Here’s a shocking truth about that swimming pool you have in your backyard: the water cannot always remain crystal clear and algae-free by just adding a certain chemical regularly. Sometimes, you have to take some extreme measures to ensure that your pool is nice and clear.
Think about it this way: algae spores and bacteria have an exponential growth rate – which at some point, will begin to get used to certain chemical quantities that might inhibit them. This is why you need to get the best pool shock – to give it such a shock that the bacteria will not have any chance to “regroup” and multiply.
Since there are many brands on the market – all of them being quite different in their own way – you might not know precisely which pool shock to go for. In this regard, we hope that our pool shock reviews will be able to guide you so that you only make the most suitable choice.
What Is a Pool Shock?
Pool shock is a solution that you pour in the water of a pool to bring it back to safe swimming standards. For example, when a pool has not been cleaned or tested for its pH level for quite some time, there is a chance that it might have developed an unhealthy number of bacteria.
Similarly, if the bacteria have become resistant to a specific type of chlorine, your daily or weekly small doses might just not be enough anymore. Even the best algaecide for pools might not be enough here, particularly if it is used in the small standard amounts.
In this case, you use a pool shock to practically cleanse the pool. Essentially, a pool shock includes a massive dose of chemicals that have the purpose of destroying those harmful bacteria – as well as any contaminants that might be in your pool.
To explain, pool shock simply spikes the existent chlorine levels of your pool – sometimes, up to five times the normal levels. During the process, the water is not only sanitized, but the combined chlorine molecules are also oxidized. This will give the free chlorine levels a boost – which is essentially the “good chlorine.”
Most of the time, pool shock is used when the pool has not been given proper maintenance for quite a long time. However, some owners like to shock their pool every few weeks, particularly if it is used often. Contaminating natural events such as storms or heavy rainfalls might also require that you give your pool a shock.
All in all, pool shock is what keeps your pool crystal clear and safe from all the bacteria that might cause you illness. It can shock your pool back into its normal balance so that you can enjoy a nice swim outside.
Things to Look for in a Pool Shock
Knowing the type of pool shock should certainly narrow down your searches – but there are still some aspects that are worth taking into consideration. When you are looking for pool shock, here are the criteria that you may want to apply.
Before you add the shock into the pool, the chances are that it will also have to be dissolved. Most people take a 5-gallon bucket in which they add the pool shock before they first pour it into the pool.
There is a good reason why people don’t just throw the pool shock into the water without dissolving it. To put it simply, if it hasn’t dissolved properly, there’s a chance that the powdered shock can bleach the lining of your pool – and we obviously do not want that to happen.
How fast the pool shock dissolves will also play an important factor here. The quicker it dissolves, the faster you should be able to pour the mix into the pool – which will end up saving you time.
Moreover, the faster the granules are able to dissolve, the smaller the chances will be of you adding dissolved pool shock. As we know, this can easily damage the pool.
Technically speaking, our purpose here is to send the chlorine levels of the pool into shock, straight through the roof – at least temporarily. This should help bring your pool water at a more sanitary level, making it safe for you to swim without having to worry about the bacteria.
As a result, before you actually purchase any pool shock, make sure that you also check the chlorine level of that pool. Aside from that, you should check whether the pool shocks need stabilizing or not.
Here is the thing: many pool shocks (those based on the cal hypo type) aren’t stabilized – which is why the UV rays might end up speeding up the breakdown process of the chlorine. If you use them during the day, they might end up bleaching the pool lining which is why they are only suitable for overnight use.
You can also go for non-chlorine shocks. In this case, the shock will not add extra chlorine in your pool – but will oxidize the water and give your existent free chlorine levels a boost. They tend to be just as effective as the chlorine-based types.
When choosing the pool shock, you also need to ensure that the water balance maintains an appropriate and balanced pH level. This is why you have to buy a product that features a neutral pH. If the pH level is too low, then it will turn your water corrosive and it might end up damaging your pipes and overall health of the pool. On the other hand, if it is too low, then it might be irritating for the skin and eyes – which might end up damaging the overall health of the pool owner.
