Chlorine is commonly added to swimming pools and hot tubs to kill algae spores, bacteria, and small insects. Despite its lethality to microorganisms and insects, the water remains safe for humans as long as the chlorine level remains between 1 and 3 parts per million (ppm) and the pH balance of the pool water consistently stays between 7.2 and 7.8. While liquid chlorine is an option, pool chlorine tablets offer a convenient alternative because they’re premeasured and dissolve over time without significantly increasing chlorine levels in any one section of the pool. Liquid chlorine can’t make the same claim; moreover, swimmers must exit the pool for at least 30 minutes after a liquid chlorine treatment.
Learn about the important factors to consider when choosing the best chlorine tablets for your pool and review some of the top-rated products on the market. This guide includes tips to make an informed decision about which option should work best for maintaining the chlorine level in swimming pools and hot tubs.
- BEST OVERALL: Clorox Pool&Spa Active99 3″ Chlorinating Tablets
- RUNNER-UP: Rx Clear 1″ Stabilized Chlorine Tablets
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: In The Swim 3″ Stabilized Chlorine Tablets
- BEST TABLET DISPENSER: AquaAce Pool Chlorine Floater Dispenser
- BEST FOR SALTWATER POOLS: HTH 42040 Super 3″ Chlorinating Tablets
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Chlorine Tablets
Before selecting chlorine tablets, note several factors, including the type, size, and dissolving speed of the tablet, as well as the appropriate amount of pool chlorine for the size of the pool along with a few key safety tips. Keep reading to learn more about choosing the best chlorine tabs to balance the chemical composition of pool water.
Users can select from several different types of chlorine treatments for a swimming pool or spa, including sodium hypochlorite, lithium hypochlorite, calcium hypochlorite, dichlor, and trichlor. Trichlor is the most commonly used treatment.
- Sodium hypochlorite is a good option if the pool’s water filtration system struggles with high calcium hardness. However, it contains only about 10 to 12 percent chlorine, so it isn’t the most effective at killing algae or bacteria. Moreover, sodium hypochlorite chlorine treatments are nonstabilized, which means they are vulnerable to degradation in sunlight and can produce harmful chloramines that cause red, itchy eyes and skin irritation.
- Lithium hypochlorite has a higher range of 28 to 35 percent chlorine, which allows it to maintain the chemical balance of the pool water more effectively. However, lithium hypochlorite is not stabilized and is vulnerable to UV radiation.
- Calcium hypochlorite is another nonstabilized pool treatment. While more effective than both sodium hypochlorite and lithium hypochlorite and with a chlorine percentage of about 65, calcium hypochlorite is still vulnerable to UV radiation and chloramine production.
- Dichlor chlorine treatment is combined with cyanuric acid to create a stabilized chlorine treatment that’s resistant to UV radiation and slows the breakdown of chlorine molecules and the release of chloramines into the pool. Dichlor products are typically granular instead of solid tablets, and their chlorine content ranges from 56 to 62 percent.
- Trichlor is the most common chlorine treatment for swimming pools. Containing up to 90 percent chlorine, solid trichlor chlorine tablets are another form of stabilized chlorine. Once a tablet dissolves in the pool water, the treatment resists degradation under direct sunlight and UV light, slowing the production of chloramines.
Chlorine tablets usually come in two sizes: 1-inch small tablets and larger 3-inch tablets.
- 1-inch chlorine tablets are a good option for small pools, hot tubs, and spas, because they release a small amount of chlorine at a quick-dissolving speed, rapidly increasing the chlorine level to the correct concentration. However, these tablets are ineffective in larger pools that hold more than 5,000 gallons of water.
- 3-inch chlorine tablets are ideal for large pools because one tablet can treat about 5,000 gallons of water, on average. Pools with more than 5,000 gallons of water can use more than one chlorine tablet, though the dissolving time is much slower for 3-inch tablets.
Both sizes can be used in skimmers, floating chlorine dispensers, and automatic chlorine dispensers, so choose the right type based on the size of the pool.
The dissolving speed of a chlorine tablet can be difficult to determine based on product information alone. Factors like application method, water temperature, water pressure, and the size of the tablet can impact the amount of time the tablet takes to break down.
