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Thread: Talk me into the best robotic cleaner

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    Talk me into the best robotic cleaner

    I have lots of trees around unset acorns rain into the pool throughout early summer and now the Katydids & caterpillars doodoo on a daily basis. Pine needles and a few leaves after every thunderstorm. I've always manually vacuumed every day or two depending on the severity of debris load for ten years now

    Have a Barracuda G3 (suction cleaner) that I purchased ~4yrs ago and abandoned after I fixed what ended up being kink in my skimmer return piping(spa flex hose)
    Way to much suction after fixing the kink, and my main drain is plugged from a leak ~8yrs ago.

    The G3 never really met my expectations anyways - kind of danced around in the same loop over and over...and my Lab growled &barked at it the whole time it ran

    Browsed through some threads but what this place needs is a "Ratings and Reviews" on cleaners.

    Open to all manufacturers and price ranges, please list time of ownership and approximate parts/repair if you've had to
    30k in ground vinyl lined pool surrounded by decking in the woods.
    Hayward sand filter circa mid 80's
    If there is a way to do things less expensively and yield a superior product I am all ears

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    mas985's Avatar
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    Re: Talk me into the best robotic cleaner

    I have been looking at this series:

    Leslie's Internet Models - Maytronics US, Inc

    The DX3s is pretty reasonably priced for a robot:
    Dolphin DX3S Robotic Pool Cleaner with IntelliScan Technology

    The Dolphin DX3S Robotic Pool Cleaner utilizes all the features you love at an affordable price! Equipped with IntelliScan Technology, the DX3S smartly analyzes your pool's coverage and filter needs to clean your pool as efficiently as possible.


    About the Dolphin DX3S
    The DX3S is a feature rich robotic pool cleaner, without breaking the bank. While the DX3S is able to clean floors, walls, and coves, what separates it from the pack is under the hood. Equipped with IntelliScan Technology, the DX3S smartly analyzes your pool's coverage and filter needs to clean your pool as efficiently as possible. Like all Dolphin robotics it features a patented swivel cable, and an industry leading dual level solid mesh filter system.

    Pool Cleaner Features
    IntelliScan Technology analyzes your pool surface to make cleaning as efficient as possible.
    3 hour cleaning duration.
    Swivel cable reduces knots, kinks, and tangles.
    Weekly timer schedules the DX3S to automatically clean your pool at your convenience!
    Quick-release dual level filter cartridge.
    Mark
    Hydraulics 101; Pump Ed 101; Pump/Pool Spreadsheets; Pump Run Time Study; DIY Acid Dosing; DIY Cover Roller
    18'x36' 20k plaster, MaxFlo SP2303VSP, Aqualogic PS8 SWCG, 420 sq-ft Cartridge, Solar, 6 jet spa, 1 HP jet pump, 400k BTU NG Heater

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    BobbyR's Avatar
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    Re: Talk me into the best robotic cleaner

    I have the Dolphin M4 and I highly recommend it. It works as advertised with no fuss. Just put it in the pool and turn it on. When it's done, haul (and I mean haul) it out, clean the filters and put back on its caddy till next time. Piece of cake.

    After 2 years the white foam "donut" wheels on each side of the brushes disintegrated and fell off. These were replaced under warranty which took a couple of months but the cleaner still worked without them (although it couldn't climb the walls very well). I blame this delay on the dealer though, not on Maytronics. He just forgot to place the order for the parts and he finally got on it.

    I know there are many store branded versions of various Dolphin models in the US but I would be careful when selecting one. Dumbed down models without the middle roller brush cost less but can get hung up on the main drain. You do not want a cleaner that gets hung up on the main drain.

    The M4 is a great cleaner.
    Lagoon 40x22, Vinyl, 27,000 gal, 1HP WhisperFlo Pump, Pentair 60 gpm Sand filter, Hayward Brominator (used for chlorine pucks only when away), Rheem gas heater, Dolphin M4 Robot
    Waterfall on separate dedicated pump

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    Re: Talk me into the best robotic cleaner

    I have the Dolphin m5 and it's also a great cleaner. It is a tad heavy to haul out of the pool, but other than that it's great.
    Marla
    No longer living vicariously through other people's pool builds. Pool build is complete on my IG SWCG pool, approx 10,000 gallons. All Jandy equipment - VS 1.5 hp pump, 580 cartridge filter, AquaPure 1400 salt cell, AquaLink PDA system. Dolphin m500. PebbleSheen Blue Surf with shells and beads added. TF-100 w/ SpeedStir. A Houston Pool Build Inside the Loop

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    BobbyR's Avatar
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    Re: Talk me into the best robotic cleaner

    The M5 is even better than the M4 but comes at a premium. Probably worth the extra money though.
    Lagoon 40x22, Vinyl, 27,000 gal, 1HP WhisperFlo Pump, Pentair 60 gpm Sand filter, Hayward Brominator (used for chlorine pucks only when away), Rheem gas heater, Dolphin M4 Robot
    Waterfall on separate dedicated pump

