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Thread: Best Automatic Pool Cleaner w/Booster <$600

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    Best Automatic Pool Cleaner w/Booster <$600

    Whats the best pool cleaner that is less than $800 and works on separate booster pump.
    This is the short list I have that seem like the top ones.

    1. Letro/Pentair Legend
    2. Polaris 280 (or 380)
    3. Hayward Phantom Turbo
    4. The Pool Cleaner

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    In the Industry

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    Polaris 180 or 380. Just personal preference from working on them. I've found the 180 to be the most reliable.

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    Guest
    180 or Letro. Stay away from the Hayward.

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    Around these parts it seems that every pool I see has some kind of Polaris installed. I've only seen the other brands in the pool store. We have a 280 that cleans like there's no tomorrow, but the booster is a 1.5 HP instead of the normal 3/4 HP. I suppose that might make a difference in performance. We have live oak trees that drop a LOT of stuff into the pool and the Polaris vacuums it all right up. It also picks up 1.5-inch gravel and toy diving sticks that the kids leave in the pool without any problem. We use the fine mesh bag so sand, pollen, and the granules left behind after shocking all get trapped. The standard leaf bag will let the small stuff pass right though.

    Like just about anything pool-related, parts are stupidly expensive. I've found better prices online and buy Polaris parts from an eBay seller named perryspoolpump.
    26,000 Gallon Gunnite IGP
    2 HP Challenger High Head Pump
    60sf Nautilus DE filter
    Polaris 280

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    Quote Originally Posted by waterbear
    180 or Letro. Stay away from the Hayward.
    I would have to say ditto to this.

    My Hayward was a royal PITA. I just bought the Polaris 280 (using my old booster pump) and with a couple install/setup tweaks it is already running circles around the Hayward.
    15,500 gal, inground gunite pool with 7 ft spa, 2 speed pump 2hp/.33hp, 3/4 hp booster pump, Intermatic P1353 timer, AutoPilot SC-48, Sand filter with ZeoBest, Heater, that I never use . . .

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    SeanB's Avatar
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    I'm a big fan of the Polaris 280 - few moving parts to replace and when you do need to spare parts are plentiful. It also does a great job.
    TFP Founder

    My Pool: 13K gal IG gunite with 7' spa, Pentair Cartridge Filter, Intellichlor IC40 SWG, Polaris 280 Cleaner, TF-100 Test Kit w/ salt test.

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    Yeh, I was sold on the 280 and then Muddy Water posted me about the Legend. Apparantly its just a copy of the Polaris. However it seems to have all the advantages of the Polaris with a few extra. It has 4 wheels instead of 3 which helps it to climb over steps with less likely of getting stuck and falling on its side. It has the same wide throat as the 280 but actually has a few inches more on either side so it can gobble up bigger things. The salesperson who sells both says they are more reliable and the parts seem to last longer and are cheaper as well. And, then it seems to be $50 to $100 cheaper for the whole thing.

    It looks dated and old fashioned though compared to the Polaris styling....thats one of its negative.

    I was told the problems with the Hayward Phantom have all been solved now in the newest version? No?

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    SeanB's Avatar
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    I don't have any direct experience with the Letro. Like you, I have heard good things. My only experience is that one of my neighbors has one and their pool went in a couple months after ours. Before the first season was over, it looked like it had been in use for several years, ran slow and did not pick up much. That's a pretty isolated example though. If waterbear likes them, that's probably a pretty good indication of reliability since he works in the swimming pool dept.
    TFP Founder

    My Pool: 13K gal IG gunite with 7' spa, Pentair Cartridge Filter, Intellichlor IC40 SWG, Polaris 280 Cleaner, TF-100 Test Kit w/ salt test.

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    "180 or Letro. Stay away from the Hayward."

    ditto. I had the 280 in the past and it is a VERY GOOD unit. Had the Hayward Phantom and hated it. Currently have and love the Aquabot T2, but it is not in the indicated price range. Again, the Polaris, in my opinion is a very good unit.

