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  • Writer's pictureCamille Bryant

I Tested And Ranked The Best Pool Vacuum Robots For Leaves

I tested the best robotic pool cleaners for leaves. Even though they're pricey, I think they're worth the investment as they'll keep your pool free from leaves, twigs, algae and debris.

best robotic pool cleaner for leaves

FYI, prices and ratings are accurate as of time of writing.

1. Dolphin Premier - Most Powerful Robotic Pool Cleaner

best robotic pool cleaner for leaves

Highlight: Double the power with dual brushes that leave pool walls and floor amazingly clean in under 3 hours.

Helpful review: Talk about a game changer! This little robot has seriously made my life easier! I snagged the Dolphin Premier in early September, finally swapping out my old Polaris, the one that was hooked to my pool filter. As a rooky in the pool ownership game, I've had my share of ‘oops!’ moments, but this purchase is definitely not one of them, nope siree.
- The oversized leaf bag is my serious new best friend. It scoops up everything from the massive big leaves to chewing up the little tiny debris.
- Our neighborhood is full of mature trees that love to dump leaves into our pool. This awesome little robot handles the constant barrage like a pro.
- We've got four dogs who love to leap into the pool and swim no matter the time of year, and yeah, they leave all their hair and dirt–enough to knit a sweater haha. The Dolphin picks it all up without a hitch. Just a heads up for pet owners—keep an eye on the impeller for hair wrap. It's easy to clean, though. Just pop off the cover and clear it out to prevent motor damage.
- Our pool pump gave out in January, and we're saving up for a replacement. In the meantime, the Dolphin has kept the pool cleaner than I could've imagined, even without proper water circulation. Honestly amazing.
- The plaster in our pool is ancient and starting to crumble. Before the Dolphin, we were constantly cleaning out plaster from the DE Filter. This little robot picks up the plaster bits before they reach the filter, which has been a huge help.
- We didn’t get a remote control with our Dolphin Premier. So we might have missed that in our shipment if it’s supposed to be included.
- The cartridge filter system isn't our favorite, it could be better if I’m being honest. It captures far less debris compared to the oversized leaf bag in the same amount of time.
- It seems to overheat more often lately. Not sure if it's because we're relying on it more than usual. But even though it's designed to run daily, the overheating is a bit worrying.
If you're thinking about a pool cleaner, I'd say it's worth splurging a bit for a Dolphin model, and for an extra perk the Bluetooth capabilities are a nice plus. It’s handy for starting the device remotely, getting alerts, and troubleshooting. Definitely an A Plus from me! — Wes Brown

Get it from Amazon now: $1,497.00 & FREE Returns


2. AIPER Seagull PRO - Best For The Money

best robotic pool cleaner for leaves

Highlight: Say adios to all the wires all in thanks to this awesome Pool Vacuum, a one hundred percent cordless design.

Helpful review: I'll kick this off real quick by saying this pool cleaner is an honest to God gem. When I bought my house last year with its above-ground pool, I was less than thrilled. Everyone warned me about the maintenance nightmares. But I decided to give it a go this summer, and if it became too much of a hassle, I’d ditch it by next season. Spoiler alert: maintaining a pool turned out to be a breeze! I kept the salt water clear and sparkling all summer with hardly any effort.
The real pain was the debris at the bottom—cleaning up leaves and dirt was a constant chore. I tried some clunky old equipment I had lying around, but nothing worked well. Then I stumbled upon this little robot on Amazon, and it was a game-changer. We had a blast this summer, swimming and lounging poolside, all thanks to this little guy.
Honestly, it does exactly what it promises. My pool was spotless, and when the family visited, they thought I had hired a professional. It handled leaves, dirt, bugs—you name it. And while it didn’t face any algae, I’m confident it would’ve handled that too. The only thing it couldn’t manage was larger twigs, but that’s no biggie.
However, there's a little bit of a downside, because there's always a but, right? Haha. The vacuum is made of some plastic material parts that felt kind of fragile. Opening and closing the bottom clamps was a nail-breaker until I started using a spoon to pry them open.
And then disaster struck. One day, while gently nudging it aside to dry, the plastic clips that hold the wheels snapped—just like that. Tiny pieces of plastic everywhere, and suddenly, the wheels were off. Searching for those bits was futile; they were gone for good. No way to replace them since they’re part of the main frame.
So, what started as a carefree summer ended with a pool vacuum that couldn’t move. Yeah, kind of annoying. My theory? The plastic likely wore down over the season or got brittle, and I just didn’t notice. I was super careful with it, especially knowing the salt water could wear it down faster, but maybe it was inevitable.
Despite all this stuff, if you’re thinking about getting one, I’d still recommend it if I’m being real. It was the best pool-related purchase I made, hands down. Just maybe keep it on a soft surface while it dries, maybe out of direct sunlight—could help prolong its life.
All in all, this little robot was a pool care dream, at least while it lasted. Now, I’m left figuring out what’s next for my pool maintenance. If you do get one, just make sure you’re making an effort to treat it gently, and maybe it’ll last longer than mine did. — Martha S. Raven

