Sunday, September 25, 2022

Maytronics Dolphin DX5 +S – Robotic Pool Cleaner Review

I have spent the last several weeks slaving over every robotic pool cleaner that Maytronics has ever made. I have been impressed, I have been dismayed, but overall I have had a sense of déjà vu. Not in a bad way. The fact that the DX5 +S is another re-release of older hardware is not really a bad thing. They do it with most of their models, due to exclusivity deals with a variety of online and offline retailers. I think it is great for consumers, as when you know the clone names of the bot you want to buy you can find the best price much easier with multiple bots to look for.

There is one major difference setting the DX5 +S a part from the DX5, and the Advantage Pro RC as well, and it is in the brain. They share core features, and all have the full compliment of bonus features as well, not to mention a few legacy issues that I will talk about in the ease of use section. The new brain is intriguing, as it should mean that this bot can get to grips with the dimensions of your pool a lot faster, in addition to cleaning the whole ting faster too.

The DXS series is exciting for me personally, as upgrading older hardware with shiny new brains may mean that a few of my favorite bots with get this treatment too. The only question is does this upgrade make the DX5 +S more attractive than, say, the Nautilus Plus, which is still rocking the old brain? Let’s dive right in and find out.

Maytronics Dolphin DX5 +S Design and Build Quality

dolphin-dx5-s-bottomI have been reviewing and testing robotic pool cleaners for a very long time. And in that time I have found out a few things regarding the build quality that you will need to know before you take the plunge and shell out the guts of a grand on a bot. The most important piece of advice I can give you is to know who you are buying. There are a fair few companies out there looking to sell you a bargain that won’t last a week, with warranties so convoluted that the simple act of taking it out of the box will void it. Stick with a firm that has a wide range of available products and a trusted warranty and you will do well. The the other factor to take into account is the fit of the build. there is a quick and dirty test you can do to figure out how your bot is fitted. Give it a shake. There should be little to no rattle in a Dolphin build. If you hear some then it is likely you have a factory fault, and should be using that warranty you paid a premium for.

As to the look of the build, I am a little taken with it. Sure, the DX5 +S is the same tank like design seen in the DX5, but the smooth line soften it a little and the symmetry is quite pleasing to look at. the color scheme leaves a lot to be desired again though, but since when has the DX series been about the looks? It’s all about the features, and this bot might have all of them.

The look of the build is not that important. I would be the first to point that out, but in tie breaker situations, it can make or break a build.

Maytronics Dolphin DX5 +S Features and Specs

I always enjoy reviewing fully featured bots. Means theirs more to write about. All Dolphin bots come with a set of core features that are the envy of the competition though. So let’s get through those first. This is an in ground robotic pool cleaner with a 60′ cable. The cable uses patented swivel tech, to prevent tangling. If you have owned a bot in the past that does not have a swivel cable you will know how irritating it can be to have an early cycle stoppage. So seeing this here is wonderful.

The on board pump is the usual Dolphin Maytronic high power pool pump, able to process 4,322 gallons of water an hour. The fastest cycle time is 2 hours, but there are options for a 3 and 4 hour cycle as well. The DX5 +S uses a filter cartridge system, which I far prefer to the old bag system, but it is still bottom loading, not a terrible thing but an issue nonetheless.

The bottom mounted scrubbing brushes are the high power variety, able to clean the pool floor deeply and well, in addition to clearing the grout that can build up in the tile line of tile bottomed pools. If you have a tile bottomed pool you would do well to look out for that feature, as many of the cheaper options on the market cannot manage it. A nice new feature here is the deep cleaning mode, unique to this build. It consume more power, and takes a little longer to complete, but it turns up the motor behind the brushes, leading to a cleaner pool.

Not only does this bot clean a pool floor well, it can also climb the pool wall, making that ninety degree transition with ease. I have read reports of other peoples bots not making the climb and I want you to know that is a fault, and you can get a replacement easy enough. The bot weighs a fairly hefty 24 pounds, so it is good that it comes with a pro caddy for easy transport.

Onto the bonus features, and we have the fairly common weekly timer and full filter indicator systems. These two work in tandem, allowing you to leave the bot in the pool to do its thing, taking it out only when necessary. Saves you the arm strength. The Pro remote that comes with the DX5 +S is the newer touch screen Dolphin remote, and it is lovely, you can set the cycle, the cleaning mode and even take direct control. With its dual drive motor we again have true 1:1 remote control from a Dolphin bot. Being able to guide the bot to exactly where you need it to go is very useful, and my favorite feature once we get the core ones out of the way.

Finally we come to the main selling point of this re brand DX series. The DX5 +S comes with the intelliscan brain. Supposedly it improves performance in terms of path finding and optimization, and while it is true it will take less time getting used to your pool’s dimensions, it is more difficult to hone in on what exactly is better here. Overall, while I am a fan of AI upgrades for robotic pool cleaners, I don’t think the upgrade is ever going to all that visible over the short term. Likely does lead to long term savings, when you look at the cost per cycle.

