Best Pool Cleaner for Leaves

rumcglot

Silver Supporter
Feb 13, 2019
100
Texas
About a month ago, I got a Pentair Warrior to clean the pool. The pool had some leaves at that time, but I knew the worst was still to come with the Live Oaks doing their leaf-dump about now.

I put the cleaner in the pool, and it pretty much instantly clogged with leaves. I don't really feel like there were an extraordinary amount of leave at the time. But the cleaner didn't seem to be able to deal with them.

IMG_3625.JPG

I cleared the leaves and ran it a few times but it clogged every time. That robot doesn't seem capable of cleaning up leaves.

I wonder if I didn't get a dud overall. After a day of running it a few times, I couldn't get it to run at all. From the app, I could tell it was registering a impeller error. It would just go forward a bit, stop, and throw the impeller error. So I returned it.

What's everyone recommendation on a robot that can handle leaves?

Clearly, it needs to have a wide opening to the vacuum input. The warrior had this, sort of, cloth nozzle (sphincter?) that clogged easily. I also noticed that it would carry leaves through the impeller and let them get trapped on a grate at the exhaust. There wasn't any easy way to get them out of there so it took more that just emptying the basket to get it all clear again.

The best thing I have right now is my Polaris 360. It has a big mouth and sucks up leaves pretty well. The issue with it is that it is pressure side powered and really finicky. It has a screen filter at the connection to the side of the pool that clogs with little particles before it has filled the bag. It also spends half its time doing wheelies or just thrashing on its side. I was hoping that a robot would do the leaf cleaning without the downsides of being hooked to the plumbing. So the Polaris 360 on a robot chassis would be about perfect in my book. Anyone know of such a machine?
 

mknauss

Mod Squad
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May 3, 2014
44,313
Laughlin, NV
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Remove the fabric thing from the basket when you need to vac up leaves. You will lose some of the debris out of the basket when you remove it to clean it.
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
29,042
Northern NJ
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rumcglot

Silver Supporter
Feb 13, 2019
100
Texas
Remove the fabric thing from the basket when you need to vac up leaves. You will lose some of the debris out of the basket when you remove it to clean it.
I tried that, and it still didn't work. Makes me think even more that the one I had wasn't functioning right.

@ajw22 thanks for the suggestion, but the Quattro Sport is still a pressure-side cleaner like the one I have. Except it would need me to plumb in a booster pump. I guess the four wheels would keep it from falling over, though. Seriously, why didn't they make that an electric robot?
 

mknauss

Mod Squad
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May 3, 2014
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I tried that, and it still didn't work. Makes me think even more that the one I had wasn't functioning right.
Sorry to hear. Others with those leaves finds it works great.
Take care.
 
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Auburn02

Well-known member
Oct 8, 2019
265
Mobile, AL
First year with our pool but having 10 live oaks in my yard (took 3 down to add the pool) and a couple more just over the fence this was a huge concern of mine. So far my Dolphin (s300i) is doing a great job picking up every last leaf when I run it, and I haven’t modified it in any way to include the fabric/mesh flap still being in place.
 
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JJ_Tex

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Jul 17, 2019
2,536
Prosper, TX (DFW)
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I removed the fabric thing on mine based on this tread and it fills up in about 10 minutes from all of the leaves. I would check your impeller on the robot to make sure it is not clogged. I have to clean mine out about once a month in the summer, with usually multiple kid hair strands wrapped around the impeller.

I'll also piggy back on your post. I like my robot, but dang we have a lot of leaves right now and the robot basket will only hold a fraction of what is in the pool. I bet I ran it and emptied it 5-10 times yesterday and you cant even tell I ran it. Is there a better option? I could try just netting them out, but wondering if a manual vacuum would be better (ideally one that doesnt bypass my skimmer basket). Any thoughts?
 

rumcglot

Silver Supporter
Feb 13, 2019
100
Texas
Thanks for the replies!

my Dolphin (s300i) is doing a great job picking up every last leaf when I run it, and I haven’t modified it in any way to include the fabric/mesh flap still being in place.

You aren't having leaves going through the impeller and blocking the exhaust? The blue grate here. Besides leaves jamming the inflow, some would go around and end up here— blocking the outflow. Those were hard to remove because that grate is at the end of a long tube.

View attachment 314402


I'll also piggy back on your post. I like my robot, but dang we have a lot of leaves right now and the robot basket will only hold a fraction of what is in the pool. I bet I ran it and emptied it 5-10 times yesterday and you cant even tell I ran it. Is there a better option? I could try just netting them out, but wondering if a manual vacuum would be better (ideally one that doesnt bypass my skimmer basket). Any thoughts?

I have one of these Poolmaster leaf vacuums that works pretty well at getting a lot of leaves into a bag at once.
 
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Auburn02

Well-known member
Oct 8, 2019
265
Mobile, AL
I'm not seeing your picture but I'm familiar with the blue grates, every now and then I see a single leaf in the fins but I can always just pluck it out. I've never seen one of these dissected but honestly I'm not sure how the leaves would get to the impeller in the first place, logic dictates they would have to bypass the filters entirely to do so.
 

Wizard19

Member
Mar 22, 2011
19
Austin, TX
You might want to try...

This appears to be what I am looking for. Looks like they are only available thru Leslies now. Anyone know when "Polaris Days" occur for a discount? Our Kreepy Krauly is on its last days and not really picking much up any longer.
3/22/21 ETA: Went up to Leslie's today and they do have the Quattro Sport P40 in stock. $150 rebate ends tomorrow, but $200 rebate starts on the day after on March 15. Looks like a decent solution for a side pressure cleaner if you don't want the external power cord that comes with the robotic cleaners. It won't have the logic that most of the robotic cleaners have to map the pool floor for more thorough cleaning.
the "F4TR" model was only available to trade and was/is blue (not sure if it is available any longer). The "P40" is white and I believe only available thru Leslies.
 
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dianedebuda

Gold Supporter
Jan 2, 2018
558
Austin TX
Pool Size
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@rumcglot: My filter basket clog looked exactly like that, but removing the fabric (as suggested to me by mknauss) took care of the problem in my case. Since live oak leaf-drop is a limited time event, I did opt to manually scoop the worst of the submerged leaves before running the robot - took about 15 min daily. I hadn't put my pool equip back together since the freeze, so no operational skimmer then. Now that molting season is over, the fabric is back in. Wonder if the Warrier would take care of your leaves during the rest of the year and you'd only have a problem during the leaf-drop period...

I did put on a leaf net over the solar cover for the winter and that took care of 98% of the leaves then. Maybe that would work for you during leaf-drops. I took them off just to evaluate a pool leak; probably should have left them on another couple of weeks and would have avoided the problem altogether.


@JJ_Tex: If you opt for a manual vac, I'd suggest getting a leaf canister to lighten your skimmer load. It was worth its weight in gold when I was cleaning the floor during my swamp period last summer. I had to have it 'cause I'd bypassed the skimmer and plumbed directly to the pool equip (water level was below skimmer).
Hayward W560 Hayward W560.jpeg
 
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