Dolphin M500 vs Polaris 9550

mikew2069

Well-known member
Mar 31, 2018
124
Cypress
I couldn't find exactly what I was looking for in some of the older threads, so here's another one! We just signed to start our pool build and now the hunt begins for a robot. I'm pretty sure I have it narrowed down to these two and my perceived pros and cons are below. I'd like to hear what all of you experts have to say from your real world experiences.

Polaris 9550 - looks better (imo), a little cheaper, appears to have a larger canister for debris.
- Is there an available caddy for it?

M500 - looks funky, more expensive, appears to only have a tiny filter compartment for debris, seems like the brushes under this guy would do a better job.
- Is there a larger compartment for debris that they do know show on their videos or the manual for some reason?

Both get 4/5 stars on Amazon
 

mhosborn

Well-known member
Jul 2, 2011
312
Broken Arrow, OK (Tulsa)
I've looked at these two units as well, as I'll be replacing our Dolphin DX4 in a couple of weeks. For some reason, there aren't too many Polaris robot owners posting here...you'll find the majority of posts here talk about the Maytronics robots (which are good...don't get me wrong!). But there are some aesthetic reasons the Polaris is better, that's for sure! One thing I've learned...if you do elect to go with the Polaris, make sure you get the 2018 model, as these now come with a swivel cord on them.

My biggest concern with a robot is finding one that won't get stuck on my main drains. I'm fairly certain the M500/M400 units won't, as they have better drive units than our DX4. I've no idea about the Polaris, and how well it will perform in this regard.
 

MannyT

Well-known member
Jun 15, 2017
218
Pembroke Pines, Florida
I just purchased the Active 30i and have had it for 2 days and I'm very happy with it. I haven't had any problems with it getting stuck anywhere including my drains. Aesthetically, it is very pleasing to look at. What aesthetic reasons do you find the Polaris better?
 

mhosborn

Well-known member
Jul 2, 2011
312
Broken Arrow, OK (Tulsa)
Manny....I was referring to the M500's looks vs the looks of the Polaris 9550...the two units under consideration here. I agree, the Active 30i is better looking than the M500.

Assuming the M500 weighs as much as my DX4, it's not exactly "light" when removing it from the pool. I kind of like the feature on the Polaris that it empties itself of water during the removal process. The debris canister on the Polaris seems easier to empty, too. All in all, the Polaris just looks better, IMHO.
 

MannyT

Well-known member
Jun 15, 2017
218
Pembroke Pines, Florida
I agree with that assessment comparing the M500 with Polaris 9550. The S/Active series also have the same features that you like about the Polaris (lightweight and very easy to clean). IMHO

I also compared the Polaris liked the Polaris 9650IQ but decided to go with Maytronics because all the reviews I had seen.
 

mikew2069

Well-known member
Mar 31, 2018
124
Cypress
I didn't even consider the S series since the M series is considered their best but yes the S series is a lot better looking to me.

So do you know if the M500 has a larger canister for debris that isn't shown in the videos or in the manual?
 

mhosborn

Well-known member
Jul 2, 2011
312
Broken Arrow, OK (Tulsa)
I've ruled out the S/Active series for our pool, as I'm concerned they would get hung up on the main drains, just as my DX4 does all the time. Maytronics told me the M400/M500 units would not experience this issue.

If I knew for sure the Polaris unit wouldn't get hung up on the main drains, that's the unit I'd go for. But I just don't see enough Polaris reviews in this forum to feel comfortable that it wouldn't spin in circles on the main drains.
 

DigitallyChallenged

Well-known member
Oct 24, 2010
174
Eastern TN
I've had M500 and Polaris. M500 climbs much better and does not get stuck on steps like the Polaris. Polaris holds much more than the M500 and does better when getting up leaves due to the large basket.
 

mikew2069

Well-known member
Mar 31, 2018
124
Cypress
I've had M500 and Polaris. M500 climbs much better and does not get stuck on steps like the Polaris. Polaris holds much more than the M500 and does better when getting up leaves due to the large basket.
Darn so you're confirming that the M500 does not have a large compartment like the Polaris and S series? Just seems so odd.
 

thebombardier

In The Industry
Jul 16, 2017
302
Massapequa, NY
I don't know if you saw but the M500 has two filter cartridges, one on either side of the motor. If I had to guess it has roughly 90 cubic inches of storage between the two, though if an owner wants to correct me before I go to work tomorrow to check myself I could be wrong.

