Best Pool Alarms of 2018

Anna Burleson ·
Entertainment Writer
Updated
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We spent 20 hours testing eight extremely loud pool alarms in gallons and gallons of water with golf balls, people and even a leaf blower to simulate windy weather. There’s no way anyone or anything will get into your pool without you knowing with one of these ear-splitting alarms. We tested the alarms with small, medium and large objects in the water as well as collected data on how loud they are. Our data shows the Brickhouse Pool Alarm is the best choice out there because it’s loud, affordable, easy to use and accurate.      

Best Overall
Brickhouse Pool Alarm
The Brickhouse Pool Alarm is an accurate, easy-to-use pool alarm you can use to keep your family safe and unwanted objects (or people) out of your pool.
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Best Value
Poolguard Safety Buoy
The PoolGuard PGRM-SB Safety Buoy is affordable and works in most pools, whether they’re in-ground or above ground.
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Best Wearable
Safety Turtle 2.0
The Safety Turtle 2.0 wearable pool alarm sounds the moment it’s submerged in water so you never have to worry about your children or pets.
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Product
Price
OVERALL RATING
Test Results
Product Specifications
Ease of Use
Alarm Strength (dB)
Object Detection
Wind Test
Remote Reciever Range (ft.)
Installation
Battery Life
Max Pool Size (ft.)
Alarm Turn-Off
Required Batteries
$119.99 NuMercy.com
4.3 4.9 3.8
100.5
B-
A+
300
In-Ground
~ 1 year
16x32
Slider
D
$224.18 Amazon Marketplace
3.8 5 5
98.7
A+
N/A
200
Wearable
3-5 years
Unlimited
Button
None
$150 Amazon Marketplace
5 4.5 3.8
100.4
A+
A+
200
Floating
~ 1 year
20x40
Spinning Wheel
9-Volt
$123.27 Wal-Mart
3.7 3.9 2.3
97.9
B-
A+
200
Floating
~ 1 year
18x36
Key
9-Volt
$125.99 Wal-Mart
3.7 2 3.8
101.3
B-
C
100
In-Ground
~ 1 year
16x32
Slider
D
$56.9 Pool and Hot Tub parts
4.3 0.5 3.5
100.7
A+
C
3 (cord)
In-Ground
~ 1 year
16x32
Switch
AA
$100 Amazon Marketplace
3 2.5 2.3
101.6
D+
C
100
In-Ground
~ 1 year
18x36
Key & Button
9-Volt
$149.99 Amazon Marketplace
1.8 4.5 2.3
100.5
F
F
200
In-Ground
~ 1 year
20x40
Key
9-Volt
Best Overall
This pool alarm is pretty affordable considering some on the market cost upward of $200.
It was also accurate in our tests. The alarm sounded when we disturbed the water with a wet sweatshirt and when a person got into the water. However, it didn’t sound when we tossed golf balls in, earning it a grade of B-. It passed the wind detection test with flying colors though, so you don’t have to worry about it going off on a particularly windy day. The Brickhouse installs on the side of the pool, so it won’t work if yours is free-standing in your backyard. Your pool needs to be in-ground or deck-adjacent, and if it’s larger than 16 x 32 feet, you need to invest in a second alarm. The slider on the side of the alarm makes it easy to disable or turn off when it sounds. Also, the different alarm functions are clearly labeled, something we really appreciated as some units are confusing to use. According to our tests, the Brickhouse puts out 100.5 decibels of sound, so you’re going to hear it. You can install the remote receiver up to 300 feet away from the alarm as well – the longest range of any alarm we tested. Like most of the alarms we tested, the Brickhouse requires batteries. You need six D batteries for the main unit, and while that might seem excessive, they last about a year with normal use. Overall, this alarm is affordable, accurate, easy to use and loud.
Pros
  • Inexpensive
  • Alarm is easy to turn off
  • Receiver works up to 300 feet away from the alarm
Cons
  • Must be installed on the side of your pool
  • Only works on pools up to 16 x 32 feet
  • It's big
$164.88Amazon
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Best Value
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. Like most of the pool alarms we tested, you can install the remote receiver up to 200 feet away from your pool. It is slated to work in pools up to 18 x 36 feet, which is on the larger end of the spectrum of the units we tested. 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 with a reasonable price tag to top it all off.
Pros
  • Reasonably priced
  • Works on pools up to 18 x 36 feet
  • Fun and easy-to-see design
Cons
  • Quietest alarm we tested
  • Earned a B- for object detection
  • Takes a little finesse to turn off the alarm
$114.11Amazon
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Best Wearable
This pool alarm is unique because rather than installing it or floating it on the surface of your pool, you wear it.
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 instantaneously. 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 worried about pool safety. It earned an A+ in our object detection test because it went off every single time we submerged the device and didn’t 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. The batteries on the bracelet last from three to five years, depending on how much you use them. They are sealed inside the bracelet, and you can’t replace them – instead, you have to purchase a new turtle bracelet when they die. However, the receiver plugs into an outlet and should outlast the bracelet. 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.
Pros
  • Is very accurate
  • Has three to five years of battery life
  • Works in any body of water
Cons
  • Older children could remove it
  • Not a security measure
  • Expensive
$220.98Amazon
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Best Design
The Pool Patrol PA-30 is very well designed, making it easy to change the alarm sensitivity.EKIEQBP
While some in-ground 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.
Pros
  • Earned an A+ in our wind and object detection tests
Cons
  • Expensive
$234.95Amazon
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Loudest 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.
Pros
  • Loudest pool alarm we tested
Cons
  • Installing/uninstalling the batteries is difficult
$110.86Amazon
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Why Trust Us