Get it from Amazon now: $749.99 & FREE Returns


3. Dolphin Nautilus CC Plus - Efficient 2-Hour Cycle

best robotic pool cleaner for leaves

Highlight: Perfect choice for an in-ground swimming pool with a depth up to 50 feet, and can clean in just under two hours.

Helpful review: So, I took the plunge and picked up this pool cleaner a month ago after sizing up a few options like the Dolphin Sigma and some other one thousand dollar machines. I wanted to really put it through its paces before I gave my two cents, and I'm happy to report that I'm thrilled with this purchase, even if it was a bit pricier.
Setting it up was straightforward, though the user manual could be a bit clearer. I had it up and running in about half an hour. The app controls are simple enough—setting cycles, checking progress, you name it. The 'drive by app' feature has a bit of a lag, though, like about two seconds between tapping a command and the robot acting, but once you get the hang of it, you can navigate it to those tricky spots easily. Plus, being able to kick it off from anywhere—like when I'm out grocery shopping—is pretty sweet.
The cleaning power of this robot is seriously top of the game. I love it more than I expected to. Honestly, my pool has never looked better, and it's saving me a good two to three hours a week on cleaning time. I've been running a 2.5-hour cycle every other day, and it covers my 25K gallon pool perfectly, even with its quirky curved sides.
This little dynamo climbs walls like a pro, and the adjustments on the float handle help it stick to the walls longer if needed. I’ve got it set to max, and it skims along the waterline beautifully for a few feet before heading back to scrub the floor.
The filters are my favorite. They handle all that tiny, fine sand and dirt with ease. Picking up leaves and twigs? No problemo at all. Cleaning out the filters is a breeze—just a few minutes every few days, which is a vast improvement over the old pole-mounted vacuum I used to wrestle with.
It navigates over raised drain covers without an issue, and that’s something I was worried about. I read in some reviews that some models have issues with that, but this one just cruises over them. And yes, it can even handle climbing concave and convex walls—which I thought defied physics! It doesn’t always clean the steps every cycle, so I still have to do a bit of manual sweeping there every now and then.
All in all, if you're in the market for a pool cleaner that takes the work out of keeping your pool pristine, this is the one. It’s a bit of an investment, yeah, but considering the time and effort it saves, it’s seriously worth every penny, I love it. — Tom Cleaver

Get it from Amazon now: $799.00 & FREE Returns


4. Dolphin Nautilus CC - 3 Scheduling Options

best robotic pool cleaner for leaves

Highlight: You can schedule the Nautilus to automatically clean each week with three unique settings–every third day, every other day, every day.

