Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Maytronics Dolphin Neptune Plus – Robotic Pool Cleaner Review

Finally getting around to the Neptune series. It was this little brace of bots that tipped me off to the whole re branding deal that Maytronics has with all of their robotic pool cleaners. The Neptune Plus is the better of the two Neptune bots, and it is a slight update on the DX4, itself a well put together cleaner. The fact that Maytronics sells the same builds under different names is due to their exclusivity contracts. They have exclusive deals with a variety of offline and online retailers. Changing the cosmetics, and turning features on and off, is a common tactic, and it means that when we go looking for a bargain, there are far more options available. Great for consumers in other words, if you know what you’re doing.

The Neptune Plus is a fully featured bot, and they tend to be a little expensive. Well that isn’t the case here, as you will find out. I find with Dolphin brand cleaners the core features are more than enough to justify their price, when Maytronics start adding more and more features, that value only rises. This being a minor update on the DX4 means that there are a few legacy design issues with the build, but never really enough annoyance to right it off out of hand.

So let’s break this one down, see if it’s the right robotic pool cleaner for you.

Maytronics Dolphin Neptune Plus Design and Build Quality

dolphin-neptune-plus-setI have been putting robotic pool cleaners through their paces for a while now, and I can spot a lemon. You have to pay attention to the fit of the build. A small rattle is enough to tell you what you need to know, so be sure to give the bot a bit of a shake when you take it out of the box. If the parts don’t fit flush then you have a shoddy machine. I am in the middle of compiling a list of manufacturers to look out for, so expect to see that soon. As for the Neptune Plus, this is a finely put together machine. The same is true of most of the big names in robotic pool cleaning, but especially so of Maytronics.

As for the look of the bot, it is a revamp of the DX4, and the core look is simple and tank like. I am sure it has its fans, but I prefer a sleeker bot, like the Nautilus. In saying that thee old dull grey color scheme has been replaced here with an interesting aqua. Not a color I would have chosen myself, but at least a little more interesting than the old bot. The handle is long, and quite sturdy, unlike the Nautilus then. It feels great, and you should have no niggling anxieties about picking it up by it.

In short, a robust machine, well put together, with an aesthetic flourish that to me, puts it ahead of the DX4. The color may not be for everyone, but I like it. It’s bold and somewhat unique in the business. I realize that the look of the build is not that important overall, but I feel when it comes to clone bots like the Neptune Plus and the DX4, paying attention to the looks becomes important. It may even sway you one way or the other.

Maytronics Dolphin Neptune Plus Features and Specs

This is an impressive build. No two ways about it. It was impressive when it was called the DX4, and it is more so now. All the Dolphin robotic pool cleaners that I review have what i call the core Dolphin feature set. These shared features, as I have mentioned, make then very desirable on their own. So let’s get those out of the way first.

The Dolphin Neptune Plus is an in ground robotic pool cleaner, so those with above ground pools will have to look elsewhere. I have reviewed a fair few choice above ground pool bots in the past, so be sure to look through my other reviews. The cable is 60′ in length, and uses patented swivel cable tech to prevent tangling. If you have owned a bot in the past you will know that a tangled cable is the number one reason for cycles stoppages. This tech goes a long way to saving you money. If you end up with a bot that doesn’t use this tech then there is a handy trick you can do with pool noodles, be sure to look out for it in my other reviews.

The brushes are mounted on the bottom and while they are robust, they will not clean the grout from between tiles, there are a few bots that can do that so if you have a tile bottomed pool look out for that feature, it is a must have. They clean well on any other pool material. The internal pump is Dolphins usual high power pump, able to process 4,322 gallons of water an hour, filtering out any impurities through their fine fiber filter bag.

Cleaning the pool floor is only half of the bargain from my perspective, so I am glad to report that this machine can also climb walls. None of that smooth incline only climbing that i have seen on other bots, but a full one ninety degree transition. The fact that this is not a standard with other firms boggles my mind. Average cycle time is 2.5 hours, though the first run through the pool may take a little longer as the on board computer takes its time getting to know the dimensions on the job.

Now to the added features. The remote control options are available out of the box, but this build does not come with the remote. You will have to buy it separately. Though without the dual drive motor you will never have true 1:1 manual control anyway, so I see little point to it. It comes with a caddy for easy transport options and while it uses a filter bag as standard, it does allow for the cartridge conversion, very much worth it. Rounding out our features are the weekly timer and the full filter indicator. Those last two work in tandem, allowing you to leave the bot in the pool as long as you like.

In all, a fine build. All the must have features, and even the option to buy a few things to expand upon the already well rounded bells and whistle features. All you need to know now is the price of the build, and let me tell you, it is a good one.

