Do you tend to worry about safety when using your pool? The best pool alarms will give you added peace of mind so you can truly relax and enjoy the experience of being around water. Designed to keep you safe by reducing the risk of accidents as well as deterring intruders, you can relax that little bit more whether inside or outside of your home. Whether you need a pool alarm for an above-ground or an in-ground swimming pool, there are many different choices to suit your needs.
In some states, pool alarms are a legal requirement. While this might not apply to you, you might want to consider a pool alarm simply for reassurance that intruders cannot gain access without you being alerted.
Now let's get into how they work. The best pool alarms work by sounding an alarm whenever the pool levels rise, which is a sign that someone or something has entered the water. The sound level is high enough that you can hear it throughout your home, so you can feel secure even if the pool is out of sight. Some designs work differently - you either install the alarm at the side of the pool or allow it to float in the water.
If you want to increase the safety of your children in your pool, a wearable pool alarm might be a good choice. This is essentially a bracelet that your child wears when in the pool. When it's submerged, it sounds the alarm so you're instantly alerted. You also have the option to turn these off so you don't have the nuisance of a false alarm when you're already watching the kids.
Are you wanting to spend more time in your pool in the cooler months? You may want to check out our guide to the best pool heaters. And if cleaning your pool is the chore that you always put off, the best pool cleaners will give you a helping hand.
1. Brickhouse Pool Alarm: Best affordable in-ground alarm
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The Brickhouse pool alarm is designed for pools that are either in-ground or near a deck as the top of it has to be level to the ground, while the arm extends down into the water. It's a subsurface alarm, which means it goes off when it senses an underwater pressure change.
We tested this alarm in a smaller pool than it's made for, so we were sure to bear this in mind when assessing it's sensitivity. The alarm sounded when we tossed a wet sweatshirt into the pool, as well as when a person stepped into it. It didn't go off when we threw golf balls into the water, though. We gave it an overall grade of B- for object detection, but an A+ for being weather-resistant, as our leaf blower simulating wind didn't make it go off.
It's also simple to turn off. Some designs that require a key pose some difficulty in switching off the blaring alarm, however, this option operates with a large metal slider. You simply press and move the slider in order to switch the alarm to a different mode - green, amber, and red. Green means the alarm is on, yellow means it's sleeping, and red mean it's turned off. This makes it super intuitive to use.
With a sound rating of 100.5dB, it's a mid-range option compared to other alarms we've tested. However, this is still very loud. You can also place the remote receiver up to 300ft away, so you're bound to hear it.
• Read our Brickhouse Pool Alarm review (opens in new tab)
2. Poolguard PGRM-2: Best stylish pool alarm
The Poolguard PGRM-2 is an in-ground pool alarm that can only be used on built-in pools or those close to a deck. It must be attached by drilling a small hole into the surrounding tiles or masonry, so it's potentially not the choice for you if you're looking for a fast set-up. It also requires a battery, which isn't included, so you'll have to purchase this separately.
This alarm will be great for smaller pools of 800 ft or below, so if your pool is larger than this then it's best to opt for more than one alarm or choose an option that has a larger range.
This model detects any water intrusions above 18ft, which is approximately the weight of a one-year old child. The alarm also sounds at 85dB which is the equivalent to standing next to heavy traffic - not the loudest of our selection but still loud enough to hear. Although the alarm has been designed to distinguish real intruders from strong wind, some reviewers have noted that it repeatedly sounded when the wind blew.
• Read our Poolguard PGRM-2 Pool Alarm review (opens in new tab)
3. Blue Wave NA4212: Best for small pools
The Blue Wave NA4212 alarm is an in-ground option that must be used on pools with a 90 degree angle. It has to be mounted on a flat surface next to the pool, so it's best to check the instructions to ensure it's in the right spot to work accurately - this should be on the long edge of a rectangular pool or the tip of an oval pool. It requires six D batteries, and the device will sound an alarm if these are running out.
This alarm has a shorter range than others we've tested - both in terms of pool size and remote receiver. If you have a pool larger than 16 x 32 ft, you'll need more than one alarm. This model also only has a remote receiver distance of 100ft, so if your pool is very far from your house it might be worth reconsidering.
It is, however, very loud. We recorded it at 101.3 dB of sound, making it the second-loudest we tested in our roundup. And when it does sound, it's easy to turn off so it will save your eardrums. You simply press the silver slider on the alarm and move it to the 'off' position.
• Read our Blue Wave NA4212 review (opens in new tab)
4. SmartPool PE23 PoolEye AG/IG: Loudest pool alarm
You’ll know if the SmartPool PE23 PoolEye AG/IG pool alarm goes off – registering at 101.6 decibels in our tests, it's louder than a garbage disposal, a blender or a diesel truck passing you a mere 50 feet away.
While the unit is cumbersome to put together, you shouldn’t have to do it very often because the batteries are slated to last one year before you have to change them. Since it’s a submerged pool alarm, it works best on in-ground pools, as you need to install it on a level surface with the neck submerged under water.
