Which Is The Best Robotic Pool Vacuum Cleaner For You?


Think Before You Dive In!

This article follows on from our previous article ‘Which Pool Cleaner is right for You’.
We realised that it would be useful to provide pool owners with tips about robotic cleaners, if that’s the way they have decided to go.
As before, you might think that the choices would be fairly simple.
But as before, there are a few things to consider, and a little forethought can once again save a lot of regret later on.
We’re able to share what we’ve learnt having seen different robotic cleaners being used in different types of pools pools.
And by having conversations with lots of different pool owners, and people who are looking to buy a robotic pool cleaner.
We will try to focus on the important points, and be as objective as we can.
Of course, it’s given that we (and many of our customers) think that our battery powered pool cleaners are a wonderful innovation.

Asking The right Questions

The most relevant qualifying questions that we always ask anyone who calls us are as follows:
  • What is the Shape and design of your pool?: Not all pools are a standard shape, whereas most pool cleaners are designed for standard pools.
  • What is the surface of the pool?: Concrete, Peblecrete, Quartzite, Fibreglass, Vinyl, all provide different levels of traction.
  • Are there any unusual features or obstacles?: Ledges, Swimouts, Wading Areas, ‘Soldiers’, Bowls, etc… pose a challenge for pool robots
  • What sort of junk do you get in your pool? Leaves, Fronds, Dust, Pollen, will get picked up in different ways.
  • Do you want a wall climber or just a floor cleaner? Often, a floor only cleaner can provide a better solution.
  • Where do you live? In the far north of Australia, the strong sun has been known to perish pool power cables.

The Best Robotic Pool Cleaners For Different Pool Designs

Pool Size

The robot is there to clean the surface, not filter the pool.
So when we say size is important, we mean surface area, not volume. Here’s an example:
  • For a 10m x 5m pool with average depth of 1.7m.
  • It has a surface area of about 100 sqm, including floor and walls.
  • Let’s say the cleaner is 25cm wide, and goes at 10m per minute.
  • In that case it should cover up to 600 sqm in a 2 hour run.
Allowing for it to go over the same spots several times, that should be plenty of coverage.
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Pool Shape

A particular challenge for robotic cleaners can be posed by lap pools that are long and narrow:
  • That’s because robots usually to coverage by ‘crabbing’ sideways along the waterline.
  • Then they reverse back into the pool at a different place to which they surface.
  • With a narrow lap pool, we have seen cleaners ‘ping-pong’ from side to side.
  • That’s because of the harmonics of their forward and reverse motion.
  • The width may just be in tune with the timing of when they surface on either side of the pool.

‘Kidney’ Shaped Pools

Another issue can occur with some older kidney pool designs have a ‘bowl’ at the deep end:
  • We have seen cleaners get ‘trapped’ in this bowl and not be able to travel to the shallow end.
  • Again, this is a result of the ‘harmonics’ of the forward/reverse action of the cleaner.
  • In most cases, these timings can’t be changed. But they can with the robotzoo Balmain Bug I
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Pool Design

Pools can come in all kinds of exotic shapes and sizes.
And it seems that pool designers don’t always consider the aspect of cleaning.
Take for example an infinity pool with a spillover channel. How are you supposed to keep that clean?
A robot is not going to leave the main pool on its own and then go clean the channel.
Other features can also cause challenges, for example:
  • Many fibreglass pools have ledges on their sides, with varying widths.
  • Some pools have wading areas , which could be too shallow for a robot to work properly.
  • Steps are always a challenge for robots to navigate, depending on the width of the step.
  • Some pools can have a spa are which is separated by just a shallow ledge.
  • Ladders into the pool are another obstacle on which a robot could get caught.
  • Built-in stools, columns, or soldiers, are other features on which a robot may become tangled.

Pool Surrounds

Also, there may not be any power outlet near the pool to plug it in to.
Or the pool may be too large for its cable. Except for robotzoo cleaners that have no messy cables.
A lot of the above points may not be  obvious to the pool owner until they start using the robot.
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The Best Robotic Pool Cleaner For Tiles, Concrete, Fibreglass, etc.

