It’s always fun to see the latest and greatest, so when Pool & Spa News presents its annual Readers’ Choice selection each year, it’s met with anticipation.
As the list shows, industry innovators have come up with an array of must-haves, from cleverly designed pool products such as a new take on noodles, floating games and cleaners to unique spas, filters and numerous “green” products. And there’s no denying the trend of equipment that incorporates wireless technology, mobile devices and the Internet in various capacities.
The following top 50 products are the result of reader response to our annual New Products Supplement. Information on this list is based on data provided by manufacturers.
Made from 90 percent post-consumer recycled plastic bottles, the Aladdin ECOLine offers an environmentally responsible solution to the water filtration needs of the pool and spa industry. Each square foot of material removes one 16-ounce plastic bottle from the landfills.
Contact: (941) 371-3732; www.aladdin1950.com
APi’s new product, PEPPER, is formulated to work specifically with the unique demands of saltwater pools. It enhances water clarity by oxidizing debris and helps filter performance. It also improves sanitizer effectiveness, helps maintain low phosphate levels, limits pH fluctuations, and prevents scale buildup on the generator cell, pool equipment and surfaces. The product is compatible with all pool surfaces and equipment, plus there is no waiting to swim. Use just twice a month.
Contact: (561) 743-0449; www.apiwater.com
The Pool Pilot Digital Nano+ is a salt chlorine generator that maintains pools up to 28,000 gallons. Its digital readout displays the salt level, the amount of salt to add and water temperature compensation, and it operates at all salt levels – 2,000 to 35,000 ppm. It works with the patented AutoPilot Manifold and operates at flow rates less than 15 gpm.
Contact: (727) 823-5642; www.autopilot.com
Aquastar’s patent-pending, 20-inch Full Circle Suction Outlet Cover and One-Port Manufactured Sump is fully compliant with VGB and does not require a second drain or SVRS. It’s surrounded by pebble/plaster so it appears to blend into the pool’s finish. The integrated AquaStop prevents water leaks.
Contact: (877) 768-2717; www.aquastarpoolproducts.com
Almost all new electronic devices today have touch-screen interfaces. With Balboa’s new spaTouch, the hot tub can have one, too. Based on Balboa’s patented touch-panel technology, the spaTouch panel’s intuitive screens make controlling the hot tub easy.
Contact: (714) 384-0384; www.balboawatergroup.com/spaTouch
SaltScapes Saltwater Pool Care is a “salt-specific” product line that addresses the challenges of salt cell generators and the impact of saline chlorination on water condition. SaltScapes includes everything pool owners need to keep their saltwater sparkling and to protect their cell generator equipment and pool surfaces.
Contact: (800) 859-7946; www.bioguard.com
Blue-White’s BW Digi-Meter F-1000 series of battery-powered, electronic flowmeters provides quick, reliable flow verification for pools and spas. The paddlewheel insertion meter features an easy-to-read, six-digit LCD display; factory calibration; weather-resistant NEMA 4X enclosure; corrosion-resistant PVDF Sensor; large calibrated flow range; minimal maintenance; excellent accuracy; and no pressure drop. It’s available in a variety of configuration and material options for in-line and saddle mount installation.
Contact: (714) 893-8529; www.blue-white.com
Cal Spa’s Ultimate Fitness Swim Spa F1420 offers a complete at-home aquatic gym. For an enhanced aquatic experience, the F1420 offers fitness anchors for optional Cal Flex Exercise Equipment and Tether Bar Kit.
Contact: (800) 225-7727; www.calspas.com
Tarino, Caldera’s newest model in its Vacanza series, is a full-size spa that plugs into a regular backyard electrical outlet with a dedicated 115V/20-amp breaker. Its double-lounge design seats up to five adults and includes 24 powerful jets, the relaxing Aquarella waterfall and underwater LED “points of light” to illuminate and enhance spa use and backyard ambiance. Additional options include wireless sound system with Bluetooth technology and iPhone dock. It’s available in four colors.
Contact: (760) 305-4180; www.calderaspas.com
Century’s V-Green 270 variable-speed pump motor with integrated timer is capable of delivering energy savings of more than 80 percent vs. a standard single-speed motor. It’s well suited for pump applications ranging from ¾- to 2.7 total horsepower. The pump features a state-of-the-art user interface, on-screen navigation, ergonomic selector switch and pre-set programs.
Contact: (800) 543-9450; www.centuryelectricmotor.com
CoverLogix Advanced Safety Covers has created a new product designed specifically to extract hard-to-remove safety cover deck anchors. The anchor extractor extracts the anchor and the shell, eliminating the struggle to pull existing anchors out of the deck. It can be combined with CoverLogix plotting software.
Contact: (855) 992-6837; www.coverlogix.com
As an option for its automatic safety pool covers, Coverstar upgraded the capabilities of its control pad to include WiFi-enabled features. The Coverstar WiFi Touch Pad now can tap into the owner’s own network to send text or email alerts when the cover is opened or closed, when any user logs in, or if the cover is left open for longer than a time set by the homeowner.
Contact: (800) 617-7283; www.coverstar.com
Desert Steel’s Saguaro Cactus outdoor torch is made of rust-resistant galvanized steel. The hollow structure is available in two sizes, 6.5 feet and 5 feet, and features verdigris patina for lifelike color, with a hole in the base to accommodate landscape lighting.
Contact: (316) 282-2244; www.desertsteel.net
DryCASE is a plastic bag that renders any smartphone, tablet or other electronic device waterproof once the device is inserted and the air pumped out of the bag. Certified to 100 feet underwater, the DryCASE allows customers to text, talk, listen to music and take photos and videos while the device is protected by a waterproof, vacuum seal. A neoprene band can be used to mount DryCASE to any outdoor gear.
Contact: (888) 600-0379; www.drycase.com
Evosus integrated business software has partnered with Centerlogic Inc. to provide customers with reliable data backup and recovery services in the event of a flood, fire, theft, hardware malfunction or other disaster. Evosus is designed as a proactive approach to safeguarding business data and ensuring minimal interruption in business flow when data restoration is needed. Completely automated, the service streamlines reporting and validates information was received and stored.
Contact: (866) 235-5103; www.evosus.com
Neptune is a waterproof MP3 player made by Finis Inc., which uses bone conduction audio transmission to provide high-quality sound in the water without the use of ear buds. With 4GB of storage, aquatic athletes can listen to music, audio books and podcasts. Neptune attaches securely to goggle straps and rests on the cheekbones, so it does not interfere with swimming.
Contact: (925) 290-2638; www.finisinc.com
Great American Merchandise & Events
The SandPRO 25 by Great American Merchandise & Events is designed for smaller softsided and steel-wall abovegrounds. Ultraquiet and an energy saver, it cleans faster than standard cartridge filters. It has a high-flow-rate motor, lower hp pump; multiport valve and a hair/lint strainer basket. Included are 32mm, 40mm, 11/4-inch and 11/2-inch hose fittings, and adapters for Intex pools. It comes with a full replacement 90-day warranty.
Contact: (888) 382-5988; www.game-group.com
Haviland Pool & Spa
Nature’s Care is Haviland Pool & Spa’s line of treatment products created to utilize natural enzymes, environmentally responsible manufacturing techniques and packaging made from recycled materials.
Contact: (800) 333-0400; www.naturescarepool.com
Hayward Pool Products
Designed to be simple and intuitive for users, Hayward Pool Products’ touch screen-based automation system, OmniLogic, decreases the time builders spend ordering, installing, programming, training and supporting. The new controller combines the multiplatform, modern interfaces of today’s consumer electronics with an intelligent, modular system architecture that promises to make installing and programming easier and more efficient than traditional controllers.
