Best dolphin pool cleaners

Best Dolphin Pool Cleaners (2020): Reviews & Buying Guide

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Shopping for a Maytronics Dolphin pool cleaner?

You’ve come to the right place.

In this Dolphin buying guide, we compare among top Dolphin models to help you find the best one for your pool.

Dolphin pool cleaners are some of the best in the market. They are known for their build quality, cleaning performance, and reliability.

Whether you have a large in-ground pool, an above ground pool, an irregularly shaped pool, or a commercial swimming pool, there’s a Dolphin for you.

Their above ground pool models, such as the Dolphin E10, are some of the cheapest, usually costing less than $500.

Mid-range models like the Dolphin Nautilus CC Plus, the Dolphin Triton PS, and Dolphin Escape offer the best balance between price and cleaning performance. They cost between $500 and $1,000.

In the high-end range ($1,000+), premium models like the Dolphin Premier, Dolphin Sigma, and Dolphin Quantum offer the best cleaning performance and features.

Best Dolphin Pool Cleaners: Comparison Table

Dolphin Premier pool cleaner
  • Dolphin Premier

  • Star rating
  • Top pick overall
  • Type:
    Motor driven (Tracks)

  • Weight:
    22lbs

  • Price:
    $$$$

Dolphin Nautilus CC Plus robot pool cleaner
  • Dolphin Nautilus CC Plus

  • star rating
  • Best value
  • Type:
    Motor driven (Tracks)

  • Weight:
    19lbs

  • Price:
    $$$

dolphin escape
  • Dolphin Escape

  • star rating
  • Best for above-ground pools
  • Type:
    Motor driven (Tracks)

  • Weight:
    13.8lbs

  • Price:
    $$$

dolphin advantage
  • Dolphin Advantage

  • star rating
  • Most affordable in-ground robotic cleaner
  • Type:
    Motor driven (Tracks)

  • Weight:
    Not specified

  • Price:
    $$

Dolphin Triton PS pool cleaner
  • Dolphin Triton PS Plus

  • Star rating
  • Best connected robotic cleaner
  • Type:
    Motor & jet driven (Tracks)

  • Weight:
    16.5lbs

  • Price:
    $$$$

Dolphin Oasis Z5i
  • Dolphin Oasis Z5i

  • star rating
  • Most powerful residential Dolphin cleaner
  • Type:
    Motor driven (Tracks)

  • Weight:
    24lbs

  • Price:
    $$$$$

Dolphin Odyssey
  • Dolphin Odyssey

  • star rating
  • Best commercial cleaner
  • Type:
    Motor driven (Tracks)

  • Weight:
    24lbs

  • Price:
    $$$$$+

Dolphin C5
  • Dolphin C5

  • star rating
  • Most powerful comercial Dolphin cleaner
  • Type:
    Motor driven (Tracks)

  • Weight:
    29lbs

  • Price:
    $$$$$+

Best Dolphin Robot Pool Cleaner Reviews

#1

Dolphin Premier Robotic Pool Cleaner

TOP PICK

The Dolphin Premier is the best robotic pool cleaner for most in-ground pool owners. It is powerful (two motors), leaves the pool sparkling clean (full coverage to waterline), and it’s built to last (3-year warranty).

The Dolphin Premier is decked with features that improve cleaning performance, save energy, and make pool maintenance easier for pool owners.

Our favorite is the CleverClean navigation system.

Instead of navigating the pool in random patterns as cheaper robot cleaners do, the Dolphin Premier follows an efficient cleaning path that ensures full pool coverage without going over the same areas repeatedly.

Not only does it clean the pool faster (a full deep clean in just 3hrs), it saves a lot of energy while doing it.

The Premier has multiple tools to attack dirt and debris.

The onboard vacuums easily filter out dirt suspended in the water. But it’s the pair of scrubbing brushes that tackles the hard-to-remove algae and scale stuck on the pool floor and walls.

Two oversize filter cartridges pick up all this debris with small debris like pebbles and bugs going into one filter and fine particles of sand and silt going into the ultra-fine filter.

You can swap these two filters for a bag (included) when the pool is full of leaves, acorns, and other large debris.

Filter access is at the bottom, so it’s a bit tedious to remove the filters.

The Dolphin Premier comes with a couple of extra features for added convenience: a weekly scheduler that allows you to set an auto-cleaning schedule and a full filter indicator.

Admittedly, all this comes at a fairly steep price. But we, and most customers, think it’s worth it.

