Which Automatic Pool Cleaner Is Right for My Pool?

Automatic pool cleaners can make pool maintenance easy, but you may be wondering, “Are they really worth it?”, “Do they really clean as well as advertised?”, “How much do they cost to maintain?” Our team at Liquidus Pool Services has put together this guide to help you decide whether or not an automatic pool cleaner makes sense for your pool

What Is an Automatic Pool Cleaner?

First off, it’s important to be clear on what an automatic pool cleaner is. Automatic pool cleaners are one of the newest advancements in pool care. In terms of use, automatic pool cleaners remove debris from the pool floor and walls and store it in a bag or compartment. Pool owners simply set the cleaner into the pool to run and periodically empty the bag of debris. The automatic pool cleaner takes care of the rest. 

In general, automatic pool cleaners help reduce pool maintenance costs and allow pool owners to take care of their pool without getting their hands dirty.There are three different types of pool cleaners that you could put to work in your pool:

  • Suction Side
  • Pressure Side
  • Robotic

What Is a Suction Side Pool Cleaner?

A suction side pool cleaner works with a dedicated suction line in your pool, or is connected directly to your pool’s skimmer. Through the suction generated by your pool pump, the cleaner is pushed through the pool, vacuuming and cleaning the pool’s surface. In the meantime, dirt and debris will be picked up by your pool’s filter.

A picture of a pool cleaner in the pool.

Pros of the Suction Side Pool Cleaner

Because it has few moving parts, a suction side pool cleaner has a low initial cost and is easy to maintain. It is particularly good at removing fine particles from the pool floor and accessing hard-to-reach areas of a pool, such as corners and around stairs.

Cons of the Suction Side Pool Cleaner

Because of its design, a suction side pool cleaner can put an additional strain on your pool’s filter by pushing larger loads of dirt and debris towards it. This can increase the pressure in your filter and require you to clean/backwash it more often. It also puts a strain on your filter pump as it must be turned on for the suction side pool cleaner to work. Finally, this type of cleaner does not do well with larger pieces of debris, such as rocks, nuts, leaves, or branches that may have fallen into your pool.

What Is a Pressure Side Pool Cleaner?

As the name implies, a pressure side pool cleaner uses some of the water flow from the pool’s return line to create a pressurized stream of water that moves the cleaner throughout the pool. This pressure also helps push all dirt and debris to the filter bag attached to the cleaner, sort of like the vacuum cleaner you use inside your home. Unlike the suction side cleaner, the pressure side pool cleaner does not use your pool’s filter to remove debris. Instead, the cleaner pushes debris up into a filtration bag that must be manually emptied whenever it fills up.

Pros of the Pressure Side Pool Cleaner

Pressure Side Pool Cleaner

Though more expensive than the suction side pool cleaner, pressure side pool cleaners also have a low initial cost. They are easy to maintain since all you need to do is dump the debris out of the bag once you have finished running it. Because of this, it is an excellent choice for pools that may be surrounded by beautiful trees and collect a lot of leaves.

Since the cleaner doesn’t push extra debris to your pool filter, it can help extend the overall  lifespan of your entire filtration system. It also has the added bonus of improving the circulation of your pool’s water while it is operating, keeping the pool water cooler.

Cons of the Pressure Side Pool Cleaner

As with the suction side pool cleaner, your filter pump still needs to be running for the cleaner to work. Additionally, most models of the pressure side pool cleaner require an extra booster pump to ensure that the pressure is strong enough to force the dirt off of the pool floor and into the bag. This can potentially increase monthly operating costs. Finally, homeowners need to remember to empty the filtration bag whenever it fills up which involves a bit more attention and maintenance.

What Is a Robotic Pool Cleaner?

Robotic pool cleaners are the highest quality automatic pool cleaner on the market. They operate using a low voltage motor that is powered by a battery. The battery is plugged into a standard GFCI outlet (an outdoor outlet). Because it runs on electricity, robotic pool cleaners do not require any pumps to be running in order to operate, nor do they need to connect to your pool’s filtration system. Instead, all debris that is picked up from the pool is stored in the filter canister inside of the cleaner. This will then need to be cleaned out every couple of uses to ensure that the robotic pool cleaner is running at its best.

Pros of a Robotic Pool Cleaner

A picture of a dissassembled automatic pool cleaner

Setting up and using a robotic pool cleaner is simple; just plug it in and let it go. Some models have smartphone compatibility, allowing you to control the robotic pool cleaner through your phone. It can also be programmed with special features, such as a timer that tells the robot when to operate, what cleaning paths to take, etc. 

In addition to ease of use and customization, robotic pool cleaners have the highest cleaning efficiency on the market thanks to their built-in-filtration system. This helps protect your pool’s equipment from additional strain as the pump and the filter do not have to be running for the robotic pool cleaner to operate. This is also an energy efficient option, as it requires less energy for it to operate than both the suction side pool cleaner and the pressure side pool cleaner.

Robotic pool cleaners have excellent functionality as they can access hard-to-reach areas, scrub the pool floor, steps, and even the waterline. Thanks to its filtration system and its ability to move high volumes of water every hour, it acts as a secondary filtration system. This further reduces the strain on your filter and could potentially save you extra costs from equipment repairs and replacements.

Cons of the Robotic Pool Cleaner

This type of cleaner does have a high upfront cost, however, it can end up paying for itself relatively quickly. Homeowners will also have to remember to empty the built-in-filter regularly. 

Need Help Deciding Which Pool Cleaner Is Best For Your Pool?

Vacuuming your pool by hand can easily turn your source of relaxation into a major headache. However, picking an automatic pool cleaner that doesn’t quite fit your needs could still leave you with a less-than-pristine pool and even more wasted time and money. 

Our team at Liquidus Pool Services can help you select the best automatic cleaner for your backyard to ensure you get maximum enjoyment out of your pool. We offer weekly maintenance services to help further protect your pool and support your automatic pool cleaner. Let us worry about keeping your pool in tip-top condition so you can make the most of your weekend. Give us a call today!