How much better are robots vs suction cleaners?

Davegvg

LifeTime Supporter
Nov 30, 2008
345
I paid I think 250 bones when I bought it, they are a little more now.
This G3 was donated to a friend as a "first pool gift" and is 7-8 years in now gets run several days a weekend stays in the water nov -jan, it's needed 1- 20 dollar diaphragm.
I think all suction side cleaners need some setup and weight placement.
I've had one 15-year-old piece of suction hose fail at the cuff.

I've been running a T5 for the last 2 years. I think its even more sturdy and it has different behaviors.



100921
 

spoonman

Well-known member
Jun 16, 2016
374
Peoria, AZ
The G3 is a tank for sure. I’m not to 7or 8 years yet, but mine has been in the water for over 2 years straight without a break and hasn’t needed a single part. Just an occasional twig that gets caught after a storm. Unbelievable.

Admittedly it took some tinkering/finesse to setup when first purchased but has been a dream since. It makes me not have to do anything, like an automatic cleaner should.
 

JoyfulNoise

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
May 23, 2015
15,431
Tucson, AZ
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
Since you asked .... nicely .... here’s some data -

I ran my S300i robot on a 2-1/2 hour standard clean cycle. It used 0.22 kWh of energy.


Based on my utility rates (~ 13.5 cents per kWh), it cost me 2 cents to clean my pool today....it’s spotless in case you’re wondering.


My pool pump nowadays runs on SLOW SKIM mode, 1600RPM & 268W


When I need to chlorinate or run the heater, I activate pool mode which runs at 2000RPM and 503W (typically I run pool mode 4-6 hrs/day)


Back in the old suction cleaner days, my kreepy krawly would not clean well below 2350 RPM (810 W) and it required a minimum of 4 hours to run.


So, in terms of raw energy use -

Robot Cleaner - 0.22 kWh

[EDIT] Made an error in my units/decimal place. It’s corrected now. [END-EDIT]

Suction cleaner - (810 x 4 hrs) = 3.240 kWh

Even if you say that the suction cleaner isn’t really “using” that much power and you have to run the pumps anyway, you can look at it from a scheduling perspective - my pool pump now runs, on average, at a much lower speed (1600 to 2000 rpms) as opposed to previously when it would average a much higher speed because I needed to include the suction cleaner. Also, I can run the robot and then go two days between cleaning. With my old suction cleaner, it needed to be run every day to maintain the same subjective level of cleanliness.

Sorry, but as I said, hands-down my robot is a much better cleaner for a lot less money. Will it “pay for itself” in savings....maybe/maybe not. I’m on year 4 with it without any issues. If I get to 10 years without a major repair, then it was well worth the investment. Even if I don’t make it that long, I’d never go back to the hassle, annoyance and ugly appearance of a suction cleaner constantly skittering around my pool.

As others have said, just an opinion on my part ...
 
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spoonman

Well-known member
Jun 16, 2016
374
Peoria, AZ
^I’d suggest subtracting the 503w from 810w, since as you said you are already running the pump at higher speed for 4 or more hours. The extra energy cost should be based on 307w additional, as opposed to the full 810w. Given that, plus the additional expense of the cleaner, I’d expect the payback on a robot vs suction cleaner to be at least 5 years based on the modest energy savings vs the upfront cost of the cleaner.

Much of this is personal preference though and akin to the debate about filter preferences (sand vs de vs cartridge). Most won’t be swayed one way or the other over a few nickels or the TCO over 5 years for a robot.

In my case I couldn’t imagine adding another regimen for the pool that required me to constantly manage the cleaning of the pool, when I don’t have to do anything today with a suction cleaner. IMO the additional cleaning power we is negligible compared to the extra effort required 24/7/365. In a way I see this as a step backwards.
 
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JoyfulNoise

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
May 23, 2015
15,431
Tucson, AZ
Of course, one can do the cost/benefit & ROI analyses in many different ways and it depends a lot on how one schedules their pump runs and what kind of equipment is available.

Appeals to convenience don’t really hold water. These S series robots with their top loading filter baskets are no more difficult to remove and clean than pulling the hoses of a suction cleaner and emptying a leaf canister. The filter panels rinse off in less than a minute or two with a garden hose. Putting robot in and out of the pool is simplistic and can be done as part of anyone’s normal pool routine. The notion that these robots complicate pool care or force you to be by your pool is red herring. Most robot owners leave the robots on the pool unattended for days or a week at a time, set the schedule-run options and leave the robot to do its job which is very similar to how pool owners setup their pump driven cleaners (set it and forget it).

