How much better are robots vs suction cleaners?

Davegvg

LifeTime Supporter
Nov 30, 2008
345
When my pump died I poured in chlorine around the edge - and brushed the pool for a few minutes.
Let's say for snicks the robot wins here.

Whats a rebuild kit for an M500 cost?
Can you do it all yourself?
How long does it run before you need a rebuild?

A diaphragm for a G3 is 20 bucks and takes 1 min to change - I get about 5-7 years out of this part.

UD
 

JoyfulNoise

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
May 23, 2015
15,431
Tucson, AZ
When I switched from a suction cleaner to a robot, I was able to drop my pool pump RPMs from 2250 to 1700. For my variable speed pump, that’s easily a savings of 500W of electrical power or TWICE the power my robot uses. I also only need to run my robot every other day. So switching to a robot has saved me lots of money.

In my robot thread I show pictures of the fine silt that my S300i fine filter catches. The stuff is finer than talcum powder. Now my old suction robot would presumably have caught that too and sent it to my DE filter. However, my robot cleans for less money and keeps the fine and coarse debris out of my filter.

Hands down, in my pool, the robot is the better choice. If it died tomorrow (it’s on season 3 with no issues), I’d gratefully lay out the money to repair it or buy a new one.
 
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Davegvg

LifeTime Supporter
Nov 30, 2008
345
How are you measuring your pool pumps electricity delta?

You/ anybody - put a kill o watt on your robot and lets see what it actually pulls.

With a super fine robotic filter are now cleaning your robot filter every day you run it.

UD
 
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Cincicobra

Bronze Supporter
Apr 14, 2018
63
Cincinnati, Ohio
Look, if anyone has a pool and needs to save the difference between of a few dollars a month, your in the wrong game. Pools are an expense - a known, expected, relevant money pit. One of the joys of pool ownership is making the process as easy a possible. I threw my dirt devil suction cleaner in the basement this year and opened up the box of my nautilus cc plus. Holy Smoke, what a difference in life and pool care. It is as simple as throwing the robot in and coming outside to a SPOTLESS pool 3 hrs later. My suction cleaner NEVER got the pool 100% clean....not once EVER. My pool cleaner costs about 7 cents to run for 3 hours. I will gladly spend the $2.10 a month to not drag 9 hose pieces out, purge the air, get crappy results, vacuum up what it missed, and put 9 hoses and a cleaner away. You won't be sorry if you want a more simple pool care process.
 
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Geebot

Well-known member
Aug 19, 2013
840
Look, if anyone has a pool and needs to save the difference between of a few dollars a month, your in the wrong game. Pools are an expense - a known, expected, relevant money pit. One of the joys of pool ownership is making the process as easy a possible. I threw my dirt devil suction cleaner in the basement this year and opened up the box of my nautilus cc plus. Holy $h!t what a difference in life and pool care. It is as simple as throwing the robot in and coming outside to a SPOTLESS pool 3 hrs later. My suction cleaner NEVER got the pool 100% clean....not once EVER. My pool cleaner costs about 7 cents to run for 3 hours. I will gladly spend the $2.10 a month to not drag 9 hose pieces out, purge the air, get crappy results, vacuum up what it missed, and put 9 hoses and a cleaner away. You won't be sorry if you want a more simple pool care process.
True dat. That sucking noise you hear is money and/or time being pulled into the pool. For me a robot=time. I had an older generation robot for the first two years of my pool and used it, but it was a massive pain in the butt to keep clean (filter bag - the stupidest solution ever). I'm on season 4 of my S300 and if it failed tomorrow I would immediately buy a new one. The memory of manually vacuuming is still fresh enough to make me never want to do it again.
 
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Katodude

Silver Supporter
Aug 22, 2017
213
West Palm Beach/Florida
When my old M5 was stolen it was a disaster at our house. The pool never looked so bad. I managed to last about 2 weeks before I completely lost my mind. Ordered a nice new M500 and restored balance to the Force. When this one goes I will buy a new one, hopefully one that is cloud connected (just to make Joyfulnoise crazy).

