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  • Writer's pