The Zodiac MX8 is our featured pool cleaner, but we also compare it to the Zodiac MX6 so you can decide which one is best for you. Let’s discuss some basics first.
Owning your own swimming pool is one of the greatest things in the world, until it’s time to clean it. Unfortunately it’s a job you can’t ignore if you want to use it regularly, but on the bright side you don’t have to break your back cleaning it the hard way these days. There will be no more leaf scooping and wall scrubbing, because suction-side pool cleaners will do all of the hard work for you.
The Great Zodiac MX8
Automatic pool cleaners have only become hugely popular recently, so in case you’re unsure how the technology works we’ll walk through how a suction-side pool cleaner does its job, with the Zodiac MX8 being a great example to look at.
How Suction-Side Pool Cleaners Work
Before looking at how an automatic pool cleaner like the Zodiac MX8 works, it’s first better if we look at how they get their name. ‘Suction-side’ refers to the fact it’s connected to a part of your pool generating suction, which allows the pool cleaner to work. When connected to the skimmer or suction line the Zodiac MX8 wouldn’t be much different from a waterproof vacuum cleaner, only this one would be able to climb up walls and move without you pushing it. Once connected they’re designed to move around your swimming pool automatically, making sure they cover all areas so no debris remains.
Your pool pump has to be running at all times in order for them to both move and collect debris. All of the debris it collects is then passed through the pool’s own filtration system. The suction-side automatic pool cleaner does rely on the power of the pump and filtration system of any chosen swimming pool, so their effectiveness isn’t only based on the particular model you pick up. Luckily they work in all but the dirtiest of pools, which is one of the reasons why they’re so popular compared to pressure-side and robotic pool cleaners.
Main Automatic Pool Cleaner Comparisons
As we’ve just touched on, there is more than one type of automatic pool cleaner available to buy, with pressure-side and robotic cleaners being the most popular. It’s only fair we look at some major differences between each of them, and even though they all have their own strengths we’ll focus on the areas where the suction-side cleaner comes out on top. Although it would never win in every category, it’s good enough to hold its own against the competition and would be regarded as the perfect choice for the majority of pool owners.
They’re Not Too Expensive
Robotic vacuum cleaners might beat out the competition in almost every category, but unless you have a lot of money to spend they should be avoided. You can purchase cheap models like every other piece of technology available to buy online, but a good robotic vacuum cleaner will cost a lot more than an equally good suction-side cleaner capable of clearing your swimming pool of debris. Suction-side models are so cheap anyone with their own swimming pool should be able to afford one. They’re also sold at various price points, but even something as powerful as the Zodiac MX8 (or Zodiac MX6) won’t break the bank.
Triton Plus : Highly efficient at cleaning pools. The robots are here.
Less Parts Are Needed For It To Work
One of the big problems with pressure-side cleaners is their reliance on a booster pump to increase the water flow. Although they’re not as essential accessory, your pool cleaner will never be able to do its job properly without one. Suction-side automatic pool cleaners are a lot simpler, because once you have the unit you won’t need any extras to go along with it. This only relates to the Zodiac MX8 suction-side pool cleaner, but you can easily control the water flow with a valve to make sure it works correctly instead of combining it with another piece of equipment.
Not As Much Maintenance Is Required
Suction-side pool cleaners have less moving parts, whereas both other pool cleaner models have a lot more going on inside the units. It means if you opt for a suction-side model like the Zodiac MX8 or MX6 they’ll be a lot easier to maintain. Just be aware although the units themselves are easy to maintain, you’ll still need to carry out other jobs on a regular basis. A perfect example being the cleaning and maintenance of your pool filtration system, because although debris will pass through your suction-side cleaner it’s always going to end up somewhere.
Installing the MX8 and MX6 pool cleaner
A Suction-Side Cleaner Will Last Longer
This is due to a combination of different things, but there is no denying a suction-side swimming pool cleaner will last a lot longer than a pressure-side or robotic cleaner, whether it’s before it needs to be replaced or repaired. When you combine this with the low initial cost it’s easy to see why most swimming pool owners prefer them. The only downside is the wear and tear they’ll cause to other parts of your pool like the pump and filtration system, which wouldn’t happen with a robotic pool cleaner because it works without help from any other parts of your swimming pool.
Zodiac Swimming Pool Products
With many leading brand names under their belt, there is no denying Zodiac is one of the largest global manufacturers of advanced technology swimming pool products in the world. Even their pool covers have gained worldwide recognition, but at the moment the products that seem to be breaking boundaries are the Zodiac MX8 and Zodiac MX6 automatic suction-side pool cleaners. We’ll take an in-depth look at the Zodiac MX8, and afterwards we’ll look at the smaller Zodiac MX6 model.
