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The Lowdown on Saltwater Pools vs. Chlorine Pools

The Lowdown on Saltwater Pools vs. Chlorine Pools

Options and Accessories  |  Swimming Pool Accessories

The following is a guest post from Diane Pierce at Authentic Plaster & Tile.

Both saltwater pools and traditional chlorine types have awesome features. If you’re on the fence, you certainly aren’t alone. Which features suit you best? Read on!


Saltwater Pools

The biggest myth surrounding saltwater pools is that they contain zero chlorine because the water comes from the sea.

But the truth may surprise you.

Saltwater pools don’t even come close to seawater. In fact, they aren’t even chlorine-free. Saltwater pools use a process called “electrolysis” to produce just enough chlorine to disinfect the water. These pools use salt chlorinators, also known as salt chlorine generators, or just salt water systems. Click here to check out our new guide to the top salt water systems for all pool types!



  • Lower chlorine levels make saltwater pools gentler on skin and eyes. This is a great choice if the pool is to be used by young children and athletes who are immersed for long periods of time.
  • Chlorine levels in saltwater pools are enough to disinfect, but not enough to fade expensive swimwear and gear.
  • Because of the natural chlorine, saltwater pools require fewer chemicals (and less attention) compared to chlorinated pools.


  • A saltwater pool is more expensive than a traditional pool because it requires a higher initial investment.
  • Compared to chlorinated pools, a saltwater pools system is more complex. Both minor and major repairs will call for the expertise of a licensed (and specialized) technician.
  • Saltwater can damage. You will need to purchase underwater lighting, heaters, fixtures, liners, and masonry work specific to saltwater pools. Which will end up being for costly when doing pool renovations.


Chlorine Pools

Chlorine pools are popular because it’s cheaper to install and easier to maintain. Unlike its saltwater counterpart, chlorine is added rather than naturally produced.



  • The initial investment is less. Much less.
  • Chlorine pools use less electricity. Saltwater pools require a special salt chlorine generator to convert salt into chlorine. Chlorine pools, on the other hand, merely require a pump (to circulate the water in your pool, which prevents dirt, bacteria, and algae from multiplying in the water), and cleaning equipment.
  • Chlorine is fixture-friendly.
  • Most repairs can be done DIY (do-it-yourself). Otherwise, finding someone to fix a chlorine pools systems won’t be a problem.


  • Chlorine is known to be harsh on the skin, eyes, and hair. Swimmers should invest in bath products that effectively remove chlorine. Can also be very harmful to any pool deck painting if you didn’t choose the correct paint.
  • Chlorine pools require constant vigilance to kill excess bacteria. This means that you need to check on chlorine content on a regular basis. In addition, other chemicals such as balancing agents, need to be added consistently. Bottom line: you need to up your budget to maintain a chlorine pool, and have someone habitually check on your pool’s chemical composition.
  • Chlorine has to be stored properly. You may have to dedicate an exclusive area free from moisture to keep components active.

The Verdict

The “old-school” chlorine pool has been around for more than five decades, which makes the 30-ish saltwater pools much younger in years. The choice, however, is never obvious.

Chlorine pools need more commitment while saltwater pools require deeper pockets up front. Many public establishments such as water parks and hotels have begun to convert to saltwater pools simply because they require less manpower and are less expensive to keep clean. But a good number still stand by their chlorine pools for its fixture-friendly features.


We at River Pools hope this quick overview has been helpful.

We specialize in fiberglass pools, but we want our world-class pool education to help each person figure out which pool type and options are best for them.

There are pros and cons to all three pool types, including how they work with a salt water system.

If you find that a salt chlorine generator is the best fit for you, a fiberglass pool may be right up your alley! The salt doesn't corrode or roughen the gelcoat surface, and the higher price upfront is offset by the minimal long-term cost.

Still thinking about which pool might be best for you? Take our free quiz and find out in minutes:




River Pools manufactures and installs freeform and linear fiberglass pools in Virginia and southern Maryland. We also operate in other areas of the country through our nationwide dealers. 

If you're ready to take the next step in creating your dream backyard, drop us a line, or click the button below for a quick expert quote! 





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