Replace Polaris 380 with 280?


Active member
Jul 6, 2016
Dallas, TX
So it's that time again, my old Polaris 380 has once again stopped moving. Opened her up expecting the find the usual snapped drive belt. This year both belts have snapped, and the gears within the 'water drive' enclosure appear loose, several of the 'fins' on the main wheel are cracked/chipped, or flat out broken. This cleaner is 10+ years old now, and I'm leaning toward a fresh start... as I just don't have the time or patience to sit down and do a full rebuild.

Am I crazy to buy the 'older; 280 model to avoid replacing drive belts every other year? Is there anything I'm missing, or can I just order a Polaris 280 from amazon and plug her in.

Any reason to justify the premium on the Polaris 3900 model? It appears Polaris is running a $200 rebate, so the cost difference 280->3900 might be $100 or less.

Thoughts? Pros/Cons?

Thank You!!!


Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
Northern NJ
Pool Size
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-60
Polaris 280 is a step back from the 380. It has less drive and suction.

The only pressure side cleaner I would buy now is...

Last edited:


In The Industry
Mar 16, 2010
The 380 actually came onto the market before the 280.
The 280 is a great cleaner, it has a larger throat diameter than the 380 and larger bag.
As far as suction, I have pulled a smooth stone out of the 280 bag that was roughly 1 inch high by 2 inches wide and 3 inches long.
Both are strong cleaners, have been on the market for over 20 years, parts readily available and service techs are well acquainted with their workings. This can be advantageous when repairs are needed.


Well-known member
Jun 5, 2016
Martinez, CA
15 years on 280 running 2hrs every day- day in day out. Wore the rubber tires/ toothed wheels/bearing off it finally a couple of years ago, and other than replacing those wearable parts, it’s been flawless.
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