Pool Clarifier vs Flocculant: Which is Better for Your Pool?

Robert Wimberly

pool clarifier vs flocculant

For pools to operate well, proper maintenance is required, which calls for the use of the appropriate tools. Although there are several agents with multiple uses, pool owners are most familiar with pool flocculants and clarifiers.

This article compares pool clarifier vs flocculant by exploring their characteristics, uses, and advantages to assist you in making well-informed choices regarding the ideal agent for your pool upkeep requirements.

Pool Clarifier Pool Flocculant
Mechanism Forms larger clusters suspended in water. Creates heavier clusters that sink to the bottom
Clump size Small Larger
Clarity improvement Gradually improves water clarity Immediately improves clarity
When to put    Regularly Occasionally
Treatment course 2-3 days 1-2 days
Compatibility Only for slightly cloudy pools For all kinds of pools

What Are Pool Clarifiers and Flocculants?


Pool owners place a high importance on keeping their pools clean. Water that is cloudy or discolored not only looks unpleasant but may also be an indication of sanitary and chemistry problems.

When faced with such issues, two common solutions that most people turn to are pool water clarifiers and flocculants. These chemicals play distinct roles to clear a cloudy pool by binding together small particles.

Differences & Comparison

1. Function


Both pool clarifier and flocculant are chemicals that gather the tiny particles flocking a pool. However, the clumps formed by a pool clarifier chemical are relatively light and can stay afloat in the pool, allowing the skimmer and main drain to gather them up.

In contrast, flocculant is much more potent than clarifier. As such, the clumps from this pool coagulant are large and heavy. These hefty chunks will sink to the bottom of the pool and can be removed via vacuuming or backwashing.

2. Mechanism


So, how does pool clarifier work? When you introduce the clarifier into the pool, it adds ions to the water. These tiny magnet-like particles draw and collect all the dirt and pollutants in the pool, forming clumps large enough to be caught by the pool’s filter.

Pool flocculants destabilize the water’s charged particles, binding the floating debris in the pool. As flocculants usually have a higher charge density, they can even bind oil particles.

3. Application


After adding the pool clarifier, you need to keep the pool’s filtration system running for at least a day to ensure the filter captures the particles.

As for flocculant, you’ll need to run the pump instead. This will evenly distribute the floc throughout the pool. The pump is then turned off to allow the clumps to settle. These buildups cannot be removed via the filter, as they’ll likely clog the component unless you’re using a sand filter.

4. Time required


The main advantage of a flocculant is that it can work much faster than clarifiers, being able to clear water in just 1–2 days. In practice, you’ll only have to wait 8 to 16 hours to be able to vacuum the clumps settled at the bottom of the pool.

In contrast, clarifiers for pools usually take up to 2–3 days before you can see a noticeable improvement.

5. Compatibility


Flocculants have better coagulant potentials than clarifiers, so they can work in particularly dirty or murky pools. In contrast, clarifiers are only suitable for slightly cloudy pools only.

6. Price


Flocculants and clarifiers are both affordable products, although the latter can be slightly more expensive than the former. For example, a 32-oz clarifier from Clorox would cost $22.68, whereas a 32-oz bottle of flocculant from the same brand would set you back $12.38.

Plus, as pool clarifiers require constant reapplication, they may also be more costly in the long run.

Which Solution is Better for Your Pool?

Wondering which of the two is the best option for you? Run through the following pros and cons summary on flocculant vs clarifier to help you with your choices:

1. Pool clarifier

  • Gradually improves water clarity over time.
  • Helps filter out small and colloidal particles.
  • Results in improved water quality without immediate drastic changes.
  • Easier for laymen, as the clumps can be removed via filters
  • Takes a few days to show noticeable results.
  • May require ongoing application for consistent clarity.
  • May not be as effective for murky pools.

In short, clarifiers are best when your pool is relatively clean to begin with. And as they don’t require precise dosage and don’t pose the risk of clogging the filters, they’re obviously suitable for owners not familiar with pool maintenance.

2. Pool flocculant

  • Immediately improves water clarity within hours.
  • Highly effective in settling larger particles.
  • Requires occasional application due to its potency.
  • Can clear up extremely cloudy pools.
  • Requires more precise dosage and application process.
  • Must be removed by vacuuming or backwashing, which can be difficult for most people.

Overall, flocculants are best in situations where the water must be treated quickly and efficiently, especially if it’s too cloudy. Obviously, since the application and clump removal processes are more complicated, some expertise in the matter is a must.


The choice between a clarifier and a flocculant depends on your specific pool maintenance needs, the level of cloudiness, and your desired timeline for achieving water clarity.

Now that you know the difference between pool clarifier vs flocculant, you can already make a more informed decision on what to get to make your pool pristine and sanitary again!

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