Having a swimming pool at home in your backyard is an incomparable joy on a hot summer afternoon when the sun is shining and a cool dip in the water makes you feel like life is one big vacation. Something that I’m sure does not fit so well into your Summer fantasies is scrubbing dirt, grime, and algae off the swimming pool tiles. Pools require regular maintenance and there is no escaping that fact, but it no longer needs to be a tiresome and time-consuming task. Robotic Pool Cleaners are changing the way we maintain our pools for the better, with less time flustering and more time floating.
With the right device, pool maintenance day will no longer be dreaded, but it’s important to choose a machine suitable for your pool. In this guide we will look at the considerations you should make before buying a robotic pool cleaner, and how to know if it is right for you. There are three main questions to ask yourself before you start the search:
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1. What type of pool do you have?
Inground or above ground: Although
a lot of robotic pool cleaners will be designed to work in either above-ground or in-ground pools, there are some built specifically for one or the other.
Tile material: The material the surface of your pool tiles is made of will determine what type of brush you need. For example; vinyl, fiberglass, or smooth tile will need a nylon brush to avoid scratches, but
gunite or concrete could use tougher brush bristles, like stainless steel.
Pool shape: Different machines have different methods of movement, and some handle corners better than others, so if you have an angular pool you should make sure you pick a model capable of efficiently cleaning the corners. The same applies to pools with stairs, indentations or any other additionally integrated obstacles- some robot pool cleaners will have no trouble maneuvering around then, whereas others will struggle.
Pool size: The robots are attached to a power cord, so you need to be sure the cord is long enough for the machine to comfortably move around the pool to the farthest point from the power source. The width, length, and depth of your pool should be accurately recorded before buying a machine so you only consider machines with a compatible cord. You should also note, the power source must be at least 12ft away from the edge of the pool, so remember to factor that into your measurements.
2. What level of cleaning do you require?
How much help do you want?: Some people like to do the bulk of their cleaning manually but want a little help from the robot for the hardest parts. In this case look for a machine with minimal cleaning functions (floor only), which will understandably be the least expensive. The higher level of cleaning provided, the bigger the price tag, with the highest-end machines able to clean every part of the pool.
How much do you use your pool? : If you don’t use the pool often, you might only need a machine to clean the floor. If you have a lot of people in and out of the pool often, you are better to go for a model that can also clean the cove and at least part of the walls.
Think about the level of the debris your pool collects: The more debris your pool is prone to collecting, the more robust your robot will need to be. The type of debris is also an important factor. If you live in a place with a lot of dust and sand that often finds its way into the water, you need fine filtered cleaning. If leaves and twigs are the more problems you face then you need a machine with a large capacity filter basket, otherwise, it will fill up too quickly.
Suction power vs scrubbing brushes: Some high-end machines use multiple types of cleaning techniques; however, others use either suction cleaning to pick up and clear any grime on the surfaces or focus more on scrubbing to remove trapped spores and dirt. If you chose a machine with no scrubbing brush, you will need to do it manually.
3. What features and functions are most important to you?
Controls and programming: Some machines come with app control and pre-programmed settings. This can be useful if you want to leave it to clean while you are not at home.
Filtration system: Not all robotic pool cleaners have a filtration bag attached. Without a bag, the machine will clean the surfaces and rely on your swimming pool’s filter to clear the debris. This is fine but does leave more work for the filter. If the machine has an attached basket, it kills two birds with one stone.
Weight: Some machines are heavier than others and can be harder to lift in and out of the water- especially after cleaning when the machine will be filled with water and debris, so will have additional weight. You might want to consider a caddy machine to help with transporting the robot to and from the pool.
Power washing jets: If you want a more in-depth clean, power washing jets would be a feature to look out for. Not every machine will have them, but those that
do will clear dirt and grime from the surfaces faster and more effectively.
Swivel cords: Swivel cords aim to prevent the wire from becoming tangled and restricting the machine’s movements. They are not infallible but will be useful if you need to leave the machine unattended.
Ease of maintenance: Looking after your robotic pool cleaner properly will prolong its lifespan and help it perform at maximum capacity for as long as possible. If you want an easy life, choose a machine with low maintenance needs.
Advantages Of Having A Robotic Pool Cleaner
The main reason most people dream of owning one of these incredible machines is the time-saving aspect. I think it’s safe to say that nobody loves cleaning their pool and looks forward to the tedious chore of scrubbing the surfaces for hours on end. With a robotic cleaner, you just plug it in, program and position it, and let it do its thing. Although you still may need to adjust the cable and get the machine out of the pool, cleaned and stored away when it finishes the cycle, it’s a far cry from the mammoth task of manually cleaning a swimming pool.
For some people, cleaning a pool effectively is s
imply not a feasible option, either due to poor health, time-induced aches, and pains, or a disability. Some may be lucky enough to have a much-appreciated friend or family member to help out, but otherwise paying for a professional pool cleaning service can become extremely costly over time. The upfront cost of
a robotic pool cleaner will pale in comparison to years of invoices for services rendered, so for those incapable of the manual labor involved with pool cleaning, this is an excellent investment.
Pool pumps and filters work hard to keep your pool clear and safe to swim in, so any helping hand can keep them ticking over better and for longer. Even if you are
dedicated to the upkeep and maintenance of your pool, you simply cannot collect the many harmful particles and debris that your filter and pump work to contain, so a pool cleaning robot with a filtering basket attached would be a
Robots help keep your pool healthy. There are a lot of invisible bacteria that thrive in crevices and under ledges in your pool that not only affect the cleanliness but can have an eventual impact on your health if left unchecked. Luckily, these pesky little invaders are no match for a robotic pool cleaner.
