How to Find the Perfect Robotic Cleaner—In Minutes

Let me guess—you’re tired of reserving Saturday mornings for the straining chore of vacuuming your pool. Sports games, brunch with friends, and day trips have all been put on hold for the very pool that is supposed to bring you closer with other people, and be relaxing to enjoy. Maybe you once thought that manually vacuuming your pool was meditative, or that it was a way of getting exercise. But now you’re just tired—and you know that swimming itself gives you a full-body workout, without any of the strain or potential for injuries as vacuuming. Plus, your energy bills these days are the stuff of nightmares. You’re ready to reclaim your time, your body, and your wallet.

Don’t worry, there’s a surefire solution here: get the perfect robotic cleaner. I’ll explain why you need to vacuum, why manual vacuums should be a thing of the past, why robotic cleaners are the obvious answer to pool cleaning, what to look for in a robotic cleaner, and finally, how to choose and install the perfect robotic cleaner for you. We’re about to clean up your life real quick, so let’s go. 

Suck It Up—You Need a Manual Vacuum or Robotic Cleaner

Maybe you’re here because your manual vacuum has gone kaput—and worse than just needing a fixed hose. Maybe you’re tired of the bodily strain required to push that heavy vacuum through your pool every week, or even sustained an injury last time (trust me, you’re not the first). You might have even bought an expensive robotic cleaner that went wrong, and you’re ready to not make that mistake again. No matter why you’re here, it’s important to remember that there’s no way to simply skip vacuuming entirely, whether it’s you doing the work or a genius machine.

In order to understand why a manual vacuum or robotic cleaner is so essential to your greater circulation, let’s follow the path of a leaf. First, it falls onto the surface of the pool. If you catch it in time, it’s skimmed off the surface with a net on a telescopic pole. But like many other leaves, it’s simply impossible to catch this one in time—and that’s not even counting all the debris that sinks down into your pool immediately upon contact. So this leaf sinks, and clings to the wall of your pool. Eventually, if your pool is well maintained, it gets scrubbed off the wall and falls to the pool floor, where it is then vacuumed away.

But if you don’t both scrub and vacuum your pool, that leaf is going to stay where it is. You might be thinking, “Hey, that’s no big deal. It’s just a leaf.” First of all, it’s never just one. Debris will continue to exponentially accumulate in your pool. And the reason that’s a major issue (other than junk being annoying and painful for swimmers to step on) is that your sanitizer doesn’t know how to prioritize. In other words, it will exhaust itself on a leaf, or twigs, or whatever other pieces of debris have taken up residence in your pool—debris that might seem small to us, but is equivalent to the size of Godzilla in the eyes of your sanitizer.

Sanitizer is used to dealing with microscopic bacteria that is invisible to the naked eye. If it tries to neutralize solid debris we can see, it will fail. But that won’t stop it from trying. Unfortunately, sanitizer will quickly lose its energy to keep swimmers safe from potentially harmful bacteria. And your pool water? There’s no chance your sanitizer will be able to keep that clear, either.

Skip that weekly vacuum or powering up a robotic cleaner, and you’ll have a pea-green pool on your hands. And you’d better bet that clean-up is going to cost you more time, effort, and money than just getting a robotic cleaner in the first place.

In order for sanitizer to work at its optimal levels, circulation is key. You’ll need a reliable, powerful, and energy-saving pump like the 2 HP Energy Star Black and Decker Variable Speed Inground Pump to make sure all your water is treated. Plus, it comes with a 5-year warranty, is eligible for rebates, and pays itself off in under a year. According to customer Dave Schmidt, “my pool has never looked cleaner!”  

The Manual Vacuum Option. No, Thanks 

Hey, manual vacuums definitely had their place in the early days of pools—you know, when there was no better way. But thankfully for the backs of pool owners everywhere, their time is over.

Manual pool vacuums do the same job as robotic cleaners: suction up the dirt and debris that has landed on the bottom of your pool. But with a manual vacuum, you’re doing the hard work yourself. Because of the resistance of the thousands of gallons of water that make up your pool, vacuuming by hand takes a lot of strength and time. And the slower you go, the better—a rushed manual vacuum job involves kicking up particles, decreasing the visibility of your water, and waiting hours for everything to sink to your pool floor so that you can vacuum again. If you are going to use a manual vacuum, I can’t think of a worse outcome.

Any time you manually vacuum, the install and uninstall is an ordeal. It’s the cheapest option, but that’s for initial cost—not time. In order to install a vacuum, you have to set it up, plug it into the pool skimmer, make sure you create enough suction, and then get the vacuum ready to work. That’s not even including the strain of actually doing the vacuuming. Yikes. You know what? Let’s not even talk about this outdated piece of equipment anymore. There’s a better way.