Not every type of cleaner is good for every type of surface. As far as pool cleaners go, it’s all about grip, eg:

Large Gloss Tiles

These are very smooth, like you would find in an olympic pool. Consider the following:
  • The cleaner will need a soft, spongy roller or wheel to get traction on the tiles.
  • Also, pools with these tiles will have square edges, in corners, and between the floor and wall.
  • This is especially important for a wall climbing robot, because it needs to cross this boundary.
  • There’s a  jet of water that presses the cleaner against the wall while it’s climbing.
  • The same water jet  also forces it against the floor.
  • And the front roller / wheel / tractor needs to get enough grip on the wall to overcome this force.
  • That’s why we recommend foam rollers rather than nylon rollers for pools with large gloss tiles
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Small Mosaic Tiles

Smaller mosaic tiles are easier for a robot to navigate than pools with large gloss tiles:
  • These tiles usually have a more uneven surface, and the edges and grouting help provide grip.
  • Also, the boundary between wall and floor, and the corners of these pools are usually rounded.
  • This makes it easier for the robot to transition between floor and walls.
  • So foam rollers are not essential for these types of pools.
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Concrete surfaces are usually smooth, and could be coated with a waterproofing substrate:
  • The floor / wall boundary, and the corners of concrete pools are usually rounded.
  • Traction is still an important consideration for robotic pool cleaners in concrete pools.
  • Nylon rollers will work, but foam rollers will perform better, as they will gain more traction.
And more traction will lead to less slippage, so a robotic cleaner with foam rollers will cover more area.
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Pebblecrete or Quartzite

  • Pools with these surfaces are basically concrete pools with a more grippy surface.
  • The same applies for these pools as with concrete pools.
  • Nylon rollers will work well, and foam rollers even better.
  • The rougher surfaces may just wear out the foam rollers quicker than they would the nylon type.
Pool, Surface


Vinyl surfaces are associated with above-ground pools, but in-ground can also have a vinyl lining:
  • Vinyl surfaces can provide good traction, as long as they are clean and not covered in algae.
  • The important thing is to not stretch, tear, or abrade the lining, although it is usually quite tough.
  • The wheels or rollers of a robotic cleaner should be soft enough so as not to damage the lining.
  • Also, the boundary between floor and walls is going to be more right angled.
  • These factors suggest a cleaner with foam rollers if the owner is looking for a wall climber.
Otherwise, we would recommend a floor only cleaner that will pick up junk from the bottom of the pool.
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  • Fibreglass pool surfaces can provide reasonable traction, as long as they are clean.
  • The surface can become slippery over time, as it gets wear, and exposure to the elements.
  • The boundary between floor and walls will usually be moulded (curved).
  • So a cleaner with nylon rollers will likely work if the owner is looking for a wall climber.
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The Best Swimming Pool Robot Cleaner For Your Situation


The width of the steps are key for a robotic pool cleaner with rollers/wheels to be able to climb steps.
  • Any pool cleaner is susceptible to being stuck on steps.
  • We’ve seen it happen whether they have wheels or rollers, or are automatic.
  • The steps need to be wider than the cleaner itself.
  • The cleaner will need to have both rollers/wheels on the floor to be able to climb the step.
  • If a roller/wheel is hanging off the lower step, it won’t be able to push itself up onto the next one.
  • Also, if the cleaner managed to get onto the top step, the depth would probably be too shallow.
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Where the pool has a ledge, that can be difficult for a robotic pool cleaner with rollers/wheels.
If the ledge is very narrow (like a foothold), or very wide, then it should not cause any problems.
The issue arises if the ledge is just slightly narrower than the width of the robot:
  • The robot will climb the wall up to the ledge, and its front roller/wheels will climb above it.
  • Then the jet of water that presses the cleaner against the wall will push it over onto the ledge.
  • If the robot is able to get both front and back rollers/wheels onto the ledge, it will climb higher.
  • But if the back roller/wheels hang off the ledge, then the robot won’t get over it.

Ledge Width

If the ledge is very narrow, like a foothold), something different happens:
  • The robot will climb the wall up to the ledge, and its front roller/wheels will climb above it.
  • Then the jet of water that presses the cleaner against the wall will push it over onto the wall.
  • The robot will have front and back rollers/wheels in contact with the wall, and keep climbing.

Ledge Depth

Also, the depth of the ledge below the water surface is important:
  • If it is very shallow, (less than the width of the robot) then the robot will stick out of the water.
  • If the center of buoyancy of the robot goes above the surface, then it may tip back into the pool.
  • When this happens, the robot usually tumbles back to the bottom, and lands on its feet.

Wading Areas or Swimouts

A wading area is like a wide, shallow ledge, and can also pose an issue for robotic pool cleaners.
As for shallow ledges in the above discussion,  the depth of the swimout/ledge is important:
  • The issue happens when the device tries to climb the walls of the shallow wading area.
  • If it is very shallow, (less than the width of the robot) then the robot will stick out of the water.
  • If the center of buoyancy of the robot goes above the surface, then it may tip back as a ledge.
  • When this happens, the robot cannot tumble back to the bottom of the pool.
  • It will tumble back onto the shallow wading area, and could even ‘turn turtle’.
  • If the device then ends up on its back, on the wading area, it will usually turn itself off.
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Ladders and Handrails

Pool ladders are an obstruction that can affect robotic pool cleaners and automatic cleaners equally.

