Gone are the days of hiring a local boy to clean the pool, and gone too are all the jokes you could make regarding that scenario. That’s right, like the humble vacuum cleaner before it, pool cleaning can now be done by robots. The vast majority on the market at the moment do it all, filtering finer particles, larger particles and even cleaning the walls. This series of reviews will be focusing on a select few of the better options on the market, and we should be doing a few comparison pieces as well.
First up is a look at the Dolphin Nautilus. The Nautilus is one of the better options available at the moment, with top notch wall cleaning, and excellent path finding. Let’s take a look at it i more detail.
Nautilus Pool Cleaner Design and Build Quality
The aesthetics of the device should not be high on the list of important factors when buying a automatic pool cleaner, but it can be taken into account. I’ve been researching these things for the last few weeks, and have found few things common when it comes to design. The Nautilus looks great though, simple two tone hard wearing plastic. It uses a pair of rotating rushes to move it through the water, contrary to the standard wheel designs seen in other pool cleaners, this seems to make it a little faster, but not by much. The flex cable attached to it is an impressive 60′, giving it more than enough slack for most pools. If I were to lob a major fault its way I would say it needs a handle. Getting it out of the water looks cumbersome, though I have it on good authority that the cable is sturdy enough to handle the weight of the Nautilus.
Overall the design is pleasant and the quality of the materials used is high.
Nautilus Features and Specs
With dimensions 20″ x 24″ x 20″ and weighing in at a relative light 18 pounds, you would not expect the Nautilus to be feature heavy, but the guys over at Dolphin have packed this little cleaner with all the bells as whistles. It is designed for 50′ pools, and is able to filter 4,230 gallons per hour, taking on average 3 hours to clean an entire pool. Not only does it clean the pool floor, using a screen rather than the more common bag filter, but the Nautilus is also able to scrub the pool walls. Not all robotic pool cleaners can manage that, so if it is a feature you want be sure to pay close attention when buying.
Those filter cartridges are a great money saver, as the filtration bags used by the Nautilus’ competitors need to be replaced far more often. The Nautilus comes with two different cartridges, a fine film for larger objects and an ultra fine film for tiny particles. On average the on board path finding takes around three full cleaning cycles to understand the size of your pool, so you’re looking at around nine hours of use before its cleaning route is optimized. An optimized route maximizes the energy efficiency of a robotic pool cleaner, saving you money in the long term.
Overall the Nautilus comes with everything you could want from your robotic pool cleaner, and a few more features besides. Be sure to read the full series on robotic pool cleaners to see how those specs stack up with the competition, spoiler: very favorably.
Nautilus Ease of Use
Gone are the days when one needed a degree in engineering to put together a newly purchased piece of tech. The Nautilus comes ready to go out of the box. All you have to do is plug it in, no messing around with the pool filtration system , just dump it in the water and let it do its thing. You may have to check up on it every so often to make sure the filter isn’t full, but clearing the filter is very easy.
So easy in fact that you do have to be careful when taking it out of the pool. I have seen people take the Nautilus out of the pool only to have some of the debris it has cleaned up fall back in the water. Make sure to slowly rotate the Nautilus as you take it out, this will prevent the particles from falling back in the water. The other major caveat to the Nautilus is the trouble it has with steps. Granted, not everyone has a pool with steps, but if you do you may be better served looking elsewhere, though even I have yet to come across a robotic pool cleaner than can thoroughly clean a step.
Overall an absolute doddle. Plug and play, nothing really more to it. The issues it has with steps is hardly unique in the industry, though the spilling of debris as you take it out of the pool is a problem, a problem with a simple solution true, but still a problem.
Dolphin Nautilus Pricing
Here comes the fun part. The prices of robotic pool cleaners vary by a large margin. Some can cost several grand, while a fair few can be as little as a few hundred bucks. The Nautilus is more in the middle, generally running right around $700-750. Considering what you get that is a very fine price and you can usually find it at a bit of a discount at Amazon.com by clicking here!
That isn’t the only price that has to be taken into account, you also have to look into how much it costs to run, and I am happy to report that on average a three hour cleaning cycle will costs you around 15c. Obviously the higher the cost of electricity in your area the more you will pay, but I am confidant that figure will be very close to your results. Finally I had a look at the Nautilus’ warranty, and I was far from disappointed. You get a full year of coverage here, though I must point out that quite a few other firms offer a two year warranty as standard.
From a pure price perspective the Nautilus is a steal. True, there are cheaper options on the market, but few of them can match the Nautilus in terms of performance, energy efficiency or features.
Dolphin Nautilus Conclusion
Not a hard one to recommend. The Nautilus is cheap, but fully featured. There are a number of issues with the design, most notably the debris run off when lifting it out of the water, but that can be solved with a simple rotation.
- Automatic, requires no supervision.
- Works out of the box, no need to connect it to a pool pump.
- Excellent price for what you get.
- Ultra quiet.
- Cleans walls as well as floors.
- No handle, making removal cumbersome.
- taking it out without care can lead to some of the debris falling back into your pool.
- Twigs and acorns can jam up the motor.
- Cannot do steps.
Discounts & Coupon Codes 2018:
To check out all the current discounts available at Amazon.com for the Dolphin Nautilus you can click here.