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The Best Pool Chemicals in 2023

by Ethan Miller

Owning a pool is more work than some might expect. The first and most important duty of pool ownership is keeping your pool clean and healthy for swimming. That’s why using the best pool chemicals is the best practice in pool cleaning.

We’ve taken a look at three categories of pool chemicals: pool chemicals start-up kits, pool shock kits/chemicals, and chlorine tablets.

We’ve compared products in their respective groups by looking at their effectiveness and efficiency, such as the amount needed over a period of time, ease of application, etc.

To maintain the safety of your pool water you need the best products on the market like our top pick, the Rx Clear Spring Start-Up Kit.

There are many options as to how you treat your pool and you would be wise to explore them in full. So, what are the best chemicals to use in a pool?

Pool Chemicals Start-Up Kit: My Top Picks

In The Swim Pool Super Opening Chemical Start-Up Kit


Another bulk pool chemicals kit to consider is the In The Swim Super Pool Opening Chemical Start-Up Kit. As with the previously mentioned start-up kits, this kit is intended for pools of up to 30,000 gallons. Including most chemicals needed for pool start-up.

This kit by In The Swim is well-suited for experienced pool owners with a general idea of how to apply these chemicals.

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  • Includes many chemicals needed for opening a pool
  • Chemicals keep the water clear


  • Lacking in instructions
  • Only suitable for up to 30,000 gallons; may even need additional amounts
  • Does not include a stabilizing agent
  • Only recommended for opening existing pools in the spring season

Rx Clear Spring Start-Up Kit

The best pool opening kit is the Rx Clear Spring Start-Up Kit. Intended for treating your pool upon opening it for the season, this start-up kit can be used on in-ground and above-ground pools.

The start-up kit by Rx is very convenient for opening your pool properly. The test strips are a nice bonus as testing the pool frequently is the best way to gauge its chemical balance.


  • Easy to use
  • Suitable for saltwater pools


  • Only suitable for up to 30,000 gallons; for very large pools it can be a one-time use product
  • Only recommended for opening existing pools in the spring season

Doheny’s Ultimate Pool Opening Start-Up Kit

It’s generally agreed upon that the best way to open a pool for a new season is to use a start-up kit like Doheny’s Ultimate Pool Opening Chemical Start-Up Kit. This product is found high up in the swimming pool cleaning chemicals list with its all-in-one style; making it one of the simplest products available.

This start-up kit is most effective when paired with additional chemicals because it does not come with every chemical needed to open your pool.


  • Easy to use
  • Designated-dose sized kits


  • Only suitable for one-time use on 30,000 gallons
  • Only recommended for opening existing pools in the spring season
  • Additional products needed to open the pool (pH balancing agent)

Pool Shocks: My Top Picks

DryTec 1-1901-24 Calcium Hypochlorite Chlorine Shock Treatment for Swimming Pools

The best pool shock chemicals product available is the DryTec Calcium Hypochlorite Chlorinating Shock Treatment for Swimming Pools. These shock chemicals are among the best chemicals to use in above-ground pools, although they’re also suited for in-ground pools.

This shock agent by DryTec is one of the strongest and best-performing shock agents on the market. The quantity of units per order is a plus.


  • Easy to use, 1 bag per 10,000 gallons ratio
  • Large quantity intended to last the season
  • Powerful shock


  • Should only be applied in shaded periods of the day

Clorox Pool&Spa 32312CLX Shock Plus

This final shock product, the CLOROX Shock Plus, is possibly the best shock to use for pools. Crafted with four-in-one utility, the CLOROX shock is known for its ability to avoid altering your pool’s pH. This product works beyond the expectation of shocking the pool.

The CLOROX Shock Plus is a phenomenal shock product and does more than just that. This product makes shocking the pool easier on the owner.


  • Easy to use
  • Suitable for saltwater pools
  • 4-in-1 formula targeting more than just the shock treatment, notably improving filter function
  • 1 bottle covers more pool than competitor products


  • Does not kill bacteria or algae

Pool Essentials Shock Treatment

This next shock treatment product by Pool Essentials is one of the best chemicals for small pools. The Pool Essentials Shock Treatment is intended to keep the water clear by reducing cloudiness and reducing the chlorine odor of your pool.

The Pool Essentials Shock Treatment is an effective shock product and differs from the previously mentioned DryTec product only in quantity per purchase. That being said, this product is ideal for small pool owners because there are only six packs of shock, which could last a small pool a good bit of the season.

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  • Easy to apply
  • Suitable for saltwater pools
  • Suitable for season-long use


  • Low quantity of units in order (6)

Pool Chlorine Tablets: My Top Picks

In The Swim 3 Inch Stabilized Chlorine Tablets for Sanitizing Swimming Pools

The best chlorine tablets for swimming pools are the 3″ Swimming Pool Chlorine Tablets by In The Swim. Chlorine tablets are a great method for sustained chlorination of your pool. They’re typically easy to use and dose.