Pros

  • Best in class cleaning performance.
  • Complete coverage up to the waterline.
  • Multiple filters for different types of debris.
  • Weekly scheduler.
  • Full filter indicator.

Cons

  • Pricey.
  • Bottom-access filters.

#2

Dolphin Nautilus CC Plus Automatic Pool Cleaner

BEST VALUE

If you don’t want to spend more than four figures on a Dolphin but still want a cleaner that can tackle the worst of grime in your pool, the Dolphin Nautilus CC Plus is a great choice.

Despite being cheaper than just about every other in-ground Dolphin pool cleaner, it has most of their premium-features, including smart navigation, active brushing, and a weekly scheduler.

So what’s the catch?

There’s no catch really – the Nautilus CC Plus cleans just as well as other Dolphins and scrubs up to the waterline. The only difference is that it cleans smaller pools.

While the Premier and other top models can clean pool up to 50ft long, the Nautilus CC Plus is for in-ground pools up to 33ft in length.

That still covers a majority of residential pools. Most home pools are 16ft by 32ft.

The Nautilus CC Plus uses CleverClean to efficiently and quickly navigate the pool. It covers the floor and clambers up the wall as it scrubs and vacuums away debris.

The scrubbing brush is a bit different from the brushes on most pool robots. It rotates faster, which gives it more scrubbing power to tackle stubborn dirt. Maytronics calls it Active Brushing.

The large filter basket catches most of the debris. It’s top-loading, so you don’t have to turn over the cleaner to access it.

But it leaves most of the fine sand and silt in the water. We recommend buying the Dolphin Ultra-fine Filter Basket for thorough cleaning.

Use the original basket when the pool is extra dirty and the ultra-fine one for everyday cleaning.

Like the Premier, the Nautilus CC Plus has a convenient weekly scheduler with three auto-clean settings – daily, 2x a week, and 3x a week.

Pros

  • Good value for money.
  • Excellent cleaning performance.
  • Large top-loading basket.
  • Weekly scheduler.

Cons

  • No ultra-fine filter.
  • No swivel cable – gets tangled now and then.

#3

Dolphin Escape Pool Vacuum

BEST FOR ABOVE GROUND POOLS

For an above ground pool cleaner, the Dolphin Escape is relatively expensive. But it has the power and cleaning performance to match.

Most above ground robot pool cleaners are bare-bones with only the essential features needed for cleaning.

The Dolphin Escape is basically a smaller version of in-ground Dolphin models. It has all of its advanced features and cleaning capability.

One of these features is the SmartNav 2.0 system for smart navigation. It ensures full pool coverage without wasting energy with random movements.

While most above-ground robotic cleaners rely only on suction to clean up debris, the Dolphin Escape comes with an onboard scrubbing brush.

But it’s not just any brush. It’s an active dual brushing system. The brush rotates faster than in other pool robots, helping the robot attack the toughest of dirt.

The extra-large top-loading filter basket easily holds all the debris from the pool, and it can easily be removed and clean.

But you might want to get the Ultra-Fine Dolphin filter basket when you buy the Dolphin Escape. The included filter basket only catches large and small debris, leaving fine sand and silt in the water.

The Dolphin Escape moves on Hypergrip Continuous Tracks, which provide much better mobility than wheels.

It mostly cleans the floor, like other above ground pool robots, but in some pools, it can climb the walls.

Overall, the Dolphin Escape is more impressive than you would expect from an above ground pool cleaner. That explains the relatively high price tag.

Pros

  • Scrubs and vacuums most of the pool.
  • Large top-loading filter basket.
  • Lightweight design makes it easy to lift out of the water.
  • Full deep cleaning in just 1.5 hours.

Cons

  • No ultra-fine filter.
  • Expensive compared to other above ground pool robots (but worth it).

#4

Dolphin Advantage Robotic Pool Vacuum

BEST ROBOTIC POOL VACUUM

The Dolphin Advantage is another right choice if you are looking for a cheaper Dolphin robot cleaner for your in-ground pool.

Like the Nautilus CC Plus, the Dolphin Advantage is meant for in-ground pools up to 33ft. In fact, the two models have almost similar features. The main difference is that the Advantage launched a year later (2018) than the Nautilus CC Plus.  

The Dolphin Advantage comes with an impressive list of features that you usually get in highly-priced Dolphin Models.

They include CleverClean Technology, which scans the pool to guide the robot on the most efficient cleaning path and ensure it doesn’t miss any spots.

For cleaning, the Advantage relies on an active brush and a powerful onboard vacuum.

