I bought my Aquabot Turbo in June 2004 but if I had it to do all over again, I wouldn't!
When I began shopping for a pool cleaner, I quickly learned that many of the popular cleaners couldn't connect to my 21 year old pool. My local Anthony & Sylvan store was pushing the Aquabot Turbo and sold me on it because it runs independent of your skimmer/filter system. I bought it on sale for $1,000.00 -- almost $300.00 less than it usually cost.
I don't have any experience with pool cleaners other than Aquabot so maybe they're all the same but I can list a few big annoyances that come along with Aquabot. First, my bot loves to scrub the tiles! I'd spend way too much time trying to coax the unit back down to the bottom of the pool where all of the leaves lay but it insisted on climbing right back up to those tiles. A few tiles even wound up in Aquabot's filter bag. Second, the filter bag needs to be emptied often. It's a disgusting job but if you don't do it, Aquabot gets stuck and will clean the same spot on the pool for hours and hours. Third, Aquabot didn't do a great job on my steps so I'd either have to sweep them before the cleaning cycle started or haul out the manual vac for the steps. Fourth, Aquabot will suck in whatever it runs over. As I mentioned, sometimes it was a loose tile, sometimes it was the skimmer outtake valves, and often times, it was its own power cord.
By the end of its first season, my Aquabot had eaten its power cord so many times that there were deep digs in the heavy insulation covering the wires. There was also considerable damage to the drive tracks. I called the company to complain and was told that the Aquabot should never be running while the filter is on. I didn't know that... It isn't mentioned anywhere in the owner's manual... and the folks at Anthony & Sylvan Pools never mentioned it either. To their credit, Customer Service at Aqua Products had me ship the unit back to them and they replaced the power cable free of charge... except for the $40.00 it cost me to ship it.
The next summer, I followed the new instructions and made sure that the Aquabot never ran while the filter was on. I made it through the entire season (that's only June through August here on the East Coast) without needing repairs.
Unfortunately, this year probably marks the end of my Aquabot's life. Several weeks ago, my unit just wouldn't turn on anymore. The light on the power supply was on, but plugging the Aquabot in to it did absolutely nothing. I was hesitant to pay another $40.00 to ship it to Aqua Products again but their list of *approved* service locations is very short. I called Anthony & Sylvan to ask whether they could try my power supply with a working Aquabot and/or my Aquabot with a working power supply to help me identify which part was failing. If it turned out to be a problem with the power supply, that wouldn't cost nearly as much to ship! A&S tested my unit and told me both the power supply AND the Aquabot are broken. They said I'd have to ship both to Aqua Products ( > $40.00 since the first year I didn't have to send the power supply ) and that repair of the Aquabot will probably run about $500.00 plus another $100.00 or so for the power supply.
Bottom line: My Aquabot Turbo, in my opinion, was very expensive when I bought it. And now, it's barely two years old and needs repairs that will cost more than half of what I paid for it! All pool cleaners can't be this bad, can they? I'm pretty sure I made the wrong choice back in June, 2004.
July 2009 - Just reread my review to help with the decision on whether or not to sink another $380 into my Aquabot for this year's repairs. My unit was travelling all over the pool but not picking anything up. I put my hand under it and realized there was no suction. Also, there was no water coming out of the top of the unit. My local pool store sent it back to the manufacturer who said it needs (among other things), a new motor. I'm a little confused because the symptoms don't seem to indicate a problem with the motor -- at least not to me. Anyway, I'm once again wondering if I should expect to spend hundreds of dollars every year or two for the pleasure of not having to vacuum the pool manually. Do most cleaners need costly repairs frequently? Would I be better off investing that $380 (plus much more) into a brand new unit?