BTW. Robots also brush the pool, and I cant tell you how much I hate to do that manually. I love the 3rd brush of the M500 but still envy the since basket to clean our of the S series. Somebody tell Maytronics to build an S500 that has both features.
 
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bmoreswim

Mod Squad
Gold Supporter
Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 16, 2012
5,160
Central MD
How much better? Much in my case. Night and day in fact. PC never covered the whole pool regardless of the adjustments and the fine debris R gets is far beyond the PC.
 

Divin Dave

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Oct 2, 2013
5,449
Longview, Texas
I clean my robot filter after maybe 5 or 6 uses. Sometimes I might even stretch that out. Just depends on how dirty the pool has been. You'll clean more often in spring because all sorts of seeds and pollen blow in the pool and become waterlogged and sink. Same in the fall when leaves start to drop. Or maybe during a big rain, dirt will get washed and splashed off the deck and into the pool.

It just depends on your particular environment as to how often you'll have to clean them.

Been going for 6 years now with mine and it takes all of just a few minutes to remove them hose em off and pop em back in. It couldn't be easier.

With a super fine robotic filter are now cleaning your robot filter every day you run it.

UD
 
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Davegvg

LifeTime Supporter
Nov 30, 2008
345
Mat type cleaners "brush" the pool as well with mat contact.
Some robots only actually contact the pool floor where the tracks touch - other have scrub brushes.

Dave so I understand you are letting the organic material sit in the water and continue decomposing and consuming free chlorine for 5 or 6 uses ?

Pressure side bag cleaners have the same problem - you get muck that blows through the bag if you leave it too long.
 

Davegvg

LifeTime Supporter
Nov 30, 2008
345
Look, if anyone has a pool and needs to save the difference between of a few dollars a month, your in the wrong game. Pools are an expense - a known, expected, relevant money pit. One of the joys of pool ownership is making the process as easy a possible. I threw my dirt devil suction cleaner in the basement this year and opened up the box of my nautilus cc plus. Holy Smoke, what a difference in life and pool care. It is as simple as throwing the robot in and coming outside to a SPOTLESS pool 3 hrs later. My suction cleaner NEVER got the pool 100% clean....not once EVER. My pool cleaner costs about 7 cents to run for 3 hours. I will gladly spend the $2.10 a month to not drag 9 hose pieces out, purge the air, get crappy results, vacuum up what it missed, and put 9 hoses and a cleaner away. You won't be sorry if you want a more simple pool care process.
My suction cleaners get to 90%+ in an hour or two. I get great results.

takes what 2 -3minutes to attach hoses and dump air - what about cleaning the robot filters and dealing with its cord?

I found it to be a draw time wise.

Robots are very simple to use, until rebuild time.

Then it isnt "cents" anymore especially if you have to pay someone else to do it.
 

Jimrahbe

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

I'm pretty sure that no one here is telling you that you have to use a Robot.. It appears to me that about 98% of the people that have used a Robot love them.. That leaves the other 2% that did not. It is clear that we are not going to convince you that they are better, and it is just as clear that you are not going to be able to convince the other 98% that they are wrong.

There is no right or wrong answer here. I say use whatever works for you.. and I'll use what works best for me... That way we can both be happy.. :)

Thanks for a view from the other side.

Jim R.
 

spoonman

Well-known member
Jun 16, 2016
374
Peoria, AZ
When my pump died I poured in chlorine around the edge - and brushed the pool for a few minutes.
Let's say for snicks the robot wins here.

Whats a rebuild kit for an M500 cost?
Can you do it all yourself?
How long does it run before you need a rebuild?

A diaphragm for a G3 is 20 bucks and takes 1 min to change - I get about 5-7 years out of this part.

UD
I love my Baracuda G3 also. I can't fathom why everyone here wants to take a robot in/out of a pool everytime they want to clean. This seems profoundly odd to me when I can ignore my cleaner for weeks/months at a time. My pool is essentially spotless so I also don't understand the exuberance over how "clean" everyone's pools are with a robot. This reminds me of the argument against sand filters for not filtering as well as DE or cartridge, when the difference is virtually insignificant.
 

ZcottD

Well-known member
Jun 23, 2017
133
Connecticut
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.
Before I start on your list, I will say I think robots are the best option for a cleaner. I have a suction cleaner though, a Baracuda MX8 Elite.

1. Several suction cleaners offer a wide mouth to pick up bigger debris without being stopped/getting clogged.
2. Using a canister with my suction side cleaner I did notice that air got into the canister, it didn't continue to the pump though, or at least didn't cause air bubbles to form in the pump basket. I lowered the suction power for the cleaner so it didn't have the power to break the water line to fix that.
3. and 4. Canisters, they are a must IMO, using one has drastically reduced how often I have to clean my filter. A good sized canister will hold more than enough to clean a pool, unless there are a TON of leaves, and it will run at close to its full power with the canister on the full side.(My experience being with the Hayward W530 canister)

The real downsides to suction cleaners, or benefits to robots that I see, is that you can put the robot in whenever, doesn't matter if the pool is on or not, or if you have a VS pump running at low RPMs. And buying a good suction cleaner, plus a good canister is around $600 bucks, $450-500 if you find a good sale, but that creeps close enough to the lower end of robot pricing to save up a bit more and snag a robot.
 
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Davegvg

LifeTime Supporter
Nov 30, 2008
345
Dave,

I'm pretty sure that no one here is telling you that you have to use a Robot.. It appears to me that about 98% of the people that have used a Robot love them.. That leaves the other 2% that did not. It is clear that we are not going to convince you that they are better, and it is just as clear that you are not going to be able to convince the other 98% that they are wrong.

There is no right or wrong answer here. I say use whatever works for you.. and I'll use what works best for me... That way we can both be happy.. :)

Thanks for a view from the other side.

Jim R.
I prefaced my position by saying I'm going to be the contrarian here.
Isn't thats what's cool about forums - that you get to hear from all sides?
In a robot-heavy forum, you aren't the other side, I am.

I don't intervene when guys that start threads between themselves about how great they are - I may ask questions when a guy buys a new model, but I dont rain on anyone's party - but when I guy asks a comparative question it's fair game to discuss.

I've owned both as well. I had bad experiences with them, so do my friends.
I find them expensive to buy and expensive to run over a ten-year cycle, with no better result than I get from a suction side.
I'm not trying to convince anyone they are wrong, simply add my experience alongside as a counterpoint in a thread that asks the questions.

Guys make statements here all the time about preferences as though they are universal truths when the reality is that it isn't so cut and dried - and what may be a "feature" to one isn't to another.
Like - "I'm so happy I can run my cleaner without my pump." I run a pump 12 hours a day anyway that isn't a benny to me.

In the winter, we get all kinds of wind and debris influx and I can leave a suction side in the pool for 2-3 months straight where with a robot I have to put in, take out and clean repeatedly to me is a very real downside.
Id rather backflush a big filter once than clean a robot filter every 3-4 days.

You can find all kinds of problems here with robots, cords tangling, main drain stalling, worn out tracks, gears, circuit boards, etc..
I also run a sand filter with zeo (absolutely no problems) so there are lots of places where the TFP majority and I diverge.

UD
 
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Cincicobra

Bronze Supporter
Apr 14, 2018
63
Cincinnati, Ohio
Dave is right, varying opinions and perspective are good for everyone. People use this forum to research options, and it's healthy to hear advocates for all types of options. Short of the chemistry we all practice that is based on objective data, everything else is subjective and worth discussing.

My robot is the jam. My opinion and experience. I wouldn't have probably bought a robot without reading this forum and would have just suffered in silence like a domestic violence victim, but all options need considered. I'm sure a barracuda or Hayward suction cleaner would have been night and day better than my dirt devil, but I could stomach the extra few hundred for a robot but some may be topped out at the 300-400 for a quality suction cleaner that would work great, so Dave's experience and perspective be offers value to members here.
 
