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Zodiac Suction Side Pool Cleaners: MX8 vs. MX6 vs. MX8 Elite

Zodiac MX6 vs MX8 are two household names when it comes to suction side pool cleaners. Right now, we also have the Zodiac MX8 Elite.

The three models are quite confusing, and often, many buyers get caught in a dilemma. Today, we want to strip down the three models, highlighting the key similarities as well as the differences.

After that, we will give our verdict on what’s the best suction side pool cleaner in this comparison review.

Let’s begin with a short introduction about the brand, as well as the highlights of each Zodiac model.

Why Zodiac

ZodiacZodiac is a household name when it comes to pool cleaning solutions.

Since its establishment over 100 years ago, the company has maintained a reputation of reliability and durability.

When it comes to pool cleaning solutions, some of the other names under Zodiac is the Baracuda G3 and the famous Polaris series of pool vacuums.

Comparison Table

Zodiac MX6 Automatic Suction-Side...
Zodiac MX8 Suction Pool Cleaner for...
Zodiac MX8 Elite Suction Pool...
Pool Type
Inground & Aboveground
In-Ground
In-Ground
Cleaner Type
suction cleaning robot
Inground suction cleaning robot
Inground suction cleaning robot
Connection
Skimmer or 1.5" Vacuum Line
Skimmer or 1.5" Vacuum Line
Skimmer or 1.5" Vacuum Line
Hose Type
Advanced Twist Lock Hose
Advanced Twist Lock Long life
Advanced Twist Lock Long life
Traction
X-Drive Technology with X-Trax
maX-Drive Technology with X-Trax
maX-Drive Technology with X-Trax
Pool Surface(s)
Concrete, Tile, Vinyl and Fiberglass
Concrete, Tile, Vinyl and Fiberglass
Concrete, Tile, Vinyl and Fiberglass
Cleaning technology
Cyclonic Suction
Dual Cyclonic Vacuum
Cyclonic Scrubbing Action
Flex Power Turbine
Power Turbine
1
2
2
Hose length
32″ Twist Lock Long-Life hose
39″ Twist Lock Long-Life
39″ Twist Lock Long-Life
Cleaning path
10-inch
15-inch
15-inch
Navigation
X-Drive Navigation
maX-Drive Technology
maX-Drive Navigation
Easy-Grip Handle
Quick Connect
Warranty
1 Year
1 Year
1 Year
Zodiac MX6 Automatic Suction-Side...
Pool Type
Inground & Aboveground
Cleaner Type
suction cleaning robot
Connection
Skimmer or 1.5" Vacuum Line
Hose Type
Advanced Twist Lock Hose
Traction
X-Drive Technology with X-Trax
Pool Surface(s)
Concrete, Tile, Vinyl and Fiberglass
Cleaning technology
Cyclonic Suction
Flex Power Turbine
Power Turbine
1
Hose length
32″ Twist Lock Long-Life hose
Cleaning path
10-inch
Navigation
X-Drive Navigation
Easy-Grip Handle
Quick Connect
Warranty
1 Year
Check Price
Zodiac MX8 Suction Pool Cleaner for...
Pool Type
In-Ground
Cleaner Type
Inground suction cleaning robot
Connection
Skimmer or 1.5" Vacuum Line
Hose Type
Advanced Twist Lock Long life
Traction
maX-Drive Technology with X-Trax
Pool Surface(s)
Concrete, Tile, Vinyl and Fiberglass
Cleaning technology
Dual Cyclonic Vacuum
Flex Power Turbine
Power Turbine
2
Hose length
39″ Twist Lock Long-Life
Cleaning path
15-inch
Navigation
maX-Drive Technology
Easy-Grip Handle
Quick Connect
Warranty
1 Year
Check Price
Zodiac MX8 Elite Suction Pool...
Pool Type
In-Ground
Cleaner Type
Inground suction cleaning robot
Connection
Skimmer or 1.5" Vacuum Line
Hose Type
Advanced Twist Lock Long life
Traction
maX-Drive Technology with X-Trax
Pool Surface(s)
Concrete, Tile, Vinyl and Fiberglass
Cleaning technology
Cyclonic Scrubbing Action
Flex Power Turbine
Power Turbine
2
Hose length
39″ Twist Lock Long-Life
Cleaning path
15-inch
Navigation
maX-Drive Navigation
Easy-Grip Handle
Quick Connect
Warranty
1 Year
Check Price

