The Dolphin premier and Polaris F9550 are two mid to high-range pool robots with top-of-the-line design features for automating the cleaning of in-ground swimming pools. These robots have very distinctive features, but they are actually very similar in performance. With an energy-conscious DC motor, rubber tracks, active scrubbers, powerful suction, and robust filtration, the Dolphin Premier is all for efficient pool cleaning. On the other hand, Polaris 9550 is a pool cleaner with a powerful four-wheel-drive system, active brushes, strong vortex vacuum technology, great navigation, and many customizable cleaning options for convenience. While both have a place in our round-up of the best robotic pool cleaners, here we take a closer look at these two robots side by side, comparing their similarities and differences to determine which is a better buy. You may also like: Dolphin Mercury ReviewPolaris 9650iQ Review At a glance Dolphin Premier vs Polaris 9550 Sport: Which Should You Buy? These are two amazing robotic pool cleaners designed for large in-ground pools, and they are pretty great at cleaning pools. Although they are of two different brands, these pool robots have very similar basic design features and functions, which is basically floor, wall, tile, waterline cleaning of large in-ground pools. However, the Polaris 9550 Sport robotic in-ground pool cleaner has a few extra features for convenience like the multiple cleaning options, a handy pool caddy, and the use of remote control. Comparing both robotic pool cleaners solely based on pool cleaning performance isn’t very easy because they seem to excel in similar categories and each one has its quirks. Personally, I feel like they are evenly matched and performance-wise, it’s a tie. But since the Polaris 9550 comes with a caddy, remote control, and customizable cleaning options, yet costs just the same as the Dolphin Premier, that seems like a better deal. Product Overviews Dolphin Premier robotic pool cleaner The Dolphin Premier is a robotic pool cleaner designed to automatically clean large in-ground pools (up to 50 feet). As one great Dolphin robotic pool cleaner from Maytronics, the Dolphin Premier features advanced navigation software for scanning and mapping the pool for deep and thorough cleaning. It features the HyperGrip rubber tracks which efficiently counter water friction and stay firmly attached to the floor and walls of the pool while powerful dual rotating brushes attack and dislodge even the toughest dirt on the surfaces of your pool, up to the waterline in 3 hours. Unlike most other pool robots, this gadget has multiple filter options for customized and optimal pool cleaning, it comes with; an ultra-fine cartridge filter, fine cartridge filter, and debris bags. It also comes equipped with a patented 60 ft anti-tangle swivel cable to supply power while ensuring glitch-free underwater movement. You may also want to read our full Dolphin Premier Review. Great at cleaning pool floor, wall, tile, waterlineSimple robot with easy maintenanceAnti-tangle swivel cable doesn’t tangleNo set-up requiredHas a 3-year warranty Pricey robotDoesn’t clean pool stepsManual control is slow Polaris 9550 Sport Designed to automatically clean large in-ground swimming pools with top-of-the-line features, the Polaris F9550 robotic pool cleaner excels at its job. Its design features an ActivMotion technology for smart navigation while a 4WD system with robust tires facilitates seamless movement around the pool. The Polaris 9550 will clean pool floors, walls, and waterline, and it’s suitable for in-ground pools of up to 60 ft with any surface type. The cleaning mechanism features a Vortex Vacuum Technology which keeps debris suspended during cleaning to ensure maximum suction and superior filtration. And a top-loader easy clean filter canister traps and isolates pool contaminants. Control is pretty easy with a motion-sensing responsive remote control and a 7-day programmable timer for customizing cleaning times. Impressive cleaning performanceIt climbs pool walls up to the waterlineIt doesn’t get stuck on pool drainsLow maintenance requirementComes with a 2-year warranty Expensive pool robotDoesn’t efficiently clean stepsThe power cable can get tangled Premier vs Polaris F9550: Key similarities Navigation technology Smart navigation is one feature that can either make or break any robotic home gadget; pool cleaners included. A swimming pool robot should have the ability to systematically find its way around the layout of the pool type and size it’s designed for. Both the Dolphin Premier and the Polaris 9550 excel in this regard. The Polaris F9550 Sport Robotic pool cleaner comes equipped with the ActivMotion Sensor Technology which delivers highly optimized scanning of swimming pools and advanced algorithms that ensure complete coverage of swimming pool floors, walls, tile, and waterline. And on the