5 Chlorine Options to Keep Kiddie Pools Clean and Safe

Nothing gets the little ones more excited to be outside than a kiddie pool. It provides much-needed exercise, boosts stress management, and helps parents make bedtime a whole lot easier. But just because the pool is fun-sized, doesn’t mean the water chemistry should be taken any less seriously.

With hundreds of chlorine products to choose from, finding the best option is no easy task. That’s why we put together this guide, highlighting five of the best chlorines for kiddie pools that are available today.

Aqua blue kiddie pool with duck floater
Kiddie pool with duck floater.

What to Consider When Choosing Chlorine for a Kiddie Pool

You want your kids to be safe while they’re having fun. So when it comes to kiddie pools, a proper water chemistry balance always starts with chlorine. The right chlorination product will eliminate the various germs that cause Swimmer’s Ear and diarrhea, not to mention dangerous bacteria like E. coli and salmonella.

Chlorine may be the most important ingredient of balanced and healthy water chemistry, but it isn’t the only one. Before you shop for specific kiddie-pool chlorine products, there are at least three major factors to consider.

pH Balance

Maintaining the right pH balance doesn’t just make your water clearer. Effective chlorination can’t physically happen when the pH is too high. And when it’s too low, the water is no longer safe for kids.

As such, your number one priority beyond sanitation should be balancing the pH to an optimal range of 7.4-7.6.

A normal pool requires the pH to be checked once a week. But because kiddie pools and paddling pools are much smaller, we recommend measuring the 3 times a week or more, and adjusting as needed. You can do this with test strips.

Pool and Spa Test Strips - Quick and Accurate Pool Test Strips - 7-1 Pool Test Kit - 100 Bromine, pH, Hardness and Chlorine Test Strips - with E-Book - 100 Water Test Strips - JNW Direct

To raise the pH, you can use any of the below:

  1. Baking Soda
  2. Soda Ash
  3. pH Up Solution

Most types of chlorine lower the pH, so you’ll rarely need to lower it manually. That said, it’s always best to stay prepared with one of these pH Down solutions:

  1. Sodium Bisulfate
  2. Muriatic Acid

Chlorine Stabilizer

When it comes to kiddie pools, most experts recommend using a stabilized chlorine product. That’s because getting the chlorine and stabilizer balance right is more difficult when dealing with smaller pools so it’s easiest to use chlorine with a stabilizer already in it.

Stabilizer chlorine has cyanuric acid in it, which protects it from degradation in the sun. Chlorine will last much longer with a stabilizer in it. Without it, chlorine degrades in a few hours making it ineffective.

If you still decide to use non-stabilized chlorine, like bleach, you can add a stabilizer separately.

Clorox Pool&Spa 12004CLX Chlorine Stabilizer, 4 lb, 4lb

But if you want to steer clear of extra risks (and extra chores), go with a Trichlor or Dichlor-based granular chlorine.

How to Add Chlorine to Kiddie Pools

Each type of chlorinating product comes with specific instructions. Adding chlorine to a kiddie or inflatable pool is similar to adding chlorine to a full-size pool.

In most cases, these instructions involve additional equipment that must be bought separately. Regular household bleach is the only chlorine that can be poured directly into the water.

  • For liquid chlorine (i.e. bleach): Always dilute liquid chlorine in a bucket of water before adding it to a kiddie pool. Since none of the liquid products are stable, don’t forget to add a stabilizing agent afterward.
  • For tablets: Never toss a chlorine tablet directly into a pool. Instead, use a chlorine floater. We recommend floaters, as they are the least expensive option and they require the least effort to use.
  • For granules: Dissolve granules in a large bucket of water first. You don’t want undissolved granules coming into contact with your pool’s floor or your child’s feet.

ATIE Inflatable/Above-Ground Pool Floating Mini 1" Chlorine/Bromine Tablet Dispenser for Pool, Spa, Hot Tub, and Fountain, Perfect for Inflatable & Above-Ground Pools

#1 – HTH Super Chlorinating Tablets

HTH’s new Chlorinating Tablets are an all-around great product for kiddie pool sanitation. Tablets slowly dissolve which means they will slowly release chlorine over time. Saving you the effort of continually adding chlorine.

HTH 42042 Super 3" Chlorinating Tablets Swimming Pool Chlorine, 5 lbs

A single tablet is enough to sanitize 10,000 gallons (37,854 L) of water for up to seven days. Since your kiddie pool or inflatable pool is likely to hold a fraction of that, try breaking the tablet into quarters.

HTH’s tablets are stabilized with plenty of cyanuric acid (CYA) to protect the water from losing chlorine in direct sunlight.

