Pentair Kreepy Krauly Rebel Pool Cleaner

4x4tx

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What is the general thoughts on this cleaner? I am building a new pool and had never heard of this one. I have looked into robots and currently have a polaris 280 at my old house....I dont really want a booster pump anymore and was leaning robot but the new pool is in area with zero leaves and probably minimal dirt of any kind.

How is the maintenance on these? Longevity?
 

HermanTX

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If it was I and as you say no trees and hopefully minimum debris then I would go with a true electric driven robot. The Pentair Kreepy Krauly Rebel Pool Cleaner is a suction side cleaner which means you have to run your pump at high speed and also have a hose in the pool from the wall connection to the KK cleaner. Why have all that when a robot can be put in as needed with just 1 electrical cord and does not require your pump to run for it to operate.
 
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4x4tx

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If it was I and as you say no trees and hopefully minimum debris then I would go with a true electric driven robot. The Pentair Kreepy Krauly Rebel Pool Cleaner is a suction side cleaner which means you have to run your pump at high speed and also have a hose in the pool from the wall connection to the KK cleaner. Why have all that when a robot can be put in as needed with just 1 electrical cord and does not require your pump to run for it to operate.
Good point....so no harm in the PB plumbing for it and I can decide to go electric later? The main negative is it will only run when the pump is on vs running the robot for an hour and then pulling it out of the way.
 

HermanTX

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Good point....so no harm in the PB plumbing for it and I can decide to go electric later? The main negative is it will only run when the pump is on vs running the robot for an hour and then pulling it out of the way.
That and you have a hose in the pool. So if you elect to keep the KK in the pool it is more to deal with.
You can always go electric - maybe ensure you have a GFCI outlet nearby (within code of distance from the pool) to plug your robot in when you decide to go with a robot.
 
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4x4tx

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357
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Builder said the s200 is on backorder for 4 months....can get the polaris epic 8520 he said and claims its similar? Thoughts?
 

JoyfulNoise

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I’m kind of a broken record on this point but I try to make it to people considering a robot - they don’t last long. Look at my signature and you can see my thread about switching from a suction cleaner to a robot. It only lasted 5 years before it died. They are not cheap and when the motor dies, it’s done and you have to basically buy another robot.

Suffice it to say that I have gone back to a suction cleaner. Keep the suction line in your pool build, they are useful to have for manual vacuuming and you’ll appreciate having the flexibility when your robot dies … and it will die.
 
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4x4tx

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Greater Houston
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I’m kind of a broken record on this point but I try to make it to people considering a robot - they don’t last long. Look at my signature and you can see my thread about switching from a suction cleaner to a robot. It only lasted 5 years before it died. They are not cheap and when the motor dies, it’s done and you have to basically buy another robot.

Suffice it to say that I have gone back to a suction cleaner. Keep the suction line in your pool build, they are useful to have for manual vacuuming and you’ll appreciate having the flexibility when your robot dies … and it will die.
Thanks for that advice. I am def on the fence to messing with a robot. The rebel is $500 and the pentair is 850...is it worth the extra 350 now?
 

Dirk

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I do have a Rebel, and it is a suction cleaner. I had my Polaris' pressure line switched over to suction line for the Rebel. I can't say one did better than the other, in terms of cleaning, they're about the same. I, too, don't have a lot of leaves or dirt flying around, so at least in that environment the Rebel keeps my pool very clean. If I was building a pool, I'd run that extra line, no matter what I thought I was going to use for a vac. I'd also make sure it was plumbed with sweep 90s, just to reduce the possibility of jams. You might never use it, or you might, but you certainly can't add one later. Who knows what the future will bring, and you might need an extra port in the pool for something.

It is true that the Rebel connects with a hose. But they all connect with something, so I'm not sure how that is a factor. What does matter, to me, is that that hose is underwater, and not a power cord running across my deck. That is the deal-breaker for me for a robot.

Another consideration is the weight. I run my Rebel every night. So I don't have to think about when to put it in or not. During the 6+ months of off-season, I don't think about my vac at all. During swim season, I usually take it out of the pool when guests swim. It's very easy to remove, as it is very light. I've heard robots are quite heavy, and I would not want to have to pull one out regularly. Even if you think you might leave a robot in 24/7 (is that even recommended?), you still have to drag it out of the water to clean its collector bin. No thanks. A Rebel's "collections" still have to be dealt with, like any cleaner, but that happens in the filter pump basket, which, for me, is a considerably easier task than dragging anything out of the water. Plus I can see at a glance when it needs to be done. Just more convenient for me.

