Pros / It’s the loudest alarm we tested.
Cons / You have to use a key and press a button to mute the alarm.
Verdict / The SmartPool PE23 PoolEye AG/IG is hard to assemble and didn’t fare well in our tests.
This pool alarm is built to work on in-ground or above-ground pools, though there needs to be a flat surface adjacent to the pool like a deck. It runs on 9-volt batteries, we didn’t consider a big deal until we read the instructions and realized there are 15 screws to deal with – and we hadn’t even gotten to installing it to the side of our pool yet. That step requires a drill and all the included mounting materials, so this definitely isn’t a plug-and-play device. Get ready to spend an afternoon setting it up. Seriously, the 15-screw thing is ridiculous. No other pool alarm was this labor-intensive to install.
Once we had laboriously unscrewed 12 screws (we never found the other three), installed the batteries and re-screwed everything back in, the alarm began to sound. To turn the alarm off, you have to touch a magnetic key to the circle marked "key" and press the button next to it, which has the extremely unhelpful label of “button.” It is also annoying that the instructions repeatedly reference a blue button when in it is in fact red. It’s particularly difficult to fumble with the key and button while the alarm sounds, as it’s the loudest one we tested, putting out 101.6 decibels. That’s essentially like standing right next to a revving motorcycle. If you don’t want to be completely and utterly blown away by the sound of your pool alarm, we recommend the slightly quieter Safety Turtle 2.0 or PoolGuard PGRM-SB Safety Buoy.
The instructions explain where best to install this alarm depending on the shape of your pool. It needs to go at either tip of an oval pool or in the corner of an L-shape pool. It is accurate in pools up to 18 x 36 feet, which is mid-range for the alarms we tested.
In our tests, the PoolEye only sounded when we had a person get into the pool. It didn’t pick up golf balls landing in the water or even a water-laden sweatshirt, so we gave it a D+. It semi-passed our faux wind test because it didn’t go off until we created some serious “wind” with a leaf blower to the water.
This pool alarm comes with a remote receiver, but it only works up to 100 feet away from the pool, whereas most of the other models we tested work up to 200 feet away. To put the alarm in swim mode so it doesn't sound when you get in the water, you need to use the magnetic key and press the "button" at the same time. The alarm beeps once and the light flashes red to signify it’s in swim mode. The alarm automatically turns back on after the water sits still for five minutes. If you want to turn the alarm back on manually, just press the "button" while the water is calm.
It might have been a fluke, but this alarm wasn’t very accurate in our tests, and it was frustratingly hard to put together. It may work for your needs, it just didn’t suit ours. Make sure you don’t lose the magnetic key because if the alarm sounds and you can’t find it, you have to remove all 15 screws with the alarm blaring all 101.6 decibels in your hands, a fate worse than torture.