Maytronics Dolphin DX5 +S Ease of Use

There are really only two schools of thought when it comes to robotic pool cleaner design. The old school hard to set up units, and the more modern all in one units. The old style is till for sale, and require set up with you pool s own pump system in order to function. For the most part they can only be installed by trained professionals, though there are some tutorials online. The other kind of cleaner, the plug and pay device as I call them, are more my speed. Internal self contained pumps are plenty powerful these days, so I feel like getting anything more complicated is unnecessary. The DX5 +S is easy as pie, and I don’t mean 3.1415… Just plug it in, drop it in the water and hit the option on the remote. The Pro remote is a step up again from the Basic that comes with the DX4S, so the learning curve is steeper still, but you should not have too much trouble getting to grips with it.

There are some design issues here too. The weight issues persist in the DX5 +S bot. 22 pounds is heavy, and the lack of a caddy is felt. The handle is good at least, but getting it in and out of the pool can be cumbersome. That weight exacerbates the following issues as well, that of the bottom loading filter chamber. You have to flip the whole hefty bot on its belly to change the filter cartridge. An annoyance that simply should not exist in a modern machine. The use of a cartridge is nice though, as it is slightly more effective than the filter bag, and less prone to human error.

Minor issues only here. And the number of feature present here make the problems seem even more insignificant than the are.

Maytronics Dolphin DX5 +S Pricing, Value, & Discounts

dolphin-dx5-s-power-supplyThe price of the build is in many ways the most important part of the purchase. To high a price can scare off customers after all, and nobody wants that. The Dolphin DX5 +S lands in the $1000 – $1200 price range. Now before you run off to look for a cheaper model, let me remind you that 1:1 remote control and a caddy come with this bot, so it is far from a bad deal. I always point out that no matter what robotic pool cleaner you decide to go for, you will always have made the right decision. As they save you time, think of the hours you use to spend cleaning your pool, now imagine having them back. Depending on how you value an hour, any robotic pool cleaner will have paid you back within a year.

There is another price associated with owning a robotic pool cleaner. The cycle cost. Now this figure does vary depending on where you are, but it is not too hard to find the local price per kilowatt hour in your area. The issue that I have coming up with an accurate figure lies in Maytronics reticence to tell me the power consumption information of their robotic pool cleaners. Aquabot have the info out there in the world, for all to see, but for the Dolphin robotic pool cleaners I have been forced to assume a blanket 180W and extrapolate from there. On average a cycle will cost you around 10c, perhaps a little over. At thew most extreme range it will be closer to 17c per cycle. Not a huge cost to be fair, but still one that has to be monitored, long term cost analysis is more important for hardware than the initial start up cost after all.

Now the warranty section, and long time readers will know how much hassle I have had with this in the Dolphin line. I spend a fair amount of my time reading warranties, I review products after all, so I am quite good at spotting good ones, and cutting through all the waffle that goes into them. With the Aquabot line I had a great time dissecting the limited warranty, finding it wanting, though their full coverage warranty is great. Maytronics have yet to send me the full details on their bumper to bumper and their limited warranty, so I cannot make a full value judgement. The DX5 +S comes with only a limited warranty, like a few of the cheaper Aquabot models. I am quite concerned about this going forward, as if this becomes the standard in the industry the consumer will be fleeced by large companies. I cannot tell you how good Maytronics limited warranty is though. Expect an update if and when Maytronics gets back to me with more informaiton.

Maytronics Dolphin DX5 +S Conclusion

Bit of a mixed bag really. On the one hand I love the feature set, and having a more advanced AI on board can only be a good thing. But I cannot for the life of me tell you what makes this AI any better. In addition, there is the bottom loading filter cartridge, not to mention the huge weight of this build to contend with on the physical side of thing, and on the less physical side of things we are stuck with a limited warranty on an upper mid, lower high, end machine. I don’t think I can recommend this build under those circumstances. Perhaps when Maytronics has sent me the full warranty info, and said warranty turns out to be good, then I might change my mind, but in the meantime there are plenty of more impressive builds on the market for you to look into.

Pros:

  • Works out of the box, no need to connect it to an external pool pump.
  • Cleans walls, cove and the tile line
  • Caddy comes with the bot, very useful seen as this is one of the heaviest I have seen from Dolphin
  • All the features, and even a few new ones.
  • Filter cartridge used as standard, no filter bag to fold over here.
  • Considering this is a true fully features robotic pool cleaner, the price is wonderful
  • New AI on board purported to be more efficient

Cons:

  • Warranty info is light on the ground.
  • Bottom loading filter chamber, the design is based on the old DX series, so this isn’t a surprise. Still not great to see.
  • Warranty is limited, even without specifics on it I feel i am safe assuming the worst.
  • The new AI id hard to quantify, in terms of it being better.
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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