Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Dolphin Supreme M500 – Robotic Pool Cleaner Review

After weeks and weeks of research and writing I am finally ready to move on from the Aquabot range. The Maytronic robotic pool cleaners will now be able to take advantage of my expansive knowledge of pool cleaners. I know when a feature is worth it, I know for whom each bot is marketed and I know when a firm is trying to justify a products price with  pointless feature. And I am not afraid to tell the world about it. the Supreme series of bots seems to be a minor upgrade over the DX series. A lot of the features are shared between the two models, and the wonderful three tiered Maytronic design process is present here too.

The M500 is the top of the range Supreme, with a fair few improvements over the M400, not least of which is the increased user control. If you have read my previous reviews of the Supreme bots then you know what you are in for here, more features increased price. Today I think it might be worth it describing Maytronics upgrade style, and I will go into detail in the specs section.

So let’s break this one down, see if it is worth the money.

2018 Update: There are a currently a fair amount of discounts available on Dolphin Pool Cleaners at Amazon.com. You can click here to see all the current deals and discounts.

Maytronics Dolphin Supreme M500 Design and Build Quality

Dolphin M500 BagThere is very little difference in terms of build quality across the Dolphin range. When you are buying a robotic pool cleaner it really does pay to go name brand. there are a few firms out there producing low quality products, but you will find they do not offer a full range of options. I will be naming and shaming a few of them in the weeks to come, but a general rule of thumb here is if there is no rattle then you have a good build. The look of the M500 is identical to the M400 and the Liberty, so my opinion holds true. Not a fan, but I like how robust it looks. I have certainly seen worse machines on the market.

Ho a robotic pool cleaner looks is of little importance, I realize, but a few of these machines aim mat the same section of the market, and this minor detail may be enough to sway you one way or the other. Build quality is up to Dolphins high standards, and the blue plastic finish is both pleasing and fit flush.

Maytronics Dolphin Supreme M500 Features and Specs

The M500 shares its core features with all the other bots in the Supreme series, but most closely resembles the M400 with a few upgrades. They are all for in ground pools only, they clean the pool floor well with three bottom mounted brushes and they can make a 90 degree transition with the pool wall. The wall cleaning feature is a universal trait of the Dolphin series and it is a must have in my opinion. There are plenty of options out there that do not clean the wall, and if it isn’t going to do that then where is your saved time? The 60′ power cable is 60 feet long, and is tangle resistant, using the patented swivel cable tech. The best new feature added to the Supreme series is the top loaded filter mesh, instead of a bottom loading filter bag, but I will break that down in more detail in the ease of use section. The weekly timer is present here too, along with a full bag notification filter, increasing the utility of the weekly timer. This build is again 22 pounds, and the handle is the same length as the M400.

Onto the the new features of this build, and key among them is the increase remote control options. The Maytronic Pro control allows full 1;1 control with this machine, and the dual drive motor decreases the cycle time significantly. The minimum cycle time is not 1.5 hours, half that of the M200. It also includes a delayed start timer, which allows sediment to fall to the bottom of the pool before it begins cleaning. The pump here is the usual Maytronic 4,233 gallon per hour pool pump, one of the most powerful on the market.

I like the added features and i am a big fan of manual control, but I am of the opinion that the cycle time is of little importance. The end result is the same regardless of how short the cycle time is. If you want a fast machine that cleans a little better and has a full range of remote options though this is great.

Maytronics Dolphin Supreme M500 Ease of Use

There are a fair few robotic pool cleaners that are not easy to use. They require you set up an external pump and even an external filter too sometimes. I focus on easy to use self contained units. The M500 is a plug and play device, you plug this in and dunk it in the water. There are some added remote options here, letting you set the cycle time and even control the bot remotely, which adds a layer of complexity to this build,  but it doesn’t take long to get to grips with it. The biggest issue with the M500 is the weight class, 22 pounds might not sound like much, but getting it out of the water is somewhat difficult. The handle does its best to make it easier.

