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Automatic Pool Cleaners: What's the Difference?

By Team Royal - Updated On: 10/15/23

With everyone being busy and wanting to spend the extra they do have relaxing, we are seeing more and more of our customers turning to automatic pool cleaners to help give them time back!

If you’ve ever been to someone’s house and seen a small underwater robot having a grand time in their pool, that’s an automatic pool cleaner! They can work with your filtration system or on their own but they help keep debris and algae from building up in your pool. This helps to take pressure off your filter (making it last longer and need less maintenance) and aids in keeping your pool crystal clear and splash ready!

Whether you have an above ground swimming pool or an in-ground swimming pool, there are three primary types of automatic pool cleaners to choose from!

 Suction CleanersRoyal swimming pools auto cleaners

As the most wallet-friendly option, suction-side cleaners have become a favorite pool tool for many busy homeowners. This cleaner connects to your existing skimmer or dedicated suction line and travels around your pool sucking up debris to send through your pool’s filtration system. They are great for picking up medium-sized debris and can be set to pick up small debris such as silt or sand! A few even climb walls for expanded cleaning areas!

Suction side cleaners run when your pump runs, so you don't really use any more or less electricity than normal if you use it inside your normal filter cycle. Since the cleaner is dependent on the filter systems efficiency, once your filter has started to get close to its capacity, the cleaner will become less efficient. For this reason, these cleaners are used a few times per week, vs. leaving them in for long periods of time.

ProsAdorable Automatic pool cleaners

  • Easy maintenance
  • Lower cost
  • Great for smaller to medium sized pools
  • Less moving parts


  • Dependent on efficiency of filtration system 
  • Requires most user interaction

Shop Inground Automatic Suction Cleaners

Shop Above-Ground Automatic Suction Cleaners


Pressure CleanersAuto Cleaner for Inground Swimming Pools

Pressure side cleaners use water pressure from a dedicated booster pump and/or pool pump to drive the cleaner around your pool, forcing debris into a filter bag where it can be easily collected and removed. These cleaners typically operate every day, maintaining a constantly clean pool.

Cleaners that don't use a booster pump are commonly run for the duration of your normal filter cycle, although it isn't necessary it runs that much. Cleaners that do use a booster pump are normally set up on a secondary timer system, automating it to come on and off every day for a certain amount of time; typically, 2-4 hours. And since these bad boys have their own filter bag, you won’t add any additional stress to your existing pool filter!

Pressure side cleaners are great for picking up medium and large debris. Finer particles will flow through the filter bag, but the sweep tail scrubs the floor, and stirs up the dirt for your pools filtration to filter out.

ProsAbove ground swimming pool automatic cleaner

  • Can be on a daily timer
  • Less filter and pump maintenance
  • Great for medium to large pools
  • Easy to maintain


  • Can require a second pump or booster pump
  • Booster pump can use more energy
  • Requires pool pump to run

Shop Inground Automatic Pressure Cleaners

Shop Above-Ground Automatic Pressure Cleaners


Robotic CleanersRoyal Swimming Pools tiger-shark cleaner by Hayward

You could emphasize the term robot when referring to Robotic pool cleaners for extra cool points but these guys don’t really need the help!  First of all, they pick up debris of all sizes, so they can do the job you are buying them to do. On top of that, they do not hook up to any part of your pool’s existing filtration system! That’s right, neither your pump nor your filter will have any extra strain put on them to help the cleaner perform. How is this possible?!

Robotic cleaners are self-contained filtration systems in and of themselves. Because of this they reduce your overall power costs and consumption making them the industry’s most energy efficient automatic cleaners. Premium models come equipped with awesome features like remote controls, waterline scrubbing, four-wheel drive, and programmable cleaning cycles.

Plug them in and put them in the water! No hooking up to existing equipment. No tools needed. Grab and go!


  • Superior cleaning
  • Eliminates wear on pool equipment
  • Operates quietly
  • Remotes and storage caddies availablePOOL-ROVERJR at Royal Swimming Pools


  • Higher cost upfront
  • Requires the filter to be emptied
  • Additional parts to be replaced when needed

Shop Inground Robotic Cleaners

Shop Above-Ground Robotic Cleaners


For more information and pricing on automatic cleaners, click here!


Hopefully, we've helped answer some questions for you or, even better, given you even more to think about. We have amazing resources to find answers to your most thought-provoking pool questions! However, we'd like to cover a specific question now: Why? Why buy from us? What value do you as a consumer get from purchasing your oasis from us over another company? 

The image below covers so many benefits of shopping with Royal Swimming Pools however we want to point out three of these that are really connected together and what WE as consumers take seriously when WE shop online. What we're talking about isn't our incredible track record of 30 years in the industry. It isn't our ability to create customized items in a way that is simple and easy to understand. It's not even our long list of ways to buy including multiple easy financing options? It's more important that all of that. Because it's about you. 

The three most important items that you can focus on below is how we treat... you. Our team builds real relationships with our customers. If you call in and speak to a sales consultant, that consultant provides support to you before your sale, during your design, can assist with your purchase, ensure that all your pool components fit properly together in a way that will give you the best experience once you're happily swimming. But it doesn't end there. We provide that same one-on-one support during your build and installation, if you have any technical, troubleshooting, or even warranty inquiries later down the line, we'll have you covered!

This leads to our high customer satisfaction rating. Yeah, no for real- almost 5,000 reviews here with a rating of 4.8! Want more? See what reviews folks have said about us on Google!

If you're pressed for time you can check out some customer feedback below. 

We've come full circle. We pride ourselves on taking care of our customers before, during, and after they choose to shop with us. This has led to our high customer satisfaction rating which has been made obvious by the positive feedback we see across multiple platforms. Why buy from Royal Swimming Pools? Because we'll treat you like royalty every day. 

Why Buy From Royal Swimming Pools Automatic Cleaners