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Thread: Hayward TigerShark vs WaterTech Blue Diamond - Need to make a decision quickly

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    Hayward TigerShark vs WaterTech Blue Diamond - Need to make a decision quickly

    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.

    Thank you.

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    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Ellington, CT

    Re: Hayward TigerShark vs WaterTech Blue Diamond - Need to make a decision quickly

    Ryan, I think your expectation are too low. I have a AquaVac TigerShark QC. Got it from the pool builder as part of my pool package. I'm into my 9th season with it, so of course it was manufactured by AquaVac prior to them being bought out by Haywood. My season last between mid May through mid September and i usual throw it into the pool once a week, sometimes twice early in the season. Base on that utilization rate here's a list of the problems that I had over the nine seasons;

    • Exhaust Impeller - one of the blades broke off. I'm assuming that a small rock got sucked up through it.

    That's it, so I can't answer anything about customer service or the availability of local repair shops since I never had any need for them. I replaced the broken impeller myself after getting a new one on line. There are plenty of sources on line for parts, as I have order spare filter elements, a filter cartridge and wheel roller brushes over the years. Here's one place I use:
    30,000 gal, 20 x 40 ft vinyl, IG, installed 2006
    1 HP WhisperFlo pump, 60 sqft Pentair Quad D.E., Liquidator(8 gallon) with 3/8 upgrade, AquaVac TigerShark cleaning robot
    TFTestkits TF-100 with SpeedStir, WS
    A proud practitioner of TFP since 2013

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    Divin Dave's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Longview, Texas

    Re: Hayward TigerShark vs WaterTech Blue Diamond - Need to make a decision quickly

    TigerShark has a pretty good rep.

    The dolphins are also very popular and the quality is A1 with very few complaints.
    The Dolphin Triton would comparable in price to the TigerShark.

    generally speaking, the Dolphins dont have warranty if purchsed online, but that depends on who you get it from.
    If you buy a Dolphin online from EpicPoosSupply, you can maintain the warranty. (there may be other dealers that offer the warranty also, but I dont know specifically which ones). Love my dolpin nautilus!
    Divin Dave,
    IG Vinyl, 15' x 30', 3 1/2' - 6' deep, Oval, ~15K gal, Intelliclor IC40, Intelliflo VS pump, Clean and Clear 420 Filter, auto-fill-disabled, Retrofit LED Color Light, Dolphin Nautilus Robot, TF100 Test Kit, Taylor K1766 Salt Test Kit, Tftestkit Pressure Gauge. Experience- it's what's learned just after you needed it most !!

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    Re: Hayward TigerShark vs WaterTech Blue Diamond - Need to make a decision quickly

    I wanted to thank you both for your input. I ended up buying the Tiger Shark QC. The biggest factor in buying the TS over the Dolphins had to do with warranty/support. As I researched the warranty on Dolphins it looked like it would be covered if I bought at Epic, but it would only be covered by the service center they work with, instead of the manufacturer (unless I read it wrong). While that would be OK, I was hoping not to have to ship a cleaner back and forth for repair if required, because of the time delays and shipping costs. Otherwise it seemed either choice would be good. The TS can be fixed by local repair shops and had a good reputation. I was going to buy at a bricks & mortal dealer, but they all wanted approx $400 more than it could be bought for online, so that just didn't make sense. Plus I learned my lesson the hard way last time when I paid extra for my BD to buy at brick & mortar dealer, and they quit supporting it a month after I bought it and were of no help at all with my warranty repair claims.

    So I've had the TS less than 24 hours, but have tested it twice already. It took only about 15 minutes to read through manual/instructions and was very straight-forward. So I got it into the pool immediately and set it to work to pick up 6 weeks of crud. It was mostly a lot of dead algae, calcium-hypo deposits, and some misc leaves and other debris. I ran the first cleaning on the "full cycle" so that I could fully see how it works. It's supposed to run 3 hours and I think that was correct. After the 1st cycle the pool was about 95% or more clean. I was very impressed by that, as it was really dirty. I removed the filter and found that it really dirty, but still had additional capacity to pick up more. It was very easy to remove the filters and clean them under the spigot and then replace them again to start the next cycle. Below are some things I noticed and some comparisons to the Blue Diamond.

    1) The BD is definitely faster than the TS. BD cleans in 90 minutes and moves faster. However, I am fine with a 3 hour cycle, as it allows additional filtering of the water. Note I have not tried the Quick Clean 1 hour cycle yet, because I think it does only the floor area (and I needed everything scrubbed well this time).