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gx22

Active member
Jan 21, 2014
33
CA
I own a Kreepy Krauly suction cleaner for 6 years. I left it in the pool all the time. When I swim, I put the hose on the deck so the KK is by the side still in the water. That is easy to do. I found it is pretty much maintenance and repair free. I have a leaf canister. I never own a robot.

Performance is depended on whether I give it enough suction power or not. It works during the 2 hours I have the pump on high rpm. It covers most of the pool but not 100%. It goes to deep end more often than shallow end. The hose arrangement and weights on the hose can be tricky to place to make it go more often to shallow side.
 

Davegvg

LifeTime Supporter
Nov 30, 2008
345
I find round sail mat cleaners (G3) have a harder time getting out of the deep end per watt than a square sail type like the T5.

If you start running 300+ watts they all climb up pretty well - its low wattage/flow that seems to challenge them

The square sail cleaner is less prone to the rolling the hose over center and walks right to the front of the pool with regularity.
 

keatz85

Well-known member
Oct 21, 2017
67
Jacksonville, IL
Ya'll were persuasive. I ended up giving Marilyn at Marina a call and snagging an Active 20 for 699 shipped (plus 25 mail-in rebate which may or not work). The internet lied (go figure) and the Doheny's Saturn is not the same as the S200, Active 20, Doheny's Discovery, Triton.

I purchased the robot before Dave posted but he hit on some of my concerns w/ a robot. I didn't like hauling my power supply outside (it was 10 lb box), putting in a filter bag, rolling the robot to the pool, throwing it in the pool and turning it upside down a few times to fill w/ water (per directions), pulling it out of the water, emptying the filter, hosing off the filter, washing the filter in wash machine, wrapping up the cord, rolling robot back, taking power box inside. If it rained I also had to postpone cleaning and take the power box inside. It's definitely good to see different/contrarian view points and weigh the pros and cons. Granted I had a super old bot. I also like Dave's point about how he can leave his suction side in for months.

With the Active 20 I'm going to put my power supply in a Rubbermaid container under my deck, use the weekly timer feature, dump out the filter when I'm cleaning the skimmers and/or adding chemicals, (I don't want debris chilling in my pool as Dave keeps hitting on plus the Active 20 filter is super easy to clean), and just leave the Dolphin in the pool (unless adding chemicals per instructions, plus good time to empty filter). Ridiculously easy process in my opinion, excluding the occasional filter cleaning, which to me is on par w/ cleaning skimmers/adding chemicals (not too crazy).

Dave and spoonman how much did your spend on your suction side cleaners? The Baracuda MX8 Elite ZcottD mentioned appears to be around the $400 plus mark so you're creeping into the cost of robot territory so you're getting into straight convenience since price is similar plus the fact that less can go wrong w/ suction side (1ish moving parts). 40 plust feet of hose on he suction side definitely concerned me.

Yesterday, I discovered an old suction side cleaner under my deck lol. Wish I would have found it before I bought the robot LOL to see how well (or not so well) it worked LOL. At any rate I'm going to play around w/ it and let you guys know my opinion. It's good to see everyone's views and I have colleagues asking me about robots so the more I know the better.

PS spoonman do you like the band Soundgarden haha?
 
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spoonman

Well-known member
Jun 16, 2016
374
Peoria, AZ
Hi keatz

As you said, the tasks associated with a robot are the reasons I’m surprised by their rapid adoption as the cleaner of choice. They may work better for some but I definitely leave my Baracuda (G3) alone for weeks or months at a time (if something gets caught, etc). There’s no way I would sign up for additional maintenance.

I’m curious to see what kind of suction cleaner you found. The G3 I have cost around $275 and is an old school, tested design. They are known for being a bit finicky to setup (hose length, weights, right pressure) but once you get it dialed in it works fantastic. As you mentioned, this particular cleaner only has 1 moving part (the diaphragm) so there is little to break/replace. I was originally considering a Pool Vac or similar style but chose a disc cleaner as I suspected it would be more effective for the dirt/sand (leaves too) I get here in the desert.

Ps: yep, got my handle from soundgarden lol.
 
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