Narrowing down to a couple Robotic Cleaners, please help

ramsfan

Well-known member
Mar 24, 2015
88
MO
#1
Hello, I think I have given myself paralysis by analysis on robotic cleaners.

Here is what I know is important to me:

Ease of use
As low of maintenance as possible.
Functions properly in my pool
Reliable
I am willing to pay more to get the above

Our pool is Pebble Tech, deep end is about 11 feet at it's deepest, and in the deepest area, it is very square from the floor of the pool to the wall. There are two benches, and also a set of three stairs. The pool also has swim up bar seats, which are basically concrete columns.

Two years ago we bought a Polaris 280, which did not really work well at all for us, the bag would fill up easily, the bag was not easy to empty. Worse, it would constantly tangle itself around the bar seats. Then, our booster pump went bad. I don't want to continue to invest in the Polaris 280.

The Robotic Cleaners are intriguing, but there are so many options and models, it is hard to decide.

I need at least a 55 foot cord, and might just want a 70 foot cord to be sure.
I don't want it to get stuck near or around the bar stools.
I don't want a bag system (back to ease of use).

Dolphin and Pentair are both carried by local pool companies, and I could test a Dolphin.
The Dolphins intrigue me because the fine mesh filter sits just inside the regular filter.
I am not sure I need all the features of some of the higher end Pentair and Dolphin Models.

Open to advice and experience, and happy to answer any questions - thanks!
 

Bigdog43

Well-known member
Jul 6, 2016
174
Memphis, TN
#3
Got a dolphin last year and I love it. It's a obviously just a different concept than the Polaris. I love the "leave in the pool" aspect of the Polaris, but that's about it.

The Dolphin is great, but you have to get it out, unwind the cord, plug in the control box, etc. Then you have to come back a few hours later and put it all back up. Pay me now or pay me later I guess but I'm not constantly trying to get it to work right like I am my Polaris. It does a great job at cleaning my pool.




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tucsontico

LifeTime Supporter
Mar 30, 2014
230
Tucson, AZ
#4
I bought a Dolphin Nautilus XL 2 years ago–even though I have an in-floor cleaning system. The Dolphin does a great job in my freeform pool! Actually it brushes and cleans much better than I can. I really like the top mounted filter packs and the fine mesh filters pick up stuff I cannot even see from the bottom and sides. Like Bigdog43 said, you have to plug it in and retrieve it but that is so much less trouble than brushing yourself!
 

Patrick_B

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jun 7, 2011
14,999
Midland TX
#5
As always, I am in love with my Dolphin M5/500. It's top of the line, and will be replaced in kind the day it finally does give it up. Fourth season this year, and runs like a champ, never a problem.

We have a new member here with a very large 60K gallon pool, and she is in love with hers too.
 

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
10,535
Bedford, TX
#6
R,

While I'm very pro robots, I doubt you will find one that can get around your column issue. If there is enough space for the robot to get around the column, I would have to assume it will, from time to time, wrap the card around the column.

If your pool company has one you can try, that would be your best bet.

Thanks for posting,

Jim R.
 

pooldv

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
Aug 10, 2012
24,993
DFW, TX
#7
Got a dolphin last year and I love it. It's a obviously just a different concept than the Polaris. I love the "leave in the pool" aspect of the Polaris, but that's about it.

The Dolphin is great, but you have to get it out, unwind the cord, plug in the control box, etc. Then you have to come back a few hours later and put it all back up. Pay me now or pay me later I guess but I'm not constantly trying to get it to work right like I am my Polaris. It does a great job at cleaning my pool.




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The S series robots have a weekly timer, you can program to run daily, 3x/wk or 4x/wk and it shuts off after a week. My robot stays in my pool spring and fall.
 

Paul & Crystal

Silver Supporter
May 25, 2014
539
Oklahoma City, OK
#8
I am the other Dolphin M500 lover. It does a great job. It comes with a set of large debris filters and a set of fine. They are easy to change out. The large just need a rinse. I always soak my fine in a warm bath after running and give them some extra spraying to get at the accordion pleats. This model has a great cart which I would not be without. It also has a remote which I have not used yet but I'm sure I will eventually. I have large pool and always run the three hour cycle.

Testing a Dolphin out in your pool would be great.

Best of luck in your search!

