Robotic vs Automatic


Well-known member
May 30, 2017
What is the biggest difference between the $300+ robotic vacuums and the sub $100 automatic vacuums? I am only wanting to clean the bottom of my 30' above ground pool for dirt, sand, and occasional yet minimal leaves. When I search for automatic pool vacuums, I get a large array of results and even larger variety of prices. Just wondering what makes the robotic ones so much better?


TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jun 7, 2011
Midland TX
Quality Robots have their own power source, powerful suction coupled with great filtering with concentrated focus on cleaning rather than random movement that pressure cleaners, and suction cleaners provide. They are simply better technology all around, and do a lot better job than other cleaners. The better ones aren't cheap, but once you experience a good one, you won't want to be without it. Complete and thorough cleaning, no manual vacuum work, just drop it in, and do something else while it takes care of your pool for you. It's just fantastic.


Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2009
Houston, Texas
If you don't have acorns or similar sized debris, a Baracuda style pool cleaner should work just fine. I have one of these cleaners and it does great for leaves and small twigs but an acorn will stop it cold. Also if you only have one skimmer the Baracuda will block the skimmer while it is in use. Once the acorns start falling I use my Pool Rover Jr, or manually vacuum the pool. The Baracuda also tends to get caught on the ladder, where the Pool Rover does not. Which one is best all depends on your situation.


LifeTime Supporter
Nov 30, 2008
There is some tolerance to fairly decent debris.

Both my suction sides G3/T5 swallowed this "pod".

The MX 8 wouldnt swallow it until I took the choke out.



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Well-known member
Nov 16, 2015
San Diego
The big negative to robots in my view is you have to constantly take them in and out and clean their filters. Suction cleaners pretty much stay in the pool 24/7. Suction cleaners have worked fine for us for 15 years.


Bronze Supporter
Jun 10, 2016
south florida,fl
My suction baracuda g3 is 7 years old and still working. Its near it's end of life with the hose breaking down, diaphragm needing a replacement etc. I debated about getting robotic but ended getting another $200 baracuda g3. For my needs it works fine. I leave in the pool most of time during the summer and do pull it out when the pool is it use, but goes back in afterwards.... if I remember if not I then it sits in hot sun for days until it gets tossed in. You get the point, I can abuse it... I would be concerned about leaving $600+ robot in the pool all summer long. I am sure the robots clean faster and perhaps "better" but who cares in my case since its doing it constantly.

Now if I had bigger pool or prone to have leaves go into the pool.... that would be different situation.....


Well-known member
Jun 23, 2017
Suction cleaners pretty much stay in the pool 24/7. Suction cleaners have worked fine for us for 15 years.

Maybe its cuz mine is new but I just can't leave it out all the time. Getting a vertical shed to store it and the hoses in along with other pool stuff. I also only run it when its needed so I don't wear out the gears with it doing little to no work.

Been very happy with my Baracuda MX8 Elite, if you don't need scrubbing you should be able to get a good suction side cleaner for 250-350.
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