Recommendations for the best pool automatic pool cleaner/robot?

TazDoug

Member
Jul 3, 2019
21
San Jose, CA
Hi,

I am interested in finding out which automatic pool cleaner(s) are the best based on experience and research.
I currently have the Dolphin Deluxe 5 which has been ok but cleaning the media bag is somewhat of a headache.
My device is having some trouble so I want to take advantage of folks wisdom and experience out there to see which might be my next buy in case my current one is getting to it's end.

Thanks in advance,
Doug
 

KDpoolguy

Bronze Supporter
Mar 5, 2017
554
Palm Desert, CA
Doug,
Most of us are finding success with the Dolphin Active 20/30/30i, or identical S200/300/300i series. They’re ideal for modestly sized pools (35’ Length, <20k gal). Not sure how your robot has been but Previously I’d used suction cleaners and still needed to manually vacuum every few months, but my Active 20 makes that unnecessary.
I, and seemingly every one else on TFP, is purchasing theirs from Marina Pools in CO. Fantastic deals and tax/shipping is included.
 
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DjEclipse

Well-known member
Jun 27, 2016
89
Ontario
If cleaning the debris bag is a main concern you can look at the AquaVac 650. It is literally a push of a button and the debris canister is clean and ready to go again.

I did a detailed review with videos here.


It did have issues with not picking up the finer sand and dirt. It would also not pick up anything whwre the transition from flat to the 45deg angled walls in my deep end.

Due to this is had to return it. Hayward did call me and say they may be able to fix these issues with firmware updates bit it will take a while.

I ordered the Dolphin M600 which just came out last week and is the next evolution of the s300i/ 30i.

I'll be writing a detailed review with video once I get mine next week.
 
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TazDoug

Member
Jul 3, 2019
21
San Jose, CA
Doug,
Most of us are finding success with the Dolphin Active 20/30/30i, or identical S200/300/300i series. They’re ideal for modestly sized pools (35’ Length, <20k gal). Not sure how your robot has been but Previously I’d used suction cleaners and still needed to manually vacuum every few months, but my Active 20 makes that unnecessary.
I, and seemingly every one else on TFP, is purchasing theirs from Marina Pools in CO. Fantastic deals and tax/shipping is included.
Hi Kevin,
Would that be Marina Pool, Spa, & Patio in Lakewood, CO?

Thanks,
Doug
 
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KDpoolguy

Bronze Supporter
Mar 5, 2017
554
Palm Desert, CA
Hi Kevin,
Would that be Marina Pool, Spa, & Patio in Lakewood, CO?

Thanks,
Doug
That’s the one! Yes, Margaret can help, and be sure to ask for the ‘basket upgrade’. It’s a free addition of the $30 rough basket insert that catches the bigger debris, allowing the filter material to grab the finer stuff more effectively. They are so great. My most local pool robot vendor quoted me almost twice the price after shipping and tax.
 

KDpoolguy

Bronze Supporter
Mar 5, 2017
554
Palm Desert, CA
The Pool Cleaner
Our pool is ~48'x24' but irregular shape. I live in NY state and have lots of trees around the pool. Would the Dolphin be suitable for this size & geography?
We just had the pool resurfaced and notice some debris that seems to end up in the pool regularly and leaves stains. Most stains go away in a few days with brushing, but a few have remained. I'm not keen to continue the almost-daily brushing, so hoping the robot would help with this issue!
Welcome to TFP! It is a great site with some awesome people and features.

Your pool would really benefit from a robot, especially their effectiveness in wall climbing/scrubbing, and pool line cleaning. Only concern with the your pool length would be where your cord plug-in is located. These residential robots are all 60ft cable length, with a general limit of 50’ pool length. If your pool is 45’ length, but distance to your GFCI plug is located 15’ from a polar end, and your pools depth as well, it may not accommodate your entire pool. Can you get a plug arranged within 10 feet of pool? And maybe at center width area of pool?

The pool company I used to do the surfacing is suggesting a supply-side cleaner. From what I have read, this would involve additional equipment and hoses, which I'm not very keen on. I'm guessing the pool companies are less familiar with the robot (or less likely to recommend them) because they don't need to be as involved in their setup and maintenance?
It’s hard to tell. IMHO, supply side vacuums can still be very effective. The hoses are a drawback, where a robots cable is very easily removed and placed on the deck or on a proprietary additional storage caddy.
Do you have a dedicated, independently plumbed suction port? A suction port otherwise would have to be arranged in with the skimmer, and if you only have 1 skimmer, it can be a pain. Venerable suction sides like the Kreepy Kraully do well with wall cleaning and small debris, but are just OK with large leaves compared to The Pool Cleaner (which isn’t as strong on fine debris/sand). Also, in my experience, suctions tend to get hung up on everything-main drains, steps, shelves, not to mention the additional purchases (I.e. in-line leaf canisters) are one yucky thing to empty. The Dolphin bots just 🦵🏼 butter with all those tasks. Suctions also rely on your pump running at high speed, in long intervals, so up goes the electrical bill.
If you have a weekly pool maintenance, I’ve heard they don’t like robots if the smaller (but still fine with S200-300) basket is filling up and designed for more frequent emptying.

I’ve had ‘Boffo’ my Active 20 (same as S200) for a few months and 💕 it. I never need any manually vacuuming, with my Kreepy and old 1989 Farfegnuggen Pool Cleaner it still needed a good manually vacuum every few weeks/months. I see no point in a pool service needing to manually vacuum the pool (still maybe the spa) ever again with a Dolphin robot!
-Kevin
 
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ssparky

New member
May 29, 2019
3
Empire State
Thanks @KDpoolguy ! Didn't think about cord length. There is a power outlet exactly midway, probably about 10-12 ft from the water edge. I'll do a quick check tomorrow with a rope, but a 60' cord may just about work out, although have to check on the deep end, where the floor is ~ 7' down.
There isn't a suction port built in, though we do have 2 active skimmers. I'm not keen to do any additional plumbing work if I can help it ; just had a bunch of renovation work done on the pool.
 

KDpoolguy

Bronze Supporter
Mar 5, 2017
554
Palm Desert, CA
Thanks @KDpoolguy ! Didn't think about cord length. There is a power outlet exactly midway, probably about 10-12 ft from the water edge...
There isn't a suction port built in, though we do have 2 active skimmers. I'm not keen to do any additional plumbing work if I can help it ; just had a bunch of renovation work done on the pool.
That’s great news about the electrical outlet location. Can you hear it? The robot universe is calling you. 😃
If you go with a suction cleaner, having the second skimmer will be fine to put in a Pentair VacMate to share suction without deleting the skimming. I had one for a long time with only one skimmer and it was fine. No special plumbing necessary.