    Mister Mister
    IG 18 x 36 Vinyl
    30,000 Gallons
    AutoPilot SWG
    Aquabot T2
    Hayward S244 Sand Filter
    Hayward 1hp RS1000 Pump
    ------------------
    Leisure Bay Spa - Flores - 500 Gallons
    AutoPilot SpaPilot - Not Yet Installed

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    Who has the Legend? Anyone?

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    barco,

    I'm starting my pool build now so I can't comment from experience, however, I have done a lot of research about equipment and intend to get the 280.

    My choice was based on the fact that tons of people have the 280 and not one has said anything negative about it. The closest thing that has been negative is that it may not be as good as some other cleaners but those other cleaners tend to be robotic cleaners that have had some negative things said about them. I think the 280 may not be the absolute best but I think it offers the best value. If money were no object I would be buying a robot and not worrying about the questionable reliability.

    Good luck with your choice
    11000 Gals, Intelliflo, Sta-Rite Cartridge, Polaris 360

    Pool I built in my old house: my-new-pool-build-t4534.html

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    Guest
    They have fiixed many of the issues with the Phantom but in reality it just doesnt clean as well as some other pressure side cleaners out there.

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    midtngal's Avatar
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    Well, I was *supposed* to get a Letro with my package, but have never received it. I believe that will be the best way to go when I do eventually get my cleaner. I had thought maybe the Polaris just because of name recognition but since the Letro is what was originally planned for, I think I'll stay that route. I'm giving my PB some time to do the right thing before I go buy one.
    10,700 gal IG vinyl
    Pentair Triton II TR50 sand filter
    Hayward SharkVac XL cleaner; Emerson 1HP pump
    Bioguard Mineral Springs SWG
    2 skimmers

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    I have the Letro Legend and it works great in our pool!! Only Problem...the pentair cleaner on the end of the tail only lasted a month or so and I replaced it with a polaris one because thats what the pool store had and its lasted 5+ months.
    But again the Legend works great!!
    Harry
    Trilogy "Fiberglass" Pool,
    15x34 8900 gal.
    Pentair 1hp Super-Flo Pump
    Pentair CC100 Cartridge Filter, Pentair "Legend" Cleaner

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    billyjoeraybob's Avatar
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    I just love my 280. We have affectionately named him "Mikey" because he will eat anything! Rocks, pine cones, leaves, diving sticks. swim goggles, frogs, pine straw, sand, sand, and many other unidentified objects. Basically if it will fit through the suction hole Mikey will eat it. Another great thing is the backup device on the hose. On the rare occaision he gets stuck, within a matter of minutes this device pulls him back and gets him going again. I use the sand bag because the area of SC I live in is called the sand hills and for good reason. This was definitely the best money I ever spent. If Mikey gets sick he will get repaired immediately. If he dies he will be replaced.
    Bill
    18' x 36' Freeform IG Gunite with 7' spa, Super Blue DiamondBrite, Pentair 1.5 hp circulation pump, Pentair 2.0 hp spa booster pump, Pentair Triton II Sand filter, Polaris 280 with booster pump, Pentair Intellichlor IC40 SWCG, Jandy Laars LX 250k btu NG heater, TF-100 test kit from http://www.tftestkits.com/

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    I replaced my venerable 20+ year old 180 Polaris with a Legend about 2 years ago. So far it works better than the 180...bigger throat, better bag design.

    The only part to go other than wear items was the backup valve a couple weeks ago. I haven't had time to look at it...I just threw the old 180 valve on and it's working fine for now.
    21' Leslies Beachland Ag Pool, 10,000 gallons, professionally installed (best money I ever spent) Hayward 16" sand filter w/Pentair two speed pump Fafco 4x20 solar heater,Aqua Trol RJ. Borates added. Hard plumbed.

