The best pool alarm will alert you if something falls into your pool, including children or even animals.
There are a few different types of pool alarms to choose from too, including floating pool alarms, wearable, or above ground pool alarms. Floating pool alarms work by detecting when water is displaced in your pool. The alarms measure the disturbance and react to it, causing the alarm to go off.
Pool alarms that are mounted to the deck of the swimming pool use sub-surface detection to pick up changes in the water pressure, causing the alarm to sound. These kinds of alarms work best for in-ground pools. If you do choose a pool alarm that is mounted to the deck, make sure to install it in the best place based on the shape and depth of your pool.
Wearable pool alarms simply sound when they get wet, so these can be worn by children so that you know if they’ve fallen or got into the swimming pool.
So what should you look for in a swimming pool alarm? Which kind of alarm you choose depends on what you’re trying to achieve. If you’re trying to keep out intruders, opt for a highly sensitive alarm that is discrete and loud. You’ll need the alarm to be discrete otherwise an intruder may be able to disarm it.
On the other hand, if you have several small children spending time around your open backyard pool, you might want something a little different. If you know your pool alarm is probably going to go off several times a week because Junior jumped in the pool without adult supervision, you’ll want an alarm that is easy to turn on and off but still very loud. Look for alarms with buttons built-in rather than those you have to use an external key to deactivate. If you have pets who are very young or even very elderly, you might want to consider a water-activated alarm. This way if your dog gets in the water – accidentally on purpose – you’ll know.
1. Poolguard Safety Buoy: Best value pool alarm
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
2. Safety Turtle 2.0: Best wearable pool alarm
This pool alarm is unique because rather than installing it or floating it on the surface of your pool, you wear it as a bracelet.
The alarm is an adorable, little, green turtle bracelet, so it’s perfect for young children or even pets, as it’s easy to affix to a dog collar. When submerged, the bracelet sends a signal to a remote receiver you can install up to 200 feet away from the pool, and the alarm sounds instantly.
The bracelet requires a plastic key to take it off, so there’s no way a pet or kid can remove it and slip into the water unnoticed. It doesn’t keep intruders out of your pool, but the Safety Turtle is great if you’re mainly worried about pool safety.
It earned an A+ in our object detection test because it went off every single time we submerged the device, but never when we flicked a few drops of water at it. If your kiddo likes to wash their hands up to their elbows, you might experience the occasional false alarm though.
The receiver puts out 98.7 decibels of sound, and while that makes it the second-quietest pool alarm we tested, it’s still incredibly loud. For comparison, that’s about 10 decibels short of a rock band in concert.
The alarm on/off button on the receiver is also easy to use so you won’t be deafened by the sound of the alarm. The Safety Turtle is elegant in its simplicity and a great way to make sure your kids and pets are safe around the pool this summer.
3. Pool Patrol PA-30: Best pool alarm design
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
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
Do I need a pool alarm?
Some US states require certain kinds of pool alarms, but regardless of where you live, having an alarm can protect you from lawsuits. Even if you’re in a safe neighborhood and don’t have any young children yourself, there’s always the possibility of someone else’s children getting into your pool without you knowing. An alarm can stop that from happening and stop any accidents before they start.
Some states or municipalities have laws and regulations stipulating what kind of pool alarm homeowners must have.
California, for instance, requires new residential pools to have two drowning prevention features, like a gate lock and a pool alarm.
How much do pool alarms cost?
A pool alarm is a great way to keep your family safe, but it can be quite costly. The eight pool alarms we tested cost an average of $183. All but one of the devices we used cost more than $100, but you can expect each to have about one year of battery life. But if you’re concerned about a young member of your family falling in the pool or keeping intruders out of your backyard, an alarm is definitely worth the investment.
Poolguard Safety Buoy
The PoolGuard PGRM-SB Safety Buoy is affordable and works in most pools, whether they’re in-ground or above ground.