Should you buy the Dolphin E10 above-ground robotic pool cleaner, and how does it compare against the Dolphin Escape?
Welcome to our detailed review of the Maytronics Dolphin E10, in which we shall discuss how it performs and whether this robotic pool cleaner deserves your hard earned money.
2021 is a great year to buy a robotic pool cleaner because the technology has become quite reliable and efficient and prices are falling with the increased competition. One day robots will do all of our dirty work. Pool cleaning is one of those tasks that robotics excel at. Below you’ll find some of the best robotic pool cleaners for the money, including the streamlined Dolphin E10.
Dolphin E10 Review
Above Ground Pool Cleaner
Ideal for : Rectangular, Oval, Circular above ground pools up to 30 feet in length. Will work on any surface-concrete, ceramic tile, fiberglass and vinyl.
- Drop and go. Easy-to-use, light weight single button plug and play above ground robotic pool vacuum with a 2 year assurance.
- Pool cleaning made easy. Smart Navigation – Clever Clean Technology scans and cleans your swimming pool in a quick 1.5 hours.
- Removes large debris you can see, as well as hidden debris like fine dirt, sand and algae. The only automatic pool cleaner brand with active brushing for 2X the scrubbing power when cleaning pool floors.
- Swim more, work less. Easy-to-clean large capacity top access filter basket. Rinse and reload in minutes.
- Work less, save more. 8X more energy efficient than suction and pressure cleaners
- Utilizing an algorithmic scanning technology
- Packaged in a compact, lightweight body
- Easy to lift into and out of the pool
- Advanced floor and cove scrubbing
- High-capacity filtration
- Delivers the most thorough cleaning possible
When reviewing any robotic pool cleaner, we want to check three things :
- Ease of Use
So how does the Dolphin E10 perform in these three categories? Let’s get right into it.
Performance : It doesn’t disappoint here, not at all. In fact, the Dolphin E10 is equipped with quite a powerful 24V motor which drives the tracks as well as the active cleaning brush in the front. This active brush spins at twice the speed of the tracks, which helps it scrub off algae and calcification from the floor of your pool. It has zero trouble climbing over drain covers, even when you haven’t turned down the suction.
The E10 does well traversing from the deep end of the pool to the shallow end, which means you could even use this in a small to medium-sized in-ground pool. CleverClean navigation technology uses intelligent programming and an advanced microprocessor to “learn” the size and shape of your pool, which means the E10 never uses the exact same cleaning pattern in two different pools.
VIDEO | A Closer Look at the Maytronics E10
For the first couple of cleaning cycles, this Dolphin robot will move around randomly trying to observe any changes in terrain and testing the borders of the pool where the walls begin. It isn’t a wall climber though, and Maytronics makes sure to specify that in their advertising material for the E10. Once it has stored a map of your pool in its internal memory, the E10 will then proceed to automatically find the most efficient cleaning pattern for your specific pool.
A few customers expressed concern when they saw their E10 robot doing wheelies mid-turn, and thought it was some problem with the design. Don’t worry, that is how it is intended to work. Unlike ordinary pool cleaning robots which have inferior mobility systems, the E10 uses a set of soft rubber tracks with special grip tread patterns to move around inside your pool. It can do a complete 360° turn without moving an inch forward or backward (zero turn radius), just like a battle tank. And when it stops forward motion to make a turn, the rotational momentum combined with the fact that it is underwater causes one side of the robot to lift up giving the impression of a wheelie. It is completely normal, and not a cause for concern.
The cleaning cycle lasts only 1.5 hrs, so you can just set it in the water and forget about it for 90 minutes. It will clean every nook and cranny of the pool, including the spaces around the ladder and steps. However, it won’t clean the steps and will stop climbing the wall if it detects a 90° angle. Most of the time the E10 will make it a couple inches above the pool cove, and then reverse back onto the pool floor. If you don’t feel comfortable cleaning the walls and steps manually, we suggest you look into an inground pool cleaning robot.
