Looking for an automatic pool cleaner? Here are a few things to consider.
Ready to get yourself an automatic pool cleaner? Smart move! A cleaner not only removes dirt and debris, but enhances circulation and can help reduce chemical usage.
There are three major types of automatic cleaners: pressure, suction and robotic.
Pressure cleaners can be quite effective, but they require dedicated pool plumbing lines, and often require dedicated booster pumps. If your pool was made for a pressure cleaner, you would probably know it, because the plumbing and booster pump would have been included in the original design-build process.
A suction cleaner is the most common type, and generally the least expensive. It connects to your pool’s pre-existing circulation system (via a wall fitting, or at the skimmer), requires no external power source, and sends dirt right into the pool filter. Suction cleaners are best at removing relatively small debris, as they tend to get slowed down or clogged by palm fronds, sticks, and larger items.
Robotic cleaners are usually connected via insulated cable to a control box, which is in turn plugged into an outlet, although some battery-powered models are now available. Robots can be pricey, and they must be removed from the pool when not in use. However, they have some appealing features:
- They work in pools where other types of cleaners may fall short, because most robots have the power and speed to navigate all sorts of twists and turns such as steps, ledges and unusual shapes.
- They operate independently of your pool’s circulation system, in terms of both power and debris collection. In other words, you can put the cleaner to work without running your pool pump, and all of the dirt and debris is captured within the unit itself (which comes with a drawback – the dirt canister must be emptied after each use).
- They give you more control. Virtually all models include timers, many are programmable and/or include a remote control, and some offer multiple cleaning modes (comprehensive, quick, tile line, etc.).
Whichever type or model you choose, we have one piece of advice that may sound funny, but we mean it: Unless you are really bored, don’t watch the cleaner while it is running. It is common for pool owners to watch an automatic cleaner operate for a few minutes, and get the false impression that it isn’t going to clean the whole pool. If you let it do its thing for at least a couple of hours, chances are good that you will be pleased with the results.