Robotic Pool Cleaners VS Suction: 5 Reasons Why It’s Better Your Cleaner Sucks

It’s the age old question, robot v suction cleaner? 

We’ve cut through the muck to give you the lowdown. Let’s dive in and see how they stack up.

Robotic Pool Cleaners VS Suction

Both robotic and suction pool cleaners do the same job – automatically clean the pool so you don’t have to. 

But there is one significant difference between them:

  • Premium suction pool cleaners like the Kreepy Krauly’s use the vacuum effect of the pool’s filter to power its working parts, sucking up litter and sending it to the skimmer box or filter. 
  • A robot pool cleaner on the other hand uses an independent electrical power supply, patrolling the pool to suck up debris into an internal storage tank. 

This one crucial difference in power supply creates a number of important differences for pool owners to consider.

We go over these 5 crucial differences below.

Robotic VS Suction: 5 Reasons Why It’s better Your Cleaner Sucks

When assessing pool cleaners you will arrive at the robotic pool cleaners vs suction cleaner question.

There are five parts to the equation that will help you make your final choice between these two very different, yet very effective, types of pool cleaners:

  1. Effort
  2. Effectiveness
  3. Cost
  4. Power consumption
  5. Pool circulation

Before deciding on the right option for your lifestyle, it pays to do a little research.

The first factor we’ll go into is effort. How much effort is involved to make the suction and robotic pool cleaners work as they should?

1. Effort – Less Work

Set and Forget vs Weekly Chore

Because the robot pool cleaner uses an independent power supply instead of the pool’s filter..

…it is not able to send its debris back to the skimmer box or filter through a hose connection.

This means pool owners have to regularly remove the entire robot pool cleaner from the water and empty its internal debris storage tank.

Robot pool cleaners can be heavy.

Some weigh more than ten kilos. Pulling them out of the pool can be a hard job, especially if the device’s storage tank gets filled up quickly.

In contrast, a suction cleaner like any of our Kreepy Krauly’s can stay in the pool all year round, sucking up debris that can be easily collected from the pool’s skimmer box or filter.

The whole point of a great pool cleaner is to save you time.

If you’re looking for a cleaner that won’t eat into your weekend, a leave-in-the-pool suction pool cleaner is your best bet.

Apart from automatically giving your pool a daily clean so it’s always dive-in ready, the suction cleaners ensure the water is thoroughly circulated even on days the pool isn’t used.

Beyond occasionally having to empty the filter basket… suction pool cleaners ARE set and forget.

If you opt for a robotic pool cleaner, be aware that high tech can equal high maintenance.

Due to their electronics, ideally they shouldn’t live in the pool permanently.

Robotic cleaners need to be lifted in and out of the pool every time you need to clean the basket.

They weigh up to 12kg dry.

Fill it with a bit of water and when it comes time to pull it out, you’ll instantly notice the undue stress it puts on your back and knees.

All this just to empty the basket and give it a clean.

Robotic pool cleaners are NOT set and forget.

  • Effort (lack thereof) Winner? Suction

2. Effectiveness

Working With Or Against The Power Of Water

How a pool cleaner works determines its effectiveness.

If you can remember back to physics class, you’ll know about the power of a vortex: a whirling mass of water or air that creates a powerful force of suction.

It’s how our effective pool cleaners work (and how all good suction pool cleaners should work).

Like a tornado, all Kreepy Krauly pool cleaners vacuum up everything in their path, from fine sand right through to large leaves and hard nuts.

They work in tandem with the pump, drawing water from the bottom of the pool.

They send it through the pool filter and sanitiser to kill bacteria.

And then the clean water is pumped out throughout the pool.

While suction cleaners harness the power of water, robotic cleaners just blow water around the pool. They do not directly take it to your pool’s specially designed filtration and sanitising system.

A poor choice in cleaner could leave sections of your pool stagnant, creating the perfect conditions for algae to grow.

  • Effectiveness Winner? Suction

3. Cost: Upfront and Ongoing

Show Me The Money

Robot pool cleaners can be expensive.

Many retail for more than $2,000 dollars. Even basic models cost at least a thousand dollars.

In contrast, premium suction cleaners like the Kreepy Krauly cost as little as five hundred dollars.

And with extra power supply needed – not to mention the extra lifting and shifting to empty the storage area – robot pool cleaners end up costing much more than you paid. Especially if their complex parts ever need a repair.

You don’t need to be a Pool Professor to figure out there is a huge difference in the upfront cost of suction and robotic cleaners.

Unfortunately, there’s no long term pay-off for the hefty investment in fancy robotics.

Robotic pool cleaners are externally powered and will add to your electricity bill.

In comparison, suction pool cleaners run off your existing pool pump.

They can effectively cost zero to run.

  • Cost Winner? Suction

4. Power Cut Benefits

Even the most modern, energy efficient pool filter still uses a decent amount of electricity, especially when its regular cycles are all added up in your power bill.

When you choose a suction pool cleaner like a Kreepy Krauly, that energy bill is never added to, because the pool filter’s suction effect powers the cleaner.

But a robotic pool cleaner needs its own power supply, whether its battery operated or plugged in, meaning another running cost gets added to your pool’s maintenance routine.

  • Power Consumption Winner? Suction

5. Revitalising

Which Creates Better Pool Circulation?

A suction cleaner like the Kreepy Krauly sends water from all over your pool, from the bottom and sides of your pool to your custom designed filtration and sanitation system, returning it clean and fresh to the top of your pool. This creates proper pool circulation.

In contrast, robot cleaners collect debris and are limited to the filtration their bags or cloth filters offer.

They assist in floor and side water movement, working independent of the pool’s filtration system, taking and returning water from the top of the pool.

They do offer the ability to create programmable cleaning patterns, but that extra water filtration that you get with a suction device is just not possible.

  • Pool Circulation Winner? Suction

The Verdict

Why Not Use The Best Of Both Worlds?

If you’re still interested in going down the robotic path because it does have some benefits, why not take advantage of both?

Kreepy Krauly’s innovative new rX-Tank robotic pool cleaner combines the best of both worlds for suction and robots, all with an affordable price tag.

The rX-Tank features unique robotic X-Over (crossover) technology that combines the intelligent programming of a robot pool cleaner with the convenience and energy efficiency of a suction unit.

robotic pool cleaner rx tank

Best of all, just like a regular Kreepy Krauly, the rX-Tank is designed to stay in the pool 365 days of the year, with minimal intervention by pool owners.

A crossover model like the rX-Tank offers the best features of robotic and suction cleaners so you can get on with the most important thing – swimming in a sparkling clean pool.

Now you know the difference between methods of the top 2 types of cleaners most often used.

When breaking down robotic pool cleaners vs suction with these top 5 criteria, it’s easy to see which is best.

However, there is one other factor to look at.. pool shape.

So the next step is to figure out which type works best with your pool shape.

Our pool cleaner selector can help you decide the best pool cleaner for your pool shape.

NEXT POOL PROFESSOR POST: Is Your Pool Cleaner Staying At One End?