HTH is a trustworthy brand, whose parent company Sigura has been in the pool maintenance sector for decades. The formula for their 3-inch tablets is 93.6% Trichlor (Trichloro-s-Triazinetrione), and 3.5% Zinc (Zinc sulfate monohydrate). Trichlor is among the most effective chlorinating agents available, while Zinc is added to prevent corrosion.

But what really makes the Super Chlorinating Tablets stand out is the slow-release formula. That makes it ideal for ongoing chlorination. And the sub-$50 price tag of a 5-pound box makes it one of the most affordable chlorine products on the market.

Pros:

  • Stabilized
  • Slow dissolving tablets
  • Compatible with vinyl, inflatable pools

Cons:

  • Requires additional equipment (floater/skimmer/feeder)
  • Not a pure chlorine product

#2 – Clorox Bleach

Our list just wouldn’t be complete without good ol’ Clorox Bleach. It may not be the most purpose-built option, but it is by far the least expensive and easiest option. In fact, even though household bleach is only 6% chlorine, it still gives you much more bang for your buck, while thoroughly disinfecting the water.

Clorox HE Performance Bleach, 121 Oz. (Pack of 1)

Unless you want to add bleach every day, it’s highly recommended you also add a little stabilizer aka cyanuric acid. This will prevent chlorine from degrading.

Being a household name, Clorox also provides parents peace of mind – you can be sure the chlorine concentration is precisely the same in every container. The Clorox website also has a handy chart to help you get your measurements just right. And that’s not to mention the fact that if you’re ever running low, you can get a refill at just about every department store in the country.

Pros:

  • Trusted brand
  • Wide availability
  • Lowest price

Cons:

  • Only 6%
  • Not stabilized

#3 – EcoOne OneShock Granular Chlorine

The OneShock Tablets are EcoOne’s newest specialty chlorine tabs designed for spas and small pools. Their 2lb container is packed with 64 tablets capable of sanitizing the water for an entire week.

EcoOne | OneShock Spa & Swimming Pool Tablets | Self-Dissolving, Pre-Measured Chlorine Shock & Sanitizer Combo | Clean, Clear & Bacteria Free Water | Swim-Safe Enzymes | Pool Maintenance | 64 Tabs

Furthermore, kiddie pools containing under 1,000 gallons (3,785 L) will only require one tab per use. That means just one container of OneShock is enough to keep an inflatable pool disinfected for over a year straight.

EcoOne’s granular chlorine really lives up to the brand’s name. Unlike the vast majority of chlorine (CI) tablets, the OneShock dissolves completely without leaving behind undissolved chunks.

Pros:

  • Stabilized
  • Easy application thanks to small-sized tablets
  • Contains minimal levels of skin irritants
  • Dissolves Completely

Cons:

  • Pricey compared to similar products
  • Requires additional equipment

#4 – Champion’s Liquid Chlorine Pool Shock

With a chlorine concentration of 12.5%, Champion’s Liquid Pool Shock is our go-to liquid solution for kiddie pools. It is more than twice as potent as household bleach, which comes with a number of hidden benefits aside from only needing to add half as much chemicals to your pool.

Champion Pool Shock - Ready To Use Liquid Chlorine - Commercial Grade 12.5% Concentrated Strength - 1 Gallon

You will also end up with a cleaner, safer pool due to the increased levels of FAC (Free Available Chlorine). To help you visualize how steep the difference is, imagine two one-gallon buckets of water – one with an added gram of Clorox, and another with a gram of Champion’s liquid chlorine. Within minutes, the Champion’s bucket measures around 0.5 FAC, while the Clorox bucket FAC level is maxed out at 0.04.

Pros:

  • Low cost compared to tablets
  • High FAC concentration
  • Requires half the storage space of Clorox

Cons:

  • Not stabilized
  • Raises water hardness level

#5 – Leisure Time’s Spa Chlorinating Granules

Originally designed for spas and hot tubs, the Leisure Time Chlorinating Tablets are our overall best chlorine pick. This product is based primarily on Dichlor. It dissolves faster than any other granular chlorine, it’s protected by stabilizing agents, and it’s relatively safe to handle and store.

But what really makes these granules the optimal choice for kiddie pools is their almost-neutral pH (around 6.8). That means less testing and adjusting acidity for you, and less waiting time for your little ones! To top it off, Dichlor has the longest shelf life of any granular chlorine product.

Pros:

  • Fast-acting
  • pH neutral
  • Safe to transport
  • Easy to store

Cons:

  • More expensive than Trichlor tablets

Related Reading:
5 Ways to Keep a Kiddie Pool Clean (Best Tips from a Dad)
Which Chlorine to Use for Inground Pools?
Which Chlorine to Use for Intex Pools?
Which Chlorine To Use For An Above Ground Pool
Which Chlorine to Use for Fiberglass Pools?

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