Hayward AutoVac 650 Review - With video

DjEclipse

Well-known member
Jun 27, 2016
91
Ontario
Hello,

This is my first review and I tried to make it as detailed and fair as possible along with supporting videos. There were things I really liked about the AquaVac 650 and some I did not.

Hopefully it will give anyone looking for an AquaVac 650 a good indication if this is the right cleaner for you.

Background
At the beginning of the season my Zodiac Vortex 3 stopped working (again) and after I decided I no longer want to throw parts at it I started researching new cleaners. The AquaVac 650 looked very appealing with the 6 scrub wheels, the easy to empty push of a button canister, phone app via WiFi instead of Bluetooth and the Dyson style suction system. I waited a few weeks for it to become available, I am not sure how many others have given this cleaner a try.

Full Video review can be found below. It is recorded with my phone so it is a little shaky but I went over every detail of the cleaner I could think to show.

Full Video Review
Long but detailed. Excuse the shaky camera.

Unboxing
Pointless unless you are really wanting to see what is in the box and how it is packed. I don't know why these type of videos are so popular.

Cleaning Issues
Problems cleaning transition form floor to walls - 1
Problems cleaning transition form floor to walls - 2
Not Collecting Fine Dirt

Review

The AquaVac 650 comes with a caddy that is easy to assemble and holds everything including the removable control unit nicely. It is a nice looking cleaner with the 6 wheels / brushes and a large opening for all kinds of debris.

I put it together in a few minutes, plugged everything in and began the instructions to set up the Wifi with my Android phone.

Wifi Connect
This is when I encountered problem and drawback #1. It was not able to connect to my phone, even after multiple attempt's and a lengthy call into tech support. The phone finds the network but it fails every time saying "failed to obtain IP address". Tech support said they would look into the issue and get back to me the next day. This was Thursday and I have not heard back from them. I feel this is going to be a problem for a while until they get the software sorted. I was able to connect and use the app with my Ipad.

Wifi Connect Drawback - When I think Wifi connected App I am thinking the AquaVac 650 is connected to my router and see on on the network as a device I can access on the network such as a Printer, Stereo etc. This is not the case. In order to connect to the control unit you have to disconnect from your current network and connect to the control unit/s wifi. This means you have no access to the internet while using the app and you have to go through the steps of opening the app, going to your wifi settings, connecting to the AquaVac's Wifi, go back to the app and you can now use the App.

Once connected the app works very well, it is intuitive, the scheduling of the unit is very easy and the remote control of the Aquavac 650 works very well. turning on a dime and cleaning as you can manually drive it anywhere in the pool. There is also a bunch of light settings, colours etc.

Chord - No Swivel
It does not have a swivel chord but it does have an algorithm that helps keep it form tangling. You would see the cleaner doing a full 360 every so often to compensate for the turns it has done in the opposite direction. This works quite well and it stays pretty straight during the cleaning cycle.

The only time there would be a problem is if you stop the cleaner mid cycle and then restart it. It doesn't know the chord is slightly tangled in one direction so it can't take corrective turns to straighten it out. I would consider this to be user error rather than the fault of the 650.

Return to User - 3 tugs
In all their advertisement's they show the AquaVac 650 being pulled 3 times on the chord and returning to the top of the pool in the direction it was pulled. I thought this was a great feature as any modern robotic pool cleaner should have a way of getting to the top of the pool for easy removal. Note: The pool cleaner can not be in a cycle for this to work. It has to be paused or sitting dormant.

Unfortunately the 3 tugs did not perform as well as expected. I tried at least 30+ times and only got it to work twice. I was told by the rep it needs a specific type of pulls and they are working on an update to improve this. I am not sure why they didn't just put a button on the control unit so it can do this. Sometimes simple is better.

Full Canister Indicator
While there is an icon on the app and control unit that looks like a canister full indicator the AquaVac 650 does not have any sensors to tell you when the canister is full. The "canister full" icon light's up when the unit has completed a cycle.

Basket/ Canister Emptying/ Cleaning.
This is by far the best part of the AquaVac 650. The one button canister empty is great. It keeps a bunch of water in the canister so it can help flush out the canister when emptying. You give a few sloshes and everything comes out. No getting the hose out etc. Push the button and you're good to be cleaning again.

Cleaning
The most important part of a pool cleaner is to actually clean the pool.

The 6 scrubbing brushes and wheels go over floor drains no problem.

I ran the cleaner through at least 6+ cycles, mostly on the floor, wall and Waterline setting but also 1 water line only and 2 floor only as it missed a few spots and I wanted to see if it would get them. The AquaVac 650 is great at picking up large debris including leaves, worms, sticks and what ever else falls in your pool. It navigates the pool quite well, climbs the walls and seems to scrub the water line pretty thoroughly. The pool was very dirty when I first put it in and it went a long time before it stopped climbing the walls and was time to clean the basket.

It did have a few cleaning issues though.

1. It missed a few spots in the shallow end, even after running it a few times it would always leave a spot at the end of the shallow end not cleaned.

