House & Beyond is reader-supported. We may earn a commission through products purchased using links on this page. Learn more about our process here
Looking after your pool is essential if you want to keep it clean and fresh, and making use of pool shock is a key part of any pool maintenance routine. Also known as super chlorinating, pool shocking is a way to keep your water safe by adding high amounts of chlorine and chemical sanitizing solution to kill bacteria and keep the water healthy.
There are many different forms of pool shock out there, and this guide will introduce you to some of the best pool shock products on the market. We looked at 35 different pool shock solutions, finding the hth Pool Shock Super Shock Treatment to be the best option for most people due to its strong bacterial-killing potential, 4-in-1 formula, ease-of-use, and compatibility with salt water systems. We also looked at four additional high quality pool shocks you might like to try.
Our review team spent hours evaluating each pool shock based on a wide range of factors and features. We looked at the active ingredients in each pool shock in order to determine how effective it could be at beating bacteria and removing other unwanted elements from your pool water, as well as the recommended dosage to see how much of the product you actually needed to use. We also considered how long you need to wait before being able to swim after using each pool shock, as this can impact your lifestyle, as well as looking at other factors like price and capacity. Check out the table below to see the best pool shocks we found, followed by reviews of each option and a detailed buying guide.
"Not only is Clorox Pool&Spa Shock XtraBlue super affordable and easy to use, it’s also very effective at fighting algae and killing bacteria. It even improves your filter performance and reduces eye irritation."
At the top of our list of the best pool shock for algae and chlorine is the hth Pool Shock Super Shock Treatment. This is by far one of top shocks on the market right now, with its strong ingredient blend offering a 4-in-1 solution that works to shock, sanitize, balance, and prevent algae from forming in your pool. It won’t fade any pool liners, making it the best shock for pool opening money can buy right now, and it even works to reduce eye irritation caused by pool water too.
Available at a great price, hth Pool Shock Super Shock Treatment lets you get back in your pool after 24 hours and is compatible with salt water systems too. It’s a fast-acting, fast-dissolving solution with a pretty small overall dosage, making it great for larger pools or efficient owners. The only downside is that you have to spend quite a lot of time measuring out the pH of your pool and calculating the right dosage too.
Next up, we come to the Pool Essentials Shock Treatment, which is our Best Value option for this list. Available in packs of six individual 1 lb bags, this shock treatment is designed to enhance the chlorine levels in your pool, kill bacteria, and prevent the build up of algae too. It’s the best chlorine shock for pool you can buy if you want to reduce the undesirable chlorine odor in your water and clear up cloudiness in the water too.
The active ingredient in Pool Essentials Shock Treatment is trichloro-s-triazinetrione, which works a little more slowly than something like calcium hypochlorite, but doesn’t need to be applied quite so often, making it a good option for those who want their pool to stay clean and fresh for longer periods between shocks. The only downside is that it has quite large granules which can gather on pool floors or in filters.
Next up, we come to our Budget Pick for this list: the Clorox Pool&Spa Shock XtraBlue pool shock treatment. It’s not quite a liquid shock, so can’t be classed as the best liquid pool shock around, but it does function quite similarly in that you can just pour it right into the pool, rather than having to dilute or dissolve it first. It comes in easy open and easy pour bottles, making application a real breeze.
Not only is Clorox Pool&Spa Shock XtraBlue super affordable and easy to use, it’s also very effective at fighting algae and killing bacteria, leaving your swimming pool looking crystal clear and good as new. It even improves your filter performance and reduces eye irritation. On the downside, it’s only sold in 1lb bottles so you may have to order a few if you want to stock up for future shocks.
Next, we come to the In The Swim Chlorine Pool Shock. This is the most expensive entry on our list, but you get a lot of bang for your buck, as this top quality pool shock treatment comes in packages of 24 1lb bags. That basically gives you about a year’s supply of pool shock, provided you use your pool on a regular basis and shock it every other week.
The main ingredient in In The Swim Chlorine Pool Shock is calcium hypochlorite, which works quickly and actively to sanitize your pool and clear away bacteria. It’s highly effective at bringing the chlorine levels back up to a satisfying standard and getting rid of any harmful oils and microbes too, and it’s one of the best shock for salt water pool you can buy.
