One of the questions we ran into a lot while putting together our robotic pool cleaner buyers guide was: What is the best robotic pool cleaner for vinyl pools? While everyone is comfortable with using robotic cleaners on more sturdy surfaces, there remains a little uncertainty when it comes to vinyl as there seems to be a fear that they may increase wear and tear and shorten the lifespan of a pool.

Best Robotic Pool Cleaner for Vinyl Liner

Well great news, while you may fear that a robotic cleaner will not be safe to use on a vinyl pool; the truth is that the majority of robotic pool cleaners are perfectly safe to use in a vinyl swimming pool.

The brushes on a robotic pool cleaner that spin furiously to lift dirt are usually made of soft rubber, as are the wheels or tracks that drive the robot. So excitingly, this means, is you basically have your pick of the bunch.

Why are Pool Cleaners Different for Vinyl Pools?

Some pool cleaners can work on all pool surfaces. With a vinyl liner pool you want to make sure you have a cleaner that is made specifically for a vinyl liner. Vinyl liners can become damaged by pool cleaners made for concrete pools, which may have pointy or rough edges. Automatic cleaners for vinyl pools have been designed and tested extensively for softer vinyl surfaces.

What Pool Cleaners To Avoid?

Generally speaking, if a pool cleaner has been designed to work on a concrete pool, it is not a good idea to use it on a vinyl liner. They might have pointy or rough components, and they could have very strong suction. Both, over the time, can slowly damage the liner.

Also, pool cleaners that state that they work on any surface are another sign that tells that it is possibly not the best option for your liner.

So, What Do You Recommend?

Budget Option

Dolphin Nautilus Plus Robotic Pool Cleaner
The Dolphin Nautilus Plus Robotic Pool Cleaner is an advanced, easy-to-use robotic pool cleaner that is designed to scrub, vacuum and filter in-ground residential pools of up to 50 ft. in length.

Maytronics has launched two versions of this particular robotic pool cleaner – The Dolphin Nautilus CC and the Dolphin Nautilus CC Plus. Both models have almost similar features with just a few differences between the two. The main point of difference lies in the cycle time. The Nautilus Plus has a shorter cycle time of 2.5 hours as compared to 3 hours of the Nautilus.

Its top loading filters are easier to remove and clean than the bottom loading filters of the old Nautilus model.

The Dolphin Nautilus CC Plus has an anti-tangle swivel cable, but a caddy is not included. It does not have a remote control and it is not compatible with the MyDolphin Bluetooth app.

This internet-only model is covered by a 2-year limited warranty. The plastic parts, power supply, cable and motor is covered for 24 months. The brushes, tracks and filters are not under warranty.

The Dolphin Nautilus CC Plus is a pool-cleaning machine. Literally. A robotic pool cleaner, you set it up and set it loose. The Clever Clean system uses onboard sensors to map an optimal path through your pool to maximize its own efficiency. It can clean an average pool in about two hours.

Once in operation, the sensors can also detect obstacles in the bottom of your pool, avoid them and return to the charted path without very little interruption in its schedule.

Some robotic pool cleaners would cost you an arm-and-a-leg to do this, but the Dolphin Nautilus CC Plus does this at the price of a top-end pressure-side pool cleaner, without the few hundred dollars’ extra expense for a booster pump.

Best of the Best

Dolphin Oasis Z5i Robotic Pool Cleaner
The Dolphin Oasis Z5 is one of the latest models produced by the company. Its overall performance is excellent and its advanced features will take your pool cleaning to the next level.

The Z5i’s cleaning ability is on par with what you’d expect from a pool robot of this price.

It scrubs and vacuums the entire pool, removing algae, sand, leaves and all kind of debris. It easily replaces your pool boy or pool cleaning service.

If anything, it cleans better than a human. It’s also much better than traditional suction or pressure side automatic cleaners.

We all want the best in life and so as with the products, we want to own. This robotic pool cleaner is almost perfect and when it comes to ease, this is the one we recommend.

