Pressure Cleaner Died, replace or switch to a robot?

Sarahdeakins

Well-known member
Aug 12, 2016
56
Houston TX
We recently purchased a home with a pool and the cleaner, a Polaris 380, that has just stopped working. Took it to a shop for repairs and their assessment is it is in pretty poor condition - $300 to repair now, and will need to have hoses replaced within the next 6 months for an additional $250. The unit appears to be pretty old so I am thinking it's better to replace it than invest in it.

Our pool has a lot of vegetation around it, so im constantly vacuuming up leaves off the floor of the pool. The Polaris was pretty proficient at picking leaves up, so it's an important feature to have in whatever we replace our current cleaner with.

So looking for advice- since I have a booster pump and line in place for a pressure cleaner, does it make sense to replace with another pressure cleaner, or should I upgrade to a robot? I keep reading great things about robots, ease of use, lower electric bills but wonder if they are as good at picking up leaves and worth the added cost (assuming the motor has to be replaced every few years). I have had my eye on the Doheny Discovery vs a new Polaris 380 FWIW.
 

Kiss4aFrog

LifeTime Supporter
TFP Guide
May 22, 2013
2,740
Hudson, WI
:wave: Welcome to TFP Sarahdeakins

If it's going to run $300 to get it going and another $250 soon I'd take that money and go with something new. I don't have a recommendation for you but I too have been looking at the Discovery and it sure seems to be a nice machine with good reviews.
 

Sarahdeakins

Well-known member
Aug 12, 2016
56
Houston TX
Absolutely intend to replace it. The pool store recommends replacing it with a Polaris P39 pressure cleaner (which costs $700) as opposed to a robot. They said since my booster pump was still in good condition in the long run the ownership costs would be lower for the pressure cleaner than the robot. The robots they offer in store appear to have a pretty hefty markup compared to some of the online options I see so not sure if this is the right answer.
 

duraleigh

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In The Industry
Apr 1, 2007
34,475
Sebring, Florida
It is the wrong answer. Robots use a fraction of the electricity required to run pressure side cleaners. Additionally, the booster pump will die sooner or later so you have that in front of you if you choose a pressure side.

All the R&D is going into robots. They are superior enough that soon they will COMPLETELY dominate the cleaner industry.

Dolphin seems to make pretty good ones but there are others that do as well.
 

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
19,810
Bedford, TX
Sarah,

Look at it this way, which would you rather have, an obsolete rotary dial phone, or a modern cell phone? That is basically the difference between a water powered cleaner and a robot.

A pretty easy decision for me.. Although, it is harder to leave a rotary dial phone in your pants pocket and run it through your washer... :brickwall:

Jim R.
 

grottoguy

LifeTime Supporter
Aug 24, 2014
462
NJ
I'd go for the Polaris 280. Many people like robots but there are certain disadvantages. For instance, the Polaris can be left in the pool so you don't have to lug a robot back and forth, which can be a real pain. And if you like to run the Polaris on a daily basis, that can get annoying fast. The robots have to be plugged in so even if you decide to leave it in the Pool (and many on this site recommend against that), it wouldn't look good.

I also doubt the difference in the electric from running the Polaris is a significant cost because I doubt it costs that much to even run the Polaris. I believe another thread supports that viewpoint.

I am not sure if my opinion is a minority on this site or other proponents of the Polaris simply don't advance their views, but I thought you may benefit from another opinion


I suggested the 280 because reviews seem to say it breaks down less than the 380.
 

JoyfulNoise

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
May 23, 2015
17,443
Tucson, AZ
Pool Size
16000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
I have a suction side cleaner and it's just not running like it used to. When something expensive finally gives on it (the seals are cheap to replace), I'm going with a robot. My pool does not experience a high debris load unless there's wind and rain. So I could easily run a robot 2-3 times per week and the pool would be clean to my standards. This would also allow me to dial back my pool pump speed quite a bit as I have to run it at higher speeds to get the suction cleaner to run properly. I agree with the sentiments above, robots are the way to go.

I would suggest you do some research though and make sure that if you do get a robot that you have an authorized service center nearby. Unlike pressure side and suction side cleaners, robots are much more intricate devices and repairs are harder to do on a DIY basis. You want to make sure you get a model with a really good warranty (3+ years if you can) and one that can be easily serviced nearby so that you're not dealing with shipping costs.

