Saltwater vs. Chlorine Pools

Whether you’re looking for an in-ground or above ground swimming pool, there is no shortage of options. You’ll find that both saltwater and chlorine pools offer great fun with their refreshing advantages!

How Do Saltwater Pools Work?

While you might be familiar with saltwater pools, most people don’t know how they work. Even though the name doesn’t suggest it, saltwater pools do contain chlorine, though at much lower levels when you compare salt water versus a chlorine pool. A salt water pool uses a saltwater chlorinator that turn salt into chlorine instead of using tablets, sticks, or liquid chlorine. The result is softer feeling water, which is why some proponents of these pools like to say salt water pools are better. But, to each their own, we like to say. So let’s look at some of the pros and cons of saltwater pools.

saltwater pool with beach ball

Pros of Saltwater Pools

  1. You have to store less “stuff” to maintain a saltwater pool. One of the biggest differences of chlorine versus salt water pools is the amount of chemicals you’ll need. You’ll find that you won’t need to have a shed full of chlorine, shock, and other common chlorine pool chemicals on hand.
  2. Saltwater pools are easier on your skin and eyes. Lower levels of chlorine create softer water that is much easier on swimmers’ eyes and skin. The water also does less damage to your hair and bathing suits.
  3. Saltwater pools cost less to maintain than chlorine pools. Relating back to the first point, you only need to buy pool salt, and a few times a year, you will have to pay to maintain the chemical balance; it’s that simple. A chlorine pool needs constant testing, checking, and balancing, which requires frequent trips to the store for chlorine or other chemicals needed for maintenance. It also requires more advanced chemical knowledge to create the proper balance of chemicals in the pool.
  4. It smells better. Some people don’t mind the smell of chlorine, but to others, it can be overwhelming. If you fall into the camp of people that do not enjoy the powerful smell of chlorine, a saltwater pool is much easier on the nostrils.

Cons of Saltwater Pools

  1. The initial investment is much greater. A chlorine generator isn’t cheap, and though they will reduce your chemical costs in time, a saltwater pool requires a greater initial investment to get up and running compared to a chlorine pool system.
  2. Saltwater pools are more expensive to repair typically. When your salt chlorine generator has issues, you’ll likely need a professional to repair it. Chlorine pools are more common and chemical imbalances can be fixed by tinkering with the chemicals – usually without professional help.
  3. Salt can cause damage to materials. The salt used to create your chlorine can cause damage to some materials, and when it does, it can be costly to replace. It can also result in metal deterioration that could cost thousands of dollars.

How Do Chlorine Pools Work?

Chlorine pools are the ones most people are familiar with. Chlorine pools require you to add some form of chlorine regularly to fend off contaminants like algae and harmful bacteria. People relying on a chlorine system use test strips or other monitoring systems to test for free chlorine and pH to keep their water balanced and to ensure they add the proper amount of chlorine.

While saltwater pools have become more popular, there are plenty of reasons for people to invest in traditional chlorine pools, as we’ll show in a list of pros and cons.

Chlorine Pool Pros

  1. Chlorine is standard and widely used chemical in household cleaning products, so it is easy to find chlorine in any store. While saltwater pools are cheaper over time, chlorine is also relatively inexpensive to buy as well as use. Chlorine pools are attractive to most new pool owners due to the low upfront costs, but it is also easy to find the chemicals and replacement parts for chlorine pool equipment.
  2. Chlorine pools are easy to use and maintain enough for almost anyone to do it by themselves. A chlorine pool has a straightforward setup, which makes them easy and fun for beginners and the entire family within a couple of hours.
  3. Since they don’t have a chlorine generator, a traditional chlorine pool uses less electricity. If you live in an area that has high energy costs, you may not realize as much of a long-term saving due to the consumption of your pool’s generator.
  4. Chlorine pools are less corrosive. While salt can be hard on all the materials in your pool, chlorine won’t corrode things like your pool liner, masonry or accessories like ladders or steps.

Chlorine Pool Cons

  1. Chlorine is a dangerous chemical. You need to be careful with chlorine, as it’s potentially poisonous. This is especially important for people with young children and pets who can get into the chemicals.
  2. Chlorine pools are higher maintenance. Chlorine pools require a lot of attention and maintenance. If you have a chlorine pool, you’ll find yourself checking and balancing a whole host of things including chlorine levels, pH levels, alkalinity, calcium hardness, and more. It also takes some time to get a feel for balancing these chemicals, as it can be easy to over or underdo it.
  3. Irritating smell and feel. As mentioned previously chlorine is a powerful chemical, and with that comes a smell that can be off-putting, and the chemical can also cause irritation for swimmers’ eyes and skin.

There are pros and cons to both chlorine pools and saltwater pools. The choice is yours, depending on your needs and preference. Just be sure to do your homework before you make your decision to make sure you choose the right system for your household.

Once you decide on the right type of pool for your backyard oasis, you’ll need to outfit it with the right pool accessories. Check out our top-quality American-made accessories from Global Pool Products. Our pool handrailsladders, slides, and lifts can make your chlorine or saltwater pool more functional and eye catching!

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