Helpful review: I've been using this cleaner for three weeks now and thought I'd share my insights to help those who might be hesitating. A bit of background: I own a kidney-shaped pool and had been using a Polaris for about a decade before switching to this electric model. Here’s the breakdown:
It arrived securely packed, complete with a set of booklets—quick start guide, FAQ, warranty. The full manual is online, but I haven’t needed it yet.
Super straightforward. It’s pretty much ready to go right out of the box, though I suggest untangling the cable before you start.
It comes with a 24-month warranty, as per the included booklet.
Initially, I wasn’t all that impressed, but maybe I just had high expectations, I dunno. I almost sent it back if I’m being honest. After a couple of uses, the suction just seemed to weaken, I dunno why. Turned out, it was pretty simple, kinda embarrassing to admit but whatever, I think it’s important to note. The filtration basket was just clogged with dirt and silt lol. You really need to clean it after one or two cycles. The standard mesh thing catches extremely fine particles—almost too fine, in my opinion. If I get another basket, I’d probably grab a regular or even a coarse one.
It cleans my pool in two hours flat. I haven’t yet tested it during peak leaf-dropping season, so we’ll see how it holds up. But it’s definitely going to be cheaper on electricity and save wear and tear on the booster pump.
It's easier if you open the basket from the bottom. I find the zippered bag of the Polaris easier to handle, as it continues collecting debris for days without needing a clean, unlike the Dolphin’s basket, which needs frequent emptying. A coarser mesh option would be great (hint hint, Dolphin).
It’s heavier than the Polaris 280 but it’s also manageable. Just let it sit at the waterline a moment to drain before lifting it out.
I was worried about this but haven’t had any issues. The cleaner moves in a way that keeps the cable from twisting, which is honestly surprising with how it’s built, but then again, starting with an untangled cable helps.
It’s worth noting the scheduler resets weekly. You have to set it up again each week, which is kind of annoying, but it is what it is. I didn’t realize at first but it’s manageable.
A major plus is how easy it is to remove when the kids want to swim. No navigating around it. Really made a difference if you ask me.
So far, I’m quite pleased with this baby. I’ve shelved my older model and stopped using the booster pump, though I might bring it back during the leaf-heavy seasons. Will keep you posted. Now, I’m off to swim! — Frank Crown

Get it from Amazon now: $599.00 & FREE Returns


5. Dolphin E10 - Best For Leaves And Pine Needles

best robotic pool cleaner for leaves

Highlight: Super energy efficient with an average operating cost of 5 cents per hour.

Helpful review: Living just around Kingwood in Texas, there’s a lotta trouble with having a pool. Why, you ask? It’s nicknamed the liveable forest. Yeah, that’s just a little peek into my daily struggle—leaves and pine needles are constantly falling into our pool. This place was a literal forest before it became a neighborhood, so you can imagine everything I deal with on a constant basis. My Sweetgum tree drops literal gumball-sized pine cones, and they’re a nightmare to step on, especially when you;re barefoot around the pool.
Raking was just a literal never-ending task. I even tried a battery-operated 'leaf blaster', but it was such a pain in my behind. Literal labor-intensive work that by the time I finished, I was too exhausted to swim. And if algae ever started forming, seriously forget about it. It made it impossible to see and clean the bottom, which just perpetuated this never ending cycle of cleaning and then pop–algae blooming again. I hated it. And hated having a pool. I really regretted it, honestly.
Finally I got fed up, asked around, and did a deep dive online. A friend raved about her Dolphin robot, and after weighing my options between the E10 and the fancier Escape model, I opted for the E10 mainly so I could save a couple hundred bucks.
Best decision ever! It works like a charm—whether the water's murky or clear, just drop it in, turn it on, and let it do its thing. It's fantastic at picking up all sorts of debris including those pesky gumballs and even small sticks. If we have an algae issue, I can trust that the pool floor is clean before treating it, which usually does the trick in one go.
It's not designed to climb walls, but it manages to scoot up to the waterline occasionally before coming back down. I've read some complaints about it doing wheelies, but that's just how it navigates and changes direction.
The only real drawback is the lack of a swivel joint on the robot end of the cable, which causes tangles after a few cycles. Though it's an easy fix to untangle it from the power supply end, it's a bit annoying. Some folks have tried using foam pool noodles on the cable to prevent this, which I might give a shot.
There was a power supply hiccup, but the manufacturer resolved it swiftly with zero hassle, and honestly this little robot has been a game changer for keeping my pool clean, and it’s honestly restored not only my sanity but my love for swimming again! Finally I can swim again in the suffocating heat in Texas. — Jay Finley

Get it from Amazon now: $599.00 & FREE Returns


6. AIPER Seagull 1000 - Upgraded Suction Capability

best robotic pool cleaner for leaves

Highlight: Floating rope makes it super easy to lift the pool vacuum out of the water without having to jump in.

