7 Best Robotic Cleaners and Above Ground Pool Vacuums 2020 Buying Guide

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If you already got an above ground pool then most probably this means that you clean it yourself. This will definitely result in taking a lot of your time during your weekends or after work vacuuming out the debris that got collected in your pool.

Handheld vacuums are the creation that made the pool cleaning easy. However, there is something better option than this. Robotic and automatic pool cleaners can do this without even your presence while they work.

In regard to this, here are the 7 best above ground pool vacuums and robotic cleaners available in the market. Here we also mentioned a detailed buying guide that will make you able to choose the accurate thing according to your needs.

Comparison Between the 7 Best Above Ground Pool Vacuums:

The review we mentioned for each of the pool cleaner is quite detailed but it will also help you to have a brief overview to compare each one of them with each other. After this, we got confidence that after investing in a robotic pool cleaner, you will never choose to go back to your traditional vacuuming.

However, we are here with a bit short list, still the customers can find a great deal of variety. So take a look below and choose anyone of the best above ground pool vacuums.

Dolphin EscapeRobotic Vacuum22.6 lbsCheck Price
Zodiac Ranger W01698Vacuum15 lbsCheck Price
Hayward 900 WandaCheck Price
Pentair K50600Vacuum14.05 lbsCheck Price
Aquabot Pool RoverRobotic Vacuum10 lbsCheck Price
Smartpool NC22Robotic Vacuum18 lbsCheck Price
Pool Rover S2-40Robotic Vacuum26.9 lbsCheck Price

#1 Dolphin Escape: Best Robotic Pool Cleaner

Dolphin Escape Best Robotic Pool Cleaner

Quick Features

  • It has high in capacity cartridge system that outperforms bags.
  • It has active scrubbing brushes that dislodge stiff deposits.
  • Its track based motion provides constant and stable functioning.

Maytronics Dolphin is a brand that is actually synonymous for the best robotic cleaner for above ground pools. This Escape comes with a one-year warranty along with about three years of extended coverage is available. The Dolphin Escape is an entry level model in the overall product line-up.

But this one is entirely unique with its new tech and it is actually a new standard in between all the robot pool cleaners. Its new onboard DC motor makes it more potential in lesser power draw. It just requires 180 watts or almost 5 cents in an hour.

The Escape is much powerful and its certain active scrubbing system got redesigned that assures that all the stiffest deposits will get cleaned. Its traction is one other improvement. The vacuum gets stick to the floor and climbs the walls.

This makes it quite efficient robot particularly to get the job done steadily. Its filter accessibility also got redesigned. Just need to pop it open, pull out the filter and everything get wash easily. Then, you just have to pop it back. At its price, there is not much to expect more. But still we feel it should have smartphone app. But overall, it is a great pool vacuum to consider.

  • Light in weight
  • Well distributed
  • Diligent scrubbing action
  • SmartNav 2.0

  • No add on for sand
  • No smartphone application


#2 Zodiac Ranger W01698: Best Electric Pool Vacuum Cleaner

Quick Features

  • Its complete design is based on s ingle moving object.
  • Its deflector wheels aids in avoiding most hand ups.
  • Its self adjusting water flow is accessible through certain valve.

Zodiac Ranger is one of the best vacuum cleaners in terms of its side pressure and side suction functioning. We mentioned it as number two in our reviews because it does not offer the level of convenience as the Dolphin Escape. Besides this, it gets attaches to the skimmer and needs the pool filter and pool pump you priory got.

For the type suction side cleaner go, Ranger is the best to choose electric vacuum cleaner. The things loved about it is that it arrives with already assembles, and it took just a bit of time to make it function even the first time you use.

The way its deflector wheel is designed is excellent. But the only issue with such type of pool cleaners is that they might hung up several times. But in this the provided wheels really does a perfect job to avoid the pool ladders and such other hindrances.
Moreover, note it that this is not a good fit for soft sided pools like many intex products.

  • It is quiet
  • It got deflector wheel
  • It comes pre assembles

  • It is not robotic
  • It is not suitable for soft sided pools


#3 Hayward 900 Wanda: Most Affordable and Small

Quick Features

  • It supports the programming in a pattern certain to your pool
  • Its light in weight design indicates that its high GMP pump is not needed
  • It has integrated bumper ring that aids in the prevention of walls and hinders

This Hayward 900 vacuum cleaner is an ideal choice for the ones who find for an automatic but not robotic pool cleaner. It’s getting ranked here because of its setup time and the deflector wheel. It is actually its core reason.

Maybe it does not matter but according to us its aesthetics is really love. You can choose it as Wanda the Whale, Penguin or Aquabug that will make your pool cleaner in a decorative way rather than being a tool.

Its setup gets done within just 10 minutes. It is quite easy to get done and we assure that it will become easier after more familiarity. However, the Zodiac Ranger is quite simpler out of its box. We also get to know that it’s given hoses are not sufficiently long for the pool 30 in feet or larger.

