I do get asked this a lot.  People that previously owned or do own gunite pools cannot imagine life without a pool boy to stop by once a week and an automatic pool cleaner to boot!  The simple answer is that most American Fiberglass Pool buyers do not opt to have an automatic pool cleaner included with their pool purchase.  Why, you may ask?  QuIte simply the smooth non-porous gelcoat surface on an American Fiberglass Pool does not allow most things to adhere to it, requires little brushing, and only occasionally vacuuming.  Of course it you live in an area with lots of trees or an area where the wind always blows, you could use a little help from an automatic pool cleaner.  Let’s take a look at the automatic pool cleaners that are available.

1. Suction cleaners:  These include any cleaner that connects directly into your skimmer.  They are typically inexpensive, $700 or less depending on the brand name.  I am not a fan of these cleaners since they are prone to clogging up your pool plumbing lines.  You can get a filter to connect between the head of the unit and the skimmer.  My experience is that the filter gets heavy with leaves and debris and the pool cleaner comes to a standstill as well.  I particularly don’t advise use on older pools.  The old plumbing may eventually be damaged by the thumping / vibration the cleaner produces as it moves.   My own score 1-10 with best being 10, how about a 3?  That’s as good as I can rate them.  They are popular though and primarily bought by folks looking for an inexpensive pool cleaner or new pool owners that are not aware of anything better.  They do little or no cleaning on pool walls or stairs.  You must keep your skimmer basket, pump basket, and leaf filter cleaned often so your pool pump is not damaged.

2.Pressure side cleaners:  This type of cleaner runs on electricity and requires a dedicated booster pump and a dedicated time clock.  There are lots of different ones available on the market.  They cost $1200 – $1600 in the box and do require assembly and complicated installation.  Always make sure the booster pump time clock is set to run within the cycle of your pool pump time clock.  If not, expect to be replacing the booster pump motor.  That’s a $550 mistake.  This cleaner requires a dedicated fitting usually located in the middle of the pool side wall.  Debris like sand, leaves, and twigs are vacuumed up into a bag on the top of the unit.  Once the bag is too full, the unit will just lay over on its side.  So keep an eye out for that bag’s contents.  The biggest problem for these cleaners is an incessant need for tune ups to replace expensive multiple worn parts.  Cleaning ability is much better than suction cleaners.  One more thing, different pool surfaces can require different tires on the cleaner.  My own score is 7.  This is because of the additional electronically operated booster pump and the parts necessary to keep it in tip top shape.

3. Robotic pool cleaners:  These guys can be taken out of the box, be put directly into the pool, plugged in, and are working immediately.  They have a 50’-75’ waterproof cord that stretches from a transformer that is plugged into a GFIC receptacle.  No assembly is required, just plug it in and forget it.  Cost is typically $1200 – $1500.  These units are the only automatic pool cleaners that actually brush, vacuum, and clean the tile line of a pool.  They easily climb pool walls and will clean all but the very first step in your pool.  Since they are built with internal cartridges filters, some claim that you can tone down your regular filtration cycle 2-3 hours a day while the pool cleaner is running.  This is a remarkable piece of machinery and my personal favorite.  My score is 9.5.

There are a couple of other cleaners like pressure side units that do not require a dedicated booster pump and even solar powered units.  They are not particularly common and thus will not be included in this blog entry.

I almost always suggest to our American Fiberglass Pool customers that they try their new pool without an automatic pool cleaner first.  You can always buy one as an aftermarket unit later.

Quote of the day: “Happiness and moral duty are in separately connected.” George Washington


  1. Len Vallas says:

    We have owned one of your Rio Grande models for 17 years now. We have never had to use a pool cleaner of any kind. The pool has been a breeze to keep clean.

    • wayne says:

      Fantastic to hear from y’all! Thanks for the extra special reference about your pool. Give me a call so we can catch up on stuff.

  2. Walt Brees says:

    All my investigation keeps coming back that f/g pools are easy to take care of. I really like the San Antonio model a lot. Can you give me a call to discuss building me one?

    281-***-**** is my cell number

    • wayne says:

      Glad to hear visited with you and proud to be your selected pool builder. Should be able to get started soon as it quits raining every day.

