Sure, owning a pool is a nice luxury, but keeping it clean can be a maintenance time suck. Robot vacuums promise to make the job easier by sucking up the leaves and debris that falls in. After testing the Hayward AquaVac 6 Series 650 robot, it might be the most advanced one out there with a smart mix of engineering and common sense.
The AquaVac 6 is the first to use hydrocyclones tubes—18 of them—to spin the water it sucks in around, separating it from the debris. It’s similar to the technology that made Dyson vacuums famous, designed here to work with water so the 650 won’t lose suction even as the filter basket starts to fill. In our pool, it sucked up every rock or leaf it rolled over, even in the bottom creases where the walls meet the floor, which becomes a catch-all for any organic matter that sinks to the bottom. We’ve seen pool vacs with nearly full baskets rove over a leaf, leaving it behind because it lost suction.
I’ve had bots with easy-to-remove filters before, but the one on the AquaVac 6 dumps its payload with one switch—again taking cues from better flooring vacuums. It’s simple and effective—no one really likes fishing out the junk these bots catch—but also the source of my one gripe: The round filter canister relies on some residual water to help flush the debris out when you release the trap door. That means I usually had to empty the filter on the lawn instead of a trashcan.
For any robot vac to clean, it has to keep moving and that’s the most impressive part of this build. The AquaVac 6 has six wheels and rollers giving it the ability to turn on any angle, so it’ll likely never get stuck. If it stalls over a raised floor drain, it’s smart enough to realize there’s a problem and tries different turning combinations to free itself.
Until now, the only way to get a vac out of the water was to literally pull it in your direction then yank it out of the water by the power cord—it doesn’t take a genius to recognize years of stressing that electric connection isn’t great for durability. But here, give the cord a tug three times and the bot automatically moves towards the direction of the cord and climbs the nearest wall high enough for you to fish it out using a handle. Sounds small but this feature makes it much easier to pull the bot out of the water.
The version we tested has WiFi capability, so you can control it from your phone, which is perfect especially for spot cleaning before a party.