Chlorine versus Bromine

chlorine or bromine dispenser floats in water

Bromine and Chlorine are both suitable options for your pool or spa sanitation, but which should you choose? What are the differences or benefits of one versus the other? Really, what’s the difference between chlorine and bromine?


Chlorine is the sanitizing agent most of us know and love for our pool and spa sanitization needs. It works to sanitize pathogens in your pool, and it does so fairly quickly. It comes in a wide variety of different forms to add to your pool including tablets, sticks, and other options. You have to add chlorine fairly often and monitor it to balance the overall chemical presence in your pool, but these levels rise pretty easily when you add more chlorine. Sunlight can also affect chlorine levels which you can read more about here

Chlorine can cause skin irritation and red eyes, and there is often a distinctive odor associated with chlorine use. Chloramines are a waste product of the chemical reaction that happens when organic materials are neutralized by chlorine, and they cause the odor that people associate with chlorine. These chloramines also reduce the effectiveness of chlorine. The process of shocking your pool should remedy that issue by making room for more “free chlorine” to do its job. 


Bromine is another sanitizing agent that works in a similar way to chlorine with a few interesting differences. While chlorine oxidizes, bromine ionizes. Basically they’re both altering the chemical structure of the pathogens they’re sanitizing, so your pool is clean. Bromine is a less common option for most pool users, so there are fewer options for actually getting it into your pool. The options that do exist are similar to the chlorine options like tablets and granules. Chlorine sanitizes more quickly, but Bromine has a tendency to last longer. 

One notable distinction is that sunlight and uv rays destroy Bromine more quickly. This makes it less suitable for outdoor pools than chlorine. And bromine levels can be harder to raise if they dip too low, unlike chlorine. Another important distinction is that chlorine is much more affordable than bromine. 

When it comes to skin sensitivities, a lot of people react better with Bromine. Bromine seems to be less harsh on skin, eyes, and hair. This makes it a good option for those who have more sensitive reactions to harsh chemicals, but not for those who have a true allergy to chlorine because bromine is too closely related. Bromine also seems to have less of an odor than chlorine, which many people find preferable. 

Bromine tends to continue to work for a long period of time. It continues to sanitize; in contrast, you have to add more chlorine for it to remain effective. Most often, people use bromine in spas because it is more stable and more effective at higher temperatures than chlorine is. 

Choose whichever chemical you decide is best for your specific needs. We’ve got you covered at A-Quality Pools for all your pool supplies in North Richland Hills.

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