Tuesday, July 5, 2022

Smartpool Scrubber 60 – Robotic Pool Cleaner Review

Only three more robotic pool cleaners left to review, and it is a bit of a blast from the past. The Scrubber 60 is the slight downgrade from the 60 Plus that I reviewed two weeks back. There is not many differences to be honest, but the slight price change may well sway you one way or the other. I have been at this for a while, and I have learned so much about this business. I know why the companies release clones of their own bots, I know the niches that each firm aims for. Aquabot is the very high end and the very low end. Dolphin is the mid range king, with a wide array of features on even their meanest of robotic pool cleaners. Hayward focus on the end user experience, creating bots that are not only extremely easy to use, but also chock full of add ons at point of sale. Smartpool on the other hand are a little muddled. They have some amazing bots, the BigFoot is one of my absolute favorite builds, but they also offer some less than amazing ones too.

The Scrubber 60 is more like the i11 than the i7, I am very glad to say. It comes with a full compliment of features, and the price is well within most of p our ranges. There is a lot to like about this build, but it comes with a few issues. Nothing that is particularly deal breaking, but the annoyances o legacy design rears it’s less than pretty little head again.

Smartpool Scrubber 60 Design and Build Quality

There are a few things you should know when you are buying a robotic pool cleaner. The first is to take a close look at the warranty, be sure that you are satisfied with the terms. The second is, when you get your new bot out of the box, to give it a shake. If you hear rattle then you probably have a manufacturer’s fault and need to make use of that warranty. Bots should be fit flush, and with Smartpool’s Scrubber 60 we have a robust build that can take a few knocks before going down. Smartpool excel at building machines that are hardy, and it is the same here.

As for the look of the bot, there is a lot to be desired in this department. I am not a fan of any of the aesthetics of any bot by Smartpool, they lack the flair seen in the Aquabot Breeze series or the Nautilus bots from Dolphin. They do all at least look like what they are. Small, sturdy little bots that will get the job done. The look of a build is not that important, it does come into play when you are deciding between a few bot with similar specs and prices, but until that is the case, you can ignore this.

Overall there is a lot to like here. If you get a bot that is up to code, a Smartpool will last a long time, and you needn’t fret too much if you have the occasional stumble. There are prettier bots out there that do what this little build does, but until their prices come down, this’ll do just fine.

Smartpool Scrubber 60 Features and Specs

I am no expert on the inner workings of robotic pool cleaners, but you do not have to be one to review them. You just need to look at what they do and how they do it. If a bot cleans well it is obvious, the proof is right in front of you after all. But there are three features that I demand of any build before I can recommend it. First, they must be able to clean the floor floor thoroughly, that means having a powerful enough brushes to break up debris. They must be able to filter a pool within the allotted cycle time and the must, really they must, be able to climb a pool wall. If a bot cannot do anyone of those things then I write it off, price may mitigate one failing thoguh. The Scrubber 60 can do all three.

The Scrubber 60 is an in ground pool cleaner, I have a fair few reviews of above ground pool cleaners, check out the Aquabot line, as theirs is the only one that has climbing above ground cleaners. The max pool size for this cleaner is 20 ‘ x 40 ‘, with a depth maximum of 8 feet. The 60 ‘ cable is fitted with swivel tech, which is always a pleasant surprise. Swivel cables help prevent tangling. If you have owned a non swivel bot in the past you know that a tangled cable is the number one reason for a cycle stoppage.

The scrubbing brushes, fitted at the bottom of the machine, are robust enough to break up all manner of debris, and soft enough, in the bristles, to not leave marks on a tile bottomed pool. The vacuum ports are a little wider than the norm as well. While this does lead to slightly less powerful suction, they are wide enough to allow acorns and twigs through, the number two cause of cycle stoppages. The focus on reliability is very easy to see here. In addition, I have watched this model climb the wall, and it sticks tight, cleaning well.

There aren’t many bonus features with the build, something of a pattern with the Smartpool builds. It comes with a dual drive motor as standard, which allows it to turn very tightly, 0 degrees, but without a remote to take advantage of the precision it seems like a wasted opportunity. The bot can detect when it is coming out of the water, and has a rapid venting system installed, lightening it a little. The cycle time is 3 hours, and it shuts itself off at that time, signalling that it should be removed from the pool. Not something I would call a feature often, but I’m grasping at straws a little.

