Zodiac MX8 Review – Pool Cleaner Vacuum

zodiac mx8 review

Pools are great for the summer heat, but can be a hassle to clean. Pool vacuum cleaners have come a long way over the last 20 years and are now capable of efficiently cleaning almost all types of in-ground pools.

The Barracuda Zodiac MX8 suction-side pool cleaner was considered by many to be one of the best robotic pool cleaners.

But with newer models entering the market, is it still worth a buy?

Who Is The Zodiac MX8 For?

For those that already have pool cleaners, but are concerned about its energy consumption the Zodiac Mx8 may be a great alternative.

Zodiac MX8 Suction-Side Cleaner

Zodiac MX8 Suction-Side Cleaner

Its efficient design has shown that it uses 30% less energy than similar pool cleaners of its age and class.

MX8 is for people with in-ground pools who want to automate the cleaning process that often takes hours if manually done.

In the long run, this reduction in electricity usage could add up to significant financial savings over the summer season.

How Does The Zodiac MX8 Work?

The Zodiac Mx8 works similar to most suction pool cleaners. It is connected to an above ground pool pump or skimmer with a 1.5” diameter hose.

The hose runs into the center of the pool cleaner and powers the suction system on the bottom of the Mx8.

The Mx8 moves around the pool using a dual-track system and navigates with Zodiac’s MaX-Drive Advanced Dual Navigation System. It is capable of cleaning all parts of an in-ground pool up to the waterline.

Features And Specifications

The Barracuda Zodiac MX8 pool cleaner is the most recent pool cleaner released by Zodiac Pool Systems. It is an “ultra-efficient suction pool cleaning robot” that is used to clean the floor and walls of in-ground pools atomically.

It is designed with a suction system to pick up dirt and debris that builds up on pool surfaces.

Dual Cyclonic Vacuum

The Zodiac MX8 comes equipped with a Dual Cyclonic Vacuum system. The vacuum on the bottom of the pool cleaner has two inlet points.

Each point has a small turbine that rotates in the opposite direction of the other. This creates a stronger suction under the vacuum, which increases its efficiency.

Additionally, the extra suction power helps the Mx8 climb pool walls and easily navigate over objects in the pool.

Adjustable Intake

The size of the vacuum intakes on the Mx8 can be adjusted based on the size of debris in your pool. This effectively allows the Mx8 to have both a large and small debris mode.

When the intake is adjusted to a smaller size, its suction power is more concentrated to pick up smaller particles, and when the intake is made bigger, it can pick up larger debris.

MaX-Drive and X-Trax Technology

One of the reasons the Zodiac Mx8 pool cleaner is so effective is because of its navigation abilities. MaX-Drive is Zodiac’s navigation technology that comes programmed with 32 different built-in cleaning paths.

These paths are utilized by the Mx8’s dual-navigation controls to effectively clean pools of all shapes.

The Mx8’s X-Trax technology incorporates dual rugged tracks. These tracks provide the Mx8 improved climbing ability for pool walls and the ability to turn in small areas.

The Design

Efficiency is one of the Mx8’s biggest design achievements. It is designed to function with 30% less water flow than other pool cleaners in its class. This is great because it means the Mx8 needs less energy to function, effectively reducing its cost to run.

Additionally, this allows it to be compatible with low flow pumps making it a great option for solar, two-speed, and variable-speed pool pumps.

Hose and Valve

The hose and valve system that comes standard with the Mx8 was designed to add to its overall efficiency. It comes with a 36’ hose that is 1.5” in diameter, which allows it to function with a flow rate of only 20 GPM.

Furthermore, its flow regulator valve bypasses excess water back into the pool when the flow rate is too high to maintain optimal performance.

Lastly, the hose is connected to the vacuum with a quick-release system that ensures a snug connection but allows for it to be disconnected with minimal effort.

MX8 Accessories

The Zodiac Mx8 comes with all of the basic components needed to function right out of the box. This includes the pool cleaner itself and many different tube and valve components.

Please note the Zodiac Mx8 Pool Cleaner does not come with a pool pump.  A pump must be purchased separately before the Mx8 can be used.

Included Accessories

  • Vacuum cleaner body
  • Flowkeeper Valve
  • Valve Cuff
  • Twist-Lock 45 Degree Elbow (x2)
  • Flow Regulator Valve
  • Header Hose Section with Hose Float
  • Twist-Lock Hose Section (x11)

Zodiac produces a host of additional accessories that can also be very useful for specific purposes. A few of the most commonly used optional accessories are listed below.

