Solar Skimmers: Betta versus Ariel

DanF

Silver Supporter
Mar 17, 2019
415
Chandler, AZ
Pool Size
12500
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CircuPool RJ-45 Plus
I am looking at picking up a solar-powered skimmer to help with surface debris. Based on research here, it appears that the 2 viable candidates are the Ariel by Solar Breeze and the Betta by Instapark. I suppose that not many have owned both, given that both are somewhat new, but looking for opinions on these skimmers.

Based on my research I put together a quick list of pros/cons between the two, in no particular order. Please provide any feedback based on your personal experience.

Size of debris tray - Betta's seems a little bigger.
Customer service - Instapark which is China-based but has an office in CA gets good marks for issue resolution. Solar Breeze is based in AZ but have not found any experience.
Availability - Betta is currently available in 2 of their 3 colors, but Ariel seems to be on backorder.
Battery - Because these are solar devices this can be subjective, based on the pool's latitude and hours/sun/day. However it seems like the Betta will pretty much run 24/7 in a sunny climate such as mine. I have read that Ariel won't make it through the night, as opposed to its predecessor, the NX2.
Remote control - Betta's controls on/off and direction of travel. Not sure if Ariel has one.
Durability/Reliability- Ariel's owners have reported that because of its speed it tends to crash into walls, thus cracking the frame near the bumpers. Betta owners have mentioned that replacement parts (props, etc.) have been needed. Both have a one year warranty.
Cleaning capability - Both seem to clean very well.
Suitability for salt pools - Ariel: yes. Betta: yes I think. I believe their earlier version was not but the current one is.
Cost - Betta $589. Ariel $468???
Suction skimmer conflict - This relates to the tendency of the device to get pull away from the suction of the skimmer while the pump is running. It probably can't be evaluated due to various pump speeds. If I do have a conflict I may need to run my 2-speed pump on low speed (not a bad thing).

Thanks.
 

cowboycasey

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That is a great list.. I went with the Ariel Breeze. We are doing a group buy once they get caught up on the backordered ones.. :)
 

maggiesfan

Gold Supporter
Jan 1, 2017
40
Tucson Arizona
I am looking at picking up a solar-powered skimmer to help with surface debris. Based on research here, it appears that the 2 viable candidates are the Ariel by Solar Breeze and the Betta by Instapark. I suppose that not many have owned both, given that both are somewhat new, but looking for opinions on these skimmers.

Based on my research I put together a quick list of pros/cons between the two, in no particular order. Please provide any feedback based on your personal experience.

Size of debris tray - Betta's seems a little bigger.
Customer service - Instapark which is China-based but has an office in CA gets good marks for issue resolution. Solar Breeze is based in AZ but have not found any experience.
Availability - Betta is currently available in 2 of their 3 colors, but Ariel seems to be on backorder.
Battery - Because these are solar devices this can be subjective, based on the pool's latitude and hours/sun/day. However it seems like the Betta will pretty much run 24/7 in a sunny climate such as mine. I have read that Ariel won't make it through the night, as opposed to its predecessor, the NX2.
Remote control - Betta's controls on/off and direction of travel. Not sure if Ariel has one.
Durability/Reliability- Ariel's owners have reported that because of its speed it tends to crash into walls, thus cracking the frame near the bumpers. Betta owners have mentioned that replacement parts (props, etc.) have been needed. Both have a one year warranty.
Cleaning capability - Both seem to clean very well.
Suitability for salt pools - Ariel: yes. Betta: yes I think. I believe their earlier version was not but the current one is.
Cost - Betta $589. Ariel $468???
Suction skimmer conflict - This relates to the tendency of the device to get pull away from the suction of the skimmer while the pump is running. It probably can't be evaluated due to various pump speeds. If I do have a conflict I may need to run my 2-speed pump on low speed (not a bad thing).

Thanks.
I can tell you that my experience with Solar-Breeze customer service is awful, I have been waiting since 15th June for someone to get back to me regarding parts for my NX2, I spoke to someone on 15th and was told someone would get back to me, I received an email the same day that a LIVE person would email me within 3 to 5 business days, hasn’t happened yet, and Monday will be the 10th business day.
So it looks like I will be calling again.
 

cowboycasey

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I can tell you they are OVERWHELMED right now... Trying to get the Ariel out and take care of everything else on top of COVID and getting people to work... When you get paid more sitting on the couch than working it is an issue...
 
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maggiesfan

Gold Supporter
Jan 1, 2017
40
Tucson Arizona
I can tell you they are OVERWHELMED right now... Trying to get the Ariel out and take care of everything else on top of COVID and getting people to work... When you get paid more sitting on the couch than working it is an issue...
Yes I get that, but Customer service should be telling me they are OVERWHELMED, and not 3 to 5 business days, I have spent over $1000, on two NX2’s and would expect that current customers who have spent that amount of cash could at least expect some kind of faster response, and as such AWFUL is still my assessment.
 

