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Polaris 280 vs 380 Review

Are you in the market for a new pool cleaner? You are probably familiar with two of the biggest contenders: the Polaris 289 and the Polaris 380.

Robotic pool cleaners have flooded the market so it’s often easy to overlook the tried and true pressure side models. They are low-tech, efficient, and easy to operate.

Polaris stands out as a leader in pressure side pool cleaners. Without a doubt, the Polaris 280 is very similar to the 380 so you are probably confused about which one to purchase. Keep reading to learn more about the two.


Polaris 380
Our rating:4.1 out of 5 stars (4.1 / 5)


Polaris 280
Our rating:4.1 out of 5 stars (4.1 / 5)

Comparing The Polaris 280 Vs 380

In this article, you will learn about the differences between the Polaris 280 vs. 380. Please continue reading to learn about the differences so you can make an educated decision on which pool cleaner best fits your unique needs.

At first look, you’ll see that very little distinguishes the Polaris 380 from the Polaris 280. They look exactly the same. You’ll see the same wheels and an identical chamber debris bag.

The two Polaris models must have a booster pump, which is an added expense because you must purchase it separately.

You can use the TailSweep Pro attachments on both cleaners. These include a 31-foot hose that uses a 1 ½ pressure inlet.

Polaris 280 vs 380 Review

The Features Of The Polaris 280 And The Polaris 300

These two cleaners are both ground pool cleaners that fit all types of pool surfaces so you are probably pondering the differences. Please keep reading to learn more in-depth information about each pool cleaner.

You are probably scratching your head and wondering what exactly is the difference. Well, the Polaris 380 is considered an upgrade to the 280. The exterior is the same but the interior differs.


Comparing Power Between The Polaris 280 And The Polaris 380

You’ll notice a difference between the two models in the jet power. The Polaris 280 has two vacuum jets and the Polaris 380 has three jets that are powered by belt driven wheels. The added jets provide better performance.

The Polaris 280 cleans in three hours and the Polaris 380 cleans in two and a half hours. The 380 saves you about 15 hours of cleaning time every year which means savings on your energy bill.

Without a doubt, the Polaris 380 is stronger and offers greater cleaning efficiency. It circulates the water in the pool with ease. The suction sucks up leaves, grains, and gravel.

Despite the suction power of the 380 pool cleaner, the Polaris 280 has the ability to collect even larger debris. The pressure on the motor of the 280 is far less which means it will probably last longer and require less maintenance than the 380.

Moving Parts And Potential Breakdown

The Polaris 280 is a simpler machine than the 380, but this does not make it subpar. It is actually very durable with fewer moving parts so there is less chance of it breaking down.

Also, the Polaris 280 does not depend on belts. The belts of the Polaris 380 can break and require changing. However, the belt only takes about 30 minutes to install but is an added expense that requires time combined with technical know-how.


Comparing Filter Bags Between Polaris 280 vs. 390

The filter bag of the Polaris 280 is significantly larger than the 380 so requires less changing. Please remember that removing the bag is not easy and requires the removal of the engine from the pool so the less you need to clean the bag the better.

One perk of the 380’s bag system is that it has the EX bag filter connector which is simple and efficient which makes changing a breeze.

The Tail Of The Polaris 380 And The Polaris 280

The 380’s tail is five inches longer than the 280. This feature in the 380 is great if you have a large pool because it reaches further than the 280. This might be a big consideration if you have a larger pool.


Polaris Vac-Sweep 380 Pressure Side Pool Cleaner

You might think that the Polaris Vac-Sweep 380 pressure side pool cleaner is a step above the Polaris 280, but this is not necessarily true. They are both unique pressure side pool cleaners that have their pros and cons.

The Polaris 380 features triple jets that maximize the vacuum power so your cool gets cleaned quicker. Your pool will look pristine. It will vacuum, scrub, and even sweep the bottom and walls of the pool with ease.

The motor of the Polaris 380 is belt driven, which gives it more power and makes cleaning efficient. It takes two and a half hours to clean a standard pool.

It comes equipped with a single chamber filter back. There is also a 21-foot feed hose with a vacuum inlet of 2/ ¼ inches.

If you have a dark bottom pool, then this model is available in Black Max. The color blends in so you won’t even notice the side cleaner.

The Polaris 380 has the ability to pick up heavy debris. It also features the EZ bag filter connector.

The tail of the Polaris 380 is five inches longer. The extra length makes it a favorite for larger pools.


  • Triple jets for added power.
  • Belt driven for power and speed.
  • Single chamber filter back.
  • EZ bag filter connector.
  • Long tail for greater reach.
  • Powerful enough to pick up large debris.


  • Difficult time filtering fine debris.
  • Bag falls off.
  • Throat of bag becomes clogged easily.

Polaris Vac-Sweep 280 Pressure Side Pool Cleaner

Many consider the Polaris 280 a step down from the 380. However, its simplicity is appealing because it is easier to maintain with fewer parts but still gets the job done efficiently.

The Polaris 280 has twin jets so lacks a little less power than the 380, but it is still sufficient enough to get the job done.

The bag is larger so will hold more debris. It is also easier to change than the 380.

Unlike the 380. There are no belts to break on the 280.

Overall, the 280 takes approximately 15 minutes than the 389 to clean a standard pool.

The Polaris 280 is available in Black Max which is wonderful, for dark pools. It comes with 31- feet of feed hose which is five inches shorter than the 380. Nonetheless, the five inches is not that much of a difference.

The vacuum inlet is 2.25 inches which are comparable to the 380. The smaller size means both units can easily become clogged if you do not monitor the situation.


  • No belts so less likely to break or require maintenance.
  • Comes with 31 feet of hose.
  • Easily filters out fine debris.


  • Company fails to stand behind the unit.
  • Often becomes clogged.


Are you on the fence about which pool cleaner to buy? Please keep reading to learn our opinion.

When comparing the Polaris 280 vs 380 please remember that if you have a larger pool then the 380 will serve you better because of the added tail and the extra jet for great suction.

However, if you have a standard sized pool and you don’t mind waiting an extra 15 minutes for the cleaner to finish the job then the Polaris 280 is your best choice because it is easier to maintain, has a larger bag, picks up fine particles, and is far less likely to break.

The Polaris 380 does not beat the 280 on very many factors. Sure it has a bit more suction and a longer tail, but that’s it. The unit is harder to maintain then the 290 and the belt driven device is far more likely to break down by requiring frequent belt changes.

Honesty, your best bet is the Polaris 280. It functions like a dream, gets the job done efficiently, doesn’t break down, and is easy to maintain.

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