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The Ultimate Guide

2023 Pool Robot Guide

A Step-by-Step Guide to New Models

2023 Pool Robot Guide

Table of Contents

Shopping for a pool robot can be infuriating. Here’s how to sift through the acronyms, filter options, and extra features to find the best one for you. Buying a pool robot is an exercise in confusion. Even if you know what everything means and know exactly what you want, finding it can be difficult. Heck, just navigating the manufacturers' websites to locate the model you want is frustrating.

Real World Testing
Hours of hands-on testing and experience

Welcome to the Poolbots Robot 2023 Buying Guide! With over 50 different pool robots on the market, we understand that finding the right pool robot for your needs can be a difficult task. That's why we have created this guide to help you make an informed decision. We hope this guide will help you navigate the morass of modern pool cleaners. Below is a section on major component you'll want to know about when you browse for your next pool robot. We break down the jargon and try to explain things on a practical level.

Why Trust Poolbots?

Dolphin Cayman Filter
Hands-On Experience from Certified Pool Experts

Why is Poolbots the authority on Pool Robots? We are pool robot specialists and nobody sells more pool robots. We live and breathe pool robots every day and have extensive experience in testing over 40 different robots in our laboratory equipped with five 8’x20’ tanks. We collected and compiled the most up-to-date data on the latest technology and feature sets. Within 5 minutes, you can find the perfect pool robot to keep your pool clean and well maintained. So, let's get started!

In this article, we will outline the Top 9 nuggets of knowledge that every buyer should know when selecting a robotic pool cleaner for 2023.

Understanding Filters

NanoFilter™ vs Standard Filters
NanoFilter™ (left) vs Standard Filters (right)

Are you looking for a robotic pool cleaner with different micron levels of filtration to capture the finest particles, like algae? Or do you need to pick up leaves and acorns? You can now buy pool robots with one type of filter, two types of filters, three types and now even four types. This is important because different jobs call for different micron ratings. Smaller micron filters are great for fine debris, but not so great for picking up acorns a leaves. This is because the small micron rating will have a lower flow rate, and provide less suction power.

Dolphin Sigma's Oversized Cartridge Filters
Dolphin Sigma's Dual NanoFilters™

Robots now offer between 1 and 4 filter types. If you choose a robot with two sets of filters, you’ll get one set for larger debris and one for ultrafine particles. While the ultrafine filter is great for polishing the water and removing algae, it has a lower flow rate than the regular filter. That’s why it’s important to switch between the two filters depending on the job you’re trying to do. Only the lowest cost robots have one set of filters, while the premium models will offer 3-4 types.

Pick Your Platform

Or go Multimedia to Get the Best of Both Worlds.

Dolphin Premier MultiMedia
Dolphin Premier's MultiMedia™

In the past, you typically had to choose between two types of filtration: cartridge or bag. Each of these systems were much better at serving one purpose than the other. Some user find that cartridges are a bit easier to clean than non-disposable leaf and debris bags, but are quite a bit smaller than the debris bags so you had to make a compromise. With the flexible 4-in-1 Multimedia system, this is no longer the case. Plus, disposable leaf & debris bags are available (more in next section). There only one model that offer Multimedia, so we’ll cover it – the Dolphin Premier. No other pool cleaner offers the same level of choice as Dolphin’s flagship, the Dolphin Premier. Featuring three sets of filtration media—Fine, Ultra Fine, and a Leaf Bag—you’ll be able to easily customize your pool cleaning experience for whatever the day calls for.

Need to Pick up a Bushel of Leaves?

Swap in a Reusable Leaf Bag

Dolphin Premier Leaf Bag
Dolphin Premier's EXCLUSIVE Oversized Leaf Bag

Tired of struggling with leaves and other large debris? The leaf bag is perfect for leaves, twigs, and other small debris. There are now two types of leaf bags, reusable and disposable. This innovative feature allows you to quickly and easily swap out the bag when it's time. Dolphin Premier's Multi-Media® makes it easier than ever to keep your outdoor living space clean and beautiful.

Tired of Washing the Media?

Disposable Leaf & Debris Bags

For the first time ever, you can choose disposable leaf and debris bags that can be thrown away when you’re done. Have a nasty spring clean-up job? Simply toss the disposable bag in the trash and skip the cleaning at the end. Plus, you can even subscribe to a service and have these bags delivered to your door each month. Dolphin Premier with MultiMedia is the only pool cleaner out there with such a selection of filtration options.

Why Waterline Scrubbing is Important

Dolphin E70 Waterline
Dolphin Explorer E70's Waterline Cleaning

The top pool robots have dual stabilizers that allow them to clean and traverse the waterline, horizontally. If you’ve never seen this, it’s a sight to behold. Waterline cleaning robots have the ability to clean your pool from the bottom to the upper part of the wall, including the notorious scum line. With dual stabilizers, pool robots attach to the wall and scrub even when up to 40% of the robot is above the water, eliminating bacteria, algae, and biofilm quickly and efficiently. Don't settle for budget models that only clean pool floors and partial walls. Invest in a pool robot to reach and scrub your waterline as well.

