Pool Cleaners

Looking for the Best Robotic Pool Cleaner? Check out These Top 3 Options

(Last Updated On: May 11, 2016)

If you’re in the market for a new pool cleaner, it becomes immediately apparent that choosing the right one for your needs is no easy task. There is a multitude of models available from nearly as many manufacturers and each robotic pool cleaner offers different features – some that are important to you and some that simply aren’t necessary.

Also, whether you have an in-ground or above ground pool impacts the choices you have when it comes to choosing the best robotic pool cleaner as some models are designed specifically for one application or the other.

While there is no way to cover all the robotic pool cleaners that might work for you, the following three robotic pool cleaners have proven to be some of the best choices for any pool owner looking to automate the mundane task of keeping the pool clean throughout the year.

Dolphin Nautilus Robotic Pool Cleaner

The Dolphin Nautilus is a popular robotic pool cleaner for a variety of reasons including its comparatively low price point ($629.00 at the time of this writing). Just because the Nautilus is less expensive than other models in this list doesn’t mean it isn’t packed with features normally reserved for robotic pool cleaners costing twice as much. For a full review of the Dolphin, check out this article.

  • Lightweight: The Dolphin Nautilus is lightweight, weighing approximately 18.75 pounds, and is highly effective when cleaning inground pools up to 50’ long.
  • Dual Filters: The cleaner comes with two types of filters: an easy-to-clean standard cartridge filter and a spring clean-up filter designed only to pick up large debris found in the pool after not being serviced for months during the winter.
  • Plug and Play: Extremely easy to use, the Dolphin offers pool owners a simple plug-and-play design. Just plug the cleaner into an external power outlet, press the start button, and let the Nautilus do the rest.
  • Gets the Hard to Reach Areas: The unit is designed to clean coves, walls, and other hard to reach areas that other pool cleaners would probably miss.
  • Anti-Tangle and Auto Shutoff: The addition of a 60’ swiveling power cord ensures that the unit won’t get tangled up while cleaning and the included three hour automatic shutoff feature means you won’t have to worry about leaving this cleaner unattended when in operation.
  • Impressive Filtration Capacity: Perhaps the most impressive feature of the Nautilus is that despite its relatively small size, the pool cleaner is capable of filtering 4,233 gallons of water per hour. This high filtration rate is what makes the Dolphin Nautilus suitable for large pools up to 50’ long.
  • Advanced Mapping System: Also of note is that this cleaner comes equipped with a self-programed mapping system that is able to scan the shape of the pool before cleaning. Using this virtual map, the Nautilus can create a custom cleaning pattern specifically designed for the size and shape of you pool – ensuring optimal cleaning every time.

Drawbacks of the Dolphin Nautilus

There are only two drawbacks to the Dolphin Nautilus.

  1. No Handle on Top: The unit does not have a handle on the top for easy removal from the pool when cleaning is complete. Despite its lightweight design, many users have difficulty removing the Nautilus from the pool due to the lack of a handle.
  2. Full Filter Triggers Shutoff:The second drawback is that the unit automatically shuts down when the filter becomes full. Obviously, the Nautilus needs a clean filter to properly remove debris from the pool but this feature does mean that you must be available to clean the filter before cleaning can resume.

For pricing, check out this online listing. I’ve found that the price in retail brick and mortar pool supply stores tends to be higher.

iRobot Mirra 530 Pool Cleaning Robot

iRobot has been making high-quality automated pool cleaning solutions for years and the company has raised the bar once again with the release of its newest robotic pool cleaner, the Mirra 530. I’ve done a complete review of it right here, but the following is a summary of why I like it.

Currently available for $1,000 (see heresee here), the Mirra 530 certainly isn’t the cheapest pool cleaner on the market but the unique design and abundant high-end features make it a worthy investment for anyone serious about keeping the pool clean.

