Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Maytronics Dolphin Deluxe 5 – Robotic Pool Cleaner Review

Things always get a little weird when you spend most of your tie looking at the same ind of product over and over again. I’ve looked at every Dolphin robotic pool cleaner on the market and after a while I began to see older models all over again. At first I thought it was coincidence, but upon further investigation I found that Maytronics, the company behind the Dolphin line, have exclusivity contracts with a wide variety of both offline and online retailers. It means that you will find essentially the same model under a few different names. The Deluxe 5 is no different, a riff on the DX5. This is no bad thing. When you finally decide on a model,  you will have a multitude of options to choose from, making it all the easier to get the lowest price.

So today, as you have no doubt guessed, we are looking at the Deluxe 5. This is pretty much the same bot as the DX5, and If you read my review of that model you will know that while that bot was well put together, it lacked a few features that would have justified its high price. Well I am happy to say that the Deluxe 5 is fully features, hell, it has pretty much every premium feature you could imagine.

Maytronics Dolphin Deluxe 5 Design and Build Quality

Dolphin Deluxe 5 Filter bagThere are many robotic pool cleaners out there that are terrible. I’m in the middle of consolidating information on the firms I think you should avoid. Poorly put together machines, with seams so big that taking it out of the box is akin to shaking a giant maraca. Dolphin machines are not like that, every one that I have had the pleasure of feeling up has bee fit flush, tightly put together with little to no rattle when shook. It should be the first thing you check when you take it out of the box. A gentle shake should be enough to tell you everything you know. If you do hear rattle then it is likely a result of a manufacturers defect, and you should get in contact with your supplier.

On to the aesthetics, and again the Deluxe range is afflicted with some questionable decisions. While the overall build is sound, even quite nice if you are into the tank like robust looking builds, the color scheme is ridiculous. This play mobil, day-glow aesthetic is common to the rest of the Deluxe range, and as a result I have to recommend the DX5, and the DX5s variant, over this one. But only if they are cheaper, if they are not cheaper then it is a harder choice.

The usual Dolphin quality is on offer here. Unfortunately the normal Dolphin flair for the look of the bot is not. It perplexes me that some designer thought this was a good look, but here we are. The aesthetics aren’t that important though, really more of a tie-breaker detail than anything else.

Maytronics Dolphin Deluxe 5 Features and Specs

I really did think that the DX5 was a fully featured machine. Don’t get me wrong, it is still a fine option, but the added features in the Deluxe 5 and the DX5S, put it to shame. All the Dolphin bots I have looked at have a similar core feature set, so let’s get those out of the way first. You are looking at a pool cleaning robot that is in the ground and has a 50′ cable. Best for free form designs, rather than the standard rectangular. That cable uses swivel tech too, making it tangle resistant. If you have owned a bot in the past without that tech, you will know that most stoppages are caused by cables getting tangled.

The internal pump is the standard high power Dolphin pump, able to filter 4,322 gallons per hour. The standard cycle time is 2 hours, with options for 3 and 4 hour cleanings. The filter is bottom loaded, but there is a kit to convert the Deluxe 5 to the far superior cartridge format. The brushes at the bottom are the finer kind, able to not only scrub the pool floor with ferocity, but can also clean the grout from the tiles, a must have feature for those with a tile bottomed pool. Not only does it clean the pool, but ti can make that sharp transition to the pool wall, cleaning all the way to the top.

Now that we have the core features out of the way, we can talk about the bonus features. We have the full filter indicator in addition to the weekly timer. These features can work in tandem, allowing you to keep the bot in the pool until it is full. The Deluxe 5 comes with a caddy for ease of transport, and when combined with the handle it is easy to move it around and get it in and out o the pool.

Finally we have the remote control options. The standard Dolphin remote can be used to guide the robotic pool cleaner around, but not with any real precision. The dual drive motor in the Deluxe 5 allows true 1:1 control options. With the Dolphin pro remote you can also set the weekly timer and the cycle options.

Overall, you are looking at a fully featured bot, more so than most on the range. There are a few fundamental design options that I am not a fan of, the bottom loading filter for one, but other than that there is little to dislike.

Maytronics Dolphin Deluxe 5 Ease of Use

I have discovered over the course of the last several weeks that there are really only two kinds of robotic pool cleaner. The easy to use kind and the complicated kind. The more complicated models out there require extensive set up, usually with your external pool pump. I am not a fan. It is 2016, internal all in one pumps are more than powerful enough to do the job, and do it well. The Deluxe 5 is an all in one solution, a plug and play device. Simply plug it in, drop it in the water and hit a button on the remote. Easy. Now, there is some added complexity with this model, by virtue of that remote. But there is not that much of a learning curve here.

The real issues with this model come from the use of a few legacy technologies. The bottom loading filter chamber and the use of filter bags are chief among the problems. I realize that having to flip the machine over to change the filter might not sound like too big an issue, but seen as I know for a fact that Dolphin can, and have, made easy to use top loading filter bags I consider the presence of the bottom loading bag at all to be a major issue. Filter bags are not that bad, but when compared to the filter cartridge there are several issues.

Granted, it is mostly user error, an improperly folded filter bag can make it impossible to pick up larger debris, but I have seen enough people cite that issue for me to call it a big one. There is only one other thing to take into account. The Deluxe 5 is a fully feature machine, but as a result, it is a heavy one. The caddy and handle mitigate the weight issues somewhat, but you will still have to heave the behemoth in and out of the water.

Overall, not too many issues here. The usual problems seem to be about it. That is to say, the weight, the bottom loading bag and the use of a bag at all. Now, the Deluxe 5 does have an ace in the hole, the fact that you can replace the filter bag system with a filter cartridge instead. I would recommend you do that as soon as you can.

Maytronics Dolphin Deluxe 5 Pricing, Value, & Discounts

Dolphin Deluxe 5 under waterThe price of the build is one of the most important things. The deciding factor for many, myself included. Considering what you are getting with the Deluxe 5 the price range of $900 to $1200 seem pretty good. If you shop around, luck out, you can get a top shelf premium robotic pool cleaner for sub $1k. Odds are pretty good that you’ll be spending a little over though. I always make the point that any robotic pool cleaner is an investment in time. Consider how many hours you spend cleaning your pool right now?

The other price point to consider is the running costs. With the Aquabot line of robotic pool cleaners I was able to give you some accurate estimations here, because they released the full power consumption details on all of their bots. Maytronics has not put this information out there yet for the Dolphin range, and as a result I am forced to make some less accurate predictions. This will depend on your local price per kilowatt hour, but even in the most expensive area, you can expect to pay a little over 10c per cycle. Not a huge figure I’ll grant you, but I feel it is important to consider long term costs when it comes to electronics.

I love a good warranty. I actually enjoy reading through them too. A fine trait to have if you spend your time reviewing products. I am particularly proud of breaking down the limited warranty from Aquabot, slowly revealing that it is in fact not all that valuable. I would have loved to have been able do the same for the more detailed warranty offered by Maytronics on their Dolphin pool cleaners, but now, three weeks after I emailed them, they have still not sent me the full warranty. I have sent a second email, and hope to hear back from them at all, I would say soon but that is long past now. What I can say is that the Deluxe 5 comes with a long 36 month detailed warranty. The more detailed warranty is usually great, it is supposed to cover both aspects, but without the full warranty i cannot make an actual vale judgement. Expect an update to this, and my many other Dolphin reviews, when Maytronics finally get back to me.

Maytronics Dolphin Deluxe 5 Conclusion

if this machine had even one feature removed I would have to call the whole deal a little lacking, but considering what is present here, the price is very reasonable. I may not be a fan of how it looks, but considering the only clone of the Deluxe 5 is all grey, I don’t think I can complain too much. There are a few issues, the bottom loading filter bag, the filter bag and the weight of the build, there is no one thing I can point to and call a deal breaker. If you are in the market for a fully featured machine, in this price point, then you could do a lot worse. I would be able to recommend it more strongly if I had the full warranty information.

Pros:

  • Complete with no assembly required
  • Cleans everything
  • Includes the caddy
  • All the features, seriously.
  • Filter cartridge conversion kit.
  • Considering this is a true fully features robotic pool cleaner, the price is wonderful

Cons:

  • A little light on the warranty information
  • Loading filter at the bottom
  • Filter bags as standard
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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