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Robotic Cleaner Reviews for 2014

Looking for a great robotic pool cleaner that's also a great value? We can help. The 2014 robotic cleaner reviews help you navigate a confusing robotic pool cleaner market by identifying models that hit the quality and value bullseye. We searched the planet, measured, tested, and analyzed 23 models from seven leading manufacturers. The top-rated pool cleaners aren’t just the best robotic cleaners or good values. They're both.

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Model Editors Rating Overall
Rating
Value Rating Media Types Dual Media Capable Notable Features Green Algae Capable Climbing Ability Energy Use (Watts) Warranty Cost of Ownership Retail Price Our Price
Dolphin Premier
by Maytronics
[D-PREM]


More...
55 stars 9.2 10 MicroCartridge
Ultrafine Bag
2 Micron
Yes Intelligent Navigation
360° Swivel
MultiMedia Capable
Variable Interval Timer Direct Drive
Bi- Directional Cleaning
Optional Remote
Dual Scrubbing Brushes
Excellent Wall: Excellent
Step: Good
Waterline: Excellent
180 Watts
3 hr cycle time
3 Yrs Full money
Replacement Motors: $449
$1,599

$1047

Buy
Dolphin Quest
by Maytronics
[D-QUEST]


More...
44 stars 8.5 8 MicroCartridge
Ultrafine Bag
2 Micron
Yes Intelligent Navigation
360° Swivel
MultiMedia Capable
Variable Interval Timer Direct Drive
Bi- Directional Cleaning
Dual Scrubbing Brushes
Good Wall: Good
Step: Fair
Waterline: Good
180 Watts
2.5 hr cycle time
2 Yrs Full money
Replacement Motors: $449
$1,199

$847

Buy
Blue Pearl
by Water Tech
[BLUEPEARL]


More...
3.54 stars 8 7 Bag
2 Micron
No Belt Drive
Bi- Directional Cleaning
Dual Scrubbing Brushes
Fair Wall: Good
Step: Fair
Waterline: Good
180 Watts
3 hr cycle time
1 Yr Full money
Replacement Motors: $967
$1,099

$748

Buy
Dolphin Diagnostic
by Maytronics
[9301ADV]
33 stars 6.5 6 Ultrafine Bag
2 Micron
No 360° Swivel
Variable Interval Timer Direct Drive
Bi- Directional Cleaning
Standard Remote
Dual Scrubbing Brushes
Good Wall: Good
Step: Fair
Waterline: Good
180 Watts
3 hr cycle time
2 Yrs Full money
Replacement Motors: $449
$1,599

$1199
Special Order
Dolphin Dynamic
by Maytronics
[9301EXP]
33 stars 6 6 Ultrafine Bag
2 Micron
No 360° Swivel
Variable Interval Timer Direct Drive
Bi- Directional Cleaning
Standard Remote
Dual Scrubbing Brushes
Good Wall: Good
Step: Fair
Waterline: Good
180 Watts
1 hr cycle time
2 Yrs Full money
Replacement Motors: $449
$1,599

$1599
Special Order
AquaBot
by Aqua Products
[AB]
33 stars 6 6 Ultrafine Bag
2 Micron
No Belt Drive
Bi- Directional Cleaning
Optional Remote
Dual Scrubbing Brushes
Fair Wall: Good
Step: Fair
Waterline: Good
180 Watts
5 hr cycle time
1 Yrs Full money
Replacement Motors: $640
$969

$869
Special Order
Polaris 9400 Sport
by Zodiac
[F9400]
2.52.5 stars 6 5.5 Canister
100 Micron
No Jet Drive
Bi- Directional Cleaning
Poor Wall: Good
Step: Poor
Waterline: Fair
180 Watts
1 hr cycle time
2 Yrs Full money
Replacement Motors: $454
$1,599

$1599
Special Order
Polaris 9300 Sport
by Zodiac
[F9300]


More...
2.52.5 stars 6 5 Canister
100 Micron
No Jet Drive
Poor Wall: Good
Step: Poor
Waterline: Fair
150 Watts
1 hr cycle time
2 Yrs Full money
Replacement Motors: $454
$1,394

$1089

Buy
AquaBot Turbo T-Jet
by Aqua Products
[ABTTJET]
22 stars 5.5 4.5 Fine Bag
2 Micron
No Jet Drive
Bi- Directional Cleaning
Fair Wall: Poor
Step: Poor
Waterline: Poor
140 Watts
5 hr cycle time
3 Yrs ProRated 200 Cycle Limit money
Replacement Motors: $329
$699

$599
Special Order
Polaris 360
by Zodiac
[F1]


More...
22 stars 5.5 4.5 Bag
100 Micron
No Belt Drive
Poor Wall: Fair
Step: Fair
Waterline: Poor
1472 Watts
5 hr cycle time
1 Yrs Full Replacement Motors: n/a $610

$477

Buy
AquaBot Turbo T4
by Aqua Products
[ABTURT4]
32 stars 5 6 Fine Bag
2 Micron
No Belt Drive
Dual Scrubbing Brushes
Bi- Directional Cleaning
Standard Remote
Fair Wall: Good
Step: Good
Waterline: Good
180 Watts
5 hr cycle time
4 Yrs ProRated 300 Cycle Limit money
Replacement Motors: $640
$1899

$1749
Special Order
Blue Diamond
by Water Tech
[BLD03RC]
32 stars 5 6 Bag
2 Micron
No Belt Drive
Dual Scrubbing Brushes
Bi- Directional Cleaning
Standard Remote
Fair Wall: Good
Step: Fair
Waterline: Good
180 Watts
5 hr cycle time
4 Yrs 400 Cycle Limit money
Replacement Motors: $967
$1599

$1399
Special Order
Polaris 3900
by Zodiac
[F6]


More...
2.52.5 stars 5 5 Bag
100 Micron
No Chain Drive
Poor Wall: Fair
Step: Fair
Waterline: Poor
1472 Watts
5 hr cycle time
1 Yrs Full Replacement Motors: n/a $1120

$875

Buy
Polaris 3900xi
by Zodiac
[F6]
2.52.5 stars 5 5 Bag
100 Micron
No Jet Drive
Standard Remote
Dual Scrubbing Brushes
Poor Wall: Good
Step: Poor
Waterline: Fair
150 Watts
2 hr cycle time
2 Yrs Full money
Replacement Motors: $454
$1499

$1189
Special Order
Scrubber 60
by SmartPool
[NC71]
2.52.5 stars 5 5 Fine Bag
2 Micron
No Direct Drive
Optional Remote
Bi- Directional Cleaning
Dual Scrubbing Brushes
Poor Wall: Good
Step: Poor
Waterline: Good
130 Watts
2 hr cycle time
1 Yr Full money
Replacement Motors: $449
$1057

$682
Special Order
Polaris 380
by Zodiac
[F3]
2.52.5 stars 5 5 Bag
100 Micron
No Belt Drive Poor Wall: Fair
Step: Fair
Waterline: Poor
1472 Watts
5 hr cycle time
1 Yr Full Replacement Motors: n/a $929

$726
Special Order
Polaris 280
by Zodiac
[F5]


More...
2.52.5 stars 5 5 Bag
100 Micron
No Belt Drive Poor Wall: Fair
Step: Fair
Waterline: Poor
1472 Watts
5 hr cycle time
1 Yr Full Replacement Motors: n/a $985

$770

Buy
Wall Climber
by SmartPool
[NC51]
2.52.5 stars 4 5 Fine Bag
2 Micron
No Direct Drive
Bi- Directional Cleaning
Poor Wall: Good
Step: Poor
Waterline: Poor
130 Watts
4 hr cycle time
1 Yr Full money
Replacement Motors: $308
$799

$582
Special Order
Tiger Shark QC
by Hayward
[RC9990GR]
33 stars 6.5 4 Fine Bag
5 Micron
No Direct Drive
Bi- Directional Cleaning
Dual Scrubbing Brushes
Standard Remote
Poor Wall: Good
Step: Good
Waterline: Good
180 Watts
2 hr cycle time
3 Yr Full money
Replacement Motors: $449
$1599

$1349
Special Order
AquaBot Turbo T2
by Aqua Products
[ABTURT2]
33 stars 6.5 4 Fine Bag
2 Micron
No Belt Drive
Bi- Directional Cleaning
Dual Scrubbing Brushes
Fair Wall: Good
Step: Fair
Waterline: Good
180 Watts
5 hr cycle time
4 Yr ProRated 300 Cycle Limit money
Replacement Motors: $640
$1549

$1499
Special Order
AquaBot Turbo T
by Aqua Products
[80115]
33 stars 6.5 4 Fine Bag
2 Micron
No Belt Drive
Bi- Directional Cleaning
Dual Scrubbing Brushes
Fair Wall: Good
Step: Fair
Waterline: Good
180 Watts
5 hr cycle time
3 Yr ProRated 200 Cycle Limit money
Replacement Motors: $640
$1549

$1499
Special Order
robotic pool cleaner buying guide

Robotic Pool Cleaner Buying Guide

Pool Express breaks out the most important things to know when shopping for a new robotic pool cleaner.

