The 5 Best Robotic Pool Cleaners of 2023, Tested and Reviewed
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Let a robot scrub your pool floor, walls, and waterline while you sit back and relax
Having a pool in your backyard can sometimes feel like more work than pleasure. Manual pool cleaning is a grueling task, and as soon as you’ve scrubbed your pool to a sparkling shine, a gust of wind can carry more leaves, pollen, and grime right back to it. Luckily, there’s an easy way around the constant dirty pool buildup — robotic pool cleaners. A robotic pool cleaner can skim, scrub, and scour your pool to its full potential so that you can sit back, relax, and actually enjoy your pool.
A huge variety of robotic pool cleaners exists on the market. Some models can clean pool floors, walls, and stairs, while others offer superior scrubbing or cordless designs. The right pool cleaner for your needs is out there, no matter your pool shape or size. To make your decision easier, we put robotic pool cleaners to the test in our own pools, rating them on their ease of use, cleaning abilities, and value.
Ahead, find the best robotic pool cleaners that’ll do the hard work for you.
Best Overall: Aiper Seagull Pro Robotic Pool Cleaner
Self-guided robot automatically cleaned the entire surface of our pool floor and walls, sucking up leaves and scrubbing off dirt without us lifting a finger
Cordless design kept our pool deck clear without fear of tripping over any wires
Easy to charge and store robot because it doesn’t take up a lot of space
Robot had trouble auto-navigating our pool stairs, so we had to manually clean those
High price makes this a big investment, but we honestly think that it’s worth it
If there’s one word we’d use to describe the Aiper Seagull Pro pool cleaner it’s: easy. And, when it comes to the arduous task of scrubbing concrete and scraping leaves, easy is music to our ears. After charging the base for 90 minutes, we placed the Aiper pool cleaner in an in-ground pool and let it do its thing. A rotating rubber brush on the front of the robot scrubbed built-up grime and algae off the floor, walls, and waterline of the pool, moving in snake-like curves across each surface to ensure a full surface area clean.
The set-up was shockingly easy — the cleaning robot came partially charged and required about an hour more of charge time before reaching its full battery potential. The device is cordless, which meant that we didn’t have to worry about tripping over or untangling wires. It took about 3 hours to fully clean our 30 by 15 pool. The robot did a great job of removing leaves and surface dirt, and at the end of its cycle, our pooled looked as clean as it does after the use of more tiring manual cleaners. The robot sucked up leaves, dead flowers, and other debris that has previously littered our outdoor pool, replacing our routine once-weekly (and very tiring) manual clean.
Because this pool cleaning robot makes cleaning the pool as easy as pressing a button, we could sit back and relax while we watched our pool sparkle. The ease of use alone is enough to make us care less about a few of the hitches in the pool cleaner’s design, including its inability to navigate the pool stairs. When the robot was done with its cleaning duties, we used the included expandable rod to hook on and lift the device out of the water. And, while it doesn’t fully replace a deep scrub with a manual pool and brush, the ease of use and thorough cleaning made this pool cleaning robot an obvious winner for us.
Price at time of publish: $764.15 (orig. $899.99)
Dimensions: 19.6 x 18.43 x 14.5 inches | Weight: 20.9 lbs. | Pool size: Up to 3,200 ft | Filter: Basket | Cleaning time: 180 minutes | Charge time: 90 minutes | Smart features: Auto-parking, quick water release, one-switch activation, three cleaning modes (auto mode, floor only, wall only)
Related:The 13 Best Pool Cleaners of 2023, Tested and Reviewed
Best Budget: Aiper Seagull SE Cordless Robotic Pool Cleaner
Best value for a robotic pool cleaner compared to the others we tested
Cordless design is sleek and tangle-free, which made it easy for us to store
Vacuum sucked up around 90 percent of visible leaves and most of the dirt and debris floating in the pool
We had to empty the filter a few times in order for the robot to continue working
Only cleans the floor of pool, not walls or waterline
For its modest price, we got much more than expected with the Aiper Seagull SE cordless robot vacuum. It’s so easy to use: Press a button, drop the robot over the edge of the pool, and watch it suck up dirt, debris, and dead leaves. We loved that we didn’t have to guide the robot pool cleaner, so we just let it clean and went about our afternoon.
One of the most impressive things about the SE cordless pool cleaner is that it’s, well, cordless. For under $300, the sleek, mess-free design feels luxurious. Ultimately, this budget robot pool cleaner was able to scrub off and suck up all of the visible dirt and debris and about 90 percent of the leaves that we could see, which is pretty impressive for the price. But, while we were mostly impressed by the ease of use, we did have to fish the robot out of the pool three times during the 90-minute clean to empty out the filter, because it seemed to slow down once it got full (but it’s also important to note that our test pool was 40 by 18 feet, which is a pretty large area to cover).
Though the SE cordless pool vacuum only cleans the bottom of the pool and might need to be emptied a few times during cleaning, we still think that it’s worth much more than its relatively small price tag.
