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Dolphin Cayman Review

The Best Value Pool Cleaner of 2024

By Brian Williamson | Written on April 4th, 2024
Dolphin Cayman Robotic Pool Cleaner

It’s been a long time since I’ve been this excited about a pool cleaner.

I’ve tested nearly 60+ pool cleaners trying to find the best robotic pool cleaner. From the top ProLine robotic pool cleaners to pressure-side cleaners, I’ve tried nearly everything the market has to offer. Amidst dozens of other pool cleaners, the Dolphin Cayman robotic pool cleaner stands out.

Nestled in the middle of the 2024 Max-Series lineup, between the Escape and Quantum, the Dolphin Cayman stands out with a blend of features that makes pool cleaning simple.

With MaxBin, Wall Climbing, and more, it is the perfect blend of performance and price. Right at $819, it is by far one of the best value pool robots on the market. But what makes it stand out? The Weekly Timer.

Dolphin Cayman's Timer
The included Weekly Timer on the Cayman's Power Supply

A Gamechanger

This functionality is a game-changer and is what sets the Dolphin Cayman apart from the rest of the Dolphin pool robot lineup. It’s the only robot in its class with a weekly timer. With AutoStart, it automatically turns on at your desired frequency daily, every two days, or every three days.

You may think: “I’ll just buy an external timer”. Well, I am sad to say for Dolphin robots, don’t work. Because of the unit cycle times and setup, you must manually hit the button to start the cleaner. On top units such as the Dolphin E10 and Dolphin Explorer E20, you manually must go outside and start it. But not the Cayman.

Dolphin sneakily removed this functionality in 2024 for a lot of similar robots, but not the Cayman. Robots, such as the Dolphin Nautilus CC and Dolphin Explorer E20 had weekly timers in the past, and have had their power supplies removed. Why? I don’t know, but I do know I’m glad to see the 2024 Dolphin Cayman has it.

So let’s dive into what is included with the Dolphin Cayman.

What’s included

When you unbox the Dolphin Cayman, you’re greeted with everything you need to get started. Here is a breakdown of what’s included straight out of the box.

  • Dolphin Cayman
  • MaxBin Filter Basket
  • Power Supply with Weekly Timer
  • 50ft Cord
  • Manual + 2 Year Warranty

Setup

Unlike other pool cleaners, the setup of the Cayman is simple. It’s already assembled and ready to use. No additional booster pump to purchase or anything else. It’s plug-and-play.
I had the Cayman up and running in under 3 minutes. Just drop it in the water, plug it in, and turn it on. It’s that simple.

Dolphin Cayman Easy to Carry
Leightweight and easy to setup at only 14lbs

Vacuuming Power

The vacuuming power of the Cayman immediately caught my attention. After just having tested some Aiper cordless pool robots, the jump in power was significant. Filtering over 65 gallons of water per minute, the Dolphin Cayman started to vacuum leaves and debris on my pool floor and walls.

Our testing extended across various pool types. Rated for inground and above-ground pools, we wanted to observe it in each. While we primarily tested the Cayman in an inground vinyl pool, we also tested it in a gunite pool and above-ground pool observing no change in performance – it performed excellently. Designed for pools up to 33ft in length, its versatility shined.

Dolphin Cayman MaxBin
Unloading the filter basket is super simple

MaxBin

Our above-ground pool was filled with leaves. But that was no problem for the Cayman. It went to work vacuuming and scrubbing. This debris gets put into the Cayman’s MaxBin, a feature that sets the Max-Series apart.

The MaxBin is the second generation of Dolphin pool filters. And to say I was impressed by its performance in my pool is an understatement. It doesn’t just improve on its predecessors; it revolutionizes the cleaning process.

Cleaning the filter has never been easier

This top-load basket is 50% larger than standard Dolphin filter cartridges and 1000% easier to clean. We measured the MaxBin at over 260 cubic inches of space. That’s a huge improvement over the first generation of filter cartridges.

Once full of leaves, I emptied the basket with the click of a button. Then, I just rinsed. Compared to my review of the Dolphin Premier, which utilizes a leaf bag, it was significantly easier to clean.

Optional NanoFiltration

This is a must-have for the Cayman. These filters allow the Cayman to clean what passes through the standard mesh filters that are standard on the MaxBin. Included for free at Pool Express for a limited time using the code: FREEFILTERS

Dolphin NanoFilters clean deeper than the standard filters

Installing the NanoFilters is straightforward and quick. Simply pop them in. It took about two minutes to fully swap the panels. You must screw out the other panels from the MaxBin. It wasn’t as easy as swapping them on the Dolphin Quantum’s XXL MaxBin which they simply pop in and out with your hands.

However, it was still quite easy and didn't pose any significant challenge. This small effort is a fair trade-off for the substantially enhanced filtration capabilities it brings to the Cayman.

