Every year the crew at Poolbots test a new batch of robotic pool cleaners. After 40 hours of research and conversations with pool technicians and service centers, we identified twelve robots that stand high above the competition for quality reliability, and feature sets. Here are the best robotic pool cleaners from our tests.
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This year we captured a ton of debris and emptied dozens of robotic pool cleaners and found that not every robot measures up to our leaf, debris, and algae tests. We took the robotic pool cleaners in our line-up for real-world tests in a pool with various types of leaves, debris and even acorns. As we dropped each cleaner in, we evaluated the ability to pick up varying types of debris, the ease of cleaning the filters, and the ability of the cord to remain tangle-free for multiple cycles. We found that the best robotic pool cleaners made pool cleaning really easy.
Pool cleaners all perform the same function but their effectiveness depends on many factors, such as how well they pick up debris and the width of their vacuum path. We found that robots with wider vacuum paths and larger inlets took less time to do the job.
If you have a big pool that is 40 – 60 feet long, the length of the cable is important. Otherwise it's just more extra cable to deal with on the deck. The filter capacity is very important, especially if you neglect to clean the pool for a while. You don't want to have to stop what you're doing every five minutes to empty a bag full of debris. We found that some cleaners like the Premier have a large oversized bag that holds significant more debris than cartridges. Some of the older cleaners on the market have small cartridges and must be emptied much more often.
Each robot is unique, and while they may looks similar, there are differences that can make it much easier to use. The weight of the robot makes an impact on the overall ease of cleaning. Pulling a robot out of water may be easy for some, but challenging for others. If you are not as burly as neighbor then maybe look for a lightweight cleaner. The lightweight construction of some of the new models make removing from the pool a breeze.
If you can swing a few extra dollars, get the anti-tangle swivel. You'll thank us later. Twisted and tangled cables used to come with the territory of owning a pool cleaner. Luckily, 5 out of the 12 robotic pool cleaners on our list this year have a genuine 360 degree anti-tangle swivel. It's one of the greatest engineering achievements ever. Without a swivel, you'll spend way too much time detangling the power cord. When the power cord becomes a tangled mess, performance and efficiency both go downhill. But be careful. Some manufacturers advertise their cleaner has a swivel, but it's just a piece of plastic that spins on the outside of the cable. It doesn't actually allow the cord to spin freely while the cleaner is running. Look for a real swivel, typically called an anti-tangle swivel.
There are two types of propulsion that move robotic cleaners through the water: 2 wheel drive, 4 wheel drive and tracks. The best design for ultimate traction is the track. The contact surface of a track is much greater than even four wheels. The result is greater traction and improved efficiency. When a cleaner's wheel is spinning in place, efficiency is going to suffer.
Robotic pool cleaner repairs can be expensive. Just take a look at the cost of replacement motors. Ideally, you'll want a cleaner with at least a two year warranty. All of our top pick models now have three year warranties which is the longest warranty period available today. The cost of warranty repairs can be a shock for pool owners as some replacement motors cost almost as much as a new cleaner. We've done the homework and looked up the cost of motors. Each cleaner on our 2018 review list has a replacement motor cost that's under $300.
The best robotic pool cleaners can make short work of the all-important task of giving your pool a highly maintained look you can be proud of. There are over 150 robotic cleaners on the market today. Each varies greatly in capabilities and design. The top 3 robotic pool cleaners for 2018 are...