The DX series was the victim of my ire due to the bottom loading filter bag system it used. It was a cumbersome system, the Supreme bots all use a top loading filter mesh instead. This is much easier than the old bags, but it comes with a new problem, cleaning out the machine when its full.

Overall there are not many issues here, and the Supreme series addresses many of the issues I had with the older DX series. Only real problem area is cleaning out the machine , but it is no more troublesome than cleaning out a filter bag.

Maytronics Dolphin Supreme M500 Pricing, Value, & Discounts

Dolphin m500 in waterThis is the main deciding factor for most of us. you may have read everything so far and been enthuse, all for buying the M500, but when you hear it will cost you between $1200 and $1500 you may be less inclined to take the plunge. I will be doing a top ten sub $1000 robotic pool cleaners article at some point, so keep an eye out for it if that is what you’re looking for. The thing that you need to realize when buying any robotic pool cleaner is the inherent value of free time. That is what this is worth the price. I would argue that any robotic pool cleaner, even the meanest of them, will have paid you back in free time within a year. It may be a bit of a cliche to say that at this point, but it is no less true for it.

Now the cost of running the machine, the only other major cost. With the Aquabot line I was able to provide way more detail i this section, but Maytronics have not released the power consumption information for any of the robotic pool cleaners  in their line. They say the cost per cycle is around 15c, which does sound about right, but more accurate figures could have been given by looking at the power draw and the price per kilowatt hour I your area. I don’t think the final figure will be very much per, but the numbers do add up over time, so make sure you consider them.

Now the Warranty, and again unlike Aquabot Maytronics has not released detailed warranty information. I have gotten in contact with them and hope to receive word back soon, but at the moment I can only provide information that they have provided, that the M500 comes with a 36 month bumper to bumper warranty. that sounds great, but without knowing what isn’t covered I cannot give a complete opinion on it.

Maytronics Dolphin Supreme M500 Conclusion

This is another though one to recommend. If it is within your price range, and you want unprecedented control over your pool cleaning robot then this is a contender sure, but I don’t think a faster cycle time and 1:1 remote control options to be worth all that extra cash. Still a great machine, if a little on the pricey side.

Pros:

  • Automatic, requires no supervision.
  • Rudimentary remote control options
  • Cleans walls well
  • Weekly timer frees up more of your time.
  • 1:1 remote control
  • Top loading mesh system

Cons:

  • You have to clean out the machine itself rather than just a filter bag.
  • A little more expensive than I would like at the moment.
  • Warranty info is light on the ground.

To check out all the current deals & discounts on Dolphin Pool Cleaners at Amazon.com you can click here.

Barry W Stanton
Irish born writer who drinks too much caffeine and reads too much Terry Pratchett. I enjoy long walks on the server and Korean cuisine.
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1 COMMENT

  1. I wish I could give a Dolphin M500 a test drive. And the Liberty model seems like a great idea. I wish I knew the life span of the battery in the Liberty as well as the availability of replacement parts. Since I only worked with a Dolphin S200, I can only speculate about an M500. But from what I read, Dolphin pump motors, both the S200, as well as the M500, are rated at only 4200 gallons per hour. The suction ports on the bottom plate on the S200 also appear to be the same size as the M500, which seem to be slightly more narrow than on my Aquabot Turbo T4RC.

    Now the cleaner functionality of an Aquabot Turbo T4RC has proven to be the most powerful cleaner in the industry. I rented a Dolphin S200 to see how well it worked. It was lightweight, easy to handle, the cord never tangled, and very intelligent when it moved about in the pool. What I did not like:
    1- It was slow
    2- It has a weak pump compared to my Aquabot pump motor
    3- It cannot pickup one of the small pool tiles I use as a test for suction.- I try this as an experiment on a cleaner because my aquabot easily does this in 1 pass. The S200 failed even after several passes. The suction ports are a bit smaller than aquabot but from what I have seen the M500 suction ports are the same size as the S200 as is the rating for water filtration in gallons per hour. That would indicate, to me at least, that Dolphin cleaners do not compareto aquabot when it comes to power

