Best Inground Pool Vacuum Robot for 2024: Expert Reviews and Buying Guide

By Shiloh

January 30, 2024


Finding the best inground pool vacuum robot, is all about matching technology with your specific pool needs. Our focused reviews of the 2024 lineup distill performance, durability, and smart control features into a clear ranking, so you can easily choose without guesswork.

Overview of Top-Notch In-Ground Pool Vacuum Robots

Robotic pool cleaner on the pool floor

Here are our top picks for pool-cleaning champions, each boasting unique features:

Dolphin Nautilus CC Plus: The Giant Slayer

Dolphin Nautilus CC Plus cleaning a large in-ground pool


  • Suitable for in-ground pools that are up to 50 feet in size
  • Designed to meet the needs of larger pool owners
  • Two scrubbing brushes
  • Smart navigation software


  • Efficient cleaning of large pools
  • Easy top-load filter system
  • Provides widespread coverage


  • Absence of full filter indicator
  • Reported issues with climbing walls

In my experience, the Dolphin Nautilus CC Plus proves to be a powerhouse for cleaning large in-ground pools. Its dual scrubbing brushes work tirelessly to ensure every inch of your pool floor and walls are spotless. The smart navigation software is a game-changer, optimizing cleaning paths to cover every nook and cranny without missing a spot. While it’s a notch higher on the price scale, I believe the investment is well worth the time you save and the pristine pool you gain.

However, it’s not without its drawbacks. The lack of a full filter indicator means you have to manually check the filter, and some users have reported trouble with wall climbing. That being said, these are minor inconveniences compared to the overall efficiency of this robotic pool cleaner.


  • Price: 4/5
  • Design: 4.5/5
  • Efficiency: 5/5
  • Overall: 4.5/5

Dolphin Escape: Mastering Both Depths - Above and Below Ground

Dolphin Escape in action in an in-ground pool


  • Designed for above-ground pools
  • Above & In-Ground pool cleaner with dual scrubbing brushes
  • 90-minute cleaning cycle


  • Lightweight design
  • User-friendly Plug’n’Play functionality
  • Large-capacity filter for trapping a significant amount of debris


  • Lacks a programmable timer
  • Does not have wall climbing capabilities

With its dual scrubbing brushes and large-capacity filter, the Dolphin Escape does a fantastic job of trapping both large and fine debris. It’s ready for immediate use right out of the box, thanks to its Plug’n’Play functionality, making it a convenient choice for pool owners who want a hassle-free cleaning solution.

However, the lack of a programmable timer means you’ll need to manually start each cleaning cycle. While it does a great job cleaning the pool floor, it lacks the ability to climb the pool walls itself. But if you’re looking for a reliable and efficient cleaner for your above-ground pool, the Dolphin Escape is definitely worth considering.


  • Price: 4/5
  • Design: 4.5/5
  • Efficiency: 4.5/5
  • Overall: 4.5/5

Dolphin Explorer E50: The Efficiency Champion

Dolphin Explorer E50 with multi-layer filtering


  • User-friendly interface with MyDolphin™ Plus mobile app
  • Powerful active scrubbing feature
  • Multi-layer filtering system


  • Customizable cleaning experience
  • High suction rate for efficient debris removal
  • Compatible with different pool shapes


  • Limited usage to pools no longer than 50 feet
  • Default cleaning cycle of 2 hours may be long for some users

The Dolphin Explorer E50 offers the following features:

  • User-friendly interface, simplified through the MyDolphin™ Plus mobile app
  • Powerful active scrubbing feature
  • Multi-layer filtering system, capturing both fine particles and large debris
  • Compatibility with different pool shapes

With these features, the Dolphin Explorer E50 is a versatile choice for any pool owner.

Despite these fantastic features, the Dolphin Explorer E50 has its limitations. Its 60-foot cord, although equipped with anti-tangling technology, restricts its use in pools longer than 50 feet. Additionally, the default cleaning cycle of 2 hours might seem lengthy for some, although there’s an extended 2.5 hours mode for more thorough cleaning.