Sanford35000

Member
Jun 23, 2021
20
Sanford NC
Pool Size
35000
Surface
Plaster
Yes I get that, but Customer service should be telling me they are OVERWHELMED, and not 3 to 5 business days, I have spent over $1000, on two NX2’s and would expect that current customers who have spent that amount of cash could at least expect some kind of faster response, and as such AWFUL is still my assessment.
We also bought two NX's. We have an NX and an NX2.

We had a couple of problems with the first version and they handled both issues quickly, efficiently and (mostly) to our satisfaction. We had the power switch fail on the original NX and they sent us a replacement power switch at no charge (it was within warranty period).

We also returned the first NX to the factory for evaluation (cracks around the corner wheel areas) and they sent us a loaner to use while they inspected the one that we returned. Nothing was done about the cracks, so our original unit was returned without any alterations or fixes. The unit seems to function properly with the surface cracks. We sent it back because we were afraid that the cracks would get worse, but they seem to be stable and aren't affecting the functionality of the unit.

This was all done about three years ago, so it's possible that their customer service has become less efficient since they probably have a lot more units out in the world and are probably having more than the usual number of issues with the release of a newly designed unit.

My two cents regarding the OP's dilemma. Our original Solar Breeze NX is still working like a workhorse after three summers of use running 24/7. I don't see any reviews of the Betta that are older than August 2020, and there are an uncomfortable number of reviews saying that the unit stopped working within a few months.

Unfortunately, the NX and the NX2 are no longer available. If we can assume that the build quality of the Ariel is equal to, or better than, the NX and NX2, I would definitely go with the Ariel.

I wouldn't hesitate to buy another solar skimmer from Solar Breeze after my experience with the NX's and am considering adding my name to the group buy list. The only thing holding me back is that we already have two of these things and they both still work extremely well.
 
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maggiesfan

Gold Supporter
Jan 1, 2017
40
Tucson Arizona
I called Solar-Breeze again on Tuesday and was told someone would get back to me within 24 hours, but yet again I have not heard a thing from them, so as you can see I keep getting promises that are never kept, that to me is NOT good customer service, the kicker is that I really like the NX2 I just can’t seem to get any kind of support to get the parts required to keep it running.
 

Katodude

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Aug 22, 2017
1,717
West Palm Beach/Florida
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The just sent an email to all their customers apologizing for their bad service. The are taking steps to remedy this, its just a hard time for them now. Personally I am choosing to cut them a break.
 
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maggiesfan

Gold Supporter
Jan 1, 2017
40
Tucson Arizona
The just sent an email to all their customers apologizing for their bad service. The are taking steps to remedy this, its just a hard time for them now. Personally I am choosing to cut them a break.
I would cut them a break also, but I have been trying to get parts for the NX2, for over a month now, and unlike you I don’t have the luxury of having two skimmers 😀😀, when I have spoken to someone at Solar-Breeze not one of them have told me that they are really stretched and it might be awhile before my problem can be taken care of, I have even filled in the online parts request form ( 2 weeks ago) and I have still not received the invoice so I can pay it and finally get the parts.
 

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Orion7319

Well-known member
Jul 1, 2020
553
Rock Hill, South Carolina
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19775
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Vinyl
Chlorine
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Hayward Aqua Rite (T-15)
I haven’t tried a solar breeze skimmer, but their baskets look just two small to really work for my situation. The Bettas do have issues, but their customer support has never given me the runaround and always given me the option to have my unit repaired or to receive a brand new unit. (To me it was a no-brainer to ask for a replacement unit and get an updated unit). Each revision seems to address and completely fix problems they seem to have. As such I’m not at all dissatisfied with my purchase, as so far their customer service has been nothing less then stellar. It runs all night without a problem and can hold a lot of debris. I think skim devil is the only other maker of these type of robots, but they seem to have been on back order for a while now.
 

maggiesfan

Gold Supporter
Jan 1, 2017
40
Tucson Arizona
I haven’t tried a solar breeze skimmer, but their baskets look just two small to really work for my situation. The Bettas do have issues, but their customer support has never given me the runaround and always given me the option to have my unit repaired or to receive a brand new unit. (To me it was a no-brainer to ask for a replacement unit and get an updated unit). Each revision seems to address and completely fix problems they seem to have. As such I’m not at all dissatisfied with my purchase, as so far their customer service has been nothing less then stellar. It runs all night without a problem and can hold a lot of debris. I think skim devil is the only other maker of these type of robots, but they seem to have been on back order for a while now.
I purchased the Betta last week and when it arrived a plastic cover that protects the propeller was broken I emailed customer service and they replied that they will send out a new skimmer, I was well impressed with that.
The current Betta is happily chugging along and has been running all day and all night.
It isn’t as well made as the NX2, and you can see the difference in quality by looking at the paddle, the Bettas is much more flimsy than the NX2.
All in all I’m very happy with the Betta, both product and customer service.
 
