Dolphin Active 10 – Robotic Pool Cleaner Review

I have been away shaving my face, thinking I was finished with robotic pool cleaners, and another one lands on my doorstep. The Active 10 is an above ground cleaner, and you know what that means. Great aesthetics on a cut down design. The other above ground cleaners from Dolphin I have checked out, the RS2 and the DX2, both have interesting features, outside the normal ones I consider necessary, that compensate nicely. Not the case with the Active 10.

It is a standard above ground cleaner, at a good price, but trimmed down in terms of what it can do. The build looks great, but I find that is only important in tie breaker scenarios, and I don’t think that is what we will be having with this one.

Maytronics Dolphin Active 10 Design and Build Quality

dolphin-active-10-near-waterSeems almost like Dolphin are reading my reviews. With the RS and DX2 bots, both above ground cleaners, I mentioned the inherent issues with wheeled bots, and the damage they are prone to. Well this above ground cleaner comes with treads, removing that fear nicely. Dolphin’s attention to detail is present here, and this hardy little bot seems quite well made. Be sure to do the rattle test which is seeing if you hear a rattle, and if you do, you have a defective model.

As to the look of the bot, I love it. It has been a while since I could say that, so I am happy to do so now. It is a rare machine that can make grey look nice, but the addition of accent colors really elevates the whole thing. The perfect symmetry and futuristic look to the chassis is amazing.


Not a big deal I hear you cry, so it looks nice. And I agree, I bring up the aesthetics of the build so as to make it slightly easier on those on the fence, stuck between a bot and a hard place, maybe you have three builds with similar feature sets, better then to go for the one that looks the nicest.

Maytronics Dolphin Active 10 Features and Specs

It may have been a few weeks since I last got to review a robotic pool cleaner, but I have lost none of the knowledge I have spent the last several weeks accumulating. I have come up with a list of three tings that a robotic pool cleaner must be able to do in order for me to recommend you buy it. It must be able to clean a floor effectively, including break up larger debris, it must be able to filter the water efficiently in one cycle and must be able to climb walls. Well i am very sorry to say that the Dolphin Active 10 falls short of the requirement, and unlike the RS2, doesn’t even have a cost saving gimmick to save it.

The Active 10 is an above ground pool cleaner with a 40 foot cable. It is a swivel cable, which mitigates cycle stoppages due to tangling. If you have owned a bot in the past you will know how often a tangled cable can occur, costing you time, effort and money.

The scrubbing brushes at the bottom are better than average, indeed, they are some of the most powerful in the Dolphin  line, spinning at nearly twice the speed of the Nautilus. They make short work of debris. Average cycle time is 1.5 hours, faster than most bots, but there are options for longer cycles if you feel the need. The issue with this bot is not in what it can do, but in what it cannot do, and the inability to clean a pool wall is a major downside. Never mind the fact that we are left without a remote, or a full filter indicator, the most important time saving part of a bot is the ability to clean a whole pool, and here we are left wanting.

The RS2 and the DX2 get away with the lack of wall climbing by costing essentially nothing to run, but without an on board turbine, this bot just seems a little useless. Especially considering that the other Active bots, the 20, 30 and 30i, can all climb walls out of the box. The difference in tech between them is negligible, the core drive is identical, so I am at a loss as to why that feature is missing here.

Overall, a poor showing from Maytronics. A bot that can only clean a pool floor would have been impressive ten years ago, but these days it seems cheap and archaic. Coupled with the fact that the other bots in the range are far more robust in terms of feature set and the Active 10 seems all the more useless. It might be able to save itself on price point, but I doubt it.

Maytronics Dolphin Active 10 Ease of Use

There are two different types of cleaners you can buy. I focus on the all in one models, though I have begun to branch out recently, and tried a few external pump models. I find the all in one’s much easier to use, and the set up times to them are greatly reduced. The internal pumps used in modern robotic pool cleaners are more than powerful enough to clear a pool. The all in one models basically have two sub-categories. The Legacy models and the Ultra Moderns. The Legacy models are all pretty great, but come with a few day to day use issues that I find irritating. The Active 10, for all its faults, is an Ultra Modern, so ease of use is fantastic.

It uses a top loading filter canister, which is like a hybrid between a filter bag and a filter cartridge. Some of the issues with filter cartridges, run off falling back into the pool when you are taking it out, are removed as a result of this tech. The top loading nature of the bot means there is no need to flip the whole thing over when removing the canister. The handle is a little short, but seen as we are looking at a 13 pound machine, that is not a huge issues. There really is nothing else to say on this bot regarding ease of use.

Simply Plug it in and you’re golden. Few bots can claim to be this intuitive, and long term annoyances are non existent. If only the feature set was a little more expansive, then I might have been able to recommend this bot.

Maytronics Dolphin Active 10 Pricing, Value, & Discounts

dolphin-active-10-in-waterThis bot is trying to make me dislike it. I know it. I can see where the design work went in, this is one of the most modern builds on the market, but it feels like one step forward, two steps back and a price tag to make angels weep. $500 to $600 price range is ludicrous for a bot that cannot climb walls. You might be able to find it cheaper elsewhere, but unless you can find it at half that price you are better off looking elsewhere. Sure, any robotic pool cleaner will save you time, but this bot will save you less time for more money. Pay back is a long time coming.

There is an additional cost associated with cleaners. unlike the DX2 and the RS2, this above ground non climbing bot from Dolphin plugs into the mains, has no internal generator, and so you are looking at a price per cycle again. The cost depends on your local price per kilowatt hour, so I recommend you find out what yours is. unlike the Aquabot range, who have the power consumption information right there on the page, the Dolphin bots do not have the data. I am forced to assume an average power consumption of 180 W and extrapolating form there. On average a cycle will cost you between 10c and 15c. Some places are as high as 19c per cycle, and a few locations manage a price under 10c, but for most of us between 10c and 15c is correct.

On to the warranty. I spend a lot of my free time reading warranties, it saves me time when I am reviewing a product if I already know what their warranty is like. I have gotten pretty good and picking out the bad ones from the good ones, and with robotic pool cleaners you will find a nice mix of amazing and terrible, often from the same company. With Maytronics, I am unable to make a value judgement, as in spite of numerous inquiries they have yet to send me the full warranty. I have almost lost hope, and it is that that nails this coffin closed. Without an absolutely amazing warranty it is impossible to recommend this bot. What I can tell you is that thew Active 10 comes with 1 year of full coverage followed by 1 year of limited coverage. Not the bumper to bumper standard that is available with all the other Dolphin bots, and I find that suspect.

Maytronics Dolphin Active 10 Conclusion

Doesn’t take much to keep me happy. All I really like to see is the three core features, the three features I had codified when I was reviewing the in ground Dolphin pool cleaners. Climb a wall, clean a floor and filter the water. The Active 10 cannot climb a wall. The Warranty info is non existent. I cannot recommend this bot. I know for a fact that the Active 20 et al can climb, so when we combine the amazing design of this build with the amazing features of the later builds we get one of the best bots on the market, but I recommend you ignore this one and hope it goes away.

Pros:

  • Works out of the box
  • Cleans cove and the tile line
  • Top loading filter
  • Filte3r Canister, the newest tech, better even than the filter cartridge system. If not for the inability to climb walls this would be the future of robotic pool cleaners.

Cons:

  • Warranty info is pretty non-existent
  • Warranty is limited, even without specifics on it I feel i am safe assuming the worst.
  • Ridiculous price
  • CANNOT CLIMB A WALL. Seems like a no brainer these days, if you are trying to sell a robotic pool cleaner make damn sure it can clean the entirety of the pool.


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