The users also said that once functioning the Haywood 900 Wanda is superb. Its turbine system makes sure that balanced and continuous water flow will keep the unit in motion. Its bumper aids in preventing disruption and it was impressive that the way it’s fast and efficient steering system can get the job done.

  • It has SmartDrive
  • It’s installation system is quite simple
  • It has a kid friendly and colorful design

  • There is no wall cleaning feature
  • It may require extra hoses


#4 Pentair K50600: Powerful and Long Lasting Option

Pentair K50600: Powerful and Long Lasting Option

Quick Features

  • It has hydraulic design that gives optimal vacuuming power
  • It’s one moving part design assures longevity for this vacuum cleaner
  • It uses a random but true pattern for optimal cleaning without any programming

When it comes to pool vacuums then Pentair is the most respected one. It did not get changed a lot so this is the accurate position to review it.

The thing to mention foremost and the reason why it comes under Ranger and the Wanda is that is in need of a ¾ hp pump. Out of the box, it does not have compatibility with Intex filters. At the end, its deflection approach is most probably the considerable limitation. In this regard you should expect this to just get hung up if you never account to it.

Besides all these issues, this of the Pentair pool vacuum is the best value in the market when you have to mention its cost and just within a decade you have to leave it. its design is solid but it creates noise.

  • It is long lasting
  • It can clean floor, waterline, and walls
  • It also has a pressure tester



#5 Aquabot Pool Rover: Idea for Hygienic Cleaning

Aquabot Pool Rover-ideal vacuumm cleaner for pool cleaning

Quick Features

  • Pool Rover Junior has a 40 foot cable that floats in the water
  • It has reusable filter bag and filters get sit to 2 microns
  • Rover can practically vacuum any flat bottom pool within an hour.

This Aquabot Pool Rover is also said to be as the Pool Rover Junior. It is the second robotic cleaner we mentioned in our list. This machine also got its limitations that we will mention but consider its price. Arguably, this is the best value pool vacuum you can get in the market. And this is what making it a top thing into all the robotic cleaners.

Rover Junior comes with its own pump. Its navigation system is quite refined and it also has a 40 foot floating cable. The best one according to us is the cartridge filter; however the filter bag with Rover is also impressive for its silt, algae and more what it collects. You can also wash it out and its bag is built offering durability.

Its automatic shutoff timer is really loved for unattended use. The points we felt its limitations are is the omission of the anti-tangle swivel that this Rover got on all its other models. Now this robotic cleaner can get hung up. You need to first prepare the pool so when you get back home the work is done.

  • It is best value robotic cleaner
  • It gets filter down to 2 microns
  • It has auto shutoff timer

  • Its robot design is of 1980s
  • It does not have anti tangle swivel


#6 Smartpool NC22: Multi Purpose and Smart Choice

SmartPool NC22 SmartKleen-Robotic Pool Cleaner

Quick Features

  • Its tracking component does not require the walls to turn
  • Its traction system makes is best fitting for any type of pool surface
  • It detects the type of surface and get adjusts accordingly for optimal level cleaning.

This SmartKleen NC22 is the most appealing robotic cleaner we felt because of its navigation. It does not take help from the walls to guide. This simply indicates that the shape or any other particular feature of your pool does not matters.

Actually, it tracks on the basis of identification of deposits that makes it efficient and faster in working. its unit can also calibrate itself according to the surface that’s being cleaned. And this also help in making it efficient enough.
Its 2 hour automatic timer is also a great feature for unattended use.

Cleaning its filter bag is not a convenient option as some other models. We wish that smartpool might have a tangle free cord because that cord included in it is just for time wastage while cleaning.

  • It has built in tracking tech
  • It is suitable for all pool features and shapes
  • It has automatic shut off timer

  • It is not easier to clean
  • It does not have cord tangles


#7 Pool Rover S2-40: Nice Choice with Extra Replaceable Filter Bag

Quick Features

  • It has a floating cord that extends to 40 feet
  • It has a washable filter bag that catches bacteria, algae, sand and many other things
  • Its navigation system enables to clean the pool within an hour

Actually, this is the version 2 for the Rover Junior by Aquabot mentioned above.

But consider it at a mid product life refresh than just a second version. Even the fact is that there is not much difference and most of the retailers are selling it as interchanging and at the same costs.

However, in some of the cases V1 is less costly and that is the reason we are distinguishing it.

Beside this, this is a great value for your bucks and this is a robotic cleaner that can easily clean all sort of pools within an hour and efficiently. We though there will be an anti tangle in V2, but there was not.

Its filtration is quite inspiring according to the price it comes with. But its filter bag is not convenient in comparison to the cartridge, however it is reusable. All you need is to wash it out. It is also well made so it is also durable to use.