Our hearing has suffered substantially, but we’ve been testing and reviewing pool alarms since 2015. That’s because on average about 250 children 5 years old or younger die as a result of drowning, predominantly in residential settings, according to a 2000 Consumer Product Safety Commission  report. Having a pool alarm is one way to make sure your children aren’t in the water unsupervised. That report recommends a subsurface pool alarm like the Brickhouse Pool Alarm – our best overall pick.

Adam Katchmarchi, executive director of the National Drowning Prevention Alliance, said his organization encourages multiple layers of protection for children at the pool, including a pool alarm, gate alarm, floatation devices, swimming instruction and plain old-fashioned adult supervision. 

“Even though the alarms can be a little bit annoying, make sure you have them in place,” he said.

Some states or municipalities have laws and regulations stipulating what kind of pool alarm homeowners must have, so Katchmarchi said to do your research. California, for instance, requires new residential pools have two drowning prevention features, like a gate lock and a pool alarm.

“Sometimes kids are adventurous and you think you have all the barriers in place, but pool alarms are an extra layer of protection to have,” Katchmarchi said.

How We Tested

We weren’t about to pass up on a day of fun in the sun, so to test these pool alarms, we filled a kiddie pool that measured 8 feet in diameter and 18 inches deep. After installing each alarm, we threw golf balls into the pool to see if they would set it off. We also tossed in a large, soaking wet sweatshirt, followed by a person getting into the pool and walking around.

Once we realized how loud these things really are, we decided it would be annoying if a little gust of wind set them off. As such, we used a leaf blower to create wind gusts to see if it set off the alarms too. One pool alarm, the Safety Turtle 2.0, goes off when it gets wet, so we dunked it multiple times to make sure it worked and flicked it with water to make sure it didn’t sound erroneously. Most manufacturers advertise their pool alarms make 85 decibels of sound or more, but to make sure, we used a sound meter set 25 centimeters away from each product and gathered noise output data. We’ve all but lost our hearing, but it was worth it.

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. 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 worth the investment.

What to Look for When Buying a Pool Alarm

Installation
Most pool alarms work in one of two ways. Some float on the surface of your pool and sense when water is displaced – the sensors measure the disturbance and react to it, making the alarm go off. This type of alarm works in both above- and in-ground pools.

Other pool alarms mount to the deck of the swimming pool and use sub-surface detection to pick up on changes in water pressure, which cause the alarm to sound. These kinds of alarms work best for in-ground pools, though they also work if your above ground pool has a deck built around at least part of it. If you get this kind of alarm, make sure to read the instructions about where is best to install it based on the shape and depth of your pool.

There are also pool alarms that go off when they get wet, and they work best when attached to pets or children. That way if Junior jumps in the pool, you'll know.

Batteries
The majority of the pool alarms we tested are battery-powered. Most are supposed to last for an entire year, but the more your pool alarm goes off, the more its battery life will suffer. Check your device every month or so to make sure the batteries haven’t died. You should also remove your pool alarm and take the batteries out during colder months while your pool sits unused. The alarms we tested all take 9V or D batteries.