All of the available pool cleaners have various pro’s and con’s. The type of automatic pool cleaner that suits your needs will depend on a variety of factors including the shape and size of your pool, the type and amount of debris it collects, and your budget.
A suction cleaner will connect to the suction point in your skimmer box much like your handheld pool vacuum. They utilise the suction from your pool pump to drive the cleaner around the pool sucking up leaves and dirt as they go which then deposits in your skimmer basket.
They are generally less expensive than the alternatives, however they will drive up the running costs and wear and tear of your pool pump. A suction side cleaner will also struggle to pick up larger debris and commonly become clogged when there is a lot of leaf litter in the pool.
A suction side cleaner will also increase your filter backwash frequency due to the fact that all of the dirt and debris the cleaner sucks up has to be filtered through the system resulting in a lot of water and chemical wastage over time.
Pressure-side Pool Cleaners
A pressure side cleaner such as a Polaris, or a JetVac connects to the flow side of your pool plumbing. A separate booster pump is required to provide additional flow to the cleaner which relies on a venturi system to suck up debris into a dedicated catch bag.
The upfront costs of pressure-side cleaners are higher than suction cleaners however they perform more effectively in pools that collect a lot of leaf litter. The ongoing running costs are also higher due to the additional pump that is required, and your pool will have to have been specifically plumbed to accommodate a pressure side cleaner.
Robotic Pool Cleaners
A robotic pool cleaner is completely independent, meaning it is not reliant on the pool plumbing system to operate. The cleaner is driven via a low voltage electric motor, and has an inbuilt filter and catchment basket. Robotic pool cleaners are by far the most effective pool cleaners on the market, however they do come with a larger price tag.
The advantage of owning a robotic pool cleaner is that your running costs are next to nil, a robot cleaner will use approximately $0.04 of electricity per hour with the average cleaning cycle being 1.5 hours your pool will be completely cleaned for under $0.10.
Most newer robot cleaners come with a dual layer filtration system, a Dolphin robotic pool cleaner will filter particles down to 30 microns so not only will it pick up the leaves on the bottom of your pool but it will also collect any fine dust in the pleated filter cartridges.
A robotic pool cleaner will also reduce the frequency with which you need to backwash your filter, this can result in tens of thousands of Litres of chemically treated water saved each year with the average backwash using over 1000L of water, resulting in further cost savings on your water bill and your pool chemical/mineral bill.
Summary of Key Points
- Suction cleaners connect to the suction point in the skimmer box and rely on the pool pump’s suction to clean the pool. They are less expensive but struggle with larger debris and increase filter backwash frequency.
- Pressure-side pool cleaners connect to the flow side of the pool plumbing and require a separate booster pump to suck up debris. They are more effective in pools with a lot of leaf litter but have higher upfront and ongoing costs.
- Robotic pool cleaners are independent and driven by an electric motor with an inbuilt filter and catchment basket. They are the most effective pool cleaners but have a higher price tag. They have low running costs, reduce backwash frequency, and save on water and chemical bills.
- Clarity Pool Management recommends robotic pool cleaners.