Above Ground Pool Cleaners

5 Best Above Ground Robotic Pool Cleaners of 2021 – Reviews & Buyer’s Guide

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Summer is here and therefore the living is straightforward, especially if you’re blessed to have a swimming bath. Yet, most of the people with above-ground swimming pools wish they might do away with tedious, manual cleaning by finding a reliable above-ground automated cleaner to try to do the work.

While pool cleaners – even those at the high end – are a fraction of your overall investment, it still pays to conduct thorough research to avoid disappointment and aggravation down the road. After all, why risk your water quality and poolside experience?

Given the plethora of choices available, it’s going to seem impossible to figure through all the technical jargon and special offers. that’s why we are proud to present an inventory of 5 in-depth above-ground pool cleaner reviews. Whether you place greater emphasis on performance, price, or another aspect of cleaners, the goal of those reviews is to assist you to select wisely.


Above Ground Robotic Pool Cleaners Comparison

WinnerDolphin Escape Robotic

  • Reliable
  • 90% more efficient
  • Computer-controlled navigation and logic

Second placeZodiac Ranger

  • Quieter operation
  • Only one moving part to stress about
  • Convenient skimmer connection for hose

BEST VALUEHayward Wanda

  • Inexpensive
  • Good coverage
  • Easy and fast to line up

Pentair Kreepy Krauly

  • Economical choice
  • Free skimming valve
  • Adequate for light use

Aquabot Pool Rover

  • Efficient
  • Fully automatic
  • Best used on smaller pools

The 5 Best Above Ground Pool Vacuums

1. Dolphin Escape Robotic Above Ground Pool Vac – Best Overall

Maytronics’ Dolphin Escape stormed into 2019 because of the most suitable option for above-ground pool owners. This elegant cleaner ensures that your pool is freed from both macro and micro-debris, leading to sparkling clear water for the last word swimming experience.

Its patented hyperbrush™ scrubbing mechanism is twice as fast as most competing brushes, meaning that even the toughest sediment and particles don’t escape its vacuuming power. The bulldozer-like rubber tracks maintain contact with the surface in the least time – a plus over traditional wheel-based cleaners in terms of traction, energy efficiency, and climbing ability.

The smartnav 2.0™ scanning system optimizes the dolphin escape’s pool surface coverage and cleaning time. Additionally, filtration is achieved via the utilization of an oversized filter cartridge (as against bags) and fine filters to grab anything in view.

The dolphin escape’s hi-tech features and state-of-the-art design are backed by a one-year warranty and a 30-day, no-hassle return policy. Above all, its deep-cleaning performance gives you an incredible bang for the buck.


  • Reliable (we’ve never seen it get stuck)
  • Computer-controlled navigation and logic
  • Dual 24V DC motors up to 90% more efficient than AC-powered cleaners
  • Simple “Plug and Play” installation


  • Must purchase fine particle filters separately

2. Zodiac Ranger Above-Ground Pool Vac

The Baracuda W01698 Zodiac Ranger Suction Side Automatic Above-Ground Pool Cleaner may be an excellent option for pool owners. Dependable and straightforward to work, the Zodiac Ranger’s streamlined design and approach can vacuum out all kinds of dirt, leaves, and other debris which will accumulate over the winter and throughout the pool season.

Unlike many above-ground cleaners, the Ranger ships practically pre-assembled – all you’ve got to try to do is attach the hose to start out cleaning. Its distinguishing feature – the smart-looking AG Disc diaphragm – enables the Ranger to simply navigate the pool and vacuum without being hindered by steps or corners.

No extra plumbing is required to form Zodiac work, and stable water flow is controlled by its Flowkeeper™ valve.

Of the four other automated cleaners reviewed here, the Zodiac Ranger was the Dolphin Escape’s closest competitor. It didn’t receive our top recommendation because many pool owners reported having to supervise the Ranger or maybe switch to manual operation to catch up on a scarcity of complete coverage.


