picture of MO, the mighty little pool sweeper

I bought this little pool sweeper with some trepidation. I had tried two conventional suction-side pool sweepers and found that they were expensive to use, unreliable at cleaning, and compromised the filtration system too much. Suction-side cleaners are a hacked-on compromise that use too much energy and do, at best, a mediocre job. A dedicated cleaning machine seemed like a better choice, and this one looked intriguing but I found some of the warnings ominous: works best with non-sloping, flat-bottomed pools under 850 square feet. Ours is a conventional 1980’s-era North American swimming pool with a shallow end sloping to a deep end, sloping sides, and it is right at the 850 square foot limit. Still, I was intrigued.

I was pleasantly surprised at the design. It isn’t a microprocessor-controlled “smart” appliance but, rather, an elegant mechanical design. There’s none of the dreaded “AI” here. The wheels are free-rolling, and the machine (quickly dubbed “M-O” of Wall-E fame) propels itself by jetting water out of nozzles on each end. The water intake travels through the bottom of the device and through a large filter. A vane on the top senses when Mo isn’t moving any more, and switches the direction of the water jet. Simple, effective, and in my experience highly reliable.

Mo works a treat, eagerly picking up sand, dirt, and leaves while lightly brushing the pool bottom and even partway up the walls. Mo charges overnight in the garage. Each morning I turn Mo on and drop them into the pool, where they sink like a submersible and goes to work. Mo scrubs for about 90 minutes then stops. After trivial disassembly, I rinse Mo out with a garden hose, snap them back together, and then they’re back to the charger.

The only thing that doesn’t work perfectly is that Mo is designed to stop near the edge of the pool to make retrieval (using a handle floating at the end of a long string) easier. With my pool’s sloping sides, Mo usually rolls away from the side and I have to use my pool broom to snag the handle (or just go for a swim).

I’ve seen this particular model on sale for less than $150; you’ll save that much in a year of avoiding using a suction-side cleaner.

I’ve retired my balky suction-based cleaners while Mo keeps my pool sparkling clean.

—2p

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