  3. Ed Garrett says:

    You are spot on about pool cleaners.
    We had a cleaner that connected to our pool skimmer. After 3 years of use it caused multiple leaks in the piping from the pool to the pump.
    Fortunately we do not have much deck around the pool so the repairs while frustrating were not overly pricy.
    We now have a robotic pool cleaner[Tiger Shark] that is truly a blessing. I wish we had this cleaner years ago!
    We do have a concrete pool and can’t imagine not having a pool cleaner.

  4. SAMIA DROUBI says:


  5. James Tillis says:

    After owning 4 gunite pools in my life I believe I can rank as an expert in their care.
    They definitely require a pool cleaner to keep clean.
    This includes a pool service company as well as auto cleaners.
    Robotic cleaners are the best ones.

  6. Ted Gillette says:

    We continue to be amazed at how easy our American Fiberglass Pool is to maintain.
    We live in the Arkansas Ozarks so leaves seem to fall year round.
    We have two skimmers and six return water nozzles that keep the pool water spinning and clean.

    • wayne says:

      Hi Ted, having enough skimmers and returns is the key for keeping a pool clean. Your American Fiberglass Pool dealer/builder had good sense!

  7. Reed S. says:

    Our fibre glas pool is so easy to maintain. We have owned one for 13 years and never had a pool cleaner. This includes a pool boy!

  8. Gerry O'Malley says:

    Fiberglass pools are truly easy to own and take care of.
    Our home is in the Mississippi delta in an area that is packed with trees.
    We added an extra pool skimmer and several extra jets. The pool stays remarkably clean.
    I also have to add that our chemical cost are even lower than the pool salesman told us it would be.

    Wish we all could have such pleasant surprises!

    • wayne says:

      Glad you are enjoying your fiberglass pool and have such low maintenance. That’s the way it should be!

  9. Paul Bains says:

    Life is too busy to have to spend time cleaning a pool. My fiber glass pool only takes 10-12 minutes a week to keep clean. I have never had a pool cleaner of any kind.

  10. Kellie Christiansen says:

    When my husband said he wanted to buy an in-ground pool I insisted that it be a fiberglass pool. I have always been told by other pool owners that fiberglass pools were the easy pools to care for.
    Our pool was built by you guys 4 years ago. Our family has been more than pleased with the pool and your company.
    Sorry I missed wishing you a Happy 44th BD last month…..So Happy Birthday American Pools!

  11. Larry Koch says:

    You are right about those cleaners that plug into skimmers. I used to own a 12 year old gunite pool that had a broken skimmer pipe. I was told by several pool companies that that type of pool cleaner was notorious for damaging pipes in older pools.
    Was a costly repair. Now that pool belongs to someone else so they can keep re-plastering it every 3-4 years!

  12. Jim Guidry says:

    Curious and off your subject.
    What do you think of Ozonators or UV units in fiberglass pools?

    Are they as good or better than salt systems?

  13. Daniel says:

    Please give me a call regarding purchasing one of your pools.

    Thank you!

    • wayne says:

      Welcome aboard! We have your beautiful, affordable, VERY LOW maintenance American Fiberglass Pool scheduled to begin in 2 weeks, weather permitting!

  14. Charles Vills says:

    Gunite pools should not be installed w/o auto pool cleaners, period.
    I would never have purchased one if I had been aware of the incessant work they require.
    I have a buddy that has a fiberglass pool . He says he spends maybe 15 minutes a week. Next time I will have a fiberglass pool too.

  15. C. L. says:

    Truly the maintenance of owning a new pool should be at the top of the consideration list prior to an actual purchase.
    After owning both gunite and fiberglass pools over the years I can say that fiberglass pools are 90% easier to take care of.
    I did have a pool cleaner in the gunite pool and both pools were surrounded by trees.
    The gunite pool literally worked me to a frazzle inspite of having a top of the line Polaris cleaner.
    I am sold on fiberglass pools for ease of care.

  16. Georgia says:

    We are very interested in swimming at home this summer. I have been researching pools now for months. Fiberglass pools appear to have more advantages than concrete pools.
    Call us at 713-***-****

    • wayne says:

      We are truly pleased that your family will be splashing around in a beautiful, affordable, VERY LOW maintenance American Fiberglass Pool this summer!