Hayward Phantom?

snookumsDecember 7, 2005

We have a Hayward Navigator in our contract but we were thinking of asking our builder to upgrade that to a Phantom. My guess is that it would be about $200-$300 more and from looking at the website and video (prompted by my dh's prodding), it looks like it might be worth it. Cleans everything - bottom, sides, steps, even skims the surface, and gets into these nooks and crannies with this tail-like thing that swings behind it. Looks cool. Anyone have it? Is it worth it over the Navigator? My builder is a "Totally Hayward" builder so I don't think I'll have any problem having him get it for us (at least I don't think so)

Any input would be great before I call!

Here is a link that might be useful: Hayward Phantom

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Oh - we do have a dedicated suction line for a cleaner if that makes a difference...

    Bookmark   December 7, 2005 at 6:28AM
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Even with a dedicated line, you will have to turn the skimmer off or down to make the cleaner work.

I have always loved the Navigator/Poolvac and would recommend it to everyone.

Remember there is really nothing on the sides of the pool to vac. All the debris that falls from the sky goes to the bottom, so why have a vacuum that wastes all it's time climbing walls.

The stuff on the walls will usually be called algae and will not be cleaned off by a vacuum. The stainless brush is used for this awful job.


    Bookmark   December 7, 2005 at 9:15AM
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the phantom is a pressure-side cleaner, unless I'm smoking crack or something.

what kind of debris do you get in your pool? do you need a dust vacuum or a leaf blower?

    Bookmark   December 7, 2005 at 11:31AM
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"Remember there is really nothing on the sides of the pool to vac. All the debris that falls from the sky goes to the bottom, so why have a vacuum that wastes all it's time climbing walls.

The stuff on the walls will usually be called algae and will not be cleaned off by a vacuum. The stainless brush is used for this awful job. "

While I don't disagree that a brush may be the best tool for cleaning the walls of the pool since you should be brushing the sides regularly anyway, I disagree that nothing settles on the walls except algae. Here in Arizona I get significant amounts of dust (not algae) on all interior surfaces of my pool and I can tell right away if my Hayward isn't climbing the walls all the way because of the line between where it got and where it missed. Yes, there are no leaves for the Hayward to vacuum up. But if we've had a nasty dust/monsoon storm, getting that Hayward to climb the walls inproves the look of the pool as much as navigating the bottom does - and I really don't want to have to brush down the sides of the pool after every storm (although we're getting an in-floor cleaning system in our new pool so I guess I'm going to have to or live with dusty walls).

    Bookmark   December 7, 2005 at 11:54AM
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Our pool isn't done yet, so I don't know what kind of debris we will get in the pool. I thought that the Navigator climbed the walls too though? Anyway, what intriques me about the Phantom is its ability to skim the surface. I have an aversion to dead bugs floating in pools. I thought that the Phantom would help keep it clear of that kind of ickiness without too much work from me. It also gets up on the steps while the Navigator doesn't.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2005 at 1:23PM
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I have a Hayward Phantom and like it very much. It is a presure side cleaner and requires a boster pump. The skim feature is nice. The only thing with it for me is I have a semi-submerged rock on my baja shelf that it gets hung up on and can't spin off. So I run the surface skim program when I am out sitting pool side.

With the skim program off it gets up on steps, on the swim outs, and even inside my cave. I could probably put some big rollers on its hose and it would roll off the rock but I haven't bothered yet.

It cleans the bottom very well as I am sure all similar cleaners do.

So if you don't have any obstructions in the middle of your pool it will definatly get the gross stuff floating on the pool.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2005 at 4:50PM
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For close to the price of the Phantom, I think you can get a robotic which does the best job of all. Dolphin, Aquabot, etc.....

    Bookmark   December 7, 2005 at 6:29PM
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mas985 - do they skim the water surface?

    Bookmark   December 8, 2005 at 1:41AM
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No, they don't skim the surface but I am not sure the benefit of that anyway if you already have skimmers. The nice thing about the robotics is that they are independent of the pools plumbing system so you can skim while the cleaner is cleaning the walls/bottom. They have a very good scrubbing action so no brushing is needed. Also, they have a very fine built-in filter so you can reduce the pool's filter run time. Many people use them for pool openings as they can clean an entire pool in less than 6 hrs. Also, they have a built in computer that remembers where they have been so every part of the pool is cleaned, unlike the other cleaners which are random.


