Share the ♥︎

July 11, 2024

Salt Water vs. Chlorine Pool: Pros & Cons

Choosing the right type of pool for your home is a significant decision that can impact maintenance, cost, and your overall swimming experience. Of course, experts like Pinnacle Pools and Spas will help you navigate the decision, but it helps to have a good understanding of your options.

Saltwater and chlorine pools are the two most popular options, each with its own set of advantages and disadvantages. Understanding these pros and cons will help you make an informed decision that suits your needs and lifestyle.

Understanding the Basics

Salt Water Pools

Saltwater pools use a salt-chlorine generator to produce chlorine from salt added to the water. This process creates a more stable and less harsh chlorination system, providing a unique swimming experience.

Chlorine Pools

Chlorine pools rely on manually adding chlorine in various forms, such as tablets, granules, or liquid. This method is the traditional approach to pool sanitation and is known for its effectiveness in keeping pool water clean and safe.

Pros and Cons of Salt Water Pools


  1. Gentler on Skin and Eyes: The lower chlorine levels in saltwater pools make the water less irritating to the skin and eyes.
  2. Lower Maintenance: The salt-chlorine generator continuously produces chlorine, reducing the need for frequent chemical adjustments.
  3. Softer Water: The water in saltwater pools feels smoother and silkier, enhancing the swimming experience.
  4. Reduced Chemical Storage: With a saltwater pool, you won't need to store large amounts of chlorine, which can be hazardous.


  1. Higher Initial Costs: Saltwater pools require a salt-chlorine generator, which can be expensive to install.
  2. Corrosion Potential: Saltwater can be corrosive to certain materials, including metal fixtures and pool equipment.
  3. Complex Repairs: Repairs to salt-chlorine generators can be more complex and costly compared to standard chlorine systems.
  4. Salt Level Monitoring: Regular monitoring of salt levels is necessary to ensure the generator functions correctly.

Pros and Cons of Chlorine Pools


  1. Effective Sanitation: Chlorine is highly effective at killing bacteria and algae, ensuring a clean and safe swimming environment.
  2. Lower Initial Costs: The setup cost for chlorine pools is typically lower since they don't require a generator.
  3. Simpler Repairs: Maintenance and repair of chlorine systems are generally straightforward and less expensive.
  4. Widely Available: Chlorine and related products are readily available at pool supply stores and supermarkets.


  1. Stronger Chemical Smell: Chlorine pools can have a strong chemical odor, which some swimmers find unpleasant.
  2. Skin and Eye Irritation: Higher chlorine levels can cause irritation to the skin and eyes.
  3. Frequent Chemical Adjustments: Maintaining the correct chlorine levels requires regular testing and adjustment.
  4. Storage of Hazardous Chemicals: Storing large quantities of chlorine can pose safety risks.

Maintenance and Upkeep

Salt Water Pools

Saltwater pools require less frequent chemical additions, but they still need regular maintenance to ensure the generator is functioning properly. Here’s what you need to consider:

  • Salt Level Checks: Regularly check the salt levels in the water to keep the generator running efficiently.
  • Generator Maintenance: The generator cells need periodic cleaning to remove calcium buildup.
  • pH Balance: Despite lower chlorine levels, maintaining the correct pH balance is essential to prevent corrosion and scale buildup.

Chlorine Pools

Chlorine pools demand more hands-on maintenance to keep the water clean and balanced. Key maintenance tasks include:

  • Chlorine Addition: Regularly add chlorine to maintain the appropriate levels.
  • pH and Alkalinity Testing: Frequent testing and adjustments are needed to keep the water balanced.
  • Shock Treatments: Periodic shock treatments help eliminate contaminants and maintain water clarity.
  • Filter Maintenance: Clean and backwash filters regularly to ensure optimal performance.

Cost Considerations

Initial Investment

  • Salt Water Pools: The initial investment is higher due to the cost of the salt-chlorine generator. Installation can range from $1,500 to $2,500, plus the cost of salt.
  • Chlorine Pools: Initial costs are generally lower, primarily covering the pool itself and basic chlorination equipment.

Ongoing Costs

  • Salt Water Pools: Ongoing costs are typically lower since you’ll spend less on chlorine. However, you may incur costs for replacing the generator cell every few years.
  • Chlorine Pools: Monthly expenses can be higher due to the continuous need for chlorine and other chemicals.

Environmental Impact

Salt Water Pools

Saltwater pools are considered more environmentally friendly due to their lower chemical usage. The reduction in chlorine also means fewer harmful byproducts, which is beneficial for both the environment and your health.

Chlorine Pools

Chlorine pools produce more chemical byproducts, which can be harmful to the environment if not managed properly. The manufacturing and transportation of chlorine also contribute to a larger carbon footprint.

Swimming Experience

Salt Water Pools

Many swimmers prefer the feel of saltwater pools because the water is softer and less irritating. The reduced chlorine levels result in fewer odors and a more pleasant overall experience.

Chlorine Pools

While effective at sanitation, chlorine pools can sometimes leave swimmers with dry skin, red eyes, and a lingering chlorine smell. However, these issues can be managed with proper pool care and maintenance.

Conclusion: Making the Right Choice

Choosing between a saltwater and a chlorine pool depends on your priorities, budget, and personal preferences.

  • Salt Water Pools: Opt for a saltwater pool if you prioritize a gentler swimming experience, lower ongoing maintenance, and a more environmentally friendly option. Be prepared for a higher initial investment and potential corrosion issues.
  • Chlorine Pools: Choose a chlorine pool if you seek effective sanitation with a lower upfront cost and simpler maintenance routines. Keep in mind the need for regular chemical adjustments and the potential for skin and eye irritation.

By weighing the pros and cons of each type, you can make an informed decision that will provide you with years of enjoyable and safe swimming.

Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

* We will never share your details with any third party 

Grab our ebook

Get instant access to "How to budget a Family Vacation"

We'll get back to you shortly.

Thank you!