Robot cleaner recommendation

dothechex

New member
Feb 21, 2021
4
Phoenix, AZ
Pool Size
15000
Hello,

Just moved into a home in Phoenix AZ which has a pool. I've never owned a pool before, so I'm brand new to all this. Lots to learn!

As a starting point, I was hoping to get a recommendation on a robot vacuum. The current pool has a Pentair Rebel vacuum on its own dedicated vacuum line. There is a Hayward canister on the line that is used for collecting leaves, etc.

I'd like to replace the vacuum because it stopped working soon after I purchased the home. There's something off about the internal components and I cannot figure out the problem even after taking it apart several times. I think it was purchased several years ago. It's also covered in mold and two sections of the vacuum line have broken apart when disconnecting the Hayward canister to empty the components, so I'm thinking I should probably get a fresh start on this as well.

Does anyone have a recommendation for a reliable robot vacuum that could be connected to a dedicated vacuum line? I'll try to answer spec questions below, though my apologies in advance as I'm not certain about all the components. I don't have an unlimited budget, but also don't want to deal with an inefficient or poorly functional vacuum. Just something simple that will reliably get the job done -- if this even exists!

  • Pool size: ~15,000 gallons. It's an oblong curved shape.
  • In-ground pool
  • Pool lining: I'm not sure about this?
  • Filter type: I think it may be sand, though I'm not sure.
  • Pump: Pentair variable speed
  • Other components: dedicated vacuum line.
  • Pool test kit: purchased AquaChek 7-way kit
  • No water restrictions from what I can tell.

Thank you so much in advance for the help.
 

Newdude

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jun 16, 2019
6,151
NY
Call Marina pools and Spa and ask for Margaret. They may be busy and it may take some tries. She will go over your needs and fit you right up with something great for you. The Dolphin s200 is the widely accepted best bang for the buck. If you like bells and whistles there are better models too. If you want to stay the vacuum course, they have them as well.

Now. To be a good robot parent you need a proper test kit. Please SOMEBODY think of the children !!!! You can’t leave your new baby in gross soup. The strips just won’t cut it. It’s a small investment and the first step in knowing what’s going on in your pool. The TF-100 is the best bang for the buck from tftestkits.net. The first time you would have gone to the pool store because the test strips lied to you, you’d be out 3X as much in magic potions that made you return again and again. (Also at a small fortune). Read up onABCs of Pool Water Chemistry and post away any questions. We will gladly guide you until it clicks. :)

And lastly, Welcome to the coolest forum around !! Oodles of fellow enthusiasts happy as clams to help you for nothing other than the feels.
 
Last edited:

Mdragger88

Bronze Supporter
Jun 1, 2018
1,759
Hernando, Ms
Pool Size
26000
Surface
Vinyl
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Intex Krystal Clear
A robot (maytronics dolphin) like @Newdude describes above is a self contained unit that plugs in to a 120v outlet & doesn’t require a hose or booster pump of any kind.
The unit you have sounds like a suction side cleaner.
A robot allows u to clean your pool independently of any pump which in turn saves on electricity, wear & tear on the pump.
Just making sure u are aware of the difference in the types of cleaners -
* Robots (plugs into 120v outlet, debris contained in filtered basket, no pump required )
* suction side (requires pool pump & debris goes into pool’s filter)
* pressure side (usually require booster pump & debris is contained in the unit’s bag )
 

dothechex

New member
Feb 21, 2021
4
Phoenix, AZ
Pool Size
15000
Hi friends,

Thank you for your responses -- I apologize for the delayed reply from my end, I had a family emergency the same day of this posting and had to urgently travel out of town for a few weeks.

I have tried calling Marina Pools and Spa a few times, but nobody picks up. I will continue to try. Is it worth leaving a voicemail or sending an email, or should I continue trying to reach Margaret live?

On their website, I watched the video on pool cleaner recommendations. I also browsed the forums for recommendations. It seems many people recommend a dedicated "robot" (instead of a "suction cleaner" -- am I using these terms correctly?), but my concern is the lack of available electrical outlets in my backyard for the robot. The closest is a single outlet that's used for the pool pump. The second closest is another single outlet that's used by the sprinkler system controller. The third (and final) outlet pair is located in front of the house next to the garage!