Did you encounter serious trouble to clean your pool in traditional ways? Are you looking for the best and trouble-free pool cleaner? Then the Dolphin Oasis Z5i Robotic pool cleaner is one of the best performing robotic pool cleaners.

Also Great

Dolphin Premier Robotic Pool Cleaner
The Dolphin Premier is an advanced residential pool cleaner made by Maytronics, the world’s leader in robotic pool cleaning technology. Packed with high-tech features, the Premier has a lot to offer, including Maytronics’ excellent SmartNav mapping system. It’s programmable, too, and can be run daily, 2x per week or 3x per week.

It comes with a few quirks, however. The unit is heavy, so lifting it out of water may be hard on some. And, it’s not the best at cleaning steps.

In terms of raw cleaning potential, there are few pool cleaners — even robotic pool cleaners — that can match the performance of the Dolphin Premier. Its four-media cleaning options make this perfect for sweeping up the grit of a summer windstorm and autumn’s falling leaves with a quick swap-out of a filter.

It also comes with advanced controls that allow it to chart its own cleaning course to work quickly and efficiently. There are good reasons why the Premier is considered Dolphin’s top-shelf pool cleaner.

It’s only predictable, then, that it will cost you a pretty penny. This one is expensive, even allowing for the fact that inground pools are generally top-dollar investments. Its manual operation mode is also less than desirable.

Dolphin sank its best efforts into making this a high-end robotic pool cleaner to the detriment of its manual mode. Then again, you’re not shelling out this kind of money for a pool cleaner that requires that you do a whole lot of work.

Suction-side vs Pressure-side vs Robotic

Suction-side pool automatic cleaners are the easiest and cheapest to buy and install. A suction automatic pool cleaner is simply connected to the suction-side of the pool pump filtration system. This type of pool cleaner is suitable for most pools, but might not be powerful enough for large pools.

All the dirt and debris it vacuums away ends up in the pool filter. The suction pool cleaner will function poorly if the pool filter is dirty. You need to clean the filter regularly so that the suction pool cleaner performs properly. Therefore, the suction-side pool cleaner only works when the pool pump is running.

Pressure-side automatic pool cleaners are more expensive to buy and install. The installation of an extra booster pump to provide water pressure for the pressure pool cleaner increases the overall cost. The booster pump makes a pressure pool cleaner more powerful than a suction cleaner.

However, a pressure pool cleaner unfortunately has more moving parts and a separate booster pump which makes it more expensive to run and maintain. Still, it blows the leaves and dirt into its own debris bag. Therefore, you need to clean the debris bag after every use, but the pump filter needs less cleaning.

A robotic pool cleaner needs neither the pool pump nor a booster pump to function. Instead, it has its own power supply which is plugged into an electrical outlet. This makes it fairly easy to install and operate. The pool robot has its own internal pump motor and debris bags (or cartridge filters).

You have to empty the bags after each cleaning cycle. However, robotic pool cleaners are the most expensive to buy, but they do seem to be the most efficient at cleaning large pools.

Recommended Robotic Pool Cleaners
Best of the Best! Budget Pick Also Great
Dolphin Oasis Z5i Robotic Pool Cleaner Dolphin Nautilus Plus Robotic Pool Cleaner Dolphin Triton PS Robotic Pool Cleaner
Oasis Z5i Nautilus Plus Triton PS
Up to 50ft. Pools Up to 50ft. Pools Up to 50ft. Pools
Anti-tangle Cable
Powerful Suction Motor
Single Click Basket
Waterline Cleaning
Remote Steering
Anti-tangle Cable
Powerful Suction Motor
Twin Cartridges
Anti-tangle Cable
Powerful Suction Motor
Single Click Basket
Waterline Cleaning
23.2 x 19.8 x 14.3 in 16 x 16 x 10 in 16.4 x 16.8 x 9 in
40.5 pounds 22 pounds 16.5 pounds

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