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What’s your favorite automatic pool cleaner?

By Marcelle Dibrell

When it is time to get a new automatic pool cleaner, there is a very good chance that your customers will be asking your opinion on which cleaner to get.

Some pool owners want the very best — all the bells and whistles and never mind the price. Many are on a budget, and they just want something that will handle basic debris in between service calls. Discerning customers want the best overall quality-to-price-point ratio.

From a small business perspective, you want a great cleaner AND one that is not sold on the internet, so you don’t have to hear how much cheaper your customer can get it on Amazon.

The basic choice is, of course, between suction side, pressure side, and robot.

A lot of service professionals hardly even see this as a choice anymore — it’s robot all the way!

Robotic pool cleaners have come a long way, some enabled with WiFi connectivity so you can set their advanced features using a special app on your phone. Many are great with both heavy and fine debris loads too. And the good ones have great scrubbing features and are able to climb the walls and scrub the tile line.

But there are lots of service pros that still prefer tried-and-true suctionand pressure-side cleaners. Some of that is because suction- and pressureside cleaners tend to get a lot more use.

That’s because a lot of pool owners simply forget to use their robots, and they end up sitting idly on the deck or in the garage 100 percent of the time. (Some robotic cleaners apparently work so well, they don’t even have to go into the pool.)

With pressure- and suction-side cleaners, however, there’s a tendency to leave them in the pool (even if you aren’t supposed to) where they vacuum and otherwise send the debris to the filter.

Another reason that some service pros still prefer suction- or pressureside cleaners is regional.

Areas that experience heavy leaf or nut debris may find that pressure-side cleaners are preferable to robots – and it’s not about the debris bag size either. Rather, often the robot mouth size is simply not large enough to accommodate the vast organic load that can fall in some pools.

Meanwhile, some of these service pros have been burned too many times by the motors going out on robotic pool cleaners. If they are handy, and they have the know-how, they’d rather go with their favorite pressure-side cleaner, and fix it like new when it fails.

And for pools that are screened in or don’t otherwise see a lot of plant load, suction-side cleaners may be a reasonable choice, even if a high-end robot could do a better job.

We all have our preferences, and that’s what this issue of Service Industry News is all about.

Service pros frequently solicit one another’s opinions concerning automatic pool cleaners on social media sites. A common question on Facebook groups such as “Aquatic Artisans Pool Lounge,” “14psi Pool Industry Lounge,” “Swimming Pool Industry Workers,” and “Talking Pools,” is “What is your favorite automatic pool cleaner?”

If you read through enough of the answers, certain types and brands begin to emerge.

In this special issue of Service Industry News, we’ll take a look at service pros’ top picks for robots, pressure-side, and suction-side automatic pool cleaners.

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