The other big "argument" for robots is not having to run your pump to vac. That has a lot less merit to it than most think. My vac run is part of my filtering run! It's not like I'm running my pump extra just for cleaning. I do have to up the RPMs for the vac, but it's also filtering the water at the same time. Or chlorinating with my SWG. It's not the vast increase in electricity costs that it is sometimes made out to be, if it's scheduled correctly. (Full disclaimer: I have PV solar, so I no longer pay for electricity so none of that even matters to me anymore.)

Then there is the cost of repair and replacement. I have replaced my Rebel's leader hose (that 18" piece), and its wheels, so they do have wear and tear. But not like what @JoyfulNoise describes of his robot, yikes. Plus there are rebuild kits for the head itself. And even if it became totally kaput, you can replace the entire head for a few hundred. I expect my long-term cost of running a Rebel to be significantly cheaper than a robot, when you add everything together over time, even counting the extra electricity.

OK, so all that being said, here's the caveat. A suction cleaner requires a suction port. A suction port can be dangerous. Potentially it can kill someone. If the port is left open, and the pump is on high, a pool pump can eviscerate someone stuck to a suction port, or drown them. I have heard of robots killing people, but I think that might have been a movie! I've protected against this possibility in several ways: I run it only at night, my suction port has a proper safety flap, and I split its suction with my skimmer's port while vacuuming, so, like a dual main drain system, there is never 100% suction at that port. Plus I have an automated valve that disables the port completely except while vacuuming (so it's never active during swim times). While it is possible all those safeties could be defeated, with some bizarre set of circumstances, I feel it's not any more dangerous than having a big body of water in the middle of a residential backyard. But it is something to be aware of.

If you put a Rebel, a Polaris and the best robot in front of me, and I could choose one for free, I'd choose the Rebel.

When they invent a robot that is cordless and can crawl itself out of a pool and park itself in its charging garage, and empty its collector, then I'll get a robot! Hey, my Roomba can do all that, so it's just a matter of time that someone makes a pool vac that can. A PoolBa! (I better copyright that!!)
 
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JoyfulNoise

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May 23, 2015
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I do have a Rebel, and it is a suction cleaner. I had my Polaris' pressure line switched over to suction line for the Rebel. I can't say one did better than the other, in terms of cleaning, they're about the same. I, too, don't have a lot of leaves or dirt flying around, so at least in that environment the Rebel keeps my pool very clean. If I was building a pool, I'd run that extra line, no matter what I thought I was going to use for a vac. I'd also make sure it was plumbed with sweep 90s, just to reduce the possibility of jams. You might never use it, or you might, but you certainly can't add one later. Who knows what the future will bring, and you might need an extra port in the pool for something.

It is true that the Rebel connects with a hose. But they all connect with something, so I'm not sure how that is a factor. What does matter, to me, is that that hose is underwater, and not a power cord running across my deck. That is the deal-breaker for me for a robot.

Another consideration is the weight. I run my Rebel every night. So I don't have to think about when to put it in or not. During the 6+ months of off-season, I don't think about my vac at all. During swim season, I usually take it out of the pool when guests swim. It's very easy to remove, as it is very light. I've heard robots are quite heavy, and I would not want to have to pull one out regularly. Even if you think you might leave a robot in 24/7 (is that even recommended?), you still have to drag it out of the water to clean its collector bin. No thanks. A Rebel's "collections" still have to be dealt with, like any cleaner, but that happens in the filter pump basket, which, for me, is a considerably easier task than dragging anything out of the water. Plus I can see at a glance when it needs to be done. Just more convenient for me.

The other big "argument" for robots is not having to run your pump to vac. That has a lot less merit to it than most think. My vac run is part of my filtering run! It's not like I'm running my pump extra just for cleaning. I do have to up the RPMs for the vac, but it's also filtering the water at the same time. Or chlorinating with my SWG. It's not the vast increase in electricity costs that it is sometimes made out to be, if it's scheduled correctly. (Full disclaimer: I have PV solar, so I no longer pay for electricity so none of that even matters to me anymore.)

Then there is the cost of repair and replacement. I have replaced my Rebel's leader hose (that 18" piece), and its wheels, so they do have wear and tear. But not like what @JoyfulNoise describes of his robot, yikes. Plus there are rebuild kits for the head itself. And even if it became totally kaput, you can replace the entire head for a few hundred. I expect my long-term cost of running a Rebel to be significantly cheaper than a robot, when you add everything together over time, even counting the extra electricity.

