6+ Advantages and Disadvantages of a Saltwater Pool

Consider a saltwater pool for a gentle, low-maintenance experience. Enjoy softer water, less chemical smell, and minimal upkeep, but expect higher initial costs and potential material corrosion.

advantages and disadvantages of a saltwater pool

Thinking about installing a pool in your backyard? A pool can be a great way to entertain your family and friends, and to enjoy your outdoor space throughout the summer.

It can also significantly boost your home value, especially if you install an attractive, appealing pool and patio.

You may be inclined to put in a traditional freshwater pool. However, that isn’t your only option. You might want to consider a saltwater pool, which is growing in popularity because of its simplicity and the softness of the water. 

Below are a few advantages and disadvantages of a saltwater pool. Talk to an experienced pool professional for more information.

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Saltwater Pool Advantages

There are a few big reasons to consider a saltwater pool instead of freshwater, including:

Saltwater pools feel better on the skin and eyes.

Both saltwater and freshwater pools use chlorine to disinfect water. However, the way they release chlorine is very different.

In a freshwater pool, you use chlorine tablets, which include an ingredient called chloramine.

Chloramine is responsible for the distinct chlorine smell that is noticeable in most freshwater pools. Chloramine can also have a harsh effect on skin and eyes, causing redness and irritation.

In a saltwater pool, an electrolytic chlorine generator splits salt into components, which releases chlorine into the water.

Salt Chlorine Generator, Westaho Pool Salt Water Chlorinator System for Above Ground Pool Up to 15,000 Gallons, Keeps Pool Water Clean, IP 66 Waterproof

Since the chlorine naturally comes from salt, there is no chloramine in the pool. That means your saltwater pool doesn’t have a harsh effect on skin and eyes and there is no chlorine smell.

Saltwater pools don’t require as much maintenance as freshwater pools.

If you’ve ever had a freshwater pool, you’re probably familiar with the maintenance routine. There’s a constant process of testing chemicals and then adjusting those chemicals to maintain a delicate balance.

Unless you want to manage the chemicals yourself, it often requires regular visits from a pool professional.

With a saltwater pool, there are no chemicals to maintain. You do need to test the chlorine levels. However, if the levels are low, you simply add more salt, which is split by the generator and creates more natural chlorine in the pool.

There’s no need to test for pH levels, shock the pool, add chlorine, or any of the other steps required with a freshwater pool (and less likely end up with the dreaded green pool).

There’s no need to store chlorine at home.

Chlorine may keep your freshwater pool clean, but it’s not the safest chemical to store at your home. Chlorine tablets can be hazardous to children, animals, and even nearby plants. 

While it’s not necessarily safe to store chlorine tablets in your home, it’s an inconvenient necessity with a freshwater pool. You never know when you’ll need to add chlorine to the pool.

Again, with a saltwater pool, there’s no need for chlorine tablets. The chlorine comes naturally from the salt, which is split by the electrolytic generator.

The only thing you may need to keep on hand is salt, but even that is minimal. In most cases, if you add the correct amount of salt at the beginning of the summer, you should be good throughout the swimming season.

Disadvantages of Saltwater Pools

Saltwater pools offer a few important benefits, but they’re not perfect. Below are a few things to consider before installing a saltwater pool.

They cost more than chlorine pools.

Installing a pool is never a cheap proposition, but saltwater pools are generally more expensive than chlorine pools. The average saltwater pool installation costs $25,000, but chlorine pools are typically much less than that. 

There are a few reasons for the higher price. One is that saltwater pools often require specific expert knowledge that general pool contractors don’t have. There’s also unique equipment, like the electrolytic generator.

While a saltwater pool may cost more upfront, it will also cost less in ongoing maintenance. And it could generate a much higher return on investment if your home’s next buyer finds the saltwater pool more appealing than a chlorine pool.

Repairs require an expert.

With a chlorine pool, most repairs can be handled by just about any pool company. The repairs and maintenance are fairly standard across the board. That means it shouldn’t be difficult to find someone to repair your pool on short notice.

That’s often not the case with a saltwater pool, especially if you live somewhere where saltwater pools aren’t common. The electrolytic generator is a complex piece of equipment. Not every pool technician knows how to repair it.

The chemical composition also isn’t the same for a saltwater pool as it is for a chlorine pool. If a technician isn’t familiar with saltwater pools, they may not fully understand what they’re examining. You’ll need to find a saltwater pool expert for most repairs.

Saltwater can damage materials.

Saltwater may feel great on your skin and eyes, but it doesn’t have the same effect on other materials. The salt can be corrosive to metal, tile, and a wide range of other materials.

That can impact your ladders, siding, patio, and plenty of other materials around the pool.

The corrosive effect takes time to develop. In fact, it could be years before you see anything. However, it’s a fact that you will have to replace those materials sooner with a saltwater pool than you would with a chlorine pools. The salt is simply too abrasive over many years of use.

No matter which pool you choose, it will likely be a great source of joy and fun for your family and friends. Both a chlorine pool and saltwater pool can provide countless hours of entertainment.

There are some compelling reasons to choose a saltwater pool. The softness of the water and the lack of maintenance may help you find more pleasure and enjoyment with your pool.

However, the upfront cost for a saltwater pool may be prohibitive for your budget. There’s also the complexity of the generator to consider, along with any repairs that may arise.

Talk to both chlorine and saltwater pool companies in your area for more information. They can help you get started on your new backyard pool.

More FAQs

What are the pros and cons of a saltwater pool?

