10 minutes after I dropped the Premier in the pool, I knew this robot was different. It started climbing the walls and scrubbing the waterline. After 3 hours, there wasn’t a tangle in the cable. The swivel is big. But the Premier is something even more ambitious. The 2016 model is even a better value as it now includes Multimedia.
The all-new Elite comes into the world not so much unveiled as unleashed. With three scrubbing brushes and a 360° swivel, the Elite starts where others leave off. Features like AquaSmart 2.0 set the Elite far apart from other cleaners in its class. The most capable Aquabot ever includes a free caddy and a best in class 3 year warranty.
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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 2016 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 top picks for 2016 are the Dolphin Premier and Aquabot Elite. They’re the best we’ve ever seen.
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.
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.
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. Some manufacturers advertise their cleaner has a swivel, but 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. Look for a real swivel like the Dolphin Premier, Aquabot Elite and Aqubot X4.
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 under $300. We’ve made it easy for you by compiling the replacement motor costs.
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 2016 Robotic Pool 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 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.
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. 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.
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 2016 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.
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 2016 Robotic Pool Cleaner 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. Two new robots have 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 two cleaners with a 3 year warranties under the $1100 mark.
We hear the folks at Energy Star may begin reviewing Robotic Pool Cleaners in the next few years. But don't worry, our Robotic Pool 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?
Learn why the next big thing in robotic pool cleaners is a lot of little things. It’s a common saying in sports, design and in life. Inches make champions. Big things have small beginnings. It’s true. It’s even true in robotic pool cleaners. The details matter. Dolphin is big. It’s the world’s largest manufacturer of robotic pool cleaners. It’s big ideas are designed to push boundaries of what a robotic pool cleaner can do. Watch the video to learn how highly efficient, state-of-the-art DC motors and an ingenious Multi-Media filtration system earned our top-rated robotic pool cleaner reviews award.