What Type of Shock Should I Use for My Above Ground Pool?


Contaminants in an above-ground swimming pool can build up from overuse, lower the concentration of disinfecting chlorine, and turn the water dull and unsanitary. To deal with this problem, above-ground pool owners should periodically shock their pool, adding chemicals to kill algae and bacteria and bring the chlorine back to recommended levels. There are different brands and recipes of pool shock, with the best choice depending on your location and your preferences.

Powdered Shock

  • Pool Shock comes in two basic forms: traditional liquid and powder. The latter form must be mixed with water before it is added to the pool, usually by filling a five-gallon bucket ¾-full with water, then adding 1 pound of pool shock chemical. Powdered shock is recommended for swimming pools with vinyl liners, as it won't stain the surface if mixed properly before use.

Liquid Shock

  • Liquid shock is added directly to the pool water according to the pool capacity and the chlorine reading on your test equipment. The container will carry instructions on the proper amount to be added to your pool water.


  • This is a granular santizier or shock compound that dissolves quickly in water, and contains calcium in a concentration designed to reduce the incidence of scale along the walls of your pool. The product contains 56 percent chlorine and costs about $35 for a four-pound bag.

Oxy Shock

  • Also known as Oxy Shock, this odorless product is designed to directly attack and break down the organic materials that can turn pool water dull and produce an unpleasant smell. The manufacturer claims that Oxy-Spa has the highest concentration of active oxygen (4.3 percent), in contrast to other products that have lower concentrations and are consequently less effective. It is also highly concentrated, with only 2 ounces necessary for every 500 gallons of pool water. The cost is $10 for a 2-pound container.

Shock Plus

  • This is one of the more convenient pool shocks on the market, requiring no dissolving prior to use and allowing the pool back into service in a short time. The product does not affect the pH level, and is designed for regular, weekly use as a product to keep the water clear and the bacteria and algae levels under control. Always make sure to test the water's chlorine level before allowing swimmers back into the pool. One pound of Shock Plus runs around $8 to $10.

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  • Photo Credit colorful pool toy floating in a summer pool image by Jorge Moro from Fotolia.com
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