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A Guide to Non-Stabilized vs. Stabilized Chlorine

Did you know there is more than one type of chlorine for your pool? There are actually two ways to add sanitizer to your water: stabilized chlorine or non-stabilized chlorine. It’s always smart to know how to use different chemical products to protect your water quality. This post will teach you how to create a version of stabilized chlorine by combining non-stabilized chlorine with a stabilizer. You can also watch our Splashy Segment Stabilized Chlorine vs. Non-Stabilized Chlorine.


Non-stabilized Chlorine vs. Stabilized Chlorine

Non-stabilized Chlorine

Stabilized Chlorine

Contains only chlorine Contains chlorine + cyanuric acid
Tablet form Tablet form
Add to skimmer or floater Add to chlorinator/chemical feeder, skimmer, or floater
Control how much stabilizer is added Provides a two-in-one formula


Stabilized chlorine

Most pool owners are familiar with stabilized chlorine. It’s a tablet product that you simply add to your chlorinator or chemical feeder. The stabilized part is thanks to cyanuric acid.

Cyanuric acid acts like a sunscreen for chlorine. By protecting chlorine molecules from burning off in the sun, cyanuric acid stabilizes chlorine so it can work longer in your pool. This means you have more free chlorine available to tackle any germs and algae (read our post on free vs total chlorine).

The downside to stabilized chlorine is that every tab adds more stabilizer to your water. Yes, too much cyanuric acid isn’t a good thing! Too high and it can create chemical instability like a pH bounce, when your alkalinity gets too low and your pH is erratic. Excess stabilizer is really common for our customers by the middle or end of summer.

Non-stabilized chlorine

Differing from stabilized chlorine, non-stabilized chlorine does not contain cyanuric acid, only chlorine. But because all pools need some stabilizer, you can always use non-stabilized chlorine with an additional stabilizer. Why would you have two products rather than one? Control and flexibility!

It’s like when you are baking. It’s great to have a boxed cake mix with everything you need. And then sometimes you want to make a cake from scratch, measuring all the separate ingredients yourself. Ultimately, it’s good that you know how to use both!

It’s the same reason why we encourage pool owners to use non-stabilized chlorine with a stabilizer. Having multiple ways to create safe, clean water is a plus for everyone. In fact, we have many customers who start the season using stabilized chlorine but then switch to non-stabilized chlorine + sanitizer so they can more easily control cyanuric acid levels.

Want to start using non-stabilized chlorine but unsure how much stabilizer your water has currently? Just bring in a water sample and we’ll test it for free! We can pinpoint exactly how much stabilizer you have left and how much you might need to add.

Need to restock on your pool chlorine supplies? Swing by the store or call to make your order: 319-200-7665.