The 3-inch chlorine tablets break down at a slower rate than 1-inch chlorine tablets, while tablets placed in the skimmer rely on a continuous water flow through the filtration system to break them down. Floating dispensers gradually dissolve tablets, but the dissolving speed is unreliable because they simply bump and bob throughout a pool with inconsistent water flow. Automatic dispensers typically have a set rate that will dissolve a chlorine tablet within 2 to 5 hours depending on the size, though users can adjust these devices to increase or decrease the dissolving speed.
The amount of chlorine required differs for pools, hot tubs, and spas. First, test the water with a pool test kit to determine the pH and chlorine level in the water. Ideally, the pH level should fall between 7.2 and 7.8, while the chlorine level should range between 1 and 3 ppm for the water to be considered safe.
On average, one 3-inch chlorine tablet can treat between 5,000 and 10,000 gallons of water, depending on the manufacturer. However, a single 1-inch chlorine tablet can treat only about 350 gallons of water. If the tablets are chipped or broken, users may need to estimate the treatment based on weight by using 1 pound of chlorine tablets per 10,000 gallons of water.
Adding chlorine tablets to a pool is relatively easy with a skimmer, an automatic tablet dispenser, or a floating-tablet-dispenser system. Most chlorine tablets are packaged in a large bucket or container, but many manufacturers also produce individually wrapped tablets to help prevent them from breaking, cracking, and crumbling in transit.
Even if individually wrapped tablets break, the dosage remains consistent, instead of having to measure out the powder, crumbs, and chips from the bottom of the container. Chlorine tablets can emit a strong odor that’s dangerous in enclosed spaces, so always close and store the container properly. Moreover, use gloves to avoid directly touching the tablets: The high chlorine level can irritate the skin.
Our Top Picks
A pool vacuum and filtration system can’t do all the work to keep pool water clean and clear. The top choices in this list represent some of the best chlorine tablets on the market that balance the chemical composition of pool water, which we selected based on the abovementioned considerations in addition to overall quality.
This 35-pound bucket of individually wrapped Clorox chlorine tablets is a good option for pools that are used regularly throughout the swimming season. Each 3-inch tablet can treat up to 5,000 gallons of water, on average, though weekly pool chemistry testing is still recommended to maintain appropriate chlorine levels. These tablets dissolve slowly via a skimmer or a floating dispenser.
These trichlor chlorine tablets include a stabilizer that helps reduce chlorine breakdown caused by UV radiation, keeping the pool water balanced and safe over a long period of time in contrast to unstabilized products. These can degrade under the sun’s glare, releasing harmful chloramines into the water, which can cause eye redness and skin irritation.
- Type: Trichlor
- Quantity: 35 pounds
- Tablet size: 3 inches
- Long-lasting quantity
- Reputable brand
- Easy to use
- Provides sunlight protection
- Can leave behind a strong chlorine odor
Get the Clorox chlorine tablets on Amazon.
Use this 8-pound bucket of 1-inch trichlor chlorine tablets from Rx Clear to treat bacteria and algae blooms in pool water. The stabilized formula resists degradation under direct sunlight, reducing the production of chloramines in the water. These chlorine tablets are slow to dissolve, making them a good option for distribution through the pool skimmer or an automatic tablet dispenser.
The manufacturer doesn’t indicate if the tablets are individually wrapped. When they’re stored together with no wrapping, it can cause them to chip, crack, or break during transit, leaving powder, granules, and small pieces of tablet at the bottom of the bucket. However, users can still measure and use the broken chlorine tablets at a ratio of 1 pound per 10,000 gallons of pool water.
- Type: Trichlor
- Quantity: 8 pounds
- Tablet size: 1 inch
- Available in multiple quantities
- Prevents burn off from UV rays
- Suitable for automatic dispensers
- Some tablets arrived broken
Get the Rx Clear chlorine tablets on Amazon.
Properly maintaining pool water doesn’t have to deplete your bank account. Keep the water clean and clear with this 50-pound bucket from In The Swim that contains approximately 80 3-inch tablets. These chlorine tablets are individually wrapped in easy-to-open plastic packaging, which helps prevent dust, chips, and small broken pieces from falling to the bottom of the bucket.
The trichlor chlorine tablets are made with a stabilizer, so the chlorine in the pool is resistant to UV radiation, reducing the production of harmful chloramines. Each tablet treats about 5,000 gallons of pool water and can be used in floating chlorine dispensers, automatic chlorine dispensers, and skimmer baskets.
