The backyard swimming pool is an all-American staple, a family favorite, an icon of success, and on a hot summer day, the envy of an entire neighborhood. But there’s a dark side, a monster lurking in the shadow of that sapphire beauty. That monster is the fast-growing filth that can turn your suburban oasis into a depressing eyesore, surprisingly fast. A dirty pool can turn your home into a pit of despair.
Fortunately, there is a sentry willing to stand guard against that filth the automatic pool cleaner marching back and forth across the surface of your swimming hole, diligently fighting off that layer of grime that shouts “foreclosure.” And one of the most beloved, affordable, and reliable of those pool cleaners is the Zodiac G3, otherwise called the Baracuda G3. This article will provide a bit of background on pool cleaning options, and then make a case for why you might go with the Baracuda.
THE BASICS OF POOL CLEANERS
An in-ground swimming pool seems like it might be a pretty basic concept dig a big hole, line it with a sealant material and plaster, fill with water and jump in. But in fact, the mechanics of keeping a pool sanitary and attractive are pretty complex. It all boils down to a large pump and filtration system, in which an external pump continuously vacuums, filters and then returns the water. But that still leaves the surface of the pool, which develops a layer of silt and grime over time if unattended. There are a few options for tackling this problem:
This type of cleaner involves jets that pop up from the surface of the pool in timed intervals and spray the dirt toward the drains.
Like a vacuum head on the end of a giant pole, this attaches to the vacuum end of a pool’s pump system and can be pushed around by some unhappy person.
This is one form of automatic cleaner, which is propelled by the return pressure of the pump to scrub the floor of the pool on its own.
These are pricey, self-contained vacuums that plug into long, waterproof extension cords and self-propel around like pool Zambonis.
This is one of the more common and cost-effective ways to clean a pool automatically and is the method employed by the Baracuda G3.
ZODIAC POOL CLEANERS
Zodiac Pool Systems is one of the more popular brands of spa and pool products, including automatic cleaners. It has three categories of cleaner—Pressure, Robotic, and Suction. Zodiac is considered a leader in suction cleaners, in large part because of the development of the mouth-like Baracuda Diaphragm component, which boosts its efficacy.
All of the Zodiac best suction pool cleaners are of similar design, with the exception of the Zodiac MX8, which is more advanced in design and resembles a little tank. The rest have sort of a stingray look, with a combination of a vacuum head and toothy rubber disc at the bottom.
The Baracuda G3 is something of a mid-range in this line. It’s quite basic, of medium size and weight, and considered efficient and cost-effective.
ZODIAC BARACUDA G3
The Zodiac Baracuda G3 works entirely with the pool’s pump system and has only one moving part in the process the Baracuda diaphragm. The cleaner’s 36-foot hose connects directly to a skimmer or vacuum line that feeds into the pool’s pump, and at the other end is a basic plastic case that contains the diaphragm piece. With the suction of the pump, the thin plastic diaphragm opens and closes rhythmically to create a pulsating motion that bounces the cleaner along the bottom of the pool.
Even a low-power pump will be enough to move the cleaner around the whole surface, and even up the walls. Meanwhile, the rubber disc hugs the surface and edges of the pool and kicks up debris along the way, either feeding it into the cleaner’s vacuum or otherwise into a drain.
THE G3 CLEANER INCLUDES THE FOLLOWING FEATURES:
36 feet of durable, Long Life Hose that connects to a skimmer or a 1.5” vacuum line.
Effective on tile, vinyl, gunite and fiberglass pools
Just one moving part that will ever potentially need repair.
36-Fin Disc that adheres to pool surfaces and won’t get hung up on pool details.
Wheel Deflector – a bumper attached to the body of the cleaner to help it navigate turns.
Quick-Release Cassette – diaphragm pops out for easy maintenance.
The best thing about this cleaner is its simplicity, both in installation and use. It requires no additional plumbing or parts or professional install. Just plug it into your pool’s vacuum line or skimmer, and away it goes. The diaphragm takes care of the motion on its own, and it requires a little operation.
Reviews have found that it sucks up pretty much all the dirt in its path, and works with just about any pump system and pool. It’s also much quieter than some cleaning systems, a big advantage. The diaphragm is replaceable and is advertised to last a year.
On the flip side of its simplicity, the fact that the diaphragm is the only moving part means that it takes all of the abuse. It is made of thin plastic, so it does wear out naturally or can take a blow that cracks it and breaks the suction. Similarly, one reviewer found that sometimes a piece of debris will lodge in the diaphragm opening and stop the bouncing action, leaving the cleaner suck in its place. It’s pretty easy to clean out, though, so not a huge issue. Finally, like all automatic cleaners, it will occasionally get stuck or hung up in one place.
Overall, the Zodiac Baracuda G3 is a very well received pool cleaner—quiet, simple, affordable, and effective.