Optional Accessories

  • Zodiac Cyclonic Leaf Catcher = catches leaves suctioned by your Mx8 vacuum and prevents them from reaching the pump.
  • Cyclonic Scrubbing Kit = improves the Mx8’s scrubbing abilities for grime buildup on pool surfaces.
  • Mx8 Tune-Up Kit = basic components to clean and maintain your Mx8 pool cleaner.

Things We Like

As with all products, there are some parts we love, but other parts we feel could be improved. The Zodiac MX8 pool cleaner largely falls in the category of things we love, but it does have a few areas we feel are lacking.

The energy-efficient design of the MX8. We love the fact that by designing the vacuum to function with a lower flow rate Zodiac not only reduced its energy consumption but also made it compatible with low flow pumps.

This is a win-win making it cheaper for users to run and compatible with nearly all in-ground pool systems.

What We Don’t Like

We think that the normal Mx8 kit should include a leaf catcher because leaves are such a common pool issue. Currently, a leaf catcher can be purchased as an add on from Zodiac.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Often Does The Zodiac MX8 Require Maintenance?

The Mx8 requires minimal maintenance. Generally, maintenance is only required when the Mx8 is not behaving correctly. If the pool cleaner is struggling to move or is moving very slowly, it is often because the gear drive system has failed.

The general consensus across the web is that the gear drive system should be replaced every 12 – 18 months. A repair kit can be purchased separately.

Wil The Zodiac MX8 Work With All Pool Designs?

The Mx8 is designed to work in all types of in-ground pools, regardless of shape. It effectively cleans concrete, fiberglass, tile, vinyl, Pebble Tec, and Diamond Brite surfaces.

The strong suction created by its Dual Cyclonic Vacuum system helps it clean over pool stairs, in pool lights, and other built-in obstructions.

Can I Use The Zodiac MX8 After Chemically Treating My Pool?

Remove the Zodiac Mx8 before the pool is chemically treated. After the chemical treatment wait a minimum of 4 hours before putting the Zodiac Mx8 back into the pool.

Zodiac MX8 Known Issues

The Zodiac Mx8 is not without problems. A few of the most commonly occurring problems are discussed below.

Zodiac Mx8 Getting Stuck, Moving Slowly Or Going In Circles.

This is a problem that the Zodiac Mx8 tends to have after 2+ years of use. Often it will start moving in only one direction or stop moving completely. It can be extremely frustrating because it effectively prevents the Mx8 from doing its job.

This issue can actually be fixed relatively easily. The Zodiac Mx8 runs with a gear drive system that connects the tracks and rest of the vacuum. Over time the plastic gears inside the Mx8 wear down and cause this problem.

To fix the issue new gears must be installed. The parts can be purchased from Zodiac Pool Systems.

Zodiac MX8 Will Get Clogged By Leaves

The Zodiac Mx8 can handle individual leaves but will get clogged by piles of them.

When too many leaves are picked up simultaneously the turbine inside the vacuum can get stopped, preventing it from picking up any more debris until it is cleaned.

Zodiac MX8 vs. MX8 Elite

The Zodiac Mx8 and Mx8 Elite models are extremely similar. They are built using the same base and a lot of similar technology.

The Mx8 Elite incorporates everything the normal Mx8 has, except it has one important additional feature added.

Scrubbing Dual Cyclonic Vacuum System

This builds on the already effective Dual Cyclonic Vacuum system found on the Mx8 and takes it one step further by adding scrubbing brushes.

The brushes are located on the two turbines that make up the dual cyclonic vacuum system on the bottom of the Mx8. The turbines continually spin and stay in contact with the pool surface as the Mx8 covers its path in the pool.

The brushes help remove debris that is stuck on the pool surface or trapped in cracks.

The Mx8 Elite provides a stronger and more aggressive clean than the normal Mx8.

In Summary

We think the Zodiac MX8 pool cleaner is an excellent choice to consider if you have an in-ground pool. We love the fact that it incorporates a lot of technology, like the MaX-Drive system, adjustable intakes, and quick-release hose.

Additionally, it is capable of effectively cleaning most types of in-ground pools and is compatible with most pool pumps. The energy-efficient design is an added benefit that reduces running costs and has a positive environmental impact.