Robotic Pool Cleaner Review: Dolphin Nautilus

The Dolphin Nautilus: Is It Better Than the Dolphin Premier?

Out of all the many pool robots that I have investigated so far, the Dolphin Premier turned out to be the best.

However, there’s one problem with the Premier: it is a bit pricey.

So to see if I could find a cheaper pool cleaning robot that still does a good job of cleaning, I decided to see what else the Dolphin product line has to offer.

Keep reading to see what I discovered.

Click here to check the price of the Dolphin Nautilus on Amazon.


What’s So Great About Maytronics?

The Dolphin line of robotic pool cleaners are built by a company from Israel called Maytronics.  The company is by far the biggest name in the watery world of pool robotics.  A whopping 40% of all pool robots operating in privately owned pools were made by Maytronics according to The Daily Telegraph.

Maytronics has been in the pool robot game much longer than anyone else, which is why they own several key patents for robotic pool cleaning technology.  In particular, the Dolphin line of pool robots from Maytronics is especially strong.

In the second quarter of 2015, Maytronics experienced a big 26% revenue jump thanks in large part to the growing popularity of their Dolphin product line.

maytronics ceo pool robot
Maytronics CEO Yuval Beeri

Basically Maytronics is #1 right now because…

  • They’ve been making robotic pool cleaners since before the 1st Super Mario Bros. game came out
  • They hold several key patents
  • They have lots of cash to spend on advertising

Unfortunately for anyone who wants to buy a Maytronics pool robot (or *ahem* review them), the Dolphin product development team seems to have gone a bit nuts.  The Maytronics catalog consists of literally hundreds of different models!  If you want to buy one, where are you supposed to even start?

To help me figure out which Dolphin robot is the best, I contacted Maytronics distributor Coral Isle Pools and Spas.  The sales manager there told me that the Dolphin Premier is the best performing consumer grade pool robot of the bunch.

So, I compared the Dolphin Premier to a few other robotic pool cleaners from other companies.  I came to the conclusion that even though the Premier is quite expensive, it really is the best Dolphin robot pool cleaner overall in terms of specs, features and performance.

dolphin premier robot
The Dolphin Premier is the pool bot to beat in terms of pure power and features. 

The Dolphin Nautilus: the Most Popular Pool Robot

The Dolphin Premier is nice.  But what do you do if you don’t have $1,000 laying around?

After realizing that the Dolphin Nautilus is actually the best selling robot pool cleaner on Amazon, I was intrigued.  Everyone who had bought the Nautilus seemed pretty happy with it.  But can the much cheaper Dolphin Nautilus hold its own against his bigger, more powerful brother?

There are so many Dolphin pool robots floating around that even Maytronics can’t seem to keep up with them.  If you go to through the Maytronics home page and flip through the menus, you won’t find the Nautilus listed there.  It shows up when you search for it, though.

I contacted Maytronics sales to find out how the Nautilus fits into the Dolphin product line.  The Maytronics representative that responded to my email explained to me that the Dolphin line of robots consists of 4 categories: Basic, Advanced, Premium and Commercial.  Nautilus belongs in the basic group.  So it’s aimed at families on a budget who don’t want to splurge on one the elite Dolphin pool cleaners.

Let’s take a look at how the best Dolphin robot stacks up against the Nautilus .

Dolphin Nautilus Dolphin Premier
Cost Check the price Check the price
Filter Type Cartridge, Bag Kit Available Cartridge, Bag Kit Available
Scrubs Tile Line No Yes
Climbs Yes Yes
Remote No Yes
Weekly Timer No Yes
Full Filter Indicator No Yes
Delayed Start No No
Caddy No Yes
Filter Access Bottom Bottom
Cable Length 60 ft 60 ft
Cycle Time 3 hours 2.5 hours
Warranty 12 Month Spare Parts and Labor 36 Month Bumper-to-Bumper
Suction Rate 4,233 gal/hr 4,233 gal/hr
Suction Rate 4,233 gal/hr 4,233 gal/hr

Probably the most important feature difference to consider is the warranty.  Maytronics offers excellent support on all their products.  The reason why Maytronics can afford to back their products up is because they are easy to fix and they don’t usually break.

The other thing to think about is that the Premier is a bit faster and more powerful than the Nautilus.  The Premier can do heavy duty tile scrubbing.  The Dolphin Nautilus, however, can’t.  Also, the Premier has a scheduling functionality and it lets you know when it’s time to change out the filter.

Key Differences:

  • Dolphin Premier has a bigger, better warranty
  • The Premier is a bit more powerful than the Nautilus
  • The Premier alerts you when its bin is full
  • Obviously the Premier is more expensive than the Nautilus.

The price of the Dolphin Nautilus and Dolphin Premier is always fluctuating, so you’re better off checking the site yourself for exact pricing information.

Let’s take a deeper look at the the Dolphin Nautilus filtration system to see if the Nautilus sifts out all the funky stuff you find in a pool as well as the Dolphin Premier does.

Dolphin Nautilus Filters

Both the high-end Dolphin Premier and the mid-priced Dolphin Nautilus use the same type of filter for fine filtration: a double canister-style microfilter.

Why worry about what kind of filter the Dolphin Nautilus has?