OK, so all that being said, here's the caveat. A suction cleaner requires a suction port. A suction port can be dangerous. Potentially it can kill someone. If the port is left open, and the pump is on high, a pool pump can eviscerate someone stuck to a suction port, or drown them. I have heard of robots killing people, but I think that might have been a movie! I've protected against this possibility in several ways: I run it only at night, my suction port has a proper safety flap, and I split its suction with my skimmer's port while vacuuming, so, like a dual main drain system, there is never 100% suction at that port. Plus I have an automated valve that disables the port completely except while vacuuming (so it's never active during swim times). While it is possible all those safeties could be defeated, with some bizarre set of circumstances, I feel it's not any more dangerous than having a big body of water in the middle of a residential backyard. But it is something to be aware of.

If you put a Rebel, a Polaris and the best robot in front of me, and I could choose one for free, I'd choose the Rebel.

When they invent a robot that is cordless and can crawl itself out of a pool and park itself in its charging garage, and empty its collector, then I'll get a robot! Hey, my Roomba can do all that, so it's just a matter of time that someone makes a pool vac that can. A PoolBa! (I better copyright that!!)

Classic @Dirk … no one, and I mean NO ONE, can create a “stream of consciousness” post like him. He is like the Rain Man of long-form posts … “246 … d-d-definitely 246 …

One thing I would suggest though that violates Dirk’s Pool Rules #467 (“no lifting anything heavier than a beer can out of the pool”) is to run a suction cleaner with an in-line leaf trap. I have one and they are not that bad in terms of weight. Before I used a leaf trap I had a really, really bad suction line plug from a bunch of mesquite debris. The suction line was totally plugged and no amount of water jetting would set it free. I had to resort to a compressed air tank and jerry-rigging up a hose adapter to plug into my diverter valve pipe. I was sweating it because I knew air pressure could easily rupture a PVC glue joint but thankfully the leaf mass blew out on the first low’ish pressure burst from the tank 🫣😬. After that, the leaf trap was permanently part of the suction cleaner line.
 

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Dirk

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Classic @Dirk … no one, and I mean NO ONE, can create a “stream of consciousness” post like him. He is like the Rain Man of long-form posts … “246 … d-d-definitely 246 …

One thing I would suggest though that violates Dirk’s Pool Rules #467 (“no lifting anything heavier than a beer can out of the pool”) is to run a suction cleaner with an in-line leaf trap. I have one and they are not that bad in terms of weight. Before I used a leaf trap I had a really, really bad suction line plug from a bunch of mesquite debris. The suction line was totally plugged and no amount of water jetting would set it free. I had to resort to a compressed air tank and jerry-rigging up a hose adapter to plug into my diverter valve pipe. I was sweating it because I knew air pressure could easily rupture a PVC glue joint but thankfully the leaf mass blew out on the first low’ish pressure burst from the tank 🫣😬. After that, the leaf trap was permanently part of the suction cleaner line.
Interesting. But I may be too lazy even for one of those. I think I've lucked out in that, purposely or not, the landscaper that designed this yard (for the previous owner) did a fantastic job of plant choice. I just don't get much junk in my pool, and none of significant size or get-stucked-ness, to give me any trouble. I better go knock on some wood. Most times I clean my pump basket it's got just a couple inches worth in the bottom. I can go weeks without having to clean it. Same for my skimmer basket. Once in a while it'll fill up with leaves, like on a windy day, but most of those leaves end up in the skimmer, and don't make it to the bottom. I clean my filter once a year and even skipped 2021 altogether. Just lucked out, I guess.

Which the OP has to consider when reading my advice about my Rebel. It cleans my pool just fine, but it's not exactly under heavy fire.
 

JoyfulNoise

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I hate opening up my pump basket so I use hairnets in my skimmer and a leaf trap on my cleaner. I think I’ve opened my pump baskets up less than 3 or 4 times in the last 3 years. I hate Pentair’s pump lid design. After introducing several of the mesquite trees around my pool to my chainsaw, I have not had any further problems with debris. But it is nice to capture the heavy stuff early … I opened my filter to clean it two weeks ago and aside from the grey colored DE in it, I think I saw one partially decomposed and bleached out leaf in my filter … oh, and some hair that I tried to give back to the owner but she yelled at me and ran away 🤷‍♂️
 
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Dirk

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After introducing several of the mesquite trees around my pool to my chainsaw
Landscaping plays a huge roll in your pool experience, that's for sure. General atmosphere, of course, but also water color, deck and water temperature, maintenance, upkeep, etc... even structural considerations for pool and deck. Not sure it gets discussed/covered all that well here, especially in build threads, which is the time to establish a plan.
 
