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Which is best for your pool?

Dolphin Premier vs Polaris 280: Which is Best?

Robotic Pool Cleaner vs Suction-Side Cleaner

Dolphin Premier vs Polaris 280: Which is Best?

Dolphin Premier vs Polaris 280

In the world of pool maintenance, the Dolphin Premier and the Polaris 280 are notable players. This review will closely compare these two models, focusing particularly on the shortcomings of the Polaris 280 in comparison to the more advanced features of the Dolphin Premier.

Performance: A Tale of Two Technologies

The Dolphin Premier shines with its superior performance, navigating pools with an elegance and thoroughness that speaks of high-end technology at work. It meticulously cleans every inch, much like a well-oiled machine designed for perfection. In contrast, the Polaris 280 often leaves much to be desired. Its performance, while adequate, does not reach the same heights, particularly in areas such as waterline cleaning, where it falls noticeably short.

Polaris 280 Cleaning
Polaris 280

Plug & Play vs Booster Pump

One of the most notable differences between the two besides the performance is the setup. The Dolphin Premier has everything you need to get started right in the box, while the Polaris 280 requires an additional booster pump.

Polaris 280 Setup

The setup for a Polaris 280 can be a pain. Being a pressure-side cleaner, the Polaris requires a booster pump which is not included in the price. These pumps usually run around $400-500 and are sold seperately from the Polaris 280. So keep that in mind when choosing a cleaner. If you're not handy, you may need your electrician and pool builder to come install it into your plumbing and pool electrical box as well if your pool doesn't already have one. Once installed, you simply attach the hose to the pump and it starts cleaning.

Dolphin Premier Setup

The Premier could not be any different as the setup takes less than a minute, with no electrical or plumbing needed. Using a standard outlet, simply plug in the power supply and toss the robot in the water. Within a minute, you can have the cleaner cleaning with a press of a button.


The Dolphin Premier stands out with its remarkable efficiency. It is designed to be incredibly energy-saving, significantly outperforming regular robotic cleaners, including the Polaris 280. Equipped with a twin DC motor, the Dolphin Premier is 90% more energy-efficient than conventional cleaners. In contrast, the Polaris 280 often requires the full power of a 2 horsepower pump, consuming approximately 1500 watts of power. This stark difference in energy consumption highlights the Dolphin Premier's superior efficiency and cost-effectiveness in the long run.

Filtration Capabilities: The Fine Print

In the crucial aspect of filtration, the Dolphin Premier stands out with its advanced NanoFiltration and Multimedia filtration options. These features enable it to capture the finest of debris, ensuring a cleaner, healthier pool. The Polaris 280, lacking these sophisticated filtration systems, is akin to a tool that, while functional, misses out on the finer details of pool cleanliness.

Dolphin Premier MultiMedia
Dolphin Premier's MultiMedia™ includes NanoFilters™, an Oversized Leaf Bag, & Standard Filter Set.

In the quest for pool cleanliness, the Dolphin Premier and Polaris 280 differ significantly in their filtration capabilities. Let's dive into a comparison that highlights these differences with a focus on the advanced features of the Dolphin Premier.

