Hayward PHS21CST Aquanaut 200 Suction Pool Cleaner Review

Cleaning a pool is a humungous job and there is no question that you need an automatic one to do it. The question is which one! The Hayward Aquanaut comes with the expertise of two companies that have been in the pool cleaning business for decades now. Their combined experience is impressive and the Hayward PHS21CST Aquanaut 200 is the fruit of this union. Is this an inspired product with a voracious appetite for debris? If it is so, it would make it a great worker, especially during the rains when pools get really mucked up.

Hayward PHS21CST Aquanaut Reviews

What do people look for in a pool cleaner? You have the suction type and the robotic type of cleaners. The suction types are recommended for midsized inground pools, as a cheaper alternative to the expensive robotic cleaners.

Here it is important to remember that inground pools require inground pool cleaners only. One cannot use aboveground pool cleaners for inground pools. The underlying principles of modern automatic suction pool cleaners are suction and self-steering mobility. These are a given in most.

So if they are present in all, are they better in this one? And are there other features which one can expect when two giants in the industry combine their knowledge and expertise? Does it make sense to invest in this Hayward Aquanaut 200 and not any other? These are questions asked when you as a pool owner has decided to buy an automatic pool cleaner, but is overwhelmed by the number of pool cleaners available in the marketplace. Reading on may help you to make up your mind one way or another.

Key Features of the Hayward Aquanaut 200 – PHS21CST

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Explaining the technical terms in terms of what it does for your pool

  • VFlex™ technology – This patented technology maximizes power from water flow so that the cleaner can still move at low suction and pressure, all the time picking up debris, very large ones too, because of the flexible vanes that can accommodate any large size of debris.
  • Two-wheeled pool cleaner with multiple preprogrammed steering sequences – This is an onboard pre-programmed cleaning pattern to scrub the entire pool clean.
  • Adjustable roller skirt – This once again patented technology helps the cleaner to maintain the required suction under it, even when encountering obstacles. The roller skirt above the obstacle will lift, while the rest of the rollers maintain the suction.
  • Ideal for variable speed pumps – Because there are three sizes of inlet throats; small, medium, and large for a small pool pump with low flow variable speed pumps to medium sized pools and large sized pools with big high flow pumps.

Pros of the Aquanaut 200

  • V Flex technology sucks up debris at low suction and pressures, when other pool cleaners get clogged at this point and stop working.
  • Internal steering helps it to effectively cover the entire pool without getting stuck in corners.
  • Maintains good suction even over obstacles like the main drain because of the adjustable roller skirts
  • Soft and raised Tire treads enable it to move over the main drain without a problem

Cons of the Aquanaut 200

  • Reported difficulty in climbing walls wherever there was poor suction. Mobility with poor suction conditions in the pool was an issue with some users.
  • Some users experienced frequent tilting of the product, at which point it could not pick up debris like sand and dirt.

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User Opinion about the Hayward Aquanaut 200(PHS21CST)

Many users are happy with the features like the VFlex Technology and the rubber tires with their raised soft treads that offer good traction and negotiates bumps with no loss of suction.  Many of them appreciate the clean design of the body which is superior to other suction pool cleaners in the market.

Hayward Aquanaut 200 able to pick up large pieces of debris without having to clean it ever so often like other suction pool cleaners. Many users are amazed at the way it cleans the entire bottom surface of the pool without ever getting stuck on the main drain. Hayward PHS21CST is noiseless. It is also available from time to time on rebates offered customarily by Hayward. It is reported to be easy to assemble.

It is easy to handle, being light. It seems to be popular among owners of vinyl lined pool particularly, as it poses no threat to damaging the lining of these pools. Even odd shaped pools like kidney shaped ones are cleaned thoroughly as one user reported.

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My experience about the Hayward Aquanaut 200

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Well, I did all the research on suction cleaners and found that this one has the most number of favorable reviews for midsize pools.  I have a mid-sized 16 x 32 inground vinyl lined pool with a sun deck. There is not much debris, thankfully, since there are no trees, but algae and fungus do tend to abound if not cleaned regularly. So, I put the Aquanaut 200 to work. Like reviewers said, it is easy to assemble and incredibly light.

After connecting the hoses and attaching them to the Aquanaut 200, I connected it to the suction port in my pool. As per the manual I set the rpm as required, the bypass valve and turned it on. It did a good job, I must say. It cleaned the entire pool thoroughly, and especially the corners.

The Aquanaut 200 has 5 preprogrammed turns from 90 to 450 degrees. It moves for about 9 feet till it makes a turn by reversing the left wheel. By using the largest inlet throat, I could get it to climb the walls of the pool to clean them.

Though it couldn’t climb the sun deck, it wasn’t an issue. Its soft rubber tires did no harm to the vinyl lining and that is a big relief.  As reported, it did move over the main drain without getting stuck on it. I did notice once that it fell on its side, but it righted itself.

And I must admit it is a silent worker. Fortunately, there are no suction issues in my pool so I guess that’s why it was working well.  By the end of the day I had a perfectly clean, sparkling pool! No pool cleaner is perfect. But given the circumstances, I would definitely recommend this one.

Related Best Suction Pool Cleaner Reviews: Top 10 at Users Choice

Hayward PHS21CST Aquanaut 200 – Is it worthy of your pool?

I think the answer to this would be a yes. With its VFlex technology, its adjustable roller skirt, and the different operating options for different speed pumps, it would suit any length of pool. That should be a deciding factor, because it is always better to buy a pool cleaner with refined capabilities.

The cost of having to go in to complete the job after the pool cleaner does its job, is just not an option for me at least. Price wise, it is a bit steep, but the company Hayward is noted for offering discounts now and then so it is worth waiting for one of those opportunities.

They will surely come along. And there is an energy saving too – suction pool cleaners like this one runs off the suction of an existing pump so there is no extra energy cost.

They say the tires wear out in about 18 months, but the new treads are easily available online. Treads of The Pool Cleaner make can also be used. Neither of these is too expensive. The Hayward Aquanaut 200 comes with a two-year warranty.

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Final thoughts

If you have decided on a suction type pool cleaner, I think that is a wise decision. It is an improvement on the pressure pool cleaner which has become outdated.  It is not as expensive as a robotic cleaner and is enough for midsized pools of any type.

Hayward Aquanaut 200 does not require a separate pump to work. It does the job well and with a leaf canister it will ensure that the strainer basket does not get overloaded. While checking out this type of pool cleaner, the ones on the top of the list are the Aquanaut 200 and 400 from the house of Hayward.

These two products have come into the market after Hayward Industries the American company acquired Poolvergnuegen, the German experts in the pool industry.  The only comparable cleaner in this category is the Poolvergnuegen’s ‘The Pool Cleaner’, whose features have been incorporated in the Aquanaut 200 and Aquanaut 400. The other products in this category do not have the VFlex system nor the adjustable roller skirts which result in them getting stuck at obstacles.

Related Best Robotic Pool Cleaner Reviews – Top 10 to Consider

Thus, there is literally no other product in this category which offers these features.  It is the best without doubt. A combination of German technology and Hayward’s customer service and Technical service teams to service the Aquanaut 200, one does not need to look further. You will not regret your decision. I can assure you that much.

My name is Ron Walsh. I’m an industry expert, certified pool technician, and avid lover of all things aquatic. In my beautiful homeland of Florida, where I still reside today, pools are everywhere. Needless to say, I learned to love water at a young age. With my love of water, and pools in particular, it was only natural that I follow a career path in the swimming pool industry. If there’s someone to learn about above ground pools, pool cleaners and maintenance from, it would definitely be me. If you have any question just let me know.

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