  • Quieter operation than most competitors
  • Convenient skimmer connection for hose
  • Only one moving part to stress about


  • 32’ hose standard a liability in larger pools
  • Declogging needed after learning larger debris
  • Diaphragm may need to get replaced after 1-2 years

3. Hayward Wanda Above Ground Pool Vac – Best Value

At first glance, the cartoonish-looking Hayward 900 “Wanda the Whale” Suction Above Ground Pool Cleaner could also be hard to require seriously. Wanda’s relatively low price also makes pool owners look elsewhere, but should it?

Under the hood, you get a strong turbine cleaner suitable for above-ground pools of all shapes and sizes. Combined with Hayward’s SmartDrive® program steering mechanism, this unit uses the pool’s existing filtration system to deliver Consistent results.

Easy to put in, the 900 Wanda operates quietly and improves water flow because it moves along rock bottom, acting as a “second main drain”. a clear feature is its outside bumper ring, which helps Wanda move far away from walls to urge back on the programmed path at once.

All in all, Wanda is right for the budget-Conscious, Do-it-Yourselfers (DIY), and first-time above-ground pool owners. However, it requires several additions beyond its basic package (e.g. leaf catcher, stronger pump) to be Considered with the main players.


  • Inexpensive
  • Good coverage, the graceful operator in smaller pools
  • Easy and fast to line up
  • Has a tendency to form people smile


  • Pump strength decreases with debris accumulation
  • Issues surrounding ripped liners

4. Pentair Kreepy Krauly Robotic Pool Cleaner

Pentair’s K50600 Kreepy Krauly has earned a love-hate relationship with above-ground pool owners. While it shares an identical look and merchandise specs with the Zodiac Ranger (i.e. hydraulic design, one moving part, circular disc at the heart of the vacuum, etc.), it fails to match the Ranger’s performance and reliability.

We just like the ability to surface skim debris during the course of vacuuming. Unfortunately, you almost need perfect, obstacle-free pool conditions to ensure the type of results you expect.

Kreepy Krauly is well-established within the marketplace and lots of people remain loyal to the brand. However, with advancing robotics technology and pool owners striving for hassle-free maintenance, the Pentair company must intensify its game to compete with the competition in the future.


  • Adequate for light use, i.e. smaller pools
  • Economical choice


  • Initial set-up problematic; handbook unclear
  • Very heavy (49 lbs.) and loud
  • Hose length not enough for medium-sized, large pools
  • Issues traveling steps, ladders

5. Aquabot Above Ground Pool Cleaner

The Aqua Products Pool Rover Junior looks specialized on paper. It claims to hide any sort of pool surface without the utilization of hoses. APRVJR gives you 40 feet of cable and reasonable power specifications that, alongside a cute “rover” look, seem hard to pass up.

However, the design-build is way from durable and problems will arise soon. Service is provided under the one-year warranty but be prepared to pay hefty shipping costs for extra parts. Unlike previous models, the present Pool Rover is vulnerable to cord entanglements that need frequent manual intervention.

All in all, an excellent concept that also needs more testing and fine-tuning to earn a top recommendation.


  • Efficient at sucking up all kinds of dirt and debris
  • Best used on smaller pools


  • Poor suction and surface coverage
  • Durability and motor issues
  • Deceptive warranty conditions
  • Movement is usually haphazard
  • Rusting and corrosion issues severely limits longevity

Above Ground Robotic Pool CleanersBuyer’s Guide

All pool owners – veterans and newbies alike – deserve a successful above-ground pool cleaner purchase. Apart from the precise models discussed above, there are certain aspects of the general system you ought to know.

1. Cleaner Type

Not all above-ground cleaners are created equal. The most categories are:

  • Robotics-based cleaners (software and microprocessor-controlled motors)
  • Suction-based (i.e. Vacuum) cleaners (using hoses plus the pool’s own filtration system)
  • Turbulence-based cleaners (using pressure to dislodge dirt and debris before filtering them out)

2. swimming bath Size and Shape

Obviously, your pool size will determine the time required to take care of your pool, the power, and energy Consumption required, also because of the necessary cable (32 versus 40 feet). Don’t ditch the pump strength needed to try the correct job!