    Bookmark   December 8, 2005 at 11:15AM
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i have the phantom and its great. I have a bunch of oaks around my place and the wind blows the leaves into the pool. Within 20 mins with skimmer in auto. (bottom=13 min, top = 13 min) the pool is completly clean. we had an issue with the pressure line popping off the ring seal but when we called Hayward they sent a replacement within days. Very happy with the phantom. Its also cool to see it surface then cruz around the pool then submerge

    Bookmark   December 9, 2005 at 1:17AM
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We purchased the Phantom in June 2005 and have had nothing but trouble with it. It will tie itself in knots, breaks the swivels, sets and spins! The manifold has been replaced and now it is back in the shop and I am told that the gear box needs to be replaced, the bottom housing needs to be replaced and the bag needs to be replaced. The swivels cost $25.00 each and we have been going though at least one a month. We paid $800 for this machine and it just keeps on costing us money. When it does work it is great but that is the problem, when it does work.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2006 at 2:47PM
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I second that viola! I'm shocked that after paying the amount I did for this plastic piece'o'crap I've even had to deal with any problems. One time with the plastic, proprietary connector to the pool wall and two times with the gearbox. The first time even BEFORE the warranty expired, Leslie's ripoff pool company (my beef is their equipment is junk and they don't take kindly to returns-e.g. I bought a defective umbrella) wanted to charge me like $120 for repair of the gearbox. I said the hell you're gonna charge me for that and made them eat the cost thay Hayward charged them. Now that the Phantom is failing again (it just swims to a corner and parks the entire day), I pretty much suspect it will require a new gearbox-cheap plastic. And now that I'm out of warranty by maybe a month, Leslies will stick it to me as they always have for a likely $150 just because they can to replace the gearbox, so thats a biannual expense that in a few years will double the cost of a new one. The old cleaner I had went for years without a hitch. The Phantom has got all the whistles and bells, but its an expensive and sensitive cleaner that breaks down. I'm livid, but I like the skimmer too much to go back to anything else. Expect bag replacement once a year. Also, the connection to the pool, schedule-crap plastic, cracked in less than 6 mos even after I painstakingly did all the pressure tests required and by-the-book installatino. That was a party by the way-installing it. Avoid it if you can, look for a better cleaner mfr, but if you must have it, the upkeep will cost you and the headache will haunt you like a Phantom.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2007 at 3:01PM
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I've had my phantom for 8 months and am also having trouble with it. It initially worked very well but it is now getting stuck at pretty much every corner. It will just stay there until I go an move it. Does someone know if this can be fixed? If I must buy another - which is the best proven cleaner? Pool is 36x22.

Thanks to all

    Bookmark   May 28, 2007 at 11:19AM
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I've had a Hayward Viper for about 2 years. I'm told that it's pretty much the same internal design as the Phantom but doesn't clean the water surface (I have skimmers for that job).

Anyway the Viper worked great for about 2 months, doing a wonderful job of picking up the leaves falling from my many trees. Since that time it's been nothing but trouble. I think I've replaced the transmission (which is the main inner part) nine times. About half of these replacements have been covered by various warranties. I've replaced the hoses and/or swivels four times, and other parts many times. Even with the "free" replacements, it's still cost many hundreds of dollars to keep this thing running for two years, plus I've had to endure so many trips to the repair shop and a messy pool while I waited for repairs.

Hayward furnished an all-new, redesigned transmission about a month ago, but it only lasted about 3 weeks. Now they say they have an even newer, redesigned one. I'm ready to replace this piece of junk and switch, probably back to a Polaris.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2007 at 12:25PM
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I have the Hayward Pool Vac Ultra. I've had this brand for over 3 years with no problems. When I remodeled this year, I purchased a new black one because I wanted the cleaner to blend in more with the dark water color. You do, as stated above, have to have the pump on high speed and switch from skimmer to cleaner even with the separate vac line. My ultra vac does climb the walls but not the steps. Sometimes when I'm in the pool, I just pick it up and place it on the steps one at a time. I don't like dead bugs either so I do a manual surface skim if I see any, before I get in. I don't have a lot of trees or dust storms (just an occasional bout of the Santa Anas and sometimes fire residue)to deal with in So Cal, so this vac has been perfect for me.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2007 at 2:03PM
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The Phantom is great if you like a piece of carry on luggage rolling around your pool. That's about the size of it. They tried surface sweeps about 30 years ago with Arneson and they are no longer. Their now called skimmers. Every pool has one or two and why reinvent the wheel? I can't see spending $800 on a piece of China plastic that is not going to any better job than your standard sweep. And, the Navigators have been junk since the production went to China as well.