other hand, the Dolphin Premier robotic pool cleaner features the Maytronics’ SmartNav software. This smart nav software delivers highly optimized cleaning; and with it, the robot scans the swimming pool and creates a map for quick and efficient cleaning, this prevents uncoordinated movements, saving time and energy. Although the Premier has been around for a few years now, it still performs very well when compared to newer models from Dolphin. Filtration system Every successful robotic pool cleaner needs a world-class filtration system to capture all sorts of pool rubbish, and this is where the powerful Dolphin Premier truly shines. The Premier comes with 3 cartridge filters for capturing a wide variety of pool dirt; micro cartridges for fine debris particles, standard cartridges for fine dirt, and an oversize filter bag for large floating debris like leaves, and twigs, etc. Polaris 9550 Sport matches this standard very closely with an extra-large top-loader filter canister for trapping any size of pool contaminant. Both robotic pool cleaners come with dirty canister indicator lights for showing when the trash can is full and needs to be emptied. Drive system For a pool robot, an efficient drive system means a stronger grip on slippery surfaces for better navigation and cleaning, and fewer episodes of the robot getting stuck on the pool bottom and drain. In this category, it also seems like these two robots are evenly matched. The Polaris F9550 Sport comes with a robust 4-wheel drive and Aqua-Trax tires to ensure smooth and efficient movement on all types of pool surfaces. The Polaris 9550 Sport also has rear water propulsion which facilitates under stair cleaning, tight corners, and high-to-reach areas. The Dolphin Premier robotic in-ground pool cleaner competes effectively with the Maytronics’ famous HyperGrip tracks. The HyperGrip continuous rubber tracks firmly plant the robot on the floor and walls of the swimming pool while countering any loss of friction due to water, this ensures that the robot moves smoothly for excellent wall and waterline cleaning. Active Scrubbers To scrub the dirt off the surface of swimming pools, the Polaris F9550 Sport uses 2 medium-sized active scrubbing brushes, with solid rubber blades, fitted beneath the robot. The Dolphin Premier also uses two brushes that are on the very bottom of the robotic pool cleaner to deliver a new level of cleanliness. Both robots are able to clean pool floors, walls, and tiles, up to the waterline. Suction rating Both robots are almost evenly matched in this category with strong suction power to suck in and trap dirt particles while simultaneously circulating pool water. While the Dolphin Premier is able to circulate up to 4500 gallons of pool water per hour, the Polaris 9550 uses a proprietary vortex vacuum technology to create a powerful suction that forces pool water through the filter canister, trapping debris and circulating water in the process. Key Differences between the Dolphin Premier and Polaris F9550 Pool size Both robots are designed for in-ground pools with any surface type. However, the 9550 Sport is able to clean larger pools than the Premier. With a 70’ long tangle-free 360-degree swivel cable, the Polaris 9550 can clean large in-ground pools of up to 60 feet, while the Dolphin Premier robotic pool cleaner has a slightly shorter anti-tangle swivel cable of 60’ long and will a clean in-ground swimming pool of no larger than 50 feet. Cleaning options and programmable timer Dolphin Premier robotic pool cleaner is pretty basic with just a single cleaning mode; the standard cleaning lasts for about 3 hours for in-depth pool cleaning. However, the Polaris F9550 Sport gives you a lot more options with an impressive number of cleaning modes to choose from. There are options for floor cleaning, floor and wall cleaning, waterline only, and a custom option that allows you to completely customize your cleaning. Each cleaning cycle typically lasts for about 1.5- 2.5 hours. Remote control For convenience, Polaris 9550 has the option of remote control and a programmable weekly timer for setting weekly cleaning schedules. On the other hand, Dolphin Premier doesn’t have a remote control, but it does have a weekly scheduler for programming the robot to clean your pool every day, every other day or every 3rd day. Pool Caddy Weighing just 16 lbs, the 9550 is relatively lightweight, but it does have a pool caddy for easy transportation and storage. Dolphin Premier weighs about 22 lbs and doesn’t come with a caddy, but you can purchase it as an extra. How does a dolphin robotic pool cleaner Perform? With very similar properties and design features, these robotic pool cleaners are almost evenly matched in their cleaning performance. They clean all types of pool surfaces with bottom-fitted active scrubbers, while simultaneously trapping debris. However, neither of these two cleaners seems