  • Neither robotic cleaners nor automatic cleaners are likely to be able to get behind the structure.
  • Hoses and cables may become tangled or stuck in the frames of ladders or handrails.
  • Robotzoo pool cleaning robots do not have cables, so they are less susceptible to this problem.
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Other Factors When Considering Robotic Pool Cleaners For Sale

Particle Size

The smallest particle size picked up by robotic pool cleaners is determined by the filter mesh size.
This is especially relevant for pool owners who are moving from a suction cleaner to a robotic cleaner. Starting with the pool filter, the smallest particle trapped is:
  • about 5 microns for a cartridge filter, or
  • 20 microns for a sand filter;
  • about 150-200 microns for a robotic cleaner with filter baskets.


Does this mean that the robotic cleaner will not pick up dust in the pool, and just blow it around?
  • Anyone who has used a sock in their filter basket knows the answer is, not necessarily.
  • Even though the sock has a large weave, it can be hard to pull the basket out sometimes.
  • Especially when the pool pump is going. The junk that’s in the sock helps to trap finer particles.
  • Thats what causes the pressure against pulling the basket out of the filter box.
  • The same applies to the filter mesh in a robotic cleaner.
A fresh new filter mesh may allow some dust through, the junk that it traps helps to catch fine particles
pool cleaner, robot, balmain bug, balmain bug I

Leaves And Fronds

Robotic cleaners are so much better at picking up large leaves than suction cleaners. That’s because they have large slots through which leaves, and even strips of fronds can pass. The slots are about 20cm x 2cm, and as long as the water flows through they will pick up large leaves. It really is amazing how much junk even the smaller pool cleaning robots can pick up.
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Find The Best Robotic Pool Vacuum Cleaner For Your Pool

Robotic pool cleaners come in different varieties, so it’s important to find the one that’s right for your needs.
Finding the best pool cleaner robot is not an easy task, there are many types of pool cleaners:
  • If you have a large pool, you may want to invest in a robotic pool cleaner, which can clean the entire surface of your pool in just a few hours.
  • If you have a smaller pool, you can choose an appropriate robotic pool with required efficiency and speed.
These cleaners are designed to clean your pool quickly and thoroughly, so you can enjoy a clean, healthy pool all season long.
Consider the size of your pool and the features you need when you look at robotic pool cleaners for sale.
Some robotic cleaners are designed for smaller pools, while others feature a wide cleaning path for large pools.
Some cleaners also include extras like an on-board filter or a remote control.
Whatever your needs, there’s a robotic pool cleaner that’s right for you. So why not add one to your backyard pool today?

robotzoo Has The Best Cordless Robotic Pool Cleaners Australia Has To Offer

robotzoo has been in the industry for several years and we have pool robotic cleaners to suit all types of pools.
We have put them to the test, and they have been able to overcome all sorts of pool cleaning challenges.
Because our our devices are internally battery driven, we think they are the best robotic pool cleaners Australia deserves.
And so do many of our customers. No matter what size your pool is, a pool robotic cleaner can be a great investment.
Check out the online User Guides for our Blue SwimmerPlatypus, and Balmain Bug models.

Why are battery driven robots the way to go?

There are a lot of sensible non-financial reasons to use a battery driven robotic pool cleaner as opposed to other types:

  • They can be used on demand, eg. just before the guests arrive.
  • They don’t rely on the filter pump being on.
  • There are no cables to get tangles or twisted.
  • They don’t plug in to the wall, so can be used unsupervised

What does robotzoo do?

robotzoo offers the best pool robotic cleaners Australia can get.
We ensure that you will get crystal-clear results from your pool robot.
Whether you have been looking at the Dolphin M400, Zodiac CX35, Hayward SharkVac, or the Poolbot b150, you can compare our models.
If you are looking for user guides for some of these models, try here.
Check out our Blue SwimmerPlatypus, and Balmain Bug models.
And have a look at the challenges they can overcome.
We’re sure that you will find that our cleaners compare very favourably.
If you’re not sure if robot cleaners are ideal for you, shoot us a question.
We’d love to chat.

Want to Find Out More?

Would you like to discuss the suitability of our devices to your situation? please just fill out the enquiry form. Alternatively, if you would prefer to speak to us first, please call us on 1 3000 ROBOT. (1 3000 76268)
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