The pros and cons of a saltwater pool can be summarized as follows: A saltwater pool offers lower annual expenses, provides a more soothing and gentle water experience, and is environmentally friendly. On the other hand, a saltwater pool requires a higher initial investment and may lead to corrosion. It is recommended to use salt with a sodium chloride content of at least 90-95% and aim to maintain a salt level between 2700-3400 ppm.

What is the downside of saltwater pools?

The downside of saltwater pools is that salt, known for its corrosive properties, can gradually damage metal components in and around the pool, including ladders, leading to deterioration over time.

Do salt water pools affect your body?

Salt water pools do affect your body by acting as a natural moisturizer and exfoliator, enhancing the skin’s capacity to retain moisture. When we are under stress, our body’s functionality decreases. However, salt water aids in stimulating our body’s innate relaxation process, resulting in a rejuvenating sensation after every swim.

Is it OK to swim in a salt water pool?

It is acceptable to swim in a saltwater pool, especially if you find the scent of chlorine bothersome. Additionally, if you have asthma or allergies, a saltwater pool might be a suitable choice, although further investigation is necessary. If you are interested, consider searching for a saltwater pool available for swimming in your local area.

Are saltwater pools as sanitary as chlorine pools?

Saltwater pools are not as sanitary as chlorine pools because even though they use saltwater generators to produce chlorine, the sanitization process occurs through electrolysis, which generates bacteria-killing chlorine. Therefore, saltwater pools are not any healthier or safer than chlorinated ones.

Are saltwater pools better for your hair?

Saltwater pools can have advantages for individuals with sensitive skin or allergies to pool chemicals due to their lower levels of chlorine. However, it is important to note that saltwater can have drying effects on both the hair and skin, and may lead to fading or greenish discoloration of color-treated hair.

Are saltwater pools a lot of maintenance?

Saltwater pools require less maintenance compared to chlorine systems and are therefore more user-friendly. Algaecides are unnecessary as the natural system of saltwater pools helps prevent algae growth on the walls and in the water.

Do I need a special heater for salt water pool?

You do not need a special heater for a saltwater pool. Various types of swimming pool heaters, such as solar, electric, gas, and thermal blankets, can be used with saltwater chlorine generator systems.

What are the cons of a salt water pool?

The cons of a salt water pool include the fact that there can be higher initial costs and that it can be pricey to replace parts when maintenance is required.

Do you need to shock a salt water pool?

The need to shock a saltwater pool is possible, despite it appearing counterintuitive. Saltwater pools are designed to be self-cleaning, eliminating the necessity for shocks to sanitize the water. However, many individuals still opt to periodically shock their saltwater pools to maintain an even higher level of cleanliness in the water.

Do you have to add salt to a saltwater pool every year?

The statement is: “You do not have to add salt to a saltwater pool every year.” Rephrased answer: Salt does not evaporate or degrade, and the salt utilized by a salt chlorinator to produce chlorine does not deplete. Therefore, the only time you would need to add more salt to a pool is when it is diluted due to factors such as heavy rainfall or partial draining and refilling.

How expensive is it to keep up a saltwater pool?

The cost of maintaining a saltwater pool can vary, but on average, you can expect to spend around $100 per year on pool salt and chemicals. Additionally, monthly cleaning expenses can range from $80 to $100. Every three to seven years, you may need to budget around $800 for a new salt cell. It’s important to note that there may be additional costs for repairs, as the salt can potentially cause damage to pool equipment.

Do salt water pools smell like chlorine?

Saltwater pools do not have a strong chlorine smell because they generate fewer chloramines compared to traditional chlorine pools. Chloramines, which are produced when chlorine treats the water, are primarily responsible for the characteristic chlorine odor in pools.

What is the lifespan of salt water pool?

The lifespan of a salt water pool can typically range from 3 to 7 years, with the longevity of the cell being influenced by the salt levels and maintenance. By consistently maintaining the pool, you can maximize the lifespan of the cell.

How often should I drain my salt water pool?

The recommended frequency for draining a salt water pool is typically every 6-8 years, allowing for a complete drain and refill.

What are the downsides of saltwater pools?

The downsides of saltwater pools include the need for specialized technicians to ensure proper maintenance and the potential corrosion of metal pool parts due to the harmful effects of salt on the pool structure.

Which is healthier salt water or chlorine pool?

Salt water pools are healthier for your eyes and skin compared to chlorine pools because salt periodically produces chlorine, which acts as a natural disinfectant. This means that salt water is gentler on your eyes and skin as it doesn’t expose your body to the harsh chemicals found in traditionally chlorinated pools.

Do salt water pools feel different?

Salt water pools do indeed feel different. Due to the actions of the salt system, the water has a softer texture, often described as “silky.” Unlike traditional chlorine pools, salt water pools do not cause dry skin, red eyes, or fade hair and swimsuits.

Why are people switching to salt water pools?

People are switching to salt water pools because they are gentler on the eyes and skin due to the periodic production of chlorine from salt, which acts as a natural disinfectant, resulting in a less harsh experience compared to traditionally chlorinated pools.

Which is cheaper to maintain saltwater or chlorine pool?

Rephrased answer: Maintaining a saltwater pool is less expensive compared to a chlorine pool. While the annual cost of salt for a saltwater pool ranges from $70 to $120, a chlorine pool requires chemical chlorine costing between $300 and $800. Despite the additional expense of operating a saltwater generator, saltwater pools remain more cost-effective than chlorine pools.

Is it worth converting to saltwater pool?

The worth of converting to a saltwater pool is evident in the benefits it offers, such as a more gentle experience for your skin and reduced maintenance costs. If you already have an in-ground or above-ground pool, the conversion cost is relatively affordable compared to installing a new pool entirely.

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