Ease of Use : On a scale of 0 to 10, we give the Dolphin E10 a solid 8. If it had a remote control, weekly scheduler and home automation support this robot would easily score a 10. Nevertheless, the top mounted filter hatch immediately makes it one of our favorites. Just push the release tab and the spring- loaded hatch will pop open for you. This reveals the basket style filter which uses cartridges instead of bags. Which means, all you have to do is take out the basket and hose it down for a couple minutes to get rid of all the leaves and dirt. It is generously sized as well, so you can complete two cleaning cycles (1.5 hours each) in a 30-foot long above ground pool before the basket gets filled up.
The E10 comes with regular fine filters instead of the ultra fine filter that you need to catch algae and bacteria. For spring cleaning, the regular filters are sufficient, but if you want to catch the really small stuff you need to invest in an ultra-fine filter. Removing the Dolphin from water is extremely easy, since it has a quick water release function which instantly dumps all the water from the internal bay as you pull it up by the conveniently located front handle. This reduces weight significantly, so smaller women and senior citizens will have a much easier time operating the Dolphin E10. Even kids can lift it up, since it only weighs 13.8 pounds. The anti tangle swivel cord is another welcome addition, since it prevents the E10 from getting tangled up in its own power cord.
Value : Dolphin doesn’t provide the Ultra Fine filters alongside the E10, so you spend additional money to buy one of those. And for this price, we were expecting a basic remote control like the directional navigation system you find in the MyDolphin App. Other than these two shortcomings we don’t have much else to complain about. The E10 has a powerful scrubbing brush that will get rid of all the algae and bacteria from your pool, and it mixes pool chemicals really well which helps you maintain optimum pH levels. The light gray + black color scheme is perfect for underwater visibility, and it has an amazing navigation system. We couldn’t ask for much more at this price point.
Visit the Maytronics site to learn more about the Dolphin E10.
Dolphin E10 vs Dolphin Escape | What’s the difference?
On the surface, these two appear similar. They are both above- ground pool cleaning robots from the Performance class of Dolphin models, and both weigh around 13.8lbs with overlapping features such as CleverClean navigation, active scrubbing brushes, anti tangle swivel cord, etc. So, which one should you buy? Let us break it down for you- the E10 is best used for cleaning small to medium sized above ground pools that are less than 30 feet long. The Escape on the other hand, is capable of cleaning slightly larger pools thanks to its extra 5 feet of cord length. Another reason we recommend the Escape for slightly larger pools, is its 2 hour cleaning cycle.
The Escape needs more time to clean the pool, but also does a more thorough job since both the E10 and Escape use similar micro-controller and navigation logic. Its programming is more optimized for larger pool sizes as is evident from the cleaning cycle that takes 30 minutes more compared to the E10. But the Escape does have a shortcoming- unlike the E10 which is covered by a 2- year warranty, the Escape has a 1 year warranty. Keep that in mind before deciding which one to purchase. To summarize, the Escape is basically an E10 with a slightly longer cleaning cycle and more range (extra 5 feet of cord). Other than this, they have the exact same features.
Intelligent Pool Navigation | Dolphin Escape
Is there a difference between inground and above-ground pool cleaning robots?
The average above ground pool is generally smaller in surface area compared to an inground pool, but the real difference arises when you compare depths. Residential in ground pools can be 6 feet deep whereas most above-ground pools top out at 54 inches. You can bury the above ground pool in the ground to increase its depth, but you still won’t match an inground pool. The reason for this disparity in size and depth is simple- most above ground pools are purchased as kits which you install onto some free space in your backyard. They are cheaper and quicker to install because everything is constructed around a prefabricated steel frame.
Not only is an inground pool deeper, but it also has multiple depth zones. There is a gradient of depth that is shallower towards the pool walls and keeps increasing as you get towards the middle of the pool.
Above ground pools are the same depth across the entire surface area of the floor. But if you have a 5-foot deep rectangular inground pool that is 20x40 feet in size, it could be just 3.5 feet deep for the first 15 feet of length and then 5 feet deep for the next 25 feet. But how does all of this affect the design of pool cleaning robots?