  • Price: 4/5
  • Design: 4.5/5
  • Efficiency: 5/5
  • Overall: 4.5/5

Polaris 9650iQ Sport: The Smart Choice

Polaris 9650iQ Sport Robotic Cleaner, Automatic Vacuum for InGround Pools


  • iAquaLink control system
  • Vortex Vacuum technology
  • Four-wheel drive system


  • Remote control through iAquaLink pool control app
  • Powerful suction and efficient cleaning
  • Superior navigation with four-wheel drive system


  • Does not feature push notifications

The Polaris 9650iQ features:

  • iAquaLink control system for managing and monitoring pool cleaning from your smartphone or tablet
  • Vortex Vacuum technology for powerful suction
  • Four-wheel drive system for superior navigation

This integration of smart technology into pool cleaning adds a whole new level of convenience.

The 9650iQ does not feature push notifications, which means you’ll need to manually check the cleaning progress. However, considering its ease of maintenance and exceptional cleaning performance, the Polaris 9650iQ Sport is a top choice for any pool owner seeking a high-performing, smart pool cleaning solution.


  • Price: 4/5
  • Design: 5/5
  • Efficiency: 5/5
  • Overall: 4.5/5

Dolphin Sigma: The Technological Marvel

Dolphin Sigma Robotic Pool Cleaner


  • Three commercial-grade motors
  • Onboard navigation system
  • Filters for fine particles and larger debris


  • Advanced features for efficient cleaning
  • Onboard navigation system for comprehensive cleaning
  • Wi-Fi option for remote control and monitoring


  • Expensive
  • Filters need to be emptied by hand

The Dolphin Sigma, a top-of-the-line pool robot, stands as a technological marvel among the many robotic pool cleaners around. It offers the following advanced features:

  • Three commercial-grade motors
  • Onboard navigation system
  • Fine particle and large debris filters
  • Wi-Fi option for remote activation and monitoring

However, the premium features come at a premium price, marking the Sigma as one of the most expensive large pool cleaners in the market. Also, the filters require manual emptying after every cleaning cycle. But if you’re willing to make a substantial investment for an advanced pool cleaning solution, the Dolphin Sigma makes for a compelling choice.


  • Price: 3.5/5
  • Design: 5/5
  • Efficiency: 5/5
  • Overall: 4.5/5

Choosing the Right In-Ground Pool Vacuum Robot

Each robotic pool cleaner has its unique strengths, but it’s vital to select one of easiest pool cleaners that matches your specific needs and pool characteristics. When considering most robotic pool cleaners, here are key factors to consider for optimal performance and convenience.

Understanding Your Pool Type

Understanding your pool type is the initial step in choosing the ideal robotic pool cleaner. Each pool type has its unique characteristics and needs, which should be met by the very best robotic pool cleaner, for optimal performance.

In-ground pools, being more permanent structures, often require robust cleaners like the Dolphin Nautilus CC Plus, which can handle their sturdy foundation and professional setup. On the other hand, above-ground pools are generally easier to assemble, influencing the type of cleaner that can be used. The Dolphin Escape, for instance, is designed specifically for above-ground pools.

In addition, the shape and surface material of your pool should also influence your choice. The Nautilus CC Plus is suitable for various pool shapes, while the compatibility of robotic pool cleaners with different pool flooring materials affects their performance, with some models tailored to specific pool surfaces only.

Evaluating Cleaning Coverage

Considering the cleaning coverage of an affordable robotic pool cleaner is another important factor. Top-notch robotic cleaners, such as the best robotic pool cleaners, utilize advanced technologies to ensure efficient and comprehensive cleaning of your pool.

For instance, the Dolphin Sigma boasts an adjustable handle angle and wall-climbing abilities, ensuring it doesn’t miss any spots along your pool’s waterline and walls. Its high suction rate also contributes to its efficient debris removal performance.

