In the world of pool automation, few things perk up the ears more than the term, ‘robotic pool cleaner’. To some, it inspires imagery of a hot, android pool guy, to others it’s a 1960’s-style robot doing the chores while those who are more informed on such matters will think along the lines of small(ish) machines which simultaneously resemble a mini-tank and an oversized bug. But first…
What is a robotic pool cleaner?
In the modern sense, a robot pool cleaner is a small, wheeled (or caterpillar-tracked) machine that crawls along the surfaces of a filled-up swimming pool, sucking up detritus such as leaves and dirt. They do this with varying degrees of success while top models can also capture algae and bacteria. They are also able to move around in near-intelligent (non-random) patterns which helps them avoid getting stuck on things like ladders. Nowadays it’s fair to expect them to clean the pool floor and walls – right up to the water line. Robotic pool cleaners evolved from Suction Side Pool vacuums and Pressure Side Pool vacuums which randomly skirted the pool walls while inefficiently sucking detritus into a filter. They did this with a high-propensity for blockage and with a high energy consumption.
How does a robotic pool cleaner work?
Robotic pool cleaners all use mains electricity which is delivered by a long umbilical cord the length of which is determined by the size of the pool (too long and the cord gets tangled). This provides power to water jets which both suck the robot to the wall or floor while propelling it forward. Some (especially older) pool robots mindlessly traverse the pool in a hopeful effort to keep it clean while more-advanced (and expensive) models map where they’re going with sensors to make cleaning as fast and efficient as possible.
5 things to look for in a Robotic Pool Cleaner
We’re stretching the term, ‘Artificial Intelligence’ here, but it’s certainly better to have a robotic pool cleaner whose intelligence resembles an automaton rather than a Hot Wheels car that only moves once it crashes into something. Elaborate models scan the pool to make cleaning quicker and more efficient. Many can now be operated via a phone app and can, in some cases, be directed to clean a certain spot, not entirely unlike a bomb-disposal robot. (If you’d like to know more about pool-related A.I. check out Pooled Energy’s pool maintenance system).
- Water evacuation features
Pulling any inertia-rich, water-filled object out of a pool will challenge all but the buffest bodybuilder. Some robots, like Zodiac’s VX40 know when they’re being lifted beyond the waterline and use jets to fire the water out as rapidly as possible: providing some minor thrust-like assistance while simultaneously, rapidly reducing the robotic pool cleaner’s weight.
- 4WD and caterpillar tracks
Different pools have different surfaces and different surfaces have different traction coefficients. This boils down to tiled pools being more slippery and requiring more traction. In these instances it’s best to choose a robotic pool cleaner that has caterpillar tracks, four-wheel drive or large rollers for extra grip. More grip allows for more control which makes for more-precise corner cleaning too.
- Algae and bacteria busting
Many robotic pool cleaners simply suck up macro mess like leaves. However, the more expensive models, like the K-Bot Saturn Series SX3 can clean your pool’s water to a much finer degree. Just note that the price can double for this extra work. (If algae is a problem for your pool, peruse Pooled Energy’s solution.)
- The silent achiever
In many instances, you may not need a robotic pool cleaner at all. Automated systems like Pooled Energy’s use a special, cheap electricity supply to monitor your pool all year round, keeping it warm, clean and comfortable. It does this by sending data about your pool’s chemistry, cleanliness and water levels to the cloud where it’s analysed and acted upon accordingly. While it won’t help with leaves and large detritus, this can largely be addressed with a pool cover. Either way, the dreaded green pool will become a thing of the past.
If you’d like to know more about how Pooled Energy can automatically maintain your pool and assuage the need for an expensive, robotic pool cleaner, click here to get in touch.