Try a sweep that does the job and does not require extra electricity to rn a booster.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2007 at 4:46PM
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I had a viper for two years and 1/2 the time it just sat in the corner. Finally when it needed an $80 part not covered under warranty I "upgraded" to the Phantom for $100.00. ( A promotion Leslie's has right now). I really wanted to get a Polaris like I had at my last pool. It was a 5 year old model at the time and lasted at least another 5 when I sold the house. That 280 had no problems and no expense. Kinda makes a person wonder why all manufactures can't make a product like that? Could it be they make more $$$$ when they last a couple years and break down all the time?

Anyway, the Phantom has been good so far. If it breaks down after warranty I won't put any more $$$ into it, instead i will use the $$ to get a Legend or Polaris.

Wish me luck! Are there any Phantom owners out there that have NOT had problems? If so I'd love to here about it.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2007 at 1:37AM
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Go for the the cleaners like a Polaris or a Pentair Legend cleaner and you cannot go wrong...The Nav is a great cleaner also if you don't have alot of leaves in your pool..

    Bookmark   September 9, 2007 at 2:52PM
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We purchased a Hayward Phantom towards the end of 2005. We love the extra large orifice for the vacuum. It can handle the sweetgum balls from our sweetgum tree with no problems. We also like that it can skim the pool. Having said that...

We had to replace the manifold in 2006 (would not go into spinout mode) and in 2007 (would not go into surface mode). The first replacement was not covered by warranty because we were out of the warranty period (probably by a couple of months). The second replacement was free because, according to the guy at Leslie's, there had been a recall on the manifold.

Within a month of that replacement (just over this past weekend), the manifold seems to have gone out again. Now, when it is in submerged mode, water shoots out of the rear jet AND the turnaround jet. The pressure is markedly decreased, I guess because it is now divided between two jets, rather than one. When it gets to spinout mode, water only comes out of the turnaround jet.

I took it to Leslie's yesterday. We'll see if they try to charge for a new manifold.

I will second the opinion that it works great, when it works, but that it seems very fragile.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2007 at 12:12PM
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Phantom is a piece of junk. I also had the manifold replaced once. This is less than a year old and now I have same problem. It is really upsetting after paying so much. I have used this thing about 20 or 30 hours and second one is now broke. I just left message on their website. We'll see what they do for me. I want something different. Also, my friend had same problem and junked it and bought something else.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2008 at 6:28AM
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I have the Hayward Pool Vac Ultra. After about 1 1/2 years it stopped working. I replaced the feet ($20 for 4 plastic feet that should cost 20 cents), and then the "A" frames at the tune of $60. Why these parts should give up after such a short time, I do not know. The vacuum still does not work like it should. Even if it is not clogged by the waxy leaves of our ficus tree it sits there most of the time, doing nothing.

I have to agree with other posts who said that the manufacturer makes good money on spare parts, and finally a new cleaner, after the owner gets totally frustrated. I will definitely not buy a Hayward again.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2008 at 7:26PM
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I thought I was the only one having problems with the pressure side Hayward cleaners. I have the Viper model, and after reading throught this thread, it looks like the Phantom has the same IRRITATING PROBLEMS. They get stuck, they keep circling, parts like hose, and net keep breaking. What a freakin' joke of a product!!! Expensive also!!!! This one has never worked since day 1. They keep sending me o-rings, manifolds, and eventually a new unit. And it still keeps doing the same thing. I just called them again today, and they told me that my warranty has expired. THIS IS A PIECE OF CRAP PRODUCT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Anyone out there know how to get around this problem?
I'm seriously ready to report Hayward and this product to the BBB.
frustrated pool owner
(surprise, AZ)

    Bookmark   April 7, 2010 at 12:50AM
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I got the Phantom when I built the pool about 4 years ago and have replaced it once already and now having the same trouble with this one. at $500 each time, the Company needs to redesign a few of the plastic pieces that are prone to breaking and wearing out. This cleaner is amazing when it works, but it won't work a full year without something wearing out. I am in Fl and it runs year around so that is part of it.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2011 at 9:13PM
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How many hours a day do you run it.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2011 at 10:10PM
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