Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Piranha Power Pole Review

Update: See the 10 month update post here. 

This is a review of the Piranha Power Pole (Manufacture part number PP_LV made by the Smart! Company). Written by Wine Country Pools and Supplies.  Click on any image to see a larger version of it.

My first thought when seeing this pole was that it was designed to try to fix specific problems with most modern swimming pool poles, which is why I will compare this to a standard pole with normal wear after months of heavy use to show exactly what was being addressed with each change.

Below is a lineup of commonly found poles available for sale. The pole marked number 2 is a new version of the pole I used for comparison in this article; the Piranha Power Pole is marked as number 5. Both are 8ft closed and 16ft extended.

The new pole as it arrived. Comes with no paperwork but has a plastic bag cover, as seen below.

Starting at the far end of the pole with the red handle:
The first noticeable difference is that on most poles there is a twist lock so when the pole is extended this twist lock is turned (and therefore tightened) to lock the inner extension pole in place. Over time, as the lock wears with use, it will need to be tightened further and then further to keep the inner pole locked in place.

Note: On some poles this lock is on the end of the inner pole but has the same purpose.

On the Power Pole there is a lock that is set and released with a button on a red handle; the Smart Company calls this a “Lever Lock.”

When the button is pressed, the inner pole can be pulled in or out to change the overall length of the pole. On one side of the inner pole there are holes evenly spread out that are used to lock it into position once the button is released. The side with these holes on the pole is flat, and it is this non-cylinder shape that stops the inner pole from twisting independent of the outer pole.

This is a system I have not seen before on a cleaning pole, and on this new pole it works great. While fully extended, the inner pole is very stable. However, since this is new, I don’t know what will happen over time; I cannot accurately predict whether or not the locking system will remain as tight and stable as it is comes or if it will loosen over time.

The rubber handle on the end of the inner pole is slightly different.
On current poles the handle ends are not secured, and this allows it to move slightly up and down the pole that they are attached to. Over time the top breaks off as the handle is pulled down into the inner pole, as seen in the pictures below.

For the Piranha pole, the rubber handle appears to have been screwed into the inner pole.

This should stop the handles movement and prolong its use. Since this is new, I don’t know how this will wear over time with repeated use.

Now for the attachment end of the pole:
On standard cleaning poles on this end of the pole there are two holes that cleaning attachments connect to, which locks them in place.

Over time, the metal thins, eventually cracking with repeated use, as seen in the picture below.

Note: It is possible but difficult to repair a pole with this issue. If a few inches are cut off from just behind the cracked holes by using a saw, new holes can be drilled to connect the cleaning attachments to.

The Piranha Pole added two additional holes opposite the standard two that can be used to connect cleaning attachments to.

Note: There was a plastic insert inside the end of one of the two Piranha Power Poles we purchased. I don’t know if it was an adapter (for cleaning attachments with a thinner handle) or if they are even supposed to come with one attached. If they are then I don’t know why the other pole did not have one.

A closer view of the end with the open holes.

This should double the use life of the end of the pole since each set will get used about 50% of the time. However, since this is the first time I have seen this design, I don’t know if it will actually work out this way.

Final thoughts:
I can see how when designing the Piranha Power Pole the engineers were trying to fix specific issues with modern pool poles. The effort should be commended since so many other manufacturers are making so little advancement in swimming pool pole designs. But, at this moment, I cannot say if the Power Pole succeeded in everything it set out to do since a lot of what they did was for longevity reasons. For now, if you have a favorite cleaning pole brand/model, I would say stick to that. If you are looking for a new swimming pool pole, the Piranha Power Pole does a sufficient job and has no major drawbacks.

I will update this after at least six months or more of regular use and then I will have a better picture of how successful Piranha’s changes have been.  
Update: See the 10 month update post here.