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Polaris 360 vs 380: Which One’s Best?

Polaris 360 vs 380
Polaris 360 vs 380
Polaris took its highly popular, successful 280 pressure side pool cleaner and split it off into two different tool lines: the 360 and the 380. The 380 is basically the 280 but with three jets instead of two, which makes for faster, more complete cleaning. They also added a few hundred dollars to the price tag. On top of that, you’ll also have to buy a separate booster pump. You had to do that with the 280, also.

You don’t need a booster pump with the 360, making it several hundred dollars cheaper than the 380. The 380 also replaced the shaft-drive mechanism with a belted on for greater reliability, longer life, and easier swap out of parts when things get worn out.

For what you are paying overall for a pool in installation and maintenance costs, the cost difference isn’t really all that great. But, there’s no need to spend that kind of money if you don’t need to, and the difference in price is combined with easier maintenance and upkeep. For those reasons, we give our nod to the Polaris 360.

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Quick Comparison of Polaris 360 & 380

Image Product Details
With Booster Pump Polaris 380 Polaris 380
  • Great cleaning
  • Fast performance
  • Easier maintenance
  • Best Value Polaris 360 Polaris 360
  • More affordable
  • Easier to maintain
  • Great cleaning
  • What Are The Differences Between Them?

    Performance

    No edge

    While both are built from Polaris’ very successful, popular 280 design, both had built into them three turbojets instead of two. This improved performance overall for the line, improving speed and quality of cleaning. Both come with that innovation on the same successful frame. While individual results might vary, as a whole both of them perform at largely the same high level.

    Price

    Big edge: 360

    The edge here isn’t just because the Polaris 360 is less expensive than the Polaris 380, which it is by a good chunk. Both cleaners are pressure side cleaners, which as a rule require a booster pump to supplement your pool’s built-in circulation system. That pump costs a few hundred dollars on top of the cleaner itself, so to get an accurate idea of how much both will cost, you need to add that in. In this case, the Polaris 360 doesn’t need the booster pump, so you don’t need to factor in that additional cost. It was already less expensive, and accounting for that makes it much less expensive.

    Durability

    No edge

    Both pool cleaners are built from the same basic Polaris 280 frame and all things being equal would be equally durable. Both incorporate a different drive mechanism, going from a shaft to a belt. That reduces the number of moving parts and also the difficulty in replacing worn-out components. This is a great innovation from a durability standpoint because in general things that are simpler tend to outlast things that have more complicated operations.

    Design

    No edge

    Both pool cleaners are derived from the same basic frame, Polaris’ very popular, successful 280. Both incorporate three turbojets instead of two for superior speed and cleaning. Both also replace the shaft drive mechanism with a belt drive, which makes for simpler operation and easier replacement of worn-out parts. Neither gets a leg-up in this category.

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    Quick Rundown of Polaris 360:

    Polaris Vac-Sweep 360

    Polaris followed on with its popular, successful 280 pressure-side pool cleaner with two new lines that incorporated three turbojets instead of two, and a belt-drive mechanism instead of a shaft drive. With the one, they also got rid of the need to use a booster pump to move the thing. The result is significant upfront savings since the booster pump itself costs a few hundred dollars. It also cut maintenance time and costs, by going to a simpler drive system with fewer moving parts. Fewer moving costs mean fewer moving parts to wear out, and the belt is easier and cheaper to replace than a complicated shaft drive.

    Pros
    • Fast
    • More affordable
    • Easier to maintain
    • Great cleaning
    Cons
    • Pricey replacement parts

    divider 4

    Quick Rundown of Polaris 380:

    Polaris Vac-Sweep 380

    The Polaris 380 incorporates three turbojets for faster movement and more serious cleaning than the 280, the design upon which it is based, and it replaces the complicated, pricey shaft drive mechanism with a belted one. That’s fewer moving parts for reduced wear-and-tear from operation, and the belt is easier and cheaper to replace than the shaft drive. You will want those savings because the upfront purchase price of the 380 is enough to induce a cardiac arrest. Every little bit in the long run to recoup those costs is great. Still, if you only have three hours to get your pool cleaned, this one’s performance might be worth the price.

    Pros
    • Great cleaning
    • Fast performance
    • Easier maintenance
    Cons
    • Expensive

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    Conclusion

    Both of these are really good pool cleaners and in actuality, the difference between the two is a matter of small degrees. Both are built from a very successful design of pressure side pool cleaners and the changes made improved that design’s overall performance. This is useful context to keep in mind when we get into what separates the two and points in one direction.

    The big thing is the price difference. Purchasing a Polaris 360 is just simply a lot less expensive. The actual cleaner is cheaper than the 380. On top of it, you don’t need to purchase a booster pump, which costs a few hundred dollars, as you do with the Polaris 380. Contextually, the difference is pretty small in terms of what a pool will cost you in construction and annual operating and maintenance costs, but from an immediate standpoint, it’s still a lot of money.

    It’s not that significant a difference when you figure it into just how much money a pool costs. It’s a giant, ongoing investment. On the other hand, little differences add up to big expenses. Save some money here, save some there, and eventually you’ve got a trim, tight operation where you only spend what you need to and still get maximized performance. We’re big fans of that, so we give our nod to the Polaris 360.

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