Another lightly featured, but robust build from Smartpool. I love the fact that all the core features are here, and when you see the price you will be very pleased. But there are a few legacy design issues we have to discuss first. The ease of use section is not going to be too kind to this build, again, something of a theme for the Smartpool bots.

Smartpool Scrubber 60 Ease of Use

I have touched briefly on the things I have learned about the robotic pool cleaner industry, regarding the companies, the models and the features. But now I have some knowledge to give you on ease of use. There are two kinds of core cleaner on the market. The all in one models that I focus on and the other, external pump systems, that are more for industrial use. I avoid them due to their complexity, they require extensive set up to get going, and I find that the pump in all in one models is more than powerful enough for most of us.

In the All in one category there are two more types of cleaner, the legacy design models and the Ultra Moderns. The Legacy design models tend to have bottom mounted filter chambers and filter bags, instead of cartridges. The Scrubber 60 is a Legacy model, and the design comes with a few quirks that make the day to day running of the model somewhat irritating. The bottom mounted filter chamber means that you have to flip the bot over each time you need to replace the filter bag. The bag itself is a bit of an issue too, as they are more prone to human error. Fitting a filter cartridge is much simpler, when fitting  bag, a fold in the wrong place can cause cycle stoppages, costing you money.

The bot is pretty light though, at a little over 13 pounds. The usual issues that come with a lack of caddy don’t really apply, unless you intend to carry the bot over much larger distances by hand, if you do then kudos on the farm. The handle is a little short, even when extended, so getting it out of the pool is a little troublesome, but it automatically vents held water on the way out of the pool, so that issue is mitigated nicely.

The issues here may not appear to be huge, but that is only because they are not. Robotic pool cleaners these days all rank very highly in terms of ease of use. The Scrubber 60 is simple to use, plug it in and let it do its thing, after setting the cycle of course. So I have to get into the nitty gritty of day to day use to find fault. Nothing really deal breaking here.

Smartpool Scrubber 60 Pricing, Value, & Discounts

Here we are. The crucible of the article. Not in the sense that we are grinding something down, but merely that we are making a choice. The price is the deciding factor for most of use, and I am glad to say that the Scrubber 60 is in the very reasonable $550 to $750 range. You can find it a little cheaper second hand too, and the Smartpool bots tend to be very hardy, so second hand is less of a risk with this one.

Now a quick look at the cost to run the bot. Since I could not get full warranty information, I am forced to assume a 180 W power consumption. This gives us a cycle cost of around 10c, this will vary depending on where you are. You will find that it will be within a few cents of 10 per. This is a small number that will add up over time, and so any long term cost analysis of your home must take this into account.

Now to the warranty, and I would love to be able to provide a full breakdown of this one, as I did for the Hayward and Aquabot warranties, but I cannot. Smartpool do not have the full written warranty available to the public. When they get in contact with me I will update the review. Until then, we know that the Scrubber 60 comes with 2 years of limited coverage. Limited can mean anything, the Aquabot warranty is fine, but their limited warranty is significantly less so. The limited warranty from Hayward, by comparison, is fantastic. Until I get word back from Smartpool I cannot make a value judgement.

Smartpool Scrubber 60 Conclusion

That price saved the build. Well, that and the fact that the Scrubber 60 has met my feature standards. The legacy design issues are minor, and so can be written of, but the core feature set is a must, unless the price of the bot is really really cheap. The lack of warranty info is a concern, but one I hope to have remedied quite soon. In the mean time I still judge this to be one of the better bots in the Smartpool stable. None may match the mighty BigFoot, but this comes pretty close.

Pros:

  • Works out of the box
  • Cleans walls and the cove. Wall climbing is not a feature of all the bots from Smartpool, so it becomes a big deal for this one.
  • 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.
  • The price is good all things considered.
  • Small bot, so the price per cycle will be closer to the lower end of the estimate.

Cons:

  • The warranty information is not very detailed
  • Improper utilization of a dual drive motor, no remote to take advantage of added maneuverability.
  • The legacy design issues are here, and while not a thing to damn a bot by, still something to take into account.
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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