    2) I believe they both clean effectively and to about the same degree -- it's just the BD does it faster. Also, I think the BD may be a little "smarter" than the TS, though the TS hasn't really had time to learn my pool yet (if what they say is true). This is hard to explain, but the BD just seems a little more determined about where it's going, and figures out when it needs to change more quickly. The TS does more short start/stops and gets a little confused when it hits a barrier and will just keep trying for a while until it finally gives up. The BD always figured it out more quickly and moved on to another area. Both climb walls effectively. The BD would occasionally clean the bottom step, but I haven't seen the TS do it yet, but then it's only been one day, so the jury's out on that. But frankly, I don't expect a cleaner to do that.

    3) I think the design of the TS looks better than the BD and appears better engineered and more solid overall. Some parts on the BD were down right cheap and poorly conceived -- like the mesh plastic cage that sits between the filter bag chambers. It never fit right and always popped off. Also the BD tabs at the bottom quit working effectively after about 1 year and when debris was in the basket it would pop open the tabs and come partly out. I replaced my tabs and it worked better, but still not great. The company told me they have since changed that design to be better. The TS's tabs have a superior sliding design that keeps it snugly attached.

    4) The inlet ports on the TS are a bit smaller when you attach that piece they include with it. However, if I ran it without that piece attached, the inlet port would be larger than the BD. I'm just not sure if I'm supposed to do that, though I don't see a reason not to. As an example, I had a couple of rectangular 1" x 4" pieces of coping tile fall off this year. The BD picked them up. The TS tried, but couldn't get them in all the way. It would fit if I removed that attachment though.

    5) So far I prefer the TS cartridge filter over the BD filter bag. They both seem to filter very well, but the cartridge is a bit easier to clean than the bag. However, I will not knock the BD filter bag. It has been very durable (never replaced in about 4 years), held a lot of debris, and earned its keep. So this item is just your preference either way.

    6) I like the design of the controller unit better on the TS. The BD was bigger and hard to plug & twist the 4 prongs into it. TS has two cycles available on it (BD had one), and is easier to plug in 2-prong connector, and seems sturdier. The BD's controller was broken by the manufacturer once when they were attempting to fix it and they didn't even bother to repair it, so shipped it back to me with a gaping 3" hole in the plastic where the cord connected. Another difference is that the TS has a "manual" on/off switch , which is a little confusing. The BD had on & off buttons and would auto-power off when done. The TS auto-powers off too, but it leaves the toggle-switch in the "on" position, which is a bit confusing. They say to manually turn it off when done to be safe. Just seems like a weird design.

    7) The rollers/scrubbers are very different. My suspicion is that the BD rollers may be more effective than the TS, but I can't prove that yet. The BD uses a special, very sturdy foam roller that holds about 10 gallons of water! I mean they are nearly impossible to squeeze dry. But mine had held up very well and they have full contact to the surface all the time (since they are smooth). The TS uses a vinyl/rubber kind of roller with "fins" on it. So while they both seem to perform OK, I think the BD's may actually get into the plaster a little deeper to pull small stuff out. I can't prove that though.

    8) Water line scrubbing goes to the TS. Neither goes to the water line all the time, but when the TS goes there, it stays their a lot longer than the BD ever did, so it seems to be quite effective that way.

    Lastly, I wanted to point out that for the first few years I used a Polaris 280 with booster pump to clean my pool. The difference between that and the robots is night & day. The robots truly filter your water, the polaris is good if you had a bunch of larger debris in. But it also drove up electric costs with that booster pump going, and the pump was a bit on the noisy side, and it always sits inside your pool. Plus you have to change wheels, filter bags, tail pieces, etc quite frequently to keep it going and that's not cheap either. Also, it used to get stuck on my ladder sometimes and it's tail could drain 2+ inches of water out of the pull before I caught it. So I just wanted to make that point aware to anyone who's looking at a system like that. I just never really warmed up to it.

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    Mod Squad JVTrain's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Central Minnesota

    Re: Hayward TigerShark vs WaterTech Blue Diamond - Need to make a decision quickly

    My oldie TigerShark is still running today. I inherited it from previous owners. Still not sure of its age. I'd suspect it's at least 8 years old and still does well. Granted our pool season is only 4-5 months long but pretty good durability. All I've had to do so far to get it running and climbing walls properly is replace the high velocity inlet (which was missing when inherited) and deep clean the filters by soaking overnight in dishwasher soap and rinsing. Before next year, I'll want to replace the rubber brushes though. Getting a bit worn/deformed but that's likely due to previous owner's poor storage.
    Joel - TFP Moderator - Minnesota - **Become a TFP Supporter!** Helpful Links: ABCs of Pool Water Chemistry - SLAM Procedure - Chlorine/CYA Chart
    40x20 Pool: 32K Gallons * Vinyl * Bleach Chlorination * Hayward S270T Sand Filter * Pentair SuperFlo 1 HP * Teledyne/Laars Heater * AquaVac Tigershark * TF-100 w/ SpeedStir
    Isolated Spa - 345 Gallons

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