The Zodiac MX8 Features You’ll Love
The Zodiac MX8 is the premium suction-side pool cleaner in their product line, and it’s got lots of features you won’t find on similar suction-side models on the market. Let’s take a good look at why it’s one of their most popular products at the moment.
What type of pools is the MX8 designed for? Private in-ground pools : All shapes: rectangular, oval, technical and free form. Capable of Cleaning pool walls and floors.
Documents for the MX8 automatic pool cleaner:
- View or download the MANUAL for the Zodiac MX8 suction pool cleaner.
- QUICK START GUIDE
- PARTS LIST
- BROCHURE 1
- BROCHURE 2
- INSTRUCTIONS for the MX8 Tune-up/Rebuild Kit
- Max-drive : Smart technology incorporates dual-navigation controls which enables the cleaner to cover the entire pool floor and walls. It has 32 built-in cleaning paths.
- Power turbine : Highly efficient and robust engine ensures a deep clean.
- X-trax : Highly versatile and maneuverable. Can handle all pool obstacles.
- Dual cyclonic vacuum : Powerful suction, mobile wall climbing and a wide cleaning path.
- Flow regulator valve : Bypasses excess water in high flow conditions.
- Long-lasting twist lock hose (8 x 1.2m) : Solid connection between hose and the cleaner head.
- Whisper Quiet : Quieter than diaphragm-based cleaners.
- Cord hose length: 36 feet
- Picks up most leaves and small debris. Will pick up sand and silt.
Learn more on the Zodiac Pool Systems site. You can get a $100 rebate until March 31, 2016. Learn more on their site. If you’re reading this after the expiry date, it’s possible that they have a new rebate available so I recommend checking for a rebate either way.
- Connection Point : Weir
- Pool Size : Recommended for max. 12m x 6m
- Installation Guide: Refer to your instruction manual.
- Technology : maX-Drive (Mechanical)
- Cleaning Cycle : 12h filtering cycle(Summer); 8h filtering cycle (Winter)
- Hose Type & Length : Long-Life Pearl Blue Twist Lock Hose. 8 x 1.2m = 9.6m
- Minimum required filter pump : 0.6kW
- Speed: 8 meters/minute
Overview of the MX8 Pool Cleaner
Accessories included: Automatic Weir Valve, 90° Twist Lock Elbow, 8 x 1.2m Twist Lock Hose Lengths, Flow Regulator Valve, Hose Float, Hose Protector, Warranty Card.
When you’re cleaning your swimming pool you never want the results to be compromised because of the water flow. As soon as the flow is too low it can sometimes affect the power of a suction-side pool cleaner, but the special Flex-Power Turbine built into the Zodiac MX8 ensures this will never happen. The design means it needs less flow than all its competitors if they are the same type of cleaner, which results in maximum energy savings and less damage to the environment. If you want an actual figure, it can work fine with around 30% less flow.
An automatic swimming pool cleaner becomes a lot less effective when it can’t clean the entire pool, which is why the Zodiac MX8 has a maX-Drive duel navigation system built into it. This will make sure it cleans every inch of your swimming pool floor, walls, and waterline. It will also tackle pools of any size or shape, but you should be aware it might not be able to climb the walls depending on the angles involved. After all, at the end of the day it’s only a suction-side pool cleaner, not a professional rock climber.
Troubleshooting the MX8
Maximum Suction Power
The Duel Cyclonic Vacuum will guarantee your unit has maximum suction power at all times, which is one of the reasons why it will only fail to climb up walls in exceptional circumstances. It will also work its way around the floor of the pool without falling over when it bumps into obstacles. Please be aware, as it’s so powerful you have to be careful if your pool has vinyl lining. If the floor of your pool or the underside of the liner is damaged in any way, you’ll need to have it repaired before using the Zodiac MX8.
A Wide Cleaning Path
One of the reasons automatic pool cleaners take so long is because they have to keep going backwards and forwards until all the debris has gone. The Zodiac MX8 has a wider cleaning path than other models in its category, which means it will be able to pick up more debris without working as long to cover as much ground. When you combine this with the fact it’s already designed to move faster through the water it’s easy to see why you’ll be able to clean your pool quicker than ever before.
It’s Very Easy To Set Up
You know it’s impossible to determine how long it will take to clean a pool because they’re all different sizes and shapes, but I’d like to touch on another important feature that will help speed up the process. Suction-side pool cleaners are usually very easy to set up in general, but the Zodiac MX8 takes it one step further by having a twist locking hose with an air-tight seal to connect everything up in seconds. It also comes with 39 feet of hose so you’ll have enough to cover all but gigantic pools.
