Unique Companies build 90% of our pools using in-floor cleaning systems as they tend to be the preferred choice of our clients due to ease of use, quality of performance and a lifetime warranty on parts (heads). You do have the option of using an automatic cleaner (side suction cleaner). We’d like to outline the advantages and disadvantages of both.

Paramount Infloor HeadIn-floor cleaning systems operate with a number of pop-up heads that collectively push debris towards the deeper end of the pool. All debris is then removed from the pool by a specialized drain. From there, it is carried to a large basket made to capture larger debris. Fine particles (such as silt) go through the pool filter. The pop-up, in-floor cleaning heads work in what are referred to as “zones,” to sweep the pool floor from shallow to deep.

In-floor Cleaning Systems: Advantages
There is no real visible sign of the cleaner in the pool as compared to automatic cleaners. Many people don’t like looking at an automatic cleaner lying in the pool when not in use and the hose itself can create an obstacle. Pools with lazy rivers and islands cannot be cleaned with automatic cleaners but can with an in-floor cleaning system.

For those of you that have pool heaters or solar heating systems, with an in-floor cleaning system, heated water is distributed evenly through the floor heads in the bottom of the pool making it more efficient to heat the pool. Another advantage is that distribution of filtered water across the entire floor of the pool aids in an even dispersal of pool chemicals. There isn’t much maintenance associated with in-floor systems other than emptying the strainer basket which catches larger debris.

In Floor Cleaning Systems: Disadvantages
Really the only disadvantage of the in-floor cleaning systems may be the cost (when compared to an automatic cleaner). But often, in-floor cleaning parts (in-floor heads) come with a lifetime warranty. If you have issues with your in-floor system, you will most likely need to contact a pool professional. We wouldn’t consider this a disadvantage though.

Automatic Pool Cleaner SystemsAutomatic or suction side cleaners typically look like little “robots.” They include an attached hose and connect to the wall of the pool. They are powered by using the suction from the filter pump.

Automatic Cleaners: Advantages
Automatic cleaners are simple systems and are capable of cleaning most pools efficiently. They are also fairly easy to install and maintain. Maintaining the unit is as simple as emptying the debris bag located on the unit.  You have the option to completely remove automatic cleaners from your pool by disconnecting the hose from the pool wall. The biggest advantage of automatic cleaners is that they are cheaper than in-floor cleaning systems.

Automatic Cleaners: Disadvantages
Many of the pools constructed by Unique Landscapes & Custom Pools have some type of step, shelf, bar stools, etc. that the automatic cleaner would not be able to reach or clean around. This means someone would manually need to clean these areas and direct any debris to an area that the automatic cleaner is able to reach. Another disadvantage is that these cleaners will only remove debris that doesn’t pass through the mesh holes of the debris bag. The bag is great for larger debris such as leaves and most smaller particles but they do not remove finer particles like silt which is common in the AZ especially with the number of dust storms we have and monsoon season. Automatic cleaners also have parts that will need to be replaced at some point (such as bumpers, wheels, etc).