Usually, robots replacing humans can be quite a concern, but when you don’t need to scuba dive with a broom because you have a robot pool cleaner, you can start coming around to the idea of robot helpers. Every pool owner needs a robot cleaner, and your best match depends on the type of pool you have.
The best robotic pool cleaner under $500 is Rock&Rocker HJ1103, which is a cordless pool cleaning device that costs barely over half the budget and comes with a powerful multi-filter cleaning system and a long-lasting battery that powers the robot long enough to clean a 1000+ sq ft pool.
But as mentioned earlier, what’s best for you might not be “the best” overall. Therefore, this article is dedicated to finding the best robotic pool cleaners within different categories, including:
- Rock&Rocker HJ1103 Cordless Robotic Pool Cleaner
- IPER Seagull 600 Cordless Automatic Pool Cleaner
- Aquabot Emerald 100 Robotic Pool Vacuum Cleaner
- AEROBICS LIFE Cordless Robotic Pool Cleaner
- Doheny’s ProDrive AG Robotic Swimming Pool Cleaner
- RoboKleen RK22 Robotic Pool Cleaner
- Benzakalaka Smart Automatic Robotic Pool Cleaner
Best overall: Rock&Rocker HJ1103 Cordless Robotic Pool Cleaner
The Rock&Rocker HJ1103 is ideal for family pools of up to 1000 square feet. It takes around 1 hour to thoroughly clean a 1000 square feet space and has 30 minutes of operating time left because of its 5000 mAh battery. If you have a $500 budget, then this option allows you to dedicate nearly 50% of it to other pool cleaning equipment like hand-skimmers and pool nets.
With a filter panel and powerful suction, this robot works like a powerful waterproof Roomba. In that, it is not unique because most robot pool cleaners are suction-based filter vehicles. What sets it apart is that it provides such a feature stack at its compact size. Its maximum length across any dimension is 17.5 inches. And for a cleaner so compact, the surely packs a punch with the following features.
- Slop climbing – The fact that it is small helps when it comes to climbing angled slopes. HJ1103 claims to be able to climb slopes of up to 15 degrees, but we have had luck getting it to climb up to 18-degree slopes as well.
- Easy to retrieve – Over the long term, the ability to retrieve the pool cleaner is going to matter more than how good the robot is at cleaning. Fortunately, HJ1103 is programmed to stop at the shoreline and is easy to bring to the surface with an in-built float.
- Weighs little – The weight of a pool cleaner doesn’t seem to matter until you stub your toe on one. This machine weighs barely over 12 pounds making it easy to pick up and move. Consequently, it uses less electricity to cover a large area.
- IPX8 waterproof rating – This might not seem impressive because pool cleaning robots have to be waterproof to do their job, but the fact that it has an IPX8 rating shows that you can safely submerge it in water deeper than 1 meter.
Best for small pools: IPER Seagull 600 Cordless Automatic Pool Cleaner
If your pool is no larger than 540 square feet, the IPER Seagull 600 is the best cordless option on the market. It also saves you almost 50% of your budget but delivers a feature set more appropriate for smaller pools.
Because it operates at a lower capacity than robots meant for larger pools, it uses less electricity as well. At 6.6 lbs, it weighs nearly half as much as the previous option, which allows it to get fully charged in a shorter period. Standard cleaning robots can take up to 8 hours to recharge, while the Seagull 600 gets fully charged in 4 hours.
Some of the best features of this pool cleaner are:
- Works for oval and rectangular pools – This cleaning robot has three pre-programmed paths, one of which is ideal for round pools and the other for standard rectangular ones. Regardless of whether your pool is above ground or inground, this cleaner will cover the entire area within 538 square feet.
- Commercially acclaimed – With over 5000 reviews and ratings, this product has a 4.1-star average, which is excellent for a product of this category.
- Saltwater friendly – Some pool robots do not get along with salt, but this one works just fine in standard pools as well as saltwater pools and spas.
- Easy and convenient – Among its specific ratings, ease of use is rated at 4.2 out of 5 stars, and ease of cleaning and removing is each rated at 4.3 out of 5 stars. As an average from an aggregate of over 5,000 reviews, this signals that if this is the first robot cleaner you get, you’ll not find it difficult to operate.
Best for deep cleaning: Aquabot Emerald 100 Robotic Pool Vacuum Cleaner
This product is different from the previous two not just in its effectiveness but also in its price. While the Aquabot Emerald 100 will make your swimming pool squeaky clean, you will have to come pretty close to exhausting your $500 budget. It features fine filter cartridges that reduce the cleaning burden and pick up the smallest impurities.
In some instances, this robot can offset a filter pump’s slack because of how meticulous it is. It has a futuristic appearance that works well with contemporary pool aesthetics, and it does not look odd in most in-ground pools. It has two filters that skim and catch visible impurities like leaves and debris while its fine rotating brushes deep clean the crevasses of your pool tiles.
The highlights of this product include
- Remote control – Unlike fully pre-programmed robots, this one allows you to take control with an app that is as easy to use as a toy car remote control. The app doesn’t just allow you to control the path of the robot but also different features, giving you a higher operating ability.
