How to Use a Floating Chlorine Dispenser in a Pool: Complete Guide

If you lead a busy lifestyle and struggle to keep up with basic pool maintenance, then you may find that using a floating chlorinator will at least take the effort out of ensuring that your pool receives a sufficient amount of chlorine.

Floating chlorine dispensers are a great addition to both aboveground and inground pools allowing you to place slow dissolving chlorine tablets in them which then gradually release chlorine to ensure the water stays safely sanitized.

But how do you use a chlorine floater properly? Keep reading to find out!

How to Use Floating Chlorine Dispenser
Affiliate disclosure

Floating pool dispensers: A step-by-step guide

Without further ado, we’re going to get straight into it and let you in on our mini guide that will tell you all you need to know about using a floating chlorine dispenser for pool.

Let’s dive right in!

Step #1: Test the pH level

First thing’s first, you need to make sure the water chemistry is up to scratch. The pH level should be between 7.2 and 7.6 which is perfect for swimming in.

Step #2: Open the dispenser

Remove the lid of the vessel by twisting and you will immediately find a small area where the chlorine tablet can be inserted. Some chlorine floaters come with a detachable mesh cup which is handy for capturing big chunks of the tablet. This ensures that chlorine is released equally.

Step #3: Insert the tablets

Floating chlorinators usually take three-inch chlorine tablets (hot tub tabs are much smaller). Once you have placed this inside the dispenser, you must replace the lid and twist it until you hear a small ‘click’.

How many chlorine tablets in the floater? Generally you wouldn’t put more than 2-3 chlorine tablets in at a time.

Step #4: Open the base slightly

floating chlorine dispenser

To release chlorine into the water, the neck, or base, of the dispenser must be opened slightly. The more you twist, the wider the opening will be and the quicker the tablets will dissolve.

We recommend opening these slats about half way so that the chemicals are slowly and evenly dispersed.

Step #5: Immerse into the pool water

You now need to fully immerse the dispenser under the water for a few seconds to dispel all of the air from the container. Then it will float with only the top half above the surface.

Step #6: Secure with a leash (if needed)

Most floating chlorine dispensers come with an optionable lead or leash. This is convenient for making sure the vessel stays in one particular area of the pool which allows the chlorine to evenly disperse. I preferred to let mine free flat to more evenly distribute the chlorine.

Step #7: Monitor the water chemistry

Test the chlorine level every day for at least a week and adjust the base of the dispenser accordingly. It is also a good idea to attach it to the other side of the pool after several days, or you can simply let it float freely. You will also need to add new chlorine tablets after a week or so.

Types of floating dispensers

Floating chlorine puck dispenser

For some reason (to paraphrase Henry Ford) they come in every color you want, as long as it is blue. That is apart from some of the novelty versions which may have a duck, a dolphin or even an alligator on top.

I have the one above which has a high capacity and I tend to use it when I don’t have the solar pool cover on (yes, it’s blue) – Large Capacity Floating Chlorine Dispenser

There are numerous novelty types of floating chlorine dispenser which range from crocodiles to ducks or dinosaurs. My particular favorite is a turtle from WWD Pool.

WWD POOL Premium Animal Floating Pool Chlorine Dispenser for Chemical Tablets Fits 3" Tabs Bromine Holder (Turtle)

Poolmaster makes a version with a Mallard duck on top that is quite realistic too. Check out their full range of novelty chlorine tablet dispensers that are available here on Amazon Poolmaster Chlori-Critter Chlorine Dispenser for Swimming Pools and Spas.

How many chlorine tablets in floater?

I normally put 2 or 3 tablets in a chlorine floater, when I use one. I monitor them and when they have all dissolved I retest the water to see if I should add any more.

If you are going away for a few days, or a bit longer, then you can fill it so that the chlorine levels will be maintained while you are not at home.

Pool Maintenance Course

When I first bought my house with a swimming pool, I knew nothing about cleaning and maintaining it. I was recommended Swim University’s Pool Care Handbook and video course so I bought it and have never regretted it.

It was probably the best money I spent that year as I have saved thousands by doing it myself.

EXCLUSIVE OFFER to visitors of this site
Use the discount code EASY10 at checkout to save 10% on this Swim University course.

Pool care handbook

Pros and cons of floating chlorine dispensers

So, we guess you’re starting to like the idea of a floating chlorine feeder (or else we would have lost you by now!). Let’s get into the nitty-gritty and take a peek at the advantages and disadvantages of using one.

Pros of floating chlorine dispensers

Here are what we think are the most notable aspects of using a chlorine dispenser.

Easy to use

There’s no denying that these small chlorine floaters are incredibly easy to use for anyone. All you need to do is add chlorine tablets, drop it in the pool water and you’re good to go. What else could be easier?

