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Saltwater Pool Conversion: Cost, Steps, Pros, Cons

Saltwater Pool Conversion: Cost, Steps, Pros, Cons

Pool Maintenance  |  Cost and Pricing

Are you envious of your neighbors who have saltwater pools but not sure how to switch from chlorine to a salt system?


We're big fans of saltwater pools for several key reasons, like:


Salt pools are easier to maintain. 

They are gentler on the eyes and skin. 

They don't give off a strong chlorine smell. 


But you might be wondering, "how much does a saltwater pool conversion cost, and what are the steps that I need to take to convert my pool?" 


As fiberglass pool manufacturers who service pools for customers in our area, we'll walk you through the process of switching from a traditional chlorine pool to a saltwater pool and give you a rough estimate of the costs. By the end of this article, you should feel more confident about making the switch and understand the pros and cons of converting to a salt pool. 


Let's jump in.



Saltwater Pool Conversion Steps 

Converting your traditional chlorine pool to a salt system is not as difficult as you may think. 


You won't even have to drain your pool and refill it with fresh water.  


Because saltwater pools also use chlorine (the salt is converted to chlorine by the generator), the transition can take place in four relatively simple steps: 


  1. Step one is to balance your swimming pool's chemistry.
  2. Install your saltwater chlorinator and check for leaks. (Most likely, you’ll need to hire a professional for this.)
  3. Next, add pool salt directly to your pool water (the amount will depend on your pool's size).
  4. Test your pool water chemistry, and keep it balanced.


If you'd like to work with a professional to install a new saltwater pool, or to convert your existing pool to use a salt water system, get in touch with a River Pools builder near you today:




Congratulations! You are now the proud owner of a saltwater swimming pool. Let's go over how much that might cost.


How much does saltwater pool conversion cost?

Most people are able to convert their inground pools to a salt system for around $1,700 to $2,500 plus the cost of salt (typically 25 cents to 63 cents per pound). This cost includes the salt chlorine generator, which can vary in price depending on the size and manufacturer. 


Read more: Inground Saltwater Pool Cost: Salt, Cells, Generators, and More


Keep in mind that your salt chlorine generator is not a one-time purchase. You will need to regularly replace the cell and control board at a combined cost of about $1,200 to $2,000 every 3 to 7 years. 


Read more: The Best Salt Water Systems for 2021


Saltwater Pool Conversion Pros and Cons

If you're still on the fence about whether you should convert your chlorine pool to a saltwater pool, here are the main pros and cons of salt pool conversions to help you decide:



  • Saltwater pools are easier to maintain: Most people find that salt pool sanitation is much easier than the chlorine pool sanitation process. (Just make sure to monitor your chlorine levels to keep them from getting too high.) 
  • Saltwater pools are cheaper to maintain in the short term: Annual costs to maintain a saltwater pool tend to be lower than annual costs to maintain a traditional chlorine pool.  
  • Saltwater pools are gentler on eyes, skin, and hair: Most pool owners find that a saltwater pool does not cause irritation in the skin, redness in the eyes, or damage to hair. The same applies to pets as well.
  • The water is clear and smooth: The water in a salt pool feels smoother and tends to be clearer than the water in a regular chlorine pool. 
  • There's no chlorine smell: The strong chlorine smell that's often present in a chlorine pool will not be a problem in a salt pool. 



  • Metal pool parts can corrode: If your pool has metal walls or if you have an automatic pool cover with metal track parts, a salt pool can quickly cause corrosion and major damage. 
  • Not cheaper than a chlorine pool long-term: Saltwater pools cost about as much as traditional chlorine pools over time. The cost to replace equipment (control board and cell) compensates for the short term savings.  
  • Salt can wear down pool plaster: If you have a plaster surface on your concrete pool, salt can wear it down quicker than usual, which might require you to refinish it more frequently. 


Read more: Top 5 Salt Water Chlorine Generator Problems


Should you convert your inground pool to saltwater?

The benefits of converting your pool to a salt system are clear, but it might cause you more problems in the end if your pool is incompatible. 


It might not be a good idea to switch to a salt system if your inground pool has any metal parts in the structure or if you have metal accessories. You might also choose to steer clear of salt if you have a plaster surface. 


However, in most cases, unless your pool has metal walls that can corrode, a saltwater pool can make pool maintenance much easier and give you a better swimming experience overall. 


Still thinking about your options when it comes to inground pools, and whether or not you'd like to use a salt system to keep it clean? Take our Pool Type Quiz, which includes a question about saltwater to help you figure out which type of pool best suits your needs:




If you'd like to learn more about salt systems, feel free to check out our guides below. Happy swimming! 


The Lowdown on Saltwater Pools vs. Chlorine Pools

Salt Water Pools: What Type of Salt Should I Use and Why?

Should I Get a Salt Water Generator for My Pool?

Saltwater Pools FAQ


At River Pools, we manufacture high-quality fiberglass pools for homeowners across North America. If you'd like to get a fiberglass pool for your home, you can browse our pool models, try out our pool pricing calculator, or request custom pricing using the button below.