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It goes without saying: An unsecured pool can present risks, particularly for families. With that in mind, pairing one of the best pool alarms with a fence that encloses your swim spot is a no-brainer in most cases. But before you start shopping, it’s good to know that there are two different types out there. Some focus on the pool entryway, sounding a loud warning if the gate is opened. Others monitor the water itself, using an infrared eye to scan for disturbances, such as splash from someone falling in or objects below the surface. If you own a pool and are looking to add an alarm (note: some states even require private pools to have them), read on for our picks. 

Our Favorites

Best Overall: Poolguard In-Ground Pool Alarm

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Type: Pool entry | Adjustable sensitivity controls: Yes | Alarm: Indoor | Max pool size: 800 square feet

What we like:

  • Sleek design
  • Alarm sounds indoors via receiver
  • Loud 85-decibel alarm

Worth noting:

  • Pricey

Why we chose it: The Poolguard is easy to use, not an eyesore, and sounds an alarm inside your home via a remote receiver. 

This Poolguard pool alarm sits perched at the side of your pool, keeping a close eye on the surface of the water. If someone (or something) falls in, the infrared eye detects the splash and triggers an 85-decibel warning—about the sound level of a blender—on a separate receiver that sits inside your home. This compact alarm covers a range of 800 square feet of surface area and can communicate with the monitor from as far as 200 feet away. It’s also supereasy to use: Once you place it in the water, it automatically wakes up and begins monitoring the pool surface. To turn it off, simply remove it from the water and put the unit in sleep mode. 

Best Value: Hendun Pool Gate Alarm

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Type: Gate | Adjustable sensitivity controls: N/A | Alarm: Outdoor | Max pool size: N/A

What we like:

  • Extremely loud
  • Remote control and keypad
  • Affordably priced

Worth noting:

  • Only works with a solid pool fence

Why we chose it: It can be operated remotely and is extremely loud (a good thing!). 

If you have a sturdy pool fence that’s at least 4 feet high, then a solid gate alarm, such as this one from Hendon, might be all you need. It functions similarly to a door sensor on a home security system. Opening the gate triggers a quite deafening 140-decibel alarm that the entire neighborhood should have little problem hearing. The alarm is waterproof, and you can conveniently arm and disarm it with a remote control or via its keypad. The gate is powered by four AAA batteries and will chirp like a smoke detector when the batteries are low.  Buy in a pack of two, if you’d like, to install one on your pool gate and on an exterior fence that surrounds your backyard.

Best for Above-Ground Pools: PoolEye Above Ground Pool Alarm

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Type: Pool entry | Adjustable sensitivity controls: No | Alarm: Outdoor | Max pool size: 24 feet in diameter

What we like:

  • Monitors underwater movement
  • Detects objects as light as 15 pounds
  • Sits out of the way

Worth noting:

  • Only sounds a poolside alarm

Why we chose it: A low profile and very accurate underwater sensor will set you right up. 

Above-ground pools don’t afford a lot of space for housing accessories like an alarm, which is why the PoolEye is such a great option. It mounts under a pool’s top ledge or railing, keeping it safely out of the way of all the action. When armed, it scans for underwater activity via a sensor that extends below the water’s surface. If it detects movement, it triggers an alarm that sounds at 85 decibels. The PoolEye’s sensor is sensitive enough to detect objects as light as 15 pounds and, since it sits below the water rather than above it, you won’t have false alerts from wind or rain. 

Best Smart: Lifebuoy Pool Alarm System

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Type: Pool entry | Adjustable sensitivity controls: Yes | Alarm: Indoor and outdoor | Max pool size: 800 square feet

What we like:

  • Indoor and outdoor alarms
  • Can be controlled via app
  • Automatically resets

Worth noting:

  • Will cost you 
  • Floats in your pool

Why we chose it: This one auto-arms, and it’s the only system we found that sounds both inside a home and poolside.

Yes, it’s a very noticeable fire-engine red, floats around in your pool, and also happens to be one of the most expensive pool alarms you can buy. But if you’re looking for an alarm system that will provide the most comprehensive protection, this is it. Similar to others, the Lifebuoy uses a motion sensor that can detect disturbances in the water. What sets it apart are two alarms that sit poolside and inside the home, ensuring someone will hear it if it’s triggered. You can control all of its settings and arm and disarm it via a smartphone, and it’s got you covered if you forget to set it. If the Lifebuoy detects no movement in the pool for more than 10 minutes, it automatically rearms. 

Best for Sliding Glass Doors: Techko Safe Pool Alarm

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Type: Gate | Adjustable sensitivity controls: N/A | Alarm: Indoor  | Max pool size: N/A 

What we like:

  • Sensors for glass and screen doors
  • Easy-to-use bypass button
  • Low battery indicator

Worth noting:

  • Uses visible wires

Why we chose it: A bypass button allows adults to come and go freely while alerting you when little ones try to squeeze by.

