Wanda the Whale Reviews | How Efficient is This Adorable Pool Vacuum?

Warm weather is coming so don’t be caught without a backyard island paradise!  As the summer months come creeping in, it is time again to prep that pool. There’s nothing worse than putting off cleaning that above ground oasis and then realizing in the middle of an impromptu shindig that with a little forethought, we could have had a rocking pool party.  

The mere thought of peeling off months of grime from the bottom of our pool can get us thinking about just giving the thing away but don’t worry, just take a look at our Wanda the Whale review because she just might be the answer.

We have put together our review of the Hayward Wanda the Whale pool cleaner to give prospective buyers an educated, objective peek at the ins and outs of this unit so that when it comes down to selecting the right cleaner for the job, they will be able to make a well-informed decision.

The Hayward 900 Wanda the Whale pool cleaner from Hayward is an automatic above ground pool vacuum that is self-driving and makes a great addition to overall pool care.  

What sets the Wanda pool vacuum apart from other pool cleaners or ‘sweepers’ is that this machine is fully automated commencing its cleaning action from the bottom of any above ground pool, rather than floating on the top as some models do.

This unit uses it gear-driven base register to intake water and debris from the bottom, then forces the water up to the top where it is filtered, and ultimately recycled back into the pool nice and clean, just like all the quality above ground pool cleaners

For seasonal use, the Wanda the Whale pool vacuum seems like it will provide reliable service for years as long as it is well taken care of and not used for commercial amounts of work.

The included suction hoses seem as though they may be constructed at a slightly lower level of quality than the base, however, it seems they will most likely hold up well to daily use while only having to replace the standard maintenance parts.  

Wanda the Whale Review

While pool skimmers do a great job of removing floating leaves or debris, Wanda the Whale is perfectly suited for sucking up all of the mud and sediment that has settled to the bottom.

Wanda’s drive system and bumper ring help to keep this unit on track, allowing Wanda to courageously pilot herself around the bottom of any above ground pool giving a very thorough clean.

One great feature about Wanda the Whale is that she doesn’t require the use of an additional booster pump to function as the included vacuum hose connects to the existing pump.  It is worthwhile to ensure the existing pump moves enough gallons per minute -something over 1050gpm- to keep Wanda moving, otherwise she will just sit still.  

Super-easy installation is a huge benefit, and without even taking ten minutes to set up, there will be more time to get all of those other pesky house chores done.

one o the best features of the wanda the whale pool vacuum is the wallet-friendly price

One of the best features of the Wanda the Whale pool vacuum is the wallet-friendly price.  Wanda makes it easy to keep some money in the bank while still able to enjoy a very satisfactory pool cleaning service.

Hayward grants a 1-year limited warranty against manufacturer’s workmanship and defects so rest easy knowing that if anything does happen to fail, help will be just a phone call away. 

Buying Checklist

When purchasing a pool cleaner, it must always be observed that there are machines that are suited for different purposes such as; pool bottom cleaning, pool wall cleaning, surface cleaning, and so on.  

Here we are discussing bottom cleaners and with all of the different options out there we have put together a handy little checklist.  Before taking the plunge, make sure all of these questions have been answered.

  • Does the pool to be cleaned have ‘dished’ edges?  Some pools have a 90-degree convergence where the wall meets the floor, and others have rounded, or ‘dished’ corners.  Make sure that if the pool has one or the other, the pool cleaner has the ability to work under the specific condition.
  • Does this cleaner require electricity to run?  If dropping an electrified appliance into a body of water doesn’t feel like a great idea, look for an option that runs off of pump power.
  • How available are replacement parts?  This is a common mistake.  Many people will find a similar, ‘knock-off’ item at a much lower price point which makes it hard to pass up.  Don’t go in for this however, as cheaper, or lesser-known brands will tend to break, and then replacement parts are near impossible to find.
  • Does this product have a warranty?  If a warranty can be found on a new purchase, take it.  It is a good way to insure an investment, and it proves that the chosen brand has the confidence and gall to stand behind their product.

