What Is an In-Floor Pool Cleaning System?

Pool cleaning equipment and systems simplify and revolutionize the way we clean our pools. Manually cleaning your pool means straining debris, putting the chemicals, scrubbing and vacuuming. What if you can maintain the cleanliness of your pool sans these mechanical processes? You will surely grab that opportunity, or that equipment rather.

There are two types of automatic pool cleaners that will literally take your hands off a lot of the steps to keep your pool sparkling and clean. And these two will go head on so you can have a guided decision on which one to get for your pool.

Overview of In-floor Pool Cleaners

​In-floor pool cleaners are built-in pool cleaning systems on your pool. It can only be included in pools that are yet to be constructed and cannot be retrofitted. It can be placed anywhere in your pool and will not cause any obstruction, does not need any setup and will not require you to pack away and store the equipment.

In-floor cleaners can also fit any pool style, shape, and size. It can be placed on the steps and down to the deepest part of your pool. Aside from cleaning debris and dirt at the bottom of your pool, it actively and effectively circulates the pool water. It is usually planned together with the pool layout as the in-floor nozzles and the debris trap need to be strategically placed within the pool.

How Do In-floor Pool Cleaners Work?

​When turned on, the cleaners will be activated. Cleaning heads will pop-up in an alternate manner according to how it was programmed. These rotating heads will release pressurized water to simultaneously push the debris and dirt on the pool floor to a debris drain in a whirling motion. The debris drain is connected to the main pump and debris will then be transported to the filter system.

Benefits of In-floor Pool Cleaners

  • ​Once the in-floor pool cleaner is activated, it will simultaneously spray pressurized water in specific areas, this cycle will ultimately push all debris in an area where debris collection and filter system are located. The pressurized water can bring dirt and debris no matter how big or small it is.

  • ​If you ever owned a pool, know someone who does, or if you have seen pool maintenance videos, chemicals sitting at the bottom of the pool is a common dilemma of pool owners. The rotating heads of in-floor pool cleaners not only push debris and other contaminants to the filter system, it also helps in mixing well the cleaning and sanitizing chemicals you use for your pool.

  • ​Poor water circulation on your pool can either have newly dispensed chemicals to clean your pool settle at the bottom or stay at the surface to density. When this happens, chemicals intended to remain on your pool water to continuously protect it will just evaporate. The excellent water circulation that in-floor pool cleaners promote can save you from using too many chemicals which is good for the environment. 

  • ​Some heating systems can give an erratic water temperature throughout your pool. Warm water goes up and can quickly cool down with cold air. With proper water circulation in your pool, you can keep the water warm, longer and the temperature consistent in all areas of the pool.

  • ​Since in-floor pool cleaners are installed during the whole pool construction and are intended to be a permanent fixture to clean and maintain your pool, the entire system has better warranty coverage. It is expected to run as long as the pool running, so manufacturers usually offer a limited lifetime warranty.

​Disadvantages of In-floor Pool Cleaners

  • ​There are two known disadvantages of in-floor pool cleaners. The first one is the price. Since you have to purchase the whole system when building the pool, it can bloat up the total costs to be incurred. Another disadvantage is if one of the pool cleaner heads gets worn out. It might be difficult to notice once one of the pop-up cleaners stops working. You will also need replacement parts and tools ready because each pop-up is necessary for the whole system to work efficiently.

Overview Of Robotic Pool Cleaners

​A robotic pool cleaner is a piece of pool-cleaning equipment independent from the pool’s pump and filtration system. These cleaners have its own motor and pump to move around the pool, collect debris and place it on its very own filter basket. It can work as a robotic vacuum cleaner with its own sensor, or it can move around and be controlled by a remote.

There are plenty of brands to choose from and these cleaners have a different price range and features. The more advanced robotic pool cleaners make use of chips and sensors to work efficiently on uneven surfaces and irregular-shaped pools.

How Do Robotic Pool Cleaners Work?

