The Perfect Pool Blog

Zodiac's In-Depth Resource for All Things Pool.

What is the Best Automatic Pool Cleaner for You?

Spring ushers in new blossoms, warmer temperatures, and the start of pool season. To get maximum enjoyment from your pool, it’s important to keep it clean. An automatic cleaner (also referred to as a pool vacuum) allows you to spend more time splashing around in your pool rather than on the deck cleaning it. So before the pool season gets underway, make sure your pool cleaner is working or consider purchasing a newer model to keep your pool’s surfaces thoroughly clean.

If you’re in the market to buy a new pool cleaner, there are three questions you should consider when deciding which pool cleaner is best for you:

  • What kind of pool do you have?
  • What type of dirt and debris do you have?
  • How much maintenance is involved?

How to Choose a Pool Cleaner: Three Main Pool Cleaner Options

Pressure Cleaners

Pressure-side cleaners connect to the pool via a dedicated return line and many require a separate booster pump to operate. Debris is captured in an attached filter bag — keeping it out of your pool’s filtration system and prolonging the life of your pool filter. If your pool system was built with the appropriate plumbing to support a pressure-side cleaner, then a pressure cleaner would be an ideal choice for you.

Good for general cleaning, pressure-side cleaners feature a large throat for exceptional removal of big debris such as leaves, twigs, acorns and pebbles. Plus, pressure cleaners move around distributing clean, and heated water throughout the pool, reducing cold spots. Overall, pressure cleaners are easy to use and simply require routine emptying of the debris bag to maintain effective performance.

As the creators of the first three-wheeled pressure cleaner on the market over 40 years ago, Polaris® continues to lead this category with top-performing cleaners like the Polaris Quattro Sport, which capably collects both fine and large debris with its innovative Dual-Stage Filtration and actively scrubs away stuck-on debris with its unique brush design.

Suction Cleaners

Attached through the skimmer or dedicated suction line, a suction-side pool cleaner sucks up debris, capturing it in the leaf catcher, skimmer basket, or pump filter basket. Designed for efficiency, suction cleaners operate quietly while your pool system is running (when swimmers are out of the water).

Suction cleaners do a fantastic job at collecting fine debris like sand and algae. Some models, like the Zodiac MX8™ Elite even feature cyclonic scrubbing brushes to remove stuck-on debris from the floors, walls and tile line. The Polaris ATLAS™ XT features HALO™ technology which effortlessly eliminates fine silt and sand as well as larger, long debris with an innovative design that features unobstructed clearance and directs all debris to the filtration system. With just a bit of maintenance to empty the skimmer and pump filter basket regularly, a suction cleaner may be the right choice for you.

Robotic Cleaners

Unlike pressure and suction cleaners, robotic cleaners aren’t powered by your pool’s filtration system and can be used with any type of in-ground pool. Just plug it in to an outdoor GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter) electrical outlet, place it in the pool, and the robotic cleaner goes to work drawing in everything from medium debris to fine particles — like algae, pollen, sand, leaves and pebbles — and collecting it in an easy-to-clean internal canister.

Some robotic cleaners even provide premium features like custom cleaning cycles while maximizing energy efficiency and pool cleaning coverage for quicker cleaning times. A robotic cleaner cleans for just pennies a day, consuming less energy than other types of cleaners, however, they do require a slightly higher level of hands-on interaction — needing to be removed from the pool after each use and regular debris removal from the canister.

Popular models by Polaris® include the 7240 Sport, that offers lightweight handling, Cyclonic Vacuum technology that captures debris without losing suction throughout the cleaning cylce and features an Easy Clean Filter Canister with a transparent lid so you can see when it's full. A more advanced option is the Polaris ALPHA iQ+, a best-in-class 4-wheel-drive robotic cleaner with SMART cleaning technologies that learn your pool and that can be controlled by the intuitive iAquaLink™ mobile app via a WiFi connection — allowing you to clean, monitor, schedule, and troubleshoot anytime, anywhere.

Still not sure which cleaner is right for you? Your local pool pro will be able help you determine which cleaner is a match for you.

Whichever type of automatic pool cleaner you wind up with, start using it when you first open the pool and stick to a routine cleaning schedule to ensure that your pool water remains clear and swim-ready. Think of it as being proactive and preventing potential problems.

Ready to buy? Polaris and Zodiac® Days are great times to purchase automatic pool cleaners. This is when our retailers offer the best sales of the season on our cleaners. Find a sale near you!

Editor’s note: This post was originally published April 2018 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

About This Blog

Includes all the latest information, tips, and expert advice from Zodiac Pool Systems, Inc. on owning the healthiest, safest, most enjoyable pool possible.


Zodiac is a leading global manufacturer of differentiated pool and spa products. With our rich heritage of innovation excellence, we develop some of the world's leading products that afford our customers a better life.


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