Flocculant vs Clarifier

Pool Flocculant vs. Clarifier - Which Should I Use?

If you are trying to rid your pool of cloudy, murky, or otherwise dirty water that will not come clean, you have likely stumbled across products known as clarifiers and flocculants.

Although these products have many similarities, there are some important differences you should consider when choosing between pool floc vs clarifiers.

Read on to learn more about the similarities between flocculants and clarifiers, the main differences between these products, and our tips for deciding which one to use in your situation.

Pool Clarifier vs. Flocculant: Similarities

Flocculants and clarifiers are both clarifying agents, meaning that they work to remove small particles of debris from your water.

These products are intended as a last resort in the pool cleaning process, because there are many causes of impure water quality that flocculants and clarifiers cannot address, such as pre-existing chemical imbalances, or living algae and bacteria.

Although these products work in slightly different ways, the main mechanism through which they clean is the same. Flocculants and clarifiers both cause tiny, previously uncapturable debris particles to stick together into clumps.

After this coagulation occurs, the debris can then be removed from your pool through different methods, depending on whether you’ve used floc or clarifier.

Differences Between Pool Clarifier vs. Flocculant

When comparing pool floc vs clarifier, there are two main differences between these products. One, they are primarily targeted towards different levels of water pollution. Two, the final coagulated debris is removed from your pool via different methods.

Degree of Water Cloudiness

Let’s start with the different levels of water pollution. Clarifiers are usually intended for mild to moderate issues with water clarity, such as cloudiness caused by small-particles of debris that accumulate through regular pool use.

Flocculant, on the other hand, is capable of handling problems ranging from moderate to severe, including muddy water that is introduced to your pool during severe storms.

Flocculants can also occasionally be used for more mild issues. Someone may choose to use a flocculant in this case if they are seeking faster results, or if they don’t want a lot of material ending up in the filter (which can happen when using a clarifier).

Waste Removal Method

Moving on, let’s discuss how the waste is removed from your pool. When you are using a clarifier, the debris is coagulated into small clumps that remain floating in the water column.

To clean your pool, you then run your filter system continuously until your pool becomes clear. This sometimes requires that you take breaks to stop and clean your filter cartridge so that more debris can be removed, but this can vary depending on your filter type.

When you are using a pool floc, debris forms much larger clumps than when you are using a clarifier.

These clumps are significantly more heavy, and sink to the bottom of your pool rather than remaining suspended in the water. Afterwards, they must be removed from your pool via vacuuming to waste.

You cannot vacuum a flocculant product through your filter without damaging the filter. If there is no filter-bypass setting on your pump and you cannot remove the filter cartridge, you should use a clarifier instead.

After vacuuming the flocculated debris to waste, you will need to top up the water level of your pool and rebalance your pool’s chemistry.

Flocculant vs. Clarifier: Which Is Best For You?

Pool clarifiers are the least labour-intensive option for ridding your pool water of tiny particles of debris.

Once added to your pool’s water, these products can restore your water clarity as your filter runs over the course of a few days. Some less cloudy pools may see noticeable changes in as little as 24 hours after introducing a clarifier.

If you have a pool that is more murky or muddy than cloudy, you should use a flocculant. Although these products must be vacuumed out of your pool, clarifiers will not be strong enough to cure severe conditions without multiple attempts at treatment.

Flocculants also have a quicker working time overall, with most products causing your debris to ‘drop out’ after approximately a 12 hour waiting period.

Because of their quicker action time and increased strength, flocculants are preferred by many commercial pool owners even for less serious water clarifying needs.

If you have decided to use a flocculant for your pool, our top pick is Algon Pool Floc. One litre of this product can treat a pool of 50,000 litres in volume, and it also boasts an especially fast action time.

Unlike other products that can take 12 hours or more to coagulate debris, Algon Pool Floc only requires a waiting period of 5-6 hours before it can be removed via vacuum.

If you are looking for a clarifier instead, we recommend the Miraclear Liquid Pool Clarifier. This clarifier does not contain aluminium compounds, and also doubles as a sand filter conditioner.

Regular use of this product can reduce the amount of organic compounds in your water, creating a more sanitary environment in your pool that naturally requires less chlorine.

Louis from Pool Advisor


A chemical engineer by trade, Louis is committed to debunking myths in the pool industry by explaining the underlying chemistry and making it accessible to all.