Price at time of publish: $299.99
Dimensions: 17.13 x 13.74 x 7.8 inches | Weight: 10.67 lbs. | Pool size: Up to 850 sq. ft | Filter: Trey | Cleaning time: 90 minutes | Charge time: 2.5 hours | Smart features: Auto-parking, LED indicator lights, one-switch activation, dual-drive motors
Best Investment: Dolphin Explorer E50 Robotic Pool Cleaner
Cleans pool deeply and more thoroughly than any other pool cleaning robot we tested
Multiple cleaning modes to choose from, with an easy-to-use smart app that allows us to customize the cleaning to our needs
Robot easily navigated pool floor, walls, waterline, and stairs
Most expensive robot pool cleaner on our list
Not cordless, uses an included 60 ft. power cord
With three different powerful cleaning modes to choose from, the Dolphin Explorer E50 cleaned our pool better than any other robotic pool cleaner that we tested. The double-filtered collection basket handled large pileups of leaves on the floor of our pool, and the built-in rolling brush scrubbed all visible dirt and grime off the pool floor, walls, waterline, and stairs (which no other robot was able to do). The Dolphin robot cleaner uses smart navigation to maneuver around the entire area of the pool, and it connects to a user-friendly app so you can customize the cleaning to your preferences.
Its superior cleaning power and convenient app earn this vacuum its crowning title as Best Investment, and though it may cause some sticker shock, we would definitely recommend it if you’re willing to invest in a high-quality piece of pool cleaning equipment. This isn’t a cordless cleaner, which would dock it a few points in our rating if not for the superior deep clean that this robot delivered. And the ability to sit back and relax while the cleaning robot does its thing is priceless.
Price at time of publish: $1,599
Dimensions: 21.45 x 17.55 x 11.31 inches | Weight: 29 lbs. | Pool size: Up to 50 ft | Filter: Basket | Cleaning time: 90 minute quick clean, 150 minute standard clean | Smart features: Scheduled cleaning, connected app, smart navigation, large canister, quick clean, standard clean
Best for Touchups: Hydrus Robotic Cordless Pool Vacuum Cleaner
Small robot is lightweight and easy to use, even for beginners
Super fine stainless steel filter picked up large and small debris off our pool floor
Cordless design is easy to charge and store
Random navigation path missed a few spots
Only cleans pool floor, and had trouble navigating around the pool ladder
If you’re looking for something lightweight and easy to toss into the pool without any struggle, then the simple Hydrus Robotic Pool Vacuum is a great choice. The cordless robot is a breeze to set up — just plug it in to charge, then, once the battery is full, toss it into the pool and watch it get to work. The Hydrus reminded us of a Roomba vacuum in the way that it pinged around the floors of the pool with seemingly little direction and was still incredibly effective. Each time we used the small, lightweight robot, we were impressed with how quickly it navigated around the pool floor and how much dirt and debris it was able to suck up. The device comes fitted with a stainless steel filter that sucked up both large and small messes.
The seemingly random navigation pattern does backfire a bit, and the Hydrus vacuum missed a few spots on our test pool floor and got stuck around our pool ladder. But because of how lightweight and easy to use this device is, it feels like a great option for quick pool touchups alongside our regular pool cleaning routine. Overall, we think this small-yet-mighty pool cleaner is well worth its modest price.
Price at time of publish: $199.99 (orig. $299)
Dimensions: 14.3 x 14.3 x 8.3 inches | Weight: 7 lbs. | Pool size: Up to 50 ft. | Filter: Durable stainless-steel screen | Cleaning time: 90 minutes | Charge time: 2.5 hours | Smart features: Self-parking, two suction inlets
Related:The 10 Best Robot Vacuums of 2023 That Will Do All of the Hard Work for You
Best for Algae: Aiper Elite Pro Cordless Robotic Pool Cleaner
Scrubbed away dirt and stuck-on algae from the floor and walls of our pool with ease
Wireless robot charged in two hours, and we didn’t worry about tripping or hiding unsightly cords
Hard to see power-on indication light in the sunlight
Wasn’t able to suck up the bigger leaves, so we had to go in with a manual skimmer
The Aiper Elite Pro pool cleaning robot provided the most satisfying clean for us to watch — as soon as it began roving across our pool floor, we could see the sparkling clean track it left in its wake as it cleared away algae, bugs, leaves, and twigs. This robot is cordless, which keeps pool decks clear of any hazardous wires. After two hours of charging, the robot was ready to clean our pool floor and walls.
Where this robot ran into a bit of trouble was with larger leaves, which it couldn’t reliably suck up and required us to go in and skim the pool manually. But, when it came to clearing away stuck-on algae, we were really impressed with the Aiper Elite’s efficiency. We also had a bit of difficulty with the starting indication light, because it’s challenging to see whether it’s lit up or not in the sunlight. But, this mid-priced wireless pool cleaner is a great investment for pools that are prone to grime.
