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Bromine vs Chlorine Tablets For Your Pool: What’s the Difference?

bromine vs chlorine pool

feet in the pool

If you have never owned a hot tub, you may have never considered cleaning your pool with anything other than chlorine. For several reasons, including skin sensitivities, people have decided to switch their pool sanitizing responsibilities over to bromine.

There are positives and negatives to every decision as a pool owner. We will break down for you the differences between bromine and chlorine so you can decide which is better for your situation.


What Is the Difference Between Bromine and Chlorine?

The best way to understand the difference between bromine and chlorine is to think of this one example.

You are lounging in a hot tub, and the entire time you are in there you are not smelling chemicals, your skin feels soft and smooth, and you almost wonder if the water is properly sanitized. As you get out of the hot tub, the smell hits. All of a sudden, you can smell a strong bromine hot tub smell on your skin. This smell will likely not go away without a swim in the pool or a shower. The bromine lingers.

poolside with calcium scales
Photo by MILKOVÍ on Unsplash

How Bromine Works

When you put bromine in your pool, it finds harmful bacteria and attacks it. When it is finished attacking the bacteria, there is still some bromine leftover. This bromine remains in the water, ready to fight the next round of harmful containments.

How Chlorine Works

When you put chlorine in your pool, it does the same thing that bromine does. Chlorine seeks out the harmful bacteria in your pool and attacks it. Here is where the difference comes in. Chlorine is done after it sanitizes the pool. After chlorine attaches to and fights the bacteria, it is no longer useful for anything. It will sometimes linger in the water until more chlorine is added, but it will not help in cleaning the pool.

The Difference

Since the bromine lasts longer than the chlorine, you need much less of it to clean a pool. Even with the fact that you need less, bromine is still a much more expensive way to sanitize your pool than chlorine is. When considering the difference between bromine and chlorine, just remember that hot tub smell and the way bromine lingers clearly shows the difference between the two.


Why Is Bromine So Commonly Used in Hot Tubs?

Although some people successfully sanitize their pool with bromine, it is most commonly used in hot tubs. The reason bromine does so well in hot tubs is that it functions very well at high temperatures. Chlorine will not effectively clean a hot tub because it won’t survive long in the warm temperatures. If you have a heated pool and like to keep the pool very warm, bromine may be something to consider.

Hot Tub
Image: Peakpx

Will Bromine Help If I’m Allergic to Chlorine?

You may be wondering about switching to bromine because you can’t handle the nasty side effects of chlorine anymore. Between the smells, the green hair, and the breathing difficulties, sometimes it is just no longer possible to use chlorine in your pool.

There is good and bad news when it comes to switching to bromine. If you have sensitive skin, bromine can be a great alternative. Bromine will be much easier on your skin as compared to chlorine. Bromine will also leave less of a smell in and around the pool.

The bad news is that bromine is still chlorine-based. If you genuinely have a chlorine allergy bromine is still not going to cut it as an alternative for your pool sanitizing needs.

Why Is Bromine So Commonly Used in Indoor Pools?

indoor swimming pool
Image by Şahin Sezer Dinçer from Pixabay

Bromine is very often used and recommended in indoor pools because of its benefits. Bromine cannot be protected from the sun. Where you can add stabilizer to a pool to protect your chlorine and have it last longer against the burning sun, bromine will not stabilize like this. If your pool is located in a very sunny and bright part of your yard, you will go through bromine fast. Too fast to make this a financially responsible choice to switch to.

If you have an outdoor pool in the shade, bromine can be slightly more effective, although it will still cost you quite a bit more than chlorine will.

What Is the Switch Like?

If you have decided that bromine is the better cleaner for your pool, the switch from chlorine is quite simple. All you need to do is start using bromine tablets instead of chlorine. As always, make sure to check your pool levels before switching and then again after you do. It can be a bit more challenging to raise the bromine level in your pool if things get low. Pay close attention to the levels, and if need be, there is a bromine up chemical that can be added.


Pros & Cons of Bromine

Pros
  • Lasts longer in the water than chlorine
  • Works well at high temperatures
  • An excellent choice for a hot tub
  • Does not make the water or pool area smell
  • Easier on your skin
  • Effective for use in indoor pools
Cons
  • Smell lingers on your skin longer than chlorine
  • Considerably more expensive than chlorine
  • Not effective in pools that are in direct sunlight
  • Just a sanitizer

Pros & Cons of Chlorine

Pros
  • Easy to use, readily available and much cheaper than bromine
  • Will not leave a smell on the skin after exiting the pool
  • Easier to raise if the pool is running low
  • Can stabilize in the sun
Cons
  • Can cause skin, eye and lung irritation
  • Can smell strong in and around the water
  • Both an oxidizer and a sanitizer

Conclusion: Which is Better?

There is no right answer as to whether chlorine or bromine is better. Depending on if you are working with a hot tub, an indoor pool, an outdoor pool, etc., you will have to correctly determine which will work better for you. Keep in mind that regardless of your decision, you will spend more money on bromine than you will on chlorine. For some pool owners, this is the only fact they need to know about the differences to determine that bromine is, in fact, not the right choice for them.

Bromine or chlorine, be sure to continue to check your pool chlorine levels and make sure they are within range.


Featured Image Credit: Pexels from Pixabay

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