A pool offers countless opportunities for entertainment and relaxation. It’s also an excellent investment for you and your family’s health and well-being.
However, there are inherent safety concerns associated with swimming pools. Fortunately, pool alarms alert you as soon as children or pets enter the pool or pool area. However, there are so many types to choose from, it can be a challenge to decide which one is compatible with your safety requirements. Our pool alarm review and buyers guide was written to help you.
We’ve gone through the features of five of the best pool alarms for residential use, and our buyer’s guide outlines what to consider when making a choice.
OUR TOP PICK
The Pool Patrol PA-30 Pool Alarm is a highly accurate in-pool floating alarm that detects motion. It is perfect for a pool size of 20 x 40 feet or smaller and compatible with all types. It’s straightforward to use – to decrease or increase its sensitivity, you simply screw its base to the left or right. The alarm sound, measured at 100.4 dB, can be stopped by twisting the base to the left.
This model can be secured into place using the string and mounting clip that accompanies it. The 9-volt battery lasts for approximately one year. It has a blue top, black base and is discreetly sized at 10 x 6.5 x 10 inches.
The remote receiver allows you to monitor activity from inside your home and can operate up to 200 feet away from the pool.
- No rust or corrosion with plastic design
- Easily adjustable for sensitivity
- Works in any shape, type, or sized pool
- Quite expensive
The Poolguard in-ground pool alarm uses new sensor technology to decrease the chances of false alarms caused by the wind or small objects entering your pool. It detects disturbances similar to the weight of a one-year-old child.
Suitable for in-ground pools up to 20 x 40 or 800 square feet, it attaches onto the deck of your pool. With dimensions of 14.5 x 4 x 12.75 inches and white color, it’s easier to blend in with your pool’s environment. Its 9-volt batteries again should last approximately one year. The ‘Tamper Proof’ feature will trigger the alarm if the sensor is removed from the pool.
The in-house remote receiver has a range of up to 200 feet away from the alarm. At 10 feet, its sound measures 85 dB. After installation, it runs a system test.
It has been tested for ASTM standard F2208 compliance and certified by the NSF (standards for public health protection). It comes with a 3-year warranty.
- Uses new sensor technology
- Still effective with a solar pool blanket
- Alerts you if the sensor has been removed
- Remote controlled
- False alarms still occur occasionally
- Difficult to turn the alarm off
The iSmartAlarm Contact Sensor brings you high-tech pool safety. You attach the pair of battery-operated sensors to the door or gate leading to your pool area. Once the door or gate is opened, connectivity is lost between the sensors and triggers the alarm.
The two sensors are lightweight at 0.2 pounds and discreetly sized at 6.3(l) x 2.7(w) x 0.7(h) inches. These sensors are part of a self-controlled and self-monitored wireless security system.
As an add-on to the iSmartAlarm CubeOne security system, they also work when attached to windows and cabinets, etc.
The iSmartAlarm app allows you to disable and monitor your pool area from your smartphone.
You’ll also have the option to customize the alerts you receive should you wish to focus on one particular area of your home, other than the pool area.
- Receive instant text, call, or email notifications
- Controlling the alarm can be done through your smartphone
- Easy to install, wireless, and discreet
- Need your phone to receive the alert
- Requires an iSmartAlarm CubeOne (hub) to work
The Poolguard DAPT-2 pool door alarm is the first door alarm to comply with UL 2017 safety standards for water hazard entrance alarm equipment. Like the iSmartAlarm, it’s secured to the frame of the pool gate or door and the door itself, then sounds once there is a disconnect between them.
The alarm goes off seven seconds after a child has opened the door and will continue until you reset it, even if they’ve shut the door behind them. It has a separate ‘Adult Pass’ feature to allow adults into the area without triggering the alarm. From 10 feet away, the alarm sound measures 85 dB.
It requires one 9-volt battery, which is expected to last one year. Its low battery indicator audibly lets you know once the battery is getting low. It comes with a 1-year warranty.
- Adult pass feature
- Easy to use
- Simple installation
- Batteries not included
The Lifebuoy floating pool alarm system comprises multiple sensors and microprocessors using the latest technology to monitor sound waves. Its long-range RF allows detection of distant movement. It detects when someone enters the pool as well as movement inside the pool.
This alarm has a ‘Swim Mode’ feature – after 10 minutes of no movement it will reactivate then sound if something enters the pool.
The control and configuration of the alarm, including sensitivity adjustments, can be done via the app when connected to Bluetooth. Alternatively, the ‘Home Button’ offers the same functionality from inside your home.
What makes the Lifebuoy alarm stand out from other floating alarms is that it alerts you if the pool cover has been removed. It can be used in almost every type of pool, spa, or backyard pond and can be taken on vacations.
The Lifebuoy is CE, FCC approved, and ASTM compliant. It’s 6 x 6 x 5 inches and comes with one 9-volt battery.
- Long-range detection
- It can be used with the pool cover
- Bluetooth connection is limited to its range
Now for some information about how the different models work and what to consider when evaluating pool alarms.
Surface Wave Detection
Floating pool alarms are suitable for in-ground or above-ground pools and spas. They detect when something has entered the pool by measuring water disturbance. They incorporate an electric circuit using two contacts – one in the water and one above. The circuit is complete and triggers the alarm once the device is touched by water from a surface wave.
