Lifebuoy BCone System Pool Alarm Review: Is It Worth It?

We tested this aesthetically pleasing Wi-Fi–enabled responsive alarm and found that it’s a great investment for any type of pool.
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The Lifebuoy BCone alarm system on a pool deck before testing.
Photo: Hannah Selinger for Bob Vila

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Wi-Fi–enabled floating pool-entry alarms can be an effective, easy, and relatively cost-effective way of making your pool safer and giving you peace of mind. More affordable than retractable pool covers and more aesthetically pleasing than door alarms, these systems—which can be placed directly in the water and linked up to Wi-Fi from a nearby receiver—detect any disruption in the pool. 

Over the course of a week, I researched 20 products, testing the top nine to narrow down the best pool alarms on the market. Tests were conducted within my home’s inground pool. My favorite alarm, the Lifebuoy BCone System, is a floating pool-entry alarm that detects motion within the water. I liked the alarm’s overall design, its responsiveness, and how loud it was when engaged (I could hear it both within my house and outside). 

The Lifebuoy BCone must be connected, first, to Wi-Fi. The floating sensor, which looks almost like a red pool toy, is then placed in the water where it can detect motion from objects within the pool envelope. Alarm volume can be changed, and I was able to experiment with a variety of settings while testing the product. I also tested the sensitivity by discharging the alarm numerous times, increasing output each time, and extending the distance from the actual alarm. Additionally, I conducted two decibel tests, determining how easy it was to hear the discharged alarm both from within my home and from outside. 

Lifebuoy BCone System: At a Glance

The Lifebuoy BCone alarm system on a pool deck before testing.
Photo: Hannah Selinger for Bob Vila

Rating: 4/5

Specs

  • Type: Inground pool-entry alarm
  • Maximum pool size: 20 feet long by 40 feet wide
  • Decibel level: 85 decibels at 10 feet

What We Like

  • With an easy-to-use app, this is a modern alarm that fits into the digital lifestyle
  • Aesthetically pleasing design looks great in most pools
  • Alarm detects entry from children and pets
  • Features an automatic arming feature for added user-friendliness 

What We Don’t Like

  • Among the more expensive pool alarms on the market
  • Requires more time to set up than some other types of pool alarms 

Get the Lifebuoy pool alarm at Amazon for $395.

What is the Lifebuoy BCone System?

The Lifebuoy BCone System is a floating pool-entry alarm that detects motion within the water. Homeowners must connect the alarm to Wi-Fi before placing it in the water. The sensor and receiver must then be placed nearby so that the alarm can pick up both a signal and the motion itself. The alarm’s volume is adjustable, and, at its loudest setting, can certainly be heard from a considerable distance. My own yard has a large acreage, and I had no trouble hearing the alarm from the far reaches of my property. 

The alarm detects motion within the pool, so if a person falls into the pool—or even if an object is dropped into it—it discharges. It’s a cherry-red alarm that looks strikingly like a pool toy, and it remains afloat and visible, even from a distance. It’s also loud enough to hear both from the home’s exterior and inside, which I noted in testing. 

How do you set up the Lifebuoy BCone System and how easy is it to use? 

In order to set up the Lifebuoy BCone, you first must connect it to Wi-Fi. This means that your home must have a strong Wi-Fi system. My husband had recently installed an extension on our exterior Wi-Fi, but it’s important to note that exterior areas that lack strong Wi-Fi would not be a good fit for this particular alarm since it must be connected to work efficiently and properly. 

Connecting it to the Wi-Fi and enabling the alarm is the initial part of setup. After this, the floating alarm is placed within the pool envelope where it floats, just like an actual buoy. From there, there is not much involved. The sensor must be close enough to register with the alarm itself, of course. But in terms of ease of use, once set up, the buoy need only float in the pool.

The Lifebuoy BCone floating alarm in a pool during hands-on testing.
Photo: Hannah Selinger for Bob Vila

Is the Lifebuoy BCone System worth the money?

Although the Lifebuoy is at the top of the price range, it does deliver a lot in return for your money. It’s a sensitive device that reacts to movements, both large and small. It is also loud enough to be heard both outdoors and inside, guaranteeing a quick response should someone accidentally fall into the pool envelope. And it’s a good-looking alarm as compared to some of the less expensive models on the market, which may not be as aesthetically pleasing. 

The alarm is also compatible with Alexa, so more technologically advanced household members can set it up to connect with part of a larger smart-home system, arming it and disarming it with a simple voice command. Similarly, the accompanying app can be controlled via phone (alerts are sent to your phone, and sensitivity and sound can also be controlled there, which is an added bonus). 

Should you buy the Lifebuoy BCone System pool alarm?

For the tech savvy who are in the market for a comprehensive pool alarm that offers peace of mind, the Lifebuoy BCone System pool alarm is a top pick. This Wi-Fi–enabled alarm has tons of bells and whistles, including Alexa-enabled capability, connectivity to an app, and sensitivity control, all of which allow you to think about your pool’s safety a little less. I liked the way the alarm looked (like a fun, floating red pool toy) and the way I could easily access information about it, change its settings, and monitor its progress, all without leaving my sun chair (the app facilitates all of this). I also liked that I could hear the alarm from both inside and outside of my home. 

The Lifebuoy, it should be noted, is at the top of the price point for pool alarms, and it can also take some time to set up, owing to the Wi-Fi connectivity. Moreover, a strong connection is required in order for it to function properly. If you do not have a strong WiFI connection in your home’s exterior, this is not the product for you. And if you are seeking a more affordable pool alarm, this is also probably not the right product. The Lifebuoy BCone System is, however, a good fit for anyone willing to invest in a high-quality pool alarm that offers a little more for the money.

Get the Lifebuoy pool alarm at Amazon for $395.

Meet the Tester

Hannah Selinger is a James Beard Award-nominated writer with work appearing in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times Magazine, Travel + Leisure, Food & Wine Magazine, The Boston Globe, The Washington Post, and elsewhere. Her book, Cellar Rat: My Life in the Restaurant Underbelly, will be published by Little, Brown in 2025. Hannah has completed 7 home renovations since 2017 and currently lives in Boxford, Massachusetts, with her husband, two sons, two dogs, Russian tortoise, and inground pool. 

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Hannah Selinger

Contributing Writer

Hannah Selinger is a multi-disciplinary lifestyle writer with an eye for design who is constantly involved in a renovation project—and constantly writing about it. 

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