Polaris verses Robot

Helen203

LifeTime Supporter
Jul 31, 2015
819
Annapolis, MD
Our PB has spec'd a Polaris into our just-signed contract -- is there any reason at all why we should add a Polaris, or should we just get a robot? Polaris line-item expense is over $900, no doubt because of the added plumbing costs.
 

avc8130

Well-known member
Jul 20, 2015
91
Newton, NJ
Our PB has spec'd a Polaris into our just-signed contract -- is there any reason at all why we should add a Polaris, or should we just get a robot? Polaris line-item expense is over $900, no doubt because of the added plumbing costs.
I don't have my pool yet...but just about all of the PB's we've interviewed said they don't really do the Polaris any more.

They all claim the robots work just as well, and run for 1/4 of the operating cost.

ac
 

Defgufman

LifeTime Supporter
Mar 13, 2015
584
Savannah GA
Depends on what you are looking for. Polaris works great. Upfront the cost may be similar to a robot, but the cost includes the pressure pump. Replacing Polaris is cheaper than replacing robots, and there are less things to break on Polaris.
 

grottoguy

LifeTime Supporter
Aug 24, 2014
462
NJ
I got the Polaris and I like it a lot. Many people on this cite have said it is best to take robots out of the pool each day and I would find that very annoying. However, others have said they leave he robots in the water. You should read those threads and decide whether you would leave it in or not. If not you may prefer the Polaris, which can be left in. I have the Polaris programmed donor goes on every day and I dont have to bother taking it in and out. I think it's a strong consensus that the robots clean better but my Polaris cleans very well so I am happy I chose it.
 

Divin Dave

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Oct 2, 2013
5,681
Longview, Texas
There are a couple of different polaris models that have different requirements.
The 380 I belive is a suction side cleaner that requires your filter pump to be running in order to operate.

The 280 is a pressure side cleaner (most common polaris) and requires a booster pump to operate, a dedicated line to the pool, and for the booster pump to operate, the main filter pump needs to also be running at the same time. It seem illogical to me to have to run 2 pumps for a pool cleaner. They work well, dont get me wrong, but if energy consumption is of concern, then the 280 isnt it.

So, with that said, the long term operating cost of either the 380 and 280 are considerably higher because of the need to run the pump(s).

A robot is much more energy efficient, using only about 15 cents of electricity (on average) for a 3 hour cleaning cycle and robots do an excellent job of cleaning. At least mine does.

I agree with grottoguy, read some of the posts in the "pool cleaner" form and ask more questions about the different types.



The down side of a robot is the repair cost if something breaks on it.
 

Helen203

LifeTime Supporter
Jul 31, 2015
819
Annapolis, MD
I very much appreciate the quick feedback. We did a pretty extensive search for related posts, too. This was a tough decision, but we decided to start with a Polaris. Two factors that swayed us: 1) would have felt compelled to stub in plumbing even if we chose a robot; and 2) don't want to physically haul a robot in and out of the pool.

ETA: I wonder if one could say that the energy costs are NIL for a Polaris because you run it while you filter your water and generate chlorine, or am I missing something? I have no pool experience, so it is entirely possible!!!
 

Divin Dave

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Oct 2, 2013
5,681
Longview, Texas
Very good reasons to consider the Polaris Helen. Nothing wrong with a polaris, Just like everything else, they all have their plus and minuses. It just depends on your point of view and what fits best for you.

Depending on which model of polaris you get will answere the question about pump cost. There are differnt models that require entirely different "utilites" to run them.
THe suction side model uses the filter pump only, which would indeed cancel out any extra costs if its running during normal filter hours.

The pressure side Polaris models require an additonal booster pump and the booster pump also requires your filter pump to be running at teh same time for the pressure side cleaner to work. So this type would be more costly in electricity. This pressure side one also requires its dedicated PVC pipe from the booster back to the pool.

