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Polaris 280 Pressure Side Pool Cleaner Review: Pros, Cons & Bottom Line

polaris 280 pool cleaner parts

The Polaris Vac-Sweep 280 is an affordable pressure-side pool cleaner for above ground pools.

It connects to a dedicated pressure line, using the force of filtered water coming back into the pool to move and pick up debris.

An attached filter bag traps debris, such as leaves and acorns, to reduce strain on your pool filter.

You’ll need to get the Polaris booster pump for the cleaner to work correctly.

Despite the extra costs of buying the booster pump, the Polaris 280 is still one of the best automatic pool cleaners for all the pool owners looking for a tried and tested cleaner that is affordable.



Product Specifications


Best Features

1. Three-Wheel Mobility with Double Jets

When properly adjusted, the Polaris 280 covers the entire pool, including the floor, steps, and walls.

The three-wheeled design gives it excellent mobility around the pool. It can drive over the drain and other features without getting stuck or losing suction.  

It’s powered by two jets that provide more vacuum power, allowing the cleaner to pick up more debris. The double venturi jets also allow the Polaris 280 to move and clean faster.

It covers a standard in-ground pool in a quick 3 hours.

2. Back-up Valve

If it does get stuck, the cleaner frees itself using the in-line backup valve. The valve allows the cleaner to move backward, which helps it go free if it is stuck on the ladder or steps.

So you don’t have to babysit the Polaris 280 or worry that you’ll come home to find it stuck and the pool still dirty.

3. Sweeper Tail

As I mentioned, the Polaris 280 sweeps, vacuums, and filters debris. The sweeping part is done by the sweeper tail at the rear of the cleaner.

The sweeper kicks up debris, making it easier for the cleaner to vacuum it into the filter bag. It also has a scrubber at the end that dislodges stubborn algae and dirt from the pool floor and walls.

4. Large Vacuum Inlet

The Polaris 280 is designed to pick up both large and small debris. The vacuum inlet is large enough to accommodate larger debris like acorns, leaves, and pebbles.

If your pool is located near trees, the Polaris 280 will save you a lot of time and hassle keeping your pool clean.

Instead of wrestling with a skimmer net every day, just drop the Polaris 280 in the water, and it’ll pick up all the leaves and acorns as well any bugs and worms that may have found their way into the pool.

5. Onboard Filter Bag

Instead of directing debris to the pool filter, the Polaris 280 handles its own baggage. An onboard debris bag traps large and small debris, including leaves and pebbles.

Issues & Concerns

Requires Booster Pump

Make sure you budget for a booster pump and buy it when you order the Polaris 280. It won’t work properly with just the existing pool pump.

This not only means higher costs but a more extended installation as well. But at least, you only install the pump once. 

Requires Set Up and Some Adjustment

Unlike robotic pool cleaners, the Polaris 280 is not ready to use straight from the box.

You’ll need to install the booster pump and then connect the hose to a dedicated pressure line. Also, you’ll need to adjust the jets to get it to climb the wall.

If this is your first time buying a pressure-side pool cleaner, you’ll need to watch a few videos to install it.

Frequently Asked Questions

Robotic Pool Cleaners

What’s the difference between the Polaris 280 and 380?

The Polaris 280 has two venturi jets, while the 380 has three, making it more powerful and faster.

The Polaris 380 is driven by a belt system while the 280 uses gears. A belt-driven system is more reliable and requires less maintenance.    

Of course, the Polaris 380 is the more expensive one.

Can I leave the Polaris 280 in the pool?

The manufacturer recommends removing it when not in use though most users prefer leaving theirs in the pool most of the time.

Take it out when swimming, and when adding chemicals.

Do I need a booster pump for the Polaris 280?

Yes, you do.

Our Bottom Line


The Polaris 280 is a proven automatic pool cleaner with hundreds of positive customer reviews. It’s a great choice for pool owners looking for a reliable and pocket-friendly automatic pool cleaner.  

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