We have a 21,000 gallon pool. It’s wonderfully placed under a tree that seems to drop leaves and debris year round. And our gardeners seem to enjoy using a leaf blower to move dirt from walkways, decks and other surfaces and into our pool. Needless to say, our pool skimmer works extra hard getting all floating stuff off of the surface of our pool. But what about all that stuff that sinks to the bottom of the pool? Well, it often sits there, making a supposed-to-be pristine pool look dirty. Sure, I can occasionally scoop it out with a net. Or I can rely on my Polaris Pool Sweep. Until a few weeks ago, we were using a 10+ year old Polaris Vac-Sweep 280 – “it came with the house.” Now, the bottom of my pool is literally “sparkling” as I got an upgrade to the Polaris Vac-Sweep 3900 Sport, thanks to the kind folks at Polaris!
For the many years that I have had our home and in-ground pool, I have not really thought that much about the pressure-based pool cleaner. The 280 is a soldier. My kids affectionately nicknamed it “the whale” as it would swim around and occasionally spout out water above the surface. Day after day, it has been driving around the bottom of our pool sucking up leaves and other debris into the attached bag. I really haven’t done much to take care of it, with the exception of cleaning out the bag (and replacing the bag) and cleaning the pressure line filter. For the most part, it has simply been a solid performer.
Just a quick side note here, my pool cleaning service really likes the simplicity of the 280. It is easy to repair and it simply does the job.
But nothing lasts forever. I have no idea on the true age of my Polaris 280. It is at least 11.5 years old. It’s probably even older. While it seems to be doing ok using the pool pressure to essentially vacuum the bottom, it was starting to show it’s age. It was doing wheelies (which is correctable), and one of the wheels wasn’t turning (my pool service company was able to swap out the wheel which has gears on it). But around that time, I thought I would chat with the Polaris team to see what the latest and greatest pressure pool cleaner was. In the end, they sent me out the sleek, black Polaris Vac-Sweep 3900 Sport.
While the basic look (1 wheel on one side and multiple on the other) and the function (using the pool pressure to suck debris up into a bag as the sweep roams the bottom of the pool) are the same, there is definitely a difference between the Polaris Vac-Sweep 280 and the Polaris Vac-Sweep 3900 Sport.
There is a nice comparison tool on the Polaris site that allows you to see exactly what some of the differences are. Some that jump out between these two are # of jets (3 vs 2), the type of drive mechanism (all-wheel “PosiDrive” with stainless steel chain vs. “shaft drive”), the debris bag (dual chamber vs. single) and the TailSweep Pro (included vs. upgradeable).
That’s all well and good. But what does it mean to how the Polaris Vac-Sweep 3900 Sport works. Here’s my quick, two-word answer: amazingly well!
Here is my more lengthy reasoning as to why I think it works this well, and better than my tried-and-true 280.
Setting up the Polaris Vac-Sweep 3900 Sport
First, a couple of things to know. This pool sweep (and the 280) require a booster pump. This is what powers these vacuum-sweeps.
Second, you may need to trim the feed hose to match the size of your pool. As my pool is rather large, I was able to use it without cutting straight out of the box. Fully extended, the Polaris Vac-Sweep 3900 Sport reached opposite corners – the furthest points.
Lastly, you will need to check the RPMs of the wheels. If they are too fast or too slow, you may need to adjust the pressure of the water by either adding, removing or changing the included red or blue restrictors. Mine seems fine right out of the box but I will probably adjust it over time. Things that indicate the need for adjustment are: wheelies, the sweep getting hung up for more than 3 minutes on steps, the sweep not being able to back up, if it is running too slow or too fast, or if it is running in circles.
Once you get the Polaris Vac-Sweep 3900 Sport connected and running, you can just sit back and let this magical device clean your pool. Yes, you do have to clean the bag regularly and check the filters periodically as I mentioned, but that is much better than having to manually use a net to get all of the debris out.
Usage & Features of the Polaris Vac-Sweep 3900 Sport
I think it’s important to talk about some of the top-of-the-line features of the 3900 Sport. I mentioned them briefly earlier but after using this sweep for about a month, I’m finally learning more about.
