It’s great to own a pool. It’s also wonderful to be able to invite friends and family over, if only…it wouldn’t be such a hassle to maintain that sparkling fresh and inviting look.
Are you a new homeowner and realized pretty quickly what a time-consuming job pool maintenance is if done manually?
If you have trees close to the pool they do add a nice natural feeling to the pool area but with them come also a lot of leaves, petals and perhaps even seeds like acorns ending up in the pool. And you could think of more rewarding ways to spend your time than cleaning the pool bottom.
Over the years, the Tiger Shark models have earned a good reputation for fairly priced, reliable automatic pool cleaner. In this review, we are looking at which kind of pools these can clean, how long it takes, how good they are and what to look out for in this particular model.
Let’s find out if the Tiger Shark QC could become your new best cleaning friend.
Is this cleaner right for your pool?
Designed for residential pools the manufacturer recommends this for pool sizes of up to 20’ by 40’. If your pool is slightly over this or has an irregular shape it will still work. It might mean, that you have to let it run twice for the best result.
If your pool is slightly longer than this make sure you let the robot start cleaning in the middle of the pool, ensuring the on-board smart computer can map it all and there is about 25’ worth of cable available for each side.
TigerShark happily cleans every kind of surface you would usually find in a pool: gunite, painted concrete, tiles, vinyl or pebble.
Just make sure you use the foam instead of rubber rollers if you have a fiberglass or a tiled pool. That way unit has enough traction to climb walls and steeper inclines.
Vinyl pools sometimes have wrinkles on the liner bottom – if yours has those, don’t worry the machine will just roll over them.
A neat feature of the TigerShark is the smart on-board computer. Not only does it map the shape and size of the pool, but it also calculates the most efficient and fastest way to get everything cleaned, especially in full mode.
The computer also maps everything for the Quick Clean mode, but with less time available there is a chance that the sides or steps don’t get cleaned as well.
Does the unit clean pool steps?
Yes and no. The manufacturer Hayward doesn’t make any claims that the device will clean steps. However, the bot can certainly climb walls and onto steps, but results vary from pool to pool. It seems some combinations of step shape and size don’t work as well as others reliably.
The worst that can happen is that the cleaner misses a few spots or doesn’t climb to the top step, especially if the water is very shallow there. In that case, it’s best to spend a minute or two sweeping these and brushing debris and dirt into the pool before starting the machine.
Power Supply Safety – Important!
The power supply box (included) needs to be placed at least 10 feet away from the pool edge. So make sure you have a power outlet close enough to the pool, about 12 to 13 feet away would be ideal.
The length of the standard cleaner cable is 55 feet.
What’s in the box? Is the power supply included?
- Pool cleaner with filters inserted
- Transformer/ Power supply box
- Two power cords (55’ and 3’ in length)
- Quick start guide
- Venturi restrictor plates (a simple plate or disk to regulate water flow out of the cleaner on top of the TigerShark; goes underneath the Venturi Assembly)
- High-velocity inlet adapter (as the name suggests this can be placed on the slots where leaves and dirt are being sucked in, increasing the velocity or speed of water flow in this area – to help keep the machine from getting stuck on raised main drains)
The box includes the transformer/ power supply. The cord of the cleaner unit plugs into the transformer/power supply and this is then connected to a 110V AC outlet. The cable between the power supply box and outlet is about 3’ long ensuring that the power supply box stays close to the power outlet, away from the pool.
The cord feeding the pool cleaner is 55’ long – long enough for most residential pools.
How does a Tiger Shark pool cleaner work?
This pool vacuum operates independently from your pool’s main filtration system. The robot houses everything it needs for its cleaning mission in the unit itself: the vacuum pump, filter cartridge, on-board computer, scrubbing rollers.
Once power outlet, power supply box (transformer) and cleaner robot are connected the vacuum is lowered into the pool and switched on.
You can now leave it unsupervised as it goes about calculating the most efficient way to clean the whole of the pool including the bottom, walls, coves, and the waterline. After either three hours of work in Full mode or 90 min in Quick Clean mode, the power supply is switched off automatically and the pool vacuum unit can be pulled to the surface to be taken out.
You will have to empty the filter cartridge and rinse the filters, which takes about 5 min, transport the robot to its resting place (caddy recommended) and you are done.
A true plug-n play device.
How long does it take to clean the pool?
This automatic cleaner has two operation modes: Full (and fast) and Quick Clean (very fast – for more info see below).
The standard Full mode cycle of the most recent model (as of 2016) runs for 3 hours. At the end it powers down, i.e. switches off automatically. If you find that your pool is clean before the three hours are up you can switch off the power supply manually.
During these three hours, the robot will have calculated and followed a cleaning path covering all of the pool bottom, sides and steps.
It is usually obvious where the cleaner has brushed and scrubbed dirt, debris, and algae.
Less obvious is that it also filters the water itself. The built-in pump moves 70 – 80 gallons per minute through the filters, meaning more than one-third of the water of a 30.000-gallon pool will have been filtered through this little guy.
A welcome benefit is a lot less work for your main pump and filtration system and much less backwashing and energy consumption.
What is Quick Clean technology?
The second cleaning cycle is only available on the TigerShark QC where “QC” stands for Quick Clean Technology, a feature in addition to the normal 3-hour complete cleaning mode. It’s a quick and light once-over 90 min cleaning cycle for normal days when there isn’t a huge amount of dirt and debris.
This is possible thanks to the built-in smart computer and mapping and scanning software. When you switch the quick clean setting on the unit measures the pool and determines the most efficient path to clean the whole area in the time available. It then switches the unit automatically off after 90 min. At which point you can pull it to the surface to empty and clean the filters.
Even though the Quick Clean mode doesn’t do as thorough a job as Full mode, mainly because it doesn’t do the walls and the waterline as well, this is a handy feature to keep the pool clean and inviting with little effort on your part. For the small difference in cost, it is absolutely worth having and you can be more spontaneous in inviting friends over.
Does this come with a remote control?
A remote control is included, at a price, in the TigerShark Plus (Item #RC9955CUB). However, that model doesn’t come with Quick Clean Technology.
Does it come with a caddy? Do I need one?
The pool cleaner unit, when dry weighs in at about 21 lbs, so it’s not very heavy to carry. So for most people, a caddy isn’t strictly necessary to carry the robot. However, its additional benefits are worth considering for most people,
The caddy has space for the power supply and the cleaner machine and therefore makes moving and storing so much easier, making the caddy a worthy purchase and you very likely will regret not having it, especially when you like things to be tidy.
Cleaning and use questions & answers (FAQ)
Can this unit pick up lots of leaves?
Leaves are one of the biggest problems for most pool owners. This automatic pool cleaner has enough suction power to cope with leaves very well. The catchment slots on the bottom of the unit are a good inch wide, ideal for leaves, acorns, and small pebbles and rocks.
Bear in mind, though, that the filter cartridge space, as generous as it is compared to other robot cleaners, is limited. After longer periods of not using and cleaning the pool or after a storm it’s easier to get the bulk of leaves out with a net first. Otherwise, you’ll have to repeatedly surface the TigerShark, empty the cartridges and let it run again, not really saving much time that way.
What about fine silt and sand?
Good news if you live in a desert area or have kids who keep running in from a sand-pit. Yes, the combination of a strong pump and a set of fine filters ensures everything is cleaned up as it should be. Even after a sandstorm this will clean the pool well but might need more than one cycle and emptying of the filter cartridge to get the pool completely clean again.
Can this cleaner unit help with algae?
A modest, i.e. barely visible build-up of algae is usually taken care of by letting the TigerShark scrub and brush over it.
For a bigger amount shock the pool once and let the cleaner sweep up everything.
Does debris fall back into the water when I take the robot out?
No. All the dirt and debris are trapped in the generously sized filter cartridge and stay inside until the cartridge is removed. You then remove the cartridge from the bottom, slide out the two filters and wash them with a hose.
Can I use this in a salt pool?
Since this is essentially a vacuum designed to suck up solid debris salt water doesn’t make any difference in that respect. However, do wash the unit housing to rinse off all salty water before putting it away to ensure a longer lifespan.
Also, when you add salt to the water allow some time for it to dissolve (24 hours should do) before using the TigerShark to clean the pool.
Does it get stuck on main drains or in corners?
In most pools, as long as the main drains are either switched off or at least reduced by using main drain rings or similar the pool cleaner can do its job and move over it. When the robot is on main drains and can’t move on, the inner pump motor should temporarily switch off, allowing the machine to float away and resume its operation from there.
When it finds itself in a tight spot it usually keeps turning and righting itself until it can move on, no need to babysit, it’s a truly independent little helper.
Does it flip over?
This pool vacuum is designed so that the water jet on the top keeps the unit fairly well planted. We have not had any reports of it flipping over.
Can I leave the robot in the pool?
No. Pool chemicals (chlorine, salt) and exposure to the sun can over time destroy sealants and casing materials, shortening the cleaner’s life span. So, remove it after it has done it’s chore and let it rest in a nicely protected space.
Does it come with a swivel cord?
No, it doesn’t and this is possibly the only feature that could be improved. The cord has a tendency to get twisted after just a few uses, even when switching the handles after each use as recommended by the manufacturer.
Let’s hope Hayward will address this in the future. For now, be prepared to have to uncoil quite frequently and/ or untwist and lay out the cable in the sun, so it can lose the twisted cord “memory”.
How long is the manufacturer’s warranty?
Hayward’s warranty usually one year on parts and labor, but this Tiger Shark QC has THREE years. You can easily register online on the Haywards website saving you filling in and posting a warranty card.
Who the TigerShark QC is for…
In-ground pool owners who
- want an independent, reliable device they can set to work about once a week with minimal involvement on their part.
- like a plug-n-play type robotic pool vacuum to the hours of weekly chores cleaning a pool
- have a power supply outlet near the pool
- don’t mind getting the majority of winter dirt and debris out with a net themselves
- want to save 2 to 3 hours per week vacuuming the pool
- want to continuously save energy and backwashing on their main filtration system
…and who it isn’t for:
If you absolutely hate twisted cords you might have to look for a robot cleaner with a swivel cord like the Dolphin Nautilus.
If you prefer to have a little more control in directing the cleaner, the TigerShark Plus with the remote control might be a better option.
Review summary & final verdict
This is one of the best robotic pool cleaners currently available. It allows you to have your pool cleaned well in just 90 min with minimal preparation time. Emptying and rinsing the filters is quick and easy.
The only drawback is the tendency of the cord to get twisted, meaning a little extra that needs taking care of.
The purchase is backed by a generous 3 years limited warranty making it a highly recommended product for years to come.
Where’s the best place to buy it?
As this is a slightly higher priced automatic pool cleaner It is worth comparing prices from your local pool specialists vs online retailers. In either case, make sure you buy from a trusted source and genuine Hayward dealer to ensure support and warranty for the device if needed.
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