Types of Pool Cleaners

There are four basic types of pool cleaners:

  • Automatic (suction): ie. Powered by water pressure (eg. from the pool pump) drive the cleaner & ‘pull’ debris into a filter (eg. The filter box)
  • Automatic (pressure): ie. Powered by water pressure (eg. from a separate pump) drive the cleaner & ‘push’ debris into a filter (eg. a bag)
  • Robotic: ie. Independently powered (by mains or battery) to collect debris into an on-board cartridge.
  • In-pool : ie. These are built in as part of the pool design.

Which Cleaner Best Suits Your Pool

Not every type of cleaner is good for every type of surface. Some general guidelines are:

  • For smooth surfaces (eg, Tiles, Concrete, Fibreglass), use a pool cleaner that has a ‘roller’ for best results.
  • For acrylic surfaces (ie. Vinyl), avoid using a pool cleaner with rollers, as these could potentially abrade the vinyl, or worse, create a leak.
  • For rough surfaces (eg Pebblecrete), even having a roller won’t eliminate the need of having to brush the surface to dislodge algae.

Automatic (Suction):

ie. Powered by the suction from a pump (eg. The pool pump), to collect debris into a filter (eg. The filter box)

ProsCons
Usually the least expensive optionRequires the most intervention & attention
Technically/mechanically the simplest optionMay not give the best results
Easy to get sparesDependent on other equipment working
Light to get in/out of poolFills up the filter basket
Noisiest option (pump must be on)
More backwashing of filter – water waste

Automatic (Pressure):

ie. Rather than using suction pressure, these will ‘blow’ water through the cleaner to power the wheels/tractors.

ProsCons
Usually the least expensive optionRequires the most intervention & attention
Technically/mechanically the simplest optionMay not give the best results
Easy to get sparesDependent on other equipment working
Light to get in/out of poolFills up the filter basket
Noisiest option (pump must be on)
More backwashing of filter – water waste

Robotic:

ie. Independently powered (by mains or battery) to collect debris into an on-board cartridge.

Robotic cleaners come in two types, ie those with wheels, and those with rollers. The differences are as follows:

  • Wheels. Their function is to pick up debris off the floor, not scrub the surface. And they won’t clean to the waterline.
  • Rollers.  These types will clean the pool surface as they go, usually all the way to the waterline.
ProsCons
Doesn’t impact on pump/filtration systemMore expensive than automatic option
Usually very quiet No swimming if it is plugged in to wall
No clogging of the filter basketCan be heavy to lift in/out of pool (up to 15kg)
Good at picking up larger leavesTechnically the most complex (electronics)
Conserve water – less need to backwash

In-Pool Systems:

ie. In-built and immovable, as part of the infrastructure of the pool.

In-pool systems usually ‘sweep’ whatever has settled at the bottom of the pool into a catchment where it is collected for disposal.

ProsCons
Doesn’t impact on pump/filtration systemMore expensive than automatic option
Usually very quiet No swimming if it is plugged in to wall
No clogging of the filter basketCan be heavy to lift in/out of pool (up to 15kg)
Good at picking up larger leavesTechnically the most complex (electronics)
Conserve water – less need to backwash