While smaller-sized pools give owners more selection flexibility, robotic cleaners with powerful brush heads and “smart path” technology (such as Hayward’s SmartDrive® program steering system) could also be better than suction-based systems for larger pools.

If your pool has many obstacles (e.g. steps, ladders, special contours, etc.), a robotic system’s “intelligence” is going to be put to the test and should not perform as advertised. Many suction-based cleaners only have one moving part, and thus, could also be preferable for non-standard pool shapes.

3. what’s the Filtration Rate?

The quoted filtration rate of your Prospective machine may be a key metric that affects your water quality once the work is completed. An honest benchmark for many swimming pools would be a filtration rate of 70 to 75 gallons per minute.

4. Power Consumption

With a view to keeping swimming bath maintenance costs low, owners need to strike a balance between power consumption and operation time. For instance, robotic cleaners just like the Dolphin and therefore the Aquabot are rated at 180 watts, which is predicted, given their sophisticated electronics and software.

Suction-based systems will typically have a lower power rating, with the trade-off being longer cleaning cycles and, in some cases, the introduction of a stronger pumping mechanism.

5. Cleaner’s Physical Weight and Weight Distribution

Automated above-ground cleaners range from 10 to 50 pounds, which may affect their maneuverability and stability. within the end, you would like solid Construction which will withstand reasonable wear and tear – no matter weight.

6. Dirt and Debris to be Cleared

What’s most problematic for you: leaves or fine particulates (e.g. sand, micro-debris, etc.)? If larger objects from winter and throughout the season are your main issue, then you’ll need a cleaner that’s powerful and reliable enough for heavy use. during this vein, robotic cleaners are often favored. However, suction-based systems often shine when filtering out and cleaning up smaller elements.

The Too Long, Didn’t Read (TL;DR) is:

  • Your Problem
  • Your Solution
  • Large Debris
  • Robotic Cleaner
  • Finer Particulates
  • Suction Cleaner

7. simple Use

Do you dread having to wash your above-ground swimming bath, even with a robotic/automatic helper? If nothing else, a cleaner should be easy to use, because it’ll be called upon three, five, maybe ten times per annum – or more!

What is more annoying than having to manually clean your pool after cleaner failure? Every machine features a breaking point; however, when things go astray, ask sales personnel some basic questions on operation if:

  • Your cleaner sticks on the wall or a ladder
  • The cleaner suddenly slows down or stops altogether
  • The cleaner never covers 100% of the pool without personal intervention
  • The cleaner, if advertised as bidirectional, doesn’t go backward (or forwards)

8. Price

It’s your bottom line Consideration, but you would like to think about quite just the bottom offer. For instance, will you like additional hoses, a stronger pump, an extended warranty, or other parts and services before getting started?

In the end, peace of mind is certainly worth a couple of bucks, so be wary of bargain-basement pricing. At an equivalent time, don’t get trapped with the newest features which will be both unnecessary and offered at a steep premium.

A rule of thumb: Robotic systems are going to be costlier but offer more promise of hassle-free, above-ground pool maintenance vis-à-vis suction-based cleaners that regularly need manual adjustment.


The Dolphin Escape Robotic Above Ground Pool Cleaner is our overall product winner, with the Hayward 900 Wanda ranking because of the best cleaner for the cash. All five cleaners reviewed have distinctive features, although the Zodiac Ranger and Pentair Kreepy Krauly might be Considered a directly comparable pair. Likewise, the Hayward Wanda and Junior Rover, albeit the latter is hose-less cleaner.

Before choosing a pool cleaner, carefully prioritize your needs, find a model whose features come closest to meeting those needs, and evaluate the value/price trade-off.

On occasion, a corporation may mishandle your order or send you damaged goods. It’s annoying to make certain, but if it happens, attempt to leverage things to your advantage (e.g. free shipping, additional parts, extra discounts, etc.).

Hopefully, these reviews of Above Ground Pool Cleaners have sensitized you to big issues before your purchase. Swimming pools should be enjoyed to the fullest, and that we hope that by highlighting important features here, it’s now easier for you to form this important decision.

Good luck!

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