Smorobot X11 cordless robotic pool cleaner review – No more manual pool scrubbing…almost

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REVIEW – Summer is definitely here in Texas!  I have never been happier to own a pool due to the excessive heat we have been having here in south Texas.  I am a first-time pool owner, and we just filled our pool in March.  In an effort to save some money, I have been handling all of the pool maintenance myself.  I am fortunate that I don’t have a lot of trees hanging over or near enough to the pool to drop a ton of leaves.  All of our trees are live oaks and they tend to drop their leaves in the early spring and so far the wind blows them the other way during that time.  What we do have is a lot of dust in the air due to continuing construction in the area.  I own a Polaris which does a good job of vacuuming the pool, but it does not scrub it.  The Smorobot X11 claims to not only scrub the floor but also the walls of the pool.   Let’s see how well it works out and if it is a time saver on some of my pool maintenance.

What is it?

The Smorobot X11 is a wireless robotic pool cleaner that will scrub both the walls and floor of your pool.  It works for in-ground and above-ground pools.  They also sell an X10 version of the robot that will only clean the floors.

What’s in the box?

The Smorobot X11 cordless robotic pool cleaner came well packed with heavy duty cardboard lining the robot and the accessories.

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Inside the box were the following items:

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  • The Smorobot X11 robot with an ultrafine filter already inside
  • One fine filter
  • Charging cord and power adapter
  • Hook attachment to retrieve robot using a standard pool pole
  • string attachment to retrieve robot

Hardware specs

  • cleans the water line, walls, and floor of the pool
  • 188W suction power
  • 3.5 hour run time
  • auto stop on the side of the pool
  • 2.5 hours charge time – they sell a version with a fast charger that cuts the charge time down to 1.5 hours
  • makes repeated U turns on edges to insure good edge cleaning.

Design and features

The picture below shows the top of the Smorobot X11 cordless robotic pool cleaner.  It has a big grab handle.  Towards the top of the picture is the compartment that holds the filter.  In the middle is a fan used to pull water through the robot.  Up front is the power switch.  It has two tank-like treads that allow it to easily crawl across the pool or up the walls.  It also has to separate rubber brushes up front that can scrub in different directions if need be.

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This is a closeup of the power switch.  There are two different modes: standard and fast.   The standard mode will allow the robot to run the full 3.5 hours cleaning your pool and has denser cleaning paths.  The fast mode will run about half that time and is recommended if your pool is cleaned and clean on a regular basis.

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At the top back of the Smorobot X11 cordless robotic pool cleaner is the flap you will lift to expose the cleaning filter.  They have a nice picture and verbiage telling you to lift the flap and press down on the top of the robot.  You will never get that flap open without pressing down first.  Ask me how I know!!!

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Once the flap is open, you can see the large ultrafine filter cartridge in place.

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Pulling the cartridge out exposes the inner workings.  There is not a lot to see.  You can see the hole on the bottom where the filter fits and the motor is nicely sealed in a housing.  That fan at the top sucks water from the bottom to help to keep the robot in place on the walls and floor plus keep the motor cool.

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Now let’s take a closer look at the filter cartridge.  As I stated before this is an ultrafine filter.  I am amazed at what this robot can pick up.  I took a close-up shot of the latch that keeps the filter closed.  You simply pull out the latch to detach it from the tabs.

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The whole bottom of the Smorobot X11 cordless robotic pool cleaner opens to make it easy to dump out whatever has been caught in the filter.

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This is a closeup of the bottom of the filter.  It has a simple rubber flap to let the bad stuff in and hopefully keep it in.

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Next, I took a picture of the port used to charge the X11.  As you can see it has a nice screw-on waterproof cap.

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Here is what the port looks like with the cap off.  The design makes it easy to insure you are plugging in the charging adapter properly.  Notice the inside of the cap is a large rubber gasket to keep the water out.

