Friday, July 1, 2022

Maytronics Dolphin Neptune – Robotic Pool Cleaner Review

Nearing the end of my series on Maytronics Dolphin pool cleaners, and here at the end I find myself impressed with what they have to offer. Their core feature set is fantastic across the board, and the high build quality of their machines makes them well worth the price, with a few exceptions. They have a penchant for releasing the same model under different names though, with slightly altered features. The Neptune is a riff on the old DX3, and I was a fan of that variant. The reason for the re branding is due to exclusivity agreements that Maytronics have with various offline and online retailers. It seems a little iffy, but I assure you, it can only be a good thing for the consumer. It means that when you find a build you like you can shop around a little more effectively, getting the best price by knowing the clones as it were.

The Neptune is an entry level machine from Dolphin, and as such it lacks many of the more luxurious features seen in more expensive models. But the aforementioned core feature set that all Dolphin bots come with make it a contender, especially for the more budget conscious consumer. I’m just a poor boy, and sympathy or not, I prefer the lower priced, slightly sparsely featured cleaners.

So let’s see where the Neptune differs from the DX3, see if it is worth your time.

Maytronics Dolphin Neptune Design and Build Quality

dolphin-neptune-bottomThere are a few things that you can do to determine the build quality of a robotic cleaner. The most obvious is simply observing the name on the box. If it is a large manufacturer, with a wide range of products and a well reviewed warranty you can be pretty sure you’re onto a winner. The other less obvious thing to do is to give the bot a small shaking. Dolphin bots fit flush, and it is this sturdiness that gives them their longevity, and longevity is the key to a good purchase.

On to the look of the build, and while it is not as important as the fit, when it comes to picking between the Neptune and the DX3, it can make a difference. the core design is great, I loved it on the DX3 and I still love it now. Bear in mind it can be found in different colors with the Primal, Supreme M3 and the DX3S. The Neptune series have gone for an odd aqua shade, one I have seen on no other line of bots. I like it, to some extent, certainly more than the dull grey of the DX bots, or the violent yellow of the Primal. Overall I think I like the Supreme M3 more though, so if you see it cheaper, and it has the features you want…

Maytronics Dolphin Neptune Features and Specs

The Neptune is an entry level machine, as such it lacks the more advanced features seen in other, more expensive, models. The cable is 60″ in length, for use in 50″ in ground pools. It uses patented swivel cable technology to prevent tangling. if you have owned a robotic cleaner in the past you will know that a tangled wire is the number one reason for cycle stopping, so seeing ti here is wonderful.

The internal pump is the standard Dolphin high pump, able to filter 4,322 gallons of water every hour. With a standard cycle time of 3 hours, it isn’t the fastest machine, but that is still a respectable time. The bottom mounted brushes are not the most powerful Dolphin has to offer, so if you have a tile bottomed pool you will have to look elsewhere, as this bot will not clean the tile lines. In non tile bottomed pools this bot does very well, not only cleaning the floor, but also climbing the walls. That is a feature that i would like to see become standard with other firms. I really don’t see the point in a bot that doesn’t clean the pool wall.

Rounding the while package out is the weekly timer. I would argue that without the full filter indicator being able to set a weekly timer is a somewhat less useful, but it is always nice to see.

Overall, for an entry level machine you really could not do better. It does everything you need it to, and even comes with a few bonus features on the side. A well put together package overall.

Maytronics Dolphin Neptune Ease of Use

There are really only two different robotic cleaners out there. The kinds that is east to use, simple plug and play, and the kinds that requires extensive set up. I prefer the plug and play devices. The more complicated robotic pool cleaner needs to be connected to an external pump, and these days the internal pumps that come with most bots is plenty powerful enough. The Neptune is an easy to use all in one device. You simply plug it in, figure out the cycling, and drop it in the water. Could not be easier at its core.

That’s not to say there aren’t any issues with the build at all. Three major areas, and by major I mean nit picky annoyances that may be deal breakers for you, come to mind. The weight of the build. It is light, but 16 pounds is still a lot to lug around. The Neptune does not come with a caddy as standard, and the handle is very short, making it more difficult to get it to the pool, and to get it out again.

The other issues involve the filter bag. First that it uses a filter bag system. A cartridge system is far less prone to user error, as a slight fold when fitting the bag can limit its effectiveness. Thankfully the Neptune is one of those Dolphin bots that can be retrofitted for cartridges. The other issue is a legacy design issue. the bottom loading filter chamber. I hate them. Having to flip the bot over to change the bag is less than amazing.

The issues I have with this build are not huge. When it comes to high quality bots we really have to get down to the tiny details to find issue with them.

Maytronics Dolphin Neptune Pricing, Value, & Discounts

dolphin-neptune-in-poolThe price of the build is one of the most valuable parts of the article. It can flip a decision for many of us. So When I discovered the price range of the Neptune falls into the $500 to $700 range I was very pleased. This is an excellent price to feature ratio, matched by few other bots in any line. I always make a point of the real value of a robotic pool cleaner. It is more than a simple device for cleaning a pool, it gives you back hours of your time. Depending on how you value an hour, let’s say minimum wage, any robotic cleaner will pay you back in time, less than a year with the Neptune. So all of them are worth much more than their function.

The other price to consider is the overall price associated with running the machine. With the Aquabot line I was able to make some fairly accurate estimates in this section, as they released the full power consumption details for all of their bots. Not the case with the Maytronics line, so I am forced to assume around 180W. Factor in your price per kilowatt hour, and you should come up with a figure close to 10 cents a cycle. It can rise as high as 17c in more expensive areas though, so watch out for that. It is not a lot of money, but I think it is important to know what kind of long term monetary impact any new piece of electrical hardware will have on your purse strings, so please bear it in mind.

On to the warranty, and as a product reviewer I am pretty good at braking those down. I very much enjoyed explaining the value in the Aquabot full coverage warranty, and had even more fun deconstructing the Limited warranty. I am unable to get into that with the Dolphin warranty as Maytronics have not responded to my inquiries. I contacted them a few times over the last several weeks requesting the warranty details, and their limited warranty details, but so far they are silent. I cannot make a sound evaluation on the 12 month warranty that comes with the Neptune, but bumper to bumper usually means it covers parts and labor. So I think it is great, but i do not know.

Maytronics Dolphin Neptune Conclusion

Well, outside of a few issues, the lack of warranty information, bottom loading filter chamber, use of a filter bag and the heft of the build, this is a very well put together package. The features are all must haves and the price is downright amazing. If you are in the market for a relatively low cost, fully feature robotic pool cleaner you will have to at least entertain the Neptune.

Pros:

  • Works out of the box, no need to connect it to a pool pump.
  • Cleans walls, bottom to top with ease.
  • All the core features of a robotic pool cleaner
  • Filter cartridge conversion kit.
  • The price is well worth it

Cons:

  • Not much in the way of warranty information
  • Bottom loading filter
  • 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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