Because these machines provide a much higher level of in-depth cleaning than can be achieved manually, you won’t need to treat your pool with so many harsh chemicals so often. This not only saves money on stocking up your concoction of chemical balancers; it is also beneficial for the environment. When you pour the substances into the water, particles are released into the air, and if you ever have cause to drain your pool, the highly chemicalized water- if not properly disposed of- can also cause environmental damage, which we can all agree is best avoided.
Disadvantages Of Having A Robotic Pool Cleaner
The most obvious downside of a robot pool cleaner is the expense; there is no sugar coating the fact that these machines are not cheap. The cheapest machines are on par with descent pressure or side-suction cleaners but are far less durable and have minimal functions and capabilities. A robotic pool cleaner is an investment, and while it is sure to pay off if you pay more for a higher quality machine, the upfront cost can be somewhat affronting.
If your pool has vinyl tiling
, you must be careful about what brush your machine is using. Anything other than a nylon brush can easily damage the surface of a vinyl tile so check the specifics before you buy.
The power cord to the machine can be a little frustrating if it gets tangled. The swivel cord feature helps with this but doesn’t always manage to put a stop to it entirely. Cords can be a trip hazard if you don’t pay attention and can require some adjusting mid-cycle if they get caught. For the first few times, you have the machine running, keep an eye on the cord to see if it happens. Unfortunately, there is no way to know for sure before you buy, but making sure you choose an option with the swivel cord mechanism will at least reduce the frequency of cord mishaps.
While the robotic cleaner will save you a huge amount of time and effort on pool maintenance, it will still require a little TLC of its own. It’s worth taking a good look at the warranty agreement before committing to a purchase, and seeking extended warranty add ons wherever possible as repairs can be costly. See below for a full guide on how to best care for your new robotic friend and avoid unnecessary damage.
You cannot swim while the machine is at work. Water + electricity + the human body does not have the best track record and although there are automatic safety measures in place, it’s best to take no risks even with the highest quality devices. Stay clear of the pool until the job is finished, the machine has powered down, and is safely stored away until next time.
Tips And Tricks For Looking After Your Robotic Pool Cleaner
If you have decided to splash out- no pun intended- on a robotic pool cleaner, the chances are you want it to last long enough to get your money’s worth. When pro
perly cared for and maintained, a good quality machine can last for years so don’t throw away the owner’s handbook or instruction manual so you will always have access to the best practice. Here are some tips from existing owners of robotic pool cleaners on how best to operate and look after the machine:
Before you start the cycle, double-check the filter is connected properly with the doors completely shut and locked otherwise the machine won’t run and you’ll have to pull it back out and try again.
If you have a beach-style pool with a gradually sloping entrance, the robot might get flipped over when it is trying to climb the wall near the shallow section. If the water isn’t deep enough for it to correct itself, the machine should shut down automatically. Keep an eye on the progress in this area so you don’t come
back expecting the job to be finished and your machine has been stuck the entire time.
Always remove the robot from the pool when the cycle ends. Not only is it common sense to avoid electric shocks and allow everyone to get back into the pool safely, but the motor can also be damaged if left idle in the water for a long time.
Sometimes debris might fall from the machine as you are lifting it out. A good way to minimize this is to keep it steady and upright while lifting it either very slowly, or very quickly if you can manage.
After removing it from the pool, be sure to thoroughly drain the machine of all the water. The instruction handbook will explain how to do this and there are also informational videos online.
Avoid the temptation of procrastination. When the cycle finishes it can be hard to motivate yourself to empty and clean the filter, drain the water, and clear any trapped debris from the brush and wheels, especially when your freshly cleaned pool looks so appealing! However, if you want to prolong the life of your robot and keep it working the way it should, it has to be done.
Something that can help with the cord tangling issue is stretching the power cord out completely (after the cycle is over and the machine is clean) and leave it laid out in the sunshine for a while before packing it away.
Make sure you store your machine somewhere safe and protected from the elements. Too much exposure to direct sunlight will not do it any favors, and the electric components can suffer damage if caught in the
Don’t give up all other forms of pool maintenance entirely and leave more work than the robotic cleaner can handle. You should still regularly check the PH and chlorine balances and do some light cleaning here and there. If your robot goes in to tackle a filthy, algae
ridden pool it will struggle after a while and its life span could well be shortened.
If your robot seems to be having trouble climbing the walls, it is likely the tracks that are at fault. Over time, the roller tracks will become stretched and a little loose, so it may be time to replace them if you notice the climbing abilities failing.
Don’t waste time with old brushes and filters; replace them straight away at the first sign of wear and tear. Running the machine with subpar attachments will lead to a shoddy cleaning job and can impact the long-term performance of the robot.
These simple tasks will take up far less of your precious time than manual cleaning an entire pool, and after investing good money in a robotic pool cleaner, any steps you can take to keep it running for as long as possible is surely worth it.
What Is One Of The Best Robotic Pool Cleaners?
One of our top recommended machines is the Dolphin Premier Robotic Pool Cleaner with Powerful Dual Scrubbing Brushes.
This high-end model comes with all the bells and whistles and a three-year quality assurance promise to back it all up. The swivel enhanced cord is long enough to clean inground pools up to 50ft and is ultra convenient with button control, various sized filter cartridges, and extra powerful brushes to clean all sections of the pool. It also uses smart algorithms and scanning systems to map out the shape and size of your pool, saving time and energy.
To sum up, a robotic pool cleaner is not a cheap and easy fix to wipe out any future need for cleaning; it is a time and energy saving investment that can be a game changing helping hand for many years if properly cared for.