Pros: When they work, they work well and the initial price is competitive with other brands.
Cons: Not built to last, parts susceptible to cracking from sun/chlorine exposure. Replacement parts are expensive.
Here is a boring review, for anyone who doesn't have an inground pool and couldn't care less how they are cleaned.
I've had two Kreepy Krauly pool cleaners over the past 12 years, my second is in dire need of rebuilding or replacement and I've scavenged as many usable parts from Kreepy number one as I possibly can. It's skeletal remains hang like a hunting trophy on my pool shed wall.
The choice is getting easier as I price the replacement parts costs versus buying a new one, complete with the umbilical hoses which comes in several short sections and I can see I need a few new replacement pieces.
It seems to me that five or six years of useful service with periodical minor surgery, from a product that cost me $499.00 (Cdn), "the last time around", is a bit sad. Especially if one takes into account that I only use it for several hours a week for four to five months of the year. What's that work out to be? 30 Hours a month for let's call it five months? At 150 hours of use per year, that equates to less than .50 cents an hour for an automatic pool cleaner. It really isn't too bad when you look at it in those terms. How much more would you have to pay a pool guy and is your free time worth 50 cents an hour?
The unit has two hinged side wings that raise up to allow the round suction mat to go into corners and even climb the walls of the pool. I've found those rubber hinges break constantly and then it looks a lot like a dying fish, with only one good fin running around in a circle. That isn't too bad either, as you can buy the replacement hinges and odd pieces for under $20.00.
The vinyl hose sections have a tendency to crack over time, I suspect from the chlorine and constant bending as Mr. Kreepy Krauls around the pool. As for replacement costs for cracked hose sections, "ehh, fur-git aboat et", I've often made it through the summer on one three dollar roll of good old duct tape. I also tried an experiment with Home Depot's off the shelf hose and found while inexpensive, it isn't made for the flexible and unpredictable movements underwater of the Kreepy Krauly.
The worst part to fail is the rubber-like suction mat itself, which is like the heart of the product. When the little splines begin to crack up and leak, it loses suction, slows down and even begins to leave a little trail of blue rubber bits all over the pool floor. Replacement cost at my local supplier was close to $100.00. Again, I'm sure it's the chlorine and other chemicals I toss in to balance the PH of the water. I've replaced this pad three or four times over the past twelve years on my first and second Kreepy Krauly, which is a bit of a cool feature, in that they haven't changed the design for decades. However, each time I buy a replacement at that price, I feel as those the manufacturer owes me a kiss.
Kreepy number two and it's hose sections are pretty shot up and I suppose it's time for Kreepy number three, unless I hear soon from someone out there that the Barracuda is a better product.
Overall, I really don't dislike this product. I wish key parts were somehow designed to be resistant to the chemicals in the pools they are designed to clean, but such is life. As far as cleaning goes, they do a good job of randomly bouncing around the pool and picking up debris, from algae to leaves and rarely get clogged up or stuck. Occasionally side ladders catch them and they hump away at the ladder for hours uselessly trying to get away. Otherwise, they do the job they were advertised to do very well, and for lazy people who don't want to manually clean the pool (like me) they are worth a little bit of maintenance.
They do come fully assembled, I mean, unpack it, snap together the hose sections, connect it to the main body of the Kreepy Krauly, fill the hose with water to displace the air, toss the thing in the pool and plug the other end of the hose in to your suction line back to the filter and you're in business. It couldn't be much simpler. Look in on it every couple of hours to make sure it hasn't been stolen by one of your neighbors.
I guess it comes down to how much you value your personal time in the summer, do you want to stand on the side of the pool running your manual vacuum head back and forth for hours, or lay back on a floating lounge chair with a cold beer and marvel at the engineering that went into the Kreepy Krauly, mesmerized by the way it climbs the walls of the pool?
For my money the lounge chair wins every time, but remember to drink and float responsibly.