Lawn & Garden

The 10 Best Robotic Above-Ground Pool Cleaners

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Lea Kuscer Avatar
Lea Kuscer
4 January, 2021 • Updated 15 hours ago
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Cleaning out the swimming pool is not a fun job. Unlike a kid’s pool that you can spray out with a hose, you have to climb inside those pools and scrub.

It’s a long and thankless task.

You can’t exactly leave a pool alone, either. Sooner or later, dirt, grime, algae, dead bugs and other things accumulate along the surface of the pool.

Nobody wants that either.

This also goes a long way towards explaining the existence of robotic pool cleaners. These little robots have scrubbing tools built into their frame. They skate easily along the surface of the pool, and unlike people, they never tire.

In this review, we gathered information from a dozen independent media outlets and review articles to find the 10 best robotic above-ground pool cleaners.

IN A HURRY? CHECK OUT OUR EDITOR’S CHOICE
Dolphin Nautilus CC

If you have a pool and you’re sick to death of having to clean the thing, you might want to consider investing in a robotic pool cleaner.

Things to Consider

Generally speaking, there are two different kinds of pool cleaners. There are robo-cleaners for above-ground pools and robo-cleaners for in-ground pools. These pools are typically made out of different materials, so you don’t want to mix the two of them up unless they’re specifically approved for both types of pools.

1. Mobility

One of the biggest things to look for in a pool cleaner is its mobility – how easily it moves over rough surfaces and how effectively it scales the pool walls. Most pools are not perfectly smooth, so try to look for four-wheel-drive models if possible.

2. Quality Brushes

Any pool cleaner that doesn’t have good brushes is a waste of money. But there isn’t just one kind of brush that works well. While hard bristles make for a good brush, rotating rubber brushes can be very effective as well. Depending on the material used in your pool, some types of brushes may be more effective than others.

3. Programmable Timers

This is really more of a convenience than a necessity, but it’s a pretty big convenience. A programmable timer means you don’t have to babysit or supersize the robot as it cleans – simply set it to work and retrieve it later when you have the time.

4. Good Sensors

Some robotic pool cleaners have a tendency to get stuck in the corners of the pool because their sensors aren’t good enough to effectively navigate these awkward angles. Pool cleaners that have the right sensors can avoid these annoying obstacles, meaning less frustration for you.

5. Pool Size

The effectiveness of your robotic pool cleaner will vary heavily depending on the size of the pool you have. A lot of pool cleaners have an ideal size ratio, and won’t be able to clean larger pools effectively. In general, larger pool cleaners are able to cover a larger area.

QUICK OVERVIEW

The Best Robotic Above-Ground Pool Cleaners


Products Features
EDITOR’S PICK
4.2
620+
620+
Dolphin Nautilus CC
Dolphin Nautilus CCDolphin Nautilus CC
  • Active brush makes scrubbing and cleaning more effectively
  • Top load filtration filters out debris
  • PRICE RANGE: Under $600
  • Active brush makes scrubbing and cleaning more effectively
  • Top load filtration filters out debris
  • PRICE RANGE: Under $600
Check price
at Amazon
MOST REVIEWED
4.3
1,700+
1700+
Dolphin Nautilus CC Plus
Dolphin Nautilus CC PlusDolphin Nautilus CC Plus
  • Automatically cleans your pool at regular intervals
  • Weighs less than 20 pounds
  • PRICE RANGE: Under $1000
  • Automatically cleans your pool at regular intervals
  • Weighs less than 20 pounds
  • PRICE RANGE: Under $1000
Check price
at Amazon
TOP PICK
4.7
1+
1+
Dolphin C5
Dolphin C5Dolphin C5
  • CleverClean technology
  • 4-hour cleaning cycle
  • PRICE RANGE: Under $3000
  • CleverClean technology
  • 4-hour cleaning cycle
  • PRICE RANGE: Under $3000
Check price
at Amazon
BUDGET PICK
4.4
120+
120+
PAXCESS Pool Cleaner
PAXCESS Pool CleanerPAXCESS Pool Cleaner
  • Maximum water depth: 6.6 feet
  • 60 to 90 minutes of working time
  • PRICE RANGE: Under $300
  • Maximum water depth: 6.6 feet
  • 60 to 90 minutes of working time
  • PRICE RANGE: Under $300
Check price
at Amazon
BUDGET PICK
3.8
1+
1+
KUPPET Pool Cleaner
KUPPET Pool CleanerKUPPET Pool Cleaner
  • Maximum cleaning area: 150m²
  • 2-hour cleaning cycle
  • PRICE RANGE: Under $400
  • Maximum cleaning area: 150m²
  • 2-hour cleaning cycle
  • PRICE RANGE: Under $400
Check price
at Amazon
EDITOR’S PICK
Dolphin Nautilus CC
Pool scum meet your match.