2. Even though I was told by the 650 rep the cleaner works best on dirt and sand due to it's cyclones (it suspends the dirt in the cyclone allowing it to drop down into the canister for collection) it unfortunately seems not to be able to collect the dirt and sand, it would shoot it out the top and back into the pool. It has no problem picking it up but it would not keep it in the canister.

3. It was not able to scrub and clean the transition from the floor to the walls at all. Our pool has a small radius instead of a 90deg angle when going form the floor to the walls and it would drive right over the area without picking up any of the dirt. I think this may be due to the location of the suction port and the brushes not being long enough to hit the pool at this transition. (The old Zodiac had no problem with these transitions, maybe due to the suction port being in the front just behind the scrub wheels).

This means I would have to go back and vacuum these areas manually or brush it and hope it lands on a flat spot to it can be picked up during the next clean.

Conclusion:

Positives :
  • Ease of emptying the canister.
  • 6 scrubbing wheels that ensure it never gets stuck on stairs or floor drains.
  • App works great, steering the unit via the app is very good.

Cons:
  • Does not pick up fine dirt and sand.
  • Doesn't clean transitions from floor to walls leaving you to clean this on your own (for my pool at least).
  • WiFi does not connect to your home network, you have to disconnect from your network and connect to the control unit meaning you have no Internet access while using the Aquavac 650
  • WiFi does not work with my android Galaxy s7 at the time of this review.
Unfortunately for me I am going to reluctantly have to return the cleaner as it simply does not clean the type of debris I get in my pool and can't handle the shape of the floor/ walls. It is too bad as I waited quite a while, was very excited for this cleaner and the ease of emptying the canister is so good.

If you don't have the above issues (ie. type of pool transitions or fine dirt/) sand I would say it would be a good cleaner.

On a side note does anyone have any idea on how well the Dolphin cleaners would handle my type of floor/ wall transition?

Update July 4th 2019:

Hayward called me today to discuss the issues I had with the 650 and sounded genuine when they asked for feedback good and bad.

They did say they may be able to correct the fine debris picking up and the missing dirt on the transition of the floor/ wall with firmware updates. But the updates will take a few months.

They are also working on the Android connectivity as well
 
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DjEclipse

Well-known member
Jun 27, 2016
91
Ontario
i have issue with wifi on my galaxy A5 too. And like you said it throw back dust from top but it does clean good an off for me. Very good review from you
thanks
So you have the 650 as well.

Good to know it's not just me having the Wifi issues

Did the 3 tugs return to user work for you at all?
 

DjEclipse

Well-known member
Jun 27, 2016
91
Ontario
Dolphin Premium at pool supplies CANADA. You won’t regret buy a Dolphin. Hayward has yet to make a good robotic cleaner.
I just purchased the Dolphin M600 from Marina Pool and Spa in Colorado. I called around here in Canada and they want $2500 for it here while Marina Pool and spa is selling it for $1399 us ( roughly 1800 canadian same price as the AquaVac 650).

I am told it should be at my us posted box this Friday.

Judging by the reviews here it seems the Dolphin is the way to go and the M600 has a lot of phone app features I am looking good for
 

DjEclipse

Well-known member
Jun 27, 2016
91
Ontario
Update:

Hayward called me today to discuss the issues I had with the 650 and sounded genuine when they asked for feedback good and bad.

They did say they may be able to correct the fine debris picking up and the missing dirt on the transition of the floor/ wall with firmware updates. But the updates will take a few months.

They are also working on the Android connectivity as well.
 

Gloucestershire

New member
Oct 2, 2019
1
Cheltenham, England
Thank you for your excellent report. After struggling with an AquaVac 650 for three days I decided to get help from Hayward. Does this company really exist? They don’t reply to emails, they have no contact numbers in Europe. Your report highlights the good and the bad of this machine, helping me to conclude that despite the hype, it is off no use as my primary pool cleaner as it leaves all the fine dirt in the pool. The operation and maintenance manual is totally inadequate.
 

DjEclipse

Well-known member
Jun 27, 2016
91
Ontario
Thank you for your excellent report. After struggling with an AquaVac 650 for three days I decided to get help from Hayward. Does this company really exist? They don’t reply to emails, they have no contact numbers in Europe. Your report highlights the good and the bad of this machine, helping me to conclude that despite the hype, it is off no use as my primary pool cleaner as it leaves all the fine dirt in the pool. The operation and maintenance manual is totally inadequate.
It is unfortunate you did not see the review before you bought the AquaVac 650. I am not sure about Europe support but I was able to get them on the phone from their U.S. and Canadian numbers.

They did call me a few month's back wanting to know if they could send me an updated unit to test when they had it ready. When/ if they do I will update the review here. I know the rep's have see this thread.

It is too bad it doesn't pick up all of the dirt as the canister is so nice to use. I have been using the Dolphin M600 since it came out and it cleans great but still a pain to clean the filter.

Until Hayward gets their AquaVac updated/ working properly I would recommend the M600 as it is in the same price range, cleans well, it does have some app issues that they are in the process of sorting out.