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Thread: Do I NEED a robotic cleaner, or do I WANT one?

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    Do I NEED a robotic cleaner, or do I WANT one?

    Hiya,

    New pool owner here... waiting impatiently for my test kit to arrive and reading all I can in the meantime. As of now, we have an old vacuum head and hose in the pool shed, but I have no idea how to use it (pool is pretty clean, so haven't felt like we've needed to). We've been brushing the pool manually with a metal brush -- daily since we had some algae, but I guess at least weekly is what we should be aiming for.

    All that said, I'm not afraid of a little manual labor (and some great arms!) by brushing frequently/weekly. But am I missing something key by not having some sort of robotic/automatic cleaner? If I learn how to use the vacuum head that we have, will that suffice? And if I truly do need one, what direction do I go for a free-form shaped old gunite, that needs to be refinished?

    We are trying to learn all we can and make our rookie mistakes this year, before we budget to refinish the pool next year.

    Thanks!
    Rhonda, Outside of Boston, MA
    20k gallon IG gunite circa 1984, very old/stained/worn out plaster finish
    4820 Hayward DE filter, no idea on the pump... will figure that out!, T-100 test kit, Speed Stir is the BOMB!
    *Researching options to refinish Spring 2017!*

  2. Back To Top    #2

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    Re: Do I NEED a robotic cleaner, or do I WANT one?

    You can certainly manually vacuum the pool using your hose and vacuum head, especially if you don't mind the manual labor. I did it this way for about 8 months or so and then I got tired of it because I like a clean pool, so I was doing it every couple of days. I decided to buy a robot and i haven't manually vacuumed it one time since then because the robot does such a good job. The kicker is I don't even brush anymore either, robot does that for me also.

    The only thing a robot does not do is skim the surface, so I'm usually out there with my skimmer net every day or two and throwing the robot in to do the work.

    I have a Dolphin Nautilus and love it. They are pricey, though. Suction side cleaners are certainly cheaper if you already have a booster pump you might look into those.
    15,000 gallon free form Viking fiberglass pool. Hayward Star-Clear Plus C12002 cartridge filter. Hayward Swim Pure Plus T-15 SWG. Testing with TF-100 Kit. 2 speed 1.5HP Supreme pump. Dolphin Nautilus robotic cleaner

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    Divin Dave's Avatar
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    Re: Do I NEED a robotic cleaner, or do I WANT one?

    Hi kiv,
    Welcome to TFP!

    You posed a great question. Im sure you will get a lot of responses.

    Do you NEED a robot? Probably not. People had pools for decades before robots were ever available. But you will eventaully NEED to be able to clean the bottom of the pool. Dirt, bugs and other things will eventually congregate there upon their demise. A manual vacuum does a great job of it, and if you dont mind doing it a couple days a week, then stick with a vac if it works for you. If in time you find that manual vacuuming isn't for you, then go get a robot at that time.

    Robots are great for those of us who would rather spend out time doing something else or if like me, just plain ol' lazy. They are minimal effort to keep a very clean pool bottom.

    The manual vacuum are easy to use. The trick is getting the hose primed. Here is a video on how to use it.
    How to vacuum an Inground Pool Video - YouTube
    Divin Dave,
    IG Vinyl, 15' x 30', 3 1/2' - 6' deep, Oval, ~15K gal, Intelliclor IC40, Intelliflo VS pump, Clean and Clear 420 Filter, auto-fill-disabled, Retrofit LED Color Light, Dolphin Nautilus Robot, TF100 Test Kit, Taylor K1766 Salt Test Kit, Tftestkit Pressure Gauge.
    www.tftestkits.net Experience- it's what's learned just after you needed it most !!

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    Re: Do I NEED a robotic cleaner, or do I WANT one?

    [off to google Dolphin Nautilus]
    Rhonda, Outside of Boston, MA
    20k gallon IG gunite circa 1984, very old/stained/worn out plaster finish
    4820 Hayward DE filter, no idea on the pump... will figure that out!, T-100 test kit, Speed Stir is the BOMB!
    *Researching options to refinish Spring 2017!*

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    Re: Do I NEED a robotic cleaner, or do I WANT one?

    Quote Originally Posted by kiv558 View Post
    [off to google Dolphin Nautilus]
    Dolphin is a popular brand here. The Nautilus is on the low end of the spectrum. The higher end models come with dollys and remote controls. Just depends on if you want to pay for all of the fancy stuff.
    15,000 gallon free form Viking fiberglass pool. Hayward Star-Clear Plus C12002 cartridge filter. Hayward Swim Pure Plus T-15 SWG. Testing with TF-100 Kit. 2 speed 1.5HP Supreme pump. Dolphin Nautilus robotic cleaner

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    kcindc's Avatar
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    Re: Do I NEED a robotic cleaner, or do I WANT one?

