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Dolphin Escape Review

Best Above-Ground Pool Robot

By Brian Williamson | Written on April 8th, 2024
Dolphin Escape Robotic Pool Cleaner

After testing 60+ robotic pool pool cleaners, the Dolphin Escape is by far the best above-ground pool cleaner I've ever used.

Diverting from old fashion pressure-side and suction-side cleaners, the Dolphin Escape is the new generation of robotic pool cleaners. With powerful motors onboard, the Escape doesn't require a booster pump or assembly - just a standard outlet. With a plug-and-play design, the Escape delivered a solid cleaning performance with its HyperBrush, MaxBin, and even optional NanoFiltration that allows the Escape to filter and clean deeper than ever before.

Designed as Maytronics’ flagship above-ground robotic pool cleaner, the Dolphin Escape is a part of Dolphin's new 2024 Max-Series. The Escape adapts to both inground and above-ground swimming pools. In our testing, we examined it in 3 different pools: an Intex above-ground pool, a small 20ft vinyl Ecopool container pool, and a 30ft inground gunite pool.

There are a ton of pool robots for above-ground pools. From cordless battery-opertated robots to corded, making the decision can be hard. In my testing, I've found the cordless pool robots not only to be a pain to constantly recharge after each cycle, but also are less efficient at cleaning due to the lack of a constant power source. So, I set out to find the best above-ground robotic pool cleaner and I did: the Dolphin Escape.

Dolphin Escape Lifestyle
Dolphin Escape in our inground pool

What’s included

The Dolphin Escape includes everything you need to get started. Here's what you can expect to find in the box:

  • Dolphin Escape
  • Power Supply
  • MaxBin
  • 40ft Cord
  • Manual
  • Setup


The setup for the Dolphin Escape is super simple. No assembly or lengthy setup. The Escape comes pre-assembled and ready to clean. All you need to do is take it out of the box, throw it in the water, and hit the start button. It was that easy.

Dolphin Escape's Power Supply
To start, just hit the power button and Escape starts to clean

Vacuuming Power

Once you press start, the Dolphin Escape powers on and is off to the races. Immediately, I noticed a vortex of water above the robot. Filtering over 4000 gallons per hour, the Dolphin Escape is a force against algae and dirt.

This high efficiency is attributed to the same advanced motors found in more expensive counterparts in the Dolphin lineup. Despite its more accessible price point, it did not compromise on power.

Dolphin Escape Above Ground Pool Cleaner
Powerful motors power the Escape and its HyperBrush

But it’s not all about power. There are plenty of robots with a lot of power. It’s also about precision. With the Escape’s upgraded SmartNav 2.0 from Maytronics, the Dolphin Escape maps the most efficient cleaning route. This pathfinding allows the Escape to navigate and tackle various pool shapes and sizes.

Our hands-on review in our pool further solidified the performance of the Dolphin Escape. After careful observation of the robot in action, here are some of our observations.

Cleaning Coverage

A standout was the Escape’s ability to revisit certain spots as it seemed to identify spots that needed extra attention. It focused on select areas, revisiting it multiple times. After a few passes and an entire 1.5-hour cleaning cycle, the pool was spotless.

After researching online, we found there is a lot of confusion surrounding the Dolphin Escape and whether it can be used with inground swimming pools. We are happy to report the Dolphin Escape can be used on both inground and above-ground swimming pools.

Escape's Quick Water Release
Escape's Quick Water Release makes it easy to retrieve the cleaner from the pool

It is important to note that the Dolphin Escape only sticks to the pool floors. While it will go slightly up the wall, it does not have wall climbing. However, the Escape can climb over small ledges and slopes.

With HyperGrip tracks, the Escape utilizes tracks to grip the pool floor. Compared to Aiper pool robots that only have wheels, we noticed the Escape clung to the pool floor better. This is largely due to the larger motors and tracks, which allowed the superior cleaning power of the Escape.

Once the Escape is done, it's super easy to retrieve from your pool. Gently pull on the cord to tug the robot to the surface, grab the handle, and lift. At only 14lbs and with a quick-water release, it is lightweight and easy to remove.


One of the significant features that sets the Escape apart from its peers is the HyperBrush. This innovative brush is a hallmark of the Dolphin Max-Series. The HyperBrush elevates cleaning by spinning twice the speed of standard Dolphin robots.

While some robots will simply have a static brush or a rotating brush, the HyperBrush spins faster. Compared to the rotating brush in the Dolphin Nautilus CC Plus side-by-side, the Escape’s brush spins double the speed.

