I am finally coming to the end of it. I have spent the last several months researching and critiquing robotic pool cleaners, so you know what to look for when buying, and maybe clinching a few decisions for you too. The Aquabot line was great for entry level customers, the Dolphin line has good variety, and some of the best mid range robots and the Hayward line, while a little homogeneous, are great all rounders at excellent prices. Now the Smartpool range, and it seems to me that their range has some of the most feature rich bots, at low prices. Today a look at the poorly named Scrubber 60 Plus.
Continuing on the theme of last week, the Scrubber 60 is a smaller version of the BigFoot, more so even than the Direct Command Plus, as it too lacks the remote control options. It is a very light weight build, weighing at a mere 13 pounds, so for a change from the folks over at Smartpool you will not likely need a caddy. Makes a nice change. Don’t let the size fool you though, this little bot comes with all the core functions, and even a few Smartpool specific bonus features. In all I was quite impressed with the build.
Smartpool Scrubber 60 Plus Design and Build Quality
You may be thinking that so light a bot cannot be as sturdy as it’s more hefty older brothers, and while that is true to come extent, the compact design, and the same rounded top shell finish, combines to create a surprisingly robust machine. The lower center offsets most accidental drops and fumbles, though at 13 pounds drops are less prone to happen. There are a few things I have discovered when it comes to judging the quality of a robotic pool cleaner. The first thing you need to check is the fit, by giving the bot a shake. If you hear rattle then you may have a factory fault, which leads me nicely to the second thing.l The warranty, make sure the firm in question has a warranty you are happy with, that way if you do discover a fault you can get a replacement sharpish. Read on to the price section for a breakdown on what we know of the Smartpool warranty.
Onto the aesthetics, and again Smartpool have crafted a bot that seems more concerned with taking a hit than looking sublime. Not a bad thing, but I have grown fond of the sleeker looking builds on the market, so for me it is a bit of a negative. The vast majority of robotic pool cleaners can do the same thing, to greater or lesser degrees of success, so I find that getting one you like the look of, in addition to one that can do the things you need, can play a larger role in the decision making process than most people realize.
This is by no means a bad design, and it is light, but I feel that with a more compact build Smartpool really cold have knocked this one out of the park design wise. A pity then that they stuck with the tank like builds of the past. Not a major black mark, by any means, but at this stage of the game we have to get picky.
Smartpool Scrubber 60 Plus Features and Specs
I would never call myself an expert, but over the last several months I have picked out a few key features that make a robotic pool cleaner worth buying. Three to be precise. It must be able to clean the pool floor well, that is to say remove algae build up. It must be able to filter the pool water, i.e. the internal pump must be robust. And most importantly, it must be able to clean the pool wall. Making that ninety degree transition and climbing it all the way to the top. Seems to be a theme with the Smartpool bots, as the Scrubber can do all three.
The Scrubber 60 Plus is an in ground pool cleaner, I have done a few reviews of above ground cleaners, all of them are Aquabot models so be sure to check out those reviews if that is what you are after. It has a max pool size of 20 ‘ x 40 ‘ and a max depth of 8 ‘. The cable is the standard 60’ in length, and it is a swivel cable. If you have owned a non swivel cable bot in the past you will know that they tangle something terrible. With the swivel cable we eliminate the number one cause of cycle stoppages.
The bottom mounted scrubbing brushes are up the Smartpool’s usual standard. A little more power behind them than a lot of bots, but with slightly softer bristles, so it can clean deep, without you having to fear scouring. Th vacuum is one of the most powerful on the market as well. Able to deal with large debris, like leaves and acorns with ease, acorns are the number two reason for cycle stoppages, just FYI. This 13 pound bot makes the 90 degree transition to the pool wall easily, climbs it to the top and cleans thoroughly all the way.
Not much in the way of bonus features on this build. There is Smartpool’s rapid drain system, that can detect when it is not in the water and rapid divulge itself of on board water, making this already extremely light weight machine even easier to manage. Finally, it has a dual drive motor, so while it is in the water it can turn on a dime. No remote control options though, making the dual drive a little less impressive, and arguably a bit of a waste.
