One of the easiest and least expensive ways to prevent a child from being injured or drowning in your swimming pool is a pool alarm. The safest and most reliable type of pool alarm is a subsurface sensor pool alarm. But there are additional types of pool alarms, like threshold alarms, that you might want to consider if you want to keep your pool extra safe. Here are our top picks for the best pool alarms for both inground and above-ground swimming pools.
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The Best Pool Alarm for Inground Pools
The Pool Guard inground pool alarm detects any significant motion in your water and sets off an alarm both at the pool and in your house. Installed at the edge of your pool, this battery-powered alarm is tamper-proof and simple to operate. This pool alarm also meets ASTM standards.
The Best Pool Alarm for Above Ground Pools
The PoolEye pool alarm is perfect for 24-foot or smaller pools and very easy to install. Simply remove a section of rail to install the sensor, then you can slip the railing right back into place. When something has disturbed the pool, the alarm emits a high-pitched siren sound. However, this pool alarm only goes off poolside, so remember to check your local code requirements before you buy.
Do Pool Alarms Really Work?
Yes, but certain types of alarms are more effective and reliable than others. Pool alarms use underwater sensors to monitor when something with significant weight, like a child or pet, enters your pool water. And according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, subsurface pool alarms are the most effective at detecting something in your pool water. Compared to surface wave sensor alarms, subsurface alarms are more reliable and less likely to trigger false alarms.
Why Should You Install a Pool Alarm?
Most pool-related accidents and drownings could have been prevented with the right safety precautions, like a pool alarm. And depending on where you live, a pool alarm is required by law.
Be sure to check with your local code enforcement department before you buy a pool alarm to ensure you’re in compliance with the rules and laws where you live.
What’s the Best Type of Pool Alarm?
There are three types of pool alarms: subsurface disturbance sensors, surface wave sensors, and threshold pool alarms.
Each type works a little differently, and they can be used together to make your pool even safer. Floating surface alarms are very easy to set up compared to subsurface sensors. However, tests show that subsurface pool alarms are more consistent and reliable than surface alarms. We recommend using a subsurface pool alarm and a threshold pool alarm together. This combination will help detect if anything has gotten into your pool enclosure (threshold alarm) or if anything significant has fallen into the water (subsurface pool alarm).
The Best Subsurface Sensor Pool Alarms
One of the most effective and reliable types of pool alarms, subsurface sensors are permanent installations. Once installed, the sensing arm extends down into the water and constantly monitors for water disturbances.
Poolguard PGRM-2 Inground Pool Alarm
This simple-looking pool alarm comes with an in-house remote receiver. You’ll need to drill a small hole in your pool deck for installation. Then the alarm sits neatly on the side of your pool in the default, always-on mode. If it detects any water disturbances, the alarm will sound at the pool and through the in-house receiver up to 200 feet away.
When you want to go for a swim, set the alarm to sleep mode and remove the sensing arm from the water. As soon as you put it back into your pool, it’s activated, eliminating the possibility of forgetting to turn it back on. It’s also ASTM certified.
PoolEye Above Ground Pool Alarm
If you have an above ground pool, the PoolEye is a great option that requires no drilling. You’ll need to remove a section of rail to install the sensor, then you can slip it right back on. It’s rated for 24-foot or smaller pools.
One downfall: the PoolEye does not come with a remote receiver of any kind, so it only sounds an alarm poolside. Remember to check your local code requirements before you buy any pool alarm.
The Best Threshold Pool Alarms
These simple pool alarms are installed anywhere a person could gain access to your pool, such as sliding glass doors or windows. Threshold alarms help prevent anyone (or anything) from entering your pool area without you knowing.
iSmartAlarm DWS3R Contact Sensor
iSmart’s home security alarm uses wireless contact sensors that can be placed on doors and windows that open to your pool area. If anyone opens the door or window, the connection between the sensors is broken, and an alarm goes off.
Because it’s part of a home security solution, you can add other components, such as motion detectors and cameras.
Poolguard GAPT-2 Outdoor Pool Gate Alarm
A gate alarm like Poolguard GAPT-2 is made to be installed on gates and screens where other alarms might not work.
Once the gate has been open for a few seconds, the alarm will sound. Pressing the pass-through button turns the alarm off so adults can easily come and go without setting the alarm off every time. Because this is a simple matter of pushing a button, it’s imperative to install the alarm control unit out of children’s reach.
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The Best Surface Wave Sensor Pool Alarm
If for whatever reason you can’t install a subsurface sensor alarm, a surface wave sensor pool alarm is the next best option. Surface wave sensors work by floating on your pool’s surface and measuring any disturbance of the water. They’re more effective in smaller pools with smaller surface areas, but they work for both inground and above-ground pools. This type of alarm is also useful if you’re traveling with children and you plan to use someone’s pool without an alarm system.
Pool Patrol PA-30 Pool Alarm
This little blue disc looks a lot like a floating chlorine dispenser. It also features a remote receiver that works 200 feet away, so the alarm will sound through the receiver and in your pool. An indicator light lets you check with a glance whether the remote is on.
You can adjust the sensitivity of the sensing ring so it will only react to disturbances the size of a small animal or child but not, say, a breeze. This little alarm is also easy to take along when you visit someone with a pool that’s not child-safe.
How Much Does It Cost to Install a Pool Alarm?
Pool alarms usually cost between $100 and $200. With the right tools on hand, you can install a pool alarm yourself. Some types of alarms require power tools to screw in and properly mount the device.
Regardless of the cost, pool alarms are worth the peace of mind knowing your children and pets are safe. Here’s a recap of the pool alarms we recommend.
Need More Pool Maintenance Help?
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- Check out our Pool Care Course. You’ll get 30+ step-by-step videos and a step-by-step downloadable guide with everything you need to know about pool maintenance.