If you ask around which is the best robotic pool cleaner, the conversation will always revolve around Dolphin vs Aquabot brand models. Among all, you will find unending Aquabot Elite vs Dolphin Premier debates, with each model having its own fair of the fans and haters. At the end of the day, it’s the customer that remains in a dilemma as none of the two seems to be the ultimate winner.
But today, we want to put the matter to rest by reviewing Aquabot Elite and Dolphin Premier which are available to see which the best robot cleaner between the two. We will also be touching on the Dolphin Quantum and Aquabot X4 as our favorites.
We will compare their features and performance and see which one of them offers real value for money.
That said, let’s get down to business! But just before that, here is a short overview of all cleaners.
Price history Comparison Chartback to menu ↑
Detailed Product Reviews
1. Aquabot Elite a Great Automatic Pool Cleaner
This is a robotic pool cleaner with a complete suite of sensors to guide it wherever it is going. Besides this, you can schedule it to start cleaning at your preferred cleaning time courtesy of the Interval Timer.
But what I like most about it is its cleaning priority.
Regarding performance, this cleaner packs a powerful and efficient permanent magnet motor with an rpm of 3000 for durability. This is a DC motor so you don’t have to worry about the high energy costs.
Regarding cleaning performance, I can’t complain about a thing; TripleClean™ Technology and JetForce do a great job as far as brushing and filtering are concerned.
But the icing on the cake is the much affordable price compared to the other model that can match its performance, the Dolphin Premier.
The only problem I have with this cleaner is the skidding when on slippery walls. I expect a $900 robot pool cleaner to be solid on the surface.
But in general, Aquabot Elite is a robot cleaner you’d want to have for your pool. Regardless of the size and shape, it will make sure every corner is cleaned so that you and your family can enjoy clean, crystal clear and healthy pool water.
When we look at Aquabot and Dolphin, we note several differences, the first of which is a price. The new model retails at $1100, which is $200 higher than the Elite’s price so it would be clever to find out if it is worth paying the extra bucks for it.
The first thing you will like about this cleaner is the MultiMedia – a feature that allows you to use a range of filters and surprisingly, a large dirtbag too.
The HyperGrip tracks are also worth mentioning and will not slide on algae and other pool water growths that make walls slippery.
But the CleverClean is a force to reckon and unlike AquaSmart, it is more intelligent especially when it comes to cleaning patters.
That’s why you will find that Dolphin Premier is faster than Aquabot Elite – for one reason, intelligent scanning, and planning.
Regarding motor and efficiency, this is among the industry best; featuring a permanent magnet DC 24v motor that is super-efficient and operates on low noise.
But then, this cleaner comes at a heavy price and you will get it for $1100. Still, this is a quite fresh 2018 model, offering the best features, best efficiency and best durability. What more could you want?
3. Dolphin Quantum Automatic Robotic Pool Cleaner
So, what are the pros? The Quantum is designed for large inground pools up to 50 ft. It will clean the entire pool floor and walls as well as the waterline.
This cleaner is also intelligent and uses the revolutionary SmartNav 2.0 navigation that maps out your pool and plans for a methodical cleaning as opposed to just cleaning it randomly.
Also notable are the integrated PowerJet 3D movement and dual HyberBrushes to deal with all dirt types.
For those who live in areas with a lot of power outages, you can still have your pool cleaned courtesy of the included power supply.
But the biggest feature of the Quantum is the 3-mode cleaning schedule and touchpad control.
On the downside, this cleaner is not compatible with apps and voice assistants. It may also feel noisy. Finally, the price of $1000 will upset customers on a budget.
That’s it, actually. So, you can see all pros make Dolphin Quantum a decent competitor of the Aquabot Elite and Dolphin Premier.
4. Aquabot X4 In-Ground Robotic Pool Cleaner
The unit suits both above ground and in-ground pools up to 60ft, boasts a 360° anti-tangle swivel cord, a scrubbing brush, an oversized top-loading dual basket, and even a free transport caddy.