Crystal
 

Bigdog43

Well-known member
Jul 6, 2016
174
Memphis, TN
#9
The S series robots have a weekly timer, you can program to run daily, 3x/wk or 4x/wk and it shuts off after a week. My robot stays in my pool spring and fall.
What?!?!?

That's what I have. For some reason I thought I read it wasn't good to leave it in the pool. This is great news!


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ramsfan

Well-known member
Mar 24, 2015
88
MO
#11
Thanks All, I rented a Dolphin M5 for the weekend, fifty bucks, and my pool needed it! I like the unit. I have been running it for about 2 hours, it got stuck once in an area I am concerned about, the pool has 6 swim up bar seats, which are basically concrete columns. It also seemed to have trouble getting out of the deep end and into the shallow, as that is a very steep slope, I just empty the filters, and we will see if it now has the power to climb now.

Thanks everyone for the feedback.
 

ramsfan

Well-known member
Mar 24, 2015
88
MO
#12
Here is my review of the Dolphin M5 in my pool, I am sharing this to make sure I am not making a user error, and also in case someone has a better recommendation.

My pool is odd shape, has two benches and 6 bar stools. The deep end is rather deep, around 11 feet. Pebble Tec. I ran the unit 5 times, three times with normal filters, twice with the fine filter.

Here is what I liked about the Dolphin M5.

- it did a really good job cleaning, and it got around to all areas (especially when filters were relatively clean.
- the chord stay untangled or twisted up. It kind of floats on the water, and drops down to the unit while it operates.
- it has a normal and fine filter.
- the filters are not too difficult to clean

What I am concerned about for my pool/situation.

- it did not climb the wall at all, and as such it did not do the pool edge, I only saw it get up one of the three steps.
- the unit is very heavy when pulling it up out of the water, and it seemed like the water that was releasing into the pool as I lifted was quite dirty/cloudy.
- the filters are not difficult to clean, but I think they could/should be easier, and it would be great if the normal and fine filter worked together at the same time.
- it found it's way in between the bar stools twice in the ~8 hours I used it. Not awful, but not ideal.

I don't want to give the wrong impression, the M5 worked really well, and I could work around the concerns I have (I could brush the walls and steps to knock stuff down to the floor, un trap it from the bar stools occassionaly, etc...). However, I researched the Dolphin s300 and s300i online, and it looks like this unit should solve 3 of the 4 concerns I have, obviously won't know how it would handle bar stools until I tried it. My guess is the bar stools are all about the width of the unit. The M5 is pretty wide, and only got stuck twice in 8 hours, not bad.... Unless some unit has some super intelligence to sense bar stools, i think this is just the way it is.

I greatly appreciate all the input, if anyone has any thoughts on my situation, I would appreciate it.
 

robl45

Well-known member
Oct 27, 2007
786
Parkland, FL
#14
The m5 can zero turn. I don't believe the s series can do that which would likely make the problem worse. If the width is an issue. The commercial Cleaners are wider. Though typically more expensive.
 

Sammy2

Well-known member
Aug 30, 2016
378
Riverside, CA
#15
Thanks All, I rented a Dolphin M5 for the weekend, fifty bucks, and my pool needed it! I like the unit. I have been running it for about 2 hours, it got stuck once in an area I am concerned about, the pool has 6 swim up bar seats, which are basically concrete columns. It also seemed to have trouble getting out of the deep end and into the shallow, as that is a very steep slope, I just empty the filters, and we will see if it now has the power to climb now.

Thanks everyone for the feedback.
Just wondering..

I love the concept of a swim up bar. As a matter of fact we almost bought a house with a pool with one, but then I thought, "Wait, who's going to be on the other side? This isn't Mexico so that'll be me."

So, who is on the other side?

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pooldv

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
Aug 10, 2012
24,993
DFW, TX
#16
Exactly! Not only do you need someone on the other side but they have to make good drinks! :cheers:
 

ramsfan

Well-known member
Mar 24, 2015
88
MO
#17
Well, we bought a house that had one. it is correct someone needs to be on the other side to get drinks, and what not, but it seems like people kind of take turns. our dog LOVES the bar stools, so that works too...

Honestly, I thought there were kind of something that would just be a novelty, but they get a lot of use, as they are shaded at times when the pool is sunny, so it draws a lot of hanging out. We love them.