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Dirk

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I hate opening up my pump basket
Huh. Never having had any other pump that I had to work with, I never gave that much thought. You're right, there is something funky about it and the o-ring, the way they fit, but I guess I just got used to it after using it so many times. I pop it on and off no problem.
 

4x4tx

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@Dirk @JoyfulNoise Thanks for the comments....good points. I am also in a low load environment, most of my debris will be sand and dirt. I have no trees, an infinity pool with a limited plants around it.

Does the robot do a good job of cleaning the tiles? Thats really what is making me think it might be worth the $350 extra? I need to decide asap as I need something cleaning now. I am coming up on my 30 day period of first fill.
 

JoyfulNoise

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Cleaning tiles of what? The tile cleaning functions is laughable on most robots. They simple go up the wall to the water line and run their brush and suction … but what does that actually do? It might break up clumps of dirt or leaves or bugs that collect at the water line but it will absolutely NOT remove scale or calcium. You can do an equally good job with a wall brush, a leaf neat and 15-20mins of sweat and elbow grease.

Is that worth the extra $350 … to me, no. But to each his own in that decision process.
 
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Dirk

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I sometimes get a ring of organic material that kind'a sticks to the tile right at the water line. Small debris, small flowers and leaves, like that. I don't see any evidence that my Rebel gets at that stuff. You can adjust a Rebel to climb walls, and I know they can climb up to the tile, I've seen mine do it. The problem is, when that climbing exposes the Rebel's suction port to air, it gladly gulps it down, which then momentarily impacts the pump's function. The Rebel then falls into the water and suction resumes. I wasn't sure of the long-term effects of that, so I've adjusted my Rebel to stop short of the tile.

I've significantly reduced the build up of scale and calcium on my edge tile, but I did that with TFP chemistry, not anything else. I'll need to scrub what little is there soon, before it gets worse. Matt makes an interesting point. While I was aware a robot can pass over the tile, I never gave much thought to if that actually accomplishes anything. At a completely 90° angle to it's normal orientation, with all its weight trying to pull it off the wall, it's amazing that it can climb a wall at all. But it's not hard to imagine the force it might be able to apply to brushing a vertical surface, especially out of the water, has to be minimal.
 

4x4tx

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@Dirk @JoyfulNoise Ok cool...well that pretty much convinces me its not worth getting a robot. Ive been told it does a good job of brushing the tiles but what you said dirk is kind of what I thought, how can it running up the wall.
 

Dirk

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Ive been told it does a good job of brushing the tiles
I'd be curious to learn more about that claim, and who made it. Has anyone with any sort of gunk on their tile seen that gunk reduce after the start of using a robot? That'd be the only valuable input. I've never owned a robot, so my thoughts on the subject are merely conjecture. I would expect, at best, the function would be like flossing your teeth. You're never going to remove built up plaque by flossing, but "4 out of 5 dentists agree" that by flossing you inhibit the build up, sort of nipping it in the bud. Maybe robots can do that? I wonder if there is any definitive research, as in actual controlled testing, to prove the brushing by a robot is effective, bottom, sides, tile, etc, in any way. Or is it merely sales hype by robot manufacturers... and robot owners that want to justify their purchase. There's probably some of the latter going on with proponents of any type of pool cleaner, myself included. We all tend to praise what we own!
 
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JoyfulNoise

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In the more expensive robots ... mine was one of them ... you could choose to run the robot in TILE-LINE MODE. That would send the robot up the wall to the tile line and then the thrust from water pump jets would move the robot around the pool while the brushes scrubbed the waterline. It was slow going, maybe a foot of tile length every 10 secs or so and any protrusions (like my rock waterfall) would cause the robot to fall away. Did it eject any debris from the wall and/or suction it up. Yes. Is it worth it ... I dunno but I never really used that mode much as the standard cleaning mode was for the robot to spend about 80% of it's cleaning cycle on the floor and the other 20% climbing the walls. And there was no easy way to schedule tile line cleaning versus regular cleaning ... the Dolphin App is terrible in terms of it's user interface and user experience. As for real-world data on the waterline cleaning ... doubt there's a lot out there. Perhaps on a no-frills vinyl or fiberglass pool, it's helpful but on gunite pools with complicated designs and ceramic tile that seems to love to get debris stuck to it, I don't see it working any better than a brush and a leaf net.
 
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