Baracuda Zodiac MX8 Pool Cleaner Review | Great for Above Ground, Suction

zodiac mx8 suction pool cleaner

Most people don't tend to enjoy cleaning their pool. It's tedious, a lot of work, and can be really hard work during the summer.

Fortunately, pool cleaning technology has continued to evolve since the first Kreepy Kraulys and for just a few hundred bucks it is easy to save hundreds of hours (over several years). Automatic pool vacuums are awesome alternatives to manually cleaning yourself and hiring a pool man.

Fortunately, the Zodiac Baracuda MX8 is a top pool cleaner that we ranked second only to the Hayward's Poolvernuegen of all the top suction cleaners.  It comes with a variety of awesome features and, when backed up by it's powerful cleaning ability, makes it a pool vacuum that will keep a pool sparking and save the owner's time at a reasonable price.

As we mentioned in our Baracuda G3 Review Zodiac has been improving the quality of their products over the years, making this the best one yet. Although the MX8 is not as cheap as the G3 the difference really shows with the quality of the two products. 

You can't go wrong with either one, but read on to see why it's one of the best.

Things We Liked

  • Awesome, complete clean
  • Ability to clean all types of pools
  • Extremely energy efficient
  • Effective without pool pump

Things We Didn't Like

  • Occasionally gets stuck
  • Not great with large leaves

Editor Rating:

In Depth Review

Initial Set Up

When I first got the opportunity to try the MX8 I was really excited for this great pool cleaner. I had heard really good things and saw a ton of  reviews that recommended it. 

When it first came out of the box it was carefully packed in styrofoam peanuts. Setting it up was pretty easy and I just glanced over the instructions manual to see what I had to do. Fortunately the instructions were well made and in less than 20 minutes my Zodiac MX8 was ready to go. 

In case you have trouble with it we found this video to help with the instructions. If you follow them carefully you'll quickly take your MX8 from box to cleaning your pool in minutes:

You probably noticed int he video that he is using the suction side port which is what ALL suction pool cleaners rely on. If your pool doesn't have one (most above ground pools don't) then the Zodiac Baracuda MX8 is not for you. If you do have an above ground pool then robotic pool cleaners make for great above ground pool cleaners.

For everyone else who does have one you can see that the set up is quite easy and it doesn't take long for it run perfectly.

Setup Rating:

Cleaning Ability: Types of Debris

The Baracuda MX8 attempts to pick up all sorts of debris. It's better at large debris such as sticks and rocks and will remove such from your pool consistently.

It's a key feature because you don't want to use your long pole to try and get large pieces of debris from the bottom of your pool. Doing it yourself can be a pain and often requires a lot of effort to just get a single rock!

Don't expect it to pick up rocks that are a pound or two. No pool cleaner can do that! I read one review stating that a buyer didn't like it because it wasn't able to clean a HUGE rock. I'd like to know how it get there in the first place!

It will also effectively clean finer materials like sand. With a wide clearing path this suction pool cleaner doesn't miss much and will clean throughout your entire pool.

We mentioned that it's great at most types of debris, but there is one type that it struggles with - large leaves. Typically the MX8 will be able to handle them just fine, but sometimes it requires some manual assistance to remove some leaves from the suction mouth to unclog it.

Fortunately, there is an easy way to get around this. I was recommended by a friend to get the line leaf canister and after using the MX8 for a couple of weeks I can say there is a big difference.

It already saves me from having to remove leaves 1-2 times a week which makes the ceanister worth the money. This way, I don't have to pull the pool vacuum from the pool, lift it out of the water, and reach in to remove the leave(s).

If large leaves aren't a problem then don't waste your money on this add on - you won't need it.

I mentioned it is great for all types of debris and that includes getting annoying algae off the wall. Although algae is typically due to a lack of chlorine, the MX8 will at least be able to help get rid of it.

Because algae is on the walls this means that yes this Baracuda pool cleaner effectively crawls the walls thus truly giving a complete clean. It will even go all the way up to the waterline!
Get rid of annoying algae like this:

Zodiac MX8 even cleans algae like this!

Of course it isn't able to get everywhere perfectly, but you won't notice it unless you have a pretty dirty pool. There are some patches where it will miss the wall (only apparent if you have algae).

However, on the pool floor it is very dependable and doesn't miss a lot. I always saw that on a later clean it would get the spots it missed so I never have to manually clean after it.

With a great ability to pick up everything within reason (no 2 pound rocks!) this is an area the MX8 really excels in. There won't be a lot of missed debris whether it is small, medium, or large.

Cleaning Ability:

Cleaning Ability: Pool Shapes, Sizes, Materials

Different Pool Shapes

The Zodiac MX8 is great for all types of pools whether it be pool shape, pool material, or type of pool (except for above ground pools).

Regarding shape, the MX8 maX-drive Navigation allows it to be able to get complete pool coverage. Coupled with the dual cyclonic suction power and wide path there are few places that are missed.

The ma-drive Navigation also provides the Zodiac model awesome torque and maneuvering capabilities. It is able to easily get up on walls, and surprisingly even reaches the steps, but not as good as the Hayward Aquanaut 400.

This pool cleaner also is able to turn tight corners and hard to reach places. Unlike others in its class, it is able to go over pool lights without stalls or any other problem.

The fact that it has a rotating swivel makes it much more effective and requires less maintenance. With most pool vacuums the hoses often get stuck and you will have to manually fix it, but with the rotating swivel this almost never happens.

This allows it to clean large pools and easily backtrack for a more efficient clean.

It doesn't get everywhere in the pool but it has some of the most complete coverage out of all swimming pool cleaners. You can count on it to clean your pool and do it well - just as long as it isn't an above ground pool.

Diversity Rating:

Product Life

It seems that the Mx8 normally dies around 3 years. This gives it a shorter shelf life than other cleaners but I didn't mind it because of the awesome clean it provides and it is truly automatic.

Some owners claim longer lives than 3 years, but with some more moving parts than other cleaners you'll have to check on it every now and then to see if you want to replace some of the parts. 

For the first two years my parts were covered - but you will want to check with wherever you buy it (we recommend Amazon) for their specific warranty. 

Product Life Rating:


For the first two years my parts were covered - but you will want to check with wherever you buy it (we recommend Amazon) for their specific warranty. 

Because of the 2 year warranty there is little risk in purchasing the MX8 and even if it breaks you should be able to count on the warranty to help replace parts.

Warranty Rating:

Full List of Pros and Cons

Pros: thorough clean, great pool coverage, doesn't stall on lights, cleans pool algae, navigates corners, energy efficient, cleans all types of debris

Cons: not effective for above ground pools, can get stuck, requires leaf canister for large leaves

zodiac mx8 pool cleaner


The Baracuda Zodiac MX8 is an awesome cleaner that will get the job done. It may not be quite as good as the Poolvernuegen but you can count on it as another option that will satisfy every pool owner by being:

  • Extremely affordable (way cheaper than a pool man)
  • Huge time saver
  • Dependable

Do you have any specific questions about the any remarks regarding the Zodiac MX8? Just put it in the comments - I'm always happy to talk about it.

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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John Hollis - May 31, 2017 Reply

Zodiac MX8 Elite Review
Does not work in all applications or pool surfaces!
– it will not replace a pool cleaning company or your scrubbing efforts because it DOESN’T CLEAN STEPS into your pool OR anywhere else there is not a large radius (examples: corners of rectangular pools, beach shelves, corners of steps, etc)

– that it WILL NOT CLIMB MOST WALLS THAT ARE CURVED (S curves, kidney bean, round, etc)
– your pool must have a large radius transition from the pool floor to the wall for the water suction to hold it to the pool surface

FYI I have spoken to Zodiac’s Technical Service team twice to no solution, after confirming I perfectly installed all components, have maximized the speed to it’s maximum rate of 10 tread revolutions in 25 seconds. (They recommend 20-25, but 20 provides less traction to the concrete gunite surface). I installed a brand new filter, cleaned the pump basket, adjusted their supplied adjustment valve to its maximum flow rate, 100% shut off return flow from main drain and I have a standard 3450 RPM pump motor, just like most readers would have.

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