Kreepy Krauly Great White Pool Cleaner In-depth Review

Sometimes, even the most trusted pool cleaner device just doesn’t do the job anymore and you need to find an equally trustworthy and economic alternative machine. Could the Kreepy Krauly Great White GW9500 by Pentair be your next best pool cleaning friend?

Many pool owners have found their faith in affordable, automatic cleaners restored thanks to this particular pool vacuum. It doesn’t look particularly flashy. In fact, the gray and white boxy look is rather dull compared to other, more imaginatively styled products. But don’t let this fool you. This is a great suction-side cleaner.

Pentair chose to put the message in the name. The Great White is indeed a mean machine with rotating bristles for teeth and a large opening to swallow or rather suck in large quantities of pool debris. Before looking closer at its ability to clean let’s check whether this cleaner could be right for your pool.

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Is it right for your pool?

Do you have a vinyl, fiberglass, gunite pool? Then the answer is yes. It is equally suitable for surfaces like modern aggregate finishes (for instance Pebble Tec), tiles or quartz/plaster.

The bristles are hard and powerful enough to dislodge stubborn stains and algae but leave vinyl surfaces intact.

The cleaner will move around and cover all pool shapes – be it kidney-shaped or angular or free-form. It can climb walls provided there is a round transition from bottom to pool sides but not steps. Please note that it is not suitable to use under solar covers.

The standard installation is via the pool skimmer. Optionally you can use your pools vac port if you have one (a spring loaded vac port safety cover is included).

Flow rate is paramount for the Great White to work properly. This can easily be adjusted with the included flow gauge and valve. However, if you have a pool with a variable speed pump you will have to repeatedly change and adjust the flow rate or, alternatively, program the pump to run at just one speed.

Does it get stuck?

Not on main drains if the water pressure is adjusted properly and your pool filters are clean. The mechanism works so that the unit easily navigates around pool obstacles. Should it find itself in a tight spot its design allows it to turn and spin, free itself and move on.

Why the Great White is special and how it works

The usual way to move a pool cleaner is with wheels or rollers. This cleaner is smoothly propelled by a bristle drive. It’s a unique mechanism and together with the oscillating vortex design allows for effective and thorough cleaning of bottom and sides.

This unit is designed to cover the whole pool floor, from deep to shallow end provided the flow rate from the pump is properly adjusted. If the flow rate is too low or if the pool filter is full the device may become less mobile, not able to climb walls and not leaving the deep end.

This Kreepy Krauly also comes with a handle telepole adapter to guide it. This is useful when you want to speed up the process of cleaning and move the cleaner over stubborn spots or if the cleaner has missed a spot.

Pentair’s engineers have built a pool vac with few moving parts, which means if something does wear out it’s easily replaced. The device doesn’t have to be sent back to the manufacturer or a pool service company. All parts are available to purchase and can be replaced by the pool owner.

How well does it clean?

This machine scrubs and vacuums all at the same time and its ability to scrub away algae is quite impressive. The suction power is big enough to swallow leaves and twigs as well as clean effectively sand and grit and debris. Everything is being moved to the pool’s filter basket. Smaller bits will be filtered out in your pool filter.

It has to be said though that it does take time for the cleaner to get around the whole pool area. It easily travels across any slopes and shapes of the pool bottom, leaving behind a debris-free path 15” wide.
If you have a shallow and a deep end it will very likely stay more in the deep than the shallow but given enough time it will clean it all.
Cleanability also depends on whether your pump filter is clear and how well you adjust the water flow.

Which areas of the pool does this machine clean – bottom, sides, steps?

The Great White vacuums and brushes the bottom and sides of the pool provided there are smooth rounded transitions. It’s not the greatest cleaner when it comes to steps because quite often it struggles to get there,

This great helper usually does a good job for several years. Many pool owners are so pleased with it they often simply replace the old unit when it wears out.

What is included?

  • Cleaner
  • Swivel assembly
  • Handle adapter
  • Reducer cone
  • Twelve 4’ lengths of hose sections
  • Vacuum regulator
  • Regulator cap
  • Vacuum Port Fitting (for optional installation)
  • A flow gauge

Is it noisy?

The noise that can be heard when everything is very quiet comes from the oscillator, moving back and forth, but it’s neither intrusive nor loud.

Are there any parts prone to early wear and tear?

This is a very reliable pool cleaner. Naturally, there will be wear and tear over time, usually after a few years. Fortunately, it’s a simple mechanism and replacing parts (usually the gears) is easy and doesn’t cost an arm and a leg and there is no need to send it back to the Pentair or a pool service company.

Important: How to ensure peak performance of the Great White?

There is one vital piece of information you need to know when buying this Pentair cleaner. The pressure range where the cleaner performs properly is quite small, it is very sensitive to changes in pressure. If the pressure isn’t right the oscillator will not move at optimum speed and the cleaner doesn’t climb well or goes above the waterline.

Here are a couple of pointers how you can make sure you get the pressure right quickly.

  • Put everything on your line that you intend to use, i.e. include the leaf catcher (highly recommended to ease the burden on your pump and make backwashing easier) if using, the correct length of hose for your pool (20’ of hose have a different effect on the pressure than 40’).
  • Then put the pressure meter on the very end and adjust the pressure on the pump until the dial is in the correct zone.
  • Keep in mind that the pressure is bound to change at the pump filter over time which means you will then have to slightly adjust again to maintain the peak performance level of the cleaner.

In time, you will get a feeling for when it performs well or is outside that zone for instance by observing how well the vacuum climbs the walls and adjust the pressure accordingly.

Who is this suction cleaner for … and not for?

It’s for you if you…

  • like a unit that doesn’t require any assembly, just connect the hose to the dedicated line and ready
  • need a cleaner that can dislodge tough dirt and stains with its bristle drive
  • like a set and forget machine with pressure adjustment every now and then
  • like everything you need in the box (hose, adjustable regulator valve, flow gauge
  • don’t mind that it takes hours to go everywhere
  • like a simple device easy to repair yourself if need be
  • never had an automatic pool cleaner before and want to make sure you buy a cleaner that will last

This is not for you if…

  • You want the cool to be clean faster and more efficient
  • You would like a stand-alone product that collects debris on-board instead of moving it to your pool filter.
  • Have a pump with varying speed and want to avoid having to set it to one speed only

In summary – the bottom line

This is a well designed powerful suction cleaner, one that doesn’t pretend to be something else but cleans and scrubs reliably, if slowly thanks to its simple design. It also means it is an economic choice when buying and in terms of maintenance.

It’s easy to connect and use and allows you to utilize your existing pool filter to trap debris. You also have the option to use the leaf catcher to ease the burden on the filter basket. As long as you adjust the pressure correctly you will find this to be a worthwhile purchase.

Purchase options

Pentair offers a $100 rebate on the Kreepy Krauly Great White when purchased at $399 or above between April and September. This might vary but, usually, comes as a debit card. It is also worth checking the expiry date on the rebate to avoid disappointment.

You will have to look for a genuine retailer to qualify for the manufacturer’s rebate. Amazon even provides a link to the rebate form on their site, making it really easy for you to profit from that option.

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Your comments are welcome!

  1. I’ve left it in the pool for 8 years 24/7 in Florida. Now I need a new one and can’t find it anywhere. Best investment I’ve ever made.

  2. My Great White sometime goes above the water line and sucks air, which causes the lost of the primer. This happens in the deep and shallow end. Pool if 15x 30 feet.
    Also – what is the purpose of the skirt?
    How often should this be replaced – It sits in the water 24 x 7 – 365 days a year. I live in Florida if that makes any difference.


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