Our 2012 robotic cleaner reviews help you navigate a confusing robotic pool cleaner market by identifiying models that hit the quality and value bullseye. Here we put the Polaris 9300 Sport and Polaris 9300XI Sport heads up against the highly rated and reviewed Dolphin Premier and Dolphin Quest.
Quick Facts: 3 Things we Like about the Polaris 9300 Sport and Polaris 9300XI Sport
Ok lets get the obvious one out of the way. The Polaris 9300 Sport line of cleaners has a sleek, sexy shape. The lines look like they were pulled off of an Italian sports car. The designer of the plastic bodywork did a great job. We also like the size of the debris canister. From a sheer volume standpoint, it will hold a lot of leaves and debris. Unfortunately, it has about a 100 micron rating. That means that fine debris and algae can pass right through the canister untouched. Just about every leaf bag that we've reviewed has a lower micron rating. It doesn't begin to touch the 2 micron ultra-fine rating found on some of the cleaners in our robotic cleaner reviews. Finally, we love the price. There's currently a $100 factory rebate on the Polaris 9300 Sport and 9300XI Sport that drops it down under $1,000. It's very unusual for a robotic cleaner manufacturer to offer factory rebates, but we'll take it.
Quick Facts: 3 Smart Features Missing on the Polaris 9300 Sport and Polaris 9300XI Sport
There are times when you should consider loosening your grip on that dollar. We believe the first must have is the swivel. Unfortunately, the Polaris 9300 Sport and 9300XI are both missing this must have feature. Don't cheat yourself out of tangle-free operation to save $100 on your new cleaner. Robotic pool cleaners are frequently climbing walls and spinning around. Without a swivel, it's not if, but how long it takes for the cable to resemble tangled spaghetti. A swivel may not eliminate all tangles, but our testing found a swivel does eliminate about 90% of potential tangles. We're suprised that neither the Polaris 9300 Sport or 9300XI Sport include a cable swivel. If you're looking for any or all of these three features, proceed immediately to the Dolphin Premier.
Polaris versus Maytronics Sortable Table
|Model||Manufacturer||Item No.||Media Types||Micron Rating||Dual Media Capable||Traction||360°Cable Swivel||Scrubbing brushes||Green algae capable||Wall ability||Step ability||Waterline ability||Value Rating||Performance Rating||Model||Drive type||Bi-directional cleaning||Intelligent Navigation||
|Cycle Time||Warranty (yrs)||Warranty Type||Variable Interval Timer||Replacement motors cost||Remote||Retail Price||Our Price||Buy Link|
|Dolphin Premier||Maytronics||D-PREM||MicroCartridge or UltraFine Bag||2 micron||Yes||Rubber tracks||Yes||2||Good||Excellent||Good||Excellent||5||5||Dolphin Premier||Direct||Yes||Yes||180||2.5||3||Full||Yes||$449||Optional ($59)||$997||Buy|
|Dolphin Quest||Maytronics||D-QUEST||MicroCartridge or UltraFine Bag||2 micron||Yes||Rubber tracks||Yes||2||Good||Good||Fair||Good||4.5||3.5||Dolphin Quest||Direct||Yes||Yes||180||2.5||2||Full||Yes||$449||None||$797||Buy|
|Polaris 9300 Sport||Zodiac||F9300||Canister||100 micron||no||Wheels||No||1||Poor||Good||Poor.||Fair||3||2.5||Polaris 9300 Sport||Jet||No||No||150||1||2||Full||No||$454||None||$1089||Buy|
|Polaris 9300xi Sport||Zodiac||F9300XI||Canister||100 micron||no||Wheels||No||2||Poor||Good||Poor.||Fair||2.5||2.5||Polaris 9300xi Sport||Jet||No||No||150||2||2||Full||No||$454||Yes||$1499||$1189||Special order|
If you Can't Beat 'em, Join 'em
Polaris was the household name for pressure-side pool cleaners for decades. Pressure side pool cleaners require booster pumps that force water under high pressure through a dozen, sometimes a hundred feet of pipe. This method of powering a pool cleaner is highly inefficient. Booster pump require about 1,500 watts of power. That's like running 15 100 watt light bulbs. For this reason, pressure-side pool cleaners are losing market share rapidly. In reality, it's just a matter of time before they're obsolete. Highly efficient robotic pool cleaners with low voltage, onboard DC motors are pushing them out, and for good reason. Polaris attempted to compete in the pool cleaner market without a robotic cleaner for about 20 years. Then about three years ago, Polaris saw the handwriting on the wall and introduced their very first robotic pool cleaner, the Polaris 9300 Sport. While Polaris has made some progress, they are going up against very established robotic pool cleaner manufacturers (Maytronics invented the first robotic pool cleaner nearly 30 years ago). These established companies bring technology to the table that's virtually impossible for a new company to match.
Lets talk energy. How does the Polaris 9300 Sport Compare?
At first glance, the Polaris 9300 Sport and 9300XI Sport robotic pool cleaners appear to win the efficiency battle. Requiring just 150 watts, the Polaris Sport cleaners have posted one of the lowest wattage measurements we've seen. But we can't focus exclusively on the watts when looking at the energy efficiency. The watts rating is only one component in energy efficiency formula. There are three more factors that to look at closely. First, robotic pool cleaners with rubber tracks have a large sticky contact patch that grips the pool surface much better than the wheels found on the Polaris 9300 Sport. Decreasing slippage directly increases efficiency. For this reason, we estimate a 15-20% loss in efficiency for wheeled cleaners. The Polaris 9300 Sport is one of the only robotic pool cleaners on the market that still uses wheels. About 95% have moved to more efficient rubber tracks. Second, Intelligent Navigation allows the microprocessor to control the path taken and further improves efficiency. Cleaners without Intelligent Navigation move around the pool randomly. There's no since in covering the same section of the pool over and over. Intelligent Navigation works smart, saving you money. And finally, a Variable Interval Timer allows your cleaner to turn on only when needed, which can improve efficiency up to 300%. The majority of cleaners, including the Polaris 9300 Sport come with only a daily timer. Why clean your pool daily when every other day is all that's needed? See our list of cleaners with Variable Interval Timers on our complete listing of Robotic Cleaner Reviews.
A Random Walk versus Intelligent Navigation
Some robotic pool cleaners wander randomly around the pool. Others use microprocessor controlled navigation to tackle cleaning the pool in a highly calculated, efficient pattern. It's no secret that cleaners without Smart Navigation cost less. But they also take longer to clean your pool. The end result is a cleaner that has to spend more time turned on which uses more energy and is subject to increased wear and tear. If you're looking for Intelligent Navigation on one of the Polaris 9300 Sport or 9300XI, you're out of luck. Another related feature we like is the Variable Interval Timer feature. Some of the newer cleaners are so effective, there's absolutely no reason to run it every day in most pools. Variable Interval Timers allow you to run your cleaner as needed, whether it's daily, every two days, or every three days. In our estimation, a Variable Interval Timer can reduce power consumption by 30 - 40%. If you're looking for Intelligent Navigation or a Variable Interval Timer, proceed to the Dolphin Premier.
The Price versus Warranty Trade Off
It's no secret that the length of warranty is directly related to the price of the Robotic Pool Cleaner. The least expensive robotic cleaners typically have the shortest warranties. The Polaris 9300 Sport and Polaris 9300XI Sport both have 2 year warranties. Two years is now considered the average for robotic pool cleaners. Our robotic pool cleaner reviews feature two robotic cleaners that have full 3 year warranties. Just a year ago, you would have had to pay $1,349 to get a Robotic Cleaner with a 3 year full warranty. For the first time ever, we have a cleaner with a 3 year full warranty (not prorated like others) that's under the $1,000 mark. That cleaner is the Dolphin Premier. Visit our robotic cleaner reviews section to learn more about the Top 25 Robotic Pool Cleaners.