Shopping for a new robotic pool cleaner can be an overwhelming experience. Confusion plagues even the most careful shoppers. Manufacturers, retailers, salespeople and the internet can add to the uncertainty. We hope that this 2014 Buyers Guide will help you cut through the confusion with sound information. It won’t answer every question but it will provide you with the basic tools you need to feel confident in your purchase.

And if you just want to skip the details and just buy a great robotic pool cleaner, the overall recommendation for 2014 is the Dolphin Premier. It’s the best we’ve ever seen.

robotic pool cleaner efficiency

Look Closely at Efficiency – It Varies Widely Between Cleaners

The first automatic pool cleaner was invented in 1972. Powered by AC induction motors, early pool cleaners were driven by fast moving water. Large power hungry pumps had to force water through 50 – 75 feet of piping and hose before reaching the pool cleaner. These inefficient cleaners burned a staggering 1,470 watts of power. You would have to turn on 20 average televisions to use that much energy.

Fast forward to today and unfortunately millions of old style pool cleaners are still in use – each burning nearly 1500 watts and wasting hundreds of dollars in energy each year. These suction side and pressure side cleaners are driven by AC booster pumps, or even worse, the pool’s main pump.

The newest robotic pool cleaners feature onboard low voltage motors. 24 volt DC motors require about 90% less energy than AC motors. Robots with DC motors can run on as little as 180 watts or about 5 cents per hour.

robotic pool cleaner scrubbing

Get a Cleaner that Both Vacuums and Scrubs the Wall

Pool Express breaks out the most important things to know when shopping for a new robotic pool cleaner.

Did you know only 1% of the debris in a typical pool is suspended in water? The other 99% is attached to the wall. While most cleaners only vacuum loose debris, some scrub and clean every square inch of the pool with powerful spinning brushes. This is the key to dislodging dirt, debris and other contaminants. Some of the newer brushes are even good at removing stuff that’s stuck to the wall – attacking water problems at the source – the bacteria, algae, and biolfilm attached the wall of every pool.

Some pool cleaners run for 6 or more hours each and every day. Others require just 3 hours for a complete cleaning cycle. A cleaner that’s more proficient at cleaning will obviously cost less to run. For the best robotic pool cleaners, there’s no need to run them every day -- 2-3 times per week is sufficient for most pools.

robotic pool cleaner efficiency

Look for a Cable that Doesn’t Twist and Tangle

Twisted and tangled cables have to be one of the most frustrating parts of owning a pool cleaner. Luckily, the underwater robot cable swivel is here. And in our opinion, it’s one of the greatest engineering achievements ever. Without a swivel, pool owners spend way too much time detangling the power cords. When the power cord becomes a tangled spider web, performance and efficiency both go downhill. To our knowledge, only one manufacturer offers a true 360 degrees swivel – Dolphin. A few other manufacturers say their cleaner has a swivel, bit it’s just a piece of plastic that spins on the outside of the cable - it doesn’t actually allow the cord to spin freely while the cleaner is running.

smart robot cleaner

Robots are Getting Smarter

It’s no secret that intelligent products are the future. Some pool cleaners wonder around the pool aimlessly while others use logic. Some new cleaners with microprocessor control calculate the optimal pattern for faster cleaning and better efficiency. The newer cleaners with logic are more efficient by design.

robotic pool cleaner efficiency

Unlike Some Products, Warranty is Actually Important

Getting a robotic pool cleaner repaired can be very expensive. First, look for a cleaner with at least a two year non-prorated warranty. A few models now have three year non-prorated warranty which is even better. After the warranty expires, you’ll eventually need to replace a motor. This can be a shock for pool owners as some replacement motors cost almost as much as a new cleaner. Look for cleaners with a replacement motor cost that’s $450 or less. We’ve made it easy for you by compiling the replacement motor costs.

choosing a robotic pool cleaner

Make Choosing Easy with our New Robotic Cleaner Reviews for 2014

Upgrading your pool to a robotic pool cleaner is one of the easiest and most cost-efficient upgrades you can make to your pool. But the process of picking a new robotic pool cleaner is never easy. With new media options and higher energy prices, the decision is tougher than ever. On the upside, there's never been a better time to buy a cleaner. Robotic pool cleaners have traditionally required a lot of time and money to keep them going. But that's history. Thanks to better engineering and fewer moving parts, new models are far more reliable and perform better. The 2014 Robotic Cleaner Reviews allow you to quickly sort over 20 cleaners on over 25 important criteria. Finding the best Robotic Pool Cleaner for your pool is just a click away.