    I had a manual vacuum for a while and it works.

    I installed a polaris pressure cleaner that ran off of a booster pump. I used it for about 5 years, but it constantly needed tweaking and at least once a year it needed replacement parts or servicing.. (backup values, sand clogging up jets, gears/bearings that need replacing). Sure most of it can be DIY and for relatively cheaply, but I am too lazy and don't have a lot of free time. My closest leslies would only charge for parts for Polaris, but I was tired of driving there (DC traffic sucks!)

    I bought my first robot about 6 weeks ago and I love it! I bought mine via Amazon, although others have ordered from a dealer to get a better warranty. Dolphin Triton Plus Amazon.com : Maytronics 99991079-PC Dolphin Triton Plus Robotic Pool Cleaner : Patio, Lawn Garden

    Here is a an article comparing various models so that you can see that robots are kinda like the mattress industry... same robot, different name/color: The Truth About Pool Cleaners: What Your Pool Store Isn’t Telling You | Sunplay
    Karen
    33K IG w spa plaster, Pentair 1HP Whisperflo, DE Filter, SWG CircuPool RJ-60, Dolphin Triton Plus, Raypak Dig 336K BTU, TF-100.
    Pool Math Chlorine / CYA Chart SLAM - Shock Level And Maintain
    2017 replaster/retile

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    Re: Do I NEED a robotic cleaner, or do I WANT one?

    That article is amazingly helpful, thank you! Off to the dealer tomorrow...

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    Divin Dave's Avatar
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    Re: Do I NEED a robotic cleaner, or do I WANT one?

    Good luck!


    Quote Originally Posted by kiv558 View Post
    That article is amazingly helpful, thank you! Off to the dealer tomorrow...
    Divin Dave,
    IG Vinyl, 15' x 30', 3 1/2' - 6' deep, Oval, ~15K gal, Intelliclor IC40, Intelliflo VS pump, Clean and Clear 420 Filter, auto-fill-disabled, Retrofit LED Color Light, Dolphin Nautilus Robot, TF100 Test Kit, Taylor K1766 Salt Test Kit, Tftestkit Pressure Gauge.
    www.tftestkits.net Experience- it's what's learned just after you needed it most !!

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    AimeeH's Avatar
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    Re: Do I NEED a robotic cleaner, or do I WANT one?

    I wish I had spare funds for any sort of robotic cleaner.

    With that said, I find vacuuming manually early on a weekend morning after my cup of joe rather cathartic. Being able to jump in doesn't hurt when it hot......like this week....in the 100's.
    18*36*23 true "L" vinyl IG 29,000 gallons. SWG. TF-100 test kit.
    http://tftestkits.net/splash-page.html

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    JoyfulNoise's Avatar
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    Re: Do I NEED a robotic cleaner, or do I WANT one?

    Quote Originally Posted by AimeeH View Post
    I wish I had spare funds for any sort of robotic cleaner.

    With that said, I find vacuuming manually early on a weekend morning after my cup of joe rather cathartic. Being able to jump in doesn't hurt when it hot......like this week....in the 100's.
    +1

    When someone finds the magic money tree, let me know...I want a robot!!
    Matt
    16k IG PebbleTec pool, 650gal spa, spillway and waterfall, 3HP IntelliFlo VS / 1.5HP WhisperFlo, Pentair QuadDE-100 filter, IC40 SWCG, MasterTemp 400k BTU/hr NG heater, KreepyKrauly suction-side cleaner Dolphin S300i robot, EasyTouch controls, city water, K-1001, K-2006 and K-1766 test kits, Mannitol test for borates

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    MarkTX's Avatar
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    Re: Do I NEED a robotic cleaner, or do I WANT one?

    We did not NEED a pool, but we are glad we have one
    30,000 gal free-form IG w/ spa, PebbleSheen Blue Surf, Pentair cartridge filter, Pentair 3 HP Intelliflo, extra pump that is way over-sized for weeping moss rocks, Dolphin Oasis Z5, municipal water, all built Jan-Feb 2016. TF-100, SpeedStir, Liquidator 3/8", borates. My build thread http://www.troublefreepool.com/threa...-in-Cypress-TX

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    Re: Do I NEED a robotic cleaner, or do I WANT one?

    Robots are awesome very happy I bought one. Put the vacuum hose away.
    16'x34' Kidney 17000 Gallon IG Vinyl liner. Pentair IntelliXF vs pump, Sta-Rite System 3 DE filter. Liquidator, TF-100 Test kit w/ speed stir. Aqua Comfort heat pump, Dolphin Apollo robot, clear solar cover, stamped concrete deck.

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    Re: Do I NEED a robotic cleaner, or do I WANT one?

    Just ordered the Doheny Discovery on sale for $649... hoping it was the right choice!

    Thanks for chiming in everyone. As much as I'm enjoying the workout, I'm not able to reach every bit of the pool. At least that's what I'm telling myself. 😎

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    Road scholar's Avatar
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    Re: Do I NEED a robotic cleaner, or do I WANT one?

    I think the Doheny Discivery at $650 is a steal. One nice advantage is if you clean the pool on Saturday morning for the weekend and a storm that night messes it up, just throw the bot in. Like someone else said use your pool cleaning time to pursue other things.
    60' x 20' L-shape, 23K gal, NSW, IG Plaster, built spring 2002, 3 HP Inteliflo pump, Cartridge filter, gas heater, swim lane, volleyball net, Dolphin A30i robot.

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    smforte's Avatar
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    Re: Do I NEED a robotic cleaner, or do I WANT one?

    I've had a Dolphin s300i for 2 wks and I'm in love. Having a lot of trees around my pool I was manually vacuuming every day. The robot frees me up for other Cinderella duties. Pricey but worth it...
    Montgomery, AL
    27000 16 x 36 IG, Vinyl, Grecian, Hayward Sand filter, 1 HP Pentair whisperflo motor, Aqua Genie filter not by choice, no extra jets, Dolphin s300i robotic cleaner,Taylor K 2006 test kit, speed-stir which I couldn't live without!

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    BNilsen2693's Avatar
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    Re: Do I NEED a robotic cleaner, or do I WANT one?

    Good Question!!!

    Growing up with a much smaller pool, we did not have a robotic cleaner -- I brushed and vac'd as needed (it was one of my chores around the house). The pool I have now has one that seems to do a fair job, but I have the equipment for a manual back-up, and have used it a few times for spot cleans (lots of vegetation around the pool!). So, do you NEED one, probably not, but they are helpful and eliminate the need to vac significantly.
    BNilsen2693 -- 30K Gallon In-ground , Pebble Tec, 55' at the longest, 24' at the widest, 8' at the deepest, Pentair FNSP60 DE Filter, Polaris Sweeper running off a booster pump. TF-100 Test Kit.

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    Re: Do I NEED a robotic cleaner, or do I WANT one?

    Personally I won't own a pool without a robotic vacuum cleaner. Screw the manual labor and never ending sun burns. However I bought the Polaris 9450 AWD model last April (2015), and it's already giving me Error 03 which seems to be pretty serious and will not allow it to work. Luckily it has a 2 year warranty but messing up with light use after 1 year of ownership says a lot for a $1,100 robot.
    25,000gal pool with vinyl

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    stepaway's Avatar
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    Re: Do I NEED a robotic cleaner, or do I WANT one?

    Quote Originally Posted by nlindelldc View Post
    The only thing a robot does not do is skim the surface, so I'm usually out there with my skimmer net every day or two and throwing the robot in to do the work.
    Have you looked into the SolarBreeze NX? It's a solar powered pool surface skimmer. Works 23 hours a day using stored energy in the battery that's charged by the sun! I have one (actually I have two - one still in the box) and it works great!
    13K gal, concrete in-ground, SWG, Pentair Intelliflo 3HP VS pump, Jandy AquaLink RS w/PS4 PDA (which now doesn't work since it doesn't support VS pumps), 5' raised spa, SolarBreeze NX solar powered robotic skimmer.
    Palm Springs, CA

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    Ronald U.'s Avatar
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    Re: Do I NEED a robotic cleaner, or do I WANT one?

    I am very happy with Hayward Tiger Shark robotic.
    In-ground gunnite, 24k gal., Hayward DE filter, bleach, borate, Hayward Tiger Shark robotic cleaner, 75% full sun

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    IrwinK's Avatar
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    Re: Do I NEED a robotic cleaner, or do I WANT one?

    I'm thinking of buying the Doheny Discovery. It's the Dolphin s200 but cheaper.
    Waiting for more reviews.
    My 2016 Build 14'x19'x35' IG Gunite 15K Gal. Roman, 4'-5' deep, 6 returns, 3 sheers
    4 deck jets, 2 Pentair XF22005 Pumps, Clean&Clear 200 Cartridge Filter, Brick Coping
    2 Pentair 5g 12v LED Pool Lights, 1 Pentair 12v Globrite LED in step area, 2 Bubblers
    Inline Chlorinator - SWG later, WetEdge Mediterranean Pebble, Intermatic MultiWave
    43'x33' Screened Paver Deck&15'x30' Lanai, Doheny Discovery (S200) Robot, TF-100

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