Why Robotic Cleaners are the Way to Go 

When it comes to pool maintenance, it’s all about finding the best shortcuts, not cutting corners. What’s the difference? Well, cutting corners when cleaning your pool might involve skipping that weekly vacuum—which, as we’ve already established, is a terrible idea that will cost you more time and money down the line than if you just vacuumed your pool. Finding the best shortcut when cleaning your pool would mean getting the right gear to make your life easier.

There aren’t too many shortcuts in pool maintenance—you’ll always have to brush your pool yourself, for instance, though the right kind of brush will make it dramatically easier. But one of the best shortcuts you’ll ever take? Getting a robotic cleaner, and never having to vacuum again—that is, unless you get a major algae infestation. But that’s it, forever.

So how does this golden maintenance shortcut work? Usually designed with an energy-efficient electric motor, these mean machines navigate and suction small and moderately-sized debris in your pool all on their own. The best part? If you get the right one, if won’t need to be hooked into your pool’s filtration system, or require a booster pump. That means that it puts less of a strain on your pool equipment, and is ridiculously easy to install—sometimes all you have to do is plug it into the correct outlet and drop it into your pool.

I mean, don’t get me wrong. We’re not about to start driving flying cars anytime soon. This isn’t the Jetsons. But the right robotic cleaner can remind you that when it comes to pool technology, we’ve come a long way.

Another shortcut for enhancing pool comfort, with energy-efficiency built in? The Energy-Saving ComforTemp Pool Heat Pump 95,000 BTU to heat 18,000 Gallons works fast to extend your swim season. According to customer Steve, “Simple install and simple set up. Heated my pool from 66 to 82 degrees in about 2 complete days.”

What to Look For in Robotic Cleaner 

Let’s make this clear. Not all robotic cleaners were created equally. Like, seriously. In fact, there are a few different types of automatic cleaners: robotic cleaners, suction-side cleaners, and pressure pool cleaners. Robotic cleaners, however, are the only type that doesn’t need your pump to be running in order to operate—which will save you big time on monthly energy costs. It’s also the only type, as long as you choose the best model, that won’t get stuck on stairs, ladders, or corners. Hate to say it, but if you choose the wrong automatic cleaner—meaning one that isn’t properly efficient—you’ll also need to vacuum manually. That sort of defeats the purpose, right? That’s why it’s important to get a robotic cleaner that will sufficiently get the job done.

My recommendations will come later, but they’re going to cost in the same ballpark as suction-side cleaners and pressure pool cleaners. And unlike these types, the robotic cleaners I’ve picked out actually fulfill the below criteria. High five. 

Designed for Your Pool Type

This might be a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many pool owners with an inground pool buy a robotic cleaner that’s intended for above-ground pools, and vice versa. Make sure that whichever robotic cleaner you do land on is clearly marked for your pool type. That’s lesson one.

One reason why this is so important, even when your robotic cleaner only needs to be plugged into an outlet to get roaring, is because of pool liner materials and shape. An above-ground robotic cleaner is usually designed to clean a flat surface, and is optimized for rounded walls. An inground cleaner is designed to take on depths and the common structure details of inground pools.

One consideration to note is the differing value of robotic cleaners on the market between inground and above-ground pools. Above-ground pools are notorious for getting stuck, and not working efficiently. So if you have an above-ground pool, know what you’re up against here. Again, I have my own opinion coming. 

Independent of Greater Circulation System

Suction-side cleaners and pressure pool cleaners aren’t the only automatic cleaner types that need to be plugged into your greater circulation system. Some robotic cleaners do, too, and that’s a problem.

So why don’t you ever want a cleaner that connects to the suction intake built around your skimmer? Well, when your manual vacuum or automatic cleaner is connected to your pool’s filtration system, your pump must be on in order for the vacuuming to happen. That means an increase of operational costs on your monthly energy bill, and added strain to your equipment. Your pool filter, especially, will experience more wear and tear. And you’ll need to empty the filter and skimmer basket regularly.

Robotic cleaners, on the other hand, work entirely on their own. When a robotic cleaner plugs into an outlet and can be dropped right into the pool, installation just couldn’t be easier—and your operational bills couldn’t be cheaper.

Durability You Can Count On

It’s no use getting the most expensive, promising robotic cleaner on the market if it’s going to kick the bucket after a few months. Keep an eye out for durability by reading customer reviews and researching the expertise of the company. But even better—get a robotic cleaner with a warranty. These units don’t tend to come cheap, and a guarantee should be built into the price tag.