The debris is trapped in a large top-loading filter basket that has the same limitation as to the one in the Nautilus CC Plus–it doesn’t pick up fine particles.

For that, you’ll need the Dolphin Ultra-Fine filter basket.

The Advantage also comes with a weekly schedule that’s handy if you spend most of your days away from home.

Overall, a pretty darn good robot pool cleaner for the price.

Pros

  • Good value for your money.
  • Excellent cleaning performance.
  • Lightweight.
  • Large top-loading filter basket.
  • Weekly scheduler.
  • Swivel cable (an improvement from the Nautilus CC Plus).

Cons

  • No ultra-fine filter.

#5

Dolphin Triton PS Plus Robot Pool Vacuum

BEST CONNECTED CLEANER

Robotic pool cleaners have yet to join the smart home revolution. We still haven’t seen an Alexa-compatible pool cleaner.

When it comes to connectivity, the farthest they go is a remote control. The Dolphin Triton PS Plus goes one step further. It has Bluetooth.

By connecting your smartphone to the robot, you can control it using the MyDolphin App.

But it’s not as convenient as it sounds. For one, the range is limited, just 30 feet. You have to be by the poolside to get a connection going.

Secondly, there is a frustrating lag between the phone and the robot cleaner. Manually navigating the robot from the App is tedious.

Most customers just opted not to use the Bluetooth feature at all.

Luckily, the control panel on the power unit has all the controls you need. You can set an auto-cleaning schedule: daily, every two days, or every three days.

There’s also a quick clean button that gets the pool clean in just an hour.

The Dolphin Triton PS Plus uses active brushing to dislodge debris stuck on the pool floor and walls. The dirt is then vacuumed into a large top-loading filter basket.

The basket has dual filtration – it traps leaves and large debris as well as sand, silt, and other fine particles.

The Triton PS Plus won’t just scrub and vacuum the pool floor. It also climbs the wall and scrubs up to the waterline.

Other than the gimmicky Bluetooth feature, the Dolphin Triton PS Plus is a great choice for in-ground pool owners.

Pros

  • Bluetooth-connected (though not very helpful).
  • Weekly scheduler and quick clean option.
  • Dual filtration.
  • Full pool coverage for the waterline.

Cons

  • The Bluetooth feature is tedious to use.
  • Doesn’t clean the steps.

#6

Dolphin Oasis Z5i Pool Cleaner

MOST POWERFUL

The Dolphin Oasis Z5i is one of the most powerful – and expensive – Dolphin models. It’s a the right choice for pool owners looking for a high-performance pool robot for their in-ground pool (up to 50ft long).

It comes with all the features you’d expect from a high-end pool robot.

The most notable one is the Bluetooth. But this shouldn’t be your main motivation for buying the Oasis Z5i. Like the Bluetooth feature in the Triton PS Plus, this one’s also tedious to use.

You have to be very close to connecting, and the response lag makes manual navigation frustrating.

But there are plenty of other reasons for the Oasis Z5i having worth the high price tag. The most important one is the cleaning performance.

Dual scrubbing brushes, powerful suction, and large top-load filter cartridges for fine and ultra-fine debris leave your pool sparkling clean.

Moving on large high-traction tracks, the robot covers almost every inch of your pool up to the waterline.

A dual drive motor operates each track independently. This improves mobility and navigation, especially in tight areas, which enhances pool coverage.

A swivel cable keeps the cord from getting tangled up as the robot moves.

Like most Dolphin pool robots, the Oasis Z5i comes with a weekly scheduler. Set the robot to auto-clean daily, every two days or every three days, depending on how dirty your pool gets.

Overall, despite the less-than-practical Bluetooth feature, we still think the Dolphin Oasis Z5i in-ground pool cleaner is worth the money.

The only other downside to note is the weight of the robot. At 24lbs, it can be difficult to lift it out of the water and move it to and from storage.

We highly recommend buying the Dolphin pool cleaner caddy. It’ll not only make the robot cleaner easier to handle, but it’ll also protect the brush rollers from being squished when you place the robot on the ground.

Pros

  • Superior cleaning performance compared to most in-ground pool robots.
  • Dual filtration.
  • Weekly scheduler.
  • Swivel cable.

Cons

  • Heavy.
  • The Bluetooth feature is tedious to use.

#7

Dolphin Odyssey Robot Pool Cleaner

BEST COMMERCIAL CLEANER

If you own or manage a public swimming pool or a commercial pool in a sports club, spa or, hotel, we recommend the Dolphin Odyssey.

It’s designed specifically for commercial in-ground swimming pools.