The In The Swim Chlorine Tablets are effective and efficient. These tablets provide a simple solution to the weekly chlorination of your pool’s water.


  • Easy to use, individually wrapped tablets
  • Suitable for all pool types
  • Slow-dissolving and long-lasting tablets


  • Improper use can damage your pool’s parts

Clorox Pool&Spa Active99 3” Chlorinating Tablets

Pool water treatment chemicals are a necessity for maintaining a clean pool and CLOROX Active99 3″ Chlorinating Tablets is a perfect example. As with the CLOROX shock product, the chlorinating tablets come with a four-in-one utility design.

The CLOROX chlorine tablets are among the most effective available on the market. Again the four-in-one formula takes these tablets to a place their competition can’t reach. These tablets are simple to apply and strong.


  • Easy to use, individually wrapped tablets
  • Suitable for all pool types
  • UV protection allows for the chlorine to continue working longer
  • Multiple bucket sizes are available


  • Doesn’t prevent corrosion and scale build-up
  • Improper use can damage your pool’s parts

Chlorine Tāblets, with Release Effervescent Tāblets of Continuous Chlorine for Daily Care in Swimming Pools

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Next in the best chlorine for pool review, we have the MOSKILA Chlorine Large Tablets. Similar in function to the In The Swim tablets previously mentioned, these tablets are also three-inch tablets. The Nava tablets also have a good reputation for maintaining their integrity upon shipping.

These tablets are straightforward in what they provide: bacteria-killing chlorination. They are effective and come in varying sizes, not just the 25-pound bucket.


    • Easy to use, individually wrapped tablets
    • Suitable for all pool types
    • Slow-dissolving tablets
  • For use all season long


  • Improper use can damage your pool’s parts

What Chemicals Do You Need For Your Pool?

As we now know, pools are not just buckets of water that are magically safe to swim in. They are hard work and require lots of chemicals and time to control the chemical balance of your pool. So, what chemicals are needed to start up a pool?

The following list is a general summary of those needed chemicals:

Shock chlorine:

every pool needs to be shocked at the beginning of the season and throughout the season to ensure safe levels of free chlorine in the pool, preventing algae buildup and destroying contaminants.

Stain & scale preventative chemicals:

these stain and scale preventers are added to pools slowly over a period of time and remove stains and gunk from the walls of pools. Additionally, they prevent calcium carbonate from building up in the pool.

Chlorine tablets:

chlorine tablets are a highly effective way to manage your pool’s chlorine levels and in turn, water safety. Adding chlorine to the pool is effective in killing bacteria upon their entrance into the pool water.

pH increaser/decreaser:

the safest pH balance for swimming is a pH of about 7.2 – 7.4, a slightly alkaline pH. These chemicals allow you to adjust your pool’s pH up and down. They are necessary because the pH of a pool can sway given the time of day, amount of use, and chemicals added.

Alkalinity/Calcium increaser

Cyanuric acid:

this acid acts as the stabilizer for the pool. The stabilizer is used solely for the purpose of stabilizing the chlorine in your pool and allowing the cleaning agent to work effectively longer.

Algaecides and clarifiers (highly recommended):

while algaecides and clarifiers are not needed chemicals for your pool, they are worth entertaining. Algaecides and clarifiers will help your chlorinated pool to prevent algae build-ups and kill algae as well.

Clarifiers do exactly as you would expect from the name, they clarify your water. This is done by a chemical process that reduces cloudiness resulting from contamination.

In addition to the chemicals listed above, there are all-in-one swimming pool chemicals that can accomplish multiple of the effects desired when using individual pool chemicals.

Tips on Choosing the Best Pool Chemicals

Do research:

Doing research is important when choosing between two types of products. It is especially important for pool chemicals.

Knowing what each chemical included in a product does is important to successfully treat your pool and understand the ways in which certain chemicals and cleaners can have long-term, adverse effects.

Know what you need and why you need it. That should help you narrow down your search.

Additionally, pool chemicals are not ignorant of one another. It’s very advisable to learn and understand how various chemicals work off of each other and how they may possibly work for or against one another. Messing up your pool’s chemical balance can be a tedious fix so going into your treatment confident in your knowledge is ideal.

Ask others:

Asking questions of other pool owners is your best bet for choosing the proper treatment methods and chemicals for your own pool. Unlike buying clothes and other such goods, there is less personal preference involved in terms of what you must get for your pool, so asking those other pool owners in your life how they tackle the issue is a good step to success.

Seek Professional Advice:

While asking other pool owners and doing your own research can take you far away from the shores of ignorance, it would still be wise to seek the advice of a pool pro.

Whether that’s at your local pool store or an online professional, hearing from the pros directly will help you gain a thorough and proper understanding of pool chemicals and treatment products.

Not only that, but pool pros will also likely be able to tell you exactly what you do and don’t need, without much added effort on your end.

Read reviews:

Lastly, read reviews. Online products are swimming in, no pun intended, reviews both good and bad. While reviews should not be your first or second reason for buying a product, they hold certain truths about product success and effectiveness. Just remember to take each review with a grain of salt as every review is that of a subjective consumer.

Factors To Consider

Chemical Make-up:

The chemical makeup of individual cleaners and chemical solutions for your pool is important in deciding what you buy. For instance, chlorinating solutions with dichloro and trichloro compounds are known for building up in filter areas and becoming corrosive from their high chlorine content, causing damage to pool parts like the filter.

Therefore, the chemical composition of these cleaning solutions should be understood and thought about in relation to the pool’s overall health before buying.


The next factor to consider is a solution’s effectiveness at its job. For instance, the spring start-up kits that do not include a stabilizer are not as effective as start-up kits that do. Simply put, additional chemicals are needed to stabilize the pool along with the other start-up chemicals included.

Also, products like the CLOROX four-in-one chemicals do more than just the job they are intended to do, such as the CLOROX chlorine tablets that are UV protected and also control algae.


The purpose of a chemical is an important factor in choosing which pool chemicals you buy. Not all chemicals available are absolute necessities for your pool, just as there are often multiple chemicals capable of achieving similar effects.

Know the purpose of each individual chemical to ensure you’re not overspending or overpowering your pool.


Although it can at times be an unfair judgment, it’s typically best to go with a reputable brand that has a previous track record of delivering products that achieve what they are meant to accomplish.

Brands like CLOROX and In The Swim are well-known and widely used, resulting in effective products that are less likely to fail you.

Type of Use/Application:

A final factor to consider is the application style. Many of these chemical solutions are very simple to apply, usually coming in pourable bottles.

However, some chemicals need feeders to supply the pool over a period of time, or like chlorinating tabs, can have multiple ways to be distributed into the pool. Knowing how each chemical is applied will allow you to decide if that particular product is the one for you and your needs.

Additional Ways to Maintain Your Pool

While chemicals will handle a lot of your pool headaches and needs, there are additional steps that can be taken to ensure your pool remains clean and suitable for use.


There are your pool filters. Checking your filters every so often to ensure their proper function is one way you can maintain your pool. After all, with chemicals constantly being added to your pool those filters can take a beating.

Sometimes things like excessive chlorine can become corrosive to pool filters and cause them to break easily, or worse corrode the whole filtration system.

Keeping an eye on your filters and replacing parts and pieces when needed is a great way to maintain your pool.

Next are pool robots.

I wish I were referring to robots that served us by the pool all day, but unfortunately, I’m referencing robotic vacuum cleaners.

These robotic cleaners are great for those who would enjoy a hands-off cleaning process for their pool.

Many of these robotic cleaners are equipped with brushes and scrubbers that attack dirt and debris on the walls and floors of pools.

Additionally, they can be set to specific schedules such as once a day or every few days, creating truly autonomous cleaning processes for your pool.

There are also manual methods

For maintaining pool cleanliness like skimmers, which are very helpful for removing debris from your pool water and saving your filter or Robo-cleaners some work.

There are also vacuum-type skimmers that have a vac head attached to a long pole for cleaning specific spots.

Although they’re not manual, there are also automatic, surface skimmers available on the market.

In addition, there are various attachments for skimmers that allow you to tackle a variety of pool maintenance.

Other methods

Maintaining your pool’s cleanliness and safe swimming conditions is constantly checking the proper functioning of pool pumps, jets, and filter systems. Ensuring the proper functioning of these parts of your pool will remove the speculation that there is a larger issue at hand if your pool becomes dirty.

Additionally, the pool can only maintain cleanliness when these parts are functioning properly and together.


Maintaining your pool’s health is no walk in the park, at least at first. By utilizing the best chemicals and other practices that maintain pool health, you can ensure safe swimming conditions for you and those you care about.

Being a new pool owner can make this process seem overwhelming. However, choosing the best chemicals isn’t something only newbies have trouble with. Experienced pool owners can learn a lot by furthering their knowledge about pool chemicals as well.

After reading this review of various categories of pool chemicals, you are equipped to begin the process of narrowing down your options and zeroing in on the absolute best products for your pool. With all of this information now at your disposal, it’s time to make that choice about which chemicals are best suited for you and your pool. With the season around the corner, there’s no time to waste! Get your pool chemicals now!

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