When it comes to cleaning function, the cleaner climbs walls and the waterline thanks to 4WD traction. It can even choose the best route and movement strategy based on AutoX Pool Mapping.
We also highlight several cleaning cycles (for quick and standard operation) as well as such a useful schedule. All control goes through a touch panel.
The only drawbacks are not a very thorough filtration of fine particles. Also, a single scrubber can miss algae.
You see, Aquabot X4 has all the functions included in two times pricier cleaners. This is an excellent choice, especially for such money.
Aquabot Elite vs Dolphin Premier vs Dolphin Quantum vs Aquabot X4 Comparison Review
Now, it’s time we dig deeper and see how the above-mentioned robot pool cleaners compare. To make it easier for our readers to understand them well and make the right decision, we have reviewed the features of these cleaners in light of the factors you would consider when shopping for a robot pool cleaner.
So, to start off this comparison review, here is a comparison table to give you a headstart.
Design & Accessories
One thing I must commend these two brands for is their solid designs.
It has a premium finish and piston-design handles that give it a really cool look. But then, aesthetics don’t matter much, but usability does, and that’s why the Elite quickly bounces back with an ErgoGrip handle for easy handling. And talking of handling, weight should also be a concern, and I’m glad that Dolphin is much smaller and a little bit lighter. On the other hand, the Quantum is quite similar to the Dolphin Premier, the major difference being the color scheme and handle design. Dimensions and weight are almost the same.
One thing both Aquabot cleaners excelled in is the storage and transport kits. They both feature a carrying caddy for easy storage and transport. Regarding the cable, the two models come with 60 ft. included but worth mentioning is Aquabot’s FeatherLight Cable that uses a special material that cuts the cable’s weight by up to 40%.
So, if you are really keen on a lighter pool cleaner, it’s a clever idea to consider Aquabot Elite. The X4 model is the heaviest here.
I also acknowledge the 360º anti-tangle swivel, so the long 60 ft hose should not worry you at all. This feature is available in all models, and the service is excellent, no complaints so far.
Regarding the design, there’s nothing much that really needs to move you, so let not design be a basis for choosing any of these cleaners; there are many important things.
Just how do these four robot pool cleaners compare when it comes to cleaning performance? That will be our concern in this section, and to have a better understanding, we will look at the different tenets of cleaning separately.
Priority – Just where does each of these robots clean. Remember, there are different places in pools that need to be cleaned – whether scrubbing or brushing. We have walls, steps, waterlines, and floors. I like the Dolphin and Aquabot models because they offer comprehensive cleaning – and not just any other cleaning, detailed cleaning!
No one of the devices skids on walls even after months of use and all do a great job on all these surfaces.
Filter – This is one of the areas where these two brands share quite a different approach.
- Dolphin emphasizes versatility, while Aquabot sticks with efficiency. Dolphin comes with Multimedia technology that lets you use different filter variations in the same cleaner. That said, you can use a standard cartridge, micro-cartridge, oversize debris bag, or disposable debris bags. I really like this feature because it allows pool owners to clean different pool dirt differently. If you want to pick large leaves, the oversized media bag will come through, and when cleaning those fine debris, the micro-filter comes in handy. However, extra filters are sold separately; the original kit comes with a top-load basket only.
- On the other hand, the Quantum packs a dual-level filtration system with an ultra-fine and spring net for both small and large debris.
- Aquabot Elite comes in with JetForce technology that employs a very efficient JetForce filter with QuickDraw. The unique thing about this filter system is that it aims at separating debris and dirt from water. It uses a venturi effect that forces debris downwards to the bottom of the V-shaped cartridge, far away from the water exit.
- Aquabot X4 boasts a simpler Ultra-Fine Net. It consists of two small baskets to either install one small bin for short cleaning or use both halves for comprehensive pool procession.
Here, I would go for Dolphin anytime. While JetForce is focusing more on the usual stuff, Dolphin has gone ahead and gave you a versatile system that is just as efficient as Aquabot’s JetForce.
