Become a TFP Supporter Pool Math Forum Rules Pool School
Results 1 to 10 of 10

Thread: My experience with pool robots and a new robot purchase

  1. Back To Top    #1

    My experience with pool robots and a new robot purchase

    I just completed my research into buying a new robot cleaner for my 15k gallon 36 x 15 fiberglass pool with SWG. My pool has 2 seat areas, steps, and a ledge that runs the perimeter of the deep end. A challenge for robots certainly. I also have many leaves, acorns and a good bit of silt. So i put a lot of time into searching for the best robot for my needs. I wanted to buy from a local store for ease of service(although i have bought 2 previous robots online). I really wanted a robot that could hold a large amount of debris as well as filter fine particles and not get stuck on the steps/seats. I did not consider the 4 wheeled robots (like the Polaris P955 or the Aquabot Rapids 4WD) as I do not think that design is good for complicated pools from what I can tell.

    I really appreciate all the great info & experience on this site so figured i would share what I learned through the process. It can be difficult to find info on pool robots (especially the newer models) and since I have now owned 3 different brands, I thought I would share my experiences.

    I ended up buying the Maytronics Active 30i (aka S300i) from a local store in the Greenville, SC area, Upward Pool Supply. I decided on this model because of the large topload basket that incorporates a set of fine particle filters around the basket(you dont have to change out filters or cartridges), latest/newest design, 60 ft cord, ease of cleaning the debris basket, local service center, lightweight/smaller size(hoping this allows it to get seats/steps better), and a bluetooth app for remote control/programming. Also, several dealers I talked with both locally and over the phone have had very positive experiences so far. Apparently Maytronics is selling a lot of these S series/Active Series robots. The cons for this particular model IMHO are : shorter warranty ( 2 year bumper to bumper warranty), no 3rd brush on the bottom of the robot, unknown long term reliability and no anti swivel cord device included. Regarding reliability; one dealer said last year they encountered frequent issues with the power supply, but the issue seems to be fixed. Otherwise, dealers have sold many of these S series/Active series models and are not seeing returns or frequent mechanical issues currently.
    I havent had the Active 30i long enough to review it but will keep you posted. First impression is good though. Also, a small point, but I really like the caddy. Its sturdy and well balanced with the power supply mounted at the top. Other caddies I have had were flimsy and poorly designed.

    I demo'd 2 other robots before I purchased this one. Here are my impressions:
    1. Polaris P825 (exclusive to Leslie Pool Supply): Decent robot with few bells & whistles. Top loading large debris basket very easy to clean & remove. A very good design and feature. Only has a 50 ft cord and no anti swivel device. Cleaned my pool well, similar to my Blue Diamond, except the basket does not catch any fine particles and there is no fine particle option to purchase. So after a few hours all the silt just settled back on the bottom of the pool effectively meaning the P825 just stirred things up. If there was a 2 micron basket or fine filter insert I probably would have kept it. Not sure who actually manufactures this machine so reliability & parts would be unknown as well.

    2. Maytronics Dolphin M400: Excellent machine and I probably could have been happy with this one. Has all the great features (except does not have an included remote) including top loading cartridge filters that are very easy to remove and clean. It comes with 2 sets of cartridges - one set for fine particles and one for large debris. I was worried they may not be big enough for leaves, etc but I think they are plenty big and hold a lot of leaves as well as did a good job on the fine silt with the proper cartridges in place. It also has a 3rd brush on the bottom for extra scrubbing and has a 3 yr bumper to bumper warranty. Every dealer locally said they have had very few issues with this robot and recommend it highly. Actually was slightly cheaper than the Active 30i and the only reason I didnt buy the M400 is it did not even touch my steps, seat or deep end ledge. However, I usually have to brush them off anyway. So if for some reason my new Active 30i is a bust I will buy the M400 with no regrets.

    Things I learned along the way:
    1. Aquabot Elite/ Aquabot Rapids 1500/ Aquabot Rapids 2000: These robots look well designed and have every feature I want. 3 yr warranty, very large top loading fine 2 micron filters, 3rd underneath vibrating brush, anti swivel 60 ft cord,etc. Was going to purchase an Elite at but after I talked with a large Aquabot Service center/dealer i was hesitant. Although Aquabot branded, they are made by Aquatron in Israel and parts are going to be very problematic unless a lot of units get sold. Most dealers wont even sell them yet because they are unsure of how these units are going to perform. There are NO reviews that I could find (there is 1 YouTube video but is more descriptive than review worthy)and I have not been very inspired by my Blue Diamond robot (made by Aquatron). Also, I have no local options for Aquabot service so I was reluctant to take the chance on such a new product. They may prove to be awesome though, time will tell.

    2. It seems like the bottom loading robot pool cleaners are being edged out in nearly every brand. I have used bottom loaders with filter bags for several years and can say these top cartridge/top basket features really are better and much more convenient. For Maytronics the M200/M400/M500 all have top loading cartridges and essentially all that I saw at local stores. I wonder if we will see the prices drop on the bottom loaders over time which would possibly make robot pool cleaners more popular. The best bottom loaders IMHO are Dolphin DX5+S, Dolphin Triton Plus, Dolphin Premier, Aquabot Turbo Series, and possibly Blue Diamond. The Dolphins have the advantage of being able to use bag filters or bottom load filter panels while the others are filter bag only. These bottom loaders are essentially the same price as the newer models so I dont see a reason why I would buy one over the top load models.

    3. Aquabot Turbo T (now discontinued) : owned this for several years(bought online at and it cleaned my pool amazingly, even the steps, seats, and ledge. I think the secret is the water jets on the bottom of the robot that continually jet flush water underneath the robot to stir up debris. I never minded cleaning the filter bags & even bought some disposable ones. But now seeing the newer topload alternatives I have been converted. After 4 years my Turbo T had so many repairs that I gave up. I. I was able to do a lot of the repairs myself, even replaced a pump. But that got too pricey. So, while I am partial to the Aquabot brand I heard too many mixed reviews on the reliability of the Aquabot Turbo T2 & T4 to pull the trigger and they remain in the $1200-$1500 range even after all these years. With no local Aquabot resources I decided to try a new brand this time.

    4. Watertech Blue Diamond (Manufactured by Aquatron): Bought this 3 years ago from due to a reputation for reliability, long 4 year warranty, fast cleaning (covers my whole pool in less than 2 hours), similar design to Aquabot except for the water jets, good reviews, and excellent price $800. It does a good job cleaning but not nearly as good as my old Aquabot Turbo T. If my pool were simpler I think it would be great. But...after its 2nd season it stopped working. Simple parts like tracks, brushes & propellers are more difficult to find and not interchangeable with Aquabot parts usually. Im fairly handy but was unable to diagnose anything simple so had to send it off for repair. Likely it will be out of service for a month or more and shipping was $40. I will say that Watertech Customer Service has been very helpful but hard to contact. Usually have to wait a day or so for them to call me back.

    5. I love pool robots and I think they are incredibly convenient and effective. I dont have the time to manually vacuum my pool nor the money to pay a maintenance company. When they are working they are great, when they break they are a pain to fix. It seems that most robots will need some service & maintenance no matter what the brand. Replacing simple parts like brushes, tracks, propellers is easy and there are many youtube videos to assist you. Dont let that scare you off.

    6. So what's the best robot??? Im not sure there is one honestly. If you have a rectangular pool with a couple of steps you will probably be happy with many of them. After all my research Imho the best of the best would be: Dolphin M400 & M500, Maytronics S-Series /Active Series, Aquabot Turbo T2& T4, Dolphin Triton Plus/DX5S/DX6/Premier(there are many in this Dolphin line up with each having a few subtle differences and many different names- read the Truth About Pool Cleaners article at And Im excited to see how the new Aquabots (Elite, Rapids 1500/2000) shape up because they actually have more features than the ones listed, but just too new to know anything yet. One caveat, I did not look into or research the 4wheel drive robots like the Polaris P955/P9550 or the Aquabot Rapids 4WD which are both quite popular.

    And lastly, I really wish the pool robot manufacturers would take a lesson from computer companies. Computers are priced low enough so that when it breaks, most people dont fix em, they replace them. If there were really good $500 Dolphins or Aquabots that lasted several years, then we wouldnt have to purchase a $500 replacement pump using mail in service, but could simply replace it with the newest model.

    So that's my 2 cents worth. I talked to many a professional and several techs at Maytronics & Aquaproducts to form my opinions. But you know what they say about opinions....
    Sorry for the long post, but I think this will now bring a close to my latest obsession.

