Pool Shock Vs. Chlorine: Are They Any Different?

Cleaning your pool from all the dirt and debris is easy. All you need is the right pool cleaning agent and wallah. Pool shock and chlorine are the two best pool cleaners out there. 

However, between the pool shock vs. chlorine, which one offers better potency against pool germs? Well, for regular use, chlorine is the best option. 

Then again, if the pool is filled with nasty green/black algae, pool shock is the way to go. It’s a one-time use until you get to see crystal clear water. You also need to add chlorine to the shocking process, sometimes. 

Today, we will see a complete comparison between the pool shock and pool chlorine. We have a lot to cover. Let’s dig in.

Pool Shock Vs Chlorine

Pool Shock Vs. Chlorine: Comparison chart

FeaturesPool ShockChlorine
Active ingredient Trichlor, cal-hypo, or dichlorSodium Hypochlorite
Pool sanitizing YesYes
Organic matter oxidizing power MoreLess
Daily usageNoYes
Consumed byOnly organic debrisSunlight and organic debris
Algae cleanupHighly recommendedNot a good option
ApplicationA process of shocking and maintainingA one-time addition
Addition of other chemicalsPool shock regularly needs addition chlorine Doesn’t need any other chemicals if the water is clean
When to use If the water turns too greenAnytime you want it
Toxicity Too much shock buildup can be a problemToo much can be a problem. But it usually disintegrates under the sun

Pool Shock: Why choose it?

When it comes to cleaning pools inside out, pool shock hardly has any competitors. Turns out, pool shock oxidizes organic debris and dirt, cleaning the pool in the process. You can literally clean a pool filled with algae in mere hours.


  • Perfect pool cleaning 
  • Sanitizes the pool from harmful bacteria
  • Easy to use and store
  • Doesn’t need regular application
  • Creates a stable PH level 


  • Too much concentration can be a problem

Here are some features of pool shock: 

Active ingredient

Pool shocks have either trichlor, cal-hypo, or dichlor as their active ingredient. All of them will increase the free chlorine level to a point that is deadly for algae, chloramines, and bacteria. The active ingredients contain a certain amount of regular NaOCl and some form of cyanuric acid. 

Usage of pool shock 

Generally speaking, pool shock isn’t for regular or daily use. Too much concentration of pool shock in pools can potentially be harmful to the skin. Rule of the thumb, use pool shock only if the pool is filled with organic matter like algae, bacteria, etc. 

Sanitizing power

Having chlorine and other acidic compounds as its core, pool shock can sanitize the pool effortlessly. You can expect to get crystal clear and clean pool water within 4-5 hours of pool shock application. Whether it be crypto, E. coli, or giardia, there is nothing pool shock can’t handle. 

Boosts up chlorine power

Pool shocks increase the effectiveness of chlorine by breaking down chlorine bonds in the pool. As a result, your pool will get more active chlorine compounds, which will kill almost anything. 

Pool Chlorine: Why choose it?

If you want something for regular use, pool chlorine hardly has any other alternative. Though pool chlorine is marketed as pool shock, it’s a totally different thing. Pool chlorine comes in liquid, powder, or solid tablets, and all of them have NaOCl as their active ingredient.


  • Zero harmful germs build-up 
  • Can be used in chlorinators 
  • Low toxicity for pool users
  • Prevents algae from growing 
  • Cheap and yet effective


  • Can’t get rid of algae completely filled 

Here are some features of pool chlorine worth mentioning:

Breaks germ buildup

Germs like crypto, E. coli, or giardia can cluster together in public pools and cause some serious health problems. However, with the application of pool chlorine, you don’t have to worry about any harmful germs from clustering. The dissolved chlorine will slowly kill off any germs that may exist in the pool.

For regular usage

Chlorinating your pool is a regular process. You can use a chlorinator to give the chlorine boost your pool needs. Then again, adding a few ounces of chlorine directly to the pool won’t be half bad. All you need is to calculate the PH value and try to keep it at 7.5 maximum. 

Low in toxicity 

Pool chlorine isn’t too toxic. If you didn’t add a heck lot of it that is. Once you leave the chlorine-rich pool for a few hours, the chlorine concentration will slowly fade away. There have hardly been any reports regarding accidents due to too much chlorine in pools. 

Prevents algae from covering the pool

Regular application of chlorine in pools will prevent any clump of algae from forming. The active hypochlorous acid molecule inside chlorine turns into hypochlorite ions and kills any microalgae particles. Thus, you will be left with zero algae spores from the very beginning.

Pool Shock Vs. Chlorine: Everything you need to know

Both pool shock and chlorine have NaOCl in their core. But is there a difference between pool shock and chlorine? 

Well, Pool shocks can be any substance that increases the active chlorine count in pools. Usually, trichlor, cal-hypo, or dichlor is used in pool shocks. Chlorine for pools have only NaOCl inside it. 

You can’t use chlorine shock daily. Too much pool shock can cause oxidation of the skin and give you rashes. Using pool shock other than to get rid of huge clusters of algae or germs isn’t a good idea. 

Chlorine on the other hand is a good option for regular usage. You can just put a few tables of pool chlorine and leave it inside a chlorinator. Additionally, using chlorine after measuring won’t be a bad idea as well. 

So, pool shock is a lot more potent than regular chlorine. It is high in toxicity and will do harm to the swimmers if the concentration isn’t lowered. When your pool is filled with pool algae, using shock instead will be a better option. 

Sometimes you need to use chlorine with pool shock to boost up the cleaning speed. For us, both the components have their own uses.

When can I add chlorine after shock?

You can add chlorine almost instantly after applying shock. This will ensure faster cleaning for heavily infected pools. However, you need to check the PH of the pool first. If the PH of the pool goes belugas, wait about a day to add the chlorine. 


How much liquid chlorine to add to the pool?

The amount you will need depends on the size of the pool. You need a maximum of 1 gallon of chlorine with 10000 gallons of chlorine. Adding too much chlorine won’t be a good idea as it will increase the PH of the pool water. Big pools may need more chlorine depending on the amount of water it has. So, always calculate the water and PH before adding the liquid chlorine. 

Will pool shock raise chlorine levels?

Pool shock will raise the chlorine levels. The reason is, pool shocks have chlorine compounds, which also help break down chloramines. You will have more free chlorine irons for killing off harmful germs and bacteria. Then again, a pool filled with algae will need pool shock to get completely healed. In this case, raising the chlorine level with regular chlorine won’t do you much good. 

Can I use pool shock and chlorine tablets?

You can use pool shock and chlorine tablets at the same time. As a result, the cleaning time will decrease and you don’t have to wait too long. Then again, you don’t need to add too much chlorine with the pool shock. Check for the rising PH and add about a teacup of chlorine according to your needs. 

End note

So, found your desired pool shock yet? For us, there is no definite winner. If you need to clean a heavily infected pool, go for pool shock. On the other hand, chlorine is for daily uses. 

We can’t use highly concentrated pool shock in chlorinators, due to its toxicity. 

To conclude, use chlorine if you don’t want algae or germs to build up in the pool. And use pool shock, if the algae infestation is out of hand. 

This is all for today. Let’s hit the sack. Give us a hit for every question you have.

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