How much better are robots vs suction cleaners?

keatz85

Well-known member
Oct 21, 2017
67
Jacksonville, IL
My Aquabot that came with the house/pool passed away 1 week before closing last year haha. At any rate, in the market for a new automatic cleaner and have been doing research. I have a 20' x 40' kidney IG, 18k gallons, 2 skimmers, 2 returns, 1 main drain, white plastics steps, 1 ladder. I get a decent amount of debri (enough to where I would need a basket filter not cartrdige filter on a bot). Based off TFP Pool School - Automatic Pool Cleaners it appears suction cleaners are okay for just small pools. I have pretty much eliminated pressure cleaners b/c they seem to be around the same price as robots (w/ booster pump). The TFP fan favorite appears to be the Dolphin S200 based off dohenys-discovery-s200-active20-triton-owners-club. I am leaning towards the Doheny Saturn as I believe it's the same as the S200 based off of this. However it's about $400 more than Doheny's version of the Kreepy Krauly and a leaf canister (I definitley don't want debri going striaght into my pump). It appears plugging a suction cleaner into the skimmer line and letting it rock and roll and cleaning out the leaf canister is the same amount of work as throwing in bot, plugging her in, and emptying/cleaning the filter. However, I trust TFP so am assuming I'm missing something? What does the process of using suction vs a robot cleaner look like? How much time doe sa robot save? How big of a pain is a suction cleaner? Would a suction cleaner even work for my the volume/size of my pool?
 

chiefwej

LifeTime Supporter
TFP Guide
Jun 12, 2011
3,388
Tucson
I have had suction side, Polaris pressure cleaners, an infloor system, and now a Dolphin S300 robot. Obviously, the infloor is the least work for the pool owner, but mine never worked well due to pool configuration (flat bottom play pool). Nothing, but nothing cleans like a good robot. It brushes and vacuums every inch of the pool, up to and including the waterline, in one 2 hour run. Also since it doesn’t depend on your main pump or a separate booster pump, it uses less electricity than any of the other methods. As far as ease of use, no assembly and connecting hoses and leaf canister, just toss it in and push a button. Two minutes to put it in and about 5 to take it out and store it. When done you just pull it out, coil the cord, open the top door and rinse out the filters. Other than a properly functioning floor system, it’s by far the easiest system to use, and the fact that it cleans the best is a bonus. The only down side of a robot is the initial cost and some serious variations regarding longevity. Some get many years use, others report problems early on.
 
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Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
12,981
Bedford, TX
85,

I suggest that you read though all our Robot threads... My guess is that at least 95% of the people moving from a water powered cleaner to a robot all say pretty much the same thing.. "Wow, this thing picks up stuff I never even knew was left in my pool"

I've been using robots for at least 10 years and I can't picture ever going back to a water powered cleaner...

Thanks,

Jim R.
 

JoyfulNoise

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
May 23, 2015
15,431
Tucson, AZ
Robot, hands down, is the best. I had a Kreepy Krawly suction cleaner with a dedicated vacuum port in my pool (so no need to mess with skimmer adapter plates) and it never did as thorough a job as my S300i.
 

Oly

Gold Supporter
Jun 28, 2017
949
Fresno, CA
If you can swing the price tag then get a robot. A bot may also set you up for utilizing a pool pump with a lower speed option and more $ savings.
 
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yangcha1

LifeTime Supporter
Jul 8, 2015
99
Central Maryland
I have had suction side, Polaris pressure cleaners, an infloor system, and now a Dolphin S300 robot. Obviously, the infloor is the least work for the pool owner, but mine never worked well due to pool configuration (flat bottom play pool). Nothing, but nothing cleans like a good robot. It brushes and vacuums every inch of the pool, up to and including the waterline, in one 2 hour run. Also since it doesn’t depend on your main pump or a separate booster pump, it uses less electricity than any of the other methods. As far as ease of use, no assembly and connecting hoses and leaf canister, just toss it in and push a button. Two minutes to put it in and about 5 to take it out and store it. When done you just pull it out, coil the cord, open the top door and rinse out the filters. Other than a properly functioning floor system, it’s by far the easiest system to use, and the fact that it cleans the best is a bonus. The only down side of a robot is the initial cost and some serious variations regarding longevity. Some get many years use, others report problems early on.
I agree 100% about the comments on the in floor cleaner. It never worked and is useless. It increases the chance of leaking.
 
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Frank1026

In The Industry
Jun 23, 2017
11
Stockton, CA
Please, for anyone reading this, never consider taking away a skimmer to install a suction side cleaner! I could write a book on why not to do this! Several issues with suction side cleaners are as follow:
1- anything larger than a quarter will most likely stop it dead in its tracks.
2- when it breaks the surface of the water the pump sucks a big pocket of air, most of the air will return back to the pool but will also leave a bubble of air in the top housing of the filter effectively reducing the filtration area of your filter.
3- suction cleaners are great at picking up small debris like dust and dirt, the downfall to this is that that debris goes to your filter and will shorten the intervals of filter cleanings, and replacement... what a hassle!
4- As filters get dirty, the suction cleaner will slow down or stop altogether and reduce circulation/filtration!

I hope this addressed the issues of suction side cleaner.
I believe you are wise to consider robots.
 

keatz85

Well-known member
Oct 21, 2017
67
Jacksonville, IL
I have had suction side, Polaris pressure cleaners, an infloor system, and now a Dolphin S300 robot. Obviously, the infloor is the least work for the pool owner, but mine never worked well due to pool configuration (flat bottom play pool). Nothing, but nothing cleans like a good robot. It brushes and vacuums every inch of the pool, up to and including the waterline, in one 2 hour run. Also since it doesn’t depend on your main pump or a separate booster pump, it uses less electricity than any of the other methods. As far as ease of use, no assembly and connecting hoses and leaf canister, just toss it in and push a button. Two minutes to put it in and about 5 to take it out and store it. When done you just pull it out, coil the cord, open the top door and rinse out the filters. Other than a properly functioning floor system, it’s by far the easiest system to use, and the fact that it cleans the best is a bonus. The only down side of a robot is the initial cost and some serious variations regarding longevity. Some get many years use, others report problems early on.
Never heard of an infloor system until you mentioned it. Looked them up and they would be spectacular if worked as advertised. I appreciate the reply, you've made a very compelling argument for a robot. Thank you!
 

justinc

Gold Supporter
Apr 3, 2019
585
Texas
Robot, robot, robot. I like robots so much I have 2. If there was another type of robot I could add that would help the cleaning I would.
Which two do you have? One to clean walls and floor and a solar skimmer? Or two different ones to clean walls and floors?
 

Katodude

Silver Supporter
Aug 22, 2017
213
West Palm Beach/Florida
M500 for the floors and walls. I do have a little envy for the folks with the 20/30 models that have a single basket and that basket has the dual mode filters. It does take me 2 extra minutes to clean 2 baskets instead of 1 ( I know that sound ridiculous but it does bug me). However, love the 3rd brush which does and amazing job.

NX2 solar skimmer for the top of the pool that also works great.
 
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look30

Bronze Supporter
Mar 22, 2018
22
San Jose/CA
S200 FTW, this robot is absolutely amazing , Had a suction side MX6 and was always clogged by pretty much anything, mostly small twigs and green leaves stuck in the mechanism. Just got the Dolphin 200 from Marina Pools , see the thread about Margaret, and never been happier.
 
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keatz85

Well-known member
Oct 21, 2017
67
Jacksonville, IL
M500 for the floors and walls. I do have a little envy for the folks with the 20/30 models that have a single basket and that basket has the dual mode filters. It does take me 2 extra minutes to clean 2 baskets instead of 1 ( I know that sound ridiculous but it does bug me). However, love the 3rd brush which does and amazing job.

NX2 solar skimmer for the top of the pool that also works great.
I didn't know something the like NX2 solar skimmer existed. Now I want one!
 

Davegvg

LifeTime Supporter
Nov 30, 2008
345
I'll be the contrarian here - this is a robot-heavy forum.
I've had them all types- long enough for them to all go bad be fixed and need replacing.

"KISS"

With a variable speed pump its hard to beat A mat type suction side cleaner. Only 1 moving part.
Running two motors isnt using less electricity it's using more.
I've got to run the pump X hours a day anyway - the suction side cleaner just rides along at no extra cost.
All the debris goes to the filter and is out of the pool.
I've had pretty big chunks of debris go through them.
If they clog a 3rd grader can fix it.
Replacement diaphragms are cheap and a the same 3rd grader can rebuild it.
 
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Oly

Gold Supporter
Jun 28, 2017
949
Fresno, CA
Organic debris in your pool filter are still in your pool until you disassemble and clean your filter. Use an in-line filter on your system.
Smaller motor, less energy. Lower rpms, same motor, less energy. Reducing pool pump run time saves energy. Number of motors has no direct relation to energy usage.

The world needs contrarians.
 

Davegvg

LifeTime Supporter
Nov 30, 2008
345
Organic debris sitting in a robot is still decomposing and at some point it starts putting particles back out- I can leave my suction side in for months at a time.

In line filter is great. Robot won't catch dust- goes right through.

I can get my suction side to run at 230 watts whats the robot use?

HAHA thanks - its much easier to go along then swim upstream for sure.
 
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Davegvg

LifeTime Supporter
Nov 30, 2008
345
They both pick up stuff you cant see.

What they can trap and hold however is a different story.

The robot can only hold debris as small as its filter micron rating, where the suction sides limitation is the filter.
 

tim5055

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
May 11, 2014
10,267
Franklin, NC
I will say fist off, I never had a suction side cleaner but a Dolphin M500.

Others have pointed out how well they work, but I will just point out another thing they help with....

Two years ago my pool pump motor died. I pulled the pump/motor and dropped them off at a local electric motor repair shop (less expensive than a new motor). But, what to do about chlorine while I have no circulation in the pool? Each morning I walked around the pool with a bottle of bleach pouring a pencil thin line into the pool as I walked. Then, I turned on the robot and let him do his thing. While he worked he stirred/mixed up the water to get the chlorine everywhere except the pipes.

The day I got the pump back I did the same thing, but used two bottles this time and ran the robot. This added extra chlorine to the water, so when the pump started all the water in the pipes that had no chlorine was taken care of.

Just another thought about robots....