And, no matter what, TFP is all about people doing what’s easiest for them in terms of pool care. If a pool owner gets good enough results from a pump driven cleaner, then there’s no point in switching. But, for a new build or someone looking to switch, robots are a great choice and worth the extra expense.
 

Davegvg

LifeTime Supporter
Nov 30, 2008
345
Thanks, I wish I paid 13.5 C/KWH. It runs pretty cheap. I love the kill o watt product.

I could say my cleaner cost me nothing to clean my pool because the cleaner hitches a ride on the pump I'm running anyway - at the same power I run to skim- I dont have to bump power to get it to work.

Your pool uses a little more juice than mine Im right around 2-230 watts and 1750 RPM normal skimming / or cleaning. I run that speed or about 1000 watts when I use the solar.

Ill put up a few shots when I get to town.

Lets put some math to question of cyclical removal.

I can leave my cleaner in forever, and run a leaf canister in until it stops the cleaner without worry of debris outflow as any broken down debris goes right to the filter vs back out into the pool.

You me or anyone have to remove a robot, or any cleaner with a bag every couple of days and clean its bag or filter, taking time and using water. We've all seen what happens when you dont - a green mucky bag or filter box.
What manufacturer recommends it staying in the water for extended times?

Multiply this labor time lets say 1 time a week (pretty low) for the bag/ internal filter cleaner vs. once every 2 (Ive gone months under light debris ingress) and you get 52 removals and cleanings vs 26 a year.
Lets say the job is 5 minutes total each type.

Thats 260 minutes vs 130 spent dealing with a cleaner removal per year.
Run that delta out for 5 years its 1300 min vs 650 spent on just standard cleaning duty

How many robots last 10 years with 2 - 20 dollar parts?
You are at 4 years with no maintenance so far that's good, but we dont really know how many hours its run - kind of like a washing machine - years dont mean as much as cycles on the machine. What are you anticipating your first bill to be?

My pool is spotless as well for far less money spent on the device, and less time than you spend on it.
The "worth" of something to someone has a lot variables and not always consisted from guy to guy. I don't see the worth.

I get that suction side cleaners dont always work well in some pools - robots don't either - see the distinction between a "shelf" and a "bench" in another thread where one gets stuck repeatedly.
Robots are cool and fun - no doubt, and can work very well.
They are not an end all/ be all, but simply one choice of many ways to skin a cat.

UD
 

Davegvg

LifeTime Supporter
Nov 30, 2008
345
I run this for a half a day every couple of days, maybe a full day after a storm and it sits here like this for months. Certainly all winter.

There is only the occasional removal of the leaf trap - which is easier and quicker than a pressure cleaner, or robot because it does not need to be hosed out - just dumped.

Pool's close to if not perfect in cleanliness - I may have to brush the top step every now and then.

UD

 
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keatz85

Well-known member
Oct 21, 2017
67
Jacksonville, IL
I can say I definitely do not like (to put it nicely) the 2 hour cleaning cycle on the Dolphin Active 20. It would be nice to be able to set it for 4, 6, 8 hrs, or whatever.
 

Davegvg

LifeTime Supporter
Nov 30, 2008
345
I can say I definitely do not like (to put it nicely) the 2 hour cleaning cycle on the Dolphin Active 20. It would be nice to be able to set it for 4, 6, 8 hrs, or whatever.
How long does it take to fully clean your pool?
 

Jimrahbe

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

My pool is only 17K gallons, but I have yet to see a problem with my two hour cleaning cycle...

If I have just one dime sized leaf in my pool, after two hours it is gone... When I watch it will not go near the leaf..it is like it "knows" I am watching... :mrgreen:

But, when the cleaner is done the leaf is gone..

Thanks,

Jim R.
 

JoyfulNoise

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
May 23, 2015
15,431
Tucson, AZ
One reason I like my S300i is that I can turn it on from my kitchen window using the Bluetooth smartphone app and I can choose 1.5, 2, or 2.5 hour cycle times and switch it to Floor Only mode if I don’t think it needs to scrub the walls. With 2 hours in my pool on Floor Only mode I’ve never not had a spotless pool.
 

A.O.

