The 10 Best Pool Chlorine Tablets
10. Clorox Active 99
9. In The Swim
7. Kem-Tek 177
6. Star Plus
5. Swim Best Trichlor
4. Clorox CLX
3. HTH Ultra
2. Rx Clear
1. Robelle 5-in-1
How Chlorine Keeps You Safe
Chlorine has been a major part of disinfecting water since the 1900s when the water companies started treating their drinking water with it for sanitation purposes. By the 1920s, pool operators learned about the benefits of adding chlorine to their swimming water to disinfect it and keep it looking cleaner, too.
When you add chlorine to water--whether it's in tablet or powder form--it forms a weak acid called hypochlorous acid that's highly effective in killing water-borne bacteria like E. coli and salmonella. It's especially important if you go into public pools since you cannot control which other swimmers are allowed in, and you cannot know what sorts of bacteria they bring along with them.
To put it in simple terms, hypochlorous is a neutrally charged acid, which means it can make contact with the mostly negatively charged bacteria, and break it down. Once inside the bacterium, hypochlorous starts to break down proteins and deteriorate the bacteria. It's important to know that chlorine doesn't work immediately, so follow the instructions about the waiting period on your tablets. It's also important to know that chlorine levels change rapidly, especially when you frequently use your pool or it rains a lot like during the summer, so you have to check levels daily.
Why Chlorine Cannot Work Alone
When you buy a pool, you're likely just thinking about cooling off in the summer and throwing parties, but you don't consider the work that goes into maintaining this big body of water. That's okay--most new pool owners don't know much about pool maintenance, but it is important to keeping the lining of your pool from corroding, which will help keep you and other swimmers safe and healthy. That's where chlorine comes in.
Before adding any chlorine to your pool, you need to test the pH levels to make sure these are correct. It's tempting to just toss your chlorine tablets into the pool and walk away, but if your pH levels are off, the chlorine will not work at its full strength and it will fail to kill all the bacteria and germs. When your pH to chlorine balance is off, you'll notice that your pool water irritates your eyes and skin. You'll also see corrosion on the handrails and other parts of the swimming pool.
Fortunately, there are user-friendly kits that let you test your pH levels, so you can make sure your pool water isn't too acidic, or too base. A safe pH level for a pool is between 7.0 and 7.6. Again, these numbers will appear on the instructions of any pH tester kit you purchase. Achieving results outside of these numbers could make your chlorine dissolve too quickly, or not at all.
The Most Popular Ways To Add Chlorine To Your Pool
If you've been in even a handful of pools, then you'll have noticed that some have little baskets floating around, some have small pods that look like UFOs, and some have a stick-shaped device that resembles an inhaler. These are the three main devices through which pool owners distribute chlorine, but you can add chlorine tablets to any of them.
Let's look at the pros and cons of each device. The small basket is called a floating chlorine dispenser or a floater. Pool experts will tell you that these are the least desirable devices since the little holes in the basket can easily get stuck on corners of the pool, and stay there for days, causing a chlorine buildup in just one area, and a chlorine deficiency in the rest of the pool. The little UFO-looking item is called a chlorine skimmer. Pool experts rank this as the second best way to add chlorine to a pool since it can't get stuck in certain areas. Water moves quickly over the chlorine tablets in skimmers, disintegrating and dispersing the chlorine evenly.
The most dependable, least-hassle tool for adding chlorine to your pool is the automatic chlorinator. Chlorinators let you add several chlorine tablets at once, and then they do the work of sending out calculated amounts of chlorine into your pool, just when your water needs it, so you don't have to think about it. Using an automatic chlorinator does not, however, mean you're off the hook from checking those precious pH levels on a regular basis.