Zodiac MX6 Automatic In Ground Pool Cleaner

This is the first generation Zodiac MX6 pool cleaner that has been designed for small pools. The model suits both inground and above ground construction and all the most popular surfaces.
Being the earliest cleaner in the series, Zodiac MX6 offers basic cleaning functions.

The pool cleaner uses cyclonic suction with one power turbine blade that allows it to process:

  • pool bottom,
  • walls,
  • stairs,
  • even the waterline.
Besides, the X-Drive Technology with T-Trax contributes to successful climbing. Blades don’t directly scrub the surface but collect debris on the 10-inch path. So, anyway, some sediment and algae may stay.

The device is called automatic, thanks to the X-Drive navigation. But I’d call it semi-automatic as it’s not as good as sensor systems, but you can forget about random moving.

Customers get one Advanced Twist Lock 32” hose to connect the cleaner to your pool system. One of the most significant pluses of the model is that it’s easy to install and doesn’t require a booster pump.

Finally, we love its low-flow cleaning method for the greatest energy economy and the most affordable price among the three Zodiac suction side pool cleaners.

Zodiac MX6 will suit owners of small pools with a limited budget. If you’re looking for something simple yet efficient, it’s your option.

Pros
  • no additional pump is needed
  • suits both inground and above ground pools
  • cleans even walls and waterline
  • collects large debris
  • has smart navigation
  • easy installation
  • energy-efficient model
  • affordable model
Cons
  • comes with the shortest hose and only one turbine
  • cleans longer because of the short cleaning path
  • doesn’t scrub the surface and leaves sediment

Zodiac MX8 Ultra-efficient Suction Pool Cleaning Robot

The MX8 cleaner became a logical continuation of the Zodiac MX6 device. Engineers tried to improve some characteristics to provide us with a more efficient yet still easy-to-use cleaner.

The basic design of the MX6 means we see the same body, energy efficiency, independence, and navigation in Zodiac MX8.

However, upgrades include two large turbines for better coverage and propulsion as well as aggressive wall climbing. Double cyclonic suction creates a wider cleaning path and larger debris consumption. The unit also cleans the bottom, walls, steps, and waterline but does it faster and better.

The cleaning footprint now measures 15 inches. Unfortunately, the manufacturer didn’t work on better scrubbing operations.

Driving tracks in the MX8 model belong to the maX-Drive Technology, which should provide more reliable contact with slippery surfaces.

The final improvement is a longer 39” Advanced Twist Lock Long life hose that makes it ideal for a little bigger pools. The hose construction lasts longer without breaks caused by twisting.

While purchasing Zodiac MX8, you get improved and faster cleaning performance. The unit didn’t become smarter but more thorough and hard-working to suit bigger inground pools.

At the same time, when comparing zodiac mx6 vs. mx8, we’d like to note that many drawbacks didn’t change.

Pros
  • no additional pump is needed
  • suits larger inground pools
  • provides faster and better cleaning with dual turbines and cyclonic suction
  • has a wider cleaning path
  • improved tires provide easier wall and waterline processing
  • collects large debris
  • has smart navigation
  • features longer and more durable hose
  • easy installation
  • energy-efficient model
Cons
  • for the inground pool only
  • doesn’t scrub the surface and leaves sediment
  • high price (some robot pool cleaners cost the same money)

Zodiac MX8 Elite Compact Size with Powerful Cyclonic Suction

The Zodiac Elite is the latest cleaner in the series. And it came to solve our greatest complaint – poor sediment and algae cleaning.

