Salt Water Pool vs Chlorine Pool: Comparison Guide


A sparkling clear swimming pool in the backyard can make any homeowner feel as if he/she has his/her slice of paradise. Plunging into the cool and relaxing waters is one of the best ways to escape the reality of those hot summer days. 

When thinking of installing a swimming pool, one of the most important choices you need to make is whether you want a chlorine or saltwater pool. In this salt water pool vs chlorine comparison guide, you will get to learn the differences in terms of cost, maintenance, health issues, and practicality. This should make choosing between chlorine vs saltwater pool much easier. 

Salt Water Pool Vs Chlorine – How Do They Differ? 

Salt and Chlorine Levels

Both saltwater and chlorine pools do have chlorine in them. However, a saltwater pool will have lower chlorine levels than the traditional chlorine pool because the chlorine is usually produced at a steady level than added to the pool with chlorine tablets or sticks via a chlorine dispenser

Instead of adding chlorine – which is the pool chemical added to the traditional chlorine pools – salt is introduced into the saltwater pool. A saltwater generator, through a process known as electrolysis, breaks down the salt by passing electricity through the saltwater solution to produce hypochlorous acid for sanitation. 

Despite having the name saltwater pool, the salt content in the swimming pool is approximately that of the human tears – about one-tenth of the ocean water. If you get in the saltwater pool after donning your swim cap and swim fins, you can open your eyes underwater without dealing with any irritation.

Health Issues 

When comparing chlorine vs saltwater pool in terms of health issues, the saltwater pool wins and it is easy to see why. The lower chlorine concentration in the saltwater swimming pool is gentler on the swimmer’s skin. 

This is a major benefit for swimmers who have allergies, but any swimmer will enjoy smoother skin when swimming in the saltwater pool. The low chlorine levels in the saltwater pool also reduce swimsuit fading. 

The chlorine level in the traditional chlorine pools is higher in concentration. It can cause the skin to become dry, burn, or even itch. 

As an added advantage, the storage of salt requires no special considerations. On the other hand, chlorine has to be stored about ensuring that it maintains its effectiveness and prevents hazards to the pool owner who might inhale the chlorine product fumes. 


When comparing saltwater pool vs chlorine costs, the greatest disadvantage of the saltwater pool is the saltwater generator. The cost of purchasing and installing the saltwater generator can cost anywhere between $750 and $2,425. This start-up investment can, however, be recouped in a few years considering that the saltwater pool has less expensive chemical needs. 

Traditional chlorine pools have a lower initial installation cost. However, their maintenance costs are usually high. A chlorine pool will require an average of $300 to $800 every year in maintenance chemicals while the saltwater pool will require less than $100 in chemicals and salt if you maintain it consistently. 

It is worth noting that saltwater pools do use cells. A new cell costs approximately $200 to $700 and can last anywhere between 3 to 5 years. However, in a warm climate – where more salt is required – the cell may have to work harder to maintain the chlorine level. This can make it wear out faster, meaning that you will need to replace it sooner. For the traditional chlorine pool, more chlorine will be required in warm weather – this means that the chemical costs will go up. 

The chlorine vs saltwater pool electricity cost varies, with the saltwater pools having a higher cost. On average, you will have to spend $36 to $48 per year more than you would on the traditional chlorine pool pump system. 


Perhaps one of the greatest benefits of the saltwater pool to homeowners is the low maintenance necessary. An up-to-date saltwater system can maintain a clean pool for up to 2 weeks without any intervention. By contrast, chlorine pools require weekly maintenance with chlorine sticks or tablets being added regularly. 

Chlorine pools require periodic shocks to ward off algae and ensure that the chlorine levels are consistent. The saltwater pools require the shock treatment less often, usually only after heavy rains when the algae start blooming.

When looking at salt water pool vs chlorine in terms of their maintenance, one difficulty with the saltwater swimming pool is when an issue arises. The solution is often more complex than that of the traditional chlorine pool and you may have to pay a pool professional to fix the issue. Homeowners can easily solve most chlorine pool problems by making use of home testing kits and an ideal chemical combination. 

Swimming Pool Features 

The chlorine vs saltwater pool effects on the pool features is a common concern for most homeowners. With the conversion of an existing chlorine pool into a saltwater pool, you may have to deal with negative effects on features such as the masonry work, lighting, and the pool liner considering that the original swimming pool features may not have been designed to work with the salty water. To give you an example, after conversion, the concrete pool may have to be resurfaced sooner than if it remained a chlorine pool. 

However, when installing a new swimming pool, you can choose features that can better withstand saltwater exposure. Fiberglass, for example, is not affected by saltwater and hence can be used on the saltwater pool surface. When constructed with the right materials, the saltwater pool should last for a long time without requiring any unplanned maintenance procedures. 



Q: What Are the Benefits of A Salt Water Pool?


Saltwater pools feature health, cost, and maintenance benefits. Since they have lower chlorine levels, they are gentler on the swimmer’s skin. After installation, the pools require minimal salt and chemical investments – this saves the owner a lot of money over time. The saltwater pools require less maintenance – they can stay clear and sparkling for up to 2 weeks without any intervention. 

Q: Is It Easier to Maintain A Saltwater Pool?


Yes, it is easier to maintain a saltwater pool. The pool rarely requires shock treatment. Also, the pool can stay clean and clear for up to 14 days without any intervention. 

Q: Is It Cheaper to Have A Salt Water Pool?


Owning a saltwater pool may be cheaper upfront. You will save money on chemicals each year and you won’t need to spend a lot of time on the maintenance. However, after a few years, you will have to replace the chlorine generator cell and if the pool parts are not designed to withstand salty water, you may have to replace some of the metal parts and wood decking. 

Also, the electricity bill for the saltwater pool is generally high. This indicates that a saltwater pool may not be as cheap as most homeowners would want or expect.

Q: Do You Use Chlorine in Saltwater Pools?


Instead of adding chlorine in a saltwater pool, pool owners add salt. The saltwater generator, through electrolysis, uses the salt to produce chlorine for pool sanitation. Although you do not add chlorine directly into the saltwater pool, the pool will have chlorine in it. 

Q: Should You Shower After Salt Water Pool?


Showering after a saltwater pool is not mandatory, but it is always a good idea. It will help you get rid of any residue chlorine and saltwater. This should ensure that your skin feels good.

Q: Can You Open Your Eyes in A Salt Water Pool?


Yes, you can open your eyes in the saltwater pool. The salt content in a saltwater pool is very minimal. The salt level is similar to the amount of salt in normal human being tears. If you open your eyes in the swimming pool, the pool water won’t affect you negatively.

Q: Do Salt Water Pools Kill Bacteria?


Although no chlorine is added to the saltwater pools, the pools generate their own chlorine through the electrolysis process. The generated chlorine is enough to kill bacteria and keep the pool sanitized.

Q: Do You Have to Shock A Saltwater Pool?


Yes, saltwater pools do require shock treatment. However, they require this treatment very rarely compared to the traditional chlorine pools. A saltwater pool will only require the shock treatment after heavy rain when the algae start turning the water green.

Globo Surf Overview 

If you are thinking of installing a new swimming pool in your home, understanding the different types of pools available and their pros and cons are extremely important. This saltwater pool vs chlorine comparison guide takes you through the 2 most common pool types. By analyzing the chlorine vs saltwater pool functionalities and benefits outlined above, making a decision should be much easier.

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My name is David Hamburg. I am an avid water sports fan who enjoys paddle boarding, surfing, scuba diving, and kite surfing. Anything with a board or chance I can get in the water I love! I am such a big fan I decided to start this website to review all my favorite products and some others. Hope you enjoy!