A pool can be a wonderful part of your home. But it also presents a danger that you need to be mindful of. That’s especially true if you have small children, but accidents can happen to anyone, of any age. Family members, visitors, or even trespassers can fall into your pool and struggle to get out, leading to tragedy.
How A Pool Alarm Keeps Your Family Safe
Pool alarms let you know when someone enters the pool. This warning can be a matter of life and death and give you the chance to make sure everything – and everyone – is ok. They can even detect if a pet is in the pool!
There are different types of alarms – some notify you if anyone enters the water, while others can apply to specific people. They’re simple to use but can add to your peace of mind.
In this article, we’re going to talk about alarms that detect entry into the pool. Pool gate alarms are a different topic. They, too, are a helpful tool and give you more advanced warning. For now, let’s look at the devices that let you know when someone enters the water.
How A Pool Alarm Works
There are four main kinds of pool alarms. All notify you if someone enters the pool, but they do so in varying ways.
A surface pool alarm recognizes waves on the surface of your pool. Of course, even when someone or something cautiously enters the pool, they affect how the water moves.
This kind of alarm floats and recognizes when the surface height of the water changes. Part of the unit is above water; the other part is below. When water touches the part above the surface, it completes a circuit, sounding the alarm.
These are simple to set up – add batteries (usually 2 AA or 2 AAA cells) and place it on the water. You can let it float freely or attach it to the pool ladder.
They work with hot tubs, spas, and above-ground and in-ground pools.
The main disadvantage is that there can be a lot of false alarms. Heavy wind or rain may trigger it. Falling branches or even leaves may set it off. You also have to take it out of the pool when you go swimming (not a big deal – hardly a minor inconvenience).
It doesn’t take a lot to install a subsurface alarm, but it is slightly more work than a surface one. Most models have to be attached to the side of the pool under the water line. Some sit on the side of the pool with an arm extending below the water.
But it’s less likely to give a false alarm because it focuses on what goes on below the surface. It measures water pressure changes. Any object over about 15 pounds that enters the water is enough to make most models go off.
These work well with in-ground pools. The ones that mount on the side of a pool won’t work with some above-ground pools with soft sides. They don’t have to be removed from the pool when you swim; you can just decrease the sensitivity.}
Finally, some alarms detect when something crosses their beam. Infrared alarms use a beam of light to detect when someone crosses a certain point. This alarm lets you know a moment before they even hit the water!
You do have to set up units all around your pool so that they let you know when someone approaches from any side. Of course, that’s hard with a round pool! But you could also place the alarm across an entry area.
Most of these will also only detect objects over about 15 pounds, so you don’t have to worry about a butterfly flying across the beam or a leaf falling through it.
What To Consider
With something so important as protecting the safety of your children and pets, you want to be sure to make the right choice. So what should you look for? Here are our suggestions:
Ease Of Installation
A good pool alarm is simple to set up – more importantly, it’s easy to arm and disarm. After all, the pool is supposed to be enjoyable!
Fortunately, all types of alarms can be easy to set up and most are.
Ease Of Use,
With most alarms, you just have to set it up and let it do its thing, with occasional checks on the batteries.
However, you also want to make sure it’s easy to enable or disable when you use the pool. You’ll also want one that makes it easy to turn off the alarm – no need to disturb the neighbors while you struggle to turn off a false alarm!
You want an alarm that’s loud enough to hear, of course! It doesn’t do any good if you don’t know when it’s going off
This goes hand-in-hand with volume. What better way to hear your alarm than for it to connect to your phone?
Of course, Bluetooth has a very limited range. But if you know that your pets or children can’t access the pool unless you’re nearby but are concerned that you might lose track of them, it can be fine.
With WiFi, the signal can connect to your home internet so you know if someone got into the pool even if you’re not home.
Compatibility With Your Pool
This is especially important with above-ground pools. Some alarms require mounting, and not all pools have a hard side they can mount to. Be sure to check the requirements before buying. This is especially true for subsurface alarms.
A good pool alarm can distinguish between a leaf and a person, even if it’s a small person. You don’t want an alarm that goes off over every slight disturbance!
Reviews of the Best Pool Alarms
Let’s have a look at some of the best swimming pool alarms in each of the categories we’ve considered!
Best Surface Swimming Pool Alarms
The PA-30 stands out for use in both above-ground and in-ground pools. It even has adjustable sensitivity levels to help you avoid false alarms and a remote alarm that stays in the house so you know what’s going on at all times!
The kit includes a floating meter with a rope to tie it to your ladder. It also includes the receiver for the house. The receiver works well up to 200 feet from the pool. It plugs into a wall outlet.
The alarm is very loud, so you don’t have to worry about hearing it.
The sensitivity is easy to adjust by simply turning the top of the unit. It has various levels that you may have to experiment with. Also, rain may sometimes set off the alarm.
Overall, this is one of the best alarms available and the price is about average in the category.
This newer surface alarm has all the bells and whistles in addition to being a good alarm. It even has a Bluetooth connection and app. If you have a larger pool or, say, a pool and spa with a lifebuoy in each, you can connect both to the same app. You can also have multiple people access the app, each from their phones.
The app controls sensitivity as well as letting you reset the alarm.
This system works with pools up to 800 square feet (20×40). You can add more alarms for larger pools.
It uses a 9V battery which should last about a year.
It’s easy to set up with a unit for the house and the piece that floats in the pool. Syncing them is just a matter of pushing a button.
It also reactivates itself after a swimming session when it detects the water has been still for 10 minutes.
Like similar units, rain or other water getting in the unit can set off the alarm, which can quickly become annoying. Also, it’s on the expensive side.
Best Subsurface Swimming Pool Alarm
This unit attaches to the deck of the pool and extends below the water line. It sends a message to an in-house receiver up to 200 feet away when the water is disturbed.
It works remarkably well and has fewer false alarms than surface models. It sometimes doesn’t detect gradual entry into the water, but it does incredibly well when something suddenly enters, as long as the object weighs about 15 pounds or more.
One big flaw is that every unit of the Poolguard runs on the same frequency. So if your neighbor has a pool close by, your alarm will go off when the disturbance is in their pool!
The PoolEye Alarm mounts on the edge of your pool and detects underwater motion so you will know whenever anything causes the water to move.
It will pick up the movement of anything over 15 pounds and send a signal to a remote receiver, sounding a loud alarm.
There are a couple of drawbacks, though. The range for the remote receiver is only 100 feet, compared to 200 with most others. Also, it can’t be disabled indefinitely – it will come back on while you’re in the pool, and that alarm will start all over again.
It will let you know when something enters the water, but it does give off a fair number of false alarms.
Good safety practices are indispensable when you have a pool. Pool alarms are one of the most important elements to consider. Fortunately, they’re easy to set up and use. Even more importantly, they’ll reassure you that you’ll be alerted if someone or something enters the pool when it shouldn’t!