For Above Ground Pools | Aquabot ROVER S2-40
An above ground pool cleaning robot doesn’t have to worry about traversing between the shallow and deep ends of the pool, so it can get away with smaller and less powerful drive motors. It doesn’t have to climb tall walls, or any walls at all in some cases because a lot of above ground pool owners these days construct wooden decks around their pools which makes it easier for them to manually clean the walls with a scrubbing brush and extension pole. Which is why, you see several above ground pool cleaning robots like the Aquabot Rover series using wheels instead of tracks.
The presence of an impeller on the top of a pool robot is a clear giveaway that it’s designed for inground pools. Premium inground pool robots such as the Hayward TigerShark have dedicated impellers located on the top to thrust water outwards with great force, which in turn forces the robot downwards causing it to stick to walls even in a 90° fully vertical position. This ability is essential to reliably clean the waterlines of an inground pool, and to get rid of all the algae growth on the walls. It is much harder to manually clean the walls of an inground pool than it is to clean the walls of an above ground pool that is smaller in both area and depth.
And since the average size of an above ground pool is smaller than that of an inground pool, the robots don’t need large waste baskets. Neither do they need 2hr+ long cleaning cycles. Add it all up, and you realize that above- ground pool cleaning robots are basically smaller and cheaper versions of inground pool cleaning robots, just as above ground pools are smaller and cheaper than inground pools. Doesn’t make much sense for you to spend over a thousand dollars on a robot to clean your pool which itself cost 10,000 dollars in total.
VIDEO | Dolphin E10 | Above Ground Cleaner
Features you want in a good pool cleaning robot
Top access hatch : Those of us who have used robotic pool cleaners from a decade ago remember the horror of removing the robot from the water when its cleaning cycle was completed, only to discover that all the waste had been dumped right back into the pool because the bottom mounted waste release latch accidentally hit a drain cover or pebble on the floor of the pool. Another reason a top access hatch is desirable- it saves you from the tedious exercise of having to flip your 20- pound robot over onto its side every time you need to access the waste chamber.
Cartridge/ basket style filters : Earlier pool cleaning robots were equipped with filtration bags. These are cheap to replace, but a pain in the butt to clean. Do yourself a favor and get a pool robot that uses modern cartridge style filters so you can just take it out and hose it down in the garden. Some modern pool robots like the Aquabot Rover series still use bags for filtration, but that can be excused since those robots are so cheap. But if you’re spending over 500 bucks on a new pool cleaning robot, make sure it uses filtration baskets and not bags.
Anti- swivel cord : Allows for full 360° rotation of the power cord where it attaches to the robot, saving you from the chore of removing 40 feet of very unattractive spaghetti from the pool. And it helps your robot clean the entire pool, without getting restricted midway by a tangled up power cord.
Remote control: Really handy for when your robot misses some tight spots, or if its navigational system is still learning the shape of your pool. You can manually direct the robot, controlling where it goes and how long it cleans a particular spot. Perfect for applying finishing touches or for getting some really stubborn dirt out of the cracks.
Quick water release : Found on most modern Maytronics Dolphin models, makes it much easier to remove the water- filled robot from the pool since all you have to do is pull on the handle and it will instantly dump all the water from its cleaning bay reducing the weight significantly. Even an 11 year old kid can pull the robot out of the water using this feature.
Scrubbing brush : A rotating brush on the front end of your pool robot will help it scrape up all the sand, algae and dirt from the pool floor for a sparkling clean finish. Ordinary robots just have pumps which suck in large debris like leaves. And make sure you know whether your robot has a passive scrubbing brush or an active scrubbing brush. Passive means the brush isn’t powered by a motor, it just spins along at the same speed as the robot’s tracks and stops spinning if the front end lifts off even slightly. Active scrubbing brushes are motor- driven. They scrub the floors and walls much more vigorously and are way more effective at getting rid of algae and bacteria from your pool.