Tired of spending hours of cleaning the pool at 103 degrees? Has your previous, MUCH LOVED automatic cleaner now given up and repair would just be too expensive?
At just under $600 the Dolphin Nautilus is placed in the lower price range of automatic pool cleaning devices but has proven to be an amazingly efficient and economic alternative for most users.
It might also be just the ticket if you are tired of spending hours vacuuming the pool and backwashing the pump. A robotic pool cleaner could be a better way to clean your pool, saving you time and effort at a reasonable cost with clear results.
We have looked at the main considerations to help you make that decision.
- Power Supply – Important!
- What kind of pools is it for?
- Cleaning – what to know
- How well does it clean?
- Does it pay to have a pool robot?
- How long is the manufacturer’s warranty?
- Final verdict – should you buy it?
- What’s the best place to buy it from?
Power Supply – Important!
Before checking whether the Nautilus is right for your pool remember that the Dolphin Nautilus is electric and you need to make sure there is an outlet fairly close to your pool.
The power cord from the control unit is 10 feet long and the control unit itself should be at least 12 feet away from the edge of the pool. Somewhere in the middle of the longer side of the pool is fine.
The cord features a standard plug ready to go into a standard 115 V outlet.
Notice the caddy housing the removable control unit (power supply unit). Not all dealers include it in which case it can usually be purchased as an option.
Low power consumption is one of the charms of this pool cleaner. You will still need your pool pump to purify the water, but you will need to have it run much, much less, thereby saving on your energy bill.
Once plugged in the Nautilus is lowered into the water and you can turn on the power.
However, there is no start timer and the device can’t turn itself on. It is only able to switch itself off after 3 hours.
Robotic cleaners like this one move around a lot. The manufacturer has therefore equipped this unit with a 360-degree swivel cord to prevent tangling. Together with the floats on the cord, it’s an efficient setup for smooth operation.
What kind of pools is it for?
Does it work well on vinyl liner, fiberglass or painted concrete?
Yes, the unit works beautifully with various surfaces of in-ground pools. Whether vinyl liner, fiberglass, gunite or painted concrete you will see a pleasant difference when using this robot.
Can you clean a free-form, kidney-shaped or round pool?
Yes. While this robotic pool vacuum doesn’t memorize or “learn” the shape of your pool it does get everywhere thanks to moving around in random patterns. That way it covers the whole ground, occasionally climbs walls and steps, too.
Is it safe for saltwater use?
Yes, it is. And it does a good job there, too. The Maytronics (manufacturer) warranty states that the pool cleaner is designed to work in salty water up to 5000 P.P.M.
However, just beware that usage in seawater pools will void the warranty.
Cleaning – what to know
How long does it take to clean the pool?
The Dolphin Nautilus is programmed to run for 3 hours. A regularly maintained 20′ X 40’ pool will take about 2 hours to clean without having to clean the filters in between.
Unless you switch the pool cleaner off manually it will stop after 3 hours thanks to the built-in timer. Whether that’s enough to get your swimming pool cleaned up completely will depend on the pool size and level of debris and dirt.
Naturally, if a lot of stuff has built up you might have to pull the robot out, clean the filters (takes about 5 min) and put it back in for another cycle and repeat until you are happy with the result. The good news is, that way you will get your pool clean even if it was really filthy.
As this isn’t a programmable robot cleaner you don’t have to spend any time setting it up. Plug in the power supply, lower it into the pool, switch on and presto the little helper does the chore of cleaning for you – easy.
How does it cope with leaves and sand, algae?
There are two kinds of standard filters for this pool cleaner model: fine and coarse. The filter pump is strong enough for this cleaner to easily suck up small leaves, bugs, and dirt, including sand and algae when using the fine filter.
The coarse or spring filter is suitable for, you will have guessed it, spring clean after the pool has been sitting there for months steadily collecting leaves, grass cuttings, insects and bugs.
Clearing the pool after winter with just the pool robot would be quite a challenge, though. Instead, on that occasion, we recommend scooping up most of the bulk with a net and then let the Nautilus do the rest. Otherwise, you will have to do a lot of emptying the screen filters as the storage capacity isn’t that big and would fill up quickly.
