Man thinking about robotic pool cleaner

The best robotic pool cleaner: a product comparison

Manually cleaning your pool is never an easy or simple task. It’s time-consuming, it’s physically demanding, and it’s easy to get wrong if you don’t know what you’re doing. As seen in our pool cleaning guide, by automating it with a robotic pool cleaner, you can reduce the time and effort required to keep your pool sparkling.

Instead, you can spend that time saved cooling down, exercising, and having fun in your pool. How clever is that?

In this robotic pool cleaner comparison:

Note: If you’re interested in robotic cleaners for commercial use, check out our commercial robotic pool cleaners

Let’s dive in!

What is the best robotic pool cleaner?

The best robotic pool cleaner is the one that gets the job done. The best robotic cleaner for you and your pool is going to depend on a few things.

Before you start comparing products, ask yourself the following questions:

1. How big is your pool? 

The length of cable connected to your robotic pool cleaner is a fixed length and dictates how far it can reach. If your cord is too short, you may have to move your power supply or risk the power supply falling into the water.  The power supply must be 4m away from the side of your pool any time the robotic cleaner is in use.

Tip: Factor in the depth of your pool, as well as the length, when calculating how large your pool is.

2. What kind of pool linings and surfaces do you have? 

The type of pool surfaces you have will determine what kind of scrub brushes your robotic pool cleaner has. Some cleaners have combined scrub brushes for coarse bottoms like quartz, pebble, or granite:

Dolphin M500 combined brushes
Dolphin M500 Combined Brush

Others have wonder brushes, for smooth surfaces like fully tiled pools, fibreglass, or vinyl:

Dolphin M400 Wonder Brush
Dolphin M400 Wonder Brush

If the brush type on your cleaner isn’t matched to your pool’s surface, then the cleaner may not climb the walls as it should, and you may not get the best life out of the brushes on the cleaner.

3. What shape is your pool?

Some robotic pool cleaners are better at getting into hard-to-reach corners, and others are better suited to uniquely shaped pools.

Tip: If your pool is narrow (less than 2.5m wide), we recommend a Dual drive cleaner to ensure that the cleaner can better clean the pool.

4. What kind of clean do you want?

All robotic pool cleaners clean the bottom of your pool—some can’t clean water lines, and some don’t climb walls. The more capabilities your robotic pool cleaner has, the less you will have to clean manually. Knowing what cleaning you want to automate will help decide what model you purchase.

5. What is your price point?

A robotic pool cleaner is an investment, that being said, cleaners with all the bells, whistles and features are going to be more expensive than basic models.

6. What features do you want your pool cleaner to have?

Do you want your robotic cleaner to climb walls? Scrub the waterline? Do you want an intelligent robotic cleaner with CleverClean(™), or a cleaner that’s able to connect to the MyDolphin(™) app, so you can control your robotic cleaner from your phone? 

The more features your robotic pool cleaner has, the less manual cleaning you’ll have to do, and the price will reflect that. 

7. What kind of debris generally accumulates in your pool?

The type of filter system on a robotic pool cleaner will help determine if it’s right for the type of debris you generally see in your pool. 

Fine dirt and sand? Leaves and seeds, as well as dirt? A dual filtration system is capable of handling both large and small debris and might be right for you.

Our top robotic bool cleaners

Now you’ve got a better idea of what to look for in your robotic pool cleaner, let’s jump into product comparisons.

Dolphin S50

Dolphin S50 pool cleaner

The Dolphin S50 is designed for above-ground pools up to 8m in length. It is equipped with CleverClean(™) advanced mapping software, ensuring your robotic pool cleaner uses the most efficient route to clean your pool floor.

Dolphin M3

Dolphin M3 pool cleaner

The Dolphin M3 is intended for pool lengths of 10m. It is equipped with CleverClean(™) mapping to get the best clean of your pool floor. It doesn’t climb walls, but collects fine particles and large debris, using its two Combo brushes to get your pool floor and coves spotless. 

Dolphin S100

The Dolphin S100 robotic pool cleaner is ideal for pool sizes up to 10m. Equipped with CleverClean(™) and an all-terrain PVC brush, this robotic cleaner cleans your pool floors and walls with efficiency and ease. 

Dolphin S100 pool cleaner

Dolphin M400

Dolphin M400 pool cleaner

The Dolphin M400 has a triple action brush designed to scrub the walls, waterline, and floors of pools up to 15m long. You can choose to purchase a model with Combo Brushes or the Wonderbrushes depending on your pool surface. It has a Dynamic dual drive motor featuring  CleverClean(™), ensuring no cove or uniquely shaped area of your pool goes uncleaned.