Video | How to Install the Zodiac MX8
Large And Small Debris Mode
Over time you’ll end up with debris of all sizes in your swimming pool, and the Zodiac MX8 will be able to deal with everything as you’ll be able to switch between a large and small debris mode, which you can find out how to alter in the instruction manual. The small debris mode comes as the factory setting, and because it deals with sand, dirt, and stones you should always reset it to this mode. The large debris mode will deal with things like leaves, but you’ll still need to deal with branches and other large objects yourself.
- Cyclonic suction – provides powerful suction and aggressive wall climbing.
- X-drive navigation – intelligent bi-directional navigation to thoroughly clean floor, walls, and waterline.
- Optimized flow control – automatically controls excess flow through cleaner for optimal performance and longevity.
- Low-flow energy efficient design – ultra efficient operation. Best choice for variable-speed and 2-speed pumps and solar.
- Flex power turbine – articulating turbine blades provide ultra-efficient operation, even on low-flow pumps.
- Easy-grip handle – for easy removal and transport.
- Quick connect – enables quick secure attachment to cleaner head.
- Twist locking hose – provides simple connection and reduces vacuum loss.
I think it’s fair to say the Zodiac MX8 and Zodiac MX6 are very similar and contain much of the same amazing technology, but there are a few obvious differences. Instead of touching on all the major features, which we’ve already covered above, we’ll just look at the minor differences between both models apart from their physical size.
The Zodiac MX6 Won’t Reverse
The MX6 model doesn’t have the ability to reverse because it has one directional control box, and instead one side will stop propelling forward which will force the unit to turn. It’s important to remember the reverse mode built into the Zodiac MX8 is more of a luxury than a necessity, so you’ll still be able to clean your pool thoroughly if you purchase the Zodiac MX6.
Video | Zodiac MX6 vs MX8
It’s Easier To Carry Around
The Zodiac MX6 even has a handle on the side enabling you to whip it out of the pool easily as long as you’re fit. It’s a bit lighter than the MX8 model, so it’s far easier to carry around whether you’re using it or storing it away. This does have a downside, because due to the size difference and lack of two turbines it won’t have as wide a cleaning path meaning it will take longer to clean your pool.
The Number Of Hoses Are Different
The Zodiac MX8 comes with 12 hoses with each measuring one meter in length, whereas the Zodiac MX6 only comes with 10 of those same hoses. It means the latter model might not be effective if you have a large pool, but if your pool is huge it’s likely you would go with the bigger model anyway so it should make little difference to your final decision.
Important Things To Remember
As you can see, the Zodiac MX6 isn’t necessarily a worse model by any stretch of the imagination. A lot of people will prefer it, but it’s ultimately a personal choice so there is no point dwelling on it. What is more important are a few vital things you should know if you pick up either model, so we’ll discuss them now so you know what to expect.
Great Video Review of the Zodiac MX6
Use The FlowKeeper Valve
You’ll find the FlowKeeper valve on both Zodiac models, and it must be used if you own a single skimmer swimming pool. It’s the only thing you have to regulate the flow, which must be correct in order for both the pool pump and the automatic cleaner to work correctly. If you don’t use the FlowKeeper valve property you will never end up with a clear swimming pool free of debris.
Vinyl Lining Swimming Pools
I know we’ve already talked about this, but it’s worth mentioning again in case you chose to ignore it. The Zodiac MX6 and MX8 will work on any pool surface, but vinyl is more prone to damage and you can’t use the pool cleaner until the liner is in perfect condition. This also includes the ground on the underside of the pool liner, which can also cause damage depending on what is pressing against the bottom of the pool.
Adjusting The Flow
Your flow regulator valve will stop a high flow of water from passing through the cleaner, which is great because it will last a lot longer. That doesn’t necessarily mean your unit will work perfectly, so in order to change its effectiveness you’ll need to set it to the ideal flow. Full instructions can be found in the manual you’ll get with your pool cleaner, but all it will involve is timing the rotation of the wheels.
Emptying The Pump Basket
Another way to make sure your pool cleaner works optimally is by making sure the pump basket is cleaned at all times. It’s easy to forget because your mind switches off when a machine does all the hard work for you, but if the pump basket isn’t emptied on a constant basis your Zodiac pool cleaner won’t be able to clear all the debris it’s capable of dealing with because everything will get blocked up.
Suction-Side Pool Cleaners Still Reign Supreme
At this moment in time, suction-side pool cleaners are still dominating the industry, and most people who are fed up carrying out boring and time-consuming manual work are using them. They’re not the only choice available to you, but should you opt for a suction-side pool cleaner it would be wise to go with the Zodiac MX8 or Zodiac MX6. You know the major differences between the two, even though they’re fairly minimal, so the only real work you have to do is decide which of the two would suit you best depending on your swimming pool.