Recommendations for Pool Cleaning Setup?

What is the minimum or recommended equipment list I should own for keeping my new pebble pool and spa clean? All input is gratefully received! Details below...

I am currently manual brushing and using a leaf rake and I need to graduate to a less labor intensive method. Some notes about my situation:
- I think I'm doing pretty well on the chemistry front, I'm strictly wondering about hardware for physical cleaning.
- Back yard does not generate a lot of leaves or other mess. (Mostly concrete pavers, artificial turf, and drought-tolerant plants that don't drop too much junk).
- My "leaf rake" seems to be a pretty cheap blue net that came with the pool at startup.
- I have enough rooftop solar that electricity is close to "free" for the purposes of this decision.
- The pool was built with a dedicated suction line for a cleaner, but no dedicated pump. I have a variable speed pump. If I understand correctly, I would need to open a manual valve to activate the suction line and it would essentially "turn off" the skimmer while it runs. I'm assuming I could add an actuator to the valve and add it to my automation (Pentair EasyTouch) but that would be an extra cost.
- The pool has a bench and Baja shelf that I'm sure I will need to continue brushing manually.
- Shallow to deep end transition is about a 3:1 slope.
- My deep end is only 7 feet but my skill at removing leaves from the bottom with the rake is terrible. I really want something that could grab a few large-ish leaves (maybe 5-6 inches long) without my intervention.
- I'm assuming I will spend in the high hundreds but hopefully less than $1,000 to get set up. I would be open to spending a bit more if it got me a great cleaning solution.
- From my research so far I am leaning toward "The Pool Cleaner" for the suction side cleaner option or the Dolphin S200 for the robot option.
- A tidy solution that minimizes the amount of equipment laying around my pool deck during cleaning or that needs to be stored between cleanings is a definite plus.
- I'm fine with putting in whatever physical effort is needed, what I'm REALLY trying to save is time.

So, my questions:
- Suction cleaner or robot? Any model recommendations?
- If I have a suction cleaner or robot do a still need to buy a manual vacuum?
- Will a robot remove finer mess like dirt and sand?
- If I need a manual vacuum, any recommendations on which one and any necessary accessories (e.g., leaf canister)?
- Is there a better leaf rake that would make a useful difference, or do I just need more practice?
- Any other equipment I have not mentioned that I should be considering?

Sorry for the long post but I have yet to see a TFP reply that complains about having TOO MUCH information :)

Thanks in advance for any guidance you can give. This site has been a fantastic resource. I see an expensive shopping day in my near future and I would like to get it right the first time.
 

mknauss

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
May 3, 2014
23,001
Laughlin, NV
Robot. Hands down. A basic one like the Maytronics S200 will clean the pool just fine. You can add on bells and whistles if you like for more money.

A good leaf rake/net is necessary. I have one from TFTestkits. Works great. The Whale Wall brush is also a good add.

I would say no real need for a manual vac hose and head. I have one. Have not used since I got the robot three years ago.
 

bmoreswim

Mod Squad
Gold Supporter
Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 16, 2012
5,569
Central MD
I have an Active 20 (same as S200). You can spend more than $700 but don’t need to. I brush less than I should but do own one. And a leaf net. I use one pole and the two attachments. That’s it. My effort is spent dropping the robot it, pulling it out and cleaning the basket/cartridges. I like to keep it out of the pool and only drop it in once or twice a week. We have a fairly clean pool environment. I also use hairnets on the skimmers. A must with hairy dogs that swim.
 
Well, I got the Pentair Warrior SE and have used it multiple times already. It is awesome and I wanted to reiterate my thanks to those who responded to my questions, as well as to the forum in general.

I purchased through Marina Pool and Spa and the service was excellent. I saw a few comments on here recently that Marina was not responsive, but they were 100% fantastic in my experience. They answered all my questions and took my order in one efficient phone call.

Now I just need to stop my son from "feeding" leaves to the robot while it is working :ROFLMAO:
 
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l1ltaral1l

Bronze Supporter
Jul 16, 2019
356
Walnutport, PA
Well, I got the Pentair Warrior SE and have used it multiple times already. It is awesome and I wanted to reiterate my thanks to those who responded to my questions, as well as to the forum in general.

I purchased through Marina Pool and Spa and the service was excellent. I saw a few comments on here recently that Marina was not responsive, but they were 100% fantastic in my experience. They answered all my questions and took my order in one efficient phone call.

Now I just need to stop my son from "feeding" leaves to the robot while it is working :ROFLMAO:
Our kids think alike. LOL! We only used our S200 for a week before our new pool was closed, but it did an amazing job cleaning up the fresh construction stuff in the pool. And my kids are obsessed with it also. My 6 year old said it's like the ticket counter at the arcade we go to :LOL: