A sparkling pool in your backyard can make a difference if you love having fun without leaving your home. It can offer a slice of paradise as you can plunge in the pool water for refreshing moments, especially in the summer.
If you’re looking for the perfect pool, this saltwater pool vs chlorine pool comparison can be a good place to start. Learn about the differences between the two systems to decide which is better for your home. See below for our full guide to salt water pool vs chlorine.
Chlorine and Salt Levels
Some people erroneously believe saltwater systems don’t have chlorine. However, these systems are among the most popular of the different chlorine systems.
When you get a saltwater pool, you can lower chlorine levels. It works more efficiently than a traditional chlorine pool because the chlorine is released at a steady rate than added with chlorine tablets or sticks.
Instead, you add salt to the pool, and the saltwater generator creates hypochlorous acid, which sanitizes through electrolytes. Despite the name saltwater pool, the amount of salt used is about that of human tears, just about 10% of the ocean’s salinity, so swimmers can open their eyes while swimming underwater, and there’s no skin irritation after a swim.
Salt Water Pool vs Chlorine: Health Issues
One of the things you want to look at when comparing salt water pool vs chlorine pool is health issues. A saltwater pool with a low concentration is gentler on your skin, making it suitable for swimmers with skin allergies.
When swimming in a saltwater pool, you will enjoy smoother skin. Also, due to the low salt levels in the pool, you will not experience swimsuit fading. Chlorine, when used in a traditional pool, is highly concentrated and can cause skin irritation, leading to dry and itchy skin.
Another benefit of salt is that you don’t need special considerations to store it, but you must store chlorine, considering maintaining its effectiveness and preventing hazards to people who might breathe the fumes of the product. You must keep chlorine in a cool, well-ventilated, and dry location. Check the outside of the container for safe handling and storage instructions.
Salt Water Pool vs Chlorine: Associated Costs
You also need to consider cost when comparing a salt water pool vs chlorine pool. A significant advantage of a saltwater pool is the cost of the saltwater generator, which can cost from $400 to $1,800. To install the setup, you will need around $300 to $500.
The cost of the salt is not expensive as pool salt costs about $5 per 40-pound bag. Depending on the pool’s size, you will need 400 to 1,000 pounds.
This means an initial investment of $50 for salt can be enough. So, the total cost of setting up the pool until it’s ready to use should be about $750 to $2,425. You can recoup this startup investment over the years with a few day-to-day chemical needs.
BEST POOL PUMPS PRO TIP: For pool salt, the most effective salt that we have found is the tried and true 40-pound bag from Morton. They are the salt people, period. You can get these bags at just about any home improvement store. However, the bags are also available on Amazon.
If consistently maintained, the saltwater pool will require less than $100 in chemicals and salt each year. On the other hand, a chlorine pool costs from $300 to $800 annually in chemicals and maintenance. However, if you’re in a warmer climate, you will need more chlorine.
Also, a saltwater generator works harder in a hot climate. This translates to using more electricity, and the cells would also wear out quickly. Getting a new cell will cost from $200 to $700. Comparing all these costs, it means a saltwater system can be less dramatic.
Salt Water Pool vs Chlorine: Maintenance Requirements
One of the biggest benefits of a saltwater pool is the low maintenance requirement. With an up-to-date system, you can maintain a sparkling pool for about two weeks without any intervention. In comparison, a traditional chlorine pool will require weekly maintenance.
You need to add chlorine sticks or tablets to ensure the pool functions perfectly. However, both pools require checking the chlorine level regularly to keep it within the correct zone for a clean, clear pool. For the saltwater pool, you can adjust the level at the generator control box. In contrast, you need to manually adjust the amount of chlorine added to the pool.
Besides, the chlorine pool requires periodic “shocks” to maintain the right chlorine levels and ward off algae. This means dissolving chlorine in a bucket of water then adding it to the pool. With a saltwater pool, you need this treatment less often, typically after heavy rain or when algae bloom and make the pool green.
The only difficulty owning a saltwater pool is when something breaks. Fixing it could require a complex intervention, which means calling a pool professional. Most homeowners can solve chlorine pool issues with a home testing kit and the right chemicals.
BEST POOL PUMPS PRO TIP: Looking for a comprehensive pool water testing kit? We highly recommend our favorite, the Taylor Complete Swimming Pool/Spa Test Kit + Sodium Chloride Salt Water Test combination. The best price we have found has been from Amazon, and it’s a Prime item.
Also, the saltwater pool requires an added maintenance procedure, whereby you need to check the saltwater generator cells. Remove them, inspect them, and clean the cells at least once a season.
Swimming Pool Features
A key concern of saltwater systems is that salt can affect the pool parts, including the lighting, masonry work, and the liner. This is often true when you convert an existing chlorine pool to a saltwater pool.
The original pool features may not match with the requirements of the new system as they were not designed to work with salt water.
If the pool is concrete, it will require resurfacing if you use salt water than if you used chlorine. When installing a pool, choose features that will withstand exposure to salt water. Fiberglass is a good example as the material is not affected by salt water, so you can use it as a saltwater pool surface.
Landscaping around your saltwater pool can also be damaged due to the adverse effects on plants and soil nutrients. Check local ordinances as some communities ban saltwater systems due to the impact on the environment. Traditional pools don’t come with some of these restrictions as there is no effect on landscaping.
Saltwater Pool Pros and Cons
Chlorine Pool Pros and Cons
Looking for some additional resources for your burning pool pump related questions? We answer some of the following questions in these articles:
- How to prime a pool pump?
- What size pump do I need for my above ground pool?
- How long should I run my pool pump?
- How to replace a pool pump motor?
- How to circulate pool water without a pump?
Salt Water Pool vs Chlorine: Our Final Thoughts
Overall, the Salt Water Pool vs Chlorine debate rages on. We have our own preferences here at Best Pool Pumps, but it should be clear to see from this article that everyone’s situation is unique and their needs are different. What is best for you may not be best for someone else, and what is best for us may not be best for you.
despite this, one of the most important things you can do before making a decision on a Salt Water Pool vs Chlorine pool is to do your due diligence and gather enough information to make an informed decision. We hope that this comparison guide can assist in doing that for you.