The S series definitely had a better capacity and if I had to guess has closer to 150 cubic inches of capacity, but the M500's cartridges are also used on a lot of commercial cleaners. The capacity isn't anything to shake a stick at.
 

DigitallyChallenged

Well-known member
Oct 24, 2010
174
Eastern TN
M500 holds a fair amount but it is not as large as the other models. I only find it a problem when the pool is filled with leaves, otherwise capacity does the job. It is a bit toucher to empty/clean since there are 2 filter compartments.
 

mhosborn

Well-known member
Jul 2, 2011
312
Broken Arrow, OK (Tulsa)
If there's a significantly large number of leaves in the pool (as happens after a thunderstorm, for example) I'll usually scoop 75% of them up with my net before putting the robot in the pool. I think I've only ever had the DX4 filter bag completely filled maybe once. So the capacity isn't quite as important as the ease of emptying/cleaning it is...at least, to me. The M500 looks like it's a bit of a pain to clean those filters.
 

mikew2069

Well-known member
Mar 31, 2018
124
Cypress
Just measured and the M series cas 150 cubic inches of capacity and the S/Active series has about 350 cubic inches without the inner basket liner.
Crazy to me that there is such a big difference. Seems like the higher end M would have a hard time with leaves and such.
 

mikew2069

Well-known member
Mar 31, 2018
124
Cypress
I’d like to pull the trigger on my robot tomorrow and I have it narrowed down to the S300i and the M400. I’m just a little worried about all of the posts I see about the S200/300 getting stuck on the drains. Otherwise I would get the S300i. Thoughts?
 

mhosborn

Well-known member
Jul 2, 2011
312
Broken Arrow, OK (Tulsa)
I purchased the M400 a month ago for the very concern you mentioned (and others here have mentioned)....the M400/M500 have a center brush on the bottom that all but eliminates any worries of the robot getting high-centered on the main drains. The M400 I got came with both a fine wire mesh filter and a set of cartridge filters. I didn't think I'd need the extra cycle time and remote that you get with the M500, and am happy with everything so far.
 

miles267

Bronze Supporter
Sep 5, 2016
473
Arkansas
Glad I found this thread. Our first robot was a Dolphin Z5. Treads. No center brush. Spends more time sitting on top of drains than cleaning the pool. Am looking to replace possibly with a Polaris 4WD unit, but there are no reviews about how they do with drains.
 

CMorrow

Gold Supporter
Jul 18, 2018
44
Austin, TX
I am in nearly the same position as miles267. I'm torn between the Dolphin Triton (or Triton Plus), the s300i, the m400, or the polaris 9550. I like the tritons, s300i, and polaris for the easy top loader basket each one has. I like the polaris and m400 for the split brushes up front, rather than the longer single brush. Haven't read any research on the difference there per se, but my intuition tell me the split brushes scrub more than the single. Have no idea where I'm getting that from....

I have a lot of trees in the yard (several crape myrtles which drop leaves and flowers, and shed bark occasionally, and a large elm as well), and am worried about the smaller capacity of the m400 in getting to all that debris.

Anyone have any experience with the triton or triton plus? Here's a pic of my pool as well. Have some steep walls in deep end that will need climbing. Looking to eliminate the need for pool boy, aka me....just want to sit back and enjoy!
 

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Njaneer

In The Industry
Aug 16, 2018
70
San Diego, CA
Glad I found this thread. Our first robot was a Dolphin Z5. Treads. No center brush. Spends more time sitting on top of drains than cleaning the pool. Am looking to replace possibly with a Polaris 4WD unit, but there are no reviews about how they do with drains.
The 4WD Polaris cleaners really have no problem with main drains, they just bounce right over them along with that the impeller jet is unlike most cleaners, it's aft which provides thrust along with vacuum in the right direction. The large wheels along with the 4WD really aid in getting stuck.

Not sure what type of main drain covers you have, but you can see in the video below how it just bounces over them. Some of the larger Virginia Graeme Baker Act compliant drains that are like table tops can be a challenge for many cleaners, but I don't see the Polaris having as many issues as other cleaners.

Polaris 9650iQ Sport Robotic Pool Cleaner - WiFi Access iAquaLink Control - YouTube
 
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