What We Like
No setup required
Super easy to use
Efficient, high-quality cleaning
Two filter sizes
Built-in weekly timer
What We Don't Like
A bit of an investment
Multiple reviews mention issues with customer service
For a person who loves, loves, loves to swim like I do, living in a house with a pool is a dream come true. The flipside, though, which everyone lucky enough to have a pool knows, is that swimming pools are a serious labor of love—and money. Installing a pool is a huge expense, but the real kicker comes in the time and cost of upkeep. There’s the pump, pH levels, chemicals, temperature, water level, and debris and scum, all of which needs to be monitored and maintained.
This is where pool cleaners like the Dolphin Nautilus CC Plus from Maytronics come in. Though they may seem extravagant (they’re not cheap!), these ingenious, automated devices handle a bulk of the workload for you, operating like underwater vacuum cleaners. I decided to test out the new, high-end robotic cleaner to see if it could blow my old one out of the water.
Setup: Truly automatic
Who doesn’t love the idea of a “robot” doing your cleaning? In reality, though, automatic appliances usually require some sort of hands-on setup and supervision. The Nautilus CC Plus really delivers on the robotic element. Using it, I felt like one of the The Jetsons with an aquatic Rosie the Robot Maid, especially as this product requires just about nothing from its human companion. All I did was plug it in, carry it over to the pool, push the “on” button, and drop it in the water.
This system is intended for in-ground pools up to 50 feet long and works optimally in a variety of pool shapes, from rectangular and square to circular or kidney-shaped. Our pool is 30 feet long, so it has more than enough leeway with the cord to effectively cover the whole thing.
The Nautilus CC Plus really delivers on the robotic element.
The display screen can be programmed for three different weekly cleaning intervals by pushing the “1,” “2,” or “3” buttons, which stand for once a day, every other day, or twice a week. That’s a big plus, as it allows me to set it and forget it—and check this task off my to-do list. The Nautilus CC Plus even has an automatic shutoff; it does its work and then goes to sleep, so you don’t need to worry about leaving it running too long.
Design: Compact and powerful
This Dolphin model has a pleasant blue and black design that doesn’t detract from the beauty of our pool. It weighs in at around 20 pounds, technically about the same or a little less than its competitors. However, it seems lighter due to the streamlined design.
The model is made of plastic with soft but strong scrubbing rollers on the bottom. The power supply is about a quarter of the size of the unit, and this part always stays out of the water.
There is a styrofoam “buoy” hidden inside the unit, which helps it to float. A large handle on top makes maneuvering the unit to and from the pool, and also lifting it out, much easier. The unit is attached to a 60-foot-long, durable blue cable equipped with a swivel feature, which prevents tangling (we have never encountered an issue on that front) and lets the device easily navigate everywhere it needs to go within the pool. It’s important to gently drop the unit into the pool and pull it out using the handle rather than the cable to protect the integrity of the machine.
A large handle on top makes maneuvering the unit to and from the pool, and also lifting it out, much easier.
The innovative unit also uses “climbing rings” which help it to cling to the walls and navigate vertically in the pool. It utilizes three-point turns (an upgrade from many lower priced models, which can only perform soft turns) and has excellent wall-climbing ability, going right up to the water’s edge so that it doesn’t miss an inch. Rather than rely on wheels, like our previous unit, this model moves by harnessing the power of its textured brushes, which grab dirt off the pool walls.
Performance: Terminates pool grit and grime
The location of my pool and the size of my family gave the Dolphin Nautilus CC Plus Robotic Pool Cleaner a lot to contend with. The deep end is shaded by a huge birch tree, while two other sides are lined by giant laurel hedges—meaning seeds and leaves rain down in massive numbers all season long. The fourth side edges up to a grassy lawn, where my boys play soccer and baseball and run around after our red-haired labradoodle.
We have a locking pool cover, but the second it’s opened, all that natural material starts dropping in. My kids (there are five of them, from ages 7 to 15) are non-stop movers who tend to have sweaty, snack-dusted, dirty bodies—and then jump straight into the pool.
Even against all that debris, the Dolphin Nautilus handled cleaning like a champ. Our other cleaner also worked well but was more awkward to maneuver, required more upkeep, and took longer to achieve an optimal clean.
After working its magic for a little over two hours, my pool, up to the waterline, was noticeably cleaner. I could “see” this in the clearer, fresher-looking water and “feel” it in the water as it had a lighter, less “silty” feeling.
After working its magic for a little over two hours, my pool, up to the waterline, was noticeably cleaner.
Depending on the amount of use our pool is getting, we will use our cleaner between two and seven days per week. The more bodies in the pool and the more particles dropping from the trees, the more days per week we run it. We tend to use it proactively before and after a pool party as well.
This cleaner-bot really gets the pool sparkling clean, even after a big crowd of swimmers, and I don’t need to run it as often as I did with my previous one to maintain that level of freshness. I was also impressed by how quiet the machine is and how well it navigates the pool walls, tracking all the way up and down the sides and even breaking the water line.
Technology: Clever is in the name
To accomplish such an advanced level of sanitation, the Nautilus Plus uses its CleverClean technology (this is where the CC in the name comes from). It enables the machine to scan and map out the entire pool, creating the most effective and efficient path to scour every surface. It’s also programmed to detect and avoid obstacles; it actually moves around items in its way, such as a pool toy or pair of goggles left at the bottom of the pool, and then returns to its course.
