Top-End and Bottom-End Cleaner Experiences: Dolphin Triton PS and Mainstays (Walmart) Automatic Swimming Pool Cleaner

Tobim

Member
Jun 7, 2019
8
Miami
Hi, all!

Wanted to share some experiences with the above and see what you all thought. The first turned out to be a total and utter lemon (at least mine), and the second one remarkably good value (though it won't quite be my only cleaner going forward).

When I bought my house (and therefore was a new pool owner) I decided to splurge on a cleaning robot, and went with the Dolphin Triton PS. Maytronics supposedly had a good reputation, and these were supposed to be nice. Well, the cleaner was good, but only when it worked. In terms of reliability, the PS wasn't..

- 10 months in: will not start. Take it for warranty repair; yes, was repaired, but in South Florida you can't get this done without driving an hour each way to a dealer, and waiting 3 weeks in between. Dealers here charge between $25 and $125 for warranty inspection. Alternative would be to ship to Maytronics, which would cost about as much and make you be without a cleaner for even longer than those 3 weeks. Cleaner needed new power cord and new motor.
- 1 year later (i.e. about a year and 10 months into owning this thing): only runs backwards for 10 seconds then stops. Take it for warranty repair again. Pay for dealer's warranty inspection again. Be without cleaner for 3 weeks. Needed new control unit. Dealer says he sees these cleaners with exactly these problems multiple times per week.
- 2 months later (a couple of weeks ago, as of this writing): only runs for 30 minutes then stops (instead of running its full 2.5-hour program). If you are counting along, you will notice that the 2-year warranty is now lapsed, so besides being without a cleaner for another 3 weeks, I could now throw $200-$300 at this thing, to get it fixed. No thank you! Just a total writeoff...

So I'm officially turned off high-end cleaners now. The market is so intransparent that you can't find honest reviews, which allow you to figure out whether the $800 you're about to shell out will last you until the end of the warranty (with nothing but trouble until then), or the 5-7 years that a robot is supposed to last. Maytronics was supposed to have a good reputation, and these were supposed to be good cleaners within their lineup (from what I had researched before buying it). Yet this was a total lemon. If a cleaner will last for a year until breaking down, and two years until being ready to be thrown in the garbage, I'd rather have spent $200-$300 on it, rather than $700-$800. And looks like with suction-side cleaners, I can fix them myself without having to sit in the car for several hours and waiting 3 weeks. Get a part delivered within three days, put it in, be back cleaning.

So, to bridge the gap until I figure out the actual cleaner I want, I bought this (Walmart-Brand Suction-Side Automatic Cleaner):


Best thing about it: costs $79. Honestly, though, I must say, the value proposition is just INCREDIBLE! It took me a while to get the hose lengths right, the suction adjusted, and the weight placed so that it goes everywhere in the pool and does the right amount of wall climbing. But having done that, it really does not do a bad job at all! And for 1/10 the money of the Dolphin... Had it for about a week, so no statements on longevity yet. Then again, I could buy about one of these every other month, and spend what I spent on the Dolphin for a 2-year life. So at this price, within reason, longevity seems completely irrelevant to me.

Now, I must admit, sometimes the skirt "skirts" underneath larger leaves (sorry, had to do that, too) without picking them up, and it doesn't actually scrub the bottom like the Dolphin did. So maybe this will not be my final choice of cleaners for this reason. But honestly, it definitely holds me over, and I will keep it in storage to use once my next "main" cleaner breaks down. So kudos to this thing!

I may try the Zodiac MX6 Elite (the one with the brushes on the turbine wheel) as a happy medium.

Any thoughts on all of the above?
 
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Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
21,153
Bedford, TX
Tob,

Well, like anything one data point does not amount to much by itself..

My data point is that I bought two old used Dolphin Diagnostics that were about 8 or 10 years old when I bought them.. Replaced the bearings, tracks and brushes and used them for over five years in rent house pools before replacing them with S200s.

I also have a Dolphin Premier which I just moved to a rent house pool that is 6 years old and has never had anything done to it.

I guess the point is unless we know the total number of units built, and the total number of failures, there is no way to know the reliability.. My experience is mine, and yours is yours, and neither means anything by itself.

In your case, you were not happy and decided to go another way..

In my case, if one of my robots went bad today, I'd have another one on my porch in a day or so.

Thanks for your side of the story,

Jim R.
 

Tobim

Member
Jun 7, 2019
8
Miami
Hi, Jim!

Full agreement on all points. I do not claim to be making general points, but this was how it worked out for me. More information out there should always be better than less. :)

All the best to you!
 
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