  2. Back To Top    #2

    TFP Guide
    needsajet's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Sydney, NSW, Australia

    Re: My experience with pool robots and a new robot purchase

    Great post! Thanks for that. And Welcome to TFP!
    12k IG salt; glass beads in plaster; K-2006C, K-1766 Salt, CCL, and Aussie 4in1 (HTH); Pentair Eco800 VS; Zodiac SWC 1.3 lb/day (25 g/hr); 25" filter recycled glass; OKU solar panels; 1/2 HP solar pump; Pentair Rebel pool cleaner; FlowViz flow meter; prior pool AG 10k - Be Safe - FC / CYA Chart - Become a TFP Supporter - Read Before Posting

  3. Back To Top    #3

    TFP Guide
    YippeeSkippy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    'burbs of Augusta, Georgia

    Re: My experience with pool robots and a new robot purchase

    Oh my goodness- this is *exactly* what I've been looking for!! Skippy and I too have a fiberglass pool with the ledge and steps and I've wondered if one of the newer robots could do the brushing on the walls and climb the ledge and steps?

    Please keep us informed on your robot's performance.


    12K Fiberglass IG, Infinity 4000 automatic cover, SWCG, Hayward Sand Filter, Hayward 1.5 Pump, Savi Melody LED pool lights, outdoor speakers and other assorted doo-dads. Sundance Altamar Hot Tub. Our pool build--> Our Pool Solved Our Sloping Yard Skippy's Cheap Pool Cooler -->Skippy's New Fountain
    CLICK HERE to Become a Supporter

  4. Back To Top    #4
    AnAltruist's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
    Near Toledo, Ohio

    Re: My experience with pool robots and a new robot purchase

    Thanks for taking the time to post this. You've completed the process I am just starting. My drawback is that there are no companies very close to me where I could demo a unit (closest is 30 miles). From a brand perspective, I landed on Dolphin fairly early as many people seem happy with them.

    I originally thought I would get an Oasis Z5/Triton Plus but I keep seeing reviews about the Triton getting stuck on the bottom drain. I like that the Z5 has a 36 month warranty and includes the caddy.

    I also am looking at the Supreme M400/M500. With the size of our pool I'm sure the 2.5+ hour cycles will be the default. Still has the warranty and even has the third brush. I have a swim out and wedding cake steps. I'm not sure how big a deal it is to just scrub them up a bit if the cleaner doesn't take care of those. The Ms have a higher gal/hr rating. This is the model that is 30 miles away. Next closest is 50 miles and they carry both the Active and M series.

    Then there's the S300i/Active 30i. Lower warranty but "new and improved." Many people seem really happy with this too. I've seen more than one report of this being smart enough to work its way off the drain if it gets stuck.

    I do get a lot of fine sediment at my pool bottom. Not a lot of huge leaves around me (lots of tiny leaves from bushes but so far they don't seem to get into the pool in large quantities).

    No matter what I want to be sure I'm getting a caddy.

    So here I am trying to get to where you are: making a decision and just using the robot instead of researching it a lot.

    I'm curious if you felt the M400 was easier to clean than the the Active 30i or the other way around? I think the 30i basket might be the better way to go since it has more capacity. Even if I don't have a lot of junk in the pool I might be better served just because of the gallons it's covering even though the Ms have the higher gal/hr rating.

    I'd still rather order without going anywhere even if it is over the phone and paying for shipping.

    Again, thanks for such a quality post.
    34K gallon 40x20 Gunite IG, Sta-Rite Cristal-Flo sand filter, Hayward H Series heater, Hayward SP2602VSP variable pump,
    Sani-King Perform-Max sanitizer (empty), Taylor K-2006 test kit, TFTestkit pressure gauge, Dolphin S300i (Wall-E).

  5. Back To Top    #5

    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Long Beach, CA

    Re: My experience with pool robots and a new robot purchase

    Thanks for the report!

    I've kept an eye on this section for the last year and settled on the s300i a few weeks ago and so far it is awesome.
    16k gal plaster with raised spa, Jandy DEV60 filter, 2 HP 2-speed SHPF Jandy Stealth pump
    Hayward Aqua Rite T-15 SWCG, Jandy LXi 400k BTU NG heater, 350 sq.ft. of Sun Star solar panels, TF-100 Test Kit, Dolphin s300i Cleaner
    Test Kits . Pool Math . Chlorine/CYA Chart . The SLAM Process

  6. Back To Top    #6
    Mod Squad kimkats's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Tallahassee, FL

    Re: My experience with pool robots and a new robot purchase

    What an awesome write up.........AnAltruist I was going to come "find" you to tell you about this post and here you are!

    TFP Moderator 33x52 round AG 25,600 gals Sand Filter 1.5hp Pump - 2 Speed, SLAM, Pool School, Recommended Levels, Recommended Chemicals, Pool Math, Chlorine/CYA Chart, TF-100 Test Kit, Become a TFP supporter!

  7. Back To Top    #7
    ned8377's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Wake Forest, NC

    Re: My experience with pool robots and a new robot purchase

    Just thought someone might be able to comment on these two.

