A backyard pool can be an invaluable asset, providing much-needed relief during those scorching months, but not if the water is murky and green algae is growing on the walls. Keeping a well-maintained pool is key to enjoying clear and inviting water all through the summer, but doing so requires the right tools.
Pool skimmers, brushes, and vacuums can take care of leaves and debris, while the right chemicals can keep bacteria and algae at bay. This guide will examine what pool supplies are essential to keeping the water crystal clear through those dog days of summer and list some of the best pool supplies to consider.
- BEST OVERALL: Taylor K2005 Swimming Pool Test Kit
- RUNNER-UP: Stargoods Pool Skimmer Net, Heavy Duty Leaf Rake
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: HydroTools by Swimline Premium Pool Maintenance Kit
- BEST WATER-TESTING KIT: JNW Direct Pool and Spa Test Strips
- BEST SKIMMER: WWD POOL Pool Skimmer Net
- BEST BRUSH: The Wall Whale Classic 18” Swimming Pool Brush
- BEST VACUUM: PAXCESS Cordless Automatic Pool Cleaner
- BEST POOL SHOCK: DryTec 1-1901-24 Calcium Hypochlorite Chlorine Shock
- BEST POOL SANITIZER: Pool RX 101001 6 Month Algaecide Blue
- BEST EXTENSION POLE: YEECHUN Professional 15 Foot Swimming Pool Pole
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Pool Supplies
Knowing what types of pool supplies are needed for the size and type of pool is crucial to making the right purchases. Below, learn more about these and other important factors to consider when shopping for pool supplies.
Pool Type and Size
It’s important to consider pool size and type when shopping for pool supplies. Above-ground pools often require different vacuums, chemicals, and filters than inground pools. Using the wrong chemicals can damage a pool liner or pump. Pool size also matters. Maintaining a larger pool requires tools that are long enough to reach the middle of the pool or the bottom at its deepest end while the user stands comfortably poolside.
Test kits, shock treatments, and sanitization tablets also vary depending on the size of the pool. For larger pools, consider buying these products in bulk to save money. The pool owner should also think about how much time they’re willing to spend on pool maintenance. While a smaller handheld vacuum might suffice for an above-ground pool or a smaller inground pool, a robotic pool vacuum that automatically cleans the pool is a wise investment for larger pools.
Types of Pool Supplies
Pool supplies generally fall into two types: manual cleaning tools and chemical cleaners. Manual supplies include pool skimmers, vacuums, and brushes that allow the pool owner to scrub the sides of the pool, remove floating debris such as leaves, and suck up dirt settled on the bottom. These tools typically attach to a telescoping pole that allows the operator to extend their reach by up to 15 feet.
Chemical cleaners include shock treatments and water-quality test kits. Shock treatments add large amounts of chlorine to the pool to kill contaminants such as algae, bacteria, and chloramines. Test kits enable the user to determine the water’s chlorine content as well as its pH level.
Pool cleaning tools are made of durable yet lightweight materials, so they hold up while remaining comfortable to use. Telescoping poles typically consist of extruded aluminum. Aluminum is lighter than other metals, more durable than plastic, and can mostly resist corrosion from water.
Pool vacuums, skimmers, and brushes typically consist of high-grade plastic that resists UV rays and holds up well against repeated exposure to water and pool chemicals. Plastic is also lightweight enough to make these tools easier to carry and maneuver.
Pool test kits include litmus paper to test for such water quality indicators as free chlorine, bromine content, pH level, acid demand, base demand, total alkalinity, calcium hardness, and cyanuric acid. Cheaper test kits include litmus paper that provides basic data, while more expensive kits allow the user to get more detailed information about the water quality in their pool.
Ease of Use
Given all the chemicals, pumps, and filters involved in cleaning and treating water quality, maintaining a pool can be a complicated process. The best pool supplies make this process easier. Manual pool cleaning tools such as skimmers, brushes, vacuums, and telescoping poles should have designs that make it easy to clean the inside of the pool.
Poles on pool tools should be light enough to maneuver and adjust, and attachments should easily attach and detach from the pole. These attachments often feature designs that make it easier to collect dirt or scrub the pool walls. Higher-end tools, such as robotic vacuums, clean automatically, reducing the workload for the pool owner.