The impact of the HyperBrush can’t be overstated. By spinning at double the speed, the robot’s ability to handle stubborn debris, algae, and biofilm is noticeably increased.

Dolphin Escape MaxBin
The new Gen-2 filter is over 50% larger than standard Dolphin filters


By far, this was my favorite filtration option I reviewed after testing over 50+ pool robots. Another trademark of the Dolphin Max-Series, the Escape’s MaxBin was super easy to clean. To clean, you open the latch, dump the debris, and rinse. It took me less than one minute to clean.

When compared to other robotic pool cleaners, the Dolphin Escape's MaxBin stands out for its simplicity and practicality. Take, the Dolphin Premier for example, which requires you to flip the robot over, take out the leaf bag, and deal with the troublesome leaf bag. This process is not only more time-consuming but can also be frustrating, especially if you're dealing with a significant amount of debris. But that’s not the case with the Dolphin Escape.

Cleaning the Escape's filter
Cleaning the filter takes less than 2 minutes

We wanted to know how much bigger the Escape’s filter was over the first generation of filters like those found on the Dolphin Nautilus CC Plus. After measuring, the Escape’s MaxBin was over 260 cubic inches. That’s 50% larger than the first generation of filters!

The lightweight design of the Dolphin Escape makes removing the robot from the water and accessing the MaxBin almost effortless. With a quick water release, water in the robot drains nearly instantly. In contrast, cordless robots may require you to balance a hook and pole to retrieve from the water. So, the ease of cleaning the Escape stood out to me in my testing.

Optional NanoFiltration

NanoFilters are a part of Dolphin’s second generation of pool filters. The Escape includes a MaxBin with Standard Filters. However, these filters can be upgraded to the Gen-2 filter panels. An upgrade I highly recommend.

I tested the Escape with both the NanoFilters and standard filters. The difference was outstanding. I have talked a lot about how much I love these filters. There is nothing quite like them.

Dolphin NanoFilters clean deeper than the standard filters

Made of a high surface area polyester surface, the NanoFilters clean deeper than the standard filters. By sieving debris through the filter, it stops microscopic particles that would pass through the standard filter. The result is a clear and healthy pool.

I instantly noticed the increased water clarity after a few cleaning cycles. The standard filter left behind some sand in the inground gunite pool. Once I swapped out the filters, it cleaned the sand up with no issues at all.

Free for a limited time at Pool Express with any purchase of a Dolphin Escape. Get yours today for free using code: FREEFILTERS

Read more about Nanofilters →


The Escape includes a 2-year warranty - which is great to see. Maytronics' customer service is pretty great to work with if you ever have issues, which cannot be said about a lot of other brands. However, I did not run into any issues at all using the Escape in my pool, but it's nice to know it is covered in the event something goes wrong.

Where could the Dolphin Escape improve?

The Escape does all it should and more. Regarding its performance, there isn’t anything I would change. While the Dolphin Escape does not have wall climbing, it’s a feature you won’t need in an above-ground pool.

The only other area where the Escape is missing is a weekly timer. This timer allows the robot to automatically turn on and clean daily, without having to hit the start button. It is huge if you want to automate your pool cleaning.

There is only one robot in this price range from Maytronics that includes this timer: the Dolphin Cayman

Dolphin Escape Above Ground Robotic Pool Cleaner
The best above-ground pool cleaner

Is the Dolphin Escape worth it?

If you have an above-ground pool or a smaller inground pool, the Dolphin Escape is the pool robot for you. With a 2-year warranty, the Escape delivers a solid and simple cleaning performance for a great price. The Dolphin Escape is the best above-ground robotic pool cleaner, hands down.

Alternative Robots

If you have an inground pool, you’ll want to consider a robot with a weekly timer such as the Dolphin Cayman. It’ll also have upgraded wall climbing and use the same MaxBin technology.

Dolphin Cayman Robotic Pool Cleaner
One of the best value Dolphin robots

Dolphin Cayman

The Dolphin Cayman is by far the best upgrade to the Escape. It builds on the Escape and adds a host of features that just makes owning a pool easier. Perfect for inground and above-ground pools up to 40ft, the Dolphin Cayman has a longer 50ft cord.

With the addition of a weekly timer, you can set and forget as Dolphin's AutoStart allows the Cayman to automatically clean your pool for you daily. The Dolphin Cayman is one of the only robots in its class with this feature and is so worth it! With the same MaxBin, NanoFilter option, and a 2-year warranty, the Cayman should be on your radar when shopping for a robotic pool cleaner.

Read more about the Dolphin Cayman in my review →