Contact: (908) 351-5400; www.hayward.com
The LevelSmart AutoFill System from H2flow Controls Inc. is a wireless water leveling system for the home pool or spa. It installs quickly and easily, and works with the existing equipment to maintain a constant water level in the swimming pool, spa, fountain or waterfeature.
Contact: (888) 625-0296; www.h2flow.net
Horizon Pool & Spa Parts
PAL LED Optics is an LED swimming pool perimeter and waterfeature light. Control of the color shows is accomplished with a handheld remote or optional app for smartphones. PAL LED Optics can be installed as a stand-alone system or integrated with all new and existing PAL Color Touch light control systems. UL listing of all products allows commercial installation.
Contact: (866) 388-3398; www.horizonparts.com
The Gleam, the newest addition to Hot Spring’s Limelight Collection, is more than 9 feet long and 38 inches deep, with seating for eight. It features 58 directional jets, 13 specialized hydrotherapy jets, the patented Moto-Massage DX moving jet — dual nozzles that direct powerful streams of water up and down the entire length of the back — and the Raio point-of-light system.
Contact: (760) 598-6464; www.hotspring.com
New Sundeck tables are designed specifically for sun decks in vinyl-liner and gunite pools. The table mounts into a 1.90-inch-diameter bronze anchor or can be retrofitted in a 1.50-inch-diameter umbrella anchor using Inter-Fab’s proprietary “Adapter.” Available in seven colors, the table comes with an 18-inch-tall support pole, assembles quickly and can be removed without tools.
Contact: (800) 737-5386; www.interfab.com
The NSF certification requirements are making their way into building codes and IPS Controllers, manufacturer of chemical controllers, has achieved NSF certification under NSF/ANSI 50 on all models it produces. IPS Controllers offers a full line of chemical controllers with a variety of features at different price points for pools, spas and waterfeatures of all sizes.
Contact: (877) 693-6904; www.ipscontrollers.com
J&J Electronics introduces its new LED Underwater Fountain Luminaries. Available in “Color Changing,” “Warm White” and “Cool White,” the system features contemporary styling, stainless steel construction and a zero-pixilation lens.
Contact: (800) 735-4553; www.jandjelectronics.com
Jack’s Magic Products
The Magenta Stuff from Jack’s Magic Products is a fast-acting solution that helps remove stains and scale and protects all pool finishes. Ideal for start-ups and for use with all sanitizing systems, including salt chlorine generators, it also promises to help extend cell life, control plaster dust, metals and minerals, and will not yield phosphates.
Contact: (800) 348-1656; www.jacksmagic.com
In just 60 seconds, LaMotte Co.’s Mobile WaterLink Spin photometer measures free chlorine, total chlorine, bromine, pH, calcium hardness, alkalinity, cyanuric acid, copper, iron and borate. All of the test results are sent through Bluetooth to the user’s smartphone or tablet device.
Contact: (800) 344-3100; www.lamotte.com/mobilespin
Switch out and upgrade center-poppet spring or swing check Acme threaded valves with Magic Plastics’ new Retro Replacement Smart Check valve bodies. There is no longer a need to purchase the entire valve assembly and discard the union fittings. Retro is sold separately as a replacement body in 1½- and 2-inch sizes. The light half-pound spring allows you to install the valve in any orientation while still achieving a 100 percent full-flow opening.
Contact: (800) 369-0303; www.magicplastics.com
Michael Phelps Signature Swim Spas by Master Spas now have a new workout app for the iPad called SNAPP (SwimNumber APP). Select a pre-programmed workout or create your own custom workout and press “start.” The app allows the propulsion system to vary the speed of the water current at timed increments while the user is swimming. SNAPP also includes expert video workouts for swimming, triathlete training and aquatic exercise.
Contact: (260) 436-9100; www.MichaelPhelpsSwimSpa.com
Weighing 50 percent less than a typical solid safety cover, the weave in Meyco’s RuggedMesh lets water drain from the surface while filtering out finer particles and blocking pool-damaging sunlight. The result is a cleaner pool with less maintenance. Available in blue, mocha and gray.
Contact: (864) 804-5900; www.meycoproducts.com
MIDE Products’ Pool Toy Storage Net is made from marine-grade stretch netting sewn on three sides, with an elastic rope opening that stretches to store larger items. The nets are available in small (24-by-36-inches) and large (36-by-48-inches), and come with aluminum, powder-coated hooks that make the nets easy to hang from a fence.
Contact: (888) 243-7019; www.mideproducts.com
MistAMERICA’s Mist360 outdoor cooling system has been upgraded with a stronger, quieter fan. The Mist360 integrates misting with a high-speed fan that disperses cool, dry air in a 360-degree pattern. The cool air, derived from evaporated mist, cools outdoor areas effectively, even when temperatures are extreme and humidity high.
Contact: (602) 255-0500; www.mist360.com
Nemo is a submersible electric drill. Unlike pneumatic and hydraulic systems, which require compressors and tubing, the Nemo is battery powered, making it easy to use underwater and on dry land.
Contact: (415) 704-4363; www.underwaterdrill.com
Pentair Aquatic Systems
The Kreepy Krauly Racer is a fast, pressure-side inground cleaner with one-third more cleaning power; a built-in, front rotating brush; 40 percent larger intake; and exclusive Night Cruize LED lights.
Contact: (919) 566-8315; www.pentairpool.com
MetalXtract from Periodic Products removes iron, copper and manganese from pool and spa water. It is nontoxic, works in fresh- and saltwater, and does not interact with any other pool chemicals. Place it in the pump basket or skimmer basket and as water passes over, metals are permanently trapped inside. Just throw the used bag away when finished. MetalXtract works with all sequestrants, algaecides and ionizers.
Contact: (954) 764-7654; www.metalxtract.com
The Space Arena offers an affordable enclosure for pools so that owners can extend the swim season. The air-inflated dome is low maintenance with a low energy system, using a continuously operating, 110V variable-speed blower for operating costs of less than a 100-watt light bulb. Made of clear, UV-resistant vinyl, it’s specially formulated so it won’t discolor or lose resiliency in varying climates.
Contact: (800) 348-2600; www.plastimayd.com
Pleatco Advanced Filter Cartridges center on a new, uniformly bonded filtration media that contains more fibers per unit area, offering greater volume dirt-holding capacity. With reduced pore size distribution, the fabric increases turbidity reduction via cross-filtration flow, efficiently capturing dirt particles to achieve cleanliness and clarity.
Contact: (516) 609-0200; www.pleatco.com/advanced.html
Pool Cover Specialists
Pool Cover Specialists’ Pool Watchdog Swimming Pool Safety Cam is a Wi-Fi-enabled “plug-n-play” IP camera that sends warnings via text or email to alert the homeowner when someone comes near the pool or opens the pool cover. The user then can assess the threat by streaming video on a smartphone, tablet or PC, giving the viewer an opportunity to take action if needed. It operates through an existing wireless router and Internet service so there are no monthly service fees. The interface can connect up to nine cameras, enabling other uses such as a nanny cam, yard cam or play-area cam. Works with any manufacturer’s automatic pool cover.
Contact: (855) 766-5226; www.poolcam.com
PortOPong’s inflatable beer pong table is available in blue, pink and an American flag-inspired design. It features 22 recessed cup holders for play in the pool, at tailgating parties or while on vacation. Constructed of heavy-duty vinyl and measuring 6 feet long, 35 inches wide and 4 inches high, each float includes four pool strings and two repair patches.
Contact: (877) 823-6595; www.portopong.com
Prozone Water Products
The Eco Master by Prozone Water Products combines germicidal UV with ozone and advanced oxidation processing. It delivers a nonchemical, nonchlorine, non-mineral oxidation and purification system to pools and spas. Its all-in-one design makes for easy installation. Dynamic flow venturi injectors are available in multiple sizes to accommodate flow rates.
Contact: (256) 539-4570; www.prozoneint.com
Raypak introduces two new gas heaters to the market. The model 106 (105kBtu) and the 156 (150kBtu) are for the aboveground pool market and spa heating. The 106 is an analog control; the 156 (shown) is a digital control unit. Electronic ignition is standard for both, and they feature finned tubing, stainless steel tube sheets and polymer headers. The heaters can be installed indoors with an optional draft hood.
Contact: (805) 278-5300; www.raypak.com
SeaKlear’s Natural Clarifier now is available in a single-dose, water-soluble pod for hot tubs. All-natural and environmentally safe, one pod treats 500 gallons.
Contact: (866) 995-5327;www.seaklear.com
Speck Pumps’ new BaduJet Inspiration, an over-the-wall swim jet system, is good for inground and aboveground pools. The system features dual swim jets, for swimming against the current, and an LED light, for night swimming or night lighting.
Contact: (800) 223-8538; www.usa.speck-pumps.com
The Solar Heat Square is a new solar heating cover offered by Splash-A-Round Pools. The cover uses the sun to warm the water while reducing water evaporation and chemical loss. Features include the “No Flip Lip,” which keeps the cover anchored to the water surface in windy conditions. The large cover requires no inflation, is unsinkable and easy to use, remove and store. It is compatible with most pool cleaners.
Contact: (909) 980-7709; www.splasharoundpools.com
Taylor Technologies’ new hard-sided carrying case is designed to transport the TTi 2000 Colorimeter and associated water-testing supplies securely, withstanding years of use on a service route. Its rugged construction includes a waterproof, airtight, neoprene O-ring seal along the perimeter and a second gasket around the meter cavity for extra protection from vapors and liquids. It holds up to 12 colorimeter tests in their color-coded packs, or a combination of these packs and 2-ounce liquid reagents. The case measures 20 inches wide, 155/8 inches deep, and 51/2 inches high.
Contact: (800) 837-8548; www.taylortechnologies.com
Ultima Endure Water Conditioner clarifies, conditions and controls algae in pool water. Its special formulation prevents algae while creating softer-feeling water that is gentle on swimmers’ hair and eyes. Available in 10-, 20- and 45-pound sizes.
Contract: (800) 445-2059; www.ultimapoolspa.com
Vak Pak Products
The Eco Wash Backwash System by Vak Pak gives pool operators the ability to remove the used DE powder from the filter grids along with all the dirt and grime built up over the filter cycle. The system provides economic savings and greatly reduces the environmental impact over previous backwash methods by recycling the water and DE material, disposing of the degraded material only.
Contact: (904) 353-4403; www.valpak.com
The Pool Blaster PRO 1500 is a battery-powered cleaner designed for pool professionals. It vacuums up debris as large as a golf ball and, with its microfilter bags, filters debris as small as 2 microns. Lightweight and fully independent of the main pool filter, the two interchangeable battery packs provide two hours of vacuuming time.
Contact: (800) 298-8800; www.watertechcorp.com
Waterway’s new Econo Flo VSA-165 pump, with full variable-speed (600-3450 rpm) and 1.65 total horsepower, now is fully Energy Star-rated. The pump features a programmable timer with memory backup, keypad lock-out and comes complete with 2-by-1.5-inch FPT unions and a universal adjustable base for replacement in the field without plumbing changes. Its programming flexibility allows for maximum energy savings for the pool owner.
Contact: (805) 981-0262; www.waterwayplastics.com
Zoo Noodles are 3-in-1 float, squirter and play pals. They are constructed of soft, marine-grade UV-protected fabric, filled with aquatic-safe foam beads. Besides being lightweight, they dry quickly, last from one season to the next, float up to 200 pounds and have multisensory features that appeal to children.
Contact: (919) 906-3408; www.zoo-noodles.com