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The Best Pool Alarms To Keep Kids Safe in 2022

By Matt Giovanisci | Updated: January 26, 2022

Getting the right pool alarm system is a simple way to protect your child or pet from getting injured or drowning in your pool. A reliable alarm should be sensitive enough to detect children or animals in your water but not overly sensitive that it triggers false alarms (like from wind or rain).

With those criteria in mind, our picks for the best pool alarms are the PoolGuard PGRM-2 Alarm (Inground) or the PoolEye Immersion Alarm (Above Ground). Because these two alarms are immersable, they’re more reliable at sensing disturbances in your water and they’re less likely to trigger false alarms.

However, if you have smaller pets (under 15 pounds) or you want a portable alarm for a smaller pool or hot tub, the Pool Patrol PA-30 Alarm (Floating) is a better option.

For more information about how these alarms work and what features to look for, you can watch the quick video tutorial below. Or keep reading for our complete guide to alarms for pools and our recommendations.

FYI: We’re a small team of pool industry experts and researchers that care about recommending quality, reliable pool products. If you choose to click a link and buy any of the products we recommend, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

The Best Alarm for Inground Pools

The PoolGuard PGRM-2 Inground Alarm is completely tamper-proof and simple to use. Installed at the edge of your pool with a submersible arm, the PoolGuard reliably detects anything entering your water that’s 18 pounds and greater. It can also help detect slow entry into the water if your pool has beach entry.

With an in-house remote receiver, this alarm will sound both at the swimming pool and in your home, giving you peace of mind that you’ll be notified of any disturbances.

It runs on a 9V battery, making it simple to set up. And it’s perfect for larger inground pools (up to 20 feet by 40 feet). This alarm also meets ASTM standards for swimming pool alarms.

Be mindful that this is a permanent installation made for larger pools and only designed for detecting objects 18 pounds and greater.

The Best Alarm for Above Ground Pools

Our Top Pick
PoolEye Above Ground Pool Immersion Alarm

This pool alarm is perfect for smaller pools and very easy to install. With an adjustable sensitivity switch and sub-surface wave detection, you'll have fewer false alarms from rain or wind while still keeping your family safe.

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The PoolEye Above Ground Pool Alarm is perfect for 24-foot or smaller pools and extremely easy to install. Its underwater motion sensor uses subsurface wave detection, so it won’t trigger false alarms from rain or wind. However, this alarm is reliable and sensitive when it needs to be. It’s triggered when it detects an object as light as 15 pounds, which makes it a safer option for smaller pets and or animals. And the adjustable sensitivity switch allows you to customize your alarm’s responsiveness.

The PoolEye alarm is battery-powered and installs under the top ledge or railing of your pool. While it emits a loud, high-pitched siren sound at the pool, it does not come with an in-house receiver. So remember to check your local pool safety codes before you buy. Like all the alarms on our list, this alarm does meet ASTM standards.

Do Pool Alarms Really Work?

Yes, they do. But certain types of alarms are more effective and reliable than others. While pool alarms are an important tool to keep your pool safe, you’ll also want to consider adding other layers of protection and detection, like a gate alarm.

Pool alarms use sensors in the water to detect when something like a child or pet unexpectedly enters your pool. A floating pool alarm detects ripples and motion on your pool’s surface. Other alarms are immersed underwater where they detect motion or water that’s been displaced because something has gotten in your pool.

Why Should You Install an Alarm For Your Pool?

Most of the hundreds of pool-related accidents and drownings that happen each year could have been prevented with the right safety precautions. And in some states, alarm systems for pools are actually required by law.

Before you buy an alarm, be sure to check your local codes and the federal pool safety guidelines so you’re in compliance with the laws where you live.

What’s the Best Type of Pool Alarm?

There are two types of pool alarms to choose from: subsurface alarms (underwater) and surface wave alarms (floating). Threshold alarms, like door and gate alarms, help protect the enclosure around your pool.

Each type of alarm works a little differently, and they can be used in tandem to make your pool even safer:

Types of pool alarms subsurface and surface

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, subsurface sensor alarms are the most effective. Compared to surface wave sensor alarms, subsurface alarms are more reliable and less likely to trigger false alarms.

That’s why we recommend using a subsurface alarm and a threshold alarm together for a more complete alarm system. This combination will alert you if anything has gotten into your pool enclosure (threshold alarm) OR if anything significant has fallen into the water (subsurface alarm).