- - - Updated - - -

Oh, and be careful with purchasing robots online. Dolphin (Maytonics) in particular voids all warranties unless you buy directly from one of their authorized brick & mortar dealers.
 

duraleigh

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Sebring, Florida
All good posts and I think that Polaris 280 is one of the best cleaners ever for it's time. A couple of points.....

The robots run on a 12v DC motor that is CHEAP to operate. Pressure sides needs both main pump and booster pump to be operating. That's an awfully lot more electricity.

The trend in robots is DIY repairs. The parts are becoming modular and something you can fix from your house. Thast's a great innovation and I think will allow them to extend warranties on parts (you do the labor) by quite a bit.

The price on robots is just too high but the cost/benefit ratio is pretty good. I think they will dominate the market more than ever.
 

isriam

Well-known member
Jan 15, 2015
197
PHX
i had a pressure side polaris 380 and while it grabbed basic stuff, it was no where like my robot cleaner now. never run a booster pump again, and have something that actually scrubs the sides and bottom. it blows away my polaris.
 

JoyfulNoise

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
May 23, 2015
17,443
Tucson, AZ
Pool Size
16000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
All good posts and I think that Polaris 280 is one of the best cleaners ever for it's time. A couple of points.....

The robots run on a 12v DC motor that is CHEAP to operate. Pressure sides needs both main pump and booster pump to be operating. That's an awfully lot more electricity.

The trend in robots is DIY repairs. The parts are becoming modular and something you can fix from your house. Thast's a great innovation and I think will allow them to extend warranties on parts (you do the labor) by quite a bit.

The price on robots is just too high but the cost/benefit ratio is pretty good. I think they will dominate the market more than ever.
I'm really interested in the models that are powered by battery. Dolphin has one called the "Liberty". Of course I realize that there are strict limitations with those in terms of pool size and programmed run times. Have they gotten any better or are the corded models still the way to go?
 

Geebot

Well-known member
Aug 19, 2013
931
I also doubt the difference in the electric from running the Polaris is a significant cost because I doubt it costs that much to even run the Polaris.
If you have a separate pump for the Polaris then, yes, it will be significantly more expensive to run. If you're on a shared pump then that takes an added toll also but will be less expensive than a dedicated pump (but appreciably more than the very low operating cost of current-generation robots).
 

grottoguy

LifeTime Supporter
Aug 24, 2014
462
NJ
Understood. But assuming the pool is open for four months, I don't know that a $36 incremental seasonal cost is that significant when deciding whether to get a Robot. I think the prior thread had good pro and cons for each.
 

Ronald U.

Bronze Supporter
I am fairly sold on Hayward Tiger Shark QC. Cleans nice. Easy to clean filters. Doesn't get stuck. True, at 3 1/2 years the first one stopped moving. Used credit card warranty to buy a new one. But then again I mostly leave it in the pool!
 

pool&spatech

In The Industry
Jul 28, 2015
123
Gilbert,AZ.
If those robots could get in and out of the pool by themselves then maybe i would get one, but since they can't, I will wait until they can.

And maybe an attachment that also could help with scorpions and black widows around here, spend some time in the pool, crawl out and make a few passes over the lawn suck up a few hundred spiders and other assorted venomous prehistoric survivors that linger around here, why stop there, make it fun to be around, keep me company at night, invite it inside to watch a little t v every now and again,

I am definitely at buyer at that point
 

isriam

Well-known member
Jan 15, 2015
197
PHX
what vacuum can? after owning a robot i bought on craigslist for 350, i'll never own another vacuum. this thing is amazing and it blows away any other vac i've had in all my pool years. i'd probably pay 1k for a new one if this thing dies. its really changed my mind about what a "clean" pool really is. i ran it 3x today on 4 hour cycle and the filters were dirty every single time.
 

CTGWMG

Member
May 15, 2016
7
Houston TX
I bought a Dolphin DX5+S in May and I'm completely satisfied with it. Does an excellent job cleaning our pool. I run it once a week. Comes with a 3 year warranty.
 

xyz

Gold Supporter
Sep 8, 2016
641
Escondido/CA
I run my robot auto every day. It stays in the pool. Has been working great for a year and a half now. Only trouble was googles left in the bottom got eaten, as well as a pool diving missile got fouled in a track. But I pulled them out and nothing broken.

I can now run my pump longer at a much lower power level. Pool is much cleaner, and even the water seems a bit more crystal. I get a LOT of debris. If it had a mode to run it 2x a day, I'd probably do that.

The only think I wish was for it to have an iPhone app to control it, and maybe have a "park" button so it would go to a particular location for cleaning.