Price at time of publish: $599 (orig. $649.99)
Weight: 7.6 lbs. | Pool size: Up to 262 sq. ft. | Filter: Basket | Cleaning time: 90 minutes | Charge time: 2.5 hours | Smart features: One-switch activation, wall climbing, self-parking, 10-second drainage
Things to Consider Before Buying a Robotic Pool Cleaner
While all of the pool cleaners on our list are capable of cleaning pool floors, some are also able to clean the walls, waterline, or stairs. This is an important thing to keep in mind when choosing a robotic pool cleaner because if your chosen device isn’t able to scrub the entire surface area of your pool, you may have to do some extra manual cleaning after the device is finished. The Dolphin Explorer E50 Robotic Pool Cleaner could clean every surface in our pool, which meant less work for us to do manually.
If you’re opting for a cordless robotic cleaning model, then the battery life and charge time are important factors to consider. The Aiper Seagull Pro Robotic Pool Cleaner charges for just 90 minutes and offers a 180-minute clean, but many cordless pool cleaners will need to charge for longer than they’re able to clean. If you don’t want to worry about charging your pool cleaner in between uses, then a corded model might serve you better, though that also comes with the unsightly wires, the risk of tripping, and the need for a nearby outlet, depending on the cord length.
Robotic pool cleaners are available in a wide price range, starting at around $230 at the low end and costing up to $1,600 at the high end. While the more expensive robotic pool cleaner typically offers a more efficient cleaning and a few extra perks, like apps or long battery life, you can find a perfectly capable pool cleaner in the middle of the price range. Lower-end pool cleaners, like the AIPER Seagull SE Cordless Robotic Pool Cleaner, can still do a great job of clearing debris from the pool floor but probably won’t provide a deep enough clean that you could skip manual cleaning altogether.
How We Tested
In order to find the best robotic pool cleaners, we tried out some of the most popular pool cleaning devices on the market in our own outdoor swimming pools, challenging them to scrub the real-life dirt and grime that built up in our pools over the winter. We started by unboxing the pool cleaners and taking careful note of the difficulty of setup. Then, once the pool cleaners were charged or plugged in, we placed the robots in our pools and clicked the starting button on our stopwatches to see how fast they worked. Over the course of our testing, we used each pool cleaner three times to ensure accurate results and consistency.
We took careful notes on the pattern that each robotic pool cleaner moved around our pool and whether they were able to maneuver around obstacles like ladders and drains. We evaluated the cleanliness of our pools after use, noting any visible leaves, dirt, or algae left behind. We carefully inspected each area of our pool, looking out for any spots the robot might have missed. In the end, we were able to create a list of the five best robotic pool cleaners that make scrubbing, skimming, and scouring your pool as easy as pressing a button.
Frequently Asked Questions
How often should you clean your pool?
According to Dr. Claudia Duncan, Owner and CEO of Professional Pool Management and member of the Pool and Hot Tub Alliance, the frequency with which you should clean your pool is dependent on factors such as the weather and conditions of the pool area. A general rule of thumb, Dr. Duncan shares, is to clean the pool weekly if it doesn’t get visibly dirty in between cleans.
Do robotic pool cleaners work?
Robotic pool cleaners can absolutely provide an effective cleaning depending on a few factors, including the model you choose, your pool’s surface area, and how much dirt and grime typically build up in your pool. To make sure that your chosen pool cleaner will work most effectively, make sure to read the device’s pool-size specifications. Depending on which robotic pool cleaner you chose, you may need to follow it up with some manual cleaning on areas that it isn’t able to reach.
What is the best robotic pool cleaner?
After completing our in-depth People Tested process, we deemed the Aiper Seagull Pro Robotic Pool Cleaner as the best overall pool cleaner because of its ability to thoroughly clean the pool’s floor, walls, and waterline, all for a mid-range price compared to other pool cleaners that we tested. But the best pool cleaner for you depends entirely on your needs. If you’re looking for something simple that is also cordless, the AIPER Seagull SE Cordless Robotic Pool Cleaner does a good job of sucking up dirt and debris for a reasonable price.
Why Trust PEOPLE?
Cai Cramer is a commerce writer at PEOPLE, covering the best and buzziest products across the beauty, fashion, health, and lifestyle spaces. Cai wrote this story based on the insights from our real-world testers, who put multiple robotic pool cleaners to the test in their own outdoor pools to see which was the best. The testing process was also based on insights from experts, including Dr. Claudia Duncan, Owner/CEO of Professional Pool Management and member of the Pool and Hot Tub Alliance.
What Is People Tested?
We created the PEOPLE Tested seal of approval to help you find the very best products for your life. We use our unique methodology to test products in three labs across the country and with our network of home testers to determine their effectiveness, durability, ease of use, and so much more. Based on the results, we rate and recommend products so you can find the right one for your needs.
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