When you own a swimming pool, one of the biggest responsibilities you have is keeping it clean. If you want to save yourself a lot of time and avoid manual labor, an automatic swimming pool cleaner is a good idea. There are three different types of automatic cleaners: suction side, pressure side, and robotic. In this post, we will discuss the pros and cons of each type of pool cleaner.

suction side pool cleanerssuction side pool cleaners

Suction Side Pool Cleaners

As the name implies, suction side pool cleaners work by using the suction from your main pool pump to suck up dirt and debris on the pool floor.

Pros of Suction Side Cleaners

  • Suction side cleaner repairs are usually simple and parts are relatively affordable.
  • Since these cleaners run off the main circulation pump, they will run on the same schedule and don’t need to be taken in and out of the pool very often.
  • Suction side cleaners are generally more affordable than other types of automatic pool cleaners.
  • No additional pool equipment is required to run a suction side cleaner, so using one will not increase your electric bills.
    Suction side cleaners are excellent for cleaning the pool floor.

Cons of Suction Side Cleaners

  • Suction side cleaners require a lot of suction to do their job. They can use as much as 75% of the suction that would normally be going to the pool skimmer and main drain. This decreases the effectiveness of your circulation system.
  • A dedicated suction line is required to run a suction side cleaner, and not all pools have one. When pool owners plug their cleaner into the skimmer line, it completely cuts off the skimmer from helping with pool circulation. Not a good idea.
  • A leaf canister is highly recommended when using a suction side cleaner to stop large debris from getting into the filtration system, adding to the price of the cleaner.

Doheny’s Suction Side Cleaner Picks

Check out the Pentair Kreepy Krauly Suction Pool Cleaner for inground pools and the Hayward Aqua Critter or the Baracuda Ranger Pool Cleaner by Zodiac for above ground pools.

pressure side pool cleanerspressure side pool cleaners

 Pressure Side Pool Cleaners

Pressure side pool cleaners run off of the main circulation pump like suction side pool cleaners, but they sometimes require a booster pump. These cleaners attach to the pressure or return side of the pool pump, and the water that is being returned to the pool propels them along the pool surfaces.

Pros of Pressure Side Pool Cleaners

  • Pressure side cleaners are generally less expensive than robotic cleaners.
  • Parts are widely available and relatively affordable. With regular maintenance, repairs are usually simple.
  • Since these cleaners run off the main circulation pump, they will run on the same schedule and don’t need to be taken in and out of the pool very often.

Cons of Pressure Side Pool Cleaners

  • Most pressure side pool cleaners require a booster pump, which increases your up front cost and monthly energy bills. 
  • Pressure side cleaners that don’t require a separate booster pump draw a lot of circulation away from the pool pump and pool returns. 
  • Most pressure side cleaners do not climb pool walls as well and often do not clean at the waterline.
  • Pressure side cleaners do not scrub or pressure clean the pool surfaces.
  • These cleaners have a lot of moving parts that can wear out and require replacement from time to time, including bearings, tail scrubs, filter bags, and tires.

Doheny’s Pressure Side Pool Cleaner Picks

For your above ground pool, the Polaris Vac-Sweep 65 Pressure Pool Cleaner is a great choice, while the Polaris 360 Pool Cleaner is a high quality, reliable inground pressure cleaner.

robotic pool cleanersrobotic pool cleaners

Robotic Pool Cleaners

Robotic pool cleaners are stand alone units that do not run off of your existing pool pump. They have their own power supply, cable, and motor.

Pros of Robotic Pool Cleaners

  • Because robotic cleaners do not use suction or pressure from your pool pump, they do not take any power away from it. This means your circulation system can function to the best of its ability.
  • These cleaners are excellent for cleaning the pool floor, walls, and tile line. 
  • Some robotic cleaners have Wi-Fi and bluetooth capabilities so you can control and schedule them directly from an app on your mobile device. 
  • Built-in brushes that scrub pool surfaces are a common feature.
  • Robotic cleaners require less energy than a booster pump.
  • Robotic cleaners tend to require fewer repairs than other types of automatic cleaners.

Cons of Robotic Pool Cleaners

  • Robotic cleaners have a higher purchase price than most suction or pressure side cleaners.
  • Replacement parts are more expensive than other types of cleaners and are not as readily available.
  • Robotic cleaners require more work from the pool owner. They are not designed to run on a daily schedule. While some models may have a 7-day programmable feature for times when you are away, you generally need to set the cycle time at each cleaning. In between cleanings, the cleaner should be removed from the pool, rinsed and stored in a shaded area.

Doheny’s Robotic Pool Cleaner Picks

For a top performing robotic inground pool cleaner, check out Doheny’s 250 Inground Robotic Cleaner Powered by Aquabot. If you have an above ground pool, you won’t be disappointed by the Dolphin E10 Series Robotic Cleaner.

When you want a sparkling clean pool, an automatic pool cleaner can take a lot of the work out of removing dirt and debris from your water. Doheny’s carries a huge selection of automatic pool cleaners for all types of pools and pool surfaces, including vinyl, fiberglass, and gunite pools.  If you need help selecting the right pool cleaner for your pool, or if you have questions about any of our pool supplies, don’t hesitate to call our pool experts today at 800-574-7665 or visit us online at doheny.com.