Zodiac MX8 Elite vs The Pool Cleaner vs Pentair Rebel...?

JulieMorris316

Well-known member
Jul 21, 2017
58
McIntosh FL
I’m coming to the point where I’m ready to get my first automatic pool cleaner and need some advice on what will work best for my setup. I’ve done a lot of research here on the forum and YouTube reviews of various cleaners. Everyone seems to love the plugin robot cleaners, but I’m still leaning toward a suction cleaner for the simple fact that I can toss it in and it will work every day when the pump is running. I see a lot of argument for the robot due to cost savings, but I live in Florida so my pump runs 8-10 hours a day during the summer anyway, so I figure I might as well utilize this to help with cleaning. The price point of suction vs robot is also a factor, as the robot cleaners are a little out of my budget at the moment.

I also have a large (like 300+ year old, huugge) oak tree right outside my back door. The deck of my house is built around it and it hangs partly over the pool. It’s gorgeous, but it does NOT do any favors when trying to keep the pool clean (another reason why I’m leaning toward a suction vac, since it can be running every day without me having to do anything, and it seems like since I know I will have a lot of debris that cleaning out a canister from the suction vac would be a heck of a lot easier than dragging the heavy robot out and taking it apart to clean it out all the time).

My question is what is the best suction style cleaner that can work to pick up larger debris like acorns, twigs, and leaves, but that will also suck up/collect sand and dirt and not just stir it up in the water? I get a fair amount of twigs with several leaves on them too here and there, but I’m guessing I’ll still have to go collect those manually (which is fine. I’ve been manually vacuuming this thing for almost 4 years now so anything will seem like a step up from now 😂). TIA!
 

JoyfulNoise

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
May 23, 2015
15,856
Tucson, AZ
A chainsaw and a guy willing to climb and prune the tree might be a more effective solution.

Large debris is tough for any cleaner and you’re asking for both ends of the spectrum - a cleaner capable of getting both large debris and fine dirt. That’s a tall order and you’ll have to compromise on what you want.

You’re going to get a thousand different suggestions so here’s what you might do - call up a couple of local pool shops and see if any of them offer loaners for a few days. You can then test out a couple of different cleaners a get a feel for what works best for you. Many times pool shops, especially those that repair pool cleaners, have loaner units on hand for regular customers. See if you can find a shop that does that.
 
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JulieMorris316

Well-known member
Jul 21, 2017
58
McIntosh FL
Thanks for the tip. I do plan to have the tree trimmed, but it’s protected by the arbor association in my town because it’s so old so I can only trim so much. But any little bit would help.

I figured I was asking a lot for a cleaner that could do all those things. If it’s strong enough with a big enough opening to suck up debris and leaves though, I’m thinking it would also suck up sand and dirt. I recently started a new job though after working from home for years and between it and keeping up with the yard it’s starting to wear on me, so anything at all would help from where I’m at now with the manual vacuuming...
 

JulieMorris316

Well-known member
Jul 21, 2017
58
McIntosh FL
I started this thread searching for general recommendations, but changed the title to be more specific because I've done a ton of research and thought I had landed on the MX8 Elite and The Pool Cleaner as my top choices. Then today I also came across some reviews for the Pentair Rebel that looked pretty good. As I said in my (unrealistic) wish list above, I have a decent amount of leaves and the like, so whatever I get really needs to be able to handle that first above any other good features. If it can't pick up a leaf it won't be of any use. Anything else it can do is just a bonus point after that.

Any thoughts on these? Experiences? Preferences?

I've called my local pool shops and they only do loaners for the robot cleaners, not the suction ones. And they all said "once you buy it, it's yours", meaning that I can't return it if it turns out to suck (or *not* suck, if we're speaking in literal terms). This is a LOT of money to spend on something that might end up being a paperweight, and the idea of that scares me. So any help or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
 

jblizzle

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
May 19, 2010
43,260
Tucson, AZ
I too was down to the Pool Cleaner and the MX8.
I was leaning toward the MX8, and then started reading about repairs. Well the MX8 is a MUCH more complicated design and more difficult and expensive to repair.
The Pool Cleaner is a more simple design and I read about much fewer needed repairs. It also will run on a lower flow rate, allowing me to divert more of the flow to the skimmer.

I went with the Pool Cleaner and have had it for a little over 4 years. No repairs so far. The rubber wheels are starting to wear down a bit from my pebble surface.

It will suck up long thin strips of palm leaves, but I am not sure it will handle an oak leaf. I think it will get jammed up on acorns as all debris has to pass through the spinning impeller.
In fact, I think all suction cleaners will get jammed up on acorns.
This is where the electric robots will have an advantage as they have a motor that is pulling water into its filter cartridge/bag so as long as the debris is smaller than the slot, it should be able to pull it in.
 

