Pool Cleaners - The Choice is Clear

by Pool Builders on 06-02-2009 in Articles

If you don't have a service company maintaining your swimming pool on a regular basis, chances are you want an automatic pool cleaner to scrub and vacuum the dirt and debris that has settled on the pool floor and scum line.  Although there are virtually countless automatic cleaners to choose from, they can generally be broken into 2 categories - water-powered or robotic (electric).

Water-powered cleaners use your pool's pump and filter system for propulsion and vacuuming.  Robotic cleaners feature built-in pump and filters and work independently of your pool's pump and filter system.  Water-powered cleaners usually cost less than robotic cleaners.  However, a pool pump uses a full 110 volts to operate, whereas a robotic cleaner's motors commonly operate on a mere 24 volts, saving you quite a bit on your electrical bill.  Since water-powered cleaners rely on your pool's filter to trap the dirt and debris, you'll need to backwash the filter more often. Robotic cleaners have their own filter - usually a bag - that you can hose down in minutes. 

Some robotic models even have disposable filter bags available. Another advantage to using a robotic cleaner is that its built-in pump allows the pool skimmer to continue to clean the water's surface, unlike water-powered cleaners, which divert your pool pump's pressure to vacuuming the bottom of the pool, leaving the water's surface to remain dirty.

There are plenty of robotic pool cleaner models to choose from.  While price is always a factor in your selection, you should consider reading online reviews - they can be quite helpful in finding out which brands or models to consider or avoid.  One of the first things you should consider is what do you need your cleaner to be able to do (besides clean) - some clean the pool floor only, some also climb and clean the pool walls, some scrub along the scum line, some come with automatic timers, some come with remote controls, and on and on. 

It is important to know what features are important to you and what is simply marketing.  One rule of thumb is that the simpler something is, the less there is that can go wrong with it.  

One thing to consider that most people don't is what happens when the cleaner needs servicing (and it will need servicing at some point).  In most cases you will need to ship the cleaner back to the manufacturer or a service center at your own expense, and then wait weeks to get it back.  Meanwhile, your pool is a filthy mess, and you have no way of cleaning it.  There are a few robotic cleaners made by a company called SmartPool, Inc., however, that are designed to enable the consumer to fix it him/herself, by simply ordering a part from the manufacturer and going to their site - http://smartpool.com - to watch an instructional video.

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