It boasts three high-RPM DC motors that deliver plenty of power to the tracks, brushes, and onboard vacuum.

The triple motor design also increases torque, which allows the robot to navigate the pool and climb the walls without getting stuck.

The Odyssey uses SmartNav 3.0 pool scanning and an integrated gyroscope to navigate efficiently around the pool.

It has no trouble scaling the pool walls, navigates easily in irregularly shaped pools, and cleans hard-to-reach areas to ensure full coverage.

Triple scrubbing brushes dislodge grime and debris from the pool walls and floor. They remove even the most stubborn of dirt, ensuring the pool stays clean and healthy for customers.

A dual filtration basket collects both fine and ultra-fine debris.

Pros

  • Powerful and energy-efficient.
  • Excellent cleaning performance for commercial pools.
  • Full coverage up to the waterline.
  • Dual filtration.

Cons

  • Heavy.

#8

Dolphin C5 Commercial Robot Pool Cleaner

BEST EXTRA LARGE COMMERCIAL POOLS

For extra-large commercial pools, we recommend the Dolphin C5. It’s designed for pools up to 88 feet long. That’s longer than an Olympic-size pool.

A robot cleaner for such a large pool needs lots of power and smarts. The Dolphin C5 is up to the task.

CleverClean Technology scans the pool to calculate the most efficient cleaning path and ensure there are no missed spots.

An onboard gyroscope allows the robot to determine its position and orientation at all times. This is helpful when navigating tight areas and when going up the wall.

As the robot moves about in the pool, heavy-duty dual scrubbing brushes dislodge algae, scale, and other debris from the pool surface. They scrub the floor, walls, and waterline.

A vacuum suctions the debris into a large fine and ultra-fine filter bags. A full-filter indicator on the control panel tells you when it’s time to clean the filters.

The filter bags are more tedious to clean compared to filter baskets, but they hold more dirt. We recommend getting a couple of spare ones that you can use when the others are getting cleaned.

If you notice any missed spots in the pool, you can use the included remote control to navigate the robot manually.

Depending on what kind of cleaning you want, there are three cycle options: a quick 4-hour cycle, a standard 6-hour cleaning cycle, and an enhanced 8-hour cycle.

The enhanced cycle is handy for overnight pool cleaning, while the quick cycle is useful when you want a quick clean before the guests come in.

For ease of storage and transport, the Dolphin C5 comes with a caddy.

Pros

  • Powerful suction and scrubbing brushes deliver thorough cleaning.
  • Full pool coverage of floor, walls, and waterline.
  • Large capacity filter bags with full-filter indicator.
  • Comes with remote control and caddy.

Cons

  • Filter bags are tedious to clean.

Dolphin Pool Cleaner Buying Guide

dolphin pool cleaner review

With so many Dolphin models and most of them share similar features, it can be difficult to find the right Dolphin pool cleaner for your needs.

Here’s a quick checklist you can use when choosing a Dolphin pool cleaner.

Type of Pool: In-ground vs. Above Ground

There are two general categories of Dolphin pool robots: those for in-ground pools and those for above-ground pools.

In-ground pools are usually larger and more expensive. They range from standard in-ground pool cleaners for pools up to 33 feet long to heavy-duty commercial pool robots for pools up to 121 feet.

Above ground, pool cleaners are typically smaller, lighter, and cheaper. They are designed for pools up to 30 feet long.

Pool Size

Not all Dolphin in-ground pool cleaners clean the same size of pools. The same applies to their above ground pool cleaners.

Check the size specification.

Most Dolphin pool cleaners are meant for pools up to 50ft long. But there are smaller ones for pools up to 33ft long and commercial ones for pools over 100 feet.

You must buy the right pool cleaner for your pool size.

Using a pool cleaner in a pool that’s too large will result in some areas not getting cleaned and could damage the cord as the robot tries to clean beyond the limit of the cord length.

Type of Debris: Filter Choice

When it comes to filters, the first thing to check is whether the pool cleaner uses a filter bag or filter basket (also called a filter cartridge).

A filter basket is easier to clean and maintain. But a filter bag is better if you struggle with large debris in the pool, such as leaves and acorns.

Some Dolphin cleaners come with both types of filters, which you can easily interchange.

Also, check whether the cleaner comes with an ultra-fine filter.

Some come with just a fine filter that doesn’t catch fine sand and silt. You have to buy the ultra-fine filter separately.

Others come with both the fine and ultra-fine filters that go into the cleaner together.

Amount of Debris: Bin Size

If your pool gets really dirty or you have a large pool, make sure your Dolphin of choice has large enough filters that you don’t have to empty midway through the cleaning.

Stairs & Complex Surfaces

It’s going to be tough to find a Dolphin cleaner that provides 100% pool coverage. Most will have no trouble cleaning the floor, walls, and waterline. But they fail when it comes to the stairs.

Look for one that at least cleans the first 2-3 steps (check customer reviews to see how the cleaner navigates the steps).

Generally, Dolphin cleaners with smart navigation and gyroscopic navigation are better at cleaning stairs and other complex areas such as corners, under the ladder, and around pool features.

If you have an irregularly shaped pool, definitely get a Dolphin with pool scanning software – CleverClean or SmartNav.

It’ll have better coverage and clean faster.

Budget

Dolphin cleaners are generally more expensive than those from other Brands like Aquabot. But they have different price points to suit every budget.

Above ground Dolphin cleaners typically cost less than $500.

You can also get an in-ground Dolphin cleaner for smaller pools (up to 33ft) for around the same price. If you want a cleaner that can clean a larger pool (up to 50ft), you’ll spend around $700-$1,000.

If you want the best Dolphin robot cleaner you can get, be ready to spend over $1,000.

At the high-end ($2,000+) are commercial pool cleaners.

Extra Features

dolphin pool cleaner features

Here are some of the extra features to look for.

  • Remote control – useful for spot cleaning.
  • Bluetooth connectivity (though usually not worth paying more for).
  • Caddy for easy transport and storage of the robot and power unit.
  • Full filter indicator.
  • Weekly scheduler.
  • Multiple cycle options – e.g., 1hr, 1.5hrs, and 3hrs.

Dolphin Pool Cleaner FAQs

above ground pool cost

How to use a Dolphin pool cleaner

Dolphin pool cleaners don’t require any installation. There are no hoses to connect. Just connect the power unit to a GFCI outlet and drop the cleaner into the pool.

The robot pool cleaner is self-contained with its own motor, vacuum, and brush. It doesn’t rely on your pool pump or filter.

Where can I buy a Dolphin pool cleaner?

Most online retailers, including Amazon, carry a wide range of Dolphin models. You can also check your local pool store though prices may be higher and variety more limited.

How does a dolphin pool cleaner work?

Dolphin robot cleaners have brushes that scrub dirt from the pool floor and walls and a vacuum to suction the dirt into an onboard filter basket or bag.

Advanced Dolphin cleaners have software that scans the pool to calculate the best cleaning path and ensure there are no missed spots.

How much does a Dolphin pool cleaner cost?

Prices for Dolphin robot pool cleaners range from around $300 to over $2,000. Above ground pool, cleaners are the cheapest, while commercial pool cleaners are the most expensive.

You can get good quality and reliable in-ground Dolphin pool cleaner for around $600-$1,300.

Why is my Dolphin pool cleaner, not working?

If your Dolphin cleaner has stalled or is not cleaning, the problem is usually something stuck in the tracks, brushes or vacuum ports.

Take the robot out of the water and examine it for any obstructions.

Also, check whether the filter bag or basket is full, as that could cause the robot to stop working.

If you can find the problem, refer to the manual’s troubleshooting section or call customer support. It might be a more serious problem, such as motor failure.

Can I leave my Dolphin pool cleaner in the pool?

Leaving the pool cleaner in the pool makes sense when you are using the weekly scheduler for auto-cleaning.

For most Dolphin models, it’s safe to leave them in the pool but only for a few days at a time. Leaving the cleaner in the water for too long will wear out some parts quicker.

Regularly take the robot out of the pool to empty the filter and let it dry.

You should also never leave the cleaner in the pool when adding chemicals or during winter when the pool is closed.

How long do Dolphin pool cleaners last?

Dolphin pool cleaners are well built and generally last longer than other brands. They even come with longer warranties (2-3 years compared to 1 year for other pool robots).

With good maintenance and timely replacement of worn-out parts, you can expect your Dolphin cleaner to last 5-8 years.

Factors like how often you clean the pool and your pool’s water chemistry will determine the precise lifespan of your pool cleaner.  

Can I use a Dolphin pool cleaner in a pond or hot tub?

No, Dolphin pool cleaners are meant for use in swimming pools only.

Which are the best accessories for a Dolphin pool cleaner?

  • Caddy for easy transport and storage.
  • Ultra-fine filter basket if your model doesn’t come with one.
  • Dolphin caddy covers to protect the robot and power unit when they are not in use.
  • Extra filter bags if your model uses a bag instead of a basket.