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    Re: Talk me into the best robotic cleaner

    I just got mine in May, so which is the newer version, m5 or m500? I can never keep it straight!
    Marla
    No longer living vicariously through other people's pool builds. Pool build is complete on my IG SWCG pool, approx 10,000 gallons. All Jandy equipment - VS 1.5 hp pump, 580 cartridge filter, AquaPure 1400 salt cell, AquaLink PDA system. Dolphin m500. PebbleSheen Blue Surf with shells and beads added. TF-100 w/ SpeedStir. A Houston Pool Build Inside the Loop

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    Re: Talk me into the best robotic cleaner

    I had an older DOlphin Diagnostic, which is the traditional handle-float design. Worked fine but a chore to clean. Now have an S300 which is improved in every way. Light weight; no complication of a handle, it uses fan-blown water as a thruster to maintain wall contact, climb and move sideways along the wall, and it's infinitely easier to clean.
    Geebot
    Chicago, IL
    30K gal, InGround Plaster Finish, 3.5'-9.5', Maytronics S300 Cleaner

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    Re: Talk me into the best robotic cleaner

    I guess the main concern with purchasing any model would be basket or filter capacity. It seems like the S300i has a top basket vs bottom cartridges on the M500?
    Dealers nearby are an hour in either direction other than my local store having Hayward tiger sharks- are they even in the same class as far as technology?
    30k in ground vinyl lined pool surrounded by decking in the woods.
    Hayward sand filter circa mid 80's
    If there is a way to do things less expensively and yield a superior product I am all ears

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    Re: Talk me into the best robotic cleaner

    Thanks for the ideas.
    I think I'm going with the tigershark QC as I have dealer support just up the road at the pool store and the owner told me they advise folks to bring them in prior to the 3yr warranty expiration to cover the bases and get it tuned up.
    I did a bunch of research and found a nice cross reference guide over at sunplay.com that clears up the confusion of all the rebranded Maytronics models for the dolphins,dohenys,aquabots etc.
    30k in ground vinyl lined pool surrounded by decking in the woods.
    Hayward sand filter circa mid 80's
    If there is a way to do things less expensively and yield a superior product I am all ears

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    mas985's Avatar
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    Re: Talk me into the best robotic cleaner

    No weekly timer.
    No swivel cord.


    Also, the cross reference at sunplay has several errors. Not all the models are completely identical. Many have subtle but sometimes very important differences.
    Mark
    Hydraulics 101; Pump Ed 101; Pump/Pool Spreadsheets; Pump Run Time Study; DIY Acid Dosing; DIY Cover Roller
    18'x36' 20k plaster, MaxFlo SP2303VSP, Aqualogic PS8 SWCG, 420 sq-ft Cartridge, Solar, 6 jet spa, 1 HP jet pump, 400k BTU NG Heater

  11. Back To Top    #11

    Re: Talk me into the best robotic cleaner

    Quote Originally Posted by mas985 View Post
    No weekly timer.
    No swivel cord.


    Also, the cross reference at sunplay has several errors. Not all the models are completely identical. Many have subtle but sometimes very important differences.
    A weekly timer on a robot is a solution in search of a problem. That's a feature with no practical purpose.
    Geebot
    Chicago, IL
    30K gal, InGround Plaster Finish, 3.5'-9.5', Maytronics S300 Cleaner

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    mas985's Avatar
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    Re: Talk me into the best robotic cleaner

    Quote Originally Posted by Geebot View Post
    A weekly timer on a robot is a solution in search of a problem. That's a feature with no practical purpose.
    I don't know about you but I would rather the cleaner run on it's own every day or two without me having to turn it on. Pretty much how my cleaner runs now.
    Mark
    Hydraulics 101; Pump Ed 101; Pump/Pool Spreadsheets; Pump Run Time Study; DIY Acid Dosing; DIY Cover Roller
    18'x36' 20k plaster, MaxFlo SP2303VSP, Aqualogic PS8 SWCG, 420 sq-ft Cartridge, Solar, 6 jet spa, 1 HP jet pump, 400k BTU NG Heater

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    Re: Talk me into the best robotic cleaner

    The added features of the programming seem neat but that's what I wondered about is it really needed?
    Is it safe to leave them in the water all the time or can you expect accelerated degradation from FC
    After watching some videos of people taking them out and putting them away I'd be halfway vacuumed but I leave the vac head and hose in the pool unless there is company.
    30k in ground vinyl lined pool surrounded by decking in the woods.
    Hayward sand filter circa mid 80's
    If there is a way to do things less expensively and yield a superior product I am all ears

  14. Back To Top    #14

    Re: Talk me into the best robotic cleaner

    Quote Originally Posted by basod View Post
    The added features of the programming seem neat but that's what I wondered about is it really needed?
    Is it safe to leave them in the water all the time or can you expect accelerated degradation from FC
    After watching some videos of people taking them out and putting them away I'd be halfway vacuumed but I leave the vac head and hose in the pool unless there is company.
    I wouldn't leave a $1,000 cleaner in the pool 24/7, nor would I leave the power supply outside unattended. They aren't designed to be left in and you can't simply accumulate several day's worth of cleaning in the basket, you lose efficiency as the filter gets more crud on it. The pump-driven cleaners need to be in longer because they don't have any intelligence and you don't automatically get full coverage in a 2-hour "cycle." As for being halfway vacuumed in the time it takes to take my robot out and clean it, it's about 2 minutes or less, so you must be really quick.
    Geebot
    Chicago, IL
    30K gal, InGround Plaster Finish, 3.5'-9.5', Maytronics S300 Cleaner

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    Re: Talk me into the best robotic cleaner

    As far as manual vac time I'm talking the setup and removal of the robot plus cleaning filters. Some people are probably a bit more concerned with stowing the cord straight so that adds a dimension to the breakdown process.
    As for the cord swivel seems like another nice feature but also adds a failure point because people are still straightening and retwisting cables every time they stow the machine. Seems like they'd have added a retractable cord spool with the swivel if it works so well.
    30k in ground vinyl lined pool surrounded by decking in the woods.
    Hayward sand filter circa mid 80's
    If there is a way to do things less expensively and yield a superior product I am all ears

  16. Back To Top    #16

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    Re: Talk me into the best robotic cleaner

    Geebot meant to ask about that S300 with the top basket - any issues with debris falling out of the robot when lifted out of the water? Seems like a complaint on a lot of other models
    30k in ground vinyl lined pool surrounded by decking in the woods.
    Hayward sand filter circa mid 80's
    If there is a way to do things less expensively and yield a superior product I am all ears

  17. Back To Top    #17
    smforte's Avatar
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    Re: Talk me into the best robotic cleaner

    I've had the Dolphin s300i for 2 months. I have tons of trees, Oaks and pines around my pool and struggled with having to manually vac all most daily. I have to say, I'm in love with this thing. I haven't manually vac'ed since I got it. It has a basket and does an amazing job picking up 99% of everything that falls in my pool in 2.5 hrs. When I take it out it doesn't leave anything behind unless I bang it on the side of the pool, then only a small amount. I don't leave my investment in the pool. It was 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!

  18. Back To Top    #18

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    Re: Talk me into the best robotic cleaner

    Thanks for the review smforte. Researching all these models seems some operator error/interference with run times and removal can cause bad reviews.
    I haven't been completely sold on any model some of the Maytronics high end units offer better features and that top basket on the s300i series seems like what I need.

    How often to you use the remote for spot cleanups?
    I have to say the Polaris remote with point and turn/drive has to be the coolest tech in a remote - but then again more stuff to break

    - - - Updated - - -

    typo
    30k in ground vinyl lined pool surrounded by decking in the woods.
    Hayward sand filter circa mid 80's
    If there is a way to do things less expensively and yield a superior product I am all ears

  19. Back To Top    #19

    Re: Talk me into the best robotic cleaner

    Quote Originally Posted by basod View Post
    As far as manual vac time I'm talking the setup and removal of the robot plus cleaning filters. Some people are probably a bit more concerned with stowing the cord straight so that adds a dimension to the breakdown process.
    I'm talking about the same thing. Have you seen the filter basket on the S-series? You can pull it out of the machine, dump the contents and rinse the filters in about 30 seconds. I have the caddy, so I pull the cleaner out of the pool, drop it into the caddy, disconnect the cord from the power supply and wind it onto the caddy and then pop open the filter cover, hose it off, replace it and done. That's a total of 2 minutes. I have manually vacuumed my pool many times in the past. It's a 30 minute process on a good day, and my pool is medium-sized.
    Geebot
    Chicago, IL
    30K gal, InGround Plaster Finish, 3.5'-9.5', Maytronics S300 Cleaner

  20. Back To Top    #20

    Re: Talk me into the best robotic cleaner

    Quote Originally Posted by basod View Post
    Geebot meant to ask about that S300 with the top basket - any issues with debris falling out of the robot when lifted out of the water? Seems like a complaint on a lot of other models
    The basket has an ingenious little valve at the bottom. It's a short fabric sleeve that attaches to the vacuum opening of the basket. It has two metal bars on top thet hold the free end together (not the best description). So it allows for debris to enter the bag, but once the suction stops the top clamps closed so nothing (other than water) will exit.
    Geebot
    Chicago, IL
    30K gal, InGround Plaster Finish, 3.5'-9.5', Maytronics S300 Cleaner

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