There is no one perfect pool cleaner for everybody, but our editor’s pick for best automatic pool cleaner is the Dolphin Nautilus with CleverClean Robotic Pool Cleaner.

4.2
620+
620+
  • Active brush makes scrubbing and cleaning more effectively
  • Top load filtration filters out debris
  • PRICE RANGE: Under $600

Best Robotic Above-Ground Pool Cleaners Under $300

PAXCESS Cordless Automatic Pool Cleaner

PAXCESS Cordless Automatic Pool Cleaner

Features

  • Maximum water depth: 6.6 feet
  • 60 to 90 minutes of working time
  • 12.1 lbs

You’re not going to find the best or most reliable products at a bargain price. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t any good options, however. The PAXCESS Cordless Automatic Pool Cleaner isn’t the most effective robotic cleaner, but it’s a great pick for its price. The best thing about it is that it charges in only 4.5 to 6 hours.

Unlike some types of pool cleaners, this one can work up to 90 minutes on a single charge. It uses a deflector and a 5,000 mAh battery-powered motor to clean your pool. It works at the speed of 16 meters per minute.

Although this is an automatic pool cleaner, it sometimes has issues with the on/off knob which easily turns off the cleaner.

Pros
  • Fast
  • Simple to use
Cons
  • Lightweight
  • Issues with the on/off knob

Best Robotic Above-Ground Pool Cleaners Under $400

KUPPET Automatic Pool Cleaner

KUPPET Automatic Pool Cleaner

Features

  • Maximum cleaning area: 150m²
  • 2-hour cleaning cycle
  • 24.1 lbs

The KUPPET Automatic Pool Cleaner looks a bit different from the last one, it functions in much the same way and has a similar set of requirements. However, it has a cord.

This model has an implemented filtration system and runs off your power source. It has great suction and is good at cleaning flat floors, but it will have issues with slopes more than 15 degrees. It has a speed of 15 to 18 meters per minute.

This one isn’t a pool cleaner suitable for big pools. Even so, this is a much better tool to clean your pool than mechanical tools, and it’s absolutely worth the money.

Pros
  • Fast
  • Simple to use
  • Soft sponge brushes
Cons
  • Issues with working on slopes

Nu Cobalt NC23 Smart Logic Robotic Pool Cleaner

Nu Cobalt NC23 Smart Logic Robotic Pool Cleaner

Features

  • Maximum water depth: 8 feet
  • 2-hour cleaning cycle
  • 18 lbs

If you’re looking for something a little more automatic than the last two pool cleaners, or a model that isn’t connected to the filtration system, you might want to consider the NC23 Smart Logic Robotic Pool Cleaner from Nu Cobalt.

Like the last two pool cleaners, the NC23 uses vacuum suction to clean up leaves and debris from the pool. It also uses a filtration system with a jumbo size filter bag. It has tough, durable wheels that allow it to navigate obstacles and climb up the walls of your pool, and it has a 2-hour cleaning cycle.

The cleaner can go up to 8 feet in depth and its 40-feet long power cord makes it perfect to use if you have a power source that’s further away from the pool.

The NC23 is a great option for medium to big above ground pools, as well as most in ground ones. It picks up the smallest debris. The only downside to it is that it sometimes leaves behind bigger debris, such as leaves.

Pros
  • Fast
  • Simple to use
  • Comes with a scrubbing brush
Cons
  • Leaves behind bigger debris

Best Robotic Above-Ground Pool Cleaners Under $500

Dolphin E10 Automatic Robotic Pool Cleaner

Dolphin E10 Automatic Robotic Pool Cleaner

Features

  • Useful handle
  • 1.5-hour cleaning cycle
  • 22.7 lbs

The Dolphin E10 is in the pricier range, but this one will leave your pool spotless. Its cleaning cycle takes just 1.5-hour and it can clean a 30-inch long pool in that time.

This model doesn’t require additional hoses or pumps. You simply plug it in and put it in the pool to work. The top load filter basket catches the debris and when you need to empty It out, it has a quick water release that lets the water out and keeps the debris trapped in.

The only downside to it is that you must buy a separate fine filter to get rid of the tiniest particles. Still, the company accepts returns in the 30-day frame, so make sure to try it out in that timeframe.

Pros
  • Extremely fast
  • Simple to use
  • Useful handle
Cons
  • Leaves behind bigger debris without the fine filter

Best Robotic Above-Ground Pool Cleaners Under $600

Dolphin Nautilus CC Automatic Robotic Pool Cleaner

Dolphin Nautilus CC Automatic Robotic Pool Cleaner

Features

  • Active brush makes scrubbing and cleaning more effectively
  • 2-hour cleaning cycle
  • 14 lbs

The Dolphin Nautilus with CleverClean represents some of the latest in pool cleaning technology. This model premiered in mid-2017, and offers an array of features and tools that make cleaning your pool a cinch. Like the Aquabot Junior, the Dolphin Nautilus moves along by continuous track.

Unlike the last previous cleaner, however, the scrubbing brush is attached to a second rotary. At 14 pounds, the Nautilus is lighter than the Aquabot Junior, and with a two-hour cleaning cycle it operates more quickly as well.It utilizes CleverClean scanning technology to scan your pool and chart the most efficient path. It scrubs and filters your pool simultaneously, and it can scale your walls vertically.

The Dolphin Nautilus also has an advanced timer that allows you to schedule your cleaning schedule, be it daily, weekly, or something else.It has a 50-foot cable, a large filtration basket to capture debris and particles, and is backed by a one-year warranty.

The one think it lacks is a vacuum-cleaning system, but considering its advanced tracking technology and industry-leading energy efficiency, those are small bones to pick.

Pros
  • Automatically cleans your pool at regular intervals
  • Weighs less than 15 pounds
  • Backed by a one-year warranty
Cons
  • Cable is easily damaged

Best Robotic Above-Ground Pool Cleaners Under $700

Hayward 2025ADV Pool Vac Pool Cleaner

Hayward 2025ADV Pool Vac Pool Cleaner

Features

  • Turbine power system
  • 6-hour cleaning cycle
  • 18.96 lbs

The Hayward 2025ADV Pool Vac Pool Cleaner is a major step up from the previous models in a lot of ways. There’s still a couple of features that I’m not completely crazy about, but this robotic cleaner gets a lot of things right.

One of the biggest differences between the Hayward 2025ADV and the previous ones, instead of using its own filtration system, the cleaner connects directly to the pool’s filtration system. It runs off a turbine power system that is virtually silent, a welcome change from some other, more expensive models.

It also follows a pre-programmed course designed to clean the pool in the most efficient manner possible. It even scales the walls of your pool. This also frees you up to do other things while the cleaner does its job.

That right there is the biggest problem with this model, however. I love that it takes a hands-off cleaning approach, but it takes a long time to clean the pool – as much as six hours. If cleaning the pool is just a routine maintenance task you’re checking off a list, this isn’t a big deal.

But if you want to clean the pool before you get in, that six hour waiting period is awfully annoying. Still, the quiet operation and easy maneuverability are both excellent features that make this mid-priced model easy to recommend.

Pros
  • Silent turbine power system
  • Every part can be replaced
Cons
  • Issues with functioning after a few weeks of use

Aquabot Junior Automatic Robotic In Ground Pool Cleaner

Aquabot Junior Automatic Robotic In Ground Pool Cleaner

Features

  • Dual super grip scrubbing brushes
  • 4-hour cleaning cycle
  • 16.5 lbs

Aquabot returns to the scene with a heavy-duty pool cleaner designed to thoroughly scrub your pool, leading to a much more efficient clean. The Aquabot Junior Robotic Pool Cleaner features durable scrubbing bristles connected to a continuous track that scourges your pool of algae, dirt and grime.

The Aquabot Junior cleans your pool in a variety of ways. It vacuums leaves, insects and other debris. It scrubs off algae and dirt that may have gathered on the surface, and it also has a microfilter to purify the water from floating particles. The Aquabot utilizes ultra-fine filtration bags that capture particles as small as two microns. And it weighs less than 20 pounds, so it’s not excessively heavy, either.

The Aquabot Junior has a 50-foot long cable, and can be used on either a four-hour cycle or set for a continuous run. It’s designed to work with virtually any pool material, including vinyl pools. The cleaner does have some faults – the cable that connects the cleaner is a little fragile and comes apart easily. But with a little bit of care, this is an excellent pool cleaner and a great substitute for chemicals.

Pros
  • Leaves your pool spotlessly clean
  • Every part can be replaced
Cons
  • Issues with functioning after a few weeks of use

Best Robotic Above-Ground Pool Cleaners Under $1000

Dolphin Nautilus CC Plus Automatic Robotic Pool Cleaner

Dolphin Nautilus CC Plus Automatic Robotic Pool Cleaner

Features

  • 3 cleaning settings
  • 2 twin cartridge filters
  • 19 lbs

If you’re looking for something a little more powerful than the basic Dolphin Nautilus, the Dolphin 99996403-PC Nautilus Plus is a major upgrade to an already effective robotic pool cleaner. The Nautilus Plus features several major improvements, including a sleek design and easy, do-it=yourself maintenance that makes this a great pool cleaner.

Almost everything about the less expensive Dolphin Nautilus model is improved here. The cable is 10 feet longer, allowing this cleaner to cover more of an area and service a larger pool. It comes with a two-year warranty on parts and labor – twice as long as the standard Nautilus. It has been redesigned to be easier to access, and the filters can be removed and cleaned much more quickly than before.

The Nautilus Plus is programmed with the same tracking technology, which helps it to clean your pool more quickly and efficiently, and it features a weekly programmable timer schedule as well. Weighing just under 19 pounds, it’s a little heavier than its lesser cousin, and because of the vacuum, it takes a little longer to clean as well – about two and a half hours on average.

It’s more expensive than the basic models, but the extra features definitely make it a lot more user-friendly.

Pros
  • Strong suction
  • Leaves your pool spotlessly clean
  • Easy to use
Cons
  • Issues with functioning after a few weeks of use

Best Robotic Above-Ground Pool Cleaners Under $1500

Polaris F9550 Sport Robotic In-Ground Pool Cleaner

Polaris F9550 Sport Robotic In-Ground Pool Cleaner

Features

  • Remote control
  • 7-day programmable timer
  • 43.6 lbs

If you’re looking for the coolest, shiniest pool cleaner around, look no further. The Polaris F9550 is sexy. With its large, four-wheel drive wheels and its smooth, sleek frame, its appearance resembles that of a flashy sports car. What’s under the hood is what matters most, of course, and the Polaris F9550 Sport does not disappoint.

As you might expect from an advanced pool cleaner, the Polaris Sport utilizes ActivMotion Sensor Technology, which enables it to plot the most efficient route of navigation through any pool, even those with irregular designs. And its large, four-wheel drive wheels help it to scale any surface.

It utilizes a combination of filters, vacuum technology and scrubbing bristles, and it can even clean hard-to-reach areas, such as the surfaces around the stairs that other robotic pool cleaners just can’t navigate.

Like the Dolphin pool cleaners, the Polaris Sport also features a seven-day programmable timer, and it also includes a remote control so you can activate it or even guide it by yourself if you want to. Like some of the other models, it features top-access debris removal, making it easier to clean it out.

Like the last two pool cleaners, the biggest downside is its weight. At 43 pounds, it’s a little lighter than the SharkVac, but you might want to use that remote control to get it where you want it to go. It features a 60-foot cable, a 110V transformer and a filter cannister.

Pros
  • Strong suction
  • Remote control
  • Easy to use
Cons
  • Issues with flipping over when in use

Best Robotic Above-Ground Pool Cleaners Under $3000

Dolphin C5 Commercial Robotic Pool Cleaner

Dolphin C5 Commercial Robotic Pool Cleaner

Features

  • CleverClean technology
  • 4-hour cleaning cycle
  • 24.25 lbs

Our final entry in the Dolphin family of robotic pool cleaners is the finest model yet – the Dolphin C5. Major improvements include a caddy for easy portability and storage and the addition of vacuum-cleaning technology for an even better cleaning performance in pools up to 88 feet.  

The Dolphin C5 represents yet another major redesign, with even more effort put into ensuring its ease of use. In addition to its dual scrubbing bristles and its filtration system with fine (90µ) and ultra-fine (50µ) filtration bags, vacuum technology has also been installed that makes it even more effective at cleaning.

Like the other high-end models, it uses self-programmed scanning CleverClean technology for a more efficient performance and is backed by a two-year warranty.

The biggest drawback of this model is that you have to clean the filter bags after each use. I’d expect more from a commercial-grade cleaner, but except for this flaw, it’s a heavy-duty pool cleaner.

Pros
  • Strong suction
  • CleverClean technology
  • Easy to use
Cons
  • Filters need to be cleaned after each use

Conclusion

As you can see, robotic pool cleaners come in a wide variety of forms, from relatively simple vacuums connected to your filtration system to completely independent robots with advanced sensors and features.

Picking the right robot for your pool is not a decision to take lightly. If you’re still not sure which model to go with, the Dolphin Nautilus is a great choice, especially for larger pools. But whatever you choose, you can buy it with confidence.

Lea Kuscer Avatar
Written by
Lea Kuscer
Lea Kuscer is a nature admirer, ecological cosmetics and jewelry maker, avid traveler, language professor by trade, but above all, a marketing maniac who's enthusiastic about testing new products. Her mission is to share her passion with gadget lovers and those who would like to make their life more comfortable with the best products on the market. Let's get on an exploring adventure together!