Dolphin Premier Robotic Pool Cleaner: Does it Do the Dirty Work for You?

The definition of “set it and forget it,” the Dolphin Premier Robotic Pool Cleaner targets debris automatically so you don’t even have to think about it.
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Dolphin Premier Robotic Pool Cleaner sitting outside the corner of a pool

Photo: Jen Karetnick for Bob Vila

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Very few homeowners have a perfectly situated inground pool that’s open to both air and sunshine yet protected from the elements. In fact, even a well-placed pool that’s not surrounded by trees or other vegetation is almost impossible to keep completely free from debris due to everyone who swims in it. Children track in sand, dogs jump in after a tennis ball and shed fur, and guests may accidentally spill food and drinks in the water. That’s why, even if you have a pool service that regularly adjusts the chemicals, it’s a good idea to use a robotic pool cleaner a few times per week to touch up the walls, where more than 90 percent of bacteria grows.

In Miami, where I have tested numerous robotic pool vacuums in my inground pool and in my friends’ above-ground pools, we have plenty of intrusions. These range from live oak leaves and drifting mango pollen from the overhanging trees to dirt and grass from the feet of iguanas and raccoons who take a quick dip when we’re not watching. For my own pool, I prefer the Dolphin Premier robotic pool cleaner. It has three different filters to tackle macro and micro debris, including the stuff I can’t see (like algae), and it cleans my pool with the least amount of effort on my part.

Dolphin Premier Robotic Pool Cleaner: At a Glance

Dolphin Premier Robotic Pool Cleaner Review
Photo: Jen Karetnick for Bob Vila

Rating: 9/10


  • Really climbs the walls to scrub the tile/water line free from algae and bacteria
  • Patented 60-foot cable is anti-tangle and swivels 360 degrees
  • 3 filter options: fine cartridge, ultrafine cartridge, and oversize debris bag


  • One of the more expensive models on the market
  • Caddy and remote-control options cost extra
  • Heavy to lift and maneuver for a small and/or short person

Get the Dolphin Premier robotic pool cleaner at:

What is the Dolphin Premier robotic pool cleaner?

One of Maytronic’s flagship products, this robotic pool vacuum looks like a bot, with a stand-up handle that has what appears to be eyes on either side. Whimsical, yes, but this robotic pool cleaner is also one of the most powerful and effective models on the market. With dual ballasts, dual motors, and dual scrubbing brushes, it has both stability and power. The HyperGrip tracks enable it to move in reverse and vacuum simultaneously.

A microprocessing SmartNav system allows it to “learn” the pool and assess the best way to clean it, which reduces energy waste. It also senses the water line, and because it’s so powerful, it cleans even when 40 percent of the machine is above that line. That’s why it does such a good job of reducing the scum where it builds up—and where lesser robotic pool vacuums can’t reach. In addition, this Dolphin filters 75 gallons per minute, so even those pools where the water has gone green with algae can’t escape its cleaning clutches.

Is the Dolphin Premier pool cleaner easy to assemble?

The Premier arrives assembled; simply open the box and pull it out gently. Then attach whichever filter you decide to use—either a fine or ultrafine cartridge, or the oversize debris bag (useful for collecting leaves). Plug it into its adapter, which is also a timer and/or scheduler (you can choose two or three times per week), and plug the adapter into a wall outlet.

Close up of the Dolphin Premier Robotic Pool Cleaner in pool
Photo: Jen Karetnick for Bob Vila

How easy is it to use the Dolphin robotic pool cleaner?

The manufacturer calls this product “plug and play,” and it truly is. After I plugged it in, I carried it to the pool and gently dropped it. It sank slowly to the bottom. Then I set the timer, turned it on, and watched it work. It was fascinating to see how powerfully its HyperGrip tracks roamed over the floor and climbed back up the walls, eating up everything in its path. The anti-tangle cord never got in the way, and we could even swim without issue while the Dolphin was at work. The robot is also very quiet, which is another plus.

The only real problem I have with the Dolphin Premier robotic pool cleaner is when it’s time to pull it out of the water. As a diminutive person who doesn’t have much upper body strength, I find it difficult to get it out of the pool. The dry weight is 22 pounds, but the drag of the water in it makes it heavier coming out than going in. My husband, who is taller and broader than me, has an easier time maneuvering it.

How well does the Dolphin Premier robotic pool cleaner clean? 

An entire cycle for a 50-foot pool takes 2.5 hours. However, I found that the Dolphin Premier, especially when used regularly, took far less time to clean our pool. One day, when there was only light leaf litter and some bougainvillia flower debris on top, I stopped it after an hour while using the leaf bag. I’m as fussy as the next person about pool cleanliness, but I don’t like to wait when I want to take a dip, so it was great to be able to quickly enjoy crisp, cool water that had been filtered at 75 gallons per minute.

On another day, I ran the machine with the ultrafine filter cartridge to make sure that algae and bacteria were being sucked up from the walls. I was impressed with how the tile line sparkled after an entire cycle. A third day, after a heavy rainstorm, I used the regular fine cartridge to run a complete cycle to remove garden dirt that had blown into the pool. Each time, the Dolphin performed beautifully.

Overall, I consider this to be an excellent cleaner. As a bonus, the product uses LED alerts to let the user know when the bag should be emptied or a cartridge changed.

Dolphin Premier Robotic Pool Cleaner moving through pool with deck and rock landscape
Photo: Jen Karetnick for Bob Vila

Is the Dolphin Premier pool cleaner worth the money?

Aside from the cost of the initial investment, the Dolphin Premier robotic pool cleaner is so energy efficient that it costs just 5 cents per hour to run. So if you use it three times per week for a full cycle each time—and use it year-round—the electricity costs under $20. I think it’s worth every cent!

Is the Dolphin Premier robotic pool cleaner right for you?

If you live in a warm climate where you often enjoy swimming in your inground pool but battle the elements—whether that’s flora, fauna, weather, or a combination of all—this product is ideal. Although the remote-control option and caddy both cost extra, they’re also good investments both for spot cleaning and for hauling the robotic pool vacuum in and out of the garage (or wherever you store it when not in use). The adapter allows the user to schedule cleaning two or three times per week, indicating the Dolphin Premier is built for regular use.

Where to Buy the Dolphin Premier Robotic Pool Cleaner

Get the Dolphin Premier robotic pool cleaner at:

Meet the Tester

An award-winning food writer, restaurant critic, and poet, Miami-based Jen Karetnick is the author of 21 books, including four cookbooks and four guidebooks. Her work has appeared in a wide variety of outlets, including Allrecipes, Eating Well, Miami Herald, NPR, Shondaland, and Southern Living. After farming a historic mango grove for 20 years, she now lives in a restored 1926 Tudor house in a bird sanctuary with her husband, two college-age children, two miniature dachshunds, and four cats.

Jen Karetnick Avatar

Jen Karetnick

Contributing Writer

Jen Karetnick is an award-winning food, travel, and lifestyle freelance writer; dining critic; recipe developer; and appliance tester with three decades of experience. She is the author/coauthor of 21 books, including four cookbooks and four guidebooks. In addition to writing about food, the home, and appliances, Jen is a keen gardener. She farmed a historic backyard mango grove for two decades before moving to another historic home in a nearby bird sanctuary, where she now grows citrus and vegetables. She has been working for since summer 2021.