Swimming Pool Alarms: A Buyers Guide

Ring Buoy for pool safetySpring will be here before you know it, so now is a good time to discuss the most important topic when it comes to pools – safety. Staying safe around the pool is important for everyone, but especially so for pool owners with small children or pets.

A pool alarm is an essential element to keeping your pool safe, and there are many different alarms to choose from. I’m going to give some details about a few different types and models of pool alarms and hopefully help you decide which one is right for your situation.

Before I discuss alarms in more detail, it is important to understand that an alarm should be treated as the last line of defense; never a stand-alone solution. Every pool should have a safety system in place that has several layers of protection.adult-supervision-2

Physical barriers must be in place, such as a fence or a wall with a self-latching gate and/or a safety cover to block unauthorized access to the pool.

Regardless of what pool safety products you have in place, the foundation of any pool safety system is proper adult supervision.

Pool Entry Alarms

A pool entry detection alarm will sound an alarm when someone (or something) enters the pool. They utilize subsurface wave detection technology that is able to detect waves/movement in the water when a child or an object of a minimum specified weight falls in to the pool.  Here a few examples of pool entry alarms:

PoolEye PE20pooleye-pe20-alarm

  • Has a sensor that is placed below the water surface. Includes stainless steel mounting system so you can mount the unit to the deck or ladder.
  • Recommended for in ground pools up to 18×36 ft. Larger pools will require multiple units.
  • Alarm sounds when objects weighing 15 lbs. or more fall in to the pool. The sensitivity is adjustable if you’d prefer the alarm sound only for heavier weights.
  • 120 decibel alarm siren, 95 decibel at 10ft. away.
  • Operates on one 9 Volt battery and 1 AA battery.

PoolEye PE 13pooleye-polaroid

  • Sensor mounts under pool rail, siren mounts above rail.
  • Includes pool-side and in-home remote alarms.  Remote receives signal up to 100 ft. away.
  • Recommended for above ground pools up to 24 ft. round or 16×32 ft. oval.
  • Alarm sounds when objects weighing 15 lbs. or more fall in to the pool.
  • 120 decibel alarm siren, 95 decibel at 10 feet.
  • Operates on one 9-volt battery.
  • Automatically checks for low battery power


  • Sits on pool deck and extends beneath the surface of the water.
  • Recommended for in ground pools up to 20×40 ft.
  • Alarm sounds when objects weighing 18 lbs. or more fall in to the pool.
  • 85 decibel alarm from 10 feet away.
  • Operates on a 9-volt battery, with a battery life of approximately one year.
  • Features an automatic low battery indicator.

PoolGuard Safety Buoysafety-buoy

  • Designed to be used in any above ground pool including quick set, soft sided, and portable above ground pools as well as spas and some small in-ground pools.
  • Floats on the water.  Recommended for pools up to 24 ft. round or 16 x 32 ft. rectangle.
  • Alarm sounds when objects weighing 18 lbs. or more fall in to the pool.
  • Features in house remote receiver which works up to 200 ft. away.

User Entry Alarms

A user entry alarm has a sensor that is designed to be worn by the user which is combined with a base station that sounds an alarm if the sensor comes in contact with water. This type of alarm allows you to protect specific individuals, so you could have only the small children in your house wearing the sensor, or perhaps your pets. This type of alarm can be used on in ground or above ground pools or around other bodies of water.

Safety Turtle safety-turtle

  • Turtle Wrist band locks securely around a child’s wrist, using the key provided.
  • A loud alarm will sound when your child’s wrist band is immersed in water and will not stop until it is physically reset.
  • Alarm is portable and could be used near lakes, a spa, or any other pool.
  • Base station can be plugged in up to 100 feet from your pool.
  • System can be expanded by purchasing additional wrist bands.

Perimeter Alarms

Perimeter alarms are designed to detect movement at the perimeter of the pool above the water’s surface. They use PIR (passive infrared) sensors that detect a temperature difference whenever there is movement around the pool and sound an alarm.

PoolEye PE22pooleye-pe22

  • Designed for in ground pools up to 18×36
  • Combines 2 layers of protection, a pool entry alarm and a perimeter alarm.
  • Pool entry alarm sounds a 95 decibel alarm when anything weighing 15lbs. or more falls into the pool.
  • Can be installed on a deck or mounted to a ladder.  Includes stainless steel hardware.
  • PIR detector has a range of 180 degrees and up to 50 feet.  Designed to monitor the pool entrance or any area one would have to pass to be able to enter the pool.
  • Comes with a remote receiver that sounds an alarm up to 100 feet away.

Gate Alarms

Gate alarms are designed to be used where you have a fence and gate surrounding the entire perimeter of the pool.  This alarm will sound when the gate is opened to alert you that someone has accessed the pool area.

PoolGuard Gate Alarmpoolguard-gate-alarms

  • Can be used on any gate, outside door or screen giving access to your pool.
  • Alarm sounds in 7 seconds if a child opens the gate, even if they close the gate.
  • Equipped with an adult pass through feature that allows adults to go through the gate without the alarm sounding.
  • Powered by one 9 volt battery with a battery life of approximately one year.  Low battery indicator will alert you when battery is low.
  • Includes 6 feet of UL approved wire, and sensor switch and magnet for attaching to your gate.

If you have very close neighbors with many small children in the area, a pool entry alarm may be a better choice over the user entry alarm since the user entry alarm will only sound when a child wearing the sensor enters the pool, leaving any other children unprotected.

Or perhaps you are in the opposite situation, living in an open area with no neighboring children, in which case a user entry alarm like the Safety Turtle may be the best way to prevent false alarms.

A user entry alarm like the Safety Turtle is also a good choice for those who are trying to protect small pets that are under the minimum weight requirement.

Multiple layers of protection will keep your pool as safe as possible. Having a gate alarm and a pool alarm will give you more time to get to the pool area to prevent an accident since the gate alarm sounds when the perimeter has been accessed.  PoolSafely.Gov - pool safety website of the CPSC

Any pool with a fence and gate surrounding it can use a gate alarm. If you do not have a gate or surrounding fence, a perimeter alarm will be a good alarm choice.

Even if you have multiple alarms and layers of protection in place, if your child is ever missing, ALWAYS check the pool area first.

For additional tips regarding pool safety visit poolsafely.gov/

Be Safe this Summer!

Jackie Wolski
InTheSwim Staff Blogger

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *