Earlier in the season, our Polaris pool cleaner crapped out with a blown transmission. I shopped around, even talked to a guy who repaired the things, and finally decided to go with a new one.
Those things are expensive, but I got my little scratch together around the first of the month and ordered one. A Polaris 280, from Amazon.com. We put it in the pool for the weekend, and I've been running it for an hour or so every day. The pool looks better than it has looked all summer, and I certainly admit that the little robot is a lot easier than hand-vacuuming the pool on a regular basis.
Here in the Deep South, we let the kids swim until they decide it's too cold to swim. Normally when Milady sees one of them come out of the pool with blue skin. Generally, the middle of October. That pool gets a lot of use, and the Polaris is an absolute necessity.