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Aquabot Turbo Pool Cleaner Review

We had our backyard pool installed last spring and soon realized the need for a pool cleaner.

We shopped around and decided on the AquaProducts Aquabot Turbo Pool Cleaner (now isn't that a mouthful?) after reading reviews online of several models and brands of pool cleaners. I'll warn you up front: if you think a pool cleaner is going to be a small expenditure, think again. We paid just under $1,000 for the basic version of the Aquabot Turbo (we decided we could do without the remote control and extras). The local pool dealer wanted nearly $1,500 for this same model, not including tax, but fortunately, we looked around a bit on the Internet. We bought from which was cheaper and included shipping in the price. Also there was no tax since it was an out of state purchase.

Anyway, our cleaner arrived quite quickly (after 3 or 4 days, if I recall correctly) which was nice because sometimes free shipping means you'll get it after it's circled the globe a few camel.

Assembly was simple. The pool cleaner came with a quickstart guide that made it easy to use from the start. It also came with a video that shows what to do if you have any problems. (We haven't yet.) Set-up time is really quick which is nice.

The Aquabot Turbo itself is a boxy little vacuum that runs on rubber treads. It runs on electricity through a floating insulated power cord that attaches to it from a transformer that you'll plug into an outlet.

To use the Aquabot, you plug in the transformer and place it next to the pool. The cord leading to the transformer is kind of short, and we have to use an extension cord, but that's not a big deal. The cord leading from the transformer to the cleaner is about 60 feet which is plenty long enough for our pool.

The cleaner has a handle with 2 settings, clockwise and counter-clockwise. You're supposed to alternate the 2 settings each time you use the cleaner. After the transformer is plugged in, you submerge the cleaner, wait for the air bubbles to finish popping out, set the timer (optional), and turn on the transformer. I wouldn't recommend cleaning your pool on a rainy day as the transformer that sits on the deck isn't waterproof which is a bit of a pain.  Still, you can throw a bucket or something over it if you're concerned about it getting splashed.

From there, the Aquabot creeps along the bottom of the pool and along the walls in a pattern that'll eventually get all the walls and along the bottom of the pool (some parts of course get hit more often than others). It's kind of funny watching it go up the wall if you're not expecting it. The cleaner ambles to the top of the water, past the waterline, until it's even with the ground, then turns sideways for a bit, and eventually drifts back down. In our pool, the Aquabot Turbo has no problem climbing up the steps in the shallow end, but I've heard other people say it has trouble, so it may depend on the layout of your pool and steps. It's pretty good at getting unstuck; if it bumps into a corner, it'll reverse directions. (I mention this because I've heard other people complain about their pool cleaners needing to be poked or manually adjusted to get unstuck.)

Although it can get unstuck on it's own, you'll probably have to check on the cleaner once in a while. It's gotten hung up on it's own cord a couple times on us. Also, the random nature of the microprocessor is truly random which means some little nooks get scrubbed over and over and over... at which point I sometimes just move the cleaner to another spot in the pool and drop it in. I think that is a problem with basically any pool cleaner though. It's not really a big deal, just if you are watching it, you'll probably want to move it.  Also, if you have any little hooks in your pool, it might get hung up on them. Supposedly, the Aquabot has a memory and it learns the shape of your pool, but I haven't had it long enough to comment on that yet.

The Aquabot does make cleaning the pool a snap since it does all the work for you. The only nasty part is cleaning out the filter bag. You turn it inside out and spray the hose through it. It's pretty gross. Lots of dirt, leaves, and hair... the junk you'd rather not deal with, but hey, better dumping it in the garbage than having that stuff floating around and clogging up your pool's equipment. According to the instructions, the bag filters stuff down to 2 microns which is pretty darned small. The first time I used it, it found and sucked up a lot of sand and gunk I hadn't realized was even down there. Before throwing in the Aquabot, you will want to use a net to snag the big debris (leaves) if you can. Otherwise, the filter gets clogged up pretty fast.

Overall, the Aquabot Turbo has been awesome for us. Sure, it has a few little quirks, but if it's not me standing in the pool with a scrub brush and a bottle of Mold-Away, it's good to go. It seems like a quality vacuum that will last many years. (It comes with a warranty to ensure it does.)

If you decide to pick up an Aquabot pool cleaner, do make sure you purchase the Aquabot Turbo rather than just the Aquabot. A neighbor grabbed just the regular Aquabot (they're significantly cheaper) and has been pretty unhappy with it. It apparently gets stuck a lot and can't be left unattended.

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