It works by detecting changes in water pressure and then sounding the alarm – loudly – when someone or something gets into your pool. This alarm works in pools up to 18 x 36 feet, and with its loud alarm, you can be sure your family is safe.
- Read our SmartPool PE23 PoolEye AG/IG review (opens in new tab)
5. Pool Patrol PA-30: Best pool alarm for large pools
The Pool Patrol PA-30 is very well designed, making it easy to change the alarm sensitivity. While some in-ground pool alarms require you install an extra plastic plate if you hear too many false alarms, the Pool Patrol PA-30 has a base you simply rotate to the left or to the right.
This rotating base is also used to turn the alarm off when it sounds, which is quicker and easier than using an alarm that requires a key. The Pool Patrol PA-30 floats on the surface of the water, and it uses one 9-volt battery, which is easy to install under the rotating base.
Along with being very well designed, this alarm earned an A+ in our wind simulation tests and our object detection tests. It also works in pools up to 20 x 40 feet, the largest pool size of the alarms we tested.
- Read our Pool Patrol PA-30 review (opens in new tab)
6. Poolguard Safety Buoy: Best pool alarm overall
The Safety Buoy lives up to its name – it floats on the surface of the water and sounds an alarm when the water is disturbed. It’s shaped like a traffic cone too, which to us screams safety. You can attach it to the side of your pool with a string if you don’t want it floating out of reach.
In our tests, the Safety Buoy received a B- for object detection because while it picked up the sweatshirt we threw into the pool and a human getting into the water, it didn’t register any of the golf balls we tossed in.
Turning the alarm off once it sounds is a little more complicated than simply pressing a button. You have to touch the side of the buoy with the included magnetic key and hold it there for two or three seconds before the alarm will stop beeping. It put out 97.7 decibels of sound in our tests, making it the quietest alarm we reviewed. That being said, it’s still incredibly loud.
The buoy requires a 9-volt battery, which is easy to install and is supposed to last roughly one year, depending on how often the alarm sounds. This pool alarm is lightweight, fairly easy to assemble and use, and comes at a reasonable price to top it off.
- Read our PoolGuard PGRM-SB Safety Buoy review (opens in new tab)
What to look for in a pool alarm
Alarm strength is one of the biggest things to look for when choosing a pool alarm. This will impact how loud the alarm sounds, which is particularly important if you want to be able to hear it from a distant part of your home. One of the quietest alarms we tested put out 98.7 decibels of sound - for context, this is 10 decibels short of a rock band in concert. So, many of them are super loud, however, it's definitely something to look out for.
There are a few different installation types for pool alarms. The most common designs are wearable, floating, and in-ground. A wearable alarm is ideal if you need an alarm for your children, as this ensures it's on their bodies. Floating alarms are easy to install and generally require batteries, however, this could be annoying when using the pool. Lastly, in-ground alarms might require a bit more work to install but they are generally longer-lasting.
The remote range is how far the remote receiver can be placed to still connect to the alarm. Some pool alarms are designed as bracelets for children, while others bob around on the surface of the pool, so they must be within range for your particular pool.
In our roundup, there are many different alarms for various pool sizes. Some have an unlimited range, while others specify, for example, n 18 x 36 ft maximum size. This is quite simple to check and is vital to ensuring that your pool alarm will work effectively.
Alarm turn off
As we mentioned above, pool alarms are incredibly loud, and you're unlikely to want the sound as loud as a rock band in your ear for an extended period of time. Some alarms can be turned off by simply pressing a button, however, others require a key. A key is beneficial as it means that children or intruders can't turn off the alarm themselves - increasing the chance of you catching an incident. However, it does mean that it might take longer to turn it off, and you need to remember where you've placed the key. This really comes down to your purpose of having a pool alarm, and how easily you want to turn it off.
Do I need a pool alarm?
In certain US states, the law requires you to have safety features like pool alarms in place so it’s worth checking out if this applies to you. Sometimes these regulations stipulate what type of pool alarm you need. California, for example, requires anyone with a new residential pool to install at least two drowning prevention features such as a pool alarm and a gate lock.
Regardless of where you live, installing an alarm can protect you from lawsuits and give you peace of mind. You may be thinking it’s not relevant to you if you’re in a safe neighborhood and don’t have children. Don’t overlook that there’s always the possibility of someone else’s children accessing your pool without your knowledge. With a pool alarm, this is not something you need to worry about. The best pool alarms are designed to prevent accidents before they happen. This extra precaution means things are not left to chance and you can put your mind at rest.
How much do the best pool alarms cost?
The best pool alarms are designed to give you peace of mind about your family’s safety, though this doesn’t necessarily come cheap. Out of the eight pool alarms we tested, all but one of the devices came in at over $100 and the average cost was $183. The good news though is that these devices offer good value in terms of battery life - you can expect them to last a year before you have to change them.
While the initial outlay may seem expensive, the best pool alarms reassure you about your family’s safety, a priceless consideration.