Polaris 280 Pressure Side Pool Cleaner by Zodiac

My favorite Polaris Pool Cleaner!

The Polaris 280 pressure side pool cleaner is my all time favorite. This is my go to pool cleaner when I am replacing any other pressure side pool cleaner. I will explain why the Polaris 280 beats out even the higher priced Polaris cleaners in my book. I will also quickly explain what a “pressure side” cleaner means and if this cleaner will work for you.

Let’s start with why I love this cleaner so much.

First, the quality.

Most Polaris pool cleaners are made to last without much repair but the Polaris 280 is such a simple design with very few parts that wear out, or at least wear out quickly. To give you an idea, I have personally installed over 200 of the Polaris 280. I have continued to maintain those pools for years to come and am proud to say that I even had a couple of those cleaners live out their lives and I actually needed to replace them one more time (about 18 years later)! Most pool cleaners will last between 15-20 years but not without repairs.

The Polaris 280 will go at least the first 5 years with no repairs needed on average. The first repair you will most likely need to do is replace some of the tires, wheels, or a bearing or two. This will most likely cost you around $50 and should get you by for at least another 3-5 years. After that you may replace other wheels, tires, and bearings. You may also have to replace the backup valve at this point (only if it stops reversing and starts to get stuck a lot). The total cost on all of this could be $125.00. After that you should go another 3-5 years and you may need a few extra parts beyond just wheels and bearings. It may be a good idea at this point to do a tune-up-kit or a rebuild-kit which both come with many common parts and make your Polaris 280 almost like new. Actually, you can always continue rebuilding your Polaris 280 for as long as you like. The parts are not that expensive and the unit will continue to clean your pool. The main reason I choose to replace the entire polaris 280 and start over with a new Polaris 280 is because of the hose. After 15 or more years the hose becomes stiff and brittle. Things start to break on the hose and usually at that point the Polaris needs parts too. This is the perfect time to replace it all because the complete hose replacement is over $100.00 and doesn’t come with a backup valve. You would almost save money buying an new one and then everything is new again.

The most important thing is that Polaris doesn’t use cheap plastics and bad designs that constantly need repair or replacement. The Polaris 280 is a quality pool cleaner.

The second reason is how well the Polaris 280 works!

When I talk about how well the Polaris 280 works, I am comparing it in my mind to all the other pressure side pool cleaners that are out there that I have dealt with in swimming pools throughout the years. If you read the previous section about repairs and thought that those estimates seemed expensive and short lived, you should see other brands and their quality/price! Trust me, the Polaris 280 is better.

It is also better when it comes to the way it cleans the pool and how much debris fits in it’s bag every week. The Polaris 280 gets stuck less often and in less places throughout your pool. There may be an occasional step or swimout corner that it hangs up in from time to time but I promise that compared to most other cleaners, this is very minimal.

The unit also has a very large opening at the bottom for the leaves and dirt to enter. The opening is larger and better shaped than it’s competitors for better suction at the bottom of the pool. I have even seen Barbie Dolls sucked up and inside the bag of the cleaner! The back of the bag near the zipper collects all of the small debris like sand and silt from the bottom of your pool. The rest of the bag collects larger debris like leaves. The bag is easy to remove with a quick release from the unit and a clip on the hose. There is a zipper at the back of the bag for easy emptying. Everything snaps back on and you are done in less than a minute. Do this at least once per week to help the bag last as long as possible. The bag will need to be replaced when it develops holes in it which is usually every 2 years. Making sure you always snap the clip from the bag to the hose of the Polaris 280 will help extend it’s life. If you don’t do this the bag can fall down to the wheels and get torn up when the unit turns back on the next day.

There are less expensive replacement bags available that are not made by Polaris but I never buy them. I have found that the material is not as good and does not last as long or pick up the same size particles and the original. I have also seen the Polaris 280 floating around the pool because air was trapped inside an after market non name brand bag replacement rendering the Polaris 280 ineffective. Here is the link to the correct Polaris 280 bag replacement on Amazon (less expensive than most pool stores).

The last reason is the great price!

The price versus what you get is in my mind a no brainer. The Polaris 280 is under $475 complete and should last you 15-20 years with only a couple hundred dollars of repairs possible in that time.

The Polaris 380 pool cleaner is almost $700. In my experience, you will repair this cleaner more often at a higher price for each repair. I have seen people put an additional $100 – $150 every 3-5 years just to keep this cleaner working well.

The Polaris 3900 Sport is almost $800 complete before mail in rebate and could cost you around $300 in repairs over the same 15-20 years. Here is a link to the current rebates available from Polaris. This unit is probably better than the Polaris 380 but still doesn’t compare in my mind to the Polaris 280. The fancy look and metal drive belt are not enough for me to spend more on this unit. I have this cleaner is a few of my pools and I think the Polaris 280 gets stuck less often and cleans better anyway.


What does “Pressure Side Pool Cleaner” mean?

For this cleaner to work in your pool you will need a booster pump. Click here to see what a booster pump looks like if you are unsure. The booster pump takes a small amount of water from your main pump while they both run. The small amount of water that goes through the booster pump is pressurized to make the Polaris 280 more powerful without needing so much water. This means that the rest of the water that your main pump is moving is available for regular circulation and general motion throughout your pool. This keeps your pool cleaner and helps prevent algae.

If you do not have a booster pump over there at your pool equipment pad, you will need to use a Polaris 360 or suction side pool cleaner depending on how your pool is plumbed. This can get a little complicated and it is probably best to send me a quick message and a few pictures (one of your equipment pad and one of your previous pool cleaner) so that I can help you choose the correct pool cleaner replacement. Please use the contact page on this website.

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