I was hoping I could get some opinions from the members here on which robotic cleaner to buy -- Hayward TigerShark QC or Watertech Corp's Blue Diamond. Have also considered some Dolphin models, but not sure which one or how reliable they are). I can buy the Blue Diamond new from manufacturer for $795. I can get the TigerShark on the web for approx. $850 less a $100 rebate now. So they are very close in price. Tiger has 3 yr warranty. I think BD has 4 year warranty. Now the background.
I currently own a Blue Diamond that I bought from local pool store. I paid over 1,000 for it about 4 yrs ago (no longer in warranty) but I did so because they serviced the unit too. However, on my first failure (about a year in) they quit selling and servicing them because they had so many issues with them. So I had to ship the heavy unit to New Jersey for every repair. This has not been a pleasant ownership experience during those times. They sit on the repairs for weeks at a time. Once they sent it back saying nothing wrong with it and I had to resend it again immediately. They would 'fix' the item and it would work for 1-2 weeks, then break again. They broke a 3" hole in the power unit due to poor packaging when they shipped it back to me the last time and denied it too. It has broken about 4 or 5 times, mostly related to the drive mechanism, from what they told me. But this time it appears to be all power not working. I am truly fed up with their support, but that darn cleaner does such a good job when it works, which is the only reason, aside from price, that I am still considering them. Also, I'm wondering if they have improved the quality of their parts over the years so maybe the units breakdown less now.
My research has pointed me to a Hayward/AquaVac TigerShark QC if I want a good all-around cleaner that is reliable. With a company that big I must believe there are places locally that can repair it if something goes wrong so that I am not out of service 1-2 months at a time. Plus they appear to have pretty good reviews overall and I don't see a lot of posts about failures of the unit or horrible customer service.
My pool is in-ground, gunite/plaster, approx. 24,000 gallons, 4-8 foot depth, 15x38, Hayward sand filter.
I want a pool cleaner with the following priorities, in order:
1. Reliable and Quality parts so it doesn't break down every year
2. Less than $1,000
3. Easily serviceable - meaning available parts, good mfr support/customer service, quick repair turnaround, and local repair service ideally (metro-Atlanta)
4. Would like model that filters finely down to a few microns (like the BD did), and scrubs the floor, walls, and water/tile line (the BD only did parts of the waterline)
I don't think it unreasonable to expect an approx. $1,000 robotic cleaner to last at least 3-4 years before something major breaks. However, maybe my expectations are too high. Any advice you can offer is genuinely appreciated. I plan to pull the trigger on a purchase within the next few days after receiving some input. Also, if you can highly recommend another brand/model that meets my priorities above, I am open to that too.