Dolphin S300i

Dolphin S300i pool cleaner

The Dolphin S300i is designed for pools up to 12m long. You can operate this robotic cleaner from anywhere via the MyDolphin(™) app. With PowerStream mobility enabling multi-directional water flow for constant grip on vertical walls and customizable cleaning times, you can ensure your water lines, walls and floor are sparkling anytime you want to take a dip. 

Dolphin M500

Dolphin M500 pool cleaner

The Dolphin M500 is designed for pools up to 15m long. This wall climbing, water line scrubbing machine is equipped with CleverClean(™), a gyroscope for precise orientation, and a dynamic dual drive motor. It also comes with connectivity via the MyDolphin(™) app, and the option for Combo Brushes or the Wonderbrushes. The Dolphin M500 effortlessly cleans and filters whatever debris plagues your pool—large or small.

Dolphin S200

The Dolphin S200 is designed for pools up to 12m in length. It’s designed to clean your floor, walls, and waterline with all-terrain PVC active scrubbing. It has a multi-layer filter for fine and coarse debris and PowerStream(™) mobility with CleverClean(™) coverage.

FAQ about robotic pool cleaners

Dolphin S200 pool cleaner
How do robotic pool cleaners work?

A robotic pool cleaner operates like an underwater vacuum: it has internal electric motors that propel it forwards and backwards as well as providing the suction to trap leaves and dirt. 

A robotic pool cleaner doesn’t put any extra stress on your pool filters, in fact, it alleviates some stress from the system because it cleans your pool separately from the filtration systems you already have in place. 

How long do robotic pool cleaners last?

The average lifespan of a robotic pool cleaner varies depending on how often you use it, and what maintenance you perform on your machine. 

Most people find that their robotic pool cleaner lasts anywhere from 3 to 5 years or longer. Longevity can be added with consistent basic maintenance and the occasional part replacement. The oldest cleaner we’ve seen is still running after over 15 years!

Tip: Rinse the filters and clean out the debris basket after every use to extend the life of your robotic pool cleaner. This will also help you keep track of any parts that display more wear and tear, and organize a replacement before it breaks or the failing part puts any extra stress on your machine.

Prolonged exposure to pool chemicals and chlorine can shorten the life of your robotic pool cleaner, so following the manufacturer’s instructions for care and storage will help make it last longer.

How much do robotic pool cleaners cost?

Robotic pool cleaners are an investment, and their price reflects that. If you’re hedging at the price, think about how long you spend manually cleaning your pool.

It might help to compare the outright cost of a robotic pool cleaner and how long you can expect to have it (3-5 years, often longer), to what you’d pay to have someone clean your pool. 

All the cleaners listed above are Climate Care Certified, having proven themselves to save you both power and water as well as reducing your overall carbon footprint while saving you money.

Where can I get my robotic pool cleaner repaired?

Check your warranty. All robotic pool cleaners come with a manufacturer’s warranty. Depending on the model, your warranty can be anywhere from 12 months full and 24 months limited warranty, to 36 months full warranty. 

Some retailers offer the option to extend the warranty, and in the case that your warranty has lapsed, bring your robotic pool cleaner back to where you purchased it.

Tip: Robotic pool cleaners are designed to operate underwater, running it while it’s out of water will void your warranty, and put stress on the machine that can cause it to break. 

Why don’t they all climb walls?

Some robotic pool cleaners are designed specifically for above-ground pools – or maybe you only want to clean the floor of the pool – it’s your choice. The water that jets from the top of the floor-only cleaners will also help to keep the walls clean, as well as improving the overall water circulation in the pool.

What are the ideal operating temperatures for my Dolphin Pool Cleaner?

Between 6°C and 35°C is ideal for your robotic pool cleaner. That being said, it is possible to use it outside those temperatures, but you may not get the desired clean you want, and you could potentially damage the integrity of the machine by consistently using it outside the recommended temperatures.

Can you leave the power supply out in all weather?

The power supply is designed to be water-resistant, not waterproof. Cover the power supply in the case of inclement weather, and don’t submerge the power supply in your pool. 

Cleaning pools is not a small job. With a robotic pool cleaner as a part of your pool cleaning supplies, you can spend less time worrying about the physical demands of scrubbing and vacuuming, and spend more time enjoying your pool.

Ready to enjoy your pool with your new robot cleaner?

Cleaning pools is not a small job. With a robotic pool cleaner as a part of your pool cleaning supplies, you can spend less time worrying about the physical demands of scrubbing and vacuuming, and spend more time enjoying your pool.

About the author
Adrian Hill
Adrian Hill

Hey! I'm Adrian, founder and pool expert here at Dolphin Pacific. I love spending time with family, fishing, and have been known to brew my own beer.

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