The Dolphin Premier's Filtration Mastery

  1. Multi-Media™ Filtration: The Dolphin Premier boasts the revolutionary Multi-Media™ Filtration system, a game-changer in pool cleaning technology. This system allows for a swift switch between four filter media types, catering to various cleaning needs from leaves to green algae.
  2. Filter Variety and Customization: The Dolphin Premier is equipped with three filters right out of the box, offering unprecedented customization for every cleaning session. This flexibility ensures that the Premier can adapt to different pool conditions and requirements.
  3. Generation 2 Filters: These advanced filters are a leap forward, capable of capturing more debris than traditional pool cleaners. Their quick interchangeability allows for tailor-made cleaning experiences, addressing specific pool needs efficiently.
  4. Dual Commercial Grade Motors: Apart of the ProLine™, the Premier's robust motors enable it to filter over 4500 gallons per hour, efficiently cleaning and clearing algae with its NanoFilters™. This capacity is a testament to its superior cleaning power.
  5. Oversized Leaf Bag: Unique to the Dolphin Premier, this leaf bag is engineered to capture more leaves and offer greater capacity than standard cartridges. It's the ideal solution for removing leaves and small twigs, contributing to a cleaner, healthier pool.
  6. NanoFilters™ for Microscopic Debris: The Premier's NanoFilters™ are adept at trapping not just leaves and large debris, but also algae, pollen, bacteria, and other microscopic particles. Their increased surface area ensures a higher volume of contaminants is retained, providing crystal clear and polished pool water.
  7. NanoFiltration™ Technology: NanoFilters act as a gatekeeper against microscopic contaminants. They effectively capture microscopic algae, oil, and other tiny pollutants, ensuring they don’t circulate back into the pool. This technology marks a clear difference from traditional mesh filters, which often fail to trap smaller particles.
NanoFilters™ capture fine dirt and debris that passes through standard filters

There simply isn't a better pool cleaner when it comes to filtration. USA Today even named it the "best robotic pool cleaner you can buy". And our pool experts agree. They named it the best robotic pool cleaner for 2024. With a host of awards and accolades, the Dolphin Premier is a standout from the Dolphin pool robot lineup.

Polaris 280: The Traditional Approach

In contrast, the Polaris 280 does not offer the same level of filtration sophistication as the Dolphin Premier. Its traditional filtration system, primarily relying on plastic mesh filters, is more suited for capturing larger debris. However, it falls short in dealing with fine particles like sand, small algae, and other microscopic contaminants. This limitation could lead to less efficient cleaning and potentially leave the pool water less than perfectly clear.

Durability and Warranty: A Comparison of Commitments

The Dolphin Premier backs its quality with a robust 3-year warranty, a testament to its durability and the manufacturer's confidence in its product. The Polaris 280, however, offers a shorter 2-year warranty, which could be seen as a reflection of its slightly less robust build and longevity.

Which is the better value?

In terms of value for money, the Dolphin Premier emerges as a worthwhile investment, given its advanced features and robust performance. The Polaris 280, although a viable option, does not provide the same level of value, especially considering its outdated technology and features it lacks in comparison.

Conclusion: Making the Choice

The filtration comparison between the Dolphin Premier and the Polaris 280 reveals a clear winner in terms of advanced technology and versatility. The Dolphin Premier, with its Multi-Media™ Filtration, Generation 2 Filters, and NanoFiltration™ Technology, offers a more thorough and adaptable cleaning solution. It excels in capturing a wide range of debris, from leaves and twigs to the finest of particles, ensuring a cleaner, healthier pool environment.

The Polaris 280, with its more traditional approach, is suitable for basic pool cleaning needs but lacks the advanced filtration capabilities of the Premier. For pool owners seeking comprehensive and efficient pool cleaning, the Dolphin Premier is undoubtedly the superior choice. The Premier’s advanced filtration system, notably its NanoFiltration™ and Multi-Media™ capabilities, not only showcases a leap in innovation but also highlights the outdated nature of the Polaris 280's technology. In today's fast-evolving world of robotic cleaners, the Premier's approach of embracing multifaceted cleaning challenges with sophisticated technology makes the Polaris 280 seem like a relic of the past, struggling to keep up with the nuanced demands of modern pool maintenance.

Dolphin Premier
Dolphin Premier

In conclusion, the Dolphin Premier is a superior choice for those seeking an efficient, thorough, and user-friendly pool cleaning experience. Its advanced technology, combined with much higher energy efficiency, strong warranty and superior performance, make it a standout product. The Polaris 280, while a decent option, does not match up to the standards set by the Premier, especially in terms of advanced features and overall efficiency. For pool owners looking for a top-tier cleaning solution, the Dolphin Premier is the recommended choice.


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What's Next?

Learn more about Nanofilters™, MaxBin™, and so much more to find which pool robot is right for you. Use our Pool Robot Selector to enter your pool type and find an exact match for your swimming pool's needs or read the Best Dolphin Pool Cleaner for 2024.

Pool Robot Buying Guide