The very first suction side cleaners where the bouncing type that just moved randomly in a pool each day. You would think that in the year 2020 these 1980 type cleaners would be long retired. But as they say, old tech is a good tech, and these bouncing type cleaners as I like to call them still work perfectly fine in most pools.
Some advantages of these cleaners are:
A great price point with a few models in the $150 to $250 range.
With only one moving part these cleaners are long-lasting and durable.
They work surprisingly well for the money and pick up both dirt and leaf debris.
Lots of generic replacement parts available so repairing these cleaners is inexpensive.
Great for Vinyl and Fiberglass pool surfaces.
Perfect for demo cleaners for pool service customers.
Easy to set up and use.
Some drawbacks of these cleaners are:
Cleaning patterns can be repetitive and, in some pools, spots are missed.
It can get stuck on the main drains and step areas.
#1 Zodiac Ranger
Although the Ranger is advertised as an above ground pool cleaner, it will work perfectly fine in your in-ground plaster pool or any pool surface type for that matter. With real cleaner hoses, a real skimmer regulator valve in the Zodiac Flow Keeper Valve, and a solid cleaner head the Ranger is the best in class. Plus you can’t beat the super low price of $150.00. If your looking for a good affordable cleaner the Ranger is the way to go. The diaphragm is the only moving part and you can purchase some good generic ones for $10.00.
#2 Zodiac G3
I would call this the Ranger’s big brother. The G3 has a more solid look and feel to it and the cleaner head has more weight. If your looking for a durable and effective cleaner the G3 is a great choice. With real cleaner hoses and the Zodiac Flow Keeper Valve for the skimmer attachment, this is a very good investment. It also uses the same Diaphragm as the Ranger and the parts can be found at relatively inexpensive prices. For $250 you can’t go wrong with the G3.
#3 Jacuzzi J-D300
I was surprised at how well this cleaner actually works. It is well made and the hoses are very solid and stiff. It comes with a skimmer regulator valve much like the Pentair Kreepy Krauly and is backed by a 3-year manufacturer warranty. This doesn’t cover the hoses, but the hoses feel very solid. It also comes with one extra Diaphragm and at $200 this is not a bad cleaner at all. I would say with the 3-year warranty and the pretty good build quality, the J-D300 would be one to look at.
#4 Pentair Kreepy Krauly
I will admit that these are not the easiest cleaners to adjust and install. The suction needs to be just right for it to move correctly and the flapper in the mouth can be loud and annoying. But out of all the bouncing cleaners, it does the best with larger debris like acorns and oak leaves. If you are looking for a real workhorse and don’t mind a slightly more complicated setup, this cleaner is for you. With long-lasting parts and great cleaning ability, the Kreepy Krauly is still a top choice. It is just a little expensive at $300 but works the best in my opinion, once you have it set up properly.
#5 Zodiac Wahoo
The only real drawback with the Wahoo is the Spur Weight on back. It is made out of hard plastic. So in a plaster or PebbleTec pool, it can wear down fast. And the part is not cheap at $50 or 1/3 the price of the entire cleaner. For a Vinyl or Fiberglass pool get this cleaner. The head has a great weight to it and the parts are very long-lasting. Better than the Ranger in all respects except for the hard plastic Spur Weight. It comes with the same hoses as the Ranger and also includes the Zodiac Flow Keeper Valve. Priced at $145 it is a real bargain.
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