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tcat

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May 30, 2012
934
Austin, TX
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My experience. Bought the NX in 2017, had issues in 2018 (bad gear), customer service was great, sent me replacement gear, fixed issue, then died in 2019. Decided it just wasn't worth the bother. I have a lot of shade, so it only ran a couple hours a day. When the oak trees are falling, it just filled up too fast. My solution: put my Poolskim back on. It gets much more debris than the NX ever did. Really not worth $100-$200 per year on solar skimming.
 
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DanF

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Mar 17, 2019
415
Chandler, AZ
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OP here, reporting back that I decided to purchase the Betta. Main reasons were size of basket, length of battery/run time, and availability. Availability was important as we are taking a vacation soon and wanted to have the skimmer bot in the pool while away.
 
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elangercpa

New member
Jul 20, 2021
1
Virginia
I have used both a Betta and a Solar Breeze. I bought the Solar Breeze two seasons ago. It was great for season one but very problematic for season two. I called customer service and they told me it would be many weeks before they could fix it but that they would send me the parts. It was fairly easy to service myself but the screws never went back in correctly and ultimately the motherboard died. This year I bought a Betta. It's MUCH quieter than the Solar Breeze, MUCH easier to remove the debris basket and considerably better looking in the pool (if that matters).... BUT ...after just 8 weeks in service it no longer recognizes the side of the pool and will not turn. When it gets stuck for a few minutes it shuts down. I'm hoping the Insta Park customer service is better than the Solar Breeze customer service. I will find out tomorrow.
 
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cowboycasey

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Welcome to TFP :)

Ariel just started shipping 2 months ago, did you get a beta model?

I have used both a Betta and a Solar Breeze. I bought the Solar Breeze two seasons ago. It was great for season one but very problematic for season two. I called customer service and they told me it would be many weeks before they could fix it but that they would send me the parts. It was fairly easy to service myself but the screws never went back in correctly and ultimately the motherboard died. This year I bought a Betta. It's MUCH quieter than the Solar Breeze, MUCH easier to remove the debris basket and considerably better looking in the pool (if that matters).... BUT ...after just 8 weeks in service it no longer recognizes the side of the pool and will not turn. When it gets stuck for a few minutes it shuts down. I'm hoping the Insta Park customer service is better than the Solar Breeze customer service. I will find out tomorrow.
 

Orion7319

Well-known member
Jul 1, 2020
553
Rock Hill, South Carolina
Pool Size
19775
Surface
Vinyl
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Hayward Aqua Rite (T-15)
I have used both a Betta and a Solar Breeze. I bought the Solar Breeze two seasons ago. It was great for season one but very problematic for season two. I called customer service and they told me it would be many weeks before they could fix it but that they would send me the parts. It was fairly easy to service myself but the screws never went back in correctly and ultimately the motherboard died. This year I bought a Betta. It's MUCH quieter than the Solar Breeze, MUCH easier to remove the debris basket and considerably better looking in the pool (if that matters).... BUT ...after just 8 weeks in service it no longer recognizes the side of the pool and will not turn. When it gets stuck for a few minutes it shuts down. I'm hoping the Insta Park customer service is better than the Solar Breeze customer service. I will find out tomorrow.
One of the bettas I had also wouldn’t recognize the side of the pool. I gave it a couple of whacks around the sensors and it started working again after that. I did return it though because it kept doing that. Also I have noticed that in a downpour they can get confused and start swimming in circles. It could be that the sensors are wet or dirty as well.
 

BowserB

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Jul 29, 2018
648
"Old" Katy, TX
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My experience. Bought the NX in 2017, had issues in 2018 (bad gear), customer service was great, sent me replacement gear, fixed issue, then died in 2019. Decided it just wasn't worth the bother. I have a lot of shade, so it only ran a couple hours a day. When the oak trees are falling, it just filled up too fast. My solution: put my Poolskim back on. It gets much more debris than the NX ever did. Really not worth $100-$200 per year on solar skimming.
Don't mean to hijack the thread, but what pump speeds do you use with the Poolskim? Does it work well at low speeds? I run my pump at 1650rpm (26 gpm). Any conflict with your robot?

Thanks. We now return to the solar skimmer thread. :)
 

DanF

Silver Supporter
Mar 17, 2019
415
Chandler, AZ
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but what pump speeds do you use with the Poolskim? Does it work well at low speeds?
I know this doesn't answer your question but just wanted to share that my Betta will get stuck at the skimmer entrance when I have my 2-speed on high speed (3450 rpm). When on low speed (1725 rpm) the Betta works fine.
 

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