    Hayward Aquavac 500
    True L 45,000 gal Hayward vinyl pool. Hayward Tristar 2.40 THP; 1.5 FRHP/1.60 SF. Hayward Model # S244T Sand Filter. Aqua Rite T-15. Aqua Comfort 154,000 BTU Heat Pump.

  8. Back To Top    #8

    Re: My experience with pool robots and a new robot purchase

    So after a whole 2 days as an owner of an Active 30i (currently dubbed Flipper at my house) here are my thoughts:
    1. I really like it overall. I think it cleans the pool a little better than the M400 that I demo'd but not as good as my old Aquabot Turbo T. It cleans nearly everything except my top step and a few spots at the corners of my ledge that runs in the deep end. I did a little spot cleaning with my Pool Blaster handheld vacuum and that is all that was required. I think when I put the Active 30i in the pool next time I will just quickly brush off the steps & seat and that will be it. The combo of the Active 30i with the Watertech Pool Blaster vacuum I think is about as convenient as pool cleaning gets
    2. VERY easy to clean. The M400 is easier to clean than a bottom loading filter bag but you have to take the filter panels off, which is certainly not a big deal. However, the Active 30i is incredibly simple. I pull the basket out, rinse with a hose, & put the basket back in. Easy peasy. To me, this is not a huge difference between the M400 & the Active 30i but without a doubt the top load basket design is a better design. Also looks like it will be easy to pop out the fine filter panels when needed but I dont think that I will have to do this routinely.
    3. It gets the fine silt stuff really well. Very happy with that
    4. It doesnt spill dirty water back into pool when taking it out of the pool. Every other robot I have used does this including the M400. The pool store guy said that shouldnt happen with the M400 if you tilt it the right way when removing it. Not really sure what this means.
    5. Love the caddy
    6. Surprisingly found the Bluetooth App helpful & easy to use. I didnt really care about a remote when I was shopping but I can see how it might be helpful now. This morning the pool was very clean from yesterdays robot cleaning except for some dirt in the deep end. I was able to use my iphone to quickly direct Flipper to the spot instead of doing a complete cycle. Was able to direct it to the seats & steps without much difficulty. A bit of lag with the app but it was easy to anticipate.
    7. Has not gotten stuck yet. One time saw it standing straight up and wasnt moving. It righted itself without assistance
    8. The app lets you schedule days of the week and times to clean. Very nice. It also has an Ultra clean mode on the app which slows it down & increases suction.

    The negatives:
    1. It should have an anti swivel device. Not sure why they didnt include that on their top model. Maybe this will improve as the cord stretches out, but for now it looks prone to cord twists/tangles
    2. After you remove the basket there is some dirt & silt inside the bottom of the robot. Doesnt affect anything but I can see that I might have to rinse out the inside of the robot at times
    3. Only a 2 year warranty but obviously I knew that ahead of time
    4. When removing the filter basket its easy to hit the bottom latch & open the basket inadvertently. If not careful you might spill the basket contents onto the pool deck

    Overall, Im really happy with it. Also, its so light & easy to clean that my "poolboy" (my 12 year old daughter) can handle it much better than other robots I have had.

  9. Back To Top    #9

    Re: My experience with pool robots and a new robot purchase

    One more thought : If a remote control is an important feature to you, I think the M400 and M500 have a significant advantage over the Active/S series. The M400/M500 have the split brush dual drive configuration. They can make 90 degree turns because of this which I would think would make a big difference with a remote. My Active 30i makes turns by backing up & then re-directing its path

  10. Back To Top    #10
    AnAltruist's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
    Near Toledo, Ohio

    Re: My experience with pool robots and a new robot purchase

    I think this is enough information to push me to the Active/S series. While I will miss the extra year warranty, my credit card will bring it to 3 years anyway. The easier basket cleaning and the lack of dirty water spills are a plus. I also didn't put any weight on remote control so whatever I get will probably be fine. Dolphin seems adamant that their new logic doesn't require a swivel anymore.

    Now I just have to decide if I'm driving 50 miles to get one or find a friendly store that will accept a phone order. Someone in a different thread mentioned a store in Atlanta that shipped the S300i after an over-the-phone order that wasn't supposed to void the warranty.

    (Thanks, Kim, for thinking about me.)
    34K gallon 40x20 Gunite IG, Sta-Rite Cristal-Flo sand filter, Hayward H Series heater, Hayward SP2602VSP variable pump,
    Sani-King Perform-Max sanitizer (empty), Taylor K-2006 test kit, TFTestkit pressure gauge, Dolphin S300i (Wall-E).

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts