Are Pool Robots Worth the Money?
Are you getting tired of watching your monthly bills creep up only to be reminded of that pool cleaning service you desperately need? Nobody wants a dirty pool. It’s not appealing to look at, and it doesn’t make you want to get in. Let alone your guests. And what’s a pool for, if not entertaining?
If you can relate to this scenario, it’s time to consider a pool robot. How much do they cost to maintain? Are they effective compared to an in-person service? Our guide covers everything you need to know.
What Does a Pool Robot Do?
These robots are diligent members of your household staff. They perform tasks such as:
- Sifting debris from the water
- Brushing the floors and walls
- Improving water quality with fine filtering systems
How can a little robot do all this? With brushes, a suction hose, and a filter bag that gets emptied periodically – pretty much the same way as a professional cleaner. The difference is that the robot:
- Runs automatically
- Costs substantially less
- Is available whenever you need it
- (Usually) maintains a professional attitude when your significant other is sunbathing
Interested? Of course, you are. But how much do these things cost?
How Much Do Pool Robots Cost?
An automatic or robotic pool cleaner will generally set you back between $300-$700 as an initial investment. Pool robots are a classic case of “you get what you pay for” – while there are some excellent automatic cleaners at the lower end of the range, in terms of durability and efficiency, the higher-end models tend to be superior.
Of course, there’s always the chance that you’ll find a retailer selling a top-quality automatic cleaner at a discount price or on a special offer – keep an eye on our list of top cleaners and monitor those flash sales!
It can be cheaper to choose a suction cleaner or pressure washer than a robotic model. However, the huge advantage that robots have is that you can program them to clean routinely with no additional effort (except changing the filter bag and charging them when necessary). But you can perform these tiny maintenance tasks at your leisure; the cleaning time can be scheduled hours before you have guests over or first thing in the morning without you needing to get out of bed.
Some models come with intuitive apps that let you instruct them to start cleaning with a couple of clicks. If time is money, consider how much difference this makes compared to scheduling appointments with your local cleaning service. That’s before we get to hard cash – keep reading to find out what a difference a pool robot makes to your budget.
How Often Do You Need to Replace a Pool Robot?
Most high-quality pool robots last for 4-5 years. Some may last longer with regular maintenance, although it’s normal to witness a slight decline in performance if you’re getting those extra years. Essentially, they’re vacuum cleaners designed for underwater – the lifespan of the suction mechanism is somewhat similar. You could replace internal parts, but it’s often cheaper to simply get as much mileage as you can from your robot while it’s doing a great job, and then purchase an up-to-date replacement.
We’ll keep you updated on the best cleaners as they come onto the market. As more people realize what great alternatives robots are to conventional cleaning services, brands are ramping up their offerings – you can check out our regular guides to find out what’s new and hot.
Buying from a reputable manufacturer typically means you’ll get a better warranty, so we’d always recommend choosing a household name. You might save a few bucks by buying an off-brand robot, but it’ll typically be covered by a shorter warranty (or none at all) and last for less time. This means that in the long run, you’ll be spending more – a pool isn’t a short-term investment, and you shouldn’t treat your cleaning solutions as short-term goals!
How Much Does it Cost to Maintain a Pool Robot?
Here are your basic considerations when maintaining a pool robot:
- Scrubbing brushes
- Vacuum bags
- Hoses (if they get damaged)
- Energy costs
- Battery replacements if the charge volume declines
The first 2 are reasonably cheap. You’ll always need to buy new vacuum bags for your robot, as it fills them up with debris it’s filtered out from the water. It’s best to buy bags from the same manufacturer as your robot for the best results, but even on-brand bags typically cost $5-$10 per bag. It takes a while to fill a bag, so that’s not a major investment per cleaning cycle.
Brushes don’t need to be replaced very often. They’re generally in the lower $$ range, though this depends on the brand and the model you choose. Again, it’s worth purchasing brushes from the brand instead of knock-offs – otherwise, you risk impacting your cleaner’s performance.
A replacement hose might be more expensive, but this is rarely needed. Cleaning a hose is fairly straightforward, and you’ll typically only need a replacement if it’s been damaged in an accident.
Cleaners will become less energy-efficient over time, but this is true of all machinery. The decline also tends to be very gradual and won’t make a significant impact on your bills – if it does, you’ll know it’s time for a replacement.
Cost of Hiring a Pool Cleaner vs. Buying a Robot
Now let’s consider the cost of hiring a regular cleaning service vs. purchasing a pool robot. Let’s note up-front that the cost of hiring a professional service for a one-time job runs at around $250. A regular, scheduled service might cost less – but not that much less! Plus, there’s even more to consider.
If you’re lucky enough to have a pool cleaning service that can turn up at a time that always suits you and get the job done without any hassle, that’s great! Many of us aren’t so lucky and need to be around to arrange access. Meanwhile, professional cleaners aren’t always available when you need them at short notice.
By contrast, a pool robot is ready to go whenever you are, provided it’s been charged. Whether you wake up at 6 AM thinking “I’d like a swim later” and click a button on your phone or set a regular schedule, it’s always ready to get to work.
Your pool cleaner might not use any electrical equipment to filter the water in your pool. They might do everything by hand. More likely, they’re using a pool cleaning tool themselves. This is fine, but they’re either using your energy to power this, or they’re charging you for their energy costs.
You can expect the energy bill from a robotic pool cleaner to be equivalent to or lower than the energy costs you’ll incur by hiring an in-person service.
Your pool robot doesn’t cost much for a once-over. Your pool cleaning service charges by the hour. If you want your pool in tip-top shape whenever you’re about to invite guests over, there’s only one winner here.
The initial purchase price makes some homeowners balk, but the amount you save for regular pool cleaning compared to hiring a professional service is eye-watering. As in, “who ramped up the chlorine” levels of eye-watering. Professional services will also charge a premium for a short-notice call-out – your pool robot treats every job the same.
Some days, you just want to relax in your pool without having to see or speak to anyone. That’s inconvenient because it needs a clean before you can enjoy some quality time outdoors. Calling a cleaner would mean speaking to a person. Tapping the button on your app that activates your pool robot? Now we’re (not) talking. Perfect.
So Is It Better to Buy a Pool Robot or Hire a Pool Cleaner?
There are so many things that make a pool robot more convenient and cost-effective than a professional service. But is it as thorough? That’s the question that makes so many people begrudgingly fork out for routine maintenance – they don’t know if they can trust the robot.
Check out our guides. Invest and see it for yourself. Pool robots are incredibly efficient cleaners when it comes to scrubbing. In terms of filtration, they’re more effective than filtering by hand – professional services often use a mechanical cleaner for this part of the job.
Buying a high-quality pool robot from a top manufacturer is the most cost-effective, convenient way to keep your pool water sparkling and clear. All that’s left is knowing how to choose the right one.
Choosing the Most Cost-Effective Pool Robot
Let’s sum up with a brief guide to choosing a pool robot that is perfect for your needs.
The most efficient and thorough pool robots tend to come at a slightly higher price. They can range up to $700 or even higher – however, you can expect to get a high-quality product for around $300-$400 as long as it’s from a trusted manufacturer.
Remember that higher-end models tend to last for longer, so you won’t need to replace them as regularly. You’ll have your pool for many years to come, so you can measure the cost of a new unit as a long-term investment.
With energy prices rising, it’s vital to find a unit that uses as little energy as possible when you set it to work. As a key advantage of pool robots is that you can set them to clean whenever you want, energy-saving units can bring you significant savings.
How Often Will You Use It?
Check how often a unit should be used, and how often its battery will need charging. Knowing how often the bag typically needs replacing is another consideration – if you’re planning to use your cleaner very regularly, you might want to choose a model with a higher storage capacity and a longer battery life.
Some robots have a greater range than others. If you have a large backyard pool, you’ll want a unit that is adept at handling corners and curves and has a good range for its suction hose. Of course, you can always redeploy it if you’ve got time – this can be a great way to make the most of a more affordable pool robot.
Buying a Pool Robot vs. Hiring a Cleaner: Final Verdict
There’s every reason to invest in a new pool robot. They’re simply more convenient and cost-effective than professional services. Believe it or not, they’re also just as charming. Check out our guides and make your choice today.
About the Author
Stefan Schulz is the founder and owner of PV Pool Cleaner. He spent his college years working at Niagara Pools and Spas, one of the largest Swimming Pool and Hot Tub Dealers in the Eastern United States.
Today, he utilizes his background, experience as a pool owner, and the resources of his digital marketing agency, Orpical Group, to generate informative and engaging content for pool owners everywhere.