robotic pool cleaner spending

3 Smart Splurges for your Robotic Pool Cleaner

Robotic pool cleaners are expensive enough, but there are times when you should consider loosening your grip on that dollar. Our Robotic Pool Cleaner Reviews help you sort out the fluff from the substance. We've identified three purchases where the payoff is worth the extra expense. We believe the first must have is the swivel. Don't cheat yourself out of tangle-free operation to save a few bucks on your new cleaner. Robotic pool cleaners are frequently climbing walls and spinning around. Without a swivel, it's not if, but how long it takes for the cable to become a tangled mess. A swivel may not eliminate all tangles, but our testing found a swivel does eliminate about 90% of potential tangles. We're surprised that every cleaner made doesn't include this must have feature.

robotic pool cleaner efficiency

A Random Walk versus Intelligent Navigation

Some robotic pool cleaners wander randomly around the pool. Others use microprocessor controlled navigation to tackle cleaning the pool in a highly calculated, efficient pattern. It's no secret that cleaners without Smart Navigation cost less. But they also take longer to clean your pool. The end result is a cleaner that has to spend more time turned on which uses more energy and is subject to increased wear and tear. We especially like the new Variable Interval Timer feature. Some of the newer cleaners are so effective, there's absolutely no reason to run it every day in most pools. Variable Interval Timers allow you to run your cleaner as needed, whether it's daily, every two days, or every three days. Now that's energy efficient.

robotic pool cleaner efficiency

Choose the Right Media for the Job

For as long as we've been testing pool cleaners, buyers have always been forced to make a choice in media types. Cartridge or bag. But with the latest 2014 crop of robotic pool cleaners from Maytronics, you're no longer forced to compromise. In an ingenious display of engineering ability, the Maytronics Premier and Quest robotic cleaners offer Multi-media™. In less than 30 seconds, you can swap your cleaner's media from Micro-Cartridge to oversized Media Bag. For the first time ever, you can use the media type that's right for your pool on any given day. Have a pool full of leaves? The oversized Media Bag is in. Did your pool develop some algae while you were on vacation? Pop in the the Micro-Cartridge to remove algae and super fine debris. Micro-Cartridge cleaning is also much easier than bag media to clean. We just wished the cartridges were a bit larger. But Multi-Media offers a nice solution, just pop in the oversized Media Bag and you're good to go.

replacement cost

The Price versus Warranty Trade Off

It's no secret that the length of warranty is directly related to the price of the Robotic Pool Cleaner. The least expensive robotic cleaners typically have the shortest warranties. But that's not the whole story. Our 2014 Robotic Reviews include one brand new number that you'll want to pay especially close attention to - the replacement motors cost. We receive a ton of phone calls each year from Robotic Pool Cleaner owners who are in need of new motors for their cleaner. Some pool owners are shocked to learn that it can cost up to $900 to replace the onboard DC motors that are found on Robotic Cleaners. Granted this is a worst case scenario number to replace all motors. But it's good to know that in two or three years, if the time does come, you can repair your cleaner without breaking the bank. Our reviews feature 11 cleaners that have motors that come in under $500. Maytronics has set the new standard in the warranty department. Just a year ago, you would have had to pay $1,349 to get a Robotic Cleaner with a 3 year full warranty. For the first time ever, we have a cleaner with a 3 year full warranty (not prorated like others) that's under the $1,000 mark.

robotic pool cleaner energy

Let’s talk energy. Does Energy Star Rate or Review Pool Cleaners?

We hear the folks at Energy Star may begin reviewing Robotic Pool Cleaners in the next few years. But don't worry, our Robotic Cleaner Reviews uncover the energy consumption in watts for all cleaners. But you shouldn't focus exclusively on the watts when looking at the energy efficiency. The watts rating is only one component in energy efficiency formula. There are three more factors that to look at closely. First, robotic pool cleaners with rubber tracks have a large sticky contact patch that grips the pool surface much better than wheels and plastic tracks can. Decreasing slippage directly increases efficiency. Second, Intelligent Navigation allows the microprocessor to control the path taken and further improves efficiency. Entry level cleaners move around the pool randomly. There's no since in covering the same section of the pool over and over. Intelligent Navigation works smart, saving you money. And finally, a Variable Interval Timer allows your cleaner to turn on only when needed, which can improve efficiency up to 300%. The majority of cleaners come with only a daily timer. Why clean your pool daily when every other day is all that's needed?

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