robotic pool cleaner on stairs

Best Robotic Pool Cleaner for An Inground Pool 2020: Top Picks & Reviews

These are the best robot robotic pool cleaners for in-ground pools, according to our research and experience – click to learn more about each:

  1. Dolphin Triton Plus
  2. Dolphin Nautilus PLUS
  3. Polaris 9450/9550 Sport
  4. Maytronics DX3 Dolphin
  5. Hayward SharkVAC XL with Caddy

Keep reading to learn about each of these outstanding units.

Below we discuss each pool cleaner’s unique features, pros, cons and common owner complaints.

Ready to dive in? Let’s go!


Best Robot Pool Cleaners for an InGround Pool Compared

How to use this table:

  • Our #1 picks are marked with a green circle check-green_640.
  • Rotate your phone for best viewing.


Disclamer: All links below go to



Maytronics DX3 Dolphin
Maytronics DX3 Dolphin Robotic Pool Cleaner
on Amazon

In-Ground19 lbs2 year60 ft3 hrs
Dolphin Nautilus Plus
Dolphin Nautilus Plus Robotic Pool Cleaner
on Amazon

In-Ground19 lbs1 year60 ft3 hrs
Hayward SharkVAC XL with Caddy
Hayward SharkVAC XL with Caddy Robotic Pool Cleaner
Check on Amazon

In-Ground21 lbs2 year60 ft3 hrs
Dolphin Triton Plus
Dolphin Triton Plus with PowerStream
on Amazon

In-Ground24 lbs2 year60 ft1 or 2.5 hrs

Over $1,000

Polaris 9450/9550
Polaris 9450 Sport 4WD Robotic Pool Cleaner
on Amazon

* large capacity filter
In-Ground16 lbs
2 year50 ft3 hrs

Robotic pool cleaners are an especially good choice for cleaning an inground pool

Older pump-driven pool cleaners often cannot reach the custom-molded steps, raised sitting platforms and irregular features that many inground pools have.

This means you’re left to brush and clean those sections yourself.

But robotic pool cleaners are designed to clean your pool more efficiently. Many can even clean vertical surfaces like steps and walls.

For a large inground pool, a robotic cleaner can also save several hundred dollars a year in energy costs verses using a traditional pump-driven unit.

The following units will save you money AND do a better job cleaning your pool than you can.

#1  Polaris 9450/9550 With 4-Wheel Drive

4 starsPrice:  on Amazon

Polaris 9450 Sport front view

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The Polaris 9450 is unique in design and function. One of the best features of the 9450 is its easy lift system, which makes it a breeze to lift the cleaner out of the water with almost no effort.

vortex vacuum system

The Polaris is also an excellent cleaner due to its unique Vortex vacuum system, which helps the unit cling to vertical surfaces while its 4-wheel drive and pleated scrubbing brush get the job done.

Best Features

1. Vortex Vacuum technology

Polaris 9450 Sport rear view

To achieve a thorough cleaning, the Polaris 9450 makes use of vortex vacuuming technology. This provides it with a powerful cleaning capability without any loss in suction.

2. Whole pool cleaning

The 9450 moves over any type of terrain to cover every inch of walls and floor using its pleated scrubbing brush for an extremely thorough cleaning.

3. Large capacity filter canister

Thanks to its super-sized filter canister, the Polaris 9450 can hold up to four times the amount of debris than other robotic cleaners. A simple shake and spray empties the canister, then it’s ready for more cleaning.

4. Customizable cleaning cycles

Polaris 9450 Sport front bristle view

Use the seven-day programmable timer to set the cleaner to clean the pool automatically.

5. ActivMotion sensor

Unique to Polaris, this sensor helps the robotic cleaner understand its position in the pool and plot a path that will reduce cord tangling and optimize cleaning.

6. Easy Lift System

No other robotic pool cleaner is as easy to pull out of your pool. Just push a button and the unit rises up to a desired position. The cleaner automatically empties out all the water in it, to reduce the weight. From there you can easily lift it out of the water. Then plop it onto the included caddy and roll it into storage.

See It In Action


Polaris 9450 Sport Caddy

• Comes with a caddy for easy transport and storage.

• Cleans pools up to 50 feet in length.