JulieMorris316

Well-known member
Jul 21, 2017
58
McIntosh FL
I agree that for my situation a robot is probably the best choice, but the price tag is a little out of my range unfortunately. I’ve also read quite a bit about the robots needing expensive repairs also, but then some people have them for years without any issues at all. I think that’s what’s so frustrating about trying to pick the right one, especially when I can’t actually *try* a suction cleaner before buying it to see if it would even work.
If I could try one and see that it didn’t work, then that answers my question right off the bat and I either save up and get a robot, or keep manually vacuuming like I have been...
 

JulieMorris316

Well-known member
Jul 21, 2017
58
McIntosh FL
My pool store was running a special for $350 on the mx8 elite this weekend and had I thought about it in time, I would have ordered the regular mx8 from amazon (which I could return) and tried it out. If it didn’t work I return it, if it did work I still return it, and buy the one from the pool store for about $100 less. Hindsight is 20/20 lol.. 😬
 

ZcottD

Well-known member
Jun 23, 2017
155
Connecticut
The MX8 promotion goes on every year if you want to wait for it, at least it has for the last few. I love my MX8 Elite. I have a ton of hemlocks that are around the property and a large maple tree near the deep end of the pool. I'm not sure how well it would handle acorns, you would definitely have to remove the restrictive mouth piece to allow it to try to suck them up. Dialed in properly, mine does well with leaves and fine debris, I use a canister with a mesh filter/skimmer sock to collect it all, keep the junk out of the filter.

There are lots of things that can go wrong with the MX units, but the parts can be bought pretty cheap and seem easy to install. I put mine in once a week, had it for 3 seasons now(probably only a years worth of time for FL) and the the thing runs great, havent had to replace its tracks yet or the plastic drive gears.

To my knowledge the only difference between the MX8 and the elite version is that the elite scrubs the pool surface, if thats not something you care about or need you can save a bit and grab the regular.

I've heard good things about The Pool Cleaner as well, but I wanted a scrubbing buddy.
 

avspin

Gold Supporter
Jun 3, 2015
75
Reno, NV
I used the MX8 for almost 10 years. I went through two of them. I replaced the scrubbers with the ones from the elite I bought on ebay. When it worked it was great. My issues with it were it would get stuck in a couple of spots in my pool. I had to buy something new for it every year such as turn gears, rubber wheel bans, new hose, etc. Again when it worked it was great. But a slight change in pressure would cause the hangups. I have a dedicated wall fitting for it. By the way speaking of the hose, I used regular cheap hose. You can find a replacement fitting for a vacuum hose, cut off one of the ends of the lock hose and now you can use any hose you like.
I ended up replacing it last month with a M400. It was a pain to remove and replace the MX8 and with the robot I only use it about once a week.
If I decide to go back to a suction cleaner i would get the MX8 again.
 

JulieMorris316

Well-known member
Jul 21, 2017
58
McIntosh FL
I’ve read also that the only difference in the mx8 and the elite are the scrubbers. At first I thought that might be a good thing, but I have a decent amount of sand and I’m not sure if it would just stir up a cloud before it could actually suck it up?

I’ve watched a ton of review videos on YouTube of the mx8 and pretty much every incarnation of The Pool Cleaner that has been created (Hayward aquanaut and Pentair rebel being two others with the aquanaut and pool cleaner having the nest reviews), and also the Pentair Dorado which seems to have a bigger opening. The Dorado is a little more old-school and low tech, but who knows. I’m *starting* to lean toward one of these because they don’t seem to clog as much with solid larger debris like acorns. For part of the year I don’t have to worry about them, but there are a few months that I do have some falling in (albeit mostly when the pool is covered for the winter but also before and after this too). I’m worried that the impellers on the mx8 might not have enough room around them in the chamber to allow them to pass through without hanging up.

I headed out today to my go-to pool store to look at them all again in person but they were closed, so I went to another local store. They had the rebel, mx8, and the dorado but not the pool cleaner or aquanaut. I’m still debating just buying from amazon first to try one out before biting the bullet and taking a chance on something I can’t return.
 

Frank in FL

Well-known member
Jul 3, 2019
186
Florida
Which pool store was offering the MX8 Elite for $350?

My pool store was running a special for $350 on the mx8 elite this weekend and had I thought about it in time, I would have ordered the regular mx8 from amazon (which I could return) and tried it out. If it didn’t work I return it, if it did work I still return it, and buy the one from the pool store for about $100 less. Hindsight is 20/20 lol.. 😬
 

JulieMorris316

Well-known member
Jul 21, 2017
58
McIntosh FL
Which pool store was offering the MX8 Elite for $350?
It’s my local store, Backyard Water. I think they only have this one location but I’m not sure. It was a store holiday sale combined with the $125 zodiac rebate, so it was more than that up front but ends up at that price after you get the rebate back. I did end up getting the mx8 elite and so far so good. It’s done a great job at picking up the debris I’ve had so far.
 