Wall Climbing

The Cayman doesn’t just distinguish itself through filtration though. Through SmartNav 2.0 and a D7 microprocessor, its pool coverage isn’t limited to just the floor. Transcending limitations of other robots that only clean the floor, the Dolphin Cayman scales and scrubs your pool’s walls.

This wall-climbing feature is a significant leap from other robotic pool cleaners on the market. From Aiper’s Seagull to even the Dolphin E10, these units are limited to the pool floor. Not the Cayman.

Dolphin Cayman Wall Climbing
Superior Wall Climbing Ability

This resulted in superior wall climbing. The Cayman had no issues driving up the 90-degree angle from my pool floor to the wall. As it scrubbed its way to the surface, it reached the waterline popping up before it went back down.

While it sat at the waterline for a second, it is important to note it does not have waterline cleaning. This is a feature found on more premium models. What’s the difference between waterline cleaning and wall climbing?

With waterline cleaning the robot will move horizontally along the waterline, often powered by a dual stabilizer or PowerJet 3D mobility, that allows it to move across the waterline while scrubbing.

Wall climbing will occasionally reach the top of the wall, but is not designed to move horizontally. On paper, it does not seem like a big difference – but this change is often accompanied by larger commercial-grade motors that output a larger flow rate as seen in the ProLine. Is it needed in a smaller to medium inground pool? No, but no one has ever complained about the extra power and cleaning ability.

Weekly Timer

The weekly timer isn’t just another feature – it’s the crown jewel of the Dolphin Cayman. With AutoStart technology, you can set the Cayman to automatically clean your pool daily, every other day, or every three days. This is something exclusive to the Dolphin Cayman, as no other robot in its class has a weekly timer.

Initially in my reviews for other cleaners in this class, I entertained the idea that an external timer might bridge the gap for robots lacking this built-in schedule flexibility. However, that notion quickly dissolved.

The unique setup of Dolphin pool cleaners necessitates a manual start, rendering external timers ineffective.

This realization made me realize how much value this feature is. Found often in more expensive cleaners, the Dolphin Cayman is one of the only Dolphin pool robots with a weekly timer under $1000 – allowing you to fully automate your pool.

With a click of a button, you can select through Cayman’s 3 preprogrammed weekly timers. It’ll automatically start and clean every day without having to touch it. I found myself just cleaning out the MaxBin once a week – which was super nice. It put my pool maintenance on autopilot, elevating the Cayman into a category of its own.

2 Year Warranty

The Dolphin Cayman’s 2-year warranty can give you some peace of mind when purchasing it. It’s the standard length of warranty and unless you want to shell out $1200+ for the Dolphin Premier or Dolphin Sigma, which have 3-year warranties, you won’t find a longer warranty.

Is the Cayman worth it?

100%, the Dolphin Cayman is worth every penny.

There has never been a robotic pool cleaner quite like this. I awarded the Dolphin Cayman the “best value” robotic pool cleaner and for good reason. You get a lot packed into a residential cleaner, especially at this price. With the MaxBin, free NanoFilters, and weekly timer, the Dolphin Cayman is an all-in-one pool cleaning solution. Take advantage of the free NanoFilter panels with the purchase of a Dolphin Cayman for a limited time at Pool Express. Use code: FREEFILTERS at checkout.

Alternative Robots

Have a larger inground pool? Want waterline cleaning or commercial-grade motors? Here are some alternatives if you’re still in search of the best robotic pool cleaner.

Dolphin Quantum Robotic Pool Cleaner
A noticable upgrade from the Dolphin Cayman: the Dolphin Quantum

Dolphin Quantum

If you took the Dolphin Cayman and put it on steroids, the result would be the Dolphin Quantum. A part of the Dolphin ProLine, the Quantum combines the best from the Max-Series and ProLine all in one. With the larger XXL MaxBin and included NanoFiltration, the Quantum has a filter basket that is 225% larger than the standard Dolphin filter cartridges.

The other notable upgrade is the waterline cleaning. With powerful PowerJet 3D mobility jets, the Quantum cleans and scrubs the waterline as it moves horizontally. With a longer 60ft cord and anti-tangle swivel, it is perfect for pools up to 50ft long. The upgrade is well worth it if you have the budget or a larger pool.

Read the Dolphin Quantum Review →

Dolphin Premier Robotic Pool Cleaner
Rated the Best Robotic Pool Cleaner by USA Today

Dolphin Premier

Rated the best robotic pool cleaner by USA Today, the Dolphin Premier is one of the most popular robotic pool cleaners. The only Dolphin with a Leaf Bag, the Premier stands out with NanoFiltration and Multi-Media.

Utilizing the larger ProLine commercial-grade motors, it is stronger and built to clean. It utilizes the longer 60ft cord with an anti-tangle swivel. With a longer 3-year warranty, it is a great upgrade for medium to large pools.

Read my full review of the Dolphin Premier →