The last few days in my robotic pool cleaner investigations have brought some interesting things to light in the Industry. That by and large the products themselves work, and in some cases work very well, there is a pattern with the big manufacturers. They rebrand products all the time. The Dolphin Discovery is no different, itself having one variant. I have reviewed other machines with six different names, the Premier comes to mind here. I understand the practice, it means they can keep their exclusivity contracts with various retailers, and I judge it to be in the consumers best interests. I mean, once you know what pool cleaner you want you then have several models with which to peruse, allowing you to get the lowest price possible.
The Discovery, and the Deluxe 4, are very much upper mid range bots. The core Dolphin feature set puts their machines a little ahead of the competition most of the time, but their upper mid range bots are even better. There are a few minor problems with the core design here, but nothing that hinders function, mostly my issues stem from the ease of use section.
So let’s break these bots down, see if they are what you’re looking for.
Maytronics Dolphin Discovery Design and Build Quality
This is a Dolphin machine, they make some of the best robotic pool cleaners on the market, and they made themselves a market leader by producing high quality builds, at affordable prices. The first thing you have to check when you take your new Dolphin out of the box is the fit. Give it a shake, there should be very little, to no, rattle. I have found with the cheaper options that their is excessive rattle, the parts themselves are not fit as tight, still working on that low quality article still testing a few things. Both the Discovery and the Deluxe 4 are very high quality, but in terms of aesthetics, there is some major differences.
Now, I am not a fan of the more tank like designs, but I appreciate that not everyone feels that way about them. I have also been critical of the all grey plastic finish seen on a few of Maytronics lines, but for the Discovery I think it works. It has blue accent panels, which brings the whole thing together. The Deluxe 4 is a whole other story though. Look at it, it looks like it was designed for children to ride around the back yard in. I like that for a change the clone model uses a different chassis, I have only seen Dolphin do this on one other model set variant, but the color scheme here is ludicrous. It would take a significant discount for me to recommend it over the Discovery.
Maytronics Dolphin Discovery Features and Specs
There are several features that I have noticed come standard with all Dolphin robotic pool cleaners. A few of them are considered premium features in builds from other companies too, making Dolphin one of my preferred manufacturers. Let’s get the standards out of the way first, then we can talk about the advanced features of the Discovery and the Deluxe 4. They are both in ground pool cleaners, with 60 foot cords. The cords uses patented swivel cable technology, which helps prevent cable tangling. If you have had a robotic pool cleaner in the past without this tech you will know that a tangled cable is the number one reason for a cycle stop, so it is always a pleasure to see this tech on display.
The bottom mounted brushes are fantastic, able to clean off even the most stubborn of algae build ups, and are fine enough to clean the tile line, if you have a tile bottomed pool. Not only do these bots clean the pool floor, but they can also make that coveted 90 degree transition to the pool wall, cleaning them from bottom to top. All Dolphin bots can do that, but I have noticed that a fair number of other companies limit that feature to their more expensive builds, and really what is the point in owning a robotic pool cleaner if you still have to clean your pool by hand every so often.
The built in pump is powerful, able to filter 4,322 gallons of water per hour, and our cycle time is 2.5 hours as standard. There is an option for a 1 hour cycle in case of emergency though. Both of these bots come with a caddy, and at 22 pounds you will likely need it. The Deluxe 4 has a weekly timer feature included, missing from the Discovery, but both have a full bag indicator, a premium feature that I feel should become standard. The remote control options are limited, but you are able to guide your bot to areas you feel need extra attention. Just don’t expect 1:1 controls, no dual drive motor here I’m afraid.
Both of these bots are fantastic in terms of features. the Deluxe 4 can do slightly more, but I would argue the weekly timer function is of limited utility anyway. If having the most features is important, or you find the Deluxe 4 for a little less cash, then by all means, beyond that though, they are identical.
Maytronics Dolphin Discovery Ease of Use
There are two kinds of robotic pool cleaner on the market at the moment. the all in one self contained package, and the kind that require an external pump. Don’t get me wrong, both have their merits, but I find the extra set up required with the external pump cleaners to be not worth all the added effort. I like to keep the products I review as easy to use as possible. The Discovery is a plug and play device, all you have to do is plug it in, drop it in the pool and select a cycle on the remote, super easy. Now, using the remote control options can be a little fiddly, but not excessively so.
The biggest issues with the plug and play builds is the weight. The Discovery weighs 22 pounds, making it cumbersome to move around. Now, this model does come with a caddy, so getting it from storage to the pool should be no trouble, but even the handle doesn’t help too much with lifting it out from the watery depths.
My other issue with the design of this model is the use of a filter bag and the bottom loading nature of it. Now a filter bag is not inherently worse than a cartridge most of the time, but an improperly folded bag can lead to the bot picking up less debris, and that is a problem. The bottom loading filter bag chamber means you have to flip the whole machine over to get at the bag, which is just unnecessary. I have seen builds from Dolphin that are top loading and can attest to their ease of use.
Overall there are few issue with the day to day use of this build. All of my problems with the build are a little nit picky, but if you think they will annoy you also, there are plenty of options to choose from.
Maytronics Dolphin Discovery Pricing, Value, & Discounts
Well well well, here we are again in the pricing section, and for the second time I am greatly impressed with the price. usually all these features would cost in excess of a grand, but that is not the case here, with the price range for these two being in the $600 to $800 range. That is an astounding price, especially for what you get. Few other fully featured builds cost so little. Now I usually talk about the time saving nature of robotic pool cleaners, and how much you as a person value your time informing you of how long it will take for the robotic pool cleaner to pay you back. But I feel like that is not necessary in this case. The Discovery and the Deluxe 4 are both too wonderfully priced to warrant it.
The other price to consider is the cost to run the bot. With the Aquabot line, which I reviewed in full last month, I was able to provide a full breakdown, as they have released the power consumption information all of their builds. That is not the case with Maytronics. Instead I am forced to make an estimate. You will have to find the price per kilowatt hour in your area, which does vary from place to place, but on average a cycle will cost you around 10c, plus or minus 5c. Not a huge cost, sure, but one that will add up, and should be considered when you are buying a new piece of hardware.
Now the warranty. As a product reviewer I spend a fair amount of time reading warranties. I’ve gotten pretty good at sorting the wheat from the chaff in this regard. I was able to breakdown the Aquabot Limited warranty in a heartbeat, letting you the consumer know that it was essentially worthless. I am unable to provide so in depth a critique of the Maytronics Dolphins warranty, as they have yet to release the information to me. The 24 month bumper to bumper warranty that comes with the Discovery looks great, as a bumper to bumper warranty usually covers parts and labor, but without the full warranty information in front of me I cannot provide a full judgement value on it. I will of course be updating this review when they send me more information.
Maytronics Dolphin Discovery Conclusion
I am always happy to be surprised by a build. For an upper mid range bot, these two are both fully featured and a little under priced. Much like the Advantage Pro RC, the other robotic pool cleaner I took a look at today. There really are no downsides to owning this machine. Maybe the bottom loading bag is a big no from you, or maybe you have an above ground pool, in which case be sure to check out a few of my other reviews on products for you. But for the most part this is a bot to suit anyone.
- Works out of the box, no need to connect it to a pool pump.
- Cleans walls and the tile line
- Remote control options.
- Extremely low price for what you get
- A whole host of features usually seen in more expensive builds.
- Warranty info is light on the ground.
- Bottom loading filter