Dolphin’s Automatic Pool Cleaner Comparison Guide

There are many different types, styles, brands, and models of automatic pool cleaners out there. The model that is best for each swimming pool is up for debate, but one thing that everyone can agree on is that every swimming pool owner should have one! They save an incredible amount of time and labor, keeping your swimming pool debris-free, without a lot of work on your part. Wouldn’t everyone want to spend less time cleaning the pool and more time enjoying it? 

For us, automatic pool cleaners break down into four basic types: Robotic, Suction, Non-booster Pressure, and Booster-Driven Pressure cleaners. In this blog, we’ll talk about the pros and cons of each, and highlight our selection of the best we offer of each type. Feel free to call or come into Dolphin and discuss which would be the best for your pool!

Dolphin's Automatic Pool Cleaner Comparison Guide  | Dolphin Pool Supply Dallas Texas Polaris 9450 Credit:

Robotic Pool Cleaners

Pros: This is the fastest-growing and changing segment of the automatic pool cleaner categories. These are self-contained, non-equipment dependent units that have their own motors to provide power to the wheels or tracks that move around in the pool. Some robotic pool cleaner models will provide scrubbing action and even suck debris into an on-board filter or filter bag. They come with a power supply that plugs into a normal GFCI protected household plug. This power supply generally has some level of programmability that control how the unit cleans your pool.

The unit itself has a cord of varying length that plugs into the power supply, depending on the unit purchased. We know, it’s a little scary thinking about an electrical cord in the pool water, but this is a special waterproof cord that poses no danger to people swimming. No-one should be using the pool while the cleaner is in operation, but not because of any electrical danger. 

The drawback for these types of cleaners has always been that they are a “use and remove” type of cleaner. You put the unit into the pool, push a button to start a cleaning cycle, and take it out and clean the filter or bag when the cycle is completed. You would then leave it out of the pool until the next time you wanted to run it. While this doesn’t make it a truly automatic system, the Polaris 9450, our flagship robotic pool cleaner, is. The Polaris 9450 has a 7-day programmability, making it an ideal choice for pools with poor circulation and filtration, or pools that are not pre-plumbed for an automatic pool cleaner.

Dolphin's Automatic Pool Cleaner Comparison Guide  | Dolphin Pool Supply Dallas Texas Zodiac MX8 Credit:

Suction Cleaners

This type of automatic pool cleaner have always been the “go-to” cleaner for pools that have not been pre-plumbed for a pool cleaner. Their vacuum hose attaches to a dedicated suction line, or into the hole at the bottom of the pool skimmer. This allows the cleaner to suck dirt and leaves from the bottom of the pool, through the unit and it’s hose, and then through the skimmer or pool’s suction plumbing and pump basket where it ultimately ends up in the pool filter. The leaves, twigs, and larger debris would typically be strained out by an inline leaf catcher, to prevent clogs in the suction plumbing. Debris that goes through the inline strainer would be collected by the pump basket.

The drawback to this type of pool cleaner is that it is completely reliant on the amount of suction that you provide it. As the baskets or filter clog up, the efficiency of the pool cleaner is reduced. Any leak or break in the unit, hose, plumbing or pool equipment will also reduce it’s effectiveness. They are a viable option if you understand and can live with their limitations. They are not the best option if you have a lot of trees, or if your pool gets a significant amount of debris in it. 

Dolphin's Automatic Pool Cleaner Comparison Guide  | Dolphin Pool Supply Dallas Texas Polaris 360

Non-Booster Pump Pressure Cleaners

The best unit in this category, based on our extensive experience, is the Polaris 360. The Polaris 360 is based on the technology brought to the market in 1972 by Polaris. Years of performance and reliability make the Polaris 360 an easy choice for us in this category, however, it does have similar limitations as the suction-type automatic pool cleaner.

It uses the swimming pool filtration system’s water flow to drive it around the pool and create venture suction to jet material on the bottom and sides of the pool into a bog attached to the top of the pool cleaner. It also has a sweep hose attached to the back of the unit to gently dislodge dirt and debris, making it possible for that debris to end up in the bag. The pool owner simply needs to empty the back periodically, as it becomes full.

As with suction cleaners, reduced water flow affects these cleaners’ efficiency. Its enemies are full pump and skimmer baskets, clogged lines or filters, and leaking plumbing or equipment.

Dolphin's Automatic Pool Cleaner Comparison Guide  | Dolphin Pool Supply Dallas Texas Polaris 3900 Sport

Booster Driven Pressure Side Cleaners   

This category represents the vast majority of automatic pool cleaners sold and used in the United States. For many years, Polaris has been the undisputed king of this category, and has innovated, refined, and set the standard for pressure side automatic pool cleaners. Polaris’ success has certainly spawned many copies, but original Polaris cleaners have proven to us that they are the best and most durable pool cleaners on the market.

The latest and greatest Polaris booster driven pressure cleaner is the 3900 Sport model. This unit draws upon the original tried and true technology introduced in the early 70s, incorporates new technologies that Polaris has innovated over the years. This model adds brand new, heavy duty components to bring the most efficient and durable pool cleaner ever invented to swimming pool owners! It’s a bonus that it looks cool also! Choose a Polaris 3900 Sport and enjoy the most trouble free swimming pool that you can imagine

Dolphin's Automatic Pool Cleaner Comparison Guide  | Dolphin Pool Supply Dallas Texas Pentair Racer | Credit:

Special Mention

At this time we’d like to introduce you to a new contender in the booster driven pressure cleaner category. The Pentair Racer has many of the traditional capabilities of most popular pressure cleaners, but adds on a real scrubbing brush! This rotating brush adds another layer of cleaning to attack dirt and algae, and even works whether the unit is in forward or reverse! 

Another innovative feature of the Pentair Racer is it’s exclusive, self-powered Night Cruize LED lights, adding ambiance and intrigue to nighttime cleaning. Trust us, you’ll spend hours watching this lighted beast clean up your pool in the dark.


About Dolphin Pool Supply and Service

Dolphin Pool Supply is an employee-owned company which has been in the business of swimming pool supply and services since 1957.  Dolphin Pool Supply values customers as the most important asset of the business taking their every need with high regard to ensure client satisfaction.

Dolphin Pool Supply provides swimming pool supplies and services in Dallas and Flower Mound.

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