How to Use

When first installing Wanda the Whale in any above ground pool, one must be sure to prime the base unit itself, as well as the suction hose.

how to use wanda the whale vacuum

First, assemble as many suction hose segments together as are necessary to reach all the way across the pool in question, then attach the hose to the base.

It is important to note that if there is any air in the filtration system it will cause either no suction or lousy suction, and result in a very incomplete clean, if any, and an obnoxious gurgling sound.

Slowly lower the base of the unit into the water allowing all of the air bubbles to flood out into the pool, this should provide a good enough prime.   

If it seems there is either when first starting up the Wanda the Whale, make sure to prime

both the pump and the suction hose to get all of the air out.  Be sure to rotate the base all around prior to dropping it in order to release as much air as possible.  Then slide the hose in slowly along with it, and this will prevent air from getting into the system.

The Wanda drive system is a turbine-and-gear set up that runs off of the existing pump, so just plug in the hose, prime it up and watch it clean.

Why Buy Hayward 900 Wanda the Whale Pool Cleaner?

The main reason to consider buying this above ground pool cleaner is the freedom to move about and the affordability.

It is ever so nice to be able to take those summer days and just enjoy them.  Why waste time cleaning the pool when swimming in it is so much more fun? There is no need to monitor this cleaner as all the hard work is taken care of, so spend the days relaxing.

why buy hayward 900 wanda the whale pool cleaner

Though nothing could come as close as actually getting on hands-and-knees and manually scrubbing, this little machine does a pretty good job.  Its ability to clean the base of the pool almost effortlessly is what makes it a winner, and its ease of use is very nice as well.

It has some flaws, but overall Wanda the Whale is reliable, and will continually get the job done.

With less moving parts than other options, there is less maintenance, providing a more worry-free experience.  Yes, we mention that some of the parts fall off from time to time, but these are mostly cosmetic, and rarely cause an issue with the functionality of this unit.

Pros and Cons

One thing that is immediately noticeable about this pool cleaner is that it runs without using any electricity.  

The pump pressure itself it what turns the gear-drive, propelling Wanda around the pool.  This means it is super-efficient, requiring no more energy drain than the existing pool pump.

The quality of this particular model leaves something to be desired, as every so often we noticed that there were miscellaneous parts lying about on the pool bottom.

Things We Liked

Requires nothing but existing pump to run

Provides a decent clean for the price

Two-hour run time, assuming that pump is up to spec

Includes enough vacuum hose for most sizes of pool

Things We Didn't Like

Wanda’s tail falls off

Bumper ring falls off from time to time

Realistically a person could do worse for the price, but it seems as though Hayward is a bit too focused on the appearance of their pool cleaners, rather than practicality, and functionality.

As far as a self-piloted option goes, however, the prevention of having to stand around or clean the pool manually might be worth the tradeoff.  

Other Options  

Below we have listed a couple of other popular options just in case there is still a need for comparison.

The Dolphin Nautilus Automatic Robotic Pool Cleaner is a choice that is all-around hard to beat.

The Dolphin Nautilus is a spectacular example of a self-operating pool cleaner.  It features an extremely user-friendly automated power scrubbing system and is specifically designed for use in any above ground pool.  For exceptional cleaning power, this one definitely performs.

The Zodiac Ranger Automatic Above Ground Pool Cleaner.  

While Wanda can sometimes have trouble making it around the pool ladder, the Zodiac features a deflector-wheel design which helps to prevent it from getting snagged.  This is a good little design idea and while it still may get caught by the suction hose, generally has a good deal less of an issue.

The Ranger sports only one moving piece in the whole design which virtually eliminates excessive noise and parts wear.

Laurie S.

As a multi home owner for 15 years I've tried out a ton of pool products and methods and have found out the best ones that work for me. I love helping out other people with real, honest advice and spending time with my family. If you have any questions please don't hesitate to contact me in the about or through a comment.

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