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Pool alarms, which are required in many cities and states, alert you if someone enters the water or pool area. However, stresses David Cutler, co-founder of WAVE Drowning Detection Systems, "Having a pool alarm ... should never be a replacement for supervision.”
To find the best pool alarms, we evaluated products on their sensitivity, battery life, alarm level, ease of installation, and more. Our top pick is the Pool Patrol PA-30 Pool Alarm, which can be used in any style pool or spa and detects when any object over 15 pounds enters the water.
Here are the best pool alarms on the market.
Best Overall: Pool Patrol PA-30 Pool Alarm
Works in any style pool or spa
Detects children, pets, or objects 15 lbs or heavier
Works with solar cover
Meets ASTM Safety Specifications
Not the loudest alarm
The Pool Patrol PA-30 Pool Alarm is one of the best options for all types of pools, including in-ground, above-ground, and even spas. The standard-entry design is able to detect when any object over 15 pounds enters the water, signaling an alarm in your home that can be placed up to 200 feet away. This pool alarm is designed to float on the surface of the water, making it easy to install without needing to drill into your deck, and it can even be used underneath a solar cover.
This pool alarm is tested and approved to meet the requirements of ASTM Safety Specifications F2208-07 and F2208-08, and a single alarm works in pools up to 20 x 40 feet. It’s powered by a 9-volt battery that typically lasts a full season, and the alarm even has adjustable sensitivity to help reduce instances of false alarms. When the alarm is triggered, the 85-decibel siren sounds both at the in-pool unit and the receiver—it's not the loudest option out there, but still easy to hear—and if you need to deactivate it, simply tilt the floating pool alarm 90 degrees. The unit makes a chirping noise to let you know when its battery is low, and you can even install multiple alarms in large pools, if needed.
Best Budget: Techko S189 Ultra Slim Safe Pool Alarm
Interior or exterior use
Dual bypass buttons
Can be used on sliding doors
Included tape isn’t the best
The Techko S189 Ultra Slim is a budget-friendly pool alarm that can be used on a door or gate leading to your pool area. The main body is designed to be mounted to the doorway, and it connects to two contact sensors, as well as a wired bypass button placed on the exterior of the door. If the bypass button is pressed, you pass through the door without the alarm sounding, but if the door is opened without pushing the button, a loud 100+ decibel siren goes off.
You can use this alarm inside or outside, as it’s powered by AAA batteries and can be mounted just about anywhere. Its two contact sensors are ideal for use on sliding doors that have a screen door, as it will only sound if both sensors are opened. The alarm is ETL listed and approved under UL 2017 standards, and its sleek design doesn't look cumbersome when mounted in your doorway.
Best Splurge: Lifebuoy Pool Alarm System
Works in all types of pools
Adjustable alarm settings
Doesn’t work with solar cover
Limited Bluetooth range
If you’re willing to spend a little more on a high-tech pool alarm, the Lifebuoy System offers Bluetooth connectivity, allowing you to control it right from your smartphone. It comes with a floating unit you can use in any type of pool, including above-ground pools and spas, and a single unit can monitor pools up to 40 x 20 feet. The alarm’s receiver can be located up to 50 feet from the pool, and it goes off if a child, pet, or other large object enters the water.
This pool alarm system can be controlled via the brand’s app, allowing you to adjust the alarm’s sensitivity, as well as how long the siren sounds. You can also use the app to turn off the alarm when it goes off, as well as put it on Swim mode when you’re planning to use the pool (this prevents it from sounding when you purposefully enter the water). However, because the unit relies on Bluetooth, your phone has to be near the pool to connect to the alarm—it can’t be used remotely.
Best for Above-Ground Pools: PoolEye Above Ground Pool Alarm
Designed for above-ground pools
Fewer false alarms thanks to sub-surface wave detection
No in-house receiver
Not ASTM compliant
The PoolEye Above Ground Pool Alarm can be used in standard above-ground pools (not inflatable models) up to 24-feet in diameter or 16 x 32 feet. The unit is easy to install under the top ledge of steel-wall pools, and it’s able to detect when an object 15 pounds or more enters the water. When this happens, the alarm will sound an 85-decibel siren—however, keep in mind that this is a poolside alarm, meaning there’s no in-house receiver.
This above-ground pool alarm has a unique design that senses subsurface waves, which helps reduce instances of false alarms caused by rain and other inclement weather. Plus, you can adjust its sensitivity to suit your needs. However, this pool alarm is not ASTM compliant, so while it may work well to provide peace of mind, it may not be sufficient to pass an inspection from your town or for insurance purposes.
Best for In-Ground Pools: Poolguard PGRM-2 In-Ground Pool Alarm
Easy to install and remove
Can be used with solar cover
Complies with ASTM Safety Specifications
May not detect smaller objects
For your in-ground pool, the Poolguard PGRM-2 is a reliable option that meets the requirements of ASTM Safety Specifications F2208-08. It can be used with pools up to 800 square feet—roughly 20 x 40 feet—and its easy-to-install design doesn’t need to be drilled into your deck, unlike many other in-ground pool alarms. Just rest the L-shaped pool unit over the side of your pool, and if it senses an object entering the water, it sets off the in-house receiver, which can be installed up to 200 feet away.
This alarm is tamper-proof, meaning if someone removes it from the water without disabling it, the alarm goes off. It can be used under a solar cover, and when you want to swim in your pool, you can simply put the alarm in sleep mode by removing it from the water. Once it’s put back into the pool, the alarm automatically turns back on. The only thing to keep in mind is that the alarm detects objects 18 pounds and over, so it may not sense smaller objects.
Best Gate-Entry: Swann DIY Wireless Gate-Open Alert Kit
Three volume levels
Tricky to install on certain gates
The Swann DIY Wireless Gate-Open Alert Kit is ideal for a pool gate, as it has a convenient wireless design and can be expanded to other gates as needed. This kit includes a gate unit with two magnetic sensors, as well as an in-house receiver. Both components run on batteries, so there’s no need to mess around with wires, and they can be set up in a matter of minutes.
When its sensor is triggered, this gate-entry alarm sounds a siren both in the house and at the gate. The indoor receiver has three different volume levels, as well as a silent mode, and there’s a delay button on the gate-mounted unit that lets you pass through without triggering the alarm. The only downside of this gate alarm is that it’s designed to be mounted to your gate with adhesive, which isn’t the most durable when exposed to inclement weather.
Best for Doors: Poolguard DAPT-2 Pool Door Alarm
Easy to install
If you need to install an alarm on a door that leads out to your pool, the Poolguard DAPT-2 has a straightforward wireless design. The alarm has a magnetic sensor that you place on either side of the door frame, and when the door is opened, you must press the pass-thru button within seven seconds or the alarm sounds. Once the door closes again, it automatically resets itself for the next use.
This simple alarm is powered by a 9-volt battery, which typically lasts for around a year. It has a low battery indicator that will let you know when it needs to be changed, and the brand offers an optional screen door kit that can be added onto the system—this allows you to open the inner door on nice days, and the alarm will only sound if the screen door is also opened. While simple and effective, this door alarm is fairly bulky, and some users don’t like that there’s no way to temporarily disable the alarm if you’re going to pass through multiple times.
Best for Windows: GE Magnetic Window and Door Alarms
Can be used on doors or windows
Multiple sound settings
May not fit on all windows
For windows that can be used to access the pool area, the GE Magnetic Window and Door Alarms are an affordable safety solution. These simple alarms come in a pack of four, and they can be installed on windows or doors around your pool. When the magnetic components are separated by more than half an inch, a loud 120-decibel alarm will sound.
These alarms are incredibly easy to install using double-sided adhesive, but they may not work on all window and door frames. The units can be set to alarm or chime settings, and there’s also an option to switch them off when needed. Each alarm is powered by an LR44 battery (included), and there’s a low battery indicator light on the front of the unit that lets you know when it needs to be replaced.
No matter what style of pool you have, the Pool Patrol PA-30 Pool Alarm is a top choice. It’s incredibly easy to install, and it has an in-home receiver that can be placed up to 200 feet away. For a budget-friendly option, consider the Techko S189 Ultra Slim Safe Pool Alarm, which can be mounted on a door or gate leading to your pool.
What to Look for in a Pool Alarm
There are several types of pool alarms to consider. If you want an alarm that lets you know when someone or something falls into the pool, opt for a standard entry alarm. These alarms typically work by monitoring if the water level rises in the pool, and they can usually detect objects 15 pounds or greater.
Another popular style of pool alarm is a gate entry model, which sounds if someone opens the gate, door, or even a window to access your pool area. These alarms typically feature a bypass button that adults can use to open the gate or door without triggering the siren.
Finally, user-entry pool alarms are designed to monitor when specific people (or animals) enter the water. They require the user to wear a special sensor, and they’re the least common style of pool alarm, with only a few models available.
Pool alarms have an in-home siren, which communicates with the outdoor component, or a poolside siren, which sounds outdoors. Some units offer both. If you opt for a model with an in-home alarm, consider the range of the receiver. Generally, you need to position the two components within several hundred feet of each other for proper communication. Elements such as brick walls may interfere with their signal.
Certain pool alarms include features that allow you to monitor their status and change settings from your smartphone. These units operate using either Bluetooth or Wi-Fi—the former has a limited range, while the latter allows you to control the alarm from anywhere, even if you’re not home.
How does a pool alarm work?
“Pool alarms work by detecting if someone enters the water,” Cutler explains. “Some devices monitor motion around the pool, if a safety fence is opened, if the surface tension is broken, if the water in a pool rises, or if there’s movement near the pool. Other systems use a wearable that when submerged triggers an alarm.”
How do you install a pool alarm?
Your chosen style of pool alarm dictates how you need to install it. Standard-entry pool alarms have one component that goes into the water, either floating or mounted to the side of the pool, as well as a receiver you install inside your home. On the other hand, you need to mount gate-entry models to your gate, door, or window. They include two magnetic pieces, one of which you should mount on the frame, and the other on the door, gate, or window. It's important to line the two pieces up exactly during installation, as the alarm is triggered when the magnetic connection between the two components is broken.
Can a pool alarm be used with a pool cover?
You can use certain pool alarms with solar pool covers; they go off if someone falls onto the covering. However, not all standard-entry alarms offer this feature, so double-check the user manual before putting a cover over the alarm.
Why Trust The Spruce?
This article was written by Camryn Rabideau, a freelance writer and product tester for The Spruce. While researching pool alarms, she consulted with David Cutler, co-founder of WAVE Drowning Detection Systems, for information on how these alarms work and the benefits of installing one in your pool area. While comparing different products, she considered factors such as their ease of installation and use, reliability, and special features. She prioritized options with loud sirens and reliable performance, selecting options with sensors that reduce the risk of false alarms.