Pools tend to accumulate not only debris but also fecal material, chlorine resistant algae, diarrhea causing “Crypto” parasites and all kinds of other disturbing microorganisms.  If the filter’s holes aren’t small enough to trap the gross stuff, there’s really no point in filtering the water at all.

What kind of water filter does the Nautilus have?

Both Premier and Nautilus come with both a standard microfilter cartridge and a special “spring clean up” filter.  The Premier comes with a third bag filter that’s good for picking up leaves.

dolphin nautilus spring filter

The spring filter is basically just a net.  It picks up debris that you can see with the naked eye.  The wider holes allow for faster water processing.  The standard filters, on the other hand, are designed to pick up microscopic stuff that you can’t see like algae, parasites and other microscopic contaminants.

The dual microfilters filter out particles that are 2 microns across.  That means that Dolphin robots do help filter out the dreaded 4 micron diarrhea causing parasite called Cryptosporidium.

Remember: “crypto” will float right through the spring filter.  So just make sure you use the right filter for the right situation if you’re worried about pool parasites.

The Difference Between Dolphin Nautilus and Nautilus Plus

Here are the main differences between Nautilus and Nautilus Plus according to Maytronics:

  • what is a pool coveNautilus Plus is easier to clean.  With Plus, you get a top access filter.  With the normal edition, you have it flip it over and access the filter from the bottom.
  • Nautilus Plus is smarter.  Plus has an enhanced brain that’s a better at navigating curvy pool coves.
  • Nautilus Plus holds more debris.  The Plus weighs 22 pounds, but the standard Nautilus weighs 16.5 .  With that extra weight and size, you get more debris capacity.
  • Nautilus Plus has a 2 year warranty.  The standard version of the Nautilus only has a 1 year warranty.

Personally I don’t quite see the point of upgrading if you want the Nautilus.  If you want more than a basic pool cleaner, you might as well go all out and get the Dolphin Premier.  The Premier robot has a 3 year warranty and all the features the Nautilus plus has and more.  Also, it has buoys that help it float farther up the wall when it’s cleaning.  Both versions of the Nautilus do not have buoys.

The Difference Between Dolphin Nautilus and Triton

The main difference between the Dolphin Nautilus and the Dolphin Triton again boils down to buoys.  The Triton has buoys.  The Dolphin Nautilus does not.

There’s also a few other minor differences, too.  For example the Nautilus does not come with a remote, but the Triton does.

Here’s the full feature list for both models:

Dolphin Nautilus Dolphin Triton
Cost Check the price Check the price
Filter Type Cartridge, Bag Kit Available Cartridge, Bag Kit Available
Scrubs Tile Line No Yes
Climbs Yes Yes
Remote None Basic (opt.)
Weekly Timer No No
Full Filter Indicator No No
Delayed Start No No
Caddy No Yes
Filter Access Bottom Bottom
Cable Length 60 ft 60 ft
Cycle Time 3 hours 3 hours
Warranty 12 Month Spare Parts and Labor 24 Month Spare Parts and Labor
Suction Rate 4,233 gal/hr 4,233 gal/hr

What’s the Difference Between the Dolphin Triton and the Dolphin Premier?

Aside from looks, the Dolphin Premier and the Dolphin Triton are almost identical.  But again, there are a few superficial differences.

You can program the Premier to only work on certain days.  You can’t do that with the Triton.   Also, a blinking light on the power panel will tell you when the Premier is full.  Triton, on the other hand, doesn’t have a debris sensor.  Also, the Premier comes with a 3 year guarantee whereas the Triton only comes with a 2 year guarantee.

Dolphin Triton Dolphin Premier
Price Check the price Check the price
Filter Type Cartridge, Bag Kit Available Cartridge, Bag Kit Available
Scrubs Tile Line Yes Yes
Climbs Yes Yes
Remote Basic (opt.) Basic (opt.)
Weekly Timer No Yes
Full Filter Indicator No Yes
Delayed Start No No
Caddy Yes Yes
Filter Access Bottom Bottom
Cable Length 60 ft 60 ft
Cycle Time 3 hours 2.5 hours
Warranty 24 Month Spare Parts and Labor 36 Month Bumper-to-Bumper
Suction Rate 4,233 gal/hr 4,233 gal/hr

Why so many different kinds of pool robots, Maytronics?  I like your products and I appreciate what you’ve done for robotics.  But you’re confusing your customers!

Is flooding the market with tons of different variations of the same thing some kind of weird marketing tactic?  Or is the current Maytronics catalogue the result of a R&D department Mountain Dew chugging contest that spun out of control?

Confused about Dolphin Pool Cleaners?  Just Follow This Advice…

When I asked the Coral Isle Pools and Spas sales manager for some advice to help me figure out which Dolphin to buy, he gave me the following tips.

  •  Buy the less expensive Dolphin Nautilus if all you need is a basic pool robot that will do two things:
    1. Keep leaves and twigs out of your pool
    2. Make sure that its surfaces are reasonably clean
  • Get the Dolphin Premier if you’re paranoid about parasites and algae floating around in your pool.  If you want a powerful, meticulous robot that will do a thorough job of scrubbing your pool’s floor and walls, the Premier is the pool bot for you.

About Alex Munkachy

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