Maytronics Dolphin Neptune Plus Ease of Use

There are two kinds of robotic pool cleaner on the market at the moment. The all in one options and the kind that require external connections to things like pumps and filters. I am not a fan of those harder to use devices. The internal pumps that come with the plug and play builds is more than powerful enough, and these days is often comparable to the external pool pump. The Neptune Plus is an all in one device, as such using it is as simple as dropping it in the pool. Granted, there are more complicated options available, but seen as the Neptune Plus does not come with the Basic remote, you needn’t worry about them if you don’t want to.

Now on to the actual downsides, and there are a few. Foremost among them is the weight of the build. 22 pounds is not the lightest machine on the market, though it is far from the heaviest. I still rank it as moderately difficult to cart around, and more so to get it in and out of the water. Maytronics have doe a few things to make it easier though, they provide a free caddy with the Neptune Plus, and the handle is long a quite sturdy. They mitigate the problem, for certain, but they do not eliminate it entirely.

In addition to the weight issue there is also the matter of legacy design issues to worry about. The Neptune Plus is a variant of the DX4, and as a result it suffers from the same issues. The filter bag is bottom loading, and it still relies on filter bag tech, rather than the more efficient cartridge system seen in later models. I am not a fan of having to flip the bot all the way over change the filter bag, though getting the filter in and out is remarkably easy. Just flip some clasps and pull the whole mess out in one move.

As for the bag system, the benefits of the cartridge over the filter bag is simply a matter of human error. There is less room so screw up the cartridge, while and errant fold in the bag can greatly reduce the robotic pool cleaners effectiveness when it comes to cleaning the pool. They have done something about that though, as the Neptune Plus is compatible with the bag cartridge conversion kit. I recommend you look into that if you decide to go for the Neptune Plus.

Overall the issue I have with the build are light. Minor annoyances, really. If you think the issues I have described will be excessively annoying, then by all means, look elsewhere. I have the full range reviewed, and I am sure you will find what you’re looking for.

Maytronics Dolphin Neptune Plus Pricing

diolphin-neptune-plusThe Price of the build is one of the main deciding factors. We can pretend otherwise, but fundamentally, if an item is outside out price range, we are not going to save up for it. Mostly. It’s why I am so happy top report that the price range of the Neptune Plus is a very affordable $700 to $900 price range. Some shopping around may be required, but I am confident you will find the lower end of that price fairly easily. I always say that a robotic pool cleaner is an investment in time. Think of the hours you spend cleaning your pool manually. you get that back with a robotic pool cleaner. Depending on how you value an hour then any bot will have paid you back in less than a year.

There is another price to consider before you dive in and buy a robotic pool cleaner. The cost to run the thing. With the Aquabot range of robotic pool cleaners I was able to provide a very accurate estimate, as they released the full power consumption info on their products. Maytronics has not done the same for the Dolphin range. So I am forced to assume 180W and do the math myself. On average it will cost 10c per cycle, this is based on the lower end of the price per kilowatt hour though, so if you live in an area where electricity is more expensive then that number will run up to 17c, but never more than that. I understand that this seems like nothing, and a possibly a pointless thing to bring up, but it does accumulate. Long terms costs should always be considered when buying any new piece of electronics.

Now to the warranty. I pend a lot of my time reading through warranties, and I pride myself on being able to judge the value in them well. The Aquabot full coverage warranty, for example is great, while their limited warranty is significantly less so, those on the San Andreas fault take note. I would have loved to break down the bumper to bumper warranty provided by Maytronics on all of their robotic pool cleaners, but they have yet to send me the whole thing. I inquired with them a few weeks ago, and will send another email soon. In the meantime all I can say regarding it is that bumper to bumper usually covers both parts and labor costs, but that is for cars. How it translates to robotic pool cleaners I cannot say. The Neptune Plus comes with 24 months of coverage. On the surface this seems great, but without the full warranty for me to go through I cannot make a full judgement analysis.

Maytronics Dolphin Neptune Plus Conclusion

Always a pleasure to review a fully featured bot that is a reasonable price. The fact that it does not come with a remote, though is remote ready, is a little odd, but it might explain the wonderful price. If you are in the market for a build that can clean the floor, climb the walls and even lets you know when it is time to take it out you could do a lot worse than the Neptune Plus. Maytronics have taken the DX4, removed the dual drive feature and made what is possibly one of my favorite options on the market. Now if they could get in contact with me regarding that warranty I could sign off on this opinion 100%.

Pros:

  • Automatic, requires no supervision.
  • Works out of the box, no need to connect it to a pool pump.
  • Excellent price
  • Ultra quiet.
  • Cleans walls as well as floors.
  • Remote ready

Cons:

  • Warranty information is a little sparse
  • Bottom loading filter bag
  • Still uses filter bags, though a conversion kit is available.
  • While it is remote ready, it does not come with a remote, locking features behind a pay wall.
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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