Automatic Pool Cleaners

Automatic Pool Cleaners

Some smart pool owners use automatic pool cleaners to help them clean their pools.  There’s an auto pool cleaner that will suit any pool. But which one do you need?  Read on to find out which automatic pool cleaner is the right one for you.

There are three types of cleaners, namely: suction, pressure and robotic.

Suction Cleaners

suction pool cleanerSuction cleaners are the oldest type of automatic pool cleaner.  As the name implies, it sucks or pumps the pool water and debris through the cleaner and into the skimmer basket. The water running through the cleaner, also serves to move the cleaner around the pool, through use of some internal mechanics.  These cleaners can move around the pool floor and some can move up pool walls too.

Suction cleaners are usually attached to a vacuum plate on your skimmer box using a hose or a dedicated extraction line by the poolside.  Since debris and dirt are collected into the skimmer basket and also the pump filter, you’ll need to clean them often.

Suction cleaners are the least expensive among automatic pool cleaners on the market. Although they have been in the market since the 1970s, they have been technologically updated with the times, giving families an inexpensive way to maintain their pools.

Pressure Cleaners

These use high pressure water for movement and debris suction. Debris and dirt are sucked into an attached filter bag.  This means the skimmer basket and pump filter doesn’t clog up.

Most pressure cleaners can’t scrub the pool floor or walls, nor filter small particles. It’s important to scrub pool walls with a brush since these cleaners don’t clean the walls. This will help keep algae away.

Most pressure cleaners also require a booster pump. A booster pump supplies high pressure water to your pressure cleaner. As such is the case, pressure cleaners that require a booster pump consume more electricity compared to other automated pool cleaners.

Robotic Cleaners

Robotic_CleanerRobotic cleaners do the most thorough cleaning job and can handle large and small debris. They are the most energy efficient of all cleaners. The main drawback is they are also the most expensive type of automatic pool cleaner.

Unlike suction and pressure cleaners, robotic cleaners are independent from the pool’s main filter and pump system.  They are powered by a separate electricity source; either rechargeable batteries or a cable connected to a low voltage transformer which is plugged into the house supply.

Robotic cleaners must be put in the pool when needed. They are not left in the pool like other pool cleaners are. They usually have two internal motors: one for drawing water through a filter bag and the second motor is a drive motor that helps remove contaminants from the pool’s floor and walls and direct them to the internal filter bag. The negative of having a filter bag is that it needs to be emptied on a weekly basis.

These cleaners navigate the pool using sensors and change direction when they come into contact with walls (although some will climb walls). They also learn to map the pool shape and will give 100% coverage.

Auto Pool Cleaners – Side-by-Side Comparison

PROS

SUCTION PRESSURE ELECTRIC ROBOTIC  
Acts like a moving filter, drawing debris into it. It also draws water through your filter system, causing you to turn more water over in a shorter amount of time. The pressure cleaner’s nozzle circulates the pool water which allows the skimmer to pick up and filter more fine debris. Most efficient of all auto pool cleaners. Picks up small and large debris.
Can help scrub the pool floor and walls. It can also stir the water which displaces debris in the process. It has its own filtration bag which reduces filter and skimmer cleaning. It has a self-contained filter bag which reduces filter and skimmer cleaning.
Often don’t require extra parts to connect to your current system, saving you money. Picks up medium sized debris. More powerful cleaning because of its booster pump. Many units can clean the steps, walls and waterline of the pool.
The unit is inexpensive. No extra stress is put on your current filter system.

 

CONS

       SUCTION             PRESSURE       ELECTRIC ROBOTIC 
Pump needs to run at high speed which uses more power. Does not effectively clean your pool’s walls & pick up very small particles. Not convenient because you have to take the cleaner in and out of the pool as needed.
You need to clean your filter more. Attached filter bag needs to be emptied regularly. Older models may get stuck or miss spots.
Does the worst job of all cleaners. May miss spots. Only picks up small debris and not twigs or some larger leaves. It is however still a time saver compared with manual vacuuming. More often than not, it needs a separate booster pump system, adding to your expense. Most expensive cleaner.

Price Of Automatic  Pool Cleaners

       SUCTION       PRESSURE   ELECTRIC ROBOTIC
Around $200 – $500 Around $400 – $900 Basic models start around $800. Top of the line model may cost you up
to $3000.

Things to Consider When Purchasing an Automatic Pool Cleaner

First and foremost, you have to consider your pool size, debris size and amount of debris.  Your need for a pool cleaner totally depends on it.  If your pool is small to medium sized and accumulates light to moderate debris, a suction cleaner will probably be suitable.

For pools that gather larger debris such as small twigs and large leaves, a pressure cleaner is needed or robotic cleaner is suitable.

For large pools or free form shaped pools that get lots of debris or large sized debris, a robotic cleaner is ideal.  Many robotic cleaner models nowadays have the capacity to clean porous surfaces, seams and corners where other cleaners can’t reach.

Here are some tips to help you pick the right automatic pool cleaner:

1. Get recommendations from an expert.  Endorsements from family or friends are rarely right because no two pools are exactly alike.

2. Always go for value or needs over price.  Your purchase of a pool cleaner is a long-term investment. You might be able to get something cheaper but in the long run, if it is not suited to the task, it won’t do a proper job of cleaning.

3. Maintenance cost.  Some cleaners are easier and cheaper to maintain than others. Do your homework.

4. Warranty. The manufacturer’s guarantee assures you that the pool cleaner you purchased is reliable and durable.  Pay attention to what the warranty covers; service cost only, parts only or both.

As with all cleaning systems, pool owners should consider all options and the long-term benefits that will be derived before making a decision.  Do some research and speak with your local pool store or better yet, your local pool maintenance professional before deciding on a cleaning system.  We’re also happy to answer any questions you may have.