The biggest addition it brings onboard is a scrubbing system for tackling pool stains. It means that now the cleaner blades both generate cyclonic suction and scrubbing motions to deal with all types of pool pollutions. Thus, you get spotless pool surfaces.

Otherwise, it still maintains:

  • the same hose length,
  • two turbines,
  • maX-Drive technology,
  • the rest of the features.

Thus, though Zodiac MX8 and MX8 Elite look identical, we’d recommend Zodiac MX8 Elite as the most thorough and efficient pool cleaner. It is also the most expensive of the three. So, if you feel free about your budget and need a perfectly clean pool, the Baracuda series can hardly offer you anything better than this.

Pros
  • no additional pump is needed
  • suits larger inground pools
  • dual turbines and cyclonic suction
  • wide cleaning path
  • long-awaited scrubbing action to deal with all pool dirt
  • improved tires to clean walls and waterline
  • collects large debris
  • has smart navigation
  • features longer and more durable hose
  • easy installation
  • energy-efficient model
Cons
  • for the inground pool only
  • the most expensive pool cleaner

What are the similarities?

Zodiac MX6, MX8, and MX8 Elite are very similar obviously because they are in the same Zodiac MX series.

From the first model to the latest, we only see upgrades with much of the design and features intact.

Suction-side pool cleaners

The Zodiac Baracuda MX6, MX8, and MX8 Elite are all suction-side pool cleaners designed for inground pools only.

The main advantage is that they don’t require a separate booster pump; they work off your existing pump.

The three are also very efficient and work even with low-pressure pumps.

For the best efficiency, use them in two speed and variable-speed pumps.

attention

Regarding usability, these Zodiac inground pool cleaners are ideal for small to medium sized pools. They will also handle the small to medium-sized debris only. Large leaves and twigs will remain behind or clog the cleaner.

Set up and installation

The three Zodiac pool cleaners have the same structure, as well as parts.

The setup and assembly is just the same for all models.

attention

If you are shopping for an efficient pool cleaner with a simple installation, pick any of them.

They connect to the skimmer or any other 1.5-inch suction line and don’t require any plumbing or additional pump.

Cleaning orientation

Ultra efficient mx8
There are pool vacuums that can clean the pool floor only while advanced models can also climb the walls and stairs.

All the three Zodiac pool cleaners will climb walls, and also the stairs. They will also clean all the pool surfaces including tile, concrete, pebblecrete, vinyl and quartzon.

Warranty and parts

After sales is also an important consideration when buying pool cleaners.

Here, you want to look at the warranty length and availability of parts.

important

All the three Zodiac pool cleaners come with a genuine one-year warranty.

As long as you abide by the Terms & Conditions, you shouldn’t struggle to get repairs or replacements. That’s one of the advantages of these top brands.

Parts and accessories are readily available. You can choose to buy from the local store if you’re in a hurry, and again, you’re sure it’s the right part and genuine of course.

As for the scheduled maintenance parts that can wait a few days, we recommend buying Zodiac parts online because the prices are fair.

attention

So, as far as after sales is concerned, any of the three Zodiac cleaners is a great deal!

What are the differences

Despite being from the same brand, and in the same series there are profound differences.

The M8X has a few upgrades that make it better than the MX6 while the MX8 Elite also has extras that make it superior to the MX8.

Now, it’s time to strip down their differences and see how each addition contributes to the overall pool cleaning performance.

Design and portability

The Zodiac MX6 is the smallest of the three Zodiac models. It weighs just 18lbs. and actually comes with a carrying handle.

The Zodiac MX8 and MX8 Elite are wider. This is to accommodate the two turbines that ensure nothing gets on the way of the cleaner.

important

Also notably, the Zodiac MX8 and MX8 Elite maintain a low profile design; the top handle has been sacrificed for this.

