than the battery operated units. With infinite corded power, they can run as long as necessary and no need to worry about having to fish the robot out of the pool and charge it. Corded robots can automatically turn on each day, allowing you to enjoy the convenience of an automatic pool robot. The future will bring robots that are capable of running from both a battery or plug in power, but they’re not yet available.

6 What Goes Inside. Stays Inside.

Dolphin Sigma Waterline Cleaning
The Dolphin Sigma

A crucial tip when shopping for a robotic pool cleaner is its suction power. Motor size and output determines the suction power. The visible and obvious result of more power motors is flow rate. Typically displayed in gallons per hour (GPH), you'll want at a minimum flow rate of 4000 GPH. Some robot manufacturers do not publish the flow rate. If it’s a battery-operated cordless model, the flow rate is usually 50% lower than the more powerful corded models with larger motors. Robots with smaller motors are also working harder so they will typically fail earlier.

The most powerful motors are found in the Dolphin ProLine robots with Commercial Grade Motors. These motors filter over 4500 GPH and are not only built to last, but maximize both suction and filtration performance. The commercial grade pool robots found in the ProLine will clean the difficult to reach waterline – often the dirtiest part of your pool due to algae and bacteria. Combine this with NanoFiltration™ and your pool robot will intelligently capture and trap even the smallest pollutants for cleaner pool water. NanoFilters are basically HEPA style filters that effectively trap the smallest contaminants that pass through the basic “fine filters”. With NanoFiltration, what goes inside, stays inside.

7 Do You Need a Swivel

Dolphin Anti-Tangle Swivel
No More Messy Cords.

If you're looking for an automatic pool cleaner that offers maximum efficiency, you need a robotic pool cleaner with a 360 degrees anti-tangle swivel. With this technology, you can say goodbye to the dreaded knot-tying that comes with a 60-foot power cord. No more spending time trying to untangle the cord. The swivel helps ensure tension is never built up in the cord and keeps the pool cleaner roaming freely.

8 Automatic Weekly Timer

Don’t Touch it Daily

Dolphin Quantum's Weekly Timer
Dolphin Quantum's Programmable Weekly Timer

Some robots do not include weekly timers so there’s an added hassle of manually starting and stopping your pool robot for every cleaning. Most premium models will include a weekly timer. The smart timer is designed to make your life easier, especially during the busy pool season. With an automated timer, you can set a schedule that allows your robot to clean every day without the inconvenience of turning it on/off.

9 Dual Stabilizers

Stabilize the Ascent

Dolphin Dual Stabilizer
Dolphin Premier's Dual Stabilzers double as a handle

If you're in the market for a pool robot, you may be surprised to learn that some robots seem to defy the laws of physics. If your house cleaning robot suddenly climbed the wall, you would be shocked. We are glad the technology exists to make it possible for a pool robot to climb up to the top of your wall and stay there. That's thanks to the special stabilizer found on the commercial pool robots and a few consumer models. As you can see on the Dolphin Premier, this counter-balance allows the robot to remain in position while half of it is above the waterline. It's the rotating dual stabilizers that keep it in place when cleaning the upper walls and tiles. So, if you're looking for the best cleaning performance, make sure your pool robot has dual stabilizers.

10 Mind the Restocking fee

Dolphin Premier Wall Climbing
Avoid the Restocking Fee. Only Shop Platinum Dealers.

Your pool robot purchase is only as good as the company that sells it. Finding the right robotic cleaner for your pool can be a daunting task. Pool robots are one of the largest investment you’ll make for your pool. Online retailers know this, and they do not liking returning the money you’ve handed over. Many online retailers advertise easy returns but hide the fact that they charge a hefty restocking fee. One buyer wrote in to us about this exact experience, after being hit with a 20% fee, and that's why it's important to look for "No Restocking Fee" when shopping for pool cleaners. While Amazon is a popular choice for pool cleaners, it's important to read the fine print and be aware of the potential for hidden fees. About 90% of pool robots sold on Amazon have a 20% restocking fee. Don't get taken advantage of - look for "No Restocking Fee" when shopping online. This will give you confidence that you can make the purchase without worrying about hidden costs.

Which robot is best for your pool?

Dolphin Premier Lifestyle
Which robot is for you?

When looking for a pool robot, you'll want to take all of these options into consideration. We recommend starting by looking into the Dolphin Max-Series™ or Dolphin ProLine™. If you want to read our top picks, make sure to read our Best Dolphin Pool Cleaners or Best Pool Robots for 2024.

Talk to a Pool Expert

Here at Poolbots, no one knows pool robots better than our pool experts. With over 15 years of experience, let them help you find the perfect robotic pool cleaner for your pool. Whether you want to shop the best in-ground pool cleaners or top above-ground pool robots, they'll help you find the perfect cleaner that fits your pool's needs. Visit our contact page to chat, call, or email one of our pool experts.

Here at Poolbots, we will never charge a restocking fee and always offer a free 30 day trial. We know a robotic pool cleaner is the heart of your pool, choose with confidence.


Try any in your own pool for 30 days.

Every pool deserves an intelligent robot. If you don't love it, simply return the robot. Unlike the other guys, we never charge a restocking fee or any other fees - meaning no restocking fee ever.

What's Next?

Learn more about Nanofilters™, MaxBin™, and so much more to find which pool robot is right for you. Use our Pool Robot Selector to enter your pool type and find an exact match for your swimming pool's needs or read the Best Dolphin Pool Cleaner for 2024.