Best Way To Chlorinate Your Pool – Automatic Chlorinator Vs. Floating Dispenser

Anyone who owns a backyard swimming pool will tell you that one of the most time-consuming elements is its maintenance. A backyard swimming pool requires maintaining its water qualities, which requires precision, time and consistency. However, this process of sanitization can be made easier using chlorinators.

There are various types of chlorinators, which can take this burden off your shoulder, but we are going to explore the floating chlorinators and the automatic chlorinators.

Chlorine tabs, which are also known as tablets or pucks, are small discs that are added to chlorinator dispensers or automatic chlorinators. They contain cyanuric acid and calcium hypochlorite. When placed in the water, they dissolve into a light acid that sanitizes the pool surface and water.

As with anything, both these chlorinators have pros and cons that we will discuss, and maybe, depending on your type of pool and lifestyle, you may find one option that will be more convenient than the other.

Floating Chlorinator

A floating chlorine chlorinator floating on the water.

A floating chlorinator, which is also known as a floating dispenser, is a simple device that looks like a cup, which contains pucks. The cup floats around the pool as it sanitizes the pool by adding chlorine. The water from the pool flows through the cup as it dissolves the tablets, and consequently, treats your pool.

Pros of Using Floating Chlorinators

The following are the benefits of using floating dispensers;

Ease of Use

Floating dispensers are easy to use for pool owners. The chlorine pucks are deposited into the dispensers, and then they are left to float around the pool. The chlorinators have adjustable vents that allow the control of how much chlorine is dispensed, as they float around.

Additionally, its ease of use ensures that there are fewer steps when opening and closing the swimming pool when the summer season comes around.


The floating dispensers are very cheap. They cost between $10 and $20 in retail outlets and are an efficient way to chlorinate your swimming pool. Compared to automatic chlorinators, the dispensers are four times less the price in retail to purchase and install, and they come in different designs and decorative styles.

Furthermore, due to its cost, some people have even made their own chlorinator dispensers using plastic jars and hand-decorated them to a style of their own choosing.

Floating Pool Chlorinator and Thermometer Combo

Cons of Using Floating Chlorinators

Although the floating chlorinator has its benefits, they also have their shortcomings that are explored below;

Exposure to Elements

Most, if not all, floating dispensers are inevitably made of plastics. Since it floats around the pool and floats on the surface, the dispensers have constant exposure to the sunlight, which weathers its coating. Even if the dispenser is made of UV-resistant plastic, it eventually fades.

In the case of a thin plastic casing, the dispenser inevitably cracks or chips after a few months within a year. Thereby, having to be replaced or repainted. In the case of a painted chlorinator, the paint chippings may become a problem in the same few months.

Constant Manual Check-Up

The chlorinators require constant checking whether the chlorine tablets are totally dissolved and if they require the addition of more tablets. During this checking, the dispensers may have gaseous pressure built up, which comes out when they are opened. Therefore, as a warning ensure you cover your mouth or look away when opening the dispenser to add more tablets.

Unsafe for Children

The floating dispensers have decorative styles and come in different designs. Therefore, this appeal may lead to children unknowingly using them as play toys, and come in direct contact with the acidic powder, making it unsafe for kids to be around them.

Handling of Chemicals

Floating dispensers require that pool owners buy and store large amounts of chlorine pucks, which inevitably have to be handled. In addition to that, they require adding chlorine directly by hand, which sucks because you have to rinse your hands thoroughly with distilled water.

Automatic Chlorinators

An inline chlorinator hooked to a pool pluming system.

An automatic chlorinator, which is also known as Automatic Chlorine Feeder, is a chlorinator that delivers precise amounts of chlorine to the swimming pool water.

The automatic chlorinators work automatically with the pool’s pump and filter systems to maintain a constant level of chlorine for proper sanitation and safety. The chlorinators use small slow dissolve tablets that provide a handy dial control valve, which enables you to control the rate of feed.

Additionally, there are two types of automatic chlorinators, which are in-line chlorinators and off-line chlorinators. on the one hand, in-line chlorinators are automatic chlorinators that are installed permanently into the water return line of the swimming pool. On the other hand, the off-line are just retrofitted to a pool on a separate line that is tapped off the main supply line of the pool, which implies that they can easily be uninstalled.

Hayward In-Line Inground Pool Chemical Feeder

Nonetheless, the only maintenance of the automatic chlorinators is the lubrication of the O-rings with a silicone lubricant, and the replacement of the chlorinator cap. Every time you recharge the chlorinator take time to inspect the pipelines for leaks or kinks or wear.

Turn the automatic dispenser, and wait a minute for the water and the fumes to drain away from the chlorinator feeder cap before you add the chlorine pucks into the feeder, according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. Incorporate the check for leaks around the pool pump around the same time to ensure the equipment is running efficiently all-year round.

Pros of Using Automatic Chlorinators

Automatic chlorinators have several advantages, as discussed below;

Ease of Use

Once the automatic chlorinators are fitted into the swimming pool, they automatically feed the chlorine into the water so you can sit back and relax, or swim. The only work to be put in the addition of the pucks into the chlorinator.

Aesthetic Value

One of the advantages of retrofitting or permanently installing an automatic chlorinator in the swimming pool is that it is aesthetically pleasing to the pool owner due to the lack of additional hardware on the pool, unlike the floating chlorinator.

Safe for Children

Automatic chlorinators are fitted onto the pipes outside of the swimming pool. Therefore, they ensure the swimming pool area is a safe and secure place for children to swim, unlike the floating chlorinators.

Saves Time

The automatic chlorinators have dials that can be used to control and regulate the rate the chlorine feeds into the pool. Therefore, there is no time wasted due to frequent checks to see whether the chlorine pucks are totally dissolved.

Low Maintenance

Automatic chlorinators have little maintenance because once they are installed in the swimming pool, the water flows through the chlorinator and directly into the pool without going through the filter system and the pump.

This design ensures that there are no problems with water flow because of the filtered water dispensing through the filter systems and it prolongs the life of the filter system and the pump because it reduces chlorine corrosion due to the chlorinated water.

Nevertheless, unlike the floating chlorinators, due to the little maintenance required, you can even go on a vacation without worrying whether you have added enough chlorine into the swimming pool or returning to a green algae pond.

Cons of Using Automatic Chlorinators


The automatic chlorinators are rather expensive during purchase and installation. An automatic chlorinator costs between $80 and $90 in retail outlets in addition to the cost of hiring an engineer to install the chlorinator in place because failure to hire a professional may lead to poor installation, which may cause more harm than good to your swimming pool.

Unpleasant Experience

During refilling of the chlorine in the chlorinator, there is a pile-up of pressure and gas inside. Therefore, when opening the lid of the chlorinator there will be a bust-up of chlorine gas, which will hit your face. As a warning, be careful of this bust up because it can present a respiratory injury hazard to you.

Additionally, you are still required to add chlorine by hand, which is still unpleasant.

Pipe Chocking

This problem occurs in in-line chlorinators when there is water flow not fully inside the pipeline. When the water flows half the pipe, the chlorinators fail to draw in enough water to fully dissolve the pucks inside the chlorinators, which then results in an insufficient chlorine feed.

Additionally, due to this design flaw, there can be an air pocket formation in the chlorinator, which blocks the water from reaching the chlorine pucks that are located at the above the water line, leading to the same inadequate chlorine release into the swimming pool.


To learn about the best chlorine to use in your floating dispenser or automatic chlorinator check out my article “The Best Chlorine Tablets“. Not all chlorine is equal, I recommend slow dissolving, long lasting and high performing chlorine tablets in this article.

In conclusion, between the two chlorinators, the floating chlorinators have two benefits and four demerits whereas the automatic chlorinators have five benefits to three demerits.

The pros of the automatic chlorinators outweigh the pros of the floating chlorinators, which implies that the best pick for your swimming pool is obvious.

The floating chlorinators are super cheap whereas the automatic chlorinators are expensive but what is the best price to pay when it comes to maintaining your pool that allows kids to enjoy themselves!

At the end of the day, cheap is expensive and the best way to maintain your pool is to use one that saves you time, has low maintenance and is the best pool for kids to enjoy themselves.

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