Polaris 280 and booster pump about to fail. Time for a robot?

CavVet

Silver Supporter
Aug 5, 2017
88
Brownwood texas
Good afternoon all,
My booster pump is on its last legs, it is roughly 9 years old and i believe it is getting water behind the impeller. It sounds very rough and has white scaling coming from the impeller housing.
My Polaris 280 has also been rebuilt several times in the last 9 years and is time for a complete replacement. The polaris does a good job cleaning leaves, but even with the most fine mesh bag, i am having to vacuum the sand/silt from the bottom at least once per week during the summer.

That being said, i've been contemplating using a robot instead and looking at the Dolphin Nautilus CC Plus.
It appears that a new booster pump + Polaris 280 would nearly equal a new cleaning robot.
i've read posts about some pro's and cons of robots, but they seem to save on electricity and do a good job cleaning dirt/silt.

Here are my questions:
1. What can i expect for longevity if we remove it from the pool after each use? Say...3 times per week.
2. What would you do? Would you purchase a replacement pump/polaris or cap off the piping and go with the robot? With this one, i'd appreciate some explanation...i'm new to the whole robot scene.
3. Price is a factor, but i wouldn't mind comments regarding the need for an extended warranty. For those who have purchased a robot, did you feel the warranty was necessary? did you use it?

Thanks for your help folks!
 

bmoreswim

Mod Squad
Gold Supporter
Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 16, 2012
5,416
Central MD
Mine is only a few years old so no personal experience on life expectancy.

But I did have a booster pump and a pressure side cleaner originally. I removed it and replumbed due to great dissatisfaction with the ability of the vac to suck up dust like debris. And it would never go over our whole steeply sloped pool despite a bunch of attempts to adjust it by me.

I’d get a Dolphin. I would also remove it after each use for longest life as you are planning.

Some folks do have trouble with them getting high centered on their main drain covers. Ours occasionally pauses on ours but never gets stuck. It also ends up upside down about 25% of the time. And I need to flip it and kick it off again. I’m quite happy to live with those issues for how clean my pool gets.
 

Oly

Gold Supporter
Jun 28, 2017
1,170
Fresno, CA
I too have only owned mine for almost a year so no idea how long it will last. I remove and clean my unit after every run and store it inside the pool house. My previous unit was a suction side Pentair Rebel. The robot is a significant improvement in performance. I run mine once a week on average and twice a week when the wind blows. The advantages for me are less pump run time, less pool filter impact, better dust/dirt removal, waterline cleaning and no hoses or cleaning equipment in the pool 24/7.
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
10,562
Northern NJ
You are going to hear many conflicting opinions.

The pressure Polaris 280/380 cleaners are a a different animal then the suction type pool cleaners and work much better.

The Polaris 280/380 works pretty well and are low maintenance. When they don't work it is just a few things that fail and parts are available and they are easily fixed.

I leave my Polaris 380 in the pool all season long, push it to the side when swimming, and just take it out when larger groups of people are in the pool. Some seasons it needs nothing to be done to it and some seasons it needs a tune-up and maintenance.

I suggest you browse thorough the Pool Cleaner section and see all the failure modes these robot cleaners have. Many are not easily repairable.

I have been happy with my Polaris 380 for 20+ years. I don’t need it to be fancy. It just needs to do a decent cleaning job.
 

React

Gold Supporter
Jul 5, 2018
82
Flower Mound, TX
Mine is only a few years old so no personal experience on life expectancy.

But I did have a booster pump and a pressure side cleaner originally. I removed it and replumbed due to great dissatisfaction with the ability of the vac to suck up dust like debris. And it would never go over our whole steeply sloped pool despite a bunch of attempts to adjust it by me.

I’d get a Dolphin. I would also remove it after each use for longest life as you are planning.

Some folks do have trouble with them getting high centered on their main drain covers. Ours occasionally pauses on ours but never gets stuck. It also ends up upside down about 25% of the time. And I need to flip it and kick it off again. I’m quite happy to live with those issues for how clean my pool gets.

Even using the fine bag for the 280 I was still displeased with the ability for it to pick up the finer stuff in the pool. I replaced my failing booster pump only to buy a s300i a few months (obviously regret replacing the pump) later. I would go with the robot and not look back. Since purchasing the robot I RARELY brush the pool which was a huge bonus for me.

I will say though that it's kind of annoying having to put the robot in and out of the pool (rather than keeping the 280 in at all times). Really not a big deal but my only knock on the robot if I had to call one out.
 

pilotbob3

Member
May 21, 2010
24
One of the deciding factors for me is the price of electricity. Here in CA, the cost of electricity is so high that running the booster pump for even a couple of hours per day is very high.

I had a 280 that ran for at least 10 years with 0 problems. I replaced the pump about 8 years ago, and there are always used pumps available on Craigslist for cheap.

So for me, to save money, I put in a used Polaris 9450 robot. I got the robot for basically free, but had to put in a new motor drive unit, which costs around $300-$400. The issue I found is that the Polaris units have a motor drive unit that is prone to flooding (the seal fails and floods the motors and the drive electronics). Taking the unit out of the pool will extend the life of the unit, but I found it to be a huge pain and kind of negates the utility of the timer.

Anyhow, the 9450 does a superb job of cleaning the pool. Hope it will last me a long time to make the investment worthwhile.