Robot Color Is More Important Than You Think

Pool Robot Leaving Black Scuff Marks
Black Colored Robots Leave Scuff Marks

One would think that color of pool the robot doesn’t matter much. This is true, except for one color. Black. There have been reports of black pool robots leaving scuff marks on gunite and plaster swimming pool surfaces. The plaster is abrasive and the black plastic is removed and deposited into the plaster surface. Reports indicate that the black can be difficult to remove. The solution is simple - choose any color but black. It turns out that black-colored plastic gets the color from carbon black pigment. This seems to be the issue as scuff marks have not been reported on other colors such as grey, blue or white. For this reason, we highly recommend choosing a robot that is grey, blue, white or some combination of those colors.

How much warranty is enough?

Dolphin Quantum Waterline
Dolphin Premier includes the longer, 3 year warranty

We understand the importance of warranties when it comes to investing in a quality pool robot. That’s why we recommend pol robots with a full three years warranty of coverage. We recognize that pool robots work hard daily in harsh chemicals and weather and that’s why we recommend longer warranties. Enjoy the peace of mind knowing that your investment is backed by a strong warranty. A three year warranty provides the ultimate coverage to ensure that your pool robot will be running smoothly for years to come. Don’t take a chance on a budget machine with a shorter warranty.

The Case Against Robot Batteries

Dolphin Explorer E20 Poolside
Dolphin Explorer E20

There is a movement at the lower end of the market to battery operated robots. In April of 2023, we just cannot recommend them. The reason is simple. First, battery technology is not there yet so they are underpowered. The flow rates are much lower than the corded models so they just don’t deliver adequate suction power. Second, a battery operated pool robot requires the owner to fetch the robot from the pool daily and charge it. This defeats the purpose of an automatic pool cleaner and goes against basic automation principles.

Corded robotic pool cleaners are designed with larger, more powerful DC motors, giving them more power than the battery operated units. With infinite corded power, they can run as long as necessary and no need to worry about having to fish the robot out of the pool and charge it. Corded robots can automatically turn on each day, allowing you to enjoy the convenience of an automatic pool robot. The future will bring robots that are capable of running from both a battery or plug in power, but they’re not yet available.

Do You Need a Swivel

Dolphin Anti-Tangle Swivel
No More Messy Cords.

If you're looking for an automatic pool cleaner that offers maximum efficiency, you need a robotic pool cleaner with a 360 degrees anti-tangle swivel. With this technology, you can say goodbye to the dreaded knot-tying that comes with a 60-foot power cord. No more spending time trying to untangle the cord. The swivel helps ensure tension is never built up in the cord and keeps the pool cleaner roaming freely.

Automatic Weekly Timer

Don’t Touch it Daily

Dolphin Quantum's Weekly Timer
Dolphin Quantum's Programmable Weekly Timer

Some robots do not include weekly timers so there’s an added hassle of manually starting and stopping your pool robot for every cleaning. Most premium models will include a weekly timer. The smart timer is designed to make your life easier, especially during the busy pool season. With an automated timer, you can set a schedule that allows your robot to clean every day without the inconvenience of turning it on/off.

Dual Stabilizers

Stabilize the Ascent

Dolphin Premier Lifestyle
Dolphin Premier's Dual Stabilzers double as a handle

If you're in the market for a pool robot, you may be surprised to learn that some robots seem to defy the laws of physics. If your house cleaning robot suddenly climbed the wall, you would be shocked. We are glad the technology exists to make it possible for a pool robot to climb up to the top of your wall and stay there. That's thanks to the special stabilizer found on the commercial pool robots and a few consumer models. This counter-balance allows the robot to remain in position while half of it is above the waterline. It's the rotating dual stabilizers that keep it in place when cleaning the upper walls and tiles. So, if you're looking for the best cleaning performance, make sure your pool robot has dual stabilizers.

Mind the Restocking fee

Dolphin Premier Wall Climbing
Avoid the Restocking Fee. Only Shop Platinum Dealers.

Your pool robot purchase is only as good as the company that sells it. Finding the right robotic cleaner for your pool can be a daunting task. Pool robots are one of the largest investment you’ll make for your pool. Online retailers know this, and they do not liking returning the money you’ve handed over. Many online retailers advertise easy returns but hide the fact that they charge a hefty restocking fee. One buyer wrote in to us about this exact experience, after being hit with a 20% fee, and that's why it's important to look for "No Restocking Fee" when shopping for pool cleaners. While Amazon is a popular choice for pool cleaners, it's important to read the fine print and be aware of the potential for hidden fees. About 90% of pool robots sold on Amazon have a 20% restocking fee. Don't get taken advantage of - look for "No Restocking Fee" when shopping online. This will give you confidence that you can make the purchase without worrying about hidden costs.

Which robot is best for your pool?

Dolphin Premier Lifestyle
Which robot is for you?

When looking for a pool robot, you'll want to take all of these options into consideration.

Here at Poolbots, we will never charge a restocking fee and always offer a free 30 day trial. We know a robotic pool cleaner is the heart of your pool, choose with confidence.


Try any in your own pool for 30 days.

Every pool deserves an intelligent robot. If you don't love it, simply return the robot. Unlike the other guys, we never charge a restocking fee or any other fees - meaning no restocking fee ever.