Brush – The Aquabot Elite comes with TripleClean technology that boasts 3 scrubbing brushes. The first set of two brushes power scrubs the surface of the pool so all algae waterline stains will have no chance of developing. On the other hand, the third brush CleanSweep oscillates rapidly in a back and forth pattern, dislodging and agitating all dirt and debris.
Its X4 brother features a simpler system, which is still designed for dirt collection and scrubbing. We see one scrubbing brush with numerous tough bristles. The system is called micro-brushing.
When it comes to Dolphin, there are two sets of brushes that put up the same performance as Aquabot. Remember, it’s not that the Elite tackles three different scrubbing needs, it’s an extra brush, but in the real sense, the surface area is the same. To put it into perspective, Aquabot just separated one brush.
Here, it is also hard to call debate because they all passed my litmus test – cleaning biofilm. While all robotic cleaners may offer excellent floor, wall, and waterline cleaning, a few will handle biofilm. For starters, a biofilm is a group of micro-organisms in pool water that increases Chlorine demand and lowers water quality. Both TripleClean technology and PowerClean tackled biofilm quite well, so either of them will be a great choice as far as brushing is concerned. The Aquabot X4 wasn’t clearing all the biofilm and struggled on waterlines. So, it will take position three after the Dolphins and Aquabot Elite.
Motor and efficiency
AC vs DC motors – The type of motor used is the most important consideration here.
We have two types of motors; AC motors and DC motors. AC motors, though readily available, will consume more energy compared to a DC motor.
All cleaners boast a 24v DC motor that uses 70% less energy compared to the old cleaners that use AC motors.
Energy efficiency summer is fast approaching, a time when you want your pool water to be clean always. But then, do you realize that you are inviting a higher energy bill. Yes, considering your robot cleaner might run for several hours daily. But then, this should not freak out because robot pool cleaners use highly optimized motors for efficiency.
Both Aquabot and Dolphin brands produce energy-efficient devices. So, whichever cleaner you choose, you are sure of at least 70% savings on your energy bills. But besides the optimized motor, the Smart navigation systems ensure they map the pool and plan for a methodical and patterned cleaning.
Noise – Another important factor here is the operation noise of the motor. An ideal robot cleaner should operate quietly with minimal disturbance. Gladly, these two are the industry’s leaders as far as quiet operation is concerned. The permanent magnet motor used in both cleaners reduces noise by up to 40%.
So, if you are in the chase for a silent robot pool cleaner, any of the above models will work for you.
Durability – How long will the motor serve you? The motor’s durability is a major concern when it comes to robot pool cleaners and power tools in general for a simple reason; replacing it is as expensive as buying a new cleaner. That said, you’d want to go for the most durable of all motors. Again here, these two motors are highly durable because of the moderate RPM.
Remember, the faster the revolutions, the more the wear, so a durable motor should be averaging 3,000rpm or lower, and that’s what both Aquabot and Dolphin offer.
When it comes to Maytronics, many users report its cleaners are very durable both in terms of motors and other case parts. Aquabots are also good soldiers. The simpler budget Aquabot X4 is designed to last a bit less (but it mostly concerns the case).back to menu ↑
Navigation and Maneuverability
AquaSmart 2.0 vs. SmartNav vs. CleverClean vs. AutoX Pool Mapping – One thing I like most about robotic pool cleaners is that they are intelligent. This is unlike side pressure cleaners that navigate randomly.
Actually, if you have used a Roomba or any other robot vacuum cleaner, it works the same way. In the Aquabot Elite, we have AquaSmart 2.0, a SmartNav sensor navigation system that clearly maps out the entire floor and walls.
On the other hand, Dolphins use CleverClean and SmartNav Robotic Scanning. Both are pretty similar technologies based on Smart sensors to scan the pool, including ladders, drains, and other obstacles.
And Aquabot X4 provides us with Pool Mapping, which means it also determines the pool shape and then chooses the best cleaning cycle for speed and efficiency.
So, when it comes to navigation, don’t worry; pick any of the cleaners. Indeed, we cannot expect perfect operation, so hits and spot losses are still possible. But our comparison shows all bots’ systems perform cleaning equally quickly and efficiently.