Well-known member
Apr 12, 2016
87
Kershaw, South Carolina
Well I guess I'll weigh in, I'm not all high tech and measure watts and stuff, just pay attention to how clean my pool is. My pool installer threw in a suction side Kreepy Krawly (sp?) which did some parts of the pool ok, but the other parts I had to vacuum by hand. After about a year I got an M500 Dolphin , oh boy what a difference, put it in, turn it on and come back and the pool is clean! Oops, forgot to mention, we bought a lesser robot from Leslies before the M500.. it was a random robot and did about the same as the Kreepy Krawley, hit and miss and I had to vacuum the rest. With their return policy I was able to return that one then get the M500... so all robots are NOT created equal!
My M500 is in the pool most of the time, it is set up to come on once a day, depending on how much stuff gets blown in the pool I clean the filters every 3-4 days or so. It comes with screen filter cartridges and a finer mesh kind of like a car air filter for the finer stuff. I like it so much we ended up getting a roomba for the house!
 

keatz85

Well-known member
Oct 21, 2017
67
Jacksonville, IL
How long does it take to fully clean your pool?
My old robot, Auqabot Turbo T2, I had continuous run or 7 hour options. I would do the 7 hour option every Saturday and it appeared to be a good number, although it didn't need the full 7 hours, maybe half.

Had the auto weekly timer on my new bot (Active 20) set to every 3 days and still a lot of debri. Changed to every 2 days and the same thing. Changed to every day and the same thing. Then I noticed on this bot fan thread how it appears a recent batch of Active 20s is having issues with a 15-30 minute cycle so I decided to watch the cleaner last weekend. It's running a full cycle (2 hours) but it's getting stuck on the maindrains quite often. I would check it every 30-60 mins and about half the time it was stuck on a maindrain (note the maindrains were shut off too). So I bought drain clips (Main Drain Clip-On - Pool Maintenance Simplified) to fix the issue (should arrive anytime) and we'll see what happens.
 

keatz85

Well-known member
Oct 21, 2017
67
Jacksonville, IL
85,

My pool is only 17K gallons, but I have yet to see a problem with my two hour cleaning cycle...

If I have just one dime sized leaf in my pool, after two hours it is gone... When I watch it will not go near the leaf..it is like it "knows" I am watching... :mrgreen:

But, when the cleaner is done the leaf is gone..

Thanks,

Jim R.
I'm 18k so 2 hrs should be sufficient. It's getting stuck on the maindrains a lot so I'm working on fix that now.
 

keatz85

Well-known member
Oct 21, 2017
67
Jacksonville, IL
One reason I like my S300i is that I can turn it on from my kitchen window using the Bluetooth smartphone app and I can choose 1.5, 2, or 2.5 hour cycle times and switch it to Floor Only mode if I don’t think it needs to scrub the walls. With 2 hours in my pool on Floor Only mode I’ve never not had a spotless pool.
That's awesome!
 

keatz85

Well-known member
Oct 21, 2017
67
Jacksonville, IL
Well I guess I'll weigh in, I'm not all high tech and measure watts and stuff, just pay attention to how clean my pool is. My pool installer threw in a suction side Kreepy Krawly (sp?) which did some parts of the pool ok, but the other parts I had to vacuum by hand. After about a year I got an M500 Dolphin , oh boy what a difference, put it in, turn it on and come back and the pool is clean! Oops, forgot to mention, we bought a lesser robot from Leslies before the M500.. it was a random robot and did about the same as the Kreepy Krawley, hit and miss and I had to vacuum the rest. With their return policy I was able to return that one then get the M500... so all robots are NOT created equal!
My M500 is in the pool most of the time, it is set up to come on once a day, depending on how much stuff gets blown in the pool I clean the filters every 3-4 days or so. It comes with screen filter cartridges and a finer mesh kind of like a car air filter for the finer stuff. I like it so much we ended up getting a roomba for the house!
I was thinking the same thing about suction side. It just kind of creeps along and goes wherever psychics takes it. My roomba definitely played a part in me going w/ a bot over suction side, lol! We love our Roomba!
 

JoyfulNoise

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
May 23, 2015
15,431
Tucson, AZ
Not all main drains are created equal either. My robot will sometimes hit the drains and go right over them (off of center) or directly hit a drain and then high-center itself. However, after about 30-60 secs it will initiate a power thrust turn and free itself. My old suction vacuum would often spend much longer amounts of time “dancing” around the drain - it would hit the drain covers dead-on and get “stuck” because the internal gears are design to rotate the suction shaft when an obstruction it hit stops it from moving forwards. So the suction cleaner would hit the drains and literally skitter around them in a circle until I wound yank on the hose to move it.

The VGBA safety covers nowadays really play havoc with robots. In terms of the Dolphin robots, the M series do better with drains because they have a third middle brush that helps to move the unit over obstructions better.
 

mmcwhorter

Bronze Supporter
Jul 13, 2015
108
Huntingtown, MD
I am considering a robot, maybe a Dolphin Nautilus CC. Am I to understand from this thread that the control panel for a robot cleaner is NOT expected to be Rain/Weatherproof ? Seems to me that is a deal breaker for me. IP67 rating seems required for this product.
 
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