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Finally here is the charging adapter.  You can see how it goes into the port.

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I took a picture of the ‘fine’ filter.  It has an S on it for standard.  I do have to say the mesh is only slightly larger than the ultra fine.

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Setting up the Smorobot X11 cordless robotic pool cleaner is pretty easy.  I kept the ultrafine filter in place, plugged in the charger, and let it go to town.  Once it was fully charged, I attached the cord with the floating handle to the main handle of the device.   The video below shows the startup procedure.   You first turn the switch to the standard mode or fast mode when the unit is out of the water.   When the second for the last lights on both sides of the display starts blinking yellow you place the robot in the water.  Let it fill before dropping to the ground.  It will sit on the bottom going through a self-test for a few minutes, then kick off cleaning.  It will first clean the walls of the pool in a V pattern.  If it is in standard mode it will clean the walls over and over for about half of the time.  It will then spend the last half working on the bottom of the pool.   For my pool since it was a small one at 27 feet by 14 feet, it appeared to have cleaned around the walls at least three to four times before going to the floor.   Below is a video of the startup procedure.


Overall I was really impressed with what the Smorobot X11 cordless robotic pool cleaner was able to pick up in my pool.   Looking at my pool I don’t have things like leaves or massive amounts of pollen or dirt floating around.   I thought my pool was pretty clean.   I have some videos below showing you how the robot handles various parts of my pool.   My pool is a lagoon type pool with lots of curves, benches, a waterfall, and stairs.  I feel that if you had a rectangle type pool this robot would do a perfect job.   There were a few places where the robot struggled a bit.

This first video shows how the X11 handled the waterfall on our pool.   The X11 normally climbs the walls to the edge of the water and hangs there scrubbing the waterline.   My waterfall has a rock overhang at the edge of the water line so the robot is not able to reach it.   It goes to the top of the bottom of the waterfall and then simply drops back to the bottom to go back up again.

This next video shows how the X11 handles the benches in my pool.  It will crawl and scrub up the side of the bench, however when it gets to the bench instead of walking along the bench (there is plenty of room for that) it crawls up the rest of the wall.  To be fair, the company told me it would most likely not clean the top of benches or stairs and it does not do that except in the spots where it happens to land when it gets to the top of the bench.

This next video shows how the Smorobot X11 cordless robotic pool cleaner handles the stairs.  Once again it will not clean the top of the stairs.  It did make it up to the second stair, but it did seem to get stuck for a while.   I believe the hesitation it shows is the robot trying to do multiple turns to do full edge cleaning and getting caught up in the fact that there is another ledge for a stair.  It never did get stuck and was able to work itself out of what appears to be a stuck position after a few minutes.

The first time I ran the robot in standard mode I did not pick up a bunch of stuff.   Remember my pool is pretty clean.  I was happily surprised at the level of fine dirt the filter captured.  It picked up some very small sand.

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The next time I ran the Smorobot X11 cordless robot was in standard mode again after my filter for the pool had been serviced.  I have a diatomaceous earth filter.   That filter uses the skeletal remains of small, single-celled organisms—as the filter media.  It is very fine and can filter particles as small as three microns.   This service involved taking the filter completely apart and then having to reload with DE.   Well apparently some DE made its way into the pool itself.  I could not see it, but the X11 sure picked it up.   Take a look at the picture below!

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It did a great job of picking up that super fine DE material.

My only real complaint with the X11 is the floating cord you can use to retrieve the robot.  I chose the cord because the hook they provided did not come with a quick release from the pole.  It required you to screw in the hook and would have made it a pain to switch it out with the brush I had.   Well with my filter running I had the floating cord get entangled in the X11 a couple of times.  The first time was like in the picture below.  The robot was still running and we were able to pull the cord out by hooking the end of the pole through the cord. It was somehow sucked into the filter of the robot.

