Polaris 280 vs 380: Which One’s Best?

Last Updated: June 15, 2021

Left: Polaris 280, Right: Polaris 380

At first blush, you’d suppose {that a} comparability and distinction between Polaris’ 280 and 380 strain aspect pool cleaners can be a no brainer. The 380 is a more moderen model of the 280, and the 280 remains to be an ideal product line. So except the folks at Polaris misplaced their minds, it must be an enchancment, proper? Sure. But there’s a catch, and the selection isn’t practically as straightforward because it may appear.

We nonetheless give the nod to the 380. But there’s one distinction between the 2 that almost reversed our resolution.

A Sneak Peek on the Winner: Polaris 380


Best Overall

Polaris 380

Polaris 380
  • Superior cleansing
  • Fast
  • Climbs properly

  • Runner-Up

    Polaris 280

    Polaris 280
  • Fast
  • Wide inlet
  • What are the variations between them?


    Edge: 380

    The Polaris 280 is quick. The 380 is simply as quick. The Polaris can decide up a large assortment of junk. The 380 can clear up junk practically as large. The 280 has two jet nozzles to push it across the pool and assist it go up and down like a lizard climbing the aspect of a home. The Polaris 380 has three jets, which helps it transfer quicker and grip tighter when it climbs.

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    Big Edge: 280

    Both strain aspect pool cleaners require a booster pump for correct operation. That will add one other few hundred bucks to an already actually excessive price ticket. Cleaner-to-cleaner, nevertheless, the 280 is solely lots inexpensive than the 380. If you’re already investing the cash in an inground pool, the distinction may not be all that noticeable to you. But if you happen to have a look at the 2 aspect by aspect, the distinction is fairly clear.

    We had been tempted to name the competition for the 280 primarily based on the value distinction.  But ultimately, we really feel that almost all pool homeowners wouldn’t actually discover the additional prices and that the added extras most likely pay for themselves.

    cleaning leaves underwater


    Edge: None

    The solely distinction in sturdiness is that the Polaris 280 operates on a shaft drive mechanism. The 380 converted to a belted system. In concept, that ought to imply fewer transferring elements and, since rubber belts are cheaper than metallic gears, cheaper alternative elements. In actuality, neither represents any clear long-term benefit in sturdiness.


    Edge: 380

    As talked about with regard to sturdiness, the Polaris 380 has a belted drive mechanism whereas the 280 has a shaft drive. While that doesn’t ship apparent tangible outcomes, it’s additionally merely a greater design. We’d add to this that the 380 additionally has three jet nozzles as an alternative of two, which permits it to maneuver extra robustly across the pool. That’s a tangible distinction in design.

    Quick Rundown of the Polaris 280:

    Polaris Vac-Sweep 280 Pressure Side Pool Cleaner

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    Tried and true, quick and efficient, the Polaris stays a very talked-about mannequin for strain aspect pool cleaners. It can clear most swimming pools in lower than three hours and it does an ideal job. It’s designed for a protracted life—its personal and your pool’s pump. By utilizing strain already pushed by the pump on the outbound aspect of the circulation cycle, it reduces pressure in your pump. It additionally has a bag to filter out particles earlier than it will get into the cleaner itself.

    Additionally, it has a barely wider inlet and might decide up particles ranging in measurement from grains of sand to acorns. It can climb partitions and clear these in addition to the ground.

    For our functions right here, what was once a major dragging level—its value—turns into a promoting level. True, it nonetheless requires a booster pump, which might bump up the already excessive prices even greater. But the 380 additionally wants a booster pump, and that cleaner is already much more costly than the 280.


    • Needs booster pump
    • Shaft drive mechanism
    • Two jets

    Quick Rundown of Polaris 380:

    Polaris Vac-Sweep 380

    An upgraded mannequin of the Polaris 280, the 380 has three jet nozzles as an alternative of two. This offers the cleaner a greater grip whereas transferring throughout flooring, whereas climbing, and in accessing the realm round stairs. This is one thing that the 280 lacks. It’s additionally acquired a belt pushed mechanism, which is easier to function and keep, and an inline backup function that forestalls it from getting piled right into a nook till it’s rescued. We additionally just like the Ziploc-style particles bag.

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    What practically prompted us to have a stroke was the value markup. This one is pricey—made extra so by the truth that it’s important to purchase a booster pump on high of what you’re already paying. That’s expense on high of expense. If you’ve already invested a ton of cash in your pool, you may not discover the distinction. But if you happen to’re a frugal spender, you might need a stroke.


    • Superior cleansing
    • Fast
    • Climbs properly
    • Better design


    • Really, actually, actually costly


    It was a tighter competitors than we anticipated, however we tip our hat to the Polaris 380 because the superior of the 2. It may be actually costly in comparison with the Polaris 280, however these added options compensate for the a lot greater price. It delivers extra full cleansing. Let’s face it, if you happen to’re paying some huge cash for a pool cleaner, you really need the whole pool cleaned and never simply the half that the cleaner can get to. It’s additionally acquired a couple of different built-in extras that make it an ideal funding that may serve your wants for years to come back.

    Truthfully, each of those fashions are actually good pressure side pool cleaners and also you couldn’t go unsuitable both approach. But, primarily based on our evaluation, we come down on the aspect of the Polaris 380.

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