As an entryway from house to pool, sliding glass doors can be a challenge to monitor. With so many people passing in and out, it’s easy for young children to slip through. This smartly designed pool alarm uses a bypass system as a virtual bouncer, allowing certain individuals to skirt the alarm while keeping others out. If the sliding glass door is opened without first pressing the bypass button (mounted at adult height), it triggers a 120-decibel, 6-tone alarm, alerting you and, likely, all of your neighbors. It smartly comes with two sensors—one for a glass slider and one for a screen door—allowing you to keep the former open on cooler days while still maintaining a secure pool area. 

Best Camera: SwamCam Pool Alarm Camera

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Type: Camera | Adjustable sensitivity controls: N/A | Alarm: Indoor | Max pool size: N/A 

What we like:

  • Can monitor the pool via a camera
  • Automatically sets itself
  • Receive notifications through push alerts

Worth noting:

  • Most expensive of the bunch

Why we chose it: Get alerts on your smartphone with live video. 

Unlike other pool alarms that use an infrared sensor to monitor pool activity, SwamCam uses a camera with AI tech to detect movement. When activated and it spies someone in the pool area, a loud alarm sounds and the app alerts you via push notifications, instantly connecting you to the camera so you can see what’s happening poolside. You can even use the camera’s two-way microphone to speak to whomever is in the pool area. And if you’re someone who frequently forgets to set alarms, you can program the SwamCam to automatically set itself so you don’t have to remember to manually arm it. 

How We Chose These Products

A pool alarm is all about keeping children and pets safe by providing an additional layer of security beyond that 4-foot gated fence you should (already) have surrounding your pool. First and foremost, an alarm must be able to detect a human or pet that falls into the pool water and alert you with a loud enough sound to hear indoors. Keeping those factors in mind, we chose options that are sensitive enough to register movement in the pool water and booming enough to make neighbors from several houses away pause and take notice. It should also be easy to set up, requiring you to do very little beyond placing it in the pool. We also liked useful design features in pool alarms, including those that are able to automatically set themselves if you happen to forget to do so and models that can send you push notifications on a smart device. 

Our Shopping Checklist

Types of Alarms 

Pool alarms fall into two categories, those that you plop in the water to monitor the pool itself and alarms that sound when someone opens the pool’s gate. The former is designed to alert you as soon as someone enters the water. They come equipped with an electric infrared eye that sounds an alarm when it senses disturbances. Some pool alarms scan the surface for splashes, while others have sensors that extend into the water and scan for movement underneath. Gate alarms work like a standard security system. They include door sensors that, while armed, sound an alarm if the gate leading to the pool area is opened. For more thorough security, you can use a gate alarm in combination with a pool entry alarm. 

Volume

A pool alarm is only useful if other members of the household hear it when it goes off. If the alarm uses a receiver that’s located indoors, then 80 decibels should be loud enough to alert anyone inside the home. If the alarm receiver is poolside, you’ll want a louder one to ensure you’ll hear it even if you’re indoors. 

Pool Size

If you’re purchasing a pool alarm, it’s crucial that you pay attention to the size limitations of the device. Most can cover a maximum 400 square feet of pool surface. If you have a larger pool, you may need to purchase multiple alarms. 

Installation and Maintenance

Installing a pool alarm is not complicated and something most pool owners can complete in less than an hour. That said, it’s crucial to follow the installation instructions carefully to make sure it works properly. 

Maintaining a pool alarm is similar to maintaining a smoke detector in your home. Pool alarms are powered by batteries, so you’ll need to change them about once a year. Luckily, most pool alarms will chirp or display a light when the batteries in the unit are low. 

Ask Domino

Q: How loud is a pool alarm?

How loud a pool alarm is depends on the type. Most pool alarms with receivers that sound indoors are between 80 and 85 decibels. Pool alarms that sound their alarm poolside are typically louder at between 120 and 130 decibels. 

Q: Do pool alarms work with pool covers?

If you need a pool alarm that works with a cover, purchase an alarm equipped with a sensor that extends below the surface and scans for motion underwater. 

Q: Is it a law that you have to have a pool alarm?

While there are some municipalities that require private pool owners to have a pool alarm, this isn’t common. Check with local ordinances to determine what the requirements are for pool safety equipment. 

The Last Word

The Pool Guard, with its indoor receiver and underwater sensor, is a reliable and reasonably priced pool alarm for in-ground pools. Those with above-ground pools should consider the PoolEye above-ground pool alarm, which is designed to attach to the ledge of above-ground pool walls and monitor underwater movement. Remember: Safety first, people!

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