The unit uses a “Multi-Function Power Supply,” which saves energy and allows the unit to operate more efficiently. In fact, it is estimated that each cleaning only costs about 15 cents’ worth of electricity. It saves energy by utilizing its mapping technology to create the most efficient route around the pool and then turning itself off when the whole pool has been cleaned. The unit can remain plugged in between uses as long as it is not turned on when the cleaner-bot is out of the water.
The Nautilus CC Plus includes two sets of large filters that can be switched out based on the cleaning that needs to be done. The first “Spring Filter” sheets, which come already installed, are a fine polyester sieve intended to capture a range of debris including larger items (think small leaves, petals, and bugs). These are the filters that you use on a regular basis.
Swap them out occasionally for a deeper clean using the ultra-fine (corrugated) filters, which will capture the tiny particles (dust, dirt, dead skin cells, pollen, etc.). I found it easy to change the filter sets from the hatch on the top of the cleaner bot, which lifts up by pulling on either side. You then pull out the cartridge holding the filters, which are released from the case via toggle switches.
Ease of Cleaning: Simple
When I opened the filter hatch after the first use, I saw the impressive amount of grime (most of which is a fine, whitish silt) this Dolphin model had extracted. You don’t necessarily notice all that dirt suspended in the water and along the pool surface until it’s gone. Seeing it piled up on the filter reiterates just how vital all this cleaning is.
This product is a great improvement over a number of its rivals, which tend to have smaller, less efficient filters that can’t remove as much fine or large material from the pool. Also, other brands often require you to flip over the often heavy and awkward-shaped machines in order to reach the filter hatches, which makes cleaning the filters much more of a chore.
With the Nautilus, rinsing the filter and replacing it was super simple: All it takes is opening the filter compartment, sliding out the filter, running it under the hose, and then putting it back inside the compartment. When larger debris is present, I switch to using the larger mesh screen.
Other than that, the Dolphin unit requires minimal upkeep besides keeping it out of direct sun or rain. This is particularly important with the power supply, which is water-resistant, not waterproof, and needs to be stored out of the rain (or standing water) for safety reasons as well as to keep it operating optimally. The power supply also needs to be kept out of direct sunlight when in operation to prevent overheating. I store mine in our pool shed when not in use.
It is not recommended to swim while the unit is cleaning the pool or to have it in the water when adding chemicals or if the pH balance is off, as this can corrode the unit. However, the cleaner can be kept in the pool between cleanings and be programmed to clean on a regular basis. I always take mine out because I don’t like swimming around the cords. I also don’t like my kids to be in the pool with it, as they might be tempted to mess around with it.
Price: Pricey but worth it
This model is on the higher end of models and retails around $700-$800. You can find robotic pool cleaners starting in the low hundreds, but those products by and large don’t clean nearly as well, need a lot more hand-holding, and often need to be attached to the pool’s pump in order to operate. This is an investment piece that you will get more out of by spending a bit more up front.
There are also plenty of options on the market priced well into the thousands, making the Dolphin Nautilus CC Plus a really great buy. It offers all the features a pool owner needs—efficient, high-quality cleaning and ease of use—at a lower price than other top-quality models.
If you do experience any issues, the pool-cleaning bot also has a two-year warranty but will likely last much longer with proper care. It’s worth noting that some reviews—even those that rave about the cleaner itself—have indicated issues with customer service and warranty resolution.
Dolphin Nautilus CC Plus Robotic Pool Cleaner vs. Dolphin Premier Robotic Pool Cleaner
There are plenty of lower-priced options out there, but I think it is clear that they don’t give you anywhere near the quality and ease of cleaning that the Dolphin Nautilus model offers. Instead, I decided to compare this product with a higher-end Dolphin model, which retails for between $1,000 all the way up to $1,500.
The advantages of the pricier Premier machine are a three-year warranty compared with the two years offered on the Nautilus. The Premier also comes with three sets of filter cartridges (rather than two) and has a sensor to let you know when the filter needs changing. The additional filter is a bag that will collect larger leaves and other debris. This might be a worthy feature if you get lots of leaves in your pool or if your pool stays uncovered much of the time. Additionally, it offers even more advanced scrubbing ability and maneuverability.
These are decent bonuses, but in my opinion, our Nautilus works so well that I don’t think any improvements (no matter how advanced) offered by the upgrade would be noticeable enough to warrant paying more. Also, the Premier model weighs in a full 15 pounds (for a total of 37) over the Nautilus unit, and I wouldn’t like lugging that extra weight.
Yes, buy it!
The Dolphin Nautilus CC Plus Robotic Pool Cleaner offers quick, highly effective pool cleaning and requires just about nothing from its owner beyond dropping it in the pool. Its price is an investment worth making due to the hours and expense it saves on manual cleaning, as well as the peace of mind knowing your pool is crystal clear without you needing to lift a finger.
- Product Name Nautilus CC Plus
- Product Brand Dolphin
- MPN 99996403-PC
- Price $799
- Weight 20 lbs.
- Product Dimensions 16.5 x 10 x 16 in.
- Pool Sizes Up to 50 ft.
- Voltage 120v
- What’s Included Pool cleaner, 2 brushes, extra filters for larger debris
- Warranty 2 years