    I have yet to see a top loader filter and clean as good as the Aquabot Turbo T4RC. Using the S200 filters combined with the baskets is supposed to clean even more but all that did is restrict the flow of water into the cleaner, which made it even less powerful. The Dolphin S200 was junk. When it was finished cleaning, my Aquabot Turbo T4RC wasn’t

    Now for my feelings regarding the companies that I think offer the best robotic pool cleaners on the market. Aquabot and Maytronics. I’ve owned an Original Aquabot Turbo T4RC since it’s inception back around 2005. Initially, we had the cleaner serviced by Aquabot directly, since they are nearby in my home state NJ. 4 years ago the pump motor failed & the cost to have it fixed was $500+. Trying to save money, I researched & found the pump online for $300. To confirm I was getting the correct pump motor, I called Aquabot. This proved to me how good of a company they really are. Not only did they offer the pump cheaper, the technician saved me an additional $75 by telling me to buy it without the impeller and water-jet port adapter. Over the years, I had access to OEM parts as well as direct fit aftermarket, at substantial savings. Recently, I rebuiIt the pump motor by replacing 4 capacitors, instead of replacing the entire pump. Total cost was less than $25. Took about 20 minutes. Point is, Aquabot pool cleaners can be done as complete components or even a component repair. And new & used parts are readily available
    Point is, pool cleaners will require repairs/maintenance at some point. And no matter how great the Dolphin cleaner is, there are no shortage of complaints where people cannot get OEM replacement parts at reasonable cost via OEM distribution channels. Most successful repairs on Dolphins come from parts acquired from trash picking discarded units or possibly ebay. Thing is, most people give up on a robotic cleaner when it stops working properly. If they knew just how easily one can be fixed, they might reconsider discarding their old one before spending another $1000+ on a new one. But hey, I am sure Dolphin loves selling new units. Who wouldn’t?

    Maytronics actually makes 5 models for the consumer market, for the most part. But in an agenda to continue controlling revenue streams & profits, someone thought it best to try and confuse the consumers by making 2 or 3 & sometimes even 4 or more different model names for the same robotic pool cleaner (search “The Truth About Pool Cleaners). Local stores can manipulate (even lie to) local buyers when they sell a specific model that cannot even be found online. Since everyone is likely online searching for deals, we eventually learn these truths about what really goes on in the market of Robotic pool cleaners. Local stores will try to convince you that the Dolphin S300i they are selling for $1399 is not the same as the Dolphin Active 30i being sold online for $999. We all know they are the exact same cleaner. And if a local store representative hints that they are selling you a better cleaner, it’s a lie.

    Most of us already caught on to the multiple models being the same cleaner agenda. But many cleaners sold online at cheaper cost usually have this caveat: “NO WARRANTY IF PURCHASED ONLINE”. Once again, the OEM manufacturer is catering to the likes of local brick and mortar stores. If we do not pay the additional cost to get a cleaner locally, we are going to pay the difference and possibly more as soon as an online purchased cleaner needs a repair. Well, if the OEM is permitting a seller to offer the cleaner online at such a discount by sacrificing warranty, they should be forced to offer consumers the ability to buy the necessary OEM parts @ reasonable cost. But they don’t. And I think Dolphin is more guilty of this than the other players in this market.

    The threat of voiding a warranty is often assumed to be reasonable policy in some situations but it’s not. It’s a method of coercion. I am not a fan of this. This is 1 of the reasons I have never been the owner of a Dolphin pool cleaner. But Aquabot should be criticized on this issue too. If some store in California is selling a cleaner for less money and I live in NJ, I should not be forced to buy locally just because my local pool store refuses to give up their unreasonable profit margin.And if I decide to do whatever necessary to make the transaction and save money, there is nothing that should justify revoking a warranty if the unit is legitimate and new. But this is what’s happening.

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