When buying pool shock, you have two forms between which you can choose. The first and classical form is the solid, powdered one that you have to dissolve before adding into the pool. This is the more affordable one – but you also need to be very careful that it dissolves properly before using it.
On the slightly more expensive side is the liquid pool sock. That’s the kind that has already been dissolved before you add it to the water. In this case, all you have to do is open the lid and pour it into the pool. Don’t worry that any grains that were not dissolved will damage your pool liner.
Best Pool Shock Comparison Chart
Pool Essentials Shock Treatment
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HTH Pool Shock Super Shock Treatment
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In The Swim Chlorine Pool Shock
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Doheny’s Super Pool Shock
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Clorox Pool&Spa Shock XtraBlue
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Aqua Chem Shock Plus Water Clarifier for Swimming Pools
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Rx Clear Super Shock for Swimming Pools
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Best Pool Shocks – (Newest Models)
1. Pool Essentials Shock Treatment
If you are tired of continuously waiting for your pool shock to dissolve, then you might want to try this one. You may use the skimmer to add this into your pool, or you may pour it directly – as per popular opinion, it tends to dissolve nicely.
With its 48.6% chlorine content, this product is perfect for opening your pool after a long winter, or for killing off bacteria and algae after a storm.
If you pour the correct amount into the pool, then it will take only a few minutes until the pool shock starts taking in effect. And the best part is that it can be used during the day as well.
- It dissolves easily
- You can add it directly into the pool
- The effect is quick and efficient
- May bleach the pool lining if you have a vinyl pool
- Less chlorine than many pool shocks of the kind
2. HTH Pool Shock Super Shock Treatment
If you are looking for a chlorine shock treatment for your pool that can give you immediate results, then you might want to look into this treatment. With a 52% chlorine level, it’s all that you need to give you a very strong chlorine boost – and everything can be performed in as little as 24 hours.
The package is very easy to open – which is something that cannot be said about many products of this kind. Since it takes away the hassle of opening, not only can the process be gone through much quicker, but it is also safe to utilize.
This pool shock includes a test that you may use to check the levels of your water – pH, alkalinity, the whole package. This way, you will know for sure when it is safe for you to get into the water.
- Very easy to use
- A high concentration of chlorine
- Fast-acting, with crystal clear water in 24 hours
- Might not be as effective compared to other pool shocks
- Some say that it does not dissolve very well or fast enough
3. In The Swim Chlorine Pool Shock
This product has pleased a fair number of pool owners, as it is very easy to use, and can also do a very good job at shocking your pool. Providing a strong chlorinated shock treatment, this one has 68% calcium hypochlorite – a percentage that enables fast-acting oxidation of the pool.
This pool shock is perfect for bromine and chlorine-free sanitized pools, as it has 38% more potassium monopersulfate compared to other products of this kind. Plus, considering that it activates mostly the existent free chlorine in your pool (while giving you a chlorine boost), it is safe to use it every week.
One pound from this product is enough to sanitize a pool of 12,000 gallons of water. This means you will not have to double the dose or cut into a new package, even if you have a larger pool.
- Is very efficient when it comes to sanitizing the pool of contaminants
- The results are very quick and precise
- You may swim in this pool immediately after using this product
- It takes a bit longer to dissolve
- It may result in a raise of your pool’s cyanuric acid levels
4. Doheny’s Super Pool Shock
This pool shock is perfect for opening your pool after you have not used it for an entire winter. It can shock the water back into that crystal-clear state that it was in before you winterized the pool – killing all the algae and bacteria in only a matter of days.
A great selling point of this pool shock is that it is sold at a very good price – which is great if you are trying to give your pool a shock on a budget. Containing a concentration of 68% calcium hypochlorite, it will give your pool enough of a shock so that all the contaminants will go away.
It is also perfect to give your pool an “emergency shock” after a long rainy period. Depending on the state of the pool, you may have to use a slightly larger quantity of pool shock – but nonetheless, it does a fairly good job.
- Very efficient in giving your pool that crystal-clear blue look
- Very affordable price, perfect for those shopping on a budget
- The strong chlorine boost is perfect for pool openings
- A heavy concentration of this might eat at any rubber in the pool
- The shock does not dissolve right away and might leave a residue
5. Clorox Pool&Spa Shock XtraBlue
This pool shock is perfect for removing the algae from your pool, no matter if it is green, black, or mustard. Plus, it works perfectly well with bacteria – therefore ensuring that you are stepping into a nicely sanitized pool.
Unlike other solid pool shocks, this one does not require pre-mixing. To be on the safe side, you may dissolve it in a bucket – but according to many that have previously used this product, it can dissolve fairly quickly and efficiently. It is a hassle-free way of maintaining your pool over the summer, but it may also be a good way of opening your pool after winter has passed.
- It is very soluble and dissolves properly in the water
- Does not require premixing
- Can also remove other contaminants and odors
- Includes copper algaecide
- May not bring such a high chlorine level
6. Aqua Chem Shock Plus Water Clarifier
When your pool is not looking its best anymore, this pool shock can return that sparkling water effect in as little as a few hours – with the first signs of improvement being visible immediately. You don’t have to pre-dissolve it, as you may pour it directly into the pool.
Compared to other pool shocks that do not let you use the pool for hours, this one lets you resume in as little as 15 minutes. It does contain a chlorine agent, but the effect is not harmful on the skin.
Made for every pool surface, this one can reduce the odor of chlorine and it prevents eye irritation. Moreover, it doesn’t increase the pH, making your pool perfectly safe for swimming.
- Easily dissolves directly in the pool, with no need for pre-dissolving
- The result is a clear, sparkling pool
- Does not increase the pH level of your pool
- According to various users, the effect is not that quick
- Fairly pricey
7. Rx Clear Super Shock
If your pool looks particularly bad and you need to give it a strong shock, then this item is certainly something that you should look into. Containing a total of 68% calcium hypochlorite, this can raise the free chlorine levels of your water, giving it that crystal clear look once more.
This one is sold in granulated form, so you have to mix it before you pour it into the pool. It is not stabilized, so ideally, you should use it during the night. By the time the night passes, the chlorine would have done the job – and you will not have to worry about the sun doing anything to compromise the process.
One bag is enough to clean 10,000 gallons of pool water – which is very convenient, even if you have a generously sized pool. The brand is a premier one – and many people have been using it for quite a long time for their pools.
- Efficient when it comes to giving the water that crystal clear look
- Great value for the price
- Can easily kill algae and other contaminants from your pool
- It increases the pH level of your pool
- It does not dissolve properly, leaving a layer at the bottom of the pool
Benefits of Pool Shock
It goes without saying that the biggest benefit of pool shock is its ability to clear your pool of all the bacteria and algae in one, clean move. If the regular treatment was seen as the “oral pill,” then the shock is practically the “intravenous injection.” You will not have to worry about catching anything while you are swimming.
Since it kills off the algae and bacteria in your pool, it won’t only be healthier to swim in – but also more pleasant. When your pool starts to look a little less clear than it used to, you don’t really feel that comfortable stepping into the water. It’s “yucky,” and not at all hygienic. However, by giving it a shock, the pool will be able to get that nice, clean color.
Last but not least, while it is not recommended to make this your pool-cleaning go-to, it’s a quick fix to an emergency. Let’s say that you went on a holiday for quite a long time – and now your pool looks all yucky and full of muck. It’s not very convenient to empty the entire pool – which is why pool shock is such a convenient quick fix.
However, if you got enough time to take care of your pool water daily, we recommend also looking at our reviews on chlorine tablets for pools. They will not shock the water but it will instead generate a steady low level of chlorine. Check our guide now!
Drawbacks of Using Pool Shock
One disadvantage of using almost any kind of pool shock is that it might add to the cyanuric level of your pool. This is why you need to invest in a good tester, to ensure that the chlorine levels are not too high, nor too low.
If you get the quantities right, there should not be any disadvantages to using pool shock. However, there is the chance of developing an allergic reaction – but this will vary from person to person. Some people are highly sensitive to chlorine and other chemicals, which is why stepping into a pool with such a high density of chlorine is not quite a stellar idea.
