Fiberglass pools are a popular choice for pool owners for their array of advantages. While it is still considered a premium building material, it is generally easier to maintain, an excellent insulator, and highly durable. So if you did ever opt for a fiberglass pool over vinyl or concrete, you made the right choice.
But here’s the deal: No matter what the material your pool is built, it is still a maintenance magnet, whether you like it or not. Pools attract all kinds of dirt and debris, and fiberglass pools are no different. With that being said, fiberglass pools are easier to clean than concrete pools because they are less porous. Fiberglass surfaces collect dirt and grime, whereas concrete is literally a dirt magnet.
With all things considered, you can either do the cleaning of the fiberglass swimming pool yourself or use some technological help. Usually, any busy and working person would choose the latter, although I’m not opposed to elbow grease. But if you’re going to choose the help, there is no better way to do it than investing in an automatic pool cleaner.
What is an Automatic Pool Cleaner?
Simply put, an automatic pool cleaner is a device that allows you to clean your pool without actually doing it yourself. It saves you time, and outside of the initial investment, it could also save you money going forward.
There are three types of automatic pool cleaners — suction side, pressure side, and robotic. Here’s how the three differ:
- Suction side pool cleaners. Out of the three types of automatic pool cleaners, the suction side type is the most inexpensive. This is primarily because it uses the pool’s own equipment to do its job. A suction-side cleaner utilizes the pool pump to propel itself and the pool’s suction line to dispose of debris. It may be the cheapest option, but it could also take a toll on your pool’s pump and suction system.
- Pressure side pool cleaners. This type of cleaner does not use the pool’s filtration system, but it takes advantage of the pool’s return lines to fuel its movement and action. Some pressure-side pool cleaners require a booster pump for the same function, which adds to the operational cost. It is reasonably budget-friendly, but it will put a heavy burden on the pool pump if you decide to run pressure-side pool cleaners.
- Robotic Pool Cleaners. Of the three pool cleaner types, many people consider robotic pool cleaners as the best money can buy. They are generally autonomous, plug-and-go devices that require minimal human intervention. Robotic pool cleaners clean small and large debris alike, and some models are compatible with scheduling and other smart functions. Most models are not cheap, but since they perform their jobs separate from the pool’s equipment, it ends up prolonging the life of the pool pump and filter. For more information on the best robotic pool cleaner, check out the website Cleanup Expert (cleanup.expert).
5 Best Pool Cleaners for Fiberglass Pools
If you’re truly looking for something that works regardless of the price tag, then look no further than the Premier. You simply get it out of the box, set it up, and it will clean your fiberglass pool in a couple of hours.
Dolphin Premier features and highlights:
- Never gets stuck
- Dual 24-volt DC motors use up to 90% less energy than other older models in the market
- Comes with a three-year warranty
- Includes four media types to handle debris of any sort
- CleverClean technology and Smart Navigation
There are two things that you may not like about the Dolphin Premier. One is, it’s not ideal for above-ground fiberglass pools. Second is its price point. If you do have a relatively small pool, it makes no sense buying the Premier. Plus, it is quite heavy at over 30 pounds, so you may be better off going with the other options in this list if this unit is too overwhelming.
- Dolphin Nautilus CC Plus
The Nautilus CC Plus price range is definitely up there, but if you have a large fiberglass pool, it is definitely worth a look. It has superior cleaning power and advanced technology that leaves its counterparts in the dust. Plus, it does work really well on above-ground fiberglass pools.
Nautilus CC features and highlights:
- Comes with CleverClean technology that ensures every inch of the pool is covered using the quickest route
- Ideal for in-ground pools of any material including fiberglass, within 50 feet in length
- Supports weekly schedule
- Total weight of only 22 pounds (the robot weighs 19 pounds)
- Comes with 60 feet of tangle-free cable
- Large twin filter cartridges
- Comes with HyperGrip Tracking System that enables the robot to stick to the pool walls
- Zodiac MX8 Suction Side Cleaner
The very first suction side pool cleaner on the list, the MX8 is a cheap, hardworking machine that literally pursues stuck-on debris. It can aggressively climb walls and provides pool coverage better than any suction side cleaner that you can find.
Zodiac MX8 features and highlights:
Comes with a Low-Flow Energy Efficient design plus a Cyclonic Scrubbing Action that effectively removes accumulated debris
- Its X-Trax and X-Drive technology allows it to boast extreme maneuverability while thoroughly cleaning every inch of your pool.
- Covers more in one go with its Wide Cleaning Path
- Weighs only 5 pounds
- Dolphin Escape
I want to include something designed for above-ground pools, and that’s exactly what the Dolphin Escape offers. There is just no way to describe the way the Escape does its magic on above-ground pools– it’s terrific!
Dolphin Escape features and highlights:
- Not as pricey as the Premier and Nautilus CC
- Comes with an oversized debris cartridge so you won’t have to change it every cleaning sessions
- Weighs only 14 pounds, making it easier to lift in and out of an above-ground pool
- Features Smart Navigation 2.0 and a one-year warranty
- Highly energy-efficient; only consumes 5 cents in every hour of operation
- Continuous tank-like tracks that prevents slipping
It’s important to note that above-ground pools have more of a need to filter fine particles. The sad thing about the Dolphin Escape is that they are separately selling the fine particle filtration basket. If the unit only includes the fine filtration basket, then it would be damn near perfect. I guess you just can’t have everything in this world!
- F1 Polaris Vac-Sweep 360
We do have enough technology, premium pricing, and smart features in this list, so I want to introduce something different. This unit is highly effective and yet won’t break your budget: The Polaris Vac-Sweep 360.
The Vac-Sweep is a pressure side cleaner, which means it summons from your pool’s pressure line. It does have a fine reputation among consumers, especially ones that have tried the old 280 models. (Some have been using it for 20 years!) Overall, it does a terrific job cleaning the bottom of the pool and a somewhat satisfactory job if it has to climb on walls. It’s not intended for above-ground pools, so for best results, only use it for the smaller-sized in-ground variety.
Factors That Should Determine Your Purchase
Above-ground or in-ground. There are automatic cleaners that are designed for in-ground and others for above-ground. The Dolphin Escape, for example, works best for above-ground, while the Polaris Vac-Sweep is ideal for in-ground pools.
- Pool Size. Most of the higher-priced units like the Nautilus CC and the Premier can work with larger pools with their 60-foot cable. That said, it doesn’t really make sense to spend a $1,000 cleaner on a small pool.
- Debris type. Your home location should also be a factor in deciding which cleaner to choose. If you’re living in Arizona or Nevada (or anywhere in the Southwestern United States), you may want to buy something that filters sand particles. If you’re living somewhere near the Great Lakes, you’d want a cleaner that can handle leaves and twigs.
- Generally, automatic cleaners climb concrete pools much easier. For fiberglass pools, climbing up and down the walls is trickier, which is why you have to choose something that can grip well.
- If you want the best automatic pool cleaner, you can find it up the higher end of the pricing ladder. However, just because it’s pricey does not mean it’s a good investment. For smaller pools, go with the affordable models. Even if you have a large pool, if you have the time to do a little scrubbing yourself, then you can also go for the budget models.
The Verdict: Best Pool Cleaners for Fiberglass Pools
The automatic pool cleaners listed above are your best choices for fiberglass pools. Some are on the expensive side of the pricing spectrum, and some are more affordable. Yet, we can assure you that they all offer something at the table that justifies each model’s price tags. Just follow the instructions in the manufacturer’s manual, and it will truly cut your cleaning time in half. With the right automatic pool cleaner at your disposal, you’d spend more time enjoying the pool waters rather than worrying about the tough cleanup job later.