Let’s start with the dual-chamber bag. Both on the 280 and on the 3900 Sport, the bags are removable. The big difference though is literally that – the 3900 Sport has a dual chamber bag which has a bigger volume = more debris collected. Also, I love how the dual chambers wrap around the hose. I could never figure out exactly how to attach the bag in the proper direction on the 280. Also, the dual-chamber bag has zippers instead of velcro, making it quite easy to empty.
The Polaris Vac-Sweep 3900 Sport really lives up to the “sport” name. For starters, it has a much sportier look, from the black hoses and body color to the wheels which almost look like they have fancy rims. Just the way sports cars have more powerful engines, the 3900 Sport also has an all-wheel drive system powered by a stainless steel drive chain which delivers 50% more torque than other models. It also has the most vacuum power of any of the Polaris 3-jets sweeps.
By the way, running a pool sweep actually increases the filtration system since it moves additional water (40 gallons per minute with the 3900 Sport) through a filter. And, after cleaning grit and sand from the bag and having to actually blow it out with a hose, I can attest to the fact that the Polaris Vac-Sweep 3900 Sport does filter out everything practically!
Remember I mentioned the nickname of our old sweep? My kids called it, the whale. Part of the reason for this was because the tail would come out of the water from time-to-time and shot water around the yard and deck. From my understanding after talking to our pool cleaning guy, this is a big complaint about pool sweeps in general. They seem to be super-charged squirt guns that get windows and decks all wet. Well, the Polaris Vac-Sweep 3900 Sport comes with something called the TailSweep PRO which does what the other tails do (get debris off the bottom and out of corners) but it doesn’t shoot water out of the pool. It’s true. I no longer hear the whale spouting off (only surfacing occasionally).
Oh, and may have to tweak the sweep hose to increase or decrease movement. And there is a thrust jet that can be adjusted to change climbing ability, for example.
Another nice little upgrade is with the In-Line Filter. Instead of it being hidden away in the hose connector (meaning you would have to unscrew the hose periodically to take out the filter trap), you can see the filter through a clear bubble which surrounds it. Much easier.
Investing in the cleanliness of your pool is important. Not only do pool sweeps get debris off of the bottom, preventing algae build-up and dark spots from forming, these sweeps also provide additional filtration for your pool, while saving your back and hands from having to sweep and skim debris from the bottom of your pool.
Our previous Polaris sweep, the Polaris Vac-Sweep 280 has lasted over 11 years (and probably could last even longer). That Sweep currently retails for about $600 (on Amazon for $438). It has paid for itself over the years. The top-of-the-line Polaris Vac-Sweep 3900 Sport retails for $900 (on Amazon for $899.00 currently). As this model is newer, the discounts you might get aren’t as high. But from having used the 3900 Sport and seeing that the bottom of my pool is SPOTLESS, only after running the sweep about 1-2 hours a day, I think it is a worthwhile investment.
Disclosure Text : I have a material connection because I received a gift, sample of a product or service, and/or monetary compensation for consideration in preparing to review the product/service and write this content. I was/am not expected to return this item or gift after my review period. All opinions within this article are my own and are typically not subject to the editorial review from any 3rd party. Also, some of the links in the post above may be “affiliate” or “advertising” links. These may be automatically created or placed by me manually. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item (sometimes but not necessarily the product or service being reviewed), I will receive a small affiliate or advertising commission. More information can be found in my About page.
HTD says: Our pool “whale” – the Polaris Vac-Sweep 3900 Sport is better looking and much more hungry for pool debris – our pool and us swimmers are much happier!
Our pool “whale” – the Polaris Vac-Sweep 3900 Sport is better looking and much more hungry for pool debris – our pool and us swimmers are much happier! While I dinged this a bit for the price point, simply because this is a pricey pool sweep, you have to remember that this IS the top-of-the-line Polaris vac-sweep. Other than regular cleaning, this sweep is truly a set it and forget it type of device. And it does a really good job of getting all of that bottom-dwelling debris to prevent your kids from freaking out seeing some sort of dark object sitting at the bottom of the pool.