Saturday, December 3, 2022

Aquabot Bravo Review – Worth an Encore?

I’ve been looking forward to reviewing this one, the Aquabot Bravo, billed by Aquabot as the world’s most advanced pool cleaning robot. It does beg the question then how they can charge more for lesser machines, but that will have to wait until I get to their 2k line. The Bravo, when looked at in a vacuum, aha, is a wonderful machine. Streamlined design, and a brain upgrade, means this beast can clean an 800 square foot pool in an hour. The same claim was made by the T2, but the quality difference here is impressive. Not the mere emergency clean of the T2 but a full on deep clean of your pool in that time.

Let’s jump right in, I really have to stop with these pool puns, and see if the Bravo is what you’re looking for.

Aquabot Bravo Design and Build Quality

Bravo frontConsidered by Aquabot to be their most advanced design, the Bravo is certainly impressive in terms of features. The build quality is fantastic, when looking for a new robotic pool cleaner you have to pay attention to the little things, and the way the parts fit together is important. Aquabot’s products tend to fit flush, little rattle. It’s the sign of a poor product when it rattles. On the inside we are looking at a similar build to the classic range, but on the outside we see they have went for a slightly different aesthetic. I have no idea what their designers were thinking when they replaced the cool blue of previous models with this yellow topper, but it looks ridiculous. It does serve some function though, as the bright yellow top is easy to see in the water, but if you can’t see a big blue robot in your pool you have other problems.

Usual fare from Aquabot with this rig. A nice tight build with their penchant for fairly unappealing looking builds. The aesthetics are unimportant though, it’s not the look of the thing, but how well it performs. So let’s take a look at the important things.

Aquabot Bravo Features and Specs

This is an in ground pool robot, probably should have brought that up earlier. It limits its utility a little, but I think the majority of us with pools have an in ground pool anyway. The core functions are nearly identical to the Turbo series, so expect the full range of cleaning options here. Not only does it clean the floors, but the Bravo can climb walls with the best of them. It lacks the power washing feature seen in other models, but the addition of a patented PVA brush system renders the need for a power wash moot. These brushes have a dual function as well, not only do they clean the floor, but they also clean the rim of the pool too, dispensing with the need for individual brushes for that job. It all comes together in a slightly lighter package, a good send when trying to heave it out of the pool. The internal pump is a little more powerful too, with an 80 gallon per minute suction.

The game changer with the Bravo series, the thing that makes it a step up from the Turbo line is its brain. This bot comes with some very advanced path finding algorithms. Coupled with the faster motor this bot can scan and clean a pool in under an hour. It does away with the need for cycles, as it just knows when the pool is cleaned and turns itself off. Bear in mind the maximum pool size for the bot, 800 square feet. Dimensions wise we are looking at an 17 x 18 x 18.5 inch machine, weighing at 18 pounds. Super light weight, and almost half the weight of the lightest Turbo bot. One thing missing from the previous Aquabot models is the ability to clean a tile bottom pool. The nature of the track material used limits the amount of traction they can get, the Bravo has a new material propulsion system, allowing it to gain traction on any material.

Overall there is a lot to like here. We have all the utility of the Turbo series with the addition of a few key features. The streamlined design, leading to a light bot, and the added complexity to its brain make for a a very attractive build.

Aquabot Bravo Ease of Use

There is never much to take into account regarding ease of use in my robotic pool cleaner reviews. I always look at automatic models, as I feel they offer the greatest utility. There are models out there that require set up, and complicated arrangements with your pool’s internal pump and filtration system, but I leave those to the experts. I want a pool cleaning robot that is self contained. And I hope you do too. The Bravo is a plug and play device. You plug it into the mains and dunk it in the water,it’ll do the rest. The Bravo is even easier to use than the Turbo or Classic series due to its weight. With that gaudy yellow handle easy to reach, and a slight 18 pounds, you should have no trouble removing it from the water. One new feature here is the redesign to the debris tank, in older models an overloaded tank would dump the small amount of excess back into the pool when you try to take it out. Not the case here, though you will have to clean it a little more thoroughly if you force the machine to suck up more than it can handle.

As is the case with most of the products I review in this area, the Bravo is easy to use. More so than any other device I have reviewed.

Aquabot Bravo Pricing

Bravo in poolHere’s the part I have been dreading. The Aquabot is not a cheap pool cleaner. This is the first of the high ends, with prices running between $1500-$1800. Not exactly pocket change. The price fluctuates a little, and there are discounts that you can get in some places though. One of the key things I always point out is the amount of time you save with a robotic pool cleaner. The value in the product is directly proportional to how much you value your time. A simple equation will tell you that this product will pay for itself within a year with all the time you save. The additional features of the Bravo series make it very attractive, and I would argue that it is well worth the asking price.

There are a few other areas where you have to consider the price. The cost to run the robot depends on your area, and the price per Kilowatt hour you pay. With a 140W power draw the Bravo runs for a couple of cents an hour, less even than the Classic bots. Now we can talk about a positive thing, as I always consider paying money the least enjoyable aspects of buying anything, the warranty. The Bravo comes with a 4 year warranty, though only the first year includes full coverage. The Remaining 3 years are under a limited warranty. Now I have read their limited warranty thoroughly, and walked away less than impressed. What is covered is, as you might imagine, limited, and I would recommend you skim it yourself. Still, it is at least better than nothing.

The price point is the only black mark on this product. I believe that this is well worth the added expense, but seen as it is a little outside what i would call the impulse buy price range it might put a few folk off. If you are on the fence and a little short, it is well worth saving for the better item.

Aquabot Bravo Conclusion

Easy to recommend on the features alone. If money is tight then a cheaper options might do in the interim. If you need a pool cleaner that can clean fast, deep and is light as a feather, then you have to get the Bravo.

Pros:

  • Automatic, requires no supervision.
  • Works out of the box, no need to connect it to a pool pump.
  • Bigger brain, more optimized cleaning
  • PVA brush is highly effective
  • Cleans all the wall
  • Light as a feather

Cons:

  • Very expensive
  • In ground pools only.
  • Would be better with 2 years full warranty and 2 years limited
Barry W Stanton
Irish born writer who drinks too much caffeine and reads too much Terry Pratchett. I enjoy long walks on the server and Korean cuisine.
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