Cheap

Getting hold of one is fairly easy and they are much cheaper than automatic chlorinators. You can purchase a chlorine dispenser from around $10 from most retail outlets and online platforms such as Amazon and Ebay. Some pool owners even like to go the extra mile by making their own dispensers out of plastic bottles!

Low maintenance

One of the main benefits of using a chlorine dispenser is that they are extremely low maintenance. Once you have added a chlorine tablet, you can get on with the rest of your day while the chlorinator gets to work. If the dispenser chips or becomes unusable for whatever reason, it doesn’t cost much to acquire another one.

Pros and cons of floating chlorine dispensers

Cons of floating chlorine dispensers

Unfortunately, every product has a downside. So what could be bad about this one?

Difficult to use with solar pool covers

I used floating dispensers too before I bought a solar pool cover but with the pool cover in place they get stuck along the side by the cover as they cannot freely float around.

You can purposely push the chlorine floater under pool cover and it will still work, although the chlorine will be dispensed in one place.

Should be removed when swimming

It is recommended that floating dispensers must be removed from the swimming pool before anyone enters the water. The harsh movement of the water when the pool is in use disrupts the way the chlorine is released from the dispenser. This can delay the water from being sanitized properly leading to an imbalance of pH levels.

I must confess that I never removed mine.

Unsafe for small children

Floating feeders can be quite appealing to babies and small children as they can be purchased in an array of colors and patterns. This can be a risk to young children as the chemicals inside are extremely toxic if ingested.

Cclear Pool Chlorine Floater for 3 inch Chlorine Tablets, 40% Thicker Walls, 7" Large Capacity, Chlorine Dispenser for In-ground and Above-Ground Swimming Pools, 2 Year Warranty

Do you leave chlorine floater in pool overnight?

You can leave the floating chlorine dispenser in the pool overnight, even with your pool pump off, as it will continue to float around gradually dispensing chlorine.

If there is any breeze during the night this will move it around the pool distributing the chlorine more evenly.

Alternative ways to add chlorine to your pool

There are other ways to add chlorine to your pool without using a dispenser which include the following:

Chlorine granules

Floating chlorine dispensers are ideal if you don’t have time to do it manually. However, some find that floating feeders take longer to sanitize the water and aren’t as reliable as doing it yourself. Some people even like to add chlorine granules to dispensers to speed up the process!

The correct way to use granular chlorine is to dilute in at least five gallons of pool water before pouring it in. If added directly, it has the potential to damage and stain the pool floor and walls.

Pool skimmer

Chlorine tablets, also known as bromine tablets, can be added directly into the skimmer basket. When the pool pump runs, the water floats in through the filter and back into the water, carrying enough chemicals to sanitize the pool. Read my post Can you place chlorine tablets in a pool skimmer? for more information.

Automatic chlorinator

Automatic chlorinators, or feeders, work with the pool pump and filter to deliver exact amounts of chlorine to the water. They are typically more expensive than floating chlorinators, however, they also require less maintenance and can be used when the pool is in use (unlike floating chlorinators).

FAQ Section

If you still haven’t found the answer to what you’re looking for, take a look at our trusty FAQ section to see if you can find it.

Can you swim with chlorine floater?

Swimming with a chlorine dispenser in the pool will neither do you or the floating chlorine dispenser any harm.

How long does it take for chlorine tablet to dissolve?

Chlorine tablets, or pucks, can take around seven days to fully dissolve in a swimming pool. However, in a hot tub, it can take slightly less time (around 3-7 days). This is highly dependent on the water temperature, water flow and usage.

How many chlorine tablets does a swimming pool need?

This depends on the volume of your pool. A good rule of thumb is to add one chlorine tablet for every 5000 gallons of pool water. Therefore, the easiest way to do this is to round up to the nearest 5000 gallons.

For example, if the pool volume is 25,000 gallons, you would add five chlorine tabs. If your pool holds 8,000 gallons, you would use two tabs. Easy, right?

Can I add chlorine tablets directly to the pool?

Chlorine tabs are designed to dissolve slowly in water, but manually dropping one into the pool can wreak havoc on the liner and cause staining.

Leaving a tablet on the pool floor means the chlorine is dispersed more slowly and unevenly than it would if in a dispenser or a pool skimmer. Therefore, adding them directly into the pool is a waste of chlorine and you will most likely need to add more chlorine products. 

Are floating dispensers good for a hot tub?

Yes. If opting for a floating feeder in a hot tub, you will need to use a different kind of chlorine puck (tablet). A 1″ chlorine tablet is the perfect size, the bigger tablets are for use in swimming pools (but you can break them into smaller pieces).

I use a smaller floating dispenser when adding chlorine tablets (actually small pieces rather than whole tablets) to my hot tub as there is no basket in the skimmer system to use as an alternative.

Smaller hot tubs require between 1 and 3 1″ chlorine tablets, whereas larger tubs will need between 3 and 5. However, you will more than likely need to make small adjustments to these amounts when testing the chlorine levels.