ETA: I wonder if one could say that the energy costs are NIL for a Polaris because you run it while you filter your water and generate chlorine, or am I missing something? I have no pool experience, so it is entirely possible!!!
 

wjr75

LifeTime Supporter
Jun 6, 2013
895
IL
We have the pressure side Polaris 280 that probably came with the pool about 13 years ago. We have an auto cover but I have never hand vacuumed our pool in the four years we have had our house. I usually have to run the 280 an hour at most a few times a week when opening our cover. We leave it in the pool unless we have a large pool party.
 

grottoguy

LifeTime Supporter
Aug 24, 2014
462
NJ
When you run the Polaris you will spend more electricity on its own booster pump and you may even spend more on the regular pump if you run that at a higher speed than you otherwise would have run it. But it's hard for me to imagine that the total extra electricity could be anything significant. I think refrigerators cost about fifty dollars a year ( at least I've heard that) so I can't imagine the extra electricity would be too much. but I admit o don't know and would be interested in hearing however what an estimate would be.
 

jmastron

LifeTime Supporter
Jul 21, 2014
258
Sacramento, CA
When you run the Polaris you will spend more electricity on its own booster pump and you may even spend more on the regular pump if you run that at a higher speed than you otherwise would have run it. But it's hard for me to imagine that the total extra electricity could be anything significant. I think refrigerators cost about fifty dollars a year ( at least I've heard that) so I can't imagine the extra electricity would be too much. but I admit o don't know and would be interested in hearing however what an estimate would be.
Our 3/4hp Polaris booster draws about 5 amps at 230V, so ~1200 watts. Running 2 hours per day (which is generally enough for my pool) that's 2.4kWh/day. At $0.18/kwh (our marginal rate) that's $0.43/day, or $13/month. I don't know how much electricity a typical robot uses for a daily clean (and I gather many don't put them in every day, so for a fair comparison you could consider running the Polaris less often too; it just happens to be convenient to leave in and run every day).

Our pool has only one regular return with not great circulation, so I consider the extra water pumping out of the Polaris to be bonus circulation throughout the pool. If I were building a pool today (or could go back to the 1950s to advise the previous owners how to build this one :) I'd plumb both a dedicated return that could be used for a Polaris or not, and a GFCI in a convenient place.
 

duraleigh

Admin
Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
In The Industry
Apr 1, 2007
34,475
Sebring, Florida
This is a good thread. For a long time the Polaris 280 has gotten good reviews from people who own them. It is proven to be reliable.

That said, the industry has clearly taken a huge step towards robots. To my knowledge there hasn't been a new pressure side cleaner in the last couple of years (I certainly could be wrong) but there are dozens of new robots coming out every year.
 

juggy

Member
Aug 23, 2015
20
davie/florida
I think another negative for Robots is they are 3-5x more expensive to purchase. Honestly, why would I spend $600-1500 on a robot when I can spend $87 on a suction model that is a replica of the KK? I'm in the market for one, so I'm a newb but I've read all the threads here and the consensus is they both have pros and cons so why is the decision a hard one? To me, the pros and cons are fairly close to canceling each other out for each unit type, so then the choice becomes a financial one. At the end of the day, $87 seems a lot more attractive to me than $600-900.
 

Saturn94

Well-known member
Mar 11, 2015
1,028
SE Virginia
Pool Size
20000
Surface
Vinyl
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Hayward Aqua Rite (T-15)
There are a couple of different polaris models that have different requirements.
The 380 I belive is a suction side cleaner that requires your filter pump to be running in order to operate.

The 280 is a pressure side cleaner (most common polaris) and requires a booster pump to operate, a dedicated line to the pool, and for the booster pump to operate, the main filter pump needs to also be running at the same time. It seem illogical to me to have to run 2 pumps for a pool cleaner. They work well, dont get me wrong, but if energy consumption is of concern, then the 280 isnt it.

So, with that said, the long term operating cost of either the 380 and 280 are considerably higher because of the need to run the pump(s).

A robot is much more energy efficient, using only about 15 cents of electricity (on average) for a 3 hour cleaning cycle and robots do an excellent job of cleaning. At least mine does.

I agree with grottoguy, read some of the posts in the "pool cleaner" form and ask more questions about the different types.



The down side of a robot is the repair cost if something breaks on it.
Very good reasons to consider the Polaris Helen. Nothing wrong with a polaris, Just like everything else, they all have their plus and minuses. It just depends on your point of view and what fits best for you.

Depending on which model of polaris you get will answere the question about pump cost. There are differnt models that require entirely different "utilites" to run them.
THe suction side model uses the filter pump only, which would indeed cancel out any extra costs if its running during normal filter hours.

The pressure side Polaris models require an additonal booster pump and the booster pump also requires your filter pump to be running at teh same time for the pressure side cleaner to work. So this type would be more costly in electricity. This pressure side one also requires its dedicated PVC pipe from the booster back to the pool.
Just for clarity, the Polaris 380 is a pressure side cleaner that requires a booster pump. The Polaris 360 is also a pressure side cleaner, but does not require a booster pump.

The 280 is correctly stated as a pressure side cleaner that requires a booster pump.

So many choices!

:)