Friday, October 7, 2022

Maytronics Dolphin Deluxe 3 – Robotic Pool Cleaner Review

I first brought up the Deluxe series way back during my Discovery review. The core function of this series of bots is the same. It falls into Dolphins penchant for re branding the same bot under different names and color schemes. They do this to get around their exclusivity deals with various online and offline retailers, and while it might be bad for them, it is fantastic for the consumer. Once you pick your bot of choice there are always a few models that share the same features and internals, making it easier to get the best price, it’s just a matter of knowing which bots are clones.

The Deluxe 3 is an entry level bot with premium features, like most of Dolphins cheaper robotic pool cleaners. It is a riff on the Atlantis, and the Endeavor. A light weight, compact cleaner with that twin handle design. I loved the look of this bot in the blue and red of the variants, so it will be interesting to see if this range maintains its perfect aesthetic record. Core features here include wall climbing and floor cleaning, with the Deluxe 3 having a few more premium features besides.

So let’s dive right in, see if this is the right robotic pool cleaner for you.

Maytronics Dolphin Deluxe 3 Design and Build Quality

One of the things you can be assured of by going name brand is the quality. Dolphin have been in the business a while now, and they pride themselves on their high quality products. The Deluxe 3 is no exception, and the Atlantis and Endeavor are both very robust machines. The plastic is fit well, be sure to give the build a bit of a shake when you get one to make sure there is no rattle. Rattle indicate that the parts don’t fit flush, and usually means a hardware fault.

The look of the build is interesting. On the one hand I love the design on the Deluxe 3, low center of gravity, twin short handles and very light, but on the other hand that color scheme is plain garish. I don’t know what they were thinking in the design room for this one, but it was not the right choice. The Atlantis went for a light blue, whereas the Endeavor is a rich burgundy, but here it is straight outta the Lego factory, and none the better for it.

Overall a high quality build, let down by a horrible color scheme. Granted the look is not that important, but if you have selected the Endeavor/Atlantis/ Deluxe 3 as your choice, the only reason to go for the Deluxe 3 is if it is cheaper.

Maytronics Dolphin Deluxe 3 Features and Specs

All Dolphin bots I review come with a core set of features that I deem must haves. The Deluxe 3 is the same, so let’s break them down. First, this robotic pool cleaner is for in ground pool only, so if you have an above ground pool cleaner be sure to check out my other reviews. It comes with a 60′ cable, which uses patented swivel tech, making it tangle resistant. If you know a little about robotic pool cleaners, or have owned one in the past, you will know that a tangled cable can be a nightmare, and is responsible for the majority of cycle stoppages, alongside acorns.

The in built pump is Dolphin’s standard high power pool pump, able to filter 4,322 gallons of water every hour, it is featured in most of their builds. Average cycle time is 3 hours, so not the fastest swimmer, but hardly the slowest either. The bottom mounted brushes are great, but they are no the fine brushes used in more expensive machines, so if you have a tile bottomed pool you might be better served elsewhere. One of the great things about even the entry level robotic pool cleaners from Dolphin is the ability to climb pool walls. From bottom to top, cleaning all the way. I do not know why this is not a standard feature from every firm, I mean, what is the point in buying a pool cleaner that won’t clean the whole pool?

At 18.75 pounds this is a bit of a light weight bot, thus the shorter handles, but it is still capable of clearing the worst from any pool. The built in filter bag is a little old hat at this point, but it is nice to see there is a conversion kit available for this build, essentially turning it into a Dolphin Endeavor proper.

In all this is a basic bot, but the core features here should be all you need from a robotic pool cleaner. If it isn’t enough for you, or you want some finer control over your robotic pool cleaner be sure to check out my other reviews, anything with Plus or RC in its name should suit you.

Maytronics Dolphin Deluxe 3 Ease of Use

I concern my self with the kind of robotic pool cleaner that is easy to use. I do not like overly complicated designs, nor to I like outdated tech. By out dated tech I mean the kind of robotic pool cleaner that requires set up with an external pump system. It’s 2016, internal pumps are powerful and affordable, so make sure whatever product you do end up buying has one. The Deluxe 3 is a fully featured all in one device. It is simple to use, plug it in, set the cycle and drop it in the water. All done.

now the issues you will have with this build all revolve its use of some questionable design choices. While the build is light weight, I still find it odd that the handles are so short. Sure, there are too of them, but it is still made more difficult getting it out of the water than it has to be. the other issues are related to each other, but distinct. The use of a bottom loading filter chamber, and said chamber using a filter bag.

The bottom loading chamber means you have to flip the whole robotic pool cleaner over when you want to change the bag, an added annoyance to a fairly simple procedure. And while filter bags are not that much worse than the cartridge, you do need to be more careful when fitting them, as a poorly fit bag can make it more difficult to pick up larger debris. There is a handy conversion kit available though, if you want to make the switch to the filter cartridge system, but the Endeavor has that conversion applied already.

Maytronics Dolphin Deluxe 3 Pricing, Value, & Discounts

Now to the price, and it is here that the choice will be made for most of us. This bot falls into the $700 to $900 price point. Not great for what you get to be honest. I have seen more fully featured bots go for around the same price. Granted, there are three different bots for you to look up and try to get the best price, but still. Overall any robotic pool cleaner you buy will save you hours of your time every week. Depending on how you value your time it will have paid for itself within a year, in freed up time, so bear that in mind no matter what product you choose.

There is another cost to consider. that being the running costs. Now, with the Aquabot range of robotic pool cleaners I was able to use the power consumption information that they released to me to make some fairly accurate estimates as to the cost per cycle. I cannot do that here as Maytronics have not released the power consumption information on any of their bots. I am instead forced to make a more broad estimate. Bear in mind that the price per kilowatt hour in you area will affect the end price of the cycle, but for most of us the cost will be around 10c per use. Maybe 15c in some areas, and with some of the larger models, but for the most part expect 10c. This is by no means a huge figure, but it is still one that must be considered, especially when doing long term cost analysis, so bear it in mind.

On to the warranty. I review products all the time, and one of the areas that I have a lot of fun in, besides the actual testing of the product, is in breaking down a warranty. I had a ball explaining the value of Aquabot’s full coverage warranty, and even more of one when I discovered how terrible the limited warranty is. I would love to subject Maytronic’s Dolphin warranty to the same scrutiny, but seen as they have yet to send me the information I cannot. I have gotten in contact with them and hope to receive word back from them soon, but until i do all i can say about their warranty is that they have one. The  24 month bumper to bumper warranty that comes with the Deluxe 3 looks great, as bumper to bumper usually covers parts and labor, but I cannot be certain.

Maytronics Dolphin Deluxe 3 Conclusion

Well this is a bit of a mixed bag. I was enthused y the feature set, and expected a nice low price to round the package off, but that was not what I found. the price of this build turns a great little entry level robotic pool cleaner into an overpriced feature lacking robotic pool cleaner. If you can find the Dolphin Atlantis, Dolphin Endeavor or the Dolphin Deluxe 3 in the sub $600 range then it would be well worth the money, but as it stand, this just isn’t. Such a shame, great build marred by price.

Pros:

  • Automatic, requires no supervision.
  • Anti tangle cable
  • Cleans walls
  • Weekly timer function
  • Wonderful simplicity

Cons:

  • Bottom loading filter
  • Warranty info is light on the ground.
  • Far too expensive for what you get.
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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