Robotic Pool Cleaners vs Suction: Which is Better for You?

Robert Wimberly

robotic pool cleaners vs suction

Thanks to technological advancements, pool maintenance has become a lot more manageable and less time-consuming. Nowadays, you no longer have to rely on manual brushing, as you can trust suction and robotic pool cleaners to do the job for you.

As a pool owner, you might be thinking about which of these devices is best for your pool and lifestyle. Today, we bring you an exciting comparison between robotic pool cleaners vs suction.

Which device takes the trophy when it comes to efficient pool maintenance? Let’s plunge right in and find out the answer!

To make it easier, here’s a quick summary of the differences between these two automatic inground pool cleaners.

Robotic Suction
Performance Ultra-efficient Average
Best For Any pool types In-ground pools
Application Hands-free Must be manually set up and may require regular intervention
Smart scheduling & mapping Yes No
Assembly Not needed Required
Energy consumption More energy-efficient Less energy-efficient
Filtration system Built-in None
Operation Independent Rely on existing pool infrastructure
Speed 2- 3 hours 4 – 6 hours
Lifespan 8 to 10 years Up to 6 years
Cost $300 – $3,000 $100 – $1,000

Robotic Cleaners — The High-tech Cleaning Solution


Robotic cleaners, or pool skimmer robots, are self-guided, autonomous cleaning machines. They utilize smart navigation technology and obstacle detection sensors to move around the pool for maintenance.

Moreover,  robotic cleaners are often equipped with advanced technology to adapt to your pool layout and can be programmed with your desired cleaning schedule.

Unlike other types of pool cleaners, this tool does more than circulate the water; it scrubs the pool’s floor, walls, waterline, and even stairs. Besides, you don’t need to attach it to a pump or circulation system. Instead, it uses a separate filter bag.

Suction Cleaners — The Classic Pool Cleaner


As the name suggests, suction cleaners rely on your pool’s filtration system and the suction power of the pool pump to collect dirt and debris at the bottom of the pool. This accumulation is then trapped in the pool’s filtration system for removal.

With minimal moving parts, suction cleaners offer a durable and economical alternative to high-tech options like electric or pressure pool cleaners. Additionally, they’re easy to set up and generally quite reliable.

Pool Cleaners Comparison: Suction vs. Robotic

1. Effectiveness


Regarding fancy features, electric pool cleaners like the robotic models have the advantage. They have built-in brushes, a filtration system, and a suction mechanism. These robots’ motors are also strong enough to climb walls for cleaning.

Suction cleaners are also efficient. However, their efficiency wanes when it comes to corner areas or scrubbing off walls and stairs. You still need to brush the walls and other small areas manually to prevent algae buildup.

Another notable difference between these two types of pool cleaners is that suction-side vacuums aren’t very effective at clearing out floating debris. In addition, large scraps can clog these machines’ diaphragms. Meanwhile, robotic cleaners can tackle debris of all sizes.

2. Effort


For many, robotic cleaners are synonymous with convenience. After lowering the device into your pool, you only have to plug in and turn on the device. Many models even allow you to set cleaning schedules for a truly hands-off experience.

While suction models are easy to set up, they require a manual connection to your pool’s skimmer or vacuum port. Regular intervention may be necessary, as the skimmer basket needs to be emptied and backwashed frequently for optimal performance.

What’s more, some suction vacuums, particularly the cheaper ones, must also be moved around the pool manually. Since these models still require being set up with your filtration system, the extra steps can make cleaning more taxing.

3. Energy consumption


Since robotics are powered independently, they have low-voltage filtration and motor systems. This setup means lower energy consumption, saving as much as 83% of your typical pool operation cost.

As mentioned, suction cleaners rely on your pool’s infrastructure for power. The low end for this setting is that it consumes more energy—in fact, suction vacuums are the least energy-efficient among modern pool cleaners. That means higher electricity costs.

4. Pool circulation


As they navigate through the water, robotic cleaners contribute to better pool circulation, chemical balance, and water quality. Suction cleaners fall short on this matter since they don’t circulate the water.

5. Cost


The cost of these automatic pool sweepers varies widely, depending on the brand, model, and additional features. Generally, suction units cost $100 to $1,000 apiece, whereas their robotic counterparts’ price range is around $300 to $3,000.

Pros and Cons of Each Model

To help you make the best decision, here’s a rundown of the advantages and disadvantages of each pool vacuum.

1. Robotic cleaners:

  • Solid efficiency
  • Can clean hard-to-reach areas
  • Less energy and water consumption
  • Purifies water while trapping debris
  • Programmable cleaning cycles
  • No need to attach to a pump or circulation system
  • Extravagant price
  • Complicated maintenance

2. Suction cleaners:

  • Great for cleaning the pool’s bottom
  • Easy maintenance
  • Inexpensive initial and maintenance cost
  • Durable
  • Requires manual control
  • Unable to clean corners
  • May cause wear and tear on the pump filter

Which is Better, Robotic or Suction Pool Cleaner?

When deciding between suction pool cleaner vs. robotic, it’s challenging to determine which will provide better performance and results. Either option will do a cracking job of cleaning your pool and maintaining water clarity.

As such, your decision is more on personal preference and budget. However, the best option will also depend on these factors:

1. Pool size and shape


For large or irregularly shaped pools, robot cleaners win the battle. Their advanced features can tackle complex pool designs.

However, if you own a small to medium-sized pool, the less expensive suction cleaners may be all you need.

2. Device performance


If you don’t like to deal with manual connections and tangled hoses, robotic cleaners are the best choice. Besides the pool’s bottom, they climb walls and steps to remove stains and dirt.

If optimal performance is pivotal, this could be an excellent addition to your pool maintenance arsenal.

3. Cleaning speed


When fast and thorough cleaning is the goal, the crown goes to robot cleaners. Their advanced scrubbing technology swiftly cleans your pool in 1 to 3 hours. Suction alternatives take 4 to 6 hours to get the job done.

4. Energy savings


Are you looking for a pool vacuum that can help lower your monthly power bill? Robotic cleaners might be up your alley. By operating independently, this cleaner consumes much less energy than sucking up power with suction cleaners.

5. Upfront cost and maintenance


If you’re looking for an affordable way to keep your pool clean, a suction pool cleaner is the best bet. Also, this device’s spare parts are easy to find and won’t cost you a fortune.

Robotic models may be pricier. However, you can factor in long-term operational costs and the device’s lifespan. When comparing models, note that the cheaper the cleaner, the shorter its lifespan.


Both options can make your pool maintenance tasks lighter and more efficient. However, your final choice should effortlessly align with your specific pool conditions, preferences, and budgetary needs.

In the end, the ultimate winner in the robotic pool cleaners vs. suction debate is the cleaner that best meets your unique needs. Nevertheless, enjoy frolicking around your watery oasis!

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