Robotic Pool Cleaners

Polaris 380 vs 360- Which is the best pool cleaner?

Summers can be really harsh, especially in the Midwest, or in the far West, namely California and Nevada. Most homeowners prefer to invest in their own little pools at home, leveraging the benefits of swimming and finding smart ways to cope with the stress during the day. However, staying healthy also involves properly maintaining the pool to stay away from contracting recreational water illnesses. The best way to do that is by using a high-quality pool cleaner.

There is little doubt that the Polaris range of pool cleaners is some of the best in existence. This US-based company has managed to build a unique reputation during its 76 years of existence, forging their own path to become a driver of innovation and adventure to millions of people worldwide. Their vision to fuel the passion of workers, drivers, outdoor enthusiasts and homeowners has translated into 30+ high-end brands and thousands of unique products.

Even if Polaris is wildly popular for their off-road & snow vehicles, they are also extremely famous for their best-in-class automatic pool cleaners. Their pressure pool cleaners, robotic pool cleaners and pool accessories are specially designed to offer you a seamless pool cleaning experience.

When it comes to which is the best Polaris pool cleaner, we should clearly state from the outset that the 360 pool cleaner is a smarter choice, since it doesn’t require a booster pump. However, if you already have a booster pump, then the 380 pool cleaner is a better choice, due to its unique ability to clean the steps alongside the walls and floor.

You’ll probably agree that the debate between the top pool cleaners in 2021 is between the Polaris 360 pool cleaner and its counterpart. In this article, I will go ahead and compare Polaris pool cleaner models, offering you precious insights about how a Polaris pool cleaner works and giving you precious insights on the unique features of each unit in part.

Without further ado, let’s dive into this head-to-head Polaris pool cleaner model comparison.

Quick Overview of Polaris 360 Pool Cleaner

The 360 is a better, more efficient pool cleaner than its younger brother, the original 260 model. You can read a full review of the Polaris 360. When it comes to a Polaris pool cleaner 280 vs 360 direct confrontation, one has to admit that the latter is much better. 360 incorporates three turbojets instead of two, which was the norm for the original model. Additionally, it comes with a belt-drive mechanism, which is considered to be superior to a shaft drive.

So, is Polaris 360 better than 280? You can bet. The new model offers impressive capabilities, with advanced cleaning technology and cost reduction due to the booster pump. Additionally, it reduces maintenance time and cut costs by using a simpler drive system that has fewer moving parts. To top it all, the belt is also easier to change and the parts don’t wear out so often.

Quick Overview of Polaris 380 Pool Cleaner

The Polaris 380 automatic pool cleaner is the newest model from Polaris, featuring three turbojets for quicker movement and replacing the complicated shaft drive mechanism with a belted one. Just like the Polaris pool cleaner 360, this newer model has fewer cleaning parts and offers reduced wear and tear, with the belt being easier to replace and clean than the one used by the 280 model.

All of these means that you’ll be able to enjoy higher savings, especially as the initial price of the 380 is way higher than that of 280 or 360. Nevertheless, the performance of the 380 pool cleaner is exquisite. This model can remove debris from your pool in record time and can also clean your pool walls, floors, and steps.

Note that the 380 model is similar to the 280 model in that it requires the Polaris PB4 60 booster pump in order to work, while the Polaris pool 360 requires no booster pump.

Polaris 380 vs 360 – Face-to-Face Comparison

Now, after we’ve taken a glimpse at what each model has to offer, it’s time to put them to the test and see which one is actually better. I want to take into account all the features and specs of each model in order to come with a clear winner. At the end of this article, you’ll be able to pinpoint the best Polaris robotic pool cleaner out of these two and be able to make a well-informed decision regarding where to buy Polaris pool cleaner.

The Installation Pump Requirement

Any automated pool cleaner is powered by a pump. Before making a purchase, it’s vital to ascertain the compatibility of the device with your actual pool. Now, while some pool cleaners require an external pump, others have a built-in pump. What’s interesting is that the Polaris 360 pool vacuum, despite being released ahead of its 380 counterpart, does not require an external pump to run. Thus, if you already have a pump that works well with the Polaris pool cleaners, you’ll probably want to go with the 360.

