Advice on Polaris vacuums?

bdenehy

Member
Mar 12, 2008
15
Putnam Co., NY
I am looking to buy a new pool vacuum. My pool is a 35,000 vinyl "free form" or "lazy L" with an extra return line to run a vacuum. My old vacuum is an Aquabot with great suction but it never gets around the whole pool and I need to watch it constantly as it gets stuck on the bottom drain and the ladder. Can anyone help me decide on between a Polaris 360 and a 380? The 360 appeals to me because it runs off the return line only and wont increase my power usage, but is it strong enough? My pool gets a lot of tree debris and I want to avoid dropping extra dough if I'm going to have to vacuum all the time anyway. As for the 380, it requires a booster pump (more $). I'm willing to pay a little extra for piece of mind but I don't really understand the setup. Could someone please explain how the boost pump works in very plain language (I'm mechanically deficient)? I have 3 return outlets (2 are currently active on the same side) but it looks like only two lines flow out of the pipe extending from my SWG. Does this sound right? Where would the booster pump go? would I need to have it installed. Thank you very much for any advice.
 

jjdurrant

LifeTime Supporter
Apr 27, 2008
575
MN
I love my 380. I am not entirely sure how the booster pump integrates with the plumbing.. I know we have a separate connector in the pool for it though. Since getting a 380, I have not needed to vacuum!
 

HarryH3

Well-known member
Apr 22, 2008
326
Central Texas
I have the Polaris 280 and it picks up everything, even the 1.5 inch gravel from a flower bed that my kids manage to knock in the pool from time to time.

It is propelled by water from the booster pump flowing through a paddle-wheel device internally. From there the water is split into 2 streams (3 streams on the 380) that shoot straight up the throat of the vacuum opening. This creates a strong flow of water up into the vacuum bag. I use the fine mesh bag which captures pretty much anything that's even remotely visible.

There is also some water flowing through the tail hose, which whips around behind the unit as it runs. It does a good job of moving stuff out of corners and off of stairs and swimouts so that the vac can then grab it. The whip also has a scrubber on the end that has to be replaced periodically. I buy a dozen or so of these online for less than half of what the pool store gets for them.

When adjusted properly, it's a pretty amazing device. Mine climbs from the bottom of the 9 foot deep end all the way up to the coping. The strong vacuum action sucks it against the wall so that it can defy gravity. 8)

My booster pump is installed after the filter. It pulls water from the main return line and sends it into the dedicated line for the Polaris.

I've been told that the 280 is the most reliable pressure side Polaris model, but I haven't seen the inside of the others for comparison.
 

poolhound

LifeTime Supporter
May 17, 2008
54
Elgin, SC
I have the Polaris 360 and a dedicated return line and am very satisfied with it. My pool is L-shape and it cleans everything but the stairs. It will move very slowly when it runs into the wall squarely, but this works well to clean the edges where most debris accumulates. The only problems I have had are sometimes it "swallows it's tail" when it reverses and if there are twigs in the pool and you let the bag get too full it will poke a hole in the bag. I hand vac when I open the pool and then let the Polaris do the job the rest of the season.
 

bdenehy

Member
Mar 12, 2008
15
Putnam Co., NY
Thanks to each of you for the advice. I ended up ordering a Polaris 480. They say it's a 380 with an extra jet and some more wall climbing power (still runs off a booster pump). I'll need a pro to put in the pump since I'm no plumber but I'm afraid to rely only on the return since my pressure seems to go up and down when I'm vacuuming using the skimmer. Anyway I'll cross my fingers that it works well and start planning what to do with the extra 1 1/2 that I wont be vacuuming my pool each week :)
 

billyjoeraybob

LifeTime Supporter
Apr 9, 2008
50
SC Midlands
I have the 280 with the booster pump and love it. I only have to vacuum my spa because Mikey can't climb in there. I named my 280 Mikey because he will eat anything that will fit in his throat. Pine cones, rocks, sand, frogs, etc. The best money I have spent on my pool besides the SWCG.