  • New Technology: One new feature found on the Mirra 530 that wasn’t available on iRobot’s previous product offerings is iAdapt Nautiq Responsive Cleaning Technology. This is the same technology used in iRobots popular Roomba vacuums. Using complex algorithms, this system allows the Mirra 530 to accurately calculate the dimensions of the pool. With this information, the pool cleaner is able to create the most efficient cleaning pattern. The technology even identifies areas of the pool that most likely require more than one pass to properly clean (i.e. stairs, corners, and drains).
  • PVC Scrubbing Brush: Other new features of the Mirra 530 include a redesigned PVC scrubbing brush that is directly connected to the robot’s motor – providing an increase in both suction and filtration power.
  • Impressive Filtration Capacity: This model is capable of filtering up to 70 gallons per minute (4,200 gallons per hour) meaning that the unit can completely clean most pools within a few hours at most.
  • Smart Solution to Filter Bags: iRobot also got rid of the difficult to clean filter bags of previous models; instead opting for a top-mounted canister that is easy to remove and only requires a quick rinse before being put back to use.
  • Saves on Energy Costs: Like the Dolphin Nautilus, the Mirra 530 is completely self-contained. This reduces the strain of existing pool equipment while consuming significantly less energy than pool cleaners that rely on existing pool hardware to function. In fact, iRobot claims that using the Mirra 530 can save hundreds of dollars in energy costs each year meaning that the unit will pay for itself in about six years just by using it. The fact that the Mirra 530 is self-contained also means that there is no installation requirements prior to using the device. Simply plug into a 110V outlet, hit clean, and the Mirra 530 does the rest.
  • Avoids Entanglement via Smart Sensor: The included 60’ power cord is equipped with a gyro sensor that can sense when the robot turns. This information is then used by the unit to plot a course around the pool that avoids entanglement in the cord.

Drawbacks of the Mirra 530

  1. Steep Price Tag: Perhaps the only drawback to the Mirra 530 is its steep price tag. Granted, pool owners get a lot of features for their money but the initial investment could be a serious concern for some pool owners. Price tag aside, this pool cleaner represents everything that an automated pool cleaning solution should be. iRobot’s latest offering boasts the latest in home automation technology without forgetting to keep the unit simple and easy to use.

I purchased my Mirra at this listing, where you will tend to find the better deals.

Aquabot Pool Rover Junior

If you own an above ground pool, the previous two options probably aren’t the best choices. Sure…either of the aforementioned robotic pool cleaners will do an excellent job of cleaning your flat bottom above ground pool, but you can save some money by purchasing a robotic pool cleaner that is specifically designed for your above ground pool.

The Pool Rover Junior from Aquabot is a perfect example. This robotic pool cleaner is available for only $262 online and is capable of cleaning any size flat bottom above ground pool within an hour.

  • Hose-free Design: The Pool Rover Junior is equipped with 40’ of floating cable and incorporates a hose-free design that allows the unit to operate both quickly and efficiently.
  • Powerful Pump: A powerful 24 volt pump provides the suction power and jet-drive propulsion and captured debris is stored in the reusable filter bag designed to filter both large and small debris.
  • 2-Hour Auto Shutoff: The Pool Rover Junior also features an automatic two hour shutoff timer for set-it-and-forget-it operation.
  • Attractive Price Point: The price point of this unit is attractive (see price here) and most customers find that the Pool Rover Junior works very well.

Drawbacks of the Pool Rover

  1. Build Feels Less Durable than Competition: That said, the longevity of the unit is questionable due, in part, to the very thin axles and the absence of waterproofing around the power supply. While there is no evidence to support these concerns about the longevity and durability of the device, you can’t help but to notice that the Pool Rover Junior seems very cheap and flimsy.

Durability aside, the Pool Rover Junior is lightweight, easy to use, and very effective. The comparatively low price point of the unit is also a plus and most above ground pool owners will enjoy the speed and efficiency of this robotic pool cleaner. If budget is your primary concern and you need a robotic cleaner yesterday, this is a perfectly good option. Be sure to check out this product listing for the latest pricing details.

Summary Comparison Table

Check out the table below to summarize the above robots side-by-side:

Key FeaturesDolphin NautilusMirra 530Aquabot Rover Jr.
Filtration Capacity70 gallons/minute70 gallons/minute70 gallons/minute
Auto Shut-off Time3-hour2-hour2-hour
Cord Length60 feet60 feet40 feet
Extra FeaturesDual filters, advanced mappingPVC scrubbing brushes, smart sensors, smart filtersHose-free design
List Price$569 (check here)$979 (check here)$299 (check here)

Final Take on the Best Robot Pool Cleaners

Above ground? Inground? Features desired? These are the questions that every pool owner should consider before purchasing a robotic pool cleaner. As home automation technology continues to improve at unbelievable speed, new pool cleaning innovations will be introduced but until that time, these three robotic pool cleaners represent the best in pool automation technology and if nothing else, can help make owning a pool fun again.

About the author

Patrick Sinclair

Patrick Sinclair is a geek; make no mistake about that. He runs All Home Robotics in his spare time so he doesn't have to think about his depressing cubicle and it gives him an excuse to buy expensive gadgets to review!

Leave a Comment