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Salt Water Pool or Chlorine? Making the Best Choice for Your Pool

May 11, 2013 Florida Keys Lifestyle

Chlorine swimming pools became popular almost a century ago and were deemed to be the only option for a pool for a very long time. However, salt water swimming pools are growing in popularity today and proponents claim they are safer and easier to clean than fresh water, more highly chlorinated pools.

We are here to tell you that there is no real ‘winner’ because both options have their merits depending on what you need and want. 

Salt Water Pool Advantages

The clearest advantages held by salt water pools is their lower level of maintenance and lower cost. The initial cost of building a salt water pool or converting your existing chlorine pool will be higher but this cost will pay for itself within a couple of year, depending on the level of use. It is important to note that there is still some chlorine in salt water pools since it is a byproduct of the salt added. However, the chlorine level is much lower which means the water will not sting your eyes and it is safer for pets and children. Your hair and skin will be significantly softer with the salt water pool than chlorine, many proponents say. 

Salt is less harsh on our skin than chlorine and it does not fade or damage clothes as much as a regular chlorine pool. Don’t expect a salt water pool to have the same feeling as the sea, though,  since the role of the salt is to give a similar experience to a traditional pool without the same level of chemicals. 

More on the advantages of saline pools here

little girl in pool

Chlorine Pool Advantages

If the pool water contains bacteria or else its pH level is not at optimal levels, a chlorine shock to the pool will clear up the water much faster. A salt water pool could take five days to clear up the water whereas a chlorine pool does the job in two days or less. This type of pool is also easier to operate as you can just add chlorine tablets to the system with ease. When you initially build a salt water pool, you have to wait at least a month before adding salt.

If you are looking for a ‘cleaner’ pool, chlorine probably fits the bill better because you can adjust the chemical level to ensure algae doesn’t grow and bacteria are disposed of. Despite the initial high cost of a salt water pool, it works out cheaper over time and is easier to maintain since you don’t have to spend time balancing chemical and pH levels in the water. Adding salt when needed is cheaper than the upkeep of a chlorinated pool which can cost $50+ a month in comparison to the $30 or so you’ll spend during a whole season on salt. On the other hand, the energy  cost of the salt generator may add a few dollars to your electric bill that a chlorine pool will not add. 


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 Photo Courtesy of dMap Travel Guide