  • It is pocket friendly
  • It filter out bacteria, algae, slit, etc
  • It has automatic shut off timer

  • It has a boxy design
  • It does not have anti tangle feature


Difference Between Above Ground Pool Vacuum and Robotic Cleaners:

Robotic cleaners need a bigger investment for upfront.

But it is faster in working. Robots are able to clean most of the pools in just 20 to 45 minutes. Automatic cleaners are quite less in precision and can take more than two hours to finally clean the whole pool.

However, generally automatic cleaners need more efforts for setup and break down. You have to back flush its filter after every use. Whereas, the robotic vacuum is simply plug and play, needs only the basic filtration cleaning.

Types of Above Ground Pool Vacuum:

When the point comes for the automatic above ground vacuum, then these are the core types to consider;

  • Suction: Suction and suction side types of cleaner is dependent on the suction that is the result created by a pool pump, this makes it the core requirement. These are the units which are generally aside to the random or already known way.

    Some of those got their own filter bag, but mostly are dependent on pool filteration. This means that you need to clean and backwash the skimmer after each use.
  • Pressure: Pressure or pressure side models got an intake that take the water from a certain pressurized spot of the pump. This pressure gives power to the wheels along with creating a suction that pulls in the debtis.

    Generally, these units demands a boostwr pump that oftenly conaise them for remodeling and installation.
  • Robotic: As its name suggest, robotic cleaners got computer based navigation and have self containment. This indicates that it never uses pool filter or pump. Usually, it’s programming is needed but at a time it gets programmed then will never bother you again.

    Generally it is recommended that the pool pump should be off at a time the robot works. Such type of units are in need of some maintenance and cleaning but not like that in suction and pressure units.

Points to Consider When Choosing an Above Ground Pool Cleaner:

Here we have mentioned some points you always want to consider while buying an above ground pool Cleaner. Getting known about the needs from these points will make it easier for you to choose the best suitable above ground pool or robotic cleaner for you.

  • Size and Shape of Swimming Pool: Considering the corded models, you should situate your power supply at least 12 feet from the corner of the pool. From that situating point, the cord will be needed to extend to the most far area of the pool.

    And if you want to buy above ground pool then consider the height and depth both along with assuring that robot is accurate fit for the measurements you made. Some irregular shaped areas may require to clean with hand as the cleaner won’t clean such points.
  • Type of Cleaner: Some of the robotic pool cleaners shortcome for only vacuuming the floor. The rest are also able to clean the lower wall section and the coves. Moreover, the most sophisticated units are also tends to clean the overall walls along with the waterline.
  • Bag or Bagless: Somewhat mentioning bag is not suitable because the robotic pool vacuums rarely got external bags with them. Just some got a receptacle bag that you will have to empty.

    The rest just got filteration system that demands replacement and proper cleaning. Furthermore, many units do combine these points maybe for a hybrid perception.
  • Corded or Cordless: This is a trade off choice. Generally you will find corded models less in price and more reliable. However, it will give you potent inconvenience and travel hazard of a cord stretched whole across your pool.

    Whereas, the cordless models requires to get recharged and of course that adds for doing some maintenance to your vacuum too.
  • Ease of Use: You get the more sophisticated navigation the less you need to save your stuck robot. Another thing to mention here is maintenance. The upkeeping point can be greatly varied from one robot to the next. So make sure to note all the requirements before buying.
  • Rate of Filtration: The powerfulness of filteration depends on the size of pool you have. For the comparison of relative filteration effectiveness in between the models, you have to note the enhanced flowrate, the micron value, and the capacity to collect debris. A smaller value of micron is an indication for fine filter.
  • Weight Distribution and Physical Weight: Can the walls of pool support weight? Or do you think weight is inconvenient to lift? These are actually the main aspects you need to consider. Regarding weight distribution, get the better balanced robot cleaner so it will result in more stablity that goes further to complete effectiveness.
  • Price: Price is the most obvious consideration. However, you need to take a beyond look at initial buying. Given warranty and durability of cleaner is important factor to consider. Also consider the maintenance cost you have to bear like in replacing filter. Also, you can need additional things like hose weights and hoses.
  • Dirt and Debris to Be Cleared: This is bigger point to consider and regards your expectations. Your average level robotic pool cleaner is able to remove the fine particles, this eliminates manual vacuuming and aid in the running of main pool efficiently. If there comes a lot of leaves in your pool so you won’t need a net to extract that.

    This will get done by a pool cleaner. But generally for this you will need a powerful machine having this particular feature.


Now evaluate yourself what you exactly want. What we did is to let you know things clearly. By far, Dolphin Escape is the best robotic cleaner you can have. It acquires most of those features that are a part of most expensive pool cleaners.

The next one Pool Rover Junior by Aquabot is great alternative to consider for above ground pool vacuum. Is it like the way Escape is? No, but it is great for its value. It costa a third of the total costs.