Plus, when you shock your pool, there is a high chance that you will shock it a bit too much – which will make your pool even more of a chemical hub. To bring the water back to a suitable pH level, you’ll have to add quite a lot of neutralizing substances – a process that might be rather time-consuming. It might take some time until you figure out the right quantities.
How to Shock Your Pool
When was it the last time that you shocked your swimming pool? If you kept postponing it, you should find out that it is not such a difficult thing to do. From safety to the process itself, the entire procedure of shocking your swimming pool takes only four quick steps:
Not many people wear any protection when they are shocking their swimming pool – but the truth is that they should. Pool shock is similar to bleach – which means that if it gets on you, it will have the same effect that bleach does.
As a result, when you are shocking your pool, make sure that you wear clothing that you don’t mind ruining with bleach stains. Also, make sure you wear safety goggles and gloves: the goggles will protect you from any potential splashbacks, and the gloves will keep your skin from getting irritated.
Prepare the Chemicals
Once you have chosen the shock, it’s time to read the instructions of the manufacturer and prepare it properly. For example, while liquid shock can be poured straight away, the granular kind first has to be dissolved in a specific amount of water before pouring it.
Similarly, you will have to determine how much shock you will have to use for the size of your pool. Obviously, bigger pools will need more shock compared to a smaller one.
Shock the Pool
At this point, you will have to pour the shock in accordance with the instructions given by the manufacturer. Some will say that it has to be dispersed evenly around the pool edges, whereas others will say that you have to pour it in the proximity of the jets so that it can be circulated.
Once you have poured it, leave it alone for a couple of hours, until the shock does its job. It’s important that you do not use the pool during this time since the high spike in chlorine might be harmful for you. In most cases, it will have to be left overnight.
Check the Pool Chemistry
After an appropriate number of hours have passed, you will have to check the chemistry of your pool. Use a pool water test kit and see what the pH, alkalinity, hardness, and calcium levels are. Do not let anyone get into the pool until the water has returned to its proper pool chemistry levels.
Types of Pool Shocks
Swimming pool shock comes in several forms – all of them featuring different qualities that you might find useful. Here is what you might want to look into when browsing for pool shock.
Also known by the name of “cal hypo,” this is the one that pool owners on a budget generally go for. You may find it in 65% strength and 73% strength. This way, the sun will not speed up the breakdown of the chlorine – and therefore, will not damage your pool.
The drawback of this type of pool shock is that it will raise the calcium and pH levels of your pool for a while. Those levels will go back down eventually, but it might take up to 8 hours for that to happen.
Unlike cal hypo, di-clor is stabilized – therefore, it may be used throughout the day as well. Found at 56% strength, it is a particularly useful shock if you need to maintain the chlorine level for a more extended amount of time. This will kill off any parasites and bacteria that are resistant to chlorine.
Plus, since the strength is not that high, you may use it at any time of the day – or night. It is slightly more expensive than calcium hypochlorite – but since this one has a nearly neutral pH level, you may even swim in the pool while the agent is doing its job.
Also referred to as non-chlorine pool shock, this one is slightly different compared to the other two types – in the sense that it does not contain any chlorine. It’s perfect for pools that use bromine as a sanitizer. You may use it during the day and during the night as well, as sunlight won’t affect it.
This type of pool shock works by oxidizing the water of your pool, boosting the existent free chlorine (the good chlorine), and eliminating the bacteria this way. It is likely the most expensive method to shock your pool – but it is also the safest one to use.
The good thing about this pool shock is that since it does not contain any chlorine, it will not bleach the sides of your pool. However, for the same reason, it does not have the same strength as the other types. If you need to give your pool a stronger “shake,” then this might not prove to be enough.
A pool shock could be everything that you need to keep your pool in peak shape, without having to waste entire gallons of water. Why replace the water when you can simply buy the best pool shock and add it into your pool? It’s certainly less of a hassle this way.
Hopefully, our pool shock reviews allowed you to find the most suitable product for your pool. All of the products that we have recommended present a good value, and as hassle-free as possible – allowing you to resume your swimming right away. Just make sure that you wait the recommended time before diving into the pool.