I could look into getting some outlets installed outside if you all would strongly recommend a robot over a suction cleaner. Unless there's an alternative solution where I could utilize one of the existing outlets? I can send some pictures this evening if that would help. I have minimal experience with electrical work so I don't want to mess with anything unless I'm sure it won't cause any problems down the road!

I will have plenty of questions to ask in the coming months, especially as pool season gets started. Thanks so much in advance for the help, I'm excited to learn more from all of you!
 

jonnyd91

Well-known member
Jul 21, 2020
91
NJ
SWG Type
Hayward Aqua Rite Pro (T-15)
I left a message and she called me back within 2 hours. I just placed an order for a Warrior SI.
 
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Oly

Gold Supporter
Jun 28, 2017
1,733
Fresno, CA
Pool Size
27000
I replaced my Rebel cleaner with a Maytronics S200 several years ago and was (still am) amazed how much better it works and now enjoy a clean pool with no permanent cleaning hoses.
 

wireform

Silver Supporter
In The Industry
Aug 15, 2017
1,948
Spring Valley, NY
I replaced my Rebel cleaner with a Maytronics S200 several years ago and was (still am) amazed how much better it works and now enjoy a clean pool with no permanent cleaning hoses.
And not necessarily do you need the pump to run for it either. It has its own filter to catch what is in the pool keeping the filter cleaner in the long run.
 

Dtkokay

Well-known member
Dec 31, 2019
379
Houston, Texas
Can you plug a splitter into the plug that's being used by your sprinkler controller? By splitter, I mean a plug that has two or three plugs on the opposite side. The controller uses very little power, and same for a robot, so those two devices should have no problem sharing a plug.
 

dothechex

New member
Feb 21, 2021
4
Phoenix, AZ
Pool Size
15000
I will be sure to call tomorrow and leave a message. It will be helpful to talk with her on the phone. Are there any models from there to steer away from, or is everything reliable and of high quality?

I also wanted to ask if anyone have a caddy? I'm not sure why I would consider getting one.

I could probably use a splitter -- the only downside is that it's a bit far from the pool so I'd need an extension cord. Not the end of the world. It could be a temporary solution until I do get outlets (my wife really wants them outside, and I'd agree for the convenience aspect).

Finally -- this is outside the scope of this topic, but I was thinking of getting the pool drained and refilled because the hardness and cyanuric acid levels are both extremely high. I thought it would be nice to start fresh this season. Does that sound reasonable to you all?
 

mknauss

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
May 3, 2014
35,937
Laughlin, NV
Pool Size
6000
Surface
Fiberglass
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
Are there any models from there to steer away from, or is everything reliable and of high quality?
It is all about cost and bells and whistles. Many of us have the basic robot and they work great. My Active20 (same as S200 and Pentair SE) is 4 years old and works great.
I also wanted to ask if anyone have a caddy?
Again, depends on your use. If you will be removing the robot after every use and cleaning the filters and then having to move it to a shed or garage to store it, the caddy would be handy. My robot stays in the pool nearly all year. So I did not get a caddy.
Finally -- this is outside the scope of this topic, but I was thinking of getting the pool drained and refilled because the hardness and cyanuric acid levels are both extremely high. I thought it would be nice to start fresh this season. Does that sound reasonable to you all?
What are your test results from your own test kit? If it is time to exchange the water in your pool to fresh, you want to do in the next few weeks before our temperatures climb and sun angle increases.
 

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NCMike

Gold Supporter
Jan 31, 2020
133
Raleigh, NC
I use the caddy and glad I got it. I don't have an outlet close enough to the pool to plug the control box into and have enough robot cord to reach all corners of the pool. The caddy provides a place to hand the control box which I can put beside the pool when the robot is in use. I use an extension cord from the control box to the outlet. When not in use the extension cord is hung on the caddy as well. It works well for me.

If you have somewhere to mount the control box next to an outlet then the caddy becomes of less use.
 

sharp7823

Member
Jul 4, 2020
17
Central California
I ordered an Active30 with caddy from Marina yesterday after a few back and forth calls. If you leave a message they will call you back. As a side note, I've heard a lot about Margaret on this forum, but the three different times I spoke to someone, never was it her.
 
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dothechex

New member
Feb 21, 2021
4
Phoenix, AZ
Pool Size
15000
It is all about cost and bells and whistles. Many of us have the basic robot and they work great. My Active20 (same as S200 and Pentair SE) is 4 years old and works great.

Again, depends on your use. If you will be removing the robot after every use and cleaning the filters and then having to move it to a shed or garage to store it, the caddy would be handy. My robot stays in the pool nearly all year. So I did not get a caddy.

What are your test results from your own test kit? If it is time to exchange the water in your pool to fresh, you want to do in the next few weeks before our temperatures climb and sun angle increases.
Thank you for the helpful information. I thought the Rebel did not work well at all, so I'm sure any of these models will be a big upgrade :) How do you store the power supply if the robot is deployed year-round? I would worry about constant exposure to the Arizona summer sun. I may prefer to not leave the robot in the pool all the time to avoid leaving a cord across a frequently-used walkway. I have a small outdoor shed in the other side of the yard, which may become a little cumbersome long-term -- so maybe I can build a small storage box near the pool pump for convenience if this would ensure the longevity of the robot.

Would it be a big cost loss if I decided to not buy the caddy initially, but change my mind later and purchase it individually?

The Aquachek 7 test strips give me a hardness of >1000ppm and a cyanuric acid of >300ppm. These are the highest values on the scale. What is the significance of the sun angle with regard to the water exchange?

I use the caddy and glad I got it. I don't have an outlet close enough to the pool to plug the control box into and have enough robot cord to reach all corners of the pool. The caddy provides a place to hand the control box which I can put beside the pool when the robot is in use. I use an extension cord from the control box to the outlet. When not in use the extension cord is hung on the caddy as well. It works well for me.

If you have somewhere to mount the control box next to an outlet then the caddy becomes of less use.
Thank you for describing your experience. I could consider installing a simple mount near a future outlet for this purpose. That's a great idea.

I ordered an Active30 with caddy from Marina yesterday after a few back and forth calls. If you leave a message they will call you back. As a side note, I've heard a lot about Margaret on this forum, but the three different times I spoke to someone, never was it her.
Glad you had a similar experience -- I did not get a chance to call today, hopefully I can get a hold of them tomorrow or Saturday.


Thank you all for the input, I am very grateful for how welcoming and helpful this community is.
 

mknauss

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
May 3, 2014
35,937
Laughlin, NV
Pool Size
6000
Surface
Fiberglass
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
How do you store the power supply if the robot is deployed year-round?
My equipment pad is always in shade. But I do take the power supply into the garage when it might rain, which rarely happens!

Would it be a big cost loss if I decided to not buy the caddy initially, but change my mind later and purchase it individually?
Not sure. You can ask Marina Pool Spa when you call.
The Aquachek 7 test strips give me a hardness of >1000ppm and a cyanuric acid of >300ppm. These are the highest values on the scale. What is the significance of the sun angle with regard to the water exchange?
Once you get a proper test kit we can assist with chemistry guidance.
You do not want a plaster surface to dry out and get hot. So bright, hot, Arizona sun on the plaster during the drain and refill can damage the plaster. If you decide you need to drain, rent a pump from Home Depot and that will drain your pool in a few hours, then refill.
 

HermanTX

Gold Supporter
May 20, 2020
1,343
Katy TX
Pool Size
14600
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
You may want to verify but your outlet should be on a GFCI circuit or be a dedicated GFCI socket.
Be careful plugging into the socket near your pump. If it is on the same circuit and for some reason it trips the GFCI then your pump may be shut off as well without your immediate knowledge
Attached on 2 comparison summaries I downloaded from the site several months ago so they may be updated versions.
 

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