• Weighs 16 pounds.

• 4 Wheel Drive technology for faster and more thorough cleaning.

Customer Feedback

4 stars

Many owners compliment its durability and ability to clean every type of debris, having served them well for years:

Very quiet for the size of it and collects the smallest debris and dirt. Picks up leaves and bugs without hesitation and on one pass.

On the negative side, the unit seems to have a problem flipping off of some pool walls, especially when the filter gets too full:

It flips over when it tries to climb the walls, so I have to disable this mode.

The 9450’s cord may also get tangled now and then, requiring manual untangling.


The 4-wheel drive and easy lift system are the best features of the Polaris F9450. It’s also lightweight, so if you have a bad back or find lifting a 20-pound object taxing or dangerous, then you should seriously consider getting this one.



#2 Dolphin Triton Plus

4 and a half starsPrice:  on Amazon

Dolphin Triton Plus with PowerStream 2017

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An upgrade to the original Dolphin Triton, Maytronic’s Dolphin Triton PLUS boasts a ton of great features.

In addition to Dolphin’s patented tangle-free cable swivel and IntelliScan navigation, the Triton PLUS includes an extra-large top access filter (with fine and coarse mesh filters), a dual drive motor and split brushes.

You also get true 90° turning for tight corners and dramatically enhanced cleaning coverage. The Plus comes with a remote control and a rapid-release feature to help you flush filtered water out of the unit for easy lifting onto the included caddy.

Best Features

1. IntelliScan

Intelliscan technology, found in most Dolphin pool cleaners, learns the dimensions and size of your pool, then uses that information to thoroughly clean the walls and floor of the pool in the shortest time possible.

2. Tangle-free swivel

This is another hallmark of Dolphin cleaners. The Triton’s swivel cable doesn’t get tangled as the robotic cleaner moves about.

3. Fine and coarse filters

Dolphin Triton Plus with PowerStream Filter System

The Triton Plus is equipped with two different types of filters for coarse and fine debris. The Triton Plus has excellent filtering capabilities. One owner commented that while emptying out the collection bag, he would find things he did not even think were in the pool.

4. “Full Cartridge” indicator with auto-stop

As the filter collects debris, it deposits it into a collection filter cartridge. When the cartridge fills, the cleaner stops operating and an indicator light comes on to remind you to clean the filter before proceeding.

5. Two cleaning modes

Got a party in an hour? Choose the quick clean mode to sweep your pool in only one hour. Or, use the full cycle cleaning setting that takes about two and a half hours. In both modes, the Triton Plus climb walls like a champ.

6. Remote control

MyDolphin App

A smartphone app is included along with the unit. With it, you can manually drive the cleaner around the pool and select your cleaning cycle.

7. Timer for auto cleaning

The Dolphin Triton Plus can be set to auto clean your pool every 24, 48 or 72 hours with a push of a button. A maximum of three consecutive clean cycles can be scheduled.

See It In Action

Look at how the Triton Plus climbs walls:


• For in-ground pools up to 50 feet long.

• Top access, easy to clean cartridge.

• Easy to fix when damaged.

• Ability to make 90 degree turns.

• Caddy included for easier transport from the pool to storage.

• 2-Year Warranty

Customer Feedback

4 and a half stars

The Triton Plus gets high marks for its ability to climb any surface, for its overall cleaning ability and for its useful remote control that allows you to direct its movements.

Cleans my pool very well. Climbs walls, Stairs, able to go right over main drain, does the job very efficiently with minimal spots missed. Self corrects, and does not get stuck often…

On the con side, some people noted that removing the unit from the pool could be easier.

Lifting the cleaner out of the pool requires some effort, since it is full of water and weighs a good bit.

This pool cleaner is a bit heavy; lifting it out of the pool may be tough for some. This is especially true if it completes the cleaning cycle in the deep end.


The Dolphin Triton PLUS is a big step up from its predecessor and from most other robotic cleaners. It excels in energy savings and thoroughness of cleaning and comes with a bunch of unique features (and a caddy!) that make it really easy to live with.