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The second and last time the Smorobot X11 cordless robotic pool cleaner’s cord got fully entangled around the scrubbers.  The robot was stuck on the bottom of the pool in the middle of running the standard mode.   Thank goodness it was already 90 degrees and I did not mind getting into the pool to get the robot.  I ended up untying the floating hook in order to untangle the robot.  I am happy to report that when I put the robot back in (I turned it off when I pulled it out of the water per instructions) it remembered where it was and did not try to clean walls all over again.

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What I like

  • Cordless
  • Will run for 3.5 hours cleaning almost every nook and cranny
  • Easy setup
  • The filter is easy to clean.
  • It will pick up dirt you do not even see.

What needs to be improved

  • Do not even offer the floating cord.  It is a recipe for disaster.
  • Needs to recognize if a bench is wide enough and clean it if it can.

Final thoughts

When I compare the Smorobot X11 cordless robotic pool cleaner to a robot vac that I have, I can tell the algorithm is not quite up to par.  When it hits the end of the pool or an obstacle like stairs, it does spend quite a bit of time figuring out how to get out of the area.  I realize it may be due to the robot’s u-turns to try and clean edges, but it makes the robot seem very slow.   However, the Smorobot X11 does a great job of scrubbing the walls and the floor of my pool.  It never got stuck in any one area and always worked its way out.   When it was done, it parks itself by an edge for easier pickup.  My Polaris only vacuums so this is a nice tool to have in my pocket.  I now really only have to scrub the tops of my benches and stairs.   I find that if I scrub those first to get any dirt floating down to the floor, the Smorobot X11 cordless robotic pool cleaner will end up picking it up.

Price: $799 standard charger or $899 fast charger
Where to buyAmazon
Source: The sample of this product was provided by Smorobot.

10 thoughts on “Smorobot X11 cordless robotic pool cleaner review – No more manual pool scrubbing…almost”

  1. Gadgeteer Comment Policy - Please read before commenting
    1. If I could only have one, I would pick the Smorobot for sure. The Polaris runs off a separate pump, plus has a large hose connected to it. It does a great job of vacuuming but it does not scrub.

  2. The manufacturer says that if you have an incline/decline of more than 30 degrees between depths, it may not be able to get out of the deep end. Curious if you have a space > 30 degrees and if so can you speak to its ability to climb the incline?

    1. I do not have any incline > 30 degrees from my deep to the shallow end. My pool only goes from 3.5 feet to 5.5 feet deep over 23 feet or so. That being said, I find it hard to believe it can’t handle an incline greater than 30 degrees when It can climb a vertical wall with no issues. The only time I ever see it struggle is if there is a lip of some kind at the top of the climb that hangs over the wall like my waterfall or multiple steps. In both cases, it will reach the top and then drop back down in the case of the overhang or eventually work itself out of the situation on the steps and not vacuum the top part of the step.

  3. My first used in the standard mode was very disappointing it kept getting stuck in a small pattern I had to re-position the robot at least four times. It could not do the waterline because of the uneven depth of the pool. The artificial intelligence fools itself. At the end of 3 1/2 hours the pool looks like it had to be vacuumed manually. All the corners were left dirty. I will try it one more time and return it

    1. Hi Aydin,

      I would recommend contacting the company and see if they have any recommendations. YOu may have received a bad robot and they could replace it for you.

  4. Are the SMOROBOTs ok to use on Vinyl? I am thinking of purchasing the X-11 for my 16×32 pool. It is vinyl. If it is good enough to use on vinyl will I experience any loss of function?

    1. Their website and an answer on Amazon by Smorobot says it can be used on vinyl lined pools. I would think as long as your liner is in correctly with no wrinkles it would work just fine.

  5. Looks like this is made in China. I owned Dolphin units before where I had repairs done locally by the distributor when it malfunctioned. If this has a problem are there any service technicians in the U.S. that would be available? I ask this because pool robots WILL break down and need repairs as both units I previously owned lasted only 4 years.

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