Swimming Pool Alarms: a Buyer's Guide

"Drowning is Silent", yet pool alarms make a loud commotion when someone or something has fallen in the pool.

There are a few types of pool alarms that will sound the alert. Here are some details about a few different pool alarms and hopefully help you decide which one is right for your situation.

While a pool alarm is important for pool safety, it is important to understand that it should be considered the last line of defense; pool alarms are not a stand-alone pool safety tool.

Every pool should have a safety system in place, which should include physical barriers, such as non-climbable fences with self-latching gates, a safety cover or automatic cover, or other means of blocking unauthorized access to the pool.

And of course, the cornerstone to any pool safety system is proper adult supervision.  For more information regarding the best options for creating a safety system, visit our Pool Safety Systems page.

Pool Entry Alarms vs. User Entry Alarms

A pool entry detection alarm is designed to sound an alarm when someone or something enters the pool. They utilize subsurface wave detection technology that is able to detect waves or 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 PE20

PoolEye PE-20 Pool Alarm
PoolEye PE-20

  • 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 18x36 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.


Poolguard Pool alarm
PoolGuard PGRM-2

  • Sits on pool deck and extends beneath the water surface.
  • Recommended for inground pools to 20x40 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 about one year. Low battery indicator.

PoolEye Universal

Pooleye Universal pool alarm
Pooleye Universal

  • Works with inground or aboveground pools.
  • Recommended for above ground pools up to 24 ft. round or 16x32 ft. rectangle.
  • 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 and chirps every 60 seconds.

PoolGuard Safety Buoy

Poolguard Safety Buoy
PoolGuard Safety 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.

A user entry alarm has a sensor that is designed to be worn by the user combined with a base station which 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 anywhere there's water.

Pool Door and 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. If you have a large fence with many gates, it would be safer to padlock the gates that are not used regularly.

PoolGuard Gate Alarm

PoolGuard Gate Alarm
PoolGuard Gate Alarm

  • 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 a delay button, to pass through the gate without the alarm sounding.
  • Powered by one 9 volt battery which lasts approximately one year. Low Battery Indicator.
  • Includes 6 feet of UL approved wire, and sensor switch and magnet for attaching to your gate.

The PoolGuard Door Alarm works the same way, and is designed for back doors and garage doors that lead out to the pool and patio areas. PoolGuard DAPT is accepted by Florida and California, so you know it passes muster!

So, Which Pool Alarm is Best?

Specific conditions around your pool area may dictate which type of alarm is right for you. For example, 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. The user entry alarm will only sound when a child wearing the wristband enters the pool, leaving any other children unprotected.

Or perhaps you are in the opposite situation, living in an open area with no close neighbor children. A wearable pool alarm like the Safety Turtle may be the best way to protect your immediate family, while also reducing false alarms. A wearable alarm is also a good choice for those who are trying to protect small pets that are under the minimum weight requirement of the displacement sensing type of pool alarms.

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, check the pool area first.

Remember that Drowning is Silent, be vigilant and have a safe summer!

For additional tips regarding pool safety visit poolsafely.gov/

Be Safe this Summer!

In The Swim makes every effort to provide accurate recommendations based upon current ANSI/APSP/ICC-5 2011 (R2022) standards, but codes and regulations change, and In The Swim assumes no liability for any omissions or errors in this article or the outcome of any project. You must always exercise reasonable caution, carefully read the label on all products, follow all product directions, follow any current codes and regulations that may apply, and consult with a licensed professional if in doubt about any procedures. In The Swim assumes no legal responsibility for your reliance or interpretation of the data contained herein, and makes no representations or warranties of any kind concerning the quality, safety, or suitability of the information, whether express or implied, including, without limitation, any implied warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.