Salt water vs chlorine pools

Which is better, salt water or chlorine pool?

When it comes to building a swimming pool in your backyard, the choices might seem overwhelming. One of the most crucial decisions you’ll have to make is between salt water and chlorine pools. Both have their unique benefits and drawbacks, and understanding these will help you make an informed choice that aligns with your needs, budget, and lifestyle.

I. Salt Water Pools

A. The Cost of Salt Water Pools

Salt water pools, contrary to their name, are not free of chlorine. Instead, they employ a salt-chlorine generator to convert salt into chlorine, keeping the water clean. While they offer a host of benefits, the initial cost of installing a salt water pool can be high. However, you might find that it’s a worthwhile investment in the long run. On the maintenance front, the cost is typically medium-range. It’s not pocket change, but the reduced requirements for chemicals can make it more economical over time.

B. Health Benefits

One of the most significant advantages of salt water pools is their gentleness on the skin and eyes. Unlike traditional chlorine pools, salt water pools do not lead to the infamous red eyes or itchy skin. This is because they maintain a lower, more consistent level of chlorine, reducing the chances of such irritations.

C. The Feel of the Water

Stepping into a salt water pool, you’ll immediately notice the softer feel of the water. It’s almost akin to bathing in soft water. This is due to the presence of salt, which can also help your skin feel smoother and more refreshed after a swim.

D. Consistent Chlorine Levels

With a salt water pool, you won’t have to worry about manually checking and adjusting chlorine levels. The salt-chlorine generator takes care of this, maintaining a consistent and lower level of chlorine compared to traditional pools. This automated process not only ensures a healthier swim but also means less maintenance work for you.

E. The Environmental Factor

Salt water pools are generally considered to have a lower environmental impact than their chlorine counterparts. This is mainly due to their lower chemical use, which means fewer chemicals are washed away into the environment.

F. Equipment Lifespan

Here’s another point where salt water pools shine: they typically have a longer lifespan for pool equipment. The reason? The consistent, lower chlorine levels lead to less wear and tear on the pool’s equipment.

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G. Maintenance Ease

If you’re not a fan of frequent pool maintenance, a salt water pool might be your best bet. They require less routine maintenance than chlorine pools, freeing up more of your time to enjoy the water rather than working on it.

II. Chlorine Pools

A. The Cost of Chlorine Pools

In contrast to salt water pools, chlorine pools usually come with a lower initial installation cost. However, they might end up being more expensive in the long run due to the ongoing cost of chlorine tablets, shock, and stabilizers, not to mention the time you’ll need to dedicate to regular maintenance.

B. Health Effects

While a well-maintained chlorine pool should not cause significant health issues, some people may experience skin and eye irritation after a swim, especially if the chlorine levels are high.

C. The Feel of the Water

Chlorine pools have what’s often described as a harder feel to the water. Some people may find this less comfortable than the softness of salt water pools.

D. Chlorine Levels

One of the

downsides of owning a chlorine pool is the need for regular manual checking and adjusting of chlorine levels. This maintenance task is crucial to ensure the pool stays clean and safe for use.

E. Environmental Impact

Chlorine pools generally have a higher environmental impact due to the chemicals used to keep the water clean. These chemicals can find their way into the environment, causing potential harm.

F. Lifespan of Pool Equipment

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Due to the higher and more fluctuating levels of chlorine, the lifespan of pool equipment for chlorine pools is typically shorter compared to salt water pools. This means you may face more frequent equipment replacements and repairs.

G. Maintenance Needs

Chlorine pools demand more hands-on maintenance compared to salt water pools. From checking and adjusting chemical levels to adding tablets and shock, owning a chlorine pool comes with a list of regular chores.


1. Q: Is a salt water pool better than a chlorine pool?
A: It depends on your personal preferences, budget, and lifestyle. Salt water pools are generally easier to maintain and gentler on the skin and eyes, but they also come with a higher initial cost.

2. Q: Are chlorine pools bad for the environment?
A: Chlorine pools can have a higher environmental impact due to the chemicals used, but this can be managed with careful and responsible maintenance.

3. Q: Can I convert my chlorine pool into a salt water pool?
A: Yes, a chlorine pool can be converted into a salt water pool by installing a salt-chlorine generator.


Choosing between a salt water and chlorine pool comes down to understanding your own needs and priorities. Salt water pools may cost more upfront, but they can pay off with less maintenance, softer water, and a longer equipment lifespan. On the other hand, chlorine pools can be cheaper to install, but require more hands-on maintenance and careful handling of chemicals. By weighing these factors, you can dive into the pool choice that makes the most sense for you.

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Mike Hunter

Mike is the owner of the local pool shop. He's been in the business for over 20 years and knows everything there is to know about pools. He's always happy to help his customers with whatever they need, whether it's advice on pool maintenance or choosing the right chemicals. He's also a bit of a pool expert, and is always happy to share his knowledge with anyone who's interested.

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