A surface wave alarm is still a great option, especially if you have animals under 15 pounds or an inflatable pool or hot tub. These sensitive alarms are better for smaller pools but they may be triggered by wind, rain, or moving water near your skimmer.

The Best Subsurface Sensor Alarms

One of the most effective and reliable types of pool alarms, subsurface sensors are permanent installations in your pool. Once installed, the sensing arm extends down into the water and constantly monitors for water disturbances.

This sleek-looking PoolGuard PGRM-2 Inground Pool Alarm comes with an in-house remote receiver. You’ll need to drill a small hole in your pool deck for installation. Then the alarm sits on the edge of your pool, partly submerged in the water. If it detects any disturbances, the alarm will sound at the pool and through the in-house receiver.

When the sensing arm is in the water, the alarm is always active. So whenever you want to use your pool, simply set the alarm to sleep mode and remove the sensing arm from the water. As soon as you put it back into your pool, it’s activated, eliminating the possibility of forgetting to turn it back on. It also meets ASTM standards.

Our Top Pick
PoolEye Above Ground Pool Immersion Alarm

This pool alarm is perfect for smaller pools and very easy to install. With an adjustable sensitivity switch and sub-surface wave detection, you'll have fewer false alarms from rain or wind while still keeping your family safe.

Buy Now On Amazon
If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

If you have an above ground pool, the PoolEye Above Ground Pool Alarm is a great option that requires no drilling. Simply remove a section of your rail to install the sensor. Then slip it right back on. It’s rated for 24-foot or smaller pools and is ASTM certified.

One downfall: the PoolEye does not come with a remote receiver of any kind, so it only emits an alarm at the pool. It’s a very loud 85-decibel siren, but remember to check your local code requirements in case you need an alarm with an in-house receiver.

The Best Threshold Alarms

These alarms are installed anywhere a person could gain access to your pool, such as a sliding glass pool door, windows, or gates. Threshold alarms alert you when anyone (or anything) enters your pool area unexpectedly — and before they’re near the pool water.

The iSmartAlarm Contact Sensor uses wireless contact sensors that can be placed on doors and windows that open to your pool area. If anyone opens the door or window, the connection between the sensors is broken, and an alarm goes off.

Because it’s part of a home security solution, you can add other components, such as motion detectors and cameras. It also lets you monitor for intrusions from your smartphone.

PoolGuard Outdoor Pool Gate Alarm

Made for any gate, outside door, or screen, this alarm protects access to your pool. The alarm automatically resets and is always on, preventing anyone from accidentally leaving your gate open for children or pets to wander to your pool.

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Another option is a gate alarm like PoolGuard GAPT-2. This can be installed on gates and screens where other alarms might not work.

Once the gate has been open for a few seconds, the alarm will sound. Pressing the pass-through button will turn off the alarm so adults can easily come and go without tripping it every time. Because this is a simple matter of pushing a button, it’s imperative to install the alarm control unit out of children’s reach.

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The Best Surface Wave Sensor Alarm

If you need an alarm for a smaller pool or you have smaller animals that might get into your water, a surface wave sensor alarm is the next best option.

Surface wave sensors work by floating on your pool’s surface and measuring any disturbance of the water. They’re more effective in smaller pools and hot tubs. And because it’s portable, it’s useful if you’re traveling with kids and use someone’s pool who doesn’t have an alarm or pool cover.

The Pool Patrol alarm floats like a floating chlorine dispenser, making it extremely easy to “install” in your pool. It also features a remote receiver that works 200 feet away, so the alarm will sound through the in-house receiver and poolside.

You can adjust the sensitivity of the sensing ring so it will only react to disturbances the size of a small animal or child but not, say, a breeze. And this alarm meets ASTM standards. Just remember that compared to subsurface alarms, surface wave sensor alarms like this one are more likely to trigger false alarms (according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission).

How Much Does It Cost to Install a Pool Alarm?

Most units cost between $100 and $200. With the right tools on hand, you can install a pool alarm system yourself. But just be aware that some types of alarms, like subsurface alarms, require power tools to screw in and properly mount the device.

Regardless of the cost, they’re worth the peace of mind knowing your children and pets are safe. Here’s a recap of the alarms we recommend:

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Matt Giovanisci is the founder of Swim University® and has been in the pool and spa industry since 1995. Since then, his mission is to make pool and hot tub care easy for everyone. And each year, he continues to help more people with water chemistry, cleaning, and troubleshooting.
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This free printable cheat sheet helps keep your inground, above ground, or Intex pool clean and clear without messing with confusing water chemistry.
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