Automatic pool cleaning | What’s best for my swimming pool?

Published by Swimming-Pool-Expert on July 14th, 2011

Pool cleaners

Nowadays homeowners have a variety of alternatives when it comes to cleaning their pools. They can hire an outside pool professional, use their own time and muscle or if they are in the process of building a new pool, include an in-floor cleaning system.  Many of us turn to automatic pool cleaners (APC) however, because they save time, are easy to use, and are quite efficient.  Here are a few tips to help you decide which automatic pool cleaner is best for your pool.

What are the types of automatic pool cleaners, and how are they different?

There are three types of automatic pool cleaners available in South Africa:

  • Robotic pool cleaners;
  • Pressure-side pool cleaners; and
  • Suction-side cleaners

Robotic cleaners are compact and self-contained machines that move themselves around the pool,  sucking up dirt and debris while also rotating brushes or rollers to scrub surfaces.  These types of cleaners do not use the pool or booster pump to start.  Some use a water-safe electrical cord that is plugged into a 3-point plug, while others operate with a chargeable battery or solar power.  These robot pool cleaners “learn” the pool shape wit its first dive into a new swimming pool and thereafter clean cover the interior pool surface 100%.   Prices range from R10800 at your local online pool shop up to R58000 for the bigger robot pool cleaners that covers a 60m long pool.

Click on the photo below to place your order.

Dolphin robotic pool cleaner



Unlike robotic cleaners, pressure-side pool cleaners use the power of water pressure to pick up dirt and debris. One style connects via a hose to the pool’s return line, pressurising the water and creating a circulation effect to flush dirt upwards into the cleaner, where the filter traps the debris.  An example of a pressure-side cleaner that was available a few years back, is Zodiac’s Mars pool cleaner.

The Mars pool cleaner








Its unpopularity in South Africa forced Zodiac to discontinue distribution of the Mars pool cleaner locally.  See a video of how Zodiac’s Mars works, click here

Suction-side cleaners are low cost alternatives and are widely used in South Africa. Most suction cleaners connect to the pool’s weir or a dedicated suction line and navigate the pool using the suction power of that filtration system.  Most transfer debris into the pool’s weir basket, but there are some models that include their own filter bag to add extra capacity for large leaves and heavy refuse.  Prices vary between R500 and R3000.

Gemini pool cleaner

What kind of debris can each type of pool cleaner handle?

Some robotic cleaners have two intake ports with a combined 28cm opening and can handle large debris, while also taking care of small nuisances like pollen and sand.

With an opening of up to 6.4cm in diameter, pressure-side cleaners are ideal for locations with lots of trees because they are great at removing debris such as leaves, pine cones, and other big foliage. With wheels, these cleaners roll across pool surfaces sucking matter into attached bags.

Suction-side cleaners are great for removing sand, dirt, and other small items. Newer models like come with brushes to loosen algae, while others include automatic steering features so the cleaner won’t get stuck in the pool’s corners.

If you hear how quiet the Baracuda MX8 operates,  you will understand why many pool owners just want to replace their old machine with this new technology suction-side pool cleaner.


The new Zodiac Baracuda MX8

How long does it take an an Automatic pool cleaner to get the job done?

Baracuda MX8 showing off its wall climbing ability without making a noise







Robotic cleaners should be used at least two to three times per week and take about 1 to 2 hours to finish, while pressure-side cleaners need about 3 to 4 hours to complete the circuit.  Suction-side cleaners can run continuously (4 to 12 hours per day or whenever the pool pump is on).

Contact us to help you to choose the right pool cleaner for your swimming pool or swim to to read more.

Tel. 0861 012 012 during weekdays 9am – 5pm and Saturdays from 9am – 2pm

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