However, one limitation to be mindful of is the cleaner’s cable length. While cleaners like the Sigma come with long, anti-tangling cables, they still restrict the cleaner’s use in pools longer than a certain length. So, keep your pool size in mind when choosing your cleaner.

Considering Product Weight and Cleaning Time

The cleaner’s weight and cleaning time are other significant factors that affect its usability and performance. Lighter models are easier to handle and move around, ensuring that they stay at the bottom of the pool and move along walls and pool floors without difficulty.

Cleaning cycle durations also differ among models, influencing their efficiency. Some cleaners, like the Dolphin Escape, complete a full cycle in as little as 90 minutes, while others may take up to 2.5 hours or longer. You can also adjust cleaning programs to match your specific needs, influencing both the number of cycles needed and the effort required for pool maintenance.

Lastly, some models come with features that make them easier to handle. For instance, the Polaris 9650iQ Sport comes with a lift system that allows it to surface at the pool’s edge for effortless removal.

Checking Filter Capacity

Another important consideration is the filter capacity of a robotic pool cleaner. The micron value of a robot pool cleaner’s filter determines its ability to remove small debris particles, with smaller micron values indicating better filtration.

Advanced filters, such as Pleated Nanofilters and Polyester Nanofilters, offer superior efficiency by capturing microscopic particles and absorbing oils. This results in cleaner and clearer pool water.

Models like the Dolphin Sigma offer easy access top-load filter systems and come with both normal debris and ultra-fine particle filters, enhancing the flexibility of cleaning maintenance. However, certain models may have limitations, such as lacking oversized leaf bags or the ability to pick up certain sizes of debris. Therefore, it’s important to match the filter’s capabilities with the common debris in your pool.


We’ve explored a range of top-notch robotic pool cleaners, each excelling in their own unique way. From large in-ground pool specialists like the Dolphin Nautilus CC Plus to above-ground champions like the Dolphin Escape, these advanced pool cleaners bring efficiency and convenience to the forefront of pool maintenance. We’ve also weighed the benefits of models boasting advanced features like the Polaris 9650iQ and the Dolphin Sigma.

Choosing the right cleaner, however, isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach. It’s about finding the perfect balance between your pool’s specific needs and the cleaner’s capabilities. Whether it’s understanding your pool type, evaluating cleaning coverage, considering the product’s weight and cleaning time, or checking filter capacity, each aspect plays a critical role in your decision-making process. So here’s to making a well-informed choice and enjoying a sparkling clean pool with minimal effort!

Frequently Asked Questions

Are dolphin pool cleaners worth it?

Yes, dolphin pool cleaners like the Dolphin Nautilus CC Plus Robotic Pool Vacuum Cleaner are worth it for their hands-free cleaning and convenience, making them a great investment for in-ground pool owners.

Can the same robotic pool cleaner be used for both in-ground and above-ground pools?

Yes, some robotic pool cleaners can be used in both in-ground and above-ground pools, but it's important to choose a model that is compatible with your specific pool type.

What is the importance of the cleaning coverage of a robotic pool cleaner?

The cleaning coverage of a robotic pool cleaner is important as it determines how effectively the robotic cleaner can clean your pool, utilizing advanced technologies for efficient cleaning patterns and maximum coverage of all pool areas.

How does the weight of a robotic pool cleaner affect its performance?

The weight of a robotic pool cleaner greatly affects its performance because lighter models are easier to handle and move around, ensuring they can stay at the bottom of the pool's floor, and move along walls without difficulty.

How does the cleaning time of a robotic pool cleaner influence its efficiency?

The duration of a robotic swimming pool cleaner's cleaning cycle significantly impacts its efficiency, with shorter cycles being more efficient.

About the author

Shiloh McGinley has been in and around swimming pools her whole life. She's seen a lot of products come and go, and she wants to share with you the best products that really work!

Shiloh is passionate about helping people stay safe in the water, and she loves educating others on how to choose the right pool products.

When she's not working, Shiloh enjoys spending time with her family and friends, and swimming - of course!

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