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    el duderino's Avatar
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    Re: Best Automatic Pool Cleaner w/Booster <$600

    thought I might attempt to revitalize this thread a bit. We're in the same boat here, looking for a good pressure side cleaner. I had a 280 in my last pool and liked it. It is a parts hog, that's for sure, but works well.

    I'm also considering the Letro and my PB seems to like the Phantom (when it's working....which scares me). He said he tried The Pool Cleaner, but had some issues with it and was never able to connect with customer service. That goes against some other reviews I've read on POOLVERGNUEGEN. My own attempts to get some info from them have gone unanswered as well, so I'm probably going to remove that from the short list.

    The other cleaner I'm curious about is the Baracuda Mars HP. Looks interesting, but haven't heard much about them.

    Is there anything "new" on the market in this space? I find it hard to believe that there isn't more innovation at this price point.
    Our pool- (Completed March 2009)
    20k gallons, 38x15 Free Form Gunite (3.5'-8'), 26' Negative Edge and 7' Negative Edge spa with blower, Midnight Blue Diamondbrite, AquaLogic PS-8 control, Goldline Salt Chlorine Generator, 2x1.5hp Pentair 2 speed pumps, Pentair DE Filter, Pentair 400k BTU Heater, and BlackMaxPolaris 280 w/ Hayward booster pump, Pentair Prowler 920, DIY Stenner Chlorinator

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    Re: Best Automatic Pool Cleaner w/Booster <$600

    Quote Originally Posted by el duderino
    thought I might attempt to revitalize this thread a bit. We're in the same boat here, looking for a good pressure side cleaner. I had a 280 in my last pool and liked it. It is a parts hog, that's for sure, but works well.

    I'm also considering the Letro and my PB seems to like the Phantom (when it's working....which scares me). He said he tried The Pool Cleaner, but had some issues with it and was never able to connect with customer service. That goes against some other reviews I've read on POOLVERGNUEGEN. My own attempts to get some info from them have gone unanswered as well, so I'm probably going to remove that from the short list.

    The other cleaner I'm curious about is the Baracuda Mars HP. Looks interesting, but haven't heard much about them.

    Is there anything "new" on the market in this space? I find it hard to believe that there isn't more innovation at this price point.

    I think the Mars is discontinued. It was a good simple cleaner but I would still take a Letro or Polaris 180/280 over it.

    Polaris is introducing a new line of cleaners at the end of the month but I don't know if they are pressure side or not.

    I would avoid any new pool cleaner designs for at least the first couple years they are out. Many new designs tend to have issues that get resolved 2-3 years into production....or they just turn out to be bad designs (380, anyone?).
    21' Leslies Beachland Ag Pool, 10,000 gallons, professionally installed (best money I ever spent) Hayward 16" sand filter w/Pentair two speed pump Fafco 4x20 solar heater,Aqua Trol RJ. Borates added. Hard plumbed.

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    spishex's Avatar
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    Re: Best Automatic Pool Cleaner w/Booster <$600

    I'm a fan of the 380, but that's mostly from familiarity which isn't necessarily a good thing coming from a service guy.

    The Letro I find to be ok.

    The Mars I can't stand. For one, the customers that have it never empty the thing because you can't see the collection basket. For two, it's very difficult to adjust its path and is very very sensitive to hose and float adjustments.

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    el duderino's Avatar
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    Re: Best Automatic Pool Cleaner w/Booster <$600

    What about this guy?


    polaris 3900 sport
    Our pool- (Completed March 2009)
    20k gallons, 38x15 Free Form Gunite (3.5'-8'), 26' Negative Edge and 7' Negative Edge spa with blower, Midnight Blue Diamondbrite, AquaLogic PS-8 control, Goldline Salt Chlorine Generator, 2x1.5hp Pentair 2 speed pumps, Pentair DE Filter, Pentair 400k BTU Heater, and BlackMaxPolaris 280 w/ Hayward booster pump, Pentair Prowler 920, DIY Stenner Chlorinator

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