A good thing about these models is that they require no installation and are easy to operate. You can remove them while using the pool then pop them back in afterward. They’re also sensitive to low weights, perfect for your lightweight pets. However, some can be sensitive to debris or strong winds and potentially trigger false alarms.
Subsurface Wave Detection
These alarms have sensors that will sound if there is water movement at the subsurface level. Their sensors are below the water and are triggered when the pressure changes. There are two types: one depends on the movement of a magnetic-floating device, and the other uses a pressure switch.
Best suited to in-ground pools and spas, they’re typically more expensive but are recommended as a more permanent solution offering the best protection.
These types comprise a base station and bracelet. Once the bracelet comes into contact with water, the alarm is triggered. Child wristbands include a lock to prevent removal. This system is portable and works with any pool, and you can even take them to the beach. However, the alarm could be activated if it gets wet during activities like walking in the rain.
Door and Gate Alarms
Once someone opens the door or gate of the area leading up to the pool, the alarm is triggered. This method allows you extra time to intervene before the child or pet enters the water. These alarms are typically installed at a height out of the reach of children and can be momentarily disabled.
Depending on your municipality, there may be requirements about the type of alarm you can install.
Surface Wave Detection
Floating alarms can be mounted on the edge of the pool or in the pool itself and then secured in place by attaching it to the side of the pool. Once the device detects water displacement, it sends a signal to the receiver to sound the alarm.
The receiver is best placed next to a window or opposite the pool and within 200 feet of the transmitter. The receiver should not be placed in cabinets, near steel walls, or close to electrical appliances like a computer. The signal reception could be disturbed if placed on a metal surface.
Surface wave detection alarms are typically mounted to the most central position of the pool’s deck, on the middle section of the longest wall, for example – not too close to the return line and within at least five inches of the pool wall. The receiver is typically situated inside your home close to a power supply.
Some alarms require disabling and re-enabling via remote control or by inputting a code. Once the device is installed, its position is permanent. These types are suited to in-ground pools since the device needs to be installed on the side of the pool wall, which is difficult to achieve with above-ground pools.
The wristband or pet collar is a battery-powered sensor. Placed on your child’s wrist or a pet’s collar, it goes off once submerged in water. The receiver is situated inside your home. There is no installation or setup required.
Door or Gate Alarms
These are typically installed on the door or gate of your pool area and can also be attached to windows. By placing one part of the proximity sensor on the door frame and the other on the door, gate, or window, the alarm will be triggered once the sensors separate.
The alarm volume is the most essential feature as it needs to be audible from every part of your home.
We measure sound in decibels (dB). A typical conversation is about 60 dB, a running motorcycle engine is about 95 dB. Above 120 dB is considered a very loud noise. Once the base unit/receiver of the pool alarm is triggered, it usually ranges from 85 dB to 120 dB.
Noise above 70 dB for a prolonged period could damage your ears, however. Most alarms will sound until disarmed or automatically turn off after a set amount of time – typically three minutes.
Ease of Use
When thinking about ease of use, consider the following:
- Can it be used straight out of the box, or are you required to purchase an additional kit?
- How easy is the installation process?
- Can it be installed without any potential damage to your pool or its enclosure?
- How easy is it to operate?
- How easy is it to configure and adjust the settings?
- How easy is it to disable the alarm once triggered?
The range is the maximum distance at which the sensor can communicate with the base/receiver to sound the alarm. If the sensors are not within range of the receiver, the alarm will not sound.
It also refers to the distance the alarm sound travels from the alarm. This metric is crucial. If the alarm can’t be heard from any point in your home, it’s pointless. Luckily, the sound measured for most pool alarms is 85 dB, which is sufficient to reach every corner of large houses.
Since the receiver only works within a specific distance of the sensor, you’ll need to consider the distance between your house and the pool when deciding on a suitable model.
Are Pool Alarms Required by Law?
Most cities and states have pool safety laws that require pool owners to have a pool alarm and/or pool gate alarm to prevent accidental death by drowning. As each state is different, you’ll need to check with your city to determine what type of alarm is required, a poolside alarm, a pool enclosure, an alarmed pool door or gate, or all of the above.
How Much Does a Pool Alarm Cost?
The price of pool alarms varies depending on the type. However, you can expect to pay between $50-$500. The least expensive models are gate-mounted models, and the most expensive are in-pool motion detection systems.
Do Pool Alarms Really Work?
Pool alarms effectively let you know as soon as someone or something has entered your pool or pool area. Like fire alarms, they should be tested every so often, and most types are designed to let you know when the battery needs replacing.
Sometimes alarms can be triggered by a strong wind or a foreign object. For this reason, most pool alarms allow for sensitivity adjustments to help prevent false alarms.
Under no circumstance should a pool alarm replace constant supervision. Other pool safety options include having readily accessible lifebuoys, keeping your pool covered when not in use, and teaching your children about pool safety rules, e.g., never run around the pool area, etc.
Investment in Pool Safety With a Pool Alarm
A pool alarm is another excellent investment that any pool, spa, or pond owner can make. They act as a second layer of protection in reducing the risk to children and pets or non-swimmers from accidentally drowning. They should not replace supervision, fences, gates, pool covers, and locks, however.
There are plenty of choices available – from alarms that monitor the surface and subsurface motion to unexpected entry to the pool enclosure. One should consider their pool type, the home setup, and budget when deciding on the proper alarm to meet their safety requirements.
We hope that our best pool alarms product review and buyers guide have helped you make an informed decision.