Energy-Efficient—and Just... Efficient

The best robotic cleaners are going to be energy-efficient—and that’s not just to give support to Mother Earth (though that’s important, too). Energy-efficiency actually a huge deal for your wallet, and it’s important to always look for this detail in all of your pool equipment. Why is it so major? Because most of the ongoing costs of owning a pool have to do with your monthly energy bill. The more energy-efficient your robotic cleaner is, the less you’re going to have to spend every month to run it. And that difference of cost adds up fast. That’s why the right robotic cleaner can actually pay itself off in energy saved over time.

Of course, energy-efficiency doesn’t matter much if the vacuum itself doesn’t do the job. Get a robotic cleaner that is powerful enough to take care of your entire pool walls and floor—without getting stuck along the way. Otherwise, you’ll need to use a manual vacuum as well. Which, you know, totally defeats the purpose of getting an automatic cleaner in the first place, saving money on operational costs, and saving time. In other words: that robotic cleaner should actually work.

The Right Bang for Your Buck 

A word of caution here. When it comes to robotic cleaners, most expensive does not equal best. There are many big brands that make automatic cleaners that are notorious for falling apart faster than you can say Marco Polo. These are usually built by the same handful of pool companies that kept prices artificially high in the industry for decades. Thankfully, they’ve now got competition. Your cleaner should be accurately priced—not an inflated cost for an inferior product.

Best Inground Pool Cleaner: Blue Torrent MyBot Inground Robotic Pool Cleaner 

Dare you to try to find a better robotic cleaner on the market, or a better price. The Blue Torrent MyBot Inground Robotic Pool Cleaner is designed for almost all inground pool surfaces, including vinyl, concrete, fiberglass, and tile. It’s durable and powerful, with a suction rate of over four thousand gallons per hour. Instead of other models that get stuck in corners and stairs, the MyBot can even climb pool walls, and has four different climbing cycles for just that. It works independently of your pool’s filtration system, is energy-efficient, and has a whisper-quiet operation. Oh, and it comes with a 1-year warranty. For me, this one couldn’t be more obvious. 

Best Above-Ground Pool Cleaner: Blue Torrent Stinger Automatic Pool Cleaner 

Remember when I mentioned that above-ground pool cleaners are notoriously inefficient, and likely to go kaput? This is the exception. The Blue Torrent Stinger Automatic Pool Cleaner is the most advanced above-ground cleaner on the market, with the most economical price tag. Instead of necessitating messy bags, it uses a dual canister on-board filtration system. It’s durable and powerful, with a suction rate of eighty-five gallons per minute. It works independently of your pool’s filtration system, which will save you a ton of cash in operational costs. And it even has bottom scrubbers to clean your pool floor as it vacuums debris up. The best part? It comes with a 1-year warranty. If only all above-ground pool owners had this genius cleaner—the world would have less headaches, no question.

Installation—It’s a No Brainer

In order to install a robotic cleaner, you need one thing: an outlet. And don’t worry—this isn’t like that dreaded blow-dryer-in-the-bathtub situation. While water and electricity is not typically an, ahem, safe situation, robotic cleaners have been designed specifically for this purpose. Because they were engineered to be in water, they run on low-voltage sources through ground-fault circuit interrupter (GCFI) outlets, which automatically turn off power if they detect any kind of flaw in the electrical flow. So you’re good there.

As far as ongoing maintenance, all you have to do is clean out your robotic cleaner’s bag—that’s where it stores all the junk it sucks up. How frequently your vacuum needs to be cleaned depends on use, so go ahead and eyeball it. Just like all other DIY maintenance routines, you’ll figure out what works for your pool.

To keep your circulation system in top shape, you’ll need a reliable, powerful, and energy-saving pump like the 1.5 HP Energy Star Black and Decker Variable Speed Inground Pump to make sure all your water is sanitized. Plus, it comes with a free warranty, is eligible for rebates, and pays itself off in under a year. According to customer Steve T, “This was a great purchase! They shipped right away and even emailed an installation video. The pump was easy to install and set up. It operates so quietly. It replaced a 16 year old pump and I look forward to lower energy costs.  

Now That Didn’t Suck, Did It!?

Whew, life just got a whole lot easier. No more unnecessary back injuries, no more frightening energy bills, and no more reserving Saturday morning for the arduous chore of vacuuming your pool. Now that you have the right robotic cleaner, you’ll have a reliably clean pool with minimal effort on your part, for a long, long time—after all, the right robotic cleaners come with 1-year warranties. And the next time you do a handstand, you won’t be landing on any sharp twigs. Now that’s what I’d call a victory. Enjoy.


For additional information on how to get rid of mustard algae, check out this article. Having problems getting rid of white water mold in your pool? Read more here.

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