The standard pump recommended by Polaris for their devices is the Polaris PB4 60 model, but you can always try something else or use your own pump.

Verdict: there is no actual battle here. The Polaris 360 cleaner is undoubtedly the winner in this regard, because it doesn’t require a booster pump. Even if it’s a little more expensive than the 280, it saves you the trouble of looking for a pump. Nevertheless, if you already have a Polaris PB4 60 pump or another pump that works with the Polaris 380 cleaner, you should probably consider buying this new model.


If performance is a key differentiator for other automatic pool cleaners out there, it’s not such an important aspect when it comes to Polaris 360 pressure side pool cleaner and its older brother. The reason is simple – these two devices were built using similar technologies and have taken the original high-quality Polaris 280 features.

Both devices have three turbines instead of two, which was the norm for the 280 pool cleaner. Thus, we can find improved performance for these models, higher speed, a more reliable cleaning process. Even if individual results may vary, we can state that both the Polaris 360 automatic pool cleaner and the Polaris 380 pressure side pool cleaner are high-performing devices that clean your pool very well.

At this point, you might be wondering how does a Polaris 360 pool cleaner works. In simple terms, the body of the cleaner is actually hooked to a hose, which in turn is attached to your water inlet return jet. Due to the high-water pressure, the cleaner is driven across the surface of your pool, which uses the sweep hose to blast the floors and walls of your pool with jets of water in order to loosen debris. The debris is collected by a skimmer bag which is placed at the end of the jet sweep hose, while small particles and sediments are captured by the filtration system.

The booster pump is used to enhance the filtration system and increase the water pressure, enabling the pool cleaner to move around easily and clean more effectively. For larger pools, a booster pump is mandatory. The great news is that the Polaris 360 pool cleaner floating does not require a booster pump, so you can use it in both large and small pools.


Both of these pool cleaners look similarly, since they are derived from the same original design of Polaris 280. They both look fairly good and have the same white & blue color scheme. One might easily confuse the 360 with the 380. There seems to be no cleaner winner between these two.


In terms of durability, we need to mention that both of these devices are constructed from the same high-quality materials. Both incorporate a belt-powered mechanism, instead of the original shaft. This improvement in the actual construction reduces the number of moving parts and makes the unit more durable overall.

Many users are curious how long do Polaris pool cleaners last. According to the manufacturer and to other reviewers, these devices can last up to 5 years without any problems. If properly maintained, you can enjoy your new Polaris 380 automatic pool cleaner with booster pump for over 7 years.

From a durability standpoint, both of these Polaris units are less complex, so they withstand the test of time. They can easily outlast other similar pool cleaners out there. Obviously, we can’t decide between a winner of these two, because both are highly durable and are made to last long in time. Thus, you can recoup the initial price investment in a very short span of time.

Cleaning Priority

When choosing to buy Polaris pool cleaner, it’s important to also take into account the cleaning priority. You need to think of where the device can actually clean. Do you need one to clean only the floor, or do you also need a throughout cleaning of the steps and walls?

In a head-to-head comparison, the Polaris vac sweep 360 pool cleaner falls back to its direct competitor, as it can only clean the floor and the walls. However, the 380 model is a top rated Polaris pool cleaner that can handle with ease any part of your pool, such as floor, walls and steps.

There is no doubt that the 380 model is more advanced than the 360, being able to clean all the areas of your pool.

Power & Propulsion Jets

One of the biggest differences between these two new Polaris units and the original one, the 280, is that they have three propulsion jets instead of two. The more propulsion jets a cleaner has, the faster cleaning and better coverage it has.

Almost all Polaris 380 pool cleaner reviews and Polaris 360 reviews outline the three venturi jets that propel these two devices. If power is important to you, the great news is that you can choose either one of these two. Just make sure you don’t go with the original Polaris 280, since you might be slightly disappointed.

Vacuum Opening

Pool cleaners work by sucking up the dirt via a vacuum opening. The size of the actual vacuum inlet determines the amount of the dirt and debris that can be sucked at once point. What you want at this point is a larger vacuum inlet that can capture as much debris as possible.