This is a lightly featured bot, but it does do everything we want it to do. The Smartpool specific features, Dual Drive as standard and rapid drain system, do add to the value, but until the price is spelled out it is still not a winner.
Smartpool Scrubber 60 Plus Ease of Use
In my experience there are two kinds of robotic pool cleaner still being sold today. the old school external pump systems, and the more modern internal pump systems. The external kinds require extensive set up with your pool pump, and are more trouble than they are worth these days. The Simpler all in one solutions are usually plug and play devices, and as such are mush easier to handle. The all in one bots come in two flavors of their own too. The legacy design bots and the ultra modern design bots. The Scrubber 60, for all its good points, is a legacy design bot.
It uses a filter bag system, in addition to a bottom loading filter chamber. In the vast majority of cases these would be bad things, but thanks to the weight of the Scrubber 60 they are merely slightly annoying things. The 13 pound bot can be flipped onto its belly with ease. And changing the bag is quick and easy, the small size of the bags limits the human error factor, so the odds of improperly fitting the bag and causing n obstruction, while not zero, are greatly reduced. The fact that the handle is so small, and it does not come with a caddy are made moot due to the light weight.
It is not often I get to write of legacy build issues, but the light weight nature of the Scrubber 60 allows me to do so. They are still issues, and if you feel you would be better served elsewhere, then by all means take a look at a few of my other reviews, but know that the legacy design builds out number the ultra moderns 3:1. I always point out that the issues I discuss in terms of ease of use are very nit picky. this is because robotic pool cleaners are by their very nature extremely easy to use. I have to get into the details to find fault.
Smartpool Scrubber 60 Plus Pricing, Value, & Discounts
There are many deciding factors when you are looking ton buy a robotic pool cleaner. The most important in my opinion is the price. Considering that I recommend only three core features, and two ease of use options, you have a fair few bots to filter through. The Scrubber 60 is on the upper entry level price point of $600 to $800. I have seen second hand bots cut that price by $100, but again, you have to take into account the loss of manufacturer’s warranty. This is a decent price for the build. The small feature set is offset by the ease of use, though it is arguable that a larger bot with ultramodern amenities might be worth the extra $200 or so you would pay.
Now we look at the price per cycle, and unfortunately I am forced to make a more broad estimate here. Aquabot released the power consumption information for their bots, so I felt a little more confident in my average, but here I was forced to assume around 180 W. Depending on your price per kilowatt hour it will cost between 10c and 17c to run the Scrubber 60 on a full three hour cycle.
I spend a lot of time looking at warranties, I know a good one from a bad one, and I know that sometimes a limited warranty can be well worth it, like the one offered by Hayward. With the 4 year limited warranty that comes with the Scrubber 60 I can have no real opinion. Smartpool has not released the full warranty details to me, so I cannot make a real value judgement. I have contacted them about this, requesting the full terms and conditions as well, but until the reply I am forced to leave this review unfinished. I am still waiting on Maytronics reply as well. Rest assured that as soon as I have more information I will update this review, and all the other Smartpool reviews accordingly.
Smartpool Scrubber 60 Plus Conclusion
An odd predicament to be in. As is the case with all of my Smartpool reviews thus far. Without the warranty information I cannot really recommend the product. I like the Scrubber 60. It may not look like much, but it does what I ask of it, and it does it well. The mixed cycle times are a nice touch, and the light weight really compensates for the legacy design issues I have with bottom loading chambers and the like. By all accounts this is a well put together product. When I get the warranty information I expect this review will end up sounding glowing, but for now all I can say is wait for it.
- Works out of the box
- Cleans walls and the cove
- Bottom loading filter chamber is usually a bad point for me, as is the filter bag, but here the light weigh makes them pretty easy to use, significantly less annoying. More of a win in comparison.
- Swivel cable is great, makes tangles less likely, thus saving you time and money.
- Dual drive motor allows the bot to move around with ease.
- Light weight bot, 13 pounds total.
- The price is good for what you get. Second hand price is amazing for what you get. Ups and sort of downs here.
- Small bot, so the price per cycle will be closer to the lower end of the estimate.
- The warranty information is not very specific
- Improper utilization of a dual drive motor, no remote to take advantage of added maneuverability.