UV and Chemical Resistance
Since pool tools spend their days in the sun and often are submerged in water, exposing them to high levels of chlorine and other chemicals, they need to be made from durable materials. Most pool attachments consist of high-grade plastic that resists sun damage and won’t rust or corrode. Most poles, and some attachments, are made from anodized aluminum, which is lightweight and naturally resists rust and corrosion.
Tips for Using Pool Supplies
Maintaining a pool can be a chore, but if you follow some common-sense tips, your pool supplies can make that effort easier. Skim and scrub daily. Cleaning a dirty pool that’s been neglected for a week or two and has stubborn algae growth and a few bagfuls of debris floating on top is much more work than spending 15 to 20 minutes skimming and scrubbing the pool each day.
Keeping the pool consistently clean also can save money on chemicals, since the pool will not require as many shock treatments. If you have a large pool, invest in a robotic pool cleaner that will do much of the work for you.
Test pool water quality regularly and add the necessary chemicals to maintain the proper levels. It’s easier to keep water quality consistent by carefully monitoring the pool than it is to get pool water that has degraded significantly to return to good quality.
Buy pool chemicals in bulk. When stored correctly, pool chemicals have a long shelf life. By buying pool chemicals in larger quantities, you can save 50 percent or more.
- Skim and scrub daily.
- Test pool water quality regularly.
- Buy pool chemicals in bulk to save money.
- Consider splurging for a robot pool vacuum that simplifies the cleaning process.
Our Top Picks
The list below narrows the field to include some of the best pool supplies in general and by type. These pool supplies include tools required to complete routine cleaning and maintenance as well as chemicals for maintaining pool water quality.
Perhaps the most important part of maintaining a pool is ensuring that the water is safe for those swimming in it, which is a breeze with the Taylor K2005 pool test kit. While basic test strips are useful for testing pool water, the information they provide can be vague at best. This kit, which is designed for pros, includes tests for eight different pieces of data, including chlorine, bromine, pH, acid demand, base demand, total alkalinity, calcium hardness, and cyanuric acid.
The kit includes 0.75-ounce reagent bottles for each test. A handy carrying kit keeps all the chemicals organized and includes clear instructions on how to conduct each test. Color-coded readings make it easy to interpret the results, so the pool owner can purchase the right additive for improving water quality.
The Stargoods Pool Skimmer Net and heavy-duty rake has a durable build and large net for scooping out large quantities of leaves and dirt in one load. Routine cleaning is essential, and this skimmer net is one of the best tools a pool owner can have at the ready to maintain quality pool water. The net is nearly 2 feet wide and 14 inches long, so it’s easy to capture large amounts of debris with each scoop.
A flat lip on the front of the basket makes it easier to run the net along the bottom of the pool, while a fine mesh material traps small particles as well as larger debris. A thick plastic frame resists bending and cracking. This skimmer fits standard 1¼-inch poles.
With all the chemicals and supplies pools require, maintenance can quickly get expensive, but not with this kit from HydroTools by Swimline. The kit eases the sticker shock of swimming pool maintenance by packaging all the essentials together in an affordable bundle. The kit comes with a pool skimmer, curved brush, and weighted pool vacuum for removing debris from the water, pool walls, and bottom. Each attachment works with a standard 1¼-inch pole.
The set also includes a test kit for pH levels, free chlorine, and bromine content. A handy thermometer monitors water temperature in the pool. Although these pool supplies might not prove as durable as some higher-priced options, they cost a fraction of the price.
The JNW Direct Pool test strips offer an easy, affordable, and effective means for monitoring the water quality in a pool. The product comes with 100 strips which test for total hardness, bromine, free chlorine, pH, total alkalinity, and cyanuric acid. They’re easy to use, requiring the pool owner to simply dip them into the water and then match colors from the strip to ranges marked on the bottle.
Since interpreting what to do with water-quality test results can be a challenge, JNW also offers a free app that allows users to track test results and learn what the results mean. The strips come in a convenient waterproof bottle.
Many pool skimmers’ frames are made of lightweight plastic, but plastic eventually succumbs to harsh pool chemicals, UV rays, and the wear and tear of being thrust in and out of a pool. With its aluminum-reinforced frame, this pool skimmer is designed to take abuse. It’s also designed for ease of use and includes a scoop front edge to more easily collect debris at the pool bottom.
The frame prevents the skimmer from twisting and cracking while in use, while a metal handle resists wear and tear better than plastic. The net consists of strong polypropylene. This skimmer measures 16 inches by 15 inches, weighs about a pound, and attaches to a standard 1¼-inch extension pole.
