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Wheels vs. Tracks: What to Choose for a Robotic Pool Cleaner?

One of the most crucial considerations you need to take into account when shopping for a robotic pool cleaner is whether it comes with tank-like tracks or wheels. Believe it or not, this plays a tremendous role in the robot’s overall performance in terms of both mobility and performance.

In this brief info guide, we’ll explain everything you need to know about track-driven and wheeled robotic pool cleaners to help you make the right decision.

Robotic Pool Cleaner Having Tracks
Robotic Pool Cleaner with Tracks: Dolphin C3

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Wheeled Robotic Pool Cleaners

Robotic pool cleaners with wheels are typically powered by jets of water, not the wheels. These jets propel the unit forward and up walls as the wheels carry the main body up and off of the ground for better mobility.

Wheeled Robotic Pool Cleaner
Robotic Pool Cleaner with Wheels: Polaris F9550

The wheels on a robotic pool cleaner allow it to climb sloped walls that gradually incline up to 60°. They’re not particularly great at scaling steep walls or getting around ladders and steps, although the wall-scaling ability varies from robot to robot.


1. Wheels wear out slower than tracks. The rate at which they wear down depends on the type of liner material used in your pool, but in general, wheels have a longer lifespan compared to tracks.

2. Wheeled robotic pool cleaners usually have a cheaper price tag compared to track-driven models. Replacement parts (wheels or tubes, bushings) are also typically less costly than tracks and drive belts.

3. Wheeled robots can climb up sloped walls with a 60° gradual incline, making them better suited for irregularly shaped pools.

Track-Driven Robotic Pool Cleaners

The tank-like tracks on a robot have more gripping power to lift the unit up steep 90° inclines without the risk of tumbling backward. This system allows them to loosen and scrub buildup at your pool’s waterline to produce a more crystal-clear appearance of your pool from above.

Track Robotic Pool Cleaner
Robotic Pool Cleaner with Tracks: Dolphin C3

The tracks keep the robot sitting lower than on large wheels so the spinning brushroll(s) can make more contact with your floor for every second spent underwater. Just like wheeled models, they can also have jets that propel them forward that also loosen debris clinging onto the lining of your pool.


1. Spinning brushrolls offer a deeper clean than the inactive brushes on a wheeled robot. This system actively aims to remove algae and sediment from floors and walls while also picking up larger debris like leaves and acorns.

2. Track-driven robots have better underwater maneuverability and climbing capabilities. This makes them the better option for standard rectangular pools of any depth and lengths (usually up to 50 feet)

3. Maintenance issues like loosened tracks and drive belts are lot easier to catch and easier to fix. By manually tightening the tracks and/or drive belt to the manufacturer specified deflection, the robot can begin working like brand new.

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Wheels vs. Tracks: Which Should I Get?

It all boils down to the shape and design of your pool. Essentially, wheeled robots are the better option for kidney-shaped or round pools with gradual inclines, whereas track-driven robots scale 90° walls much more effectively.

In terms of performance, they’re nearly identical with track-driven robots having the slighter edge due to having active brushrolls, depending on the model.

Robotic Pool Cleaner with Wheels
Robotic Pool Cleaner with Wheels: Aquabot X4

Our Recommended Robotic Pool Cleaners

Affordable Option The Dolphin Nautilus CC Plus is perfect for all pool types. From gunite to tile, and everything in between; you name it and Dolphin will clean it.

Best of the Best The Dolphin Dolphin Nautilus CC Supreme is equipped with a center scrubbing brush, this cleaner pushes the limits for wall and waterline cleaning.

Popular Option Smart Nav software delivers highly optimized scanning and coverage for a new level of clean. Advanced algorithms clean 100% of the pool floor, wall & tile/waterline and pool floor.

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About the author

Hi I’m Alex, founder of HouseholdMe.com and I’d like to say thank you for dropping by. Like most of you, the first thing I look at before buying something online is reviews or buying guides. By reading what other people say will help me gauge whether or not a product is good or not.  I am trying to help people find answers, solve problems, and get inspired.

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