This pool alarm is made for pools that are either in-ground or near a deck – you have to install the top of the alarm on a flat surface so the arm can extend down into the water. It is a subsurface alarm, which means it goes off when it senses underwater pressure changes. This kind of pool alarm is a little less likely to go off in the case of wind or light rain than other types. The Brickhouse works on pools up to 16 x 32 feet. While other models we tested, including the Pool Patrol PA-30 and the PoolGuard PGRM-2, work in larger pools, the Brickhouse was more accurate in our tests.
Even though the alarms we tested are meant for larger pools, we only had access to a small, collapsible backyard model. This meant they were a bit more sensitive than normal when we used them, and we took that into account during testing. The Brickhouse alarm sounded when we tossed a wet sweatshirt into the pool as well as when a person stepped into it, disturbing the water. It didn’t go off when we threw golf balls into the water, but it sounded when we threw the balls so close to the alarm it got splashed. This gave it an overall grade of B- for object detection. We also used a leaf blower to simulate windy weather and the alarm didn’t sound, so it earned an A+ in that test.
This pool alarm’s design makes it easy to use. Each setting is clearly marked on top of the unit and all you have to do to change from one to another is press and move a large metal slider. This simplicity is especially helpful when you need to silence the alarm after it goes off – other models we tested, such as the PoolGuard PGRM-SB Safety Buoy, require a key to turn off the alarm, which can result in some fumbling as you slowly lose your hearing. The Brickhouse Pool Alarm has flashing lights that let you know its status: A green light means the alarm is on, a yellow light means it's sleeping and won’t go off when you swim, and a red light means it is totally turned off. When the alarm is in sleep mode, it automatically reactivates to monitor the water after 100 seconds of calm pool water.
The Brickhouse puts out 100.5 decibels of sound, which is midrange compared to other alarms we tested. Still, anything around 100 decibels is really loud. For comparison, a normal conversation is about 60 decibels, and up close, a snowmobile or motorcycle puts out about 100 decibels. You start to experience some pain at anything over 125 decibels. The Brickhouse comes with a receiver you can mount up to 300 feet away from your pool so you’re sure to hear the alarm. Some online materials say it should be no more than 200 feet away, but the instructions included with the unit specifically say 300 feet. The remote receiver also has a button you can press to mute the alarm if it goes off.
This alarm takes six D batteries, and like most of the units we tested, they’re supposed to last about a year, depending on how frequently the alarm goes off. When your batteries are close to dead, the pool alarm starts beeping every 20 seconds. You need to read the instructions before you install the alarm because where you place it depends on the size and shape of your pool. For instance, the alarm should go in the middle of the long side of an oval-shaped pool. You adjust this alarm so it’s submerged the appropriate 10 centimeters by turning a ring and extending the monitoring arm.
On top of the Brickhouse’s accuracy and ease of use, it is rather affordable. You should always test any pool alarm you buy before relying on it completely, but we recommend the Brickhouse Pool Alarm as our best pick overall because it can tell you if anyone is in your pool with few false alarms.