Part of the challenge of using a pool brush is creating enough force to scrub loose algae and other dirt from the walls. The innovative design of the Wall Whale Classic makes it easier. The brush gets its name from the large fin attached to the back of the brush that resembles a whale’s tail.
The fin pushes against the brush head as the user pushes it through the water, creating about 10 times more force than a standard brush. That equates to significantly more scrubbing power without having to maneuver the brush pole into awkward angles. And with its 18-inch width, this brush provides ample coverage. The Wall Whale attaches to any standard 1¼-inch pole.
The PAXCESS Cordless robot vacuum cleaner might require more investment than manual tools, but it automates the process of cleaning debris off the bottom of the pool, freeing up more time for swimming. The automatic pool cleaner operates off a 5,000-mAh rechargeable battery that provides 60 to 90 minutes of working time. Given its ability to move about 16 meters a minute, that’s plenty of juice to clean the bottom of a large pool.
The cordless cleaner uses two large suction doors and a bottom brush to draw in dirt, leaves, sand, and other debris no one wants on the bottom of their pool. The PAXCESS, which weighs about 12 pounds, will roll to the poolside when it’s low on juice or when it completes a cleaning cycle, and it comes fitted with a floating handle that makes it easy to pull up.
When the pool starts to get that telltale chemical smell, then it means the pool’s sanitizer level is running low and it’s time for a boost with a pool shock like this one from DryTec. Given that some pools can require a shock treatment about every other week, the cost of treating a pool also can shock the owner. This chlorine product from DryTec is similar to other products, but it makes shocking the pool more economical.
The product comes in bulk packs of 24 treatments, cutting the price of a bag of shock to less than half of the per-unit cost of buying bags in singles. Each bag contains 68 percent hypochlorite and a minimum of 65 percent available chlorine for killing off contaminants in a pool and restoring its free chlorine levels.
This algaecide pool sanitizer from Pool RX is an affordable way to maintain a pool’s cleanliness. This small cylinder goes into a pool or skimmer basket and keeps algae from growing inside the pool for up to 6 months, helping the water maintain that crystal clear look pool owners strive for. And, while it doesn’t replace chlorine and chemical treatments, Algaecide Blue can reduce the amount of chemicals a pool needs, helping to pay for itself over time.
The insert works for both saltwater and chlorine pools that hold between 7,000 and 20,000 gallons. For saltwater pools, it reduces the number of times the pool’s salt cell needs to be changed. For chlorine pools, the product reduces the amount of chlorine owners need to add to their pool.
This Yeechun Professional 15-foot swimming pool pole takes a traditional design and beefs it up to make it stronger than traditional aluminum poles. This pole is made from 1.3-millimeter-thick anodized aluminum that’s ribbed, so it’s less likely to bend or deform when lifting a lot of debris out of the pool or extending it to its full length.
Despite its thicker construction, this telescoping pole maintains a light enough weight at 2.3 pounds to maneuver easily. With a 15-foot maximum length, the pole is long enough to handle large and deep pools. With two slip locks, it is easy to extend and retract the pole. Its 1¼-inch end fits most brush, skimmer, and vacuum attachments.
FAQs About Pool Supplies
If you have questions about how to store your new pool supplies, read on for tips and answers to commonly asked questions.
Q. How do I store pool supplies?
Chemicals and tools can quickly degrade when constantly exposed to the elements. It can also be unsafe to store pool chemicals in an area that’s accessible to children and pets. With this in mind, store pool supplies in a shed or the garage.
Q. How much do pool supplies cost?
The cost of pool supplies varies. Pool brushes, skimmers, and manual vacuums are relatively inexpensive, whereas pool cleaning robots can cost hundreds of dollars. While the chemicals that must be added to a pool regularly can be costly, purchasing them in bulk can help defray that expense.
Q. Where can I find used pool supplies?
Local pool suppliers often sell used pool supplies. They are also available online via e-commerce sites.
Keeping a well-maintained pool is key to enjoying clear and inviting water all through the summer, but doing so requires the right tools. Pool skimmers, brushes, and vacuums can take care of leaves and debris, while the right chemicals can keep bacteria and algae at bay. Knowing what types of pool supplies are needed for the size and type of pool is crucial to making the right purchases