Helpful review: Finally, I did myself a favor and upgraded to the Aiper Smart robot, mainly because I needed to clean the bottom of my inground pool. Before this, my pool guy was honestly just focusing on brushing the walls and balancing all the chemicals, all the while all the leaves and debris just accumulated at the bottom. At firstI looked into traditional hose-connected cleaners, but the price tags were astonishing—they ranged from several hundred to over a thousand dollars.
During my research, I stumbled upon hose-less robot cleaners. I was drawn to this option not only because of the lower price but also the convenience of not dealing with hoses. After sifting through numerous reviews (and ignoring biased YouTube 'product reviews' by competitors), I settled on the Aiper Smart, influenced largely by all thoe glowing customer feedback.
Why I Chose This Product:
- It's reasonably priced.
- The no-hose design eliminates the hassle of untangling and maintenance associated with hoses.
- It received overwhelmingly positive reviews from other users.
- No-Hose Convenience: You avoid the daily tangles and it eliminates the need for an additional pressure pump, which is just one less piece of equipment that can break.
- Self-Sufficient Operation: It’s battery-powered and operates autonomously. Simply charge it, place it in the pool, and it runs for about ninety minutes before needing to be cleaned and recharged.
- Ease of Maintenance: The debris collector is straightforward to clean with just a garden hose.
- Effective Cleaning: It picks up a wide range of debris, from leaves and twigs to dust, thanks to its brush and strong suction.
- Thorough Coverage: Despite my pool’s L-shape, the robot’s random pathing ensures no spot is missed. The adjustable steering nozzles are a plus for customizing its route.
- Long Recharge Time: The six-hour recharge can be cumbersome, especially if you’re aiming for multiple cleaning cycles in one day.
- Uncertain Battery Longevity: There’s no clear indication of how many cycles the battery supports before it stops holding a charge.
- Availability of Replacement Parts: I couldn’t find any replacement parts listed online, which is concerning for long-term maintenance.
- Durability Concerns: The robot seems like it might not withstand a fall from a significant height without sustaining damage.
- Doesn’t Clean Walls: It’s designed solely for floors, so wall cleaning is still a manual task.
Overall: After a week of use, I’m genuinely impressed with how well the Aiper Smart Pool Cleaner is performing. It has turned pool cleaning from a chore into a minor task, mainly involving the robot's maintenance and occasional wall brushing. The pool now consistently looks pristine, which is incredibly gratifying. I’ve even affectionately named the robot 'Hugo' after my previous pool guy. Based on my experience, I’d definitely one hundred percent recommend this product to anyone struggling with pool cleanliness. — Steve Schultz

Get it from Amazon now: $349.99 & FREE Returns


7. Dolphin Proteus DX3 - Huge Filter Basket

best robotic pool cleaner for leaves

Highlight: The Proteus DX3 cleans in just under two hours.

Helpful review: My old Kreapy Krauly, which was failing to do his job to clean my pool because of the pump’s suction issues. There was cracked hoses and other wear and tear, and honestly I just decided it was time for a change. As a gadget enthusiast, I naturally gravitated towards the high-tech, standalone models. What can I say? I’m a nerd with that stuff.
At first, I thought about getting battery-operated cleaners, but I hesitated because of a lot of complaints about their inability to hold a charge long enough to clean the entire pool. I then decided to look to corded models, but I was concerned about the small filters since my pool is surrounded by all the trees and leaves just fall everywhere, it’s so annoying.
And then the DOLPHIN Proteus DX4 came into my life haha! Unlike all the basic cleaners that use filter panels, this model features a large basket with an easy-to-access trap drawer. It’s a breeze to clean—just pull it out, empty it, and it’s ready for another round in less than a minute. I was also worried about handling the unit because of my arthritis, but thankfully, I’ve found it surprisingly manageable, even at a crisp seventy one.
To make things easier, I invested in a Caddy and cover for storing the device. This not only protects it from the elements but also helps keep the patio tidy. Unlike my old suction cleaner, which had to be left in the pool most of the time, this one only goes in when needed, although it’s not a hassle to leave it in a bit longer if necessary.
I did encounter one issue: the scrubbing brushes tended to loosen mineral deposits from our hard city water, leaving a fine silt at the bottom. The included fine filter wasn’t up to the task, but thankfully, an ultra-fine filter option, which resembles the material of a car air filter, solved the problem beautifully. It also handles leaves brilliantly, which used to clog my old cleaner.
Overall, while the robot was a bit of an investment, yeah, it has successfully given me my free time back and now finally ,pool maintenance is no longer a chore. It’s not the cheapest on the market, but it’s also far from the most expensive. And for the quality, good luck finding a better balance! — Sasha Colbert

Get it from Amazon now: $599.00 & FREE Returns


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