Onga Bullshark Pool Cleaner Review - Our Opinion + Prices
|Cleans well, quiet, reliable with age, easy installation
|Can get stuck by corners/steps, may fail to climb entire wall, can flip over on slopes
|Not a bad option, but not necessarily worth the higher price-point
Product Comparison Table - Onga Bullshark
Before we dive into the review, let's take a look at the main specs for this product, and how it compares to other similar models.
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Onga Bullshark Pool Cleaner Review - Our Opinion + Prices
The Onga Bullshark is a mid-priced, suction-side powered pool cleaner with fairly consistent, positive reviews from customers. The cleaner is intended to be a new and improved model of the fairly successful Onga Hammerhead.
Despite this seemingly good track record and a relatively affordable price point, you may wonder: is this cleaner really worth it compared to cheaper models?
In this Onga Bullshark pool cleaner review, we will cover some pros and cons of this model, discuss details about the design, and compare its cleaning performance, build quality, and warranty service to other cleaners to see how this machine stacks up against similar models.
Pros & Cons
- Easy to assemble and setup
- Cleans fairly well when it works
- Quiet operation
- Reliable with age, doesn’t require frequent or costly repairs
- Can get stuck in corners or near steps
- May only climb halfway up walls
- Questionable customer service quality
- May flip over on slopes such as when leaving the deep end
- Deflector add-on required in many cases
- Sometimes struggles to cover the entire floor of the pool
The Onga Bullshark is a suction-side powered pool cleaner that is compatible with pools of all sizes.
By default, this cleaner comes with 10 metres of hose, so this may limit the range that it can cover if your pool is larger than this in any dimension, but additional lengths of hose can be purchased at a fairly reasonable price point.
This cleaner is designed for both inground and above ground pools, and is compatible with a variety of pool linings including concrete, pebblecrete, quartzon, fibreglass, vinyl liners, glass beads, and tiled pools. Overall, this cleaner is compatible with more pool types than comparable models produced by different manufacturers.
This cleaner has a round brush head that spins while scrubbing in order to stir up debris. As this is occurring, the suction features of the machine tries to draw in as much debris as possible.
The Bullshark is capable of climbing walls, but has mixed reviews regarding its ability to do so, with many users reporting that it stops climbing once it has travelled halfway up the walls of the pool.
This cleaner can struggle to clean steps, ledges, and corners in pools, and there are a few reviews that report the cleaner getting stuck in these areas.
If your Bullshark gets stuck in these areas, Onga support staff tend to recommend purchasing an add-on part for your cleaner known as a deflector. This is supposed to prevent it from getting stuck in corners as easily, but has mixed results.
Overall most customer reviews of the Bullshark state that it performs well in terms of its cleaning capabilities.
Other than those owners who mention the machine getting stuck or other similar issues, there are little to no complaints to be found in regards to this cleaner’s ability to pick up most sizes of debris.
This puts it a step above other suction-side cleaners in the same price range, as many of these struggle with mid-to-large sized debris.
As mentioned above, occasionally users report that this machine has difficulties climbing the full height of the walls in the pool.
Reviews that mention this issue are not widespread, so we believe it is unlikely that this is related to poor build-quality of the machine, and is more than likely due to user error with the set-up process.
This cleaner is a suction-side cleaner, meaning it attaches to your pool’s pump system via a skimmer-box adapter.
Because this cleaner uses the suction from your pool’s pump to operate, the amount of power consumed by the machine is relative to the wattage of your pool’s pump and the duration that you run the cleaner.
Build Quality & Warranty
Onga Bullshark Problems
There are a few minor problems with the Onga Bullshark. For starters, we have previously mentioned that this cleaner is capable of getting stuck near steps and corners in your pool.
Although this can be remedied with an adapter known as a deflector, we find it a bit disappointing that the machine cannot overcome this on its own without the purchase of additional parts.
Furthermore, there are a few reports that this machine comes unbalanced and can flip over when it tries to tackle slopes in your pool. The slopes in question refer to transition zones between shallow and deep areas of water in your pool.
Although this is more common in pools with sharp changes in depth, we would expect a pool cleaner to be able to manage these areas without flipping over.
Doesn’t Clean Entire Pool
Occasionally, this cleaner can struggle to cover the full area of the pool. This is partially related to the two problems we just mentioned, but can also be due to the relatively light weight of the cleaner.
In some instances, the water return jets from your pump system may push this machine into a certain area of your pool, preventing it from covering as much of the floor as it should.
Although many pool owners can remedy this problem by changing the direction of their outflow jets, in smaller pools, strong currents may make this issue hard to overcome.
Onga Bullshark Warranty
The Onga Bullshark has a three year warranty; just as its predecessor the Onga Hammerhead. This warranty period is one year longer than the average warranty among pool cleaners.
Unfortunately, the limited coverage of this warranty and the customer service provided does not give this three-year period a great reputation.
By improving upon the warranty offered with the Onga Hammerhead, the Onga Bullshark has extended lifetime coverage for the rotating parts of this machine. However, previous customer interactions with the warranty claims department do not inspire much confidence, even when considering this extended coverage.
This is because there are many reports that Pentair customer service is reluctant to respond productively to warranty claims.
Most disappointingly, there are even reports of their service team asking customers to ‘prove’ that their water chemistry was adequately maintained while the machine was in use in order to avoid taking accountability for damaged parts.
This suggests that the customer service team may be preoccupied with finding warranty loopholes rather than replacing or repairing parts when consumers are experiencing issues.
Onga Bullshark Price
The Onga Bullshark tends to cost approximately $450. This makes it more expensive than many other suction-side powered pool cleaners on the market, including its predecessor, the Onga Hammerhead.
While we wish that we could consider this machine a good value for the price, you may be better off investing in a more affordable machine rather than dealing with the minor problems associated with this more expensive model.
Onga Bullshark - FAQ
Is The Onga Bullshark Better Than The Hammerhead?
Based on consumer reviews, there are significantly less reports of the Onga Bullshark getting stuck and having difficulties climbing than with the Hammerhead.
There are also no widely-reported issues with build quality of the Bullshark, as opposed to the fragile hose floater problems that were common with the Hammerhead.
Can The Onga Bullshark Be Left In The Pool?
The Onga Bullshark is designed to be left in your pool even when not in use. However, there are some circumstances when you should remove this cleaner from your pool.
For example, if you are adding harsh chemicals or performing shock treatments to your pool, you should remove the cleaner during this period to avoid extra chemical-induced wear on the machine.
Additionally, it is recommended that you remove this machine during swimming so that you can enjoy the entirety of your pool without it being obstructed by the long hose of the cleaner.
Although it is safe to swim while the machine is operating, we suggest that you do not leave it in the pool while children are present unless they are competent swimmers. Unlikely though it may be, it is possible that swimmers can get tangled up in the hose line.
Always supervise swimming children to ensure that they do not get too close to the machine or its hose while it is operating, as this could cause injury to the children or the machine.
Final Thoughts - Onga Bullshark Review
The Onga Bullshark is a fairly good suction-side pool cleaner for the price. This machine experiences relatively few widely-reported issues, and has improved warranty coverage when compared to its predecessor.
The most disappointing feature of this bit of pool equipment is the price itself.
Being more expensive than most other models of suction cleaner available, we would expect this cleaner to have less nuisance-type issues, such as getting stuck in corners, failing to climb, and missing large sections of the pool.
While this cleaner is not necessarily a poor investment, you may be able to spend significantly less money on a different model of machine if you don’t mind dealing with these occasional, minor issues.
Price Comparison - Onga Bullshark
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