Vacuum technology

Pool cleaners work by sucking up the dirt and debris. The higher the vacuum power, the more effective the cleaner is in cleaning the pool.

Zodiac MX6 comes with advanced suction technology that is enough to suck up the dirt and debris and climb walls aggressively.

When it comes to the MX8 and MX8 Elite, we find premium suction technology which is more effective and works better on heavy dirt; for example sand pebbles.

Cleaning technology

Ultra efficient mx8

The old MX6 uses Cyclone technology to pick up the dirt and debris. Cyclonic technology that delivers enough suction to suck up all kinds of small to medium sized dirt.

The Zodiac MX8 is a little more advanced and uses dual Cyclonic technology doubling the area the cleaner handles at a go.

The Zodiac MX8 Elite, on the other hand, comes with a new approach besides the dual cyclonic technology. It is the first Zodiac in-ground pool cleaner that agitates dirt courtesy of the Scrubbing dual cyclonic technology.
There is an active brush maintaining contact with the pool surface. It spins very fast removing all the pool waterline stains, algae, and other stuck-on dirt.

Drive technology

What drives the pool vacuum? This is an important consideration as it determines maneuverability and coverage.

All the Zodiac pool cleaners use Flex Power Turbine technology that is efficient and helps the pool cleaner reach every corner of the pool, climb walls and even the stairs.

However, you will notice that at the bottom, the old Zodiac MX6 has one turbine but the MX8 and MX8 Elite have two turbines.

What this means is that the MX8 and MX8 Elite have better propulsion, and turnaround time.

Hose length

A good pool cleaner should have a long hose to ensure it covers all the areas of your pool.

Among the three pool cleaners, the MX6 has the shortest hose. It comes with a 32″ Twist Lock Long-Life hose included. This again limits the use of the MX6 in large pools.

As for the two MX8 series models, a 39″ Twist Lock Long-Life which makes them ideal for larger pools. The Twist Lock mechanism makes hose attachment and detachment easier, and when attached, it remains secure.

As far as durability is concerned, they are all the same.

The feed hose connection is also standard among the three; Skimmer or 1.5″ Vacuum Line.

Cleaning path

The three Zodiac vacuums have different dimensions and consequently, varying cleaning footprint sizes.

The Zodiac M6 is the odd one out here as it comes with a 10-inch cleaning footprint.

The real battle here is between Zodiac MX8 and MX8 Elite as they both come with wider 15-inch cleaning footprints.

Definitely, the Zodiac MX6 will take a longer time to clean the pool while the MX8 and MX8 Elite will be faster.

verdict

If you have a small pool, the MX6 will work just fine but for large in-ground pools, pick either the MX8 or the MX8 Elite.

Flow intake

The Zodiac MX6 comes with a fixed flow/throat intake which limits its use greatly to the small dirt.

As for the Zodiac MX8 and MX8 Elite, the throat intake is adjustable.

Debris intake

Another area the MX6, and MX8/MX8 Elite vary is the debris intake.

In the Zodiac MX6, the debris opening is located on one end of the cleaner and is negligibly larger than the MX8 and MX8 Elite debris intakes.

The debris intakes of the MX8 and MX8 Elite are also between the two turbines.

verdict

Definitely, the MX8 and MX8 Elite debris intakes work best because of higher suction power.

Navigation and maneuverability

Ultra efficient mx8

Zodiac pool cleaners have the same maneuverability. They all come with two large wheels, and a track popularly known as X-Trax technology.

However, under the hood, there is a battle that pits two navigation technologies: X-Drive Technology vs. maX-Drive Technology.

Zodiac MX6 has X-Drive Technology, and the MX8 and MX8 Elite have maX-Drive Technology.

The difference between the two is that X-Drive has no reverse gear so when it gets stuck, it will just stop.

As for maX-Drive, there is a forward gear and a reverse gear as well so you won’t find either the Zodiac MX8 or MX8 Elite stuck. But they can all turn around.

Who is the Winner?

verdict

Of course the latest Zodiac, the MX Elite is the winner in this contest. The scrubbing function, in particular, makes it the best choice as it deals with stains and algae satisfactorily. Being the latest model from Zodiac, it is the best Zodiac inground suction-side pool cleaner.

However, in the Zodiac MX6 vs. MX8 contest, it is the M8 that carries the day. We like it because it strikes an excellent balance between budget and performance and that equals great value for money.

In the event its performance starts dwindling, you can revamp it with the Zodiac MX8 Tune Up Kit that includes most of the crucial components including a new engine.

Wrapping Up

We’ve finally come to the end of this comparison review.

You will agree with me that the MX8 Elite is the best choice, especially if you constantly deal with algae and other kinds of pool stains because it comes with a scrubbing system. It is the best choice if you have a large pool and you have no budget limits.

However, if you are on a budget, you can still consider the MX8 Elite as it is also designed for large pools because of the longer hose and two turbines just like the MX8 Elite.

As for the small pool owners, the MX6 is still a bargain. It’s the cheapest Zodiac inground suction side cleaner but can climb walls and clean the pool to the waterline.

14 Comments
  1. Hi! Thanks a lot for your reviews! Hope you’ll help me solve my minor confusion. It seems to me that Zodiac MX6 is a kind of outdated cleaner compared to others in the line. Is it so? Or is it still worthwhile for certain tasks? Thanks!

  2. Hi, Susan! Great question, thank you for your interest! Zodiac MX6 is a less powerful cleaner that is developed for smaller pools. Though it features only 1 power turbine, 32 in. hose, and a shorter cleaning path, we note the same traction, very close cleaning technology and navigation. That’s why we think it is an up-to-date pool cleaner. It uses simpler technologies but is equal to other Zodiac devices.

  3. Hello! Very detailed comparison, thanks! I have a vinyl lined pool and wonder if it will be too slippery for the Zodiac MX cleaners (the MX8 mostly) to climb the walls. Will its brushes cope with such a surface?

    • Hello, Sonia! Thank you so much for your high appreciation of our work! Zodiac MX series produces universal pool cleaners suitable for all pool types. Zodiac MX8 model will climb vinyl walls just as successfully as tile, fiberglass, concrete, and others. This is possible thanks to the excellent drive system mostly, not brushes.

  4. I have a 10000 gallon pool, which model is the best in my case? I don’t have power near the pool – it’s important! Can you help me to choose?

    • Hello, Maria! Thank you for your question and trust! All three models would fit your pool size. Besides, the cleaner is connected to the pool’s filtration system through a special hose and doesn’t need anything else. Thus, there is no need for additional power sources and outlets.
      However, we’d recommend you choosing Zodiac MX8 and MX8 Elite models as they offer longer 39″ hoses to reach any filtration system.

  5. I’ve been using the MX8 model for two years now for my 12.000 gal inground pool. I faced no problems by now, except for a bit unthorough cleaning in the corners (I’ve got a rectangular pool), but it’s ok for me. So, I’m thinking of passing on the Elite version. Thank you for the comparison!

    • Thanks, very useful comment) Was thinking of getting the MX8, but now would prefer something else. A happy owner of a rectangular pool :))

      • Hi, Lynne! We’re very happy that you found useful information and user’s experience provided by our reader)

    • Hello, Tom! Thank you very much for your comment and kind words! Your experience will greatly help our readers!

  6. Hi! I’ve got a good skimmer which I bought separately. Will Zodiac MX6 work with it correctly?

    • Hi, Den! Thank you very much for your question! Yes, all Zodiacs in this review are compatible with skimmers. You only should mind the connection size to ensure correct fit.

  7. What is Advanced Twist Lock Long hose? How is it better?

    • Hi, Fred! Thank you very much for your question! Advanced Twist Lock Long hose is a hose that consists of several parts connected together with special locks. The construction allows altering the hose legth and ensures safe connection.

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