Comparing Bromine and Chlorine For Pool Sanitization

What’s Best For Sanitizing Your Pool?

swimming poolChlorine and bromine are both swimming pool sanitizers. It is important to understand the differences and similarities to each, as there are clear advantages and disadvantages. However, if used correctly, both swimming pool chemicals are capable of keeping your pool clean and the water safe.  In this article we are going to compare the two against a number of important criteria.

Effective disinfectant: Pool water and chlorine react with one another, forming hypochlorous acid, which is the primary disinfecting agent. If bromine is used, the acid is known as hypobromous acid. Both bromine and chlorine react with ammonia and nitrates in pool water to form combined compounds. In the case of chlorine, chloramines are formed, while bromine results in bromamines. Chloramines are not as effective at sanitization. On the other hand, bromamines are nearly as effective as hypobromous acid.

Shock treatment: No matter which treatment you use, the pool will require regular shocking or oxidation treatments. Keep in mind that bromine needs to be released through an oxidation process before it can work on the pool water.

pH dependence: Bromine is less dependent on pH levels and operates within the range of seven to eight pH. Chlorine tolerates a narrower band of pH and is a fifth as effective if pH levels reach eight.

Eye and nose irritation: Chloramines (the chlorine compounds explained above) can cause eye and nose irritations. At higher concentrations, they also start to smell unpleasant. Bromamines don’t cause as much irritation and don’t have an unpleasant odor.

Ease of use and cost: Chlorine is usually cheaper, though not if it’s used for messier pools, or for pools that have a high bather load. Bromine would be the more effective sanitizer in these situations, and less will need to be used. Chlorine requires frequent water testing (e.g. for chloramines and pH levels), but the overall system is easier to set up.

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