The slots on the bottom of the pool cleaner are about 6” by 1/2”. Pool debris is reliably sucked into these until the filter storage space is full. The robot may struggle with larger leaves, though, like oak or maple leaves.
The size of the slots means that most diving toys like sticks and larger disks will be left safely in the pool but and pieces of lego and hairbands will end up inside the cleaner.
Does the Dolphin Nautilus clean the waterline, walls, and steps?
Occasionally, the robot will get to parts of the water line but not reliably so. You will have to do this manually.
This unit does climb walls but covers these areas not as thoroughly. The robot climbs up and then simply falls down, moving somewhere else.
It sometimes makes it onto steps and cleans those but don’t count on it. It’s best to sweep those beforehand manually, let any dirt settle on the ground for the robot to pick up when it does its rounds there.
How well does it clean?
The Dolphin Nautilus is a vacuum, not a scrubber. This means it will suck up any loose debris from the floor and walls, but if you have any algae firmly attached to the pool surface you will have to do a bit of scrubbing yourself and/ or use chemicals to support the removal process.
How easy is it to take the pool cleaner out of the water?
At 17 lbs this is heavy, not a problem for healthy people, especially if the cleaner is just put onto the edge of the pool in a tilted position until most of the water has drained out.
Tilting like that prevents the collected debris from falling back into the water.
However, even then, this could be too heavy for someone with back or knee problems. Aside from that, as you can see in the video, it’s easy to bring the robot to the water surface by gently pulling on the cord, then grab it by the handles and lift it out.
Standard grid filters or filter bag?
Filter bags are available to buy as an add-on option. However, even though the filter bags are meant to take in more debris they are a little more difficult to empty.
Unless you are a big fan of filter bags we recommend keeping it simple, save yourself some money and just use the filters provided with the standard unit.
The filter unit is held in place by two levers and pops out of the bottom very easily for cleaning. They can then be hosed down and are ready to go back in, ready for work.
Does it pay to have a pool robot?
From a financial point of view, it makes sense to buy this pool cleaner instead of having to pay your pool service. It’s a one-time investment. Let’s assume you pay your pool service $100 a month. You get the robot for about $600 and after 6 months you will save money by not having to pay your pool service anymore.
You will also find that you will have to use your main pool pump much less reducing your monthly energy bill remarkably.
Having the robot pool cleaner could mean that you will have to only do some brushing once a week, use the pump much less than before and clean the skimmers every other day or two.
Pop the Nautilus into the pool once a week and you will have a sparkling pool throughout the season with much, much less effort, time and expenses on your part.
How long is the manufacturer’s warranty?
Maytronics gives 12 months warranty. Fill in and send back the card that comes with the pool cleaner and you are covered with a warranty for parts and labor during this time.
Who the Dolphin Nautilus is for…
- Are Looking for an efficient, economic robotic pool cleaner for their in-ground pool
- Want a stand-alone unit, NOT hooked up to the pool system
- Are fit and healthy to be able to lift it out of the water and carry it over to its storage place (no caddy, can be purchased, though)
- Are happy with a plug-n-play type robotic pool cleaner
- Have a power supply outlet near the pool
- Are happy to give the pool robot a helping hand with scooping out bulk of dirt after winter and spend a few minutes per week to sweep steps and the water line themselves
- Want to save 2 to 3 hours per week vacuuming the pool
It is NOT for people who…
- Don’t have a power outlet to plug the robot into
- Struggle to lift a 17 lbs device out of the water
- Like to have a multiple-year warranty
- Want a completely hands-off device that handles even large bulks of debris and cleans steps and the waterline itself
- Like to have a programmable robot
Final verdict – should you buy it?
My answer is a definite yes! I’m impressed with it and don’t really have any complaints worth mentioning. All in all, it’s a great pool cleaner for the money.
+++++ Amazing cleaning value for money
+++++ Cleans bottom of pool well
+++++ Set and forget type of cleaner
— A little heavy to lift out of the water
— Extra Sweeping on steps and sides required
What’s the best place to buy it from?
When looking for a place to purchase this or other robotic pool cleaners online make sure you buy from a trusted online retailer and genuine Maytronics dealers to ensure your warranty.
Amazon has a convenient and fast return policy and often offer free shipping.