- Deep clean in (Relatively) little time – With 1.5 hours of cleaning with this robot, your pool is ready to use for gatherings and parties. Since it is not cordless, you don’t have to worry about the battery running out, and the cleaner can keep working as long as you need.
- Enough room to move – With a 40-foot cord, this robot can move across a large enough area in pools of standard depth. You might need to change its filter cartridges, but you won’t have to abort cleaning because of the battery running out.
Best for budget: AEROBICS LIFE Cordless Robotic Pool Cleaner
The Aerobics Life pool cleaner has one of the most distinct looks of any product in its category. It has an appearance reminiscent of high-powered vehicles, but its appearance isn’t the reason it is on this list. This robot cleaner has a multi-story garbage cleaning basket stack that can skim and collect leaves and larger debris.
It is less of a vacuum cleaner and more of a skimming vehicle. That is also why it is priced lower than most products featured in this post. It is understandably ideal for smaller pools and can climb slopes of up to 20 degrees.
Top reasons to buy this cleaner include:
- Cordless design – for a budget option, one would not expect a cordless robot cleaner, yet this one is truly wireless.
- Ideal for all shapes – pools of all shapes can be cleaned by this cleaner as it has pre-programmed paths for different shapes and sizes.
- Suction and skimming action – Even though it is not the best at vacuum cleaning, this robot has both dirt trapping and suction-driven cleaning options, which collectively get rid of larger impurities as well as finer dirt in your swimming pool.
- Low energy consumption – With a DC battery geared towards energy-efficient operation, this product has budget appeal from purchasing to operation.
Best for above ground pools: Doheny’s ProDrive AG Robotic Swimming Pool Cleaner
The ProDrive AG pool cleaner is positioned as a budget option, but multiple robots listed here can beat this product on price alone. However, when you factor in this swimming pool cleaner’s features, you can see why it is on this list. First of all, it has incredible cleaning speed as it cycles 80 gallons of water per minute.
This allows this robot cleaner to clear 2,700+ square feet in an hour. Still, you cannot buy it for your in-ground pool as its pressure-holding capacity gets overwhelmed by the kind of depth in-ground pools have. Doheny presents this robotic cleaner as exclusively for above-ground pools.
If you own an above ground pool, you might want to buy this product because:
- It is better suited for smaller pools – It is best suited for a 33-feet-round swimming pool or 40 x 20 rectangular pool. These recommended above-ground maximum sizes indicate that this machine wasn’t made to clean large pools to an average extent but to super clean smaller pools to an excellent degree.
- 43 feet cord – With the longest side of your pool being 40 feet, a 43 feet cord can give your robotic cleaner plenty of room to move without having to recharge the cleaner.
- Classic appeal – While “advanced” robotic cleaners might have the fancy gimmicks that attract novices, some pool owners prefer classic cleaners. This is one of the best-rated robots in that category.
Best for pool floors: RoboKleen RK22 Robotic Pool Cleaner
Some options in this post feature multiple skimming and cleaning channels, but RoboKleem RK22 is all about efficiency in simplicity. This robotic pool cleaner specializes in cleaning pool floors, which is what most robots primarily do, so why would you want to get this one specifically? The following reasons might make a compelling case.
- Designed for efficient operation – This cleaner has an ideal design to balance floating with surface cleaning and has hydrodynamics that allow it to easily maneuver through your swimming pool.
- 1-year warranty – If you’re on the fence about getting a pool cleaner, what better way to feel secure than opt for one that comes with a bumper-to-bumper warranty? You also have the option to extend the said warranty to 2 or 3 years.
- Dual filter bags – Whether your pool is due for a quick spring cleaning or you want to deep clean its floors, you have two filter bags, with each doing one of the jobs. For deep cleaning, you should opt for the finer filter while the other one is for larger debris.
Best versatile pool cleaner: Benzakalaka Smart Automatic Robotic Pool Cleaner
If you’re looking for a pool robot to use to clean your inground as well as an above-ground pool, Benzakalaka cleaner might be the answer. We had to put this low in the article, not because of its performance but because of the low chances of someone with an inground and an above-ground pool looking for a cleaner under $500.
Aside from that, this versatile robot cleaner is excellent as it has pre-programmed paths that work in almost any pool, and it features strong suction and retention alongside a decent battery. The following features stand out the most about this pool cleaner:
- Lightweight – At 8.2 lbs, this is one of the lightest devices on this list and hence uses less power.
- Good battery life – Its 4000 mAh battery might not be the best in this post, but it can keep this robot working for 80 minutes.
- Smart energy-saving program – This robot cleaner works only in water and stops when removed. This ensures that the cleaner’s energy is preserved.
When buying a robotic pool cleaner under $500, don’t try to look for one that promises to solve all your problems. You’ll most likely get a cleaner that can vacuum up to 1000 square feet properly. Any other promises made by manufacturers can border into the exaggeration territory. Sticking with trusted brands and looking at reviews is advisable. Or you can circumvent the effort and go for the most favorably reviewed product, which in this case, is Rock&Rocker HJ1103.