Pressure Side Pool Cleaner vs. Robotic: What to Buy?

If you’re a pool owner, new or old, you understand the importance of keeping your pool nice and clean. Though you used to have to resort to back-breaking labor to keep it clean and clear of debris, now you have all sorts of labor-saving options to filter your water and scrub every square inch of it.

Of course, now your problem is, how do you decide which type of cleaner to getThere are several different makes and models on the market. A surprising amount of design and ingenuity has gone into every one of them. Furthermore, they all have their tradeoffs regarding ease of use, cost, maintenance, startup costs, quality of cleaning job done, and customer service.

Pressure Side Pool Cleaner

In this article, we are going to focus on two of the most common varieties; pressure-side pool cleaners, and robotic pool cleaners. Pressure side cleaners have been around for longer, but robotic pool cleaners have become the favorites of many pool owners. Let’s discuss the pros and cons and other factors to help you decide which is best for you and your pool.


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What’s The Difference Between Pressure Side Cleaners and Robots?

At first glance, it may seem like they are not all that different. Both of them are little wheeled contraptions that roll around your pool and clean it, rightHowever, they have major differences.

Pressure side cleaners usually require having a separate pressure line installed for them to use for propelling themselves through the pool. Many pools have this line from when they were first installed, but you should check to make sure you have one. Pressure cleaners are better at picking up large debris but do not scrub pool surfaces. They use the pressure of the filtered water they expel to move around.

Robotic Pool Cleaner

Robotic pool cleaners require only a power line to run, and they filter the water through an internal filter trap that you clean after running it. They also have scrubbing brushes to clean every inch of your pool surface, which they navigate with sophisticated scanning software to ensure they clean the whole pool. They are propelled by their own internal motors.

You Get What You Pay For

In addition to being simpler machines, pressure side cleaners are typically cheaper than robotic cleaners. A good robotic pool cleaner typically costs $100 more than a pressure side pool cleaner, with some higher-end models being much more than that. Furthermore, as they get older, robotic pool cleaners can be more expensive to maintain than pressure side cleaners.

It’s Hard to Beat a Robot’s Cleaning Ability

Of course, the price of a robot has good reasons behind it – they do a great job of keeping your entire pool sparkling clean! Though pressure cleaners do a decent job, robots have more tools and more technology to make good use of them.

Scanning software to navigate around every surface, treads, and brushes to scrub every surface right up to the water line, multilayer filters, even apps that let you drive the pool cleaner yourself are all an option in the world of pool cleaning robots.

Choosing the Right Pool Cleaner

Ease of Use, Maintenance, and Start-Up Costs May Vary

Pressure Side Cleaners are definitely easier to use if you have the pressure line already installed (if necessary). Because they are more focused on filtering water and larger debris, they are ready to go as soon as they are plugged into the pressure line. Robots are also easy once they are set up, but because they are smarter, they also need more information and practice before they hit peak performance.

Pressure side cleaners are simpler machines, which makes clearing their filter bags and replacing parts fairly simple. Some people have even described their pressure side cleaners as “bullet-proof”. Robotic cleaners can be very simple to keep clean and maintain depending on the brand, but there are also some robots where the filters are hard to clean, and the parts are expensive to replace.

Pressure Side Pool Cleaner

Customer Service Is an Important Consideration for Both Types

Whichever cleaner you get, you will want to look at the customer service record of the company. Some companies pride themselves on providing excellent customer service and machine support. This means being responsive when you need help to maintain your machine, of course, but it also means excellent online capabilities and service centers.

If the maker of your pool cleaner doesn’t have service centers near you, it may become very difficult to get replacement parts, even something as minor as a washer. If their website is a mess, or they don’t have ways for you to hear from other owners of their brand, you may have a hard time finding exactly what you need, to solve your problem.

Each Have Their Pros and Cons, What Matters is What Works For You

Simplicity or High-techThe best cleaning job no matter the cost, or a durable little filter that won’t break the bankEach of these types of pool cleaners has their strengths, and whichever you get will likely do a decent job of cleaning your pool. But it’s important to weigh your choices carefully.

A pool is a big investment, and the extra money to keep it pristine is almost always worth it. How you want to do that, and what issues you are willing to deal with while doing so, are good questions to ask. We hope that this article helps you understand your options a little more.

Suction Side, Pressure Side or Robotic

Our Recommended Robotic Pool Cleaners

"Budget" Pick
Best of the Best!
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Dolphin Nautilus CC Plus Automatic Robotic Pool...
DOLPHIN Nautilus CC Supreme Robotic Pool Vacuum...
Dolphin Premier Robotic Pool Cleaner with Powerful...
Dolphin Nautilus CC Plus
Dolphin Nautilus CC Supreme
Dolphin Premier
• In-ground Swimming Pools
• In-ground Swimming Pools
• In-ground Swimming Pools
• Pool Size: Up to 50 ft.
• Pool Size: Up to 50 ft.
• Pool Size: Up to 50 ft.
• 2h Cleaning Time
• 1,5 | 2,5 | 3,5 hrs Cleaning Time
• 3 hr Cleaning Time
The Nautilus CC Plus is perfect for all pool types. From gunite to tile, and everything in between; you name it and Dolphin will clean it.
Equipped with a center scrubbing brush, this cleaner pushes the limits for wall and waterline cleaning.
Smart Nav software delivers highly optimized scanning and coverage for a new level of clean. Advanced algorithms clean 100% of the pool floor, wall & tile/waterline and pool floor.
"Budget" Pick
Dolphin Nautilus CC Plus Automatic Robotic Pool...
Dolphin Nautilus CC Plus
• In-ground Swimming Pools
• Pool Size: Up to 50 ft.
• 2h Cleaning Time
The Nautilus CC Plus is perfect for all pool types. From gunite to tile, and everything in between; you name it and Dolphin will clean it.
Best of the Best!
DOLPHIN Nautilus CC Supreme Robotic Pool Vacuum...
Dolphin Nautilus CC Supreme
• In-ground Swimming Pools
• Pool Size: Up to 50 ft.
• 1,5 | 2,5 | 3,5 hrs Cleaning Time
Equipped with a center scrubbing brush, this cleaner pushes the limits for wall and waterline cleaning.
Also Great
Dolphin Premier Robotic Pool Cleaner with Powerful...
Dolphin Premier
• In-ground Swimming Pools
• Pool Size: Up to 50 ft.
• 3 hr Cleaning Time
Smart Nav software delivers highly optimized scanning and coverage for a new level of clean. Advanced algorithms clean 100% of the pool floor, wall & tile/waterline and pool floor.


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This website is supported by readers. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.


Last update on 2020-11-28 / Most affiliate links and/or Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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