Last of all, we come to the DryTec Shock Treatment. The first thing to note about this pool shock is that it comes with the best usage instructions of almost any option out there. Everything is very clearly labeled on the bags and the manufacturer has taken the time to provide easy to follow, step by step instructions for use. This means that the DryTec Shock Treatment is a good option if you’re a bit of a newbie to the world of pool shocking and are feeling worried about making mistakes or doing it wrong.
In action, the DryTec Shock Treatment is highly effective, containing 68% calcium hypochlorite for fast and effective pool cleaning. It helps to control algae, destroy organic contaminants, and kill bacteria too, being available in individual packs, 12 packs, or 24 packs for your convenience. On the downside, users say you need to scrub at this product with a pool brush to get rid of the big granules.
Why is it special?
Available in various capacities
What are the flaws?
Doesn't dissolve too well.
Things to Consider
Having your own pool offers a lot of advantages, but it also comes along with some unique challenges too. One of the big parts of being a responsible pool owner is cleaning your pool regularly to ensure that the water stays clean and healthy for yourself, your family, and anyone else who might be using the pool. This is why pool shocking is so important, and the best pool shock can really make a difference in the long run. Read on to learn how to shop for pool shock, how to use pool shock, and how to make the most of the top pool shock solutions out there.
What is a pool shock and when to use it?
Before even thinking about reading through the best pool shock reviews and buying the best pool shock treatment for your swimming pool, you need to actually know and understand what pool shock is and why it’s so important.
To understand pool shock, just look at public pools in places like parks and hotels. They usually have quite a strong smell that many people believe to be chlorine, but the truth is that that smell is actually formed by chloramines, which are formed when chlorine in the pool mixes up with nitrogen from sweat, urine, and bodily oils.
Not only does it smell bad, it’s not healthy for anyone who enters the pool. Not only that, but as time goes by, the chlorine level in your pool just isn’t strong enough to deal with build-ups of bacteria and algae, making your pool water dirty and unattractive.
Shocking helps to solve all of these problems in an instant by placing high amounts of chlorine into the pool all at once. As the name suggests, this acts as a kind of ‘shock’ to the pool, killing all bacteria, removing chloramines, getting rid of algae, and raising the effective chlorine levels back up to a sufficient standard.
Because pool shock like Clorox Pool&Spa Shock XtraBlue provides such an effective and powerful form of cleaning, the best time to use a pool shock solution is when your pool is starting to smell strange or showing signs of algae build-up.
Features to consider while buying the best pool shock
Pool shock is clearly essential for any pool owner who wants to keep up with their maintenance and ensure that their pool stays clean and free of bacteria and algae, but you can’t just buy the first pool shock you see and hope for the best. There are many different options out there, and pool shock comes in various forms, with different ingredients, recommended dosages, capacities, and more. You should consider all of these different factors, along with the price, in order to find a pool shock that works for you.
Powdered vs liquid
One of the first things to think about when it comes to pool shock solutions is whether you want to use a powdered version, like Pool Essentials Shock Treatment, or a liquid variant.
Liquids are faster to use since you can just pour them in, but powdered variants tend to be longer-lasting, easier-to-store, and contain a range of active ingredients.
Type of active ingredient
Next, you need to think about the key active ingredient in each product. The two main ingredients to know are calcium hypochlorite, found in In The Swim Chlorine Pool Shock, and sodium dichlor, found in Clorox Pool&Spa Shock XtraBlue. Calcium hypochlorite is affordable, quick, and very strong at cleaning up bacteria and raising the chlorine levels. Sodium-dichlor has the advantage of lasting longer, but usually has a slower application process.
Another key thing to think about in regard to pool shock treatments is dosage.
Some pool shocks require higher dosage amounts than others, meaning you’ll use them up more quickly and have to buy more afterwards.
Don’t forget that when you put pool shock in your pool, you’ll need to leave it to work its magic for a while before it’s safe to get in the water. The best shock for pool options always let you know how long you need to wait and some of them are super fast, like the Clorox Pool&Spa Shock XtraBlue, which lets you get back into the water within just 15 minutes!
Next, you need to think about the capacity of your chosen pool shock product.
Since shocking needs to be on a regular basis, it makes sense to stock up and have a lot of shock treatment ready to use.
The DryTec Shock Treatment, for example, comes in boxes of 24-packs, with each pack containing the recommended dosage of 1 pound/10,000 gallons.
PH and Chlorine level
You also need to consider the pH and chlorine level of each product, as this will affect the chemical composition of your swimming pool water and could have different effects on certain pool liners and other materials. Be sure to consider this factor when looking for the best pool shock for vinyl liners
Another factor to think about when searching for the best pool shock on the market is the price. Remember that the most expensive options aren’t always the best choice for you, and sometimes you can find a lot of value in a cheaper alternative. Clorox Pool&Spa Shock XtraBlue, for example, is our Budget Pick for this list due to its super low price, while still being a highly effective product.
Last but not least, you may also want to consider any possible extra features listed by the manufacturer of your chosen pool shock treatment. The In The Swim Chlorine Pool Shock, for example, is compatible with salt water systems, while the Pool Essentials Shock Treatment is great for clearing up cloudy water.
Pool shock usage tips
Using pool shock products like hth Pool Shock Super Shock Treatment can seem a little overwhelming, especially if you don’t have much experience. Here are some tips to make the most of these products:
Use At The Right Time – In general, you should be shocking your pool every two weeks, or even every week if you use the pool on a daily basis.
Use After Pool Parties – If you host a pool party or other event where the pool is used a lot, be sure to shock it the next day to clean away all the oils and skin cells.
Shock After Storms – Big storms or heavy rainfall can affect the chlorine levels in your pool, so it’s a good idea to shock it afterwards.
Follow Proper Safety Procedure – Wear goggles and gloves to protect yourself when shocking the pool and even consider a chemical mask to avoid inhaling harmful chlorine gas.
Follow The Instructions – Read through the instructions of your chosen pool shock product and follow them accordingly.
Pour Slowly And Evenly – Pour the shock slowly and evenly all around the pool to avoid splashing and ensure even distribution.
Shocking your pool is an essential part of good pool maintenance, but you need to remember that the chemicals contained in a typical pool shock product can be very dangerous if handled without the proper care. This is why most pool shock products come with a ‘Swim After’ notice that lets you know when the water will be safe to swim in again, and you should never get into a pool that has been shocked until the recommended time limit has passed. Not only that, but you should also be sure to wear protective gear like gloves and goggles when handling and using pool shock, as it can irritate the skin and eyes if it comes into contact with you. Try to avoid breathing near the container too, as it can release chlorine gas that causes respiratory issues, and you may even want to wear a chemical mask just to be on the safe side.
Pool shocking is a great part of a general pool maintenance routine, but it’s not the only option. There are several other things you should be doing if you want to keep your pool clean of dirt, debris, bugs, bacteria, and more. On a surface level, you should be using a pool pole and other accessories to skim away leaves and debris, as well as brushing sediment and scrubbing stains from the walls and floor of your pool. You can also invest in a pool vacuum to get rid of debris that can’t quite be brushed away, as well as remembering to check and clean the filter as needed. Various chemicals aside from pool shock also need to be added to the pool water on a daily basis like disinfectants and sanitizers to kill bacteria and stop the growth of algae in its tracks. We also recommend you to purchase a special pool test kit that will let you know the exact contaminants in the water.
Overall, the best rated pool shock we can recommend is the hth Pool Shock Super Shock Treatment. This 4-in-1 solution is designed to restore the right balance of chlorine in your pool, prevent algae from forming, sanitize the whole pool, and kill bacteria too. It does its job flawlessly and is the best way to shock a pool.
The next best pool shock is the Pool Essentials Shock Treatment. Available at a terrific price, this pool shock treatment is highly effective at cleaning up cloudy or misty water and does an amazing job of reducing that chlorine smell that can irritate and annoy many pool owners. It’s easy to use and suitable for all pool types.
Our third top rated pool shock solution is the Clorox Pool&Spa Shock XtraBlue. Coming from arguably the best pool shock brand in the business, this easy-to-use product can simply be poured directly into the pool and is delivered in easy-open bottles with powerful bacteria and algae-fighting crystals inside.