Rhinopkc

Member
Mar 21, 2012
6
I have an MX8, I can promise you it will get stuck on acorns. I have colored gravel in my backyard, and the stuff that is much smaller than an acorn jams the impeller. I have sunk enough money into parts for this thing to buy a decent bot. I’ve had a few suction side cleaners, and none of them can reliably invest a small piece of gravel, and probably not an acorn, either. The irregular shapes eventually wedge into the impeller that drives whatever cleaner you select. You will save money, time, and frustration by going with a robot. I’ve spent well over two grand between 3 suction side cleaners , plus all of the parts to keep them running over the past 13 years. From what I’ve seen, you can get a pretty darn good robot for $700. That means I’ve wasted a lot of money on cleaners that don’t even clean the sides of my pool. Sheesh, I feel even worse about the whole deal after typing it all out!
 
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Rq120

Well-known member
May 3, 2019
54
Florida
Have you tried searching Facebook marketplace or craiglist. We just updated to a robot and sold our MX6 for $100. We saw another on there for sale also. That way you could try something similar out?? Just a thought if something is available.

We just got rid of our MX6. It would get stuck with tiny pebbles. And never wanted to clean our shallow end. Other than that it cleaned pretty well, but we didn’t have anything large because we have a pool cage.
 

beautifulpool

Well-known member
Jun 2, 2019
115
North TX
Thanks for the tip. I do plan to have the tree trimmed, but it’s protected by the arbor association in my town because it’s so old so I can only trim so much. But any little bit would help.

I figured I was asking a lot for a cleaner that could do all those things. If it’s strong enough with a big enough opening to suck up debris and leaves though, I’m thinking it would also suck up sand and dirt. I recently started a new job though after working from home for years and between it and keeping up with the yard it’s starting to wear on me, so anything at all would help from where I’m at now with the manual vacuuming...
I have about 9 large trees, bushes- leaves 🍁 acorns galore(the big stuff) tons and tons of flower bed dirt and pollen and dog hair (the fine stuff) ...our pool is set up with pressure side plumbing (to power Cleaner to suction to it’s attached bag) as it rolls around the pool. That set-up works fine, it Can be set-up to run automatically, and live in the pool, and run, while your main pump is running, and booster pump will power on when cleaner times on, but Booster will pull extra Electricity. When my old cleaner quit, i didn’t want a robot.
Nope...I had done a lot of research
Thought robots were good, just thought they weren’t best for our situation, too many LARGE trees, too many leaves
....nope, Im set up for pressure side, and that’s what I wanted.... until I tried a robot
gets the BIG ...... And the TINY stuff....
Pool sparkles ... less electricity ... pool looks better without giant kreepy Krawler Hose.....
 

New2water

LifeTime Supporter
Jun 28, 2011
71
Stockton, CA
The MX8 promotion goes on every year if you want to wait for it, at least it has for the last few. I love my MX8 Elite. I have a ton of hemlocks that are around the property and a large maple tree near the deep end of the pool. I'm not sure how well it would handle acorns, you would definitely have to remove the restrictive mouth piece to allow it to try to suck them up. Dialed in properly, mine does well with leaves and fine debris, I use a canister with a mesh filter/skimmer sock to collect it all, keep the junk out of the filter.
......
Would you please share the make and model of the canister are you using with MX8?
 
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ZcottD

Well-known member
Jun 23, 2017
155
Connecticut
I use the Hayward W530, You need to get adapters to make it work with the Zodiac hoses.

Hayward AXV092 for the front of the canister
Zodiac R0533300 for the back connection
 

Njmurvin

New member
Nov 8, 2019
1
Simi Valley, CA
I have owned 2 pools spanning 40 years (not counting the pool we had when I was a kid). The first automatic pool cleaner I owned was the original Kreepy Krauly. This was back in the 80s. A guy was selling them door-to-door and threw one into my pool for me to try for a week. His sales method worked because I bought it. I have had various suction side cleaners ever since. That original KK had to be installed sharing the skimmer. When I moved and built my next pool, I had a dedicated suction port installed. I have gone through numerous brands of suction cleaners and they have all had their issues (high maintenance, getting stuck around the steps, etc.). Then I discovered The Pool Cleaner. It has been running for a couple of years now and it has been literally trouble free and has never, ever been stuck anywhere in the pool as long as its intake port is clear. I try to stay on top of the big stuff (large debris from neighboring eucalyptus trees). I use a net to get the big stuff and the cleaner takes care of the rest. I can't comment on acorns but it did pass a mouse once.
 

djdonte

Well-known member
Mar 25, 2019
175
Houston, TX
I have an MX8 Elite and the Zodiac leaf canister and I am pretty happy with it. It does get stuck sometimes, and a ton of leaves will clog it up, like any cleaner. It has a plate you can remove to allow larger debris. I still have to scoop some leaves in the winter, but it catches the rest. The leaf canister is really nice, as it catches most everything that the pump strainer used to catch. It is easy to empty the leaf canister with the pump running as opposed to cleaning the pump strainer and having to reprime. If leaves are a huge issue and you said you cant really trim, consider covering the pool during the winter months. I don't think any clear will reliably clear out a ton of leaves.