Unfortunately, both the Polaris vac-sweep 360 and the Polaris vac sweep 380 pool cleaner have a smaller vacuum opening than the original 280 cleaner. The 280 vac sweep pool cleaner has an opening of 2 ½”, while the newer models both have an inlet of 2 ¼”. These pressure side devices are quite a disappointment in this regard.

However, note that this is not the most important aspect of a pool cleaner. Overall, both the 360 and 380 are much better than the original 280.

Drive Mechanism

Another interesting difference between these new models and the original 280 is the drive mechanism. Again, no winner here between 360 and 380, because they both feature an upgraded drive mechanism. The classic three-wheels that was used in the 280’s shaft mechanism has been replaced by a belt drive, four-wheel system in the 360.

This new all-wheel belt-drive system comes as a great enhancement over the previous model, enabling the cleaner to move freely underwater and stuck less often than the original one. In terms of drive mechanism and versatility, the 360 is similar to 380, both being much better than the 280. However, if you really want a top-performance cleaner that is equipped with an all-wheel PosiDrive system featuring WideTrax tires and stainless steel chain, you should try out the Polaris 3900 Sport.

Backup Valve

When it comes to maintenance of a pool cleaner, you need to realize that these units are not invincible. In order to prolong their lifespan, the manufacturer has equipped each one with a backup valve. The back up valve frees the cleaner in case it gets stuck accidentally.

Now, the Polaris 360 pool sweep is equipped with a lower quality valve than the one available on the Polaris vac sweep 380 pressure pool cleaner. The latter’s valve is round, with a dual-role: to free the unit when it gets stuck and to provide additional power for climbing up steps.

When it comes to the differences between Polaris 360 and 380, a notable one is this valve. The 380 is definitely the winner here, as it has a bigger, upgraded valve.


When looking to buy the best pool cleaner for your needs, maintenance plays a key role in the grand scheme of things. You definitely want to purchase a product that won’t take too much of your time and will continue to work flawlessly without investing a lot of money in its maintenance.

Both 360 and 380 have many parts, so the maintenance might seem quite a tedious task. However, Polaris 360 pool sweep has its own filter bag, so it can capture the larger debris, putting less strain on the actual filter. Its older brother, the 380 pool cleaner, also has an incorporated filter bag, but it requires an external booster pump.

Overall, because of the lack of internal pump, the 380 has a slight advantage when it comes to maintenance. Of course, both of these devices are much easier to maintain than the original 280 due to the enhanced drive system and easier-to-replace belt.

The Price

This is probably the most important factor when it comes to deciding between Polaris 360 and 380. If you’re wondering how much does a Polaris pool cleaner cost, you need to know that the odds favor the 360.

If you want to buy Polaris 380 pool cleaner, know that you’ll also need to buy a booster pump to supplement your pool’s pre-built circulation system. That pump alone could cost you up to $300  on top of the pool cleaner itself. However, the cheapest Polaris 360 pool cleaner does not require any external pump, and it’s already less expensive than the 380.

The winner here is definitely 360, who is a great all-around choice for pool owners who do not need to clean their pool steps or don’t have any. By the way, if you’re looking for the best price on Polaris 360 pool cleaner, look no further and click here to buy the official Polaris 360. .

Major Features and Specs

Both of these devices boast numerous features and specs that are quite similar. Both the 360 and 380 models have a three-wheel design, incorporating three turbojets. Both feature an UV-body construction that is durable to sun and heat. Both have a backup valve, a sweep hose tail, are compatible with the TailSweep Pro.

Nevertheless, the two major differences between these two is that the Polaris 360 can function without a booster pump, but it can only handle the floors and the walls of your pool, while the Polaris 380 can successfully clean all of your pool, including walls, floors, and steps.

Which is better Polaris 280 or 380?

While both of these pool cleaners are amazing choices, I would recommend going for the Polaris 360 pressure side pool cleaner. This is a cheaper option that works just as well as its older brother. However, you should go for the Polaris 380 automatic pool cleaner if you already have a booster pump at your disposal.

So, what is the best Polaris pool cleaner available today? Whichever suits your needs is the best buy in your case.

Click here for the Polaris 380

Click here for the Polaris 360

About the author


Just an average gal trying to deliver the best tips and reviews to make your life easier with home robotic automation products. I love providing information to make life easier. Hope it helps!

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