Sunday, September 1, 2013

What is the Best Type of Automatic Cleaner for Your Pool - Pressure, Suction or Robot?

Zodiac MX8
Choosing the right automatic cleaner for your pool can be challenging and picking the wrong one in the same respects can be frustrating and disappointing. The majority of pools will do fine with a traditional suction side cleaner with few exceptions. That is why  suction side cleaners are the most popular and for good reason. Most of the newer pools will come with a side port connection - a pre-plumbed suction line near the middle of the pool where you can connect a suction side cleaner. You can also use a suction cleaner directly in the skimmer which many people do. If working correctly it will leave the pool bottom spotless. The drawbacks of a suction cleaner are that the skimming of the surface is not as great as suction is being diverted to the cleaner, it doesn't look very nice with hoses in the pool and large debris can clog it up and stop it. But for the most part a suction cleaner would be most peoples 1st choice for their  pool.

Polaris 280
Next up would be a pressure side cleaner. Their are two types, one that is plumbed into your pool with a booster pump and a dedicated return line. The other type of pressure cleaner will use your existing return line plumbing. The pressure side cleaner hooked up to a  booster pump is probably the best type of pool cleaner you can get. It will pick up large debris and also leave your skimmer at full power to effectively clean the surface while the cleaner takes care of the bottom. But you will need to have this type of pressure cleaner plumbed in when the pool is constructed or remodeled. A pretty major drawback. The second type of Pressure Cleaner will use the pool's existing threaded return lines. It will work pretty good except with the return jets restricted and one being used for the cleaner, the surface is not skimmed very well. But it is a good choice if you have lots of large debris that falls in the pool and settles on the bottom.

Dolphin Diagnostic 

Solar Breeze Robotic Surface cleaner
The last type of automatic cleaner to hit the market over the last few years is the robotic type of automatic pool cleaner. They basically work like your house vacuum. You would plug it in and drop it in your pool. A motor propels it across the bottom and it captures dirt and debris in a mesh bag. Most will work for a three hour period and then turn off. You basically will have to turn it on each time you want to clean your pool. The traditional robot cleaners are pretty expensive, 2 or 3 times the cost of a suction type cleaner. They are also very heavy to remove from your pool and may not clean as well as a suction and pressure side cleaner. But people like the convenience of them and it does allow the skimmer to work at full strength which helps keep the surface clean. A less traditional robot cleaner is making gains in the market and that one is the Solar Breeze. It has a motor but it is powered by Solar Panels on the top. The Solar Breeze will run all day long and into the night skimming the surface of your pool.  It is an intriguing and innovative use of the robot cleaner technology. It also has no hoses or cords which makes it a very unique cleaner.

So which cleaner is right for you? It really depends on the type of debris, how large your pool is and a personal preference. That question is more easily answered  on a one to one basis so you can consult your local pool service company, pool store or post your pool information hear and I will be happy to suggest one for you. I service over 100 pools a week at over 70 of them have an automatic cleaner of some type in them.

See also my post on the Top Ten Automatic Cleaners of 2013