Tracks – Though performance in pool mapping is the same in these models, the tracks will say who is the winner in the discussion about navigation and maneuverability.
- Dolphin brings on the table HyperGrip Continuous Tracks that work quite well, especially on slippery walls – if your poll ever had algae, you know what I mean.
- On the other hand, Aquaboat Elite refines the design and principles of HyperGrip in their own version, EverGrip. But then, the tracks start losing traction very fast so, after a month or two, it will start skidding on surfaces and actually make wall scrubbing impossible.
- When it comes to the Aquabot X4, here we see common wheels. Even though all four are driven, the wheel system tends to get stuck more frequent and cannot compete with tracks in climbing efficiency.
Now, all said and done, the durability of HyperGrip’s tracks makes Dolphins the best when it comes to navigation. Though the navigation technologies offer just the same performance, Dolphin Premier and Quantum have better traction.
Remember, a robot cleaner works independently and autonomously, and that’s their biggest strength.
But besides that, there are two convenience features that some tag alone. The first feature is programmability that allows you to preset your preferred cleaning times and cycles. There’s also remote control and automation compatibility. With the remote, you can control the cleaner from a distance with the press of a button.
But notably, Aquabots boast a built-in timer that you can easily customize with your automation system for the best flexibility, especially if you have a tight schedule. All setting changes go through touchpads.
Dolphins are not any different. We also have a weekly schedule function here with three time settings – you can perform cleaning daily, every other day, or every third day.
Your robot may arrive with defects or work for a few days and just go silent. That said, you’d want to buy a robot with a long warranty. The good thing is that all robots come with a 3-year warranty on the major parts, except for the Dolphin Quantum. For some reason, we get a 2-year warranty.
Remember, there are parts that the warranty may not cover, so be sure to read the Terms & Conditions extensively. I’ve had several issues with after-sales of both cleaners, and I’m glad of the support. Replacement parts are also readily available.
Cost and value for money
By now, I know you must be torn in between the four. Each of the models has some adorable features that you’d want in your pool cleaner.
Now, away from features, here’s a short conversation about Aquabot vs Dolphin cost and value for money.
You will agree with me that these robot cleaners are high-end. The Elite retails at around $900, while the Premier and Quantum will cost you around $1000 – $1100. But then, considering the top performance, I think they justify the high price tags. However, the $200 price difference raises eyebrows, the biggest question being, are the Dolphins worth the extra $200?
On the other hand, Dolphin Supreme retails at around $600 which is very fair considering it also offers quite some excellent performance. But unfortunately, it is not available in the market at the moment.
But it would be a great option for those on a very tight budget considering the likes of Dolphin Premier and Aquabot Elite are in the $1000 region. But still, you can check out other $600 robot cleaners like Dolphin Cayman and Dolphin Nautilus.
If you ask me, I would go for the Dolphins as these are fresh models, so you’d expect the latest features and upgrades. But then, if your budget is limited, the Elite is still a powerful robot cleaner that will offer you value for money.
On the other hand, Aquabot X4 retails at around $650, which is very fair considering it also offers quite some excellent performance. It would be a great option for those on a very tight budget.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is the best robotic pool cleaner?
2. Does Aquabot Elite robot pool cleaner use smart navigation?
3. What’s the difference between Dolphin Premier and Dolphin Quantum?
Plus, there is a difference in navigation. While Premier runs with CleverClean navigation for scanning and route planning, Dolphin Quantum still boasts of SmartNav 2.0 mapping navigation.
And the last difference is the cleaning cycle, where Premier works for 3 hours in a Standard mode, and the Quantum needs 2 hours to perform the cleaning.
4. Do I need a caddy for my robot pool cleaner?
5. Can you leave a robotic pool cleaner in the pool?
Actually, this is hard to choose the best model for you. My heart votes for Dolphin Premier and Quantum models because of the best filtration and more precise navigation.
But then, their prices are also higher, and if you are on a budget, you can still opt for the Elite and the X4 cleaners. They are hardly inferior.