#3  Dolphin Nautilus PLUS

4 and a half starsPrice: on Amazon

Dolphin Nautilus PLUS Top view

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Manufactured by market leader Maytronics, the Dolphin Nautilus Plus is an easy to use, sophisticated and extremely efficient robotic pool cleaner.

The Plus has all the great features of its predecessor, the Dolphin Nautilus, plus a few more including the addition of IntelliScan and an extra-large top access filter and easier do-it-yourself maintenance (at the component level).

The Nautilus Plus is a very popular unit, priced in the mid range of all robotic cleaners.

Best Features

1. IntelliScan Navigation

Unlike the original Nautilis, the Dolphin Nautilus Plus comes equipped with IntelliScan, Dolphin’s market-leading onboard navigation system that provides a more thorough cleaning in less time than other pool cleaners.

IntelliScan is an intelligent scanning, learning and navigation system that helps the unit learn your pool’s surfaces and then use that knowledge to cover every square inch of the pool – including walls and other vertical surfaces.

IntelliScan works like the GPS system in your car. During learning mode, Intelliscan records your pool’s shape, size and dimensions and determines the most optimal cleaning path to follow for maximum coverage and the lowest possible energy consumption. The result is a cleaner pool in less time, without excessive energy costs.

Intelliscan works with all sizes of normal and irregular shaped pools.

2. Dual filters

Dolphin Nautilus PLUS filters

The Dolphin Nautilus Plus uses an onboard dual filter system to sift pool water.  All that is needed is to empty the collection bag once it is full.

There are two types of filters available: a mesh screen for filtering large debris and pleated polyester fiber to trap sand, dirt and grit.

3. Patented Swivel Cables to avoid tangling

When the power cable tangles, it prevents cleaning and can damage a robotic cleaner. To solve this, Dolphin uses a patented cable swivel that stays clear of the unit and eliminates tangles.

See It In Action


• Suitable for in-ground pools up to 50 feet long

• Special spring clean-up option

• Takes about 3 hours for a full cleaning

• Weighs 22 pounds

• Spare parts are easy to find and affordable.  In most cases, you can replace a damaged part without a professional.

• Has PVC bristle brushes, which are superior for scrubbing hard surfaces such as gunite (shotcrete).

Dolphin Nautilus PLUS bottom view

Customer Feedback

4 and a half stars

Many owners give the Nautilus Plus kudos for its simple and reliable operation.

Its nice to be able to just plug this thing in, drop it in, turn it on, and walk away. It really was that simple out of the box.

On the negative side, some owners complained about the weight.

If there is any downside to this cleaner it would be its weight. It can be quite heavy and awkward to remove from the pool after it’s done cleaning.

In addition to the weight, trapped debris can fall back into the pool as you lift the cleaner out and the water drains. A good suggestion is to flip it over as you pull it out, to prevent debris from flowing back.


The Dolphin Nautilus Plus is one of the most intelligent and efficient pool cleaners available. Once it learns your pool, you can literally drop it in, walk away and know your pool will be clean in 3 hours.

For the price, the Nautilus Plus robotic pool cleaner is tough to beat. This explains why the it’s one of the best-selling robotic pool cleaners for sale today.


#4  Maytronics DX3 Dolphin

3 and a half starsPrice: on Amazon

Dolphin DX3 front view

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The Dolphin DX3 robot cleaner is a proven lightweight choice with a really powerful brush. It is smaller and lighter than other Dolphin models, which makes it much easier to handle and maintain.

The DX 3 has been on the market for a few years now, but this is a good thing. The unit’s simplicity has proven itself over time, and it still outsells most other models.

Best Features

1. Super lightweight

Being small and light has its advantages. This cleaner is very easy to handle when putting it into the pool and pulling it out. Maintenance and servicing are also a breeze.

2. Fine and coarse debris filters

Dolphin DX3 changing filter

The DX3 comes with two filters capable of collecting fine and coarse debris. The captured material is then deposited into a large filter bag, which is easy to empty.

3. Low energy consumption

The unit consumes very little energy. On average, a full cleaning cycle costs just 15 cents.

See It in Action


• Recommended for pools up to 40 feet in length.

• Cleans by scrubbing and vacuuming.

• A full cleaning cycle takes about 3 hours.

• Choice of cleaning every day, every 2nd day or twice a week

• Fitted with technology to enhance pool scanning for optimized cleaning.