​This small equipment should be plugged into a power source. It may come with a built-in transformer to convert a lower voltage of electricity to make it suitable for water use. It usually comes with a minimum of 50-ft. cord that is attached to a control panel where you can set different programs for your cleaner and set the timer as well. Robotic pool cleaners can also be manually navigated and commanded using a remote control. The chip in the robotic pool cleaner can “learn” the pool it is cleaning and can get “smarter” over time.

Just put the robotic pool cleaner in the pool, the tank gets filled up and it will make its way down to the bottom. Plug it in and press your desired settings at the control panel or use the remote. Default settings usually program the unit to clean the pool in 3 hours. Although you can let some models stay in the water 24/7, taking it out once a day will let you enjoy it for quite a long time.

​Benefits of Robotic Pool Cleaners

It is affordable
With just a little over USD400, you can purchase a reliable and top quality brand robotic pool cleaner. The more advanced ones are priced over USD1000 it saves you a lot of time and effort compared with manually cleaning your pool.

It is easy to repair or replace parts
The control panel in the robotic pool cleaners would typically have an indicator if something goes wrong with the unit like a clogged filter or if a part needs replacement or the unit needs repair. Comparing it with an in-floor pool cleaner, it is easier to identify if something goes wrong with a robotic pool cleaner.

It comes with a remote control
If you are someone who wants to monitor the pool cleaning activity once in a while, having a robotic pool cleaner is perfect for you. Not everyone is keen on leaving everything about the pool maintenance on a piece of equipment or a system.

Pool-cleaning can be a shared chore
It is easy to navigate these pool cleaners using a remote control that comes with it. Even your children can have fun in sharing the pool cleaning chore with you. Some remotes have buttons while the more advanced ones have sensor connection that follows the direction you are pointing the remote to.

Advanced models can clean any type of surface

If you are going to invest on one, might as well spend on a top of the line model. These models scrub, vacuum, filter and collect debris even on the deepest parts of the pool. It can also climb the steps, cling on the walls and clean the waterline and vacuum irregular pool corners.

It can be used by those who are not building a pool from scratch
The best reason to choose robotic pool cleaners over in-floor pool cleaners is the fact that you can use it on existing pools. As discussed, in-floor pool cleaners are only suitable to be included in new pools for construction.

​Disadvantages of Robotic Pool Cleaners

​The lack of brand familiarity can be a setback for those who are getting a robotic pool cleaner. Knowing what brands have been specializing in this product and have proven a good track record across their models is the best route in choosing one.

These are the known brands in this category:

Another disadvantage of robotic pool cleaners is you have to manually put it in your pool and take it out after the cleaning process for drying and storage.

In-floor Pool Cleaners versus Robotic Pool Cleaners

​There is no doubt that both options can make pool maintenance a lighter and more convenient household chore. However, weighing in on which one is better may be difficult. Both in-floor pool cleaners and robotic pool cleaners have positive and negative traits, so it now boils down on whether you are about to build your pool or if it already exists.

In-floor pool cleaners are intended for those who are on the planning stage of building their pool. It needs to be incorporated in the pool design and layout and you need to work together with your interior designer, pool contractor and your in-floor pool cleaning system supplier to know appropriate number and location of cleaning heads and debris drain.

For those who have an existing pool, it is unfortunate that in-floor pool cleaners are not in your option. The good thing is that you have a wide range of robotic pool cleaner brands and models to choose from depending on your pool size, budget and the features you need. The more sophisticated models can also help in promoting better water circulation in your pool with a more powerful motor and pump. It also gives you the opportunity to upgrade your unit when you find it necessary or if there is a better model with more advanced features.


A clean pool should be a way of life. It promotes relaxation and encourages a healthy lifestyle to pool owners. Automatic pool cleaners like the in-floor pool cleaner which is a built-in system and a robotic pool cleaner that needs a quick setup and minimal supervision, are necessities for those who have little time to manually clean and maintain their pool.

These cleaners are also a great help to minimize the use of chemical pool cleaners by keeping the pool free from debris and dirt more often than cleaning it once or twice a week. It also saves a lot of time and effort on the users’ end so they can spend more time swimming and relaxing, than cleaning.