to be the perfect cleaning machine as they both have their quirks. For starters, they both excel at the basic pool cleaning job, but the Dolphin Premier has very slow manual controls and remote control which isn't very useful. It also has a single nonadjustable cleaning cycle of 3 hours which isn’t very convenient. For the Polaris 9550, it's great for trapping leaves and large dirt, but the major quirk is seen in its filter canister which doesn’t effectively pick up tiny dirt particles like sand silt and dust in the pool. Although this can be remedied by buying the ultra-fine filter cartridge to replace the fine filter canister the robot comes with. The power cable also has the tendency to get tangled even as it’s supposed to be anti-tangle with swivel technology and having to detangle it once in a week can be annoying. Ease of Set-up And Use Neither of these cleaners requires any form of installation, they have very simple controls, and you can start your first clean within 5 minutes after unpacking. You simply connect the power cable to the control unit and finally to a power outlet, drop the robot into the swimming pool and press the START button. They both come with control units with very intuitive controls, the Dolphin Premier has a single cleaning mode, while the 9550 Sport has more options for customizing how the robot will clean your pool. Ongoing Maintenance Most robotic cleaners are simple gadgets that require very little maintenance, and these two are no different. The major regular maintenance is emptying the filter baskets as frequently as possible, it’s recommended that you do this after a few cleaning cycles. Polaris 9550 has a top-loader canister which is much easier to access than the bottom-loader cartridge/debris bag found in the Premier. Nevertheless, emptying the filter cartridges and rinsing out the filter screen with running water from a garden hose is an easy task for anyone. There is also the issue of replacing parts worn out from continuous use. You can easily find replacement parts on Amazon or purchase them directly from the manufacturer’s website. Dolphin Premier comes with a 3-year warranty while Polaris F9550 robotic pool cleaner comes with a 2-year limited warranty. FAQs Can these pool cleaners be used in an above-ground pool?No, neither of these robots is designed for above-ground swimming pools. They are exclusively made for in-ground pools and are to be used for just that.Do these pool cleaners clean algae from the sides and bottom of the pool?These pool cleaners have scrubbing brushes which they use to dislodge dirt from pool floors and walls, however, they will not effectively loosen algae from pool surfaces but will effectively pick up already loosened ones. If your pool has a severe algae problem, this can make the pool surfaces slippery and prevent these pool robots from getting a firm grip on the surfaces, prevent them from climbing as well as they should, and generally interfere with their cleaning performance. Shock chlorination treatment should be used to treat algae and ensure the robots are not in the pool during such treatment.Will any of these robotic pool cleaners get stuck on raised drains?Both robots can handle raised pool drains, but the Polaris handles it better than the Dolphin Premier because of its four-wheel-drive system. The Dolphin Premier may get stuck a few times, and sometimes it can work itself off while it may occasionally need your assistance.Can they be left in the water until cleaning?Dolphin robotic pool cleaner can be left in the pool provided you keep the power supply covered, so it doesn’t get wet. For the 9550, Zodiac recommends that you remove it from the pool after every cleaning cycle and store it on the caddy out of direct sunlight or inclement weather. This is important because proper care will ensure the robot maintains its performance and quality, thus lasting as long as it should.How good are these pool robots on pool steps?Polaris 9550 does climb the steps but won’t clean them as beautifully as you would expect, especially if they are curved. But, Dolphin Premier doesn’t climb steps. To ensure your pool steps are as clean as the rest of your swimming pool, you may have to manually use a pool brush to occasionally sweep them. Final Thoughts Although the Polaris 9550 has more high-end features, both pool robots are excellent with approximately the same cleaning power, they both recommended robotic pool cleaners. And they are also within the same price range, although the Polaris 9550 is a tad more expensive than the Dolphin Premier, it does come with a pool caddy and remote control which are absent in the Dolphin Premier. Just as their performances are great, they also do have their quirks and a few drawbacks, but it’s nothing that cannot be managed. However, the Polaris F9550 comes up as the better robot because its extra features make it the more convenient robot.