Customer Feedback

3 and a half stars

The DX3 can struggle with cleaning steps. After a few tries, however, it usually figures out how to do it.

In addition, the filter bag is a bit smaller than some other units, so you’ll have to empty it more often.


The DX3 does the job well without all the bells and whistles like a caddy, a remote, and programmable cleaning cycles. For those who need a lightweight, dependable pool cleaner that has been proven in the field (for years), this is the one.


#5  Hayward SharkVAC XL with Caddy

4 starsPrice: 

Hayward SharkVac XL front view

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Many good things have been said about the thorough cleaning ability of Hayward’s line of robotic pool cleaners.

The SharkVac XL is Hayward’s best mid-range offering, and it’s arguably better at cleaning pools than its more expensive and better-optioned older brother, the Hayward Tigershark QC.

The original Hayward SharkVac was released several years ago, and there are hundreds of reviews online that attest to its reliability and cleaning ability.

Best Features

1. Caddy for easy transportation

Hayward Hayward Hayward

The Sharkvac XL is a bit heavy, but the included caddy makes moving it and storing it away really easy. For a lower price, you can get the unit without the caddy.

2. Easy top access filter bag

Hayward SharkVac XL filter bag access

Whenever the filter bag is full, simply access it from the top and clean it out.

3. Low energy operation

The Hayward SharkVAC XL uses very little energy to clean your pool, comparable to a single incandescent light bulb.

4. Self programmed for optimized cleaning

The Sharkvac XL can determine the size of your pool and figure out the best way to clean it, all on its own. It plots out the most efficient path to expend the least amount of energy.



• Suitable for pools up to 40 feet in length.

• Works in any type of in-ground pool, including vinyl-lined.

• Cleaning cycle takes around 3 hours.

Customer Feedback

4 stars

Many owners rave about the SharkVac’s ability to pick up fine debris and the speed at which it cleans a pool.

This thing is a beast. It picks up everything.

But many also complain about cord tangling.

I do wish the cord was a bit longer and that it didn’t get rung around itself.

The SharkVac XL sometimes finds it difficult to climb walls all the way and to climb pool steps.

Finally, don’t leave the unit on during a rainstorm. Even though this is a pool cleaner, some owners have complained of damage caused by rain.


If you want one of the best-cleaning, most proven robotic pool cleaners on the market, this is one to buy. The SharkVac’s ability to pick up all types of debris, from very fine sandy grit to oak leaves and small twigs, is unmatched.  In a single 2-3 hour cleaning cycle, it will eliminate between 95% and 99% of all debris.



Three Reasons To Get A Robotic Pool Cleaner For Your In-ground Pool

1. Less Work For You

Older pump-driven pool cleaners often cannot reach custom-molded steps, raised sitting platforms and irregular features that many inground pools feature.

This means you’re left to brush and clean those sections yourself.

But robotic pool cleaners are intelligent appliances that are designed to clean your pool no matter what the design. Many can even clean vertical surfaces like steps and walls.

2. Less Expensive Than The Alternative

With a robotic pool cleaner, you won’t need to add a booster pump to your existing filtration system, because robotic pool cleaners use their own onboard filters to sift pool water for debris.

This makes installation much easier and can save you hundreds of dollars in installation costs. 

3. Lower Operating Costs, Long Term

Robotic pool cleaners cost less to operate than pump-driven units for several reasons.

First of all, robotic cleaners use advanced software to optimize their cleaning path and use DC power. Intelligent navigation reduces the amount of time required to clean your pool verses pump-driven units that randomly wander around. A shorter, more efficient cleaning cycle consumes less energy.

In addition, robotic pool cleaners are DC-powered (for safety), and DC motors are far more efficient than AC motors. Most use no more energy than a light bulb.

For a large inground pool, choosing a robotic cleaner over a pump-driven unit can save several hundred dollars a year in energy costs.

How We Pick The Best

We use the scale below to rate the best robotic pool cleaners in our reviews.

Roboti Pool Cleaner Reviews - Ratings

We also consider customer ratings and reviews on popular retail shopping sites like

Finally, we attempt to offer a few pool cleaners for every type of pool and budget.




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