- Type: Trichlor
- Quantity: 50 pounds
- Tablet size: 3 inches
- Affordable bulk quantity
- Individually wrapped tablets
- Durable container
- High up-front cost
- Some tablets may be broken
Get the In the Swim chlorine tablets on Amazon or at Leslie’s Pools.
When selecting a chlorine dispenser for the pool, consider the convenience of a floating dispenser. This AquaAce pool chlorine floater dispenser is easy to load with chlorine and can be used in any pool. Made of durable plastic, it features 15 flow vents that are fully submerged, allowing water to dissolve the tablets slowly over several hours.
This chlorine tablet dispenser is wide enough to hold 3-inch tablets and has enough space to load up to five chlorine tablets at a time. Users can adjust the flow of water through the dispenser by twisting the base to open or close the flow vents for manual control of the chlorine release. This prevents its concentration in the water from growing too high.
- Type: Tablet dispenser
- Quantity: Holds up to 5 tablets
- Tablet size: Holds tablets up to 3 inches
- Easy to set up and maintain
- Adjustable flow control
- Durable plastic design
Get the AquaAce chlorine tablet dispenser on Amazon.
It’s important to find a product that’s suitable for your specific pool; otherwise, the chlorine content may be too harsh for soft vinyl liners and saltwater filtration systems. However, the 3-inch chlorine tablets in this 25-pound bucket from HTH are created with a trichlor chlorine formula that can be used safely in saltwater systems, according to the manufacturer.
Each tablet effectively treats about 10,000 gallons of water. Once the tablet has dissolved in the pool water, it releases the chlorine to kill bacteria, insects, and algae spores for up to 1 week.
- Type: Trichlor
- Quantity: 25 pounds
- Tablet size: 3 inches
- Also suitable for saltwater pools
- Easy to use
- Prevents insects and algae spores
- Requires 1 tablet per week
Get the HTH chlorine tablets on Amazon.
For reliable chlorine tabs from a reputable brand, consider the chlorinating tablets from Clorox chlorine tablets, which are available in a 35-pound container. Shoppers looking for a chlorine dispenser may want to check out the AquaAce chlorine tablet dispenser, which holds up to five tablets for a slow and controlled release.
How We Chose the Best Chlorine Tablets
We looked at the top brands on the market to curate our list of recommendations for the best chlorine tablets. When gathering our top picks, we made sure to include several options for both 1-inch and 3-inch tablets to suit a variety of swimming pool setups. Our research showed us that trichlor is the most common type of pool chlorine tablets, so our list includes several of these options from various brands.
Lastly, we looked at several quantity options to suit shoppers looking to buy in bulk as well as smaller options suitable for small swimming pools or hot tubs while keeping to a tighter budget.
Along with pool pumps and filters, chlorine tablets are necessary to maintain most swimming pools. However, not everyone knows how they work or how to use them. For answers to these concerns and more, take a look at some of the most frequently asked questions about chlorine tablets.
Q. What do chlorine tablets do?
Chlorine tablets contain high amounts of chlorine, which is released into the pool water to control and kill bacteria, algae, insects, and other microorganisms.
Q. Can chlorine tablets be used for household cleaning?
Experts don’t recommend using chlorine tablets for household cleaning because they contain a high amount of chlorine, which can damage toilets, sinks, and appliances. The chlorine can also cause strong odors in enclosed spaces that are harmful if inhaled in large amounts.
Q. How do I add chlorine tablets to my pool?
You can add chlorine tablets to the pool in several ways. Use a floating chlorine dispenser that holds the tablet in a basket until it’s fully dissolved. Place the tablet in a pool skimmer where the water will be pulled over it, quickly and efficiently adding chlorine to the pool water. Finally, load an automatic chlorine dispenser with a tablet and set it for a specific chlorine level. The dispenser gradually releases the chlorine into the pool.
Q. How often should I add chlorine tablets to my pool?
The specific number of chlorine tablets to add per week depends on the size of the pool and the size of the tablets. However, you can use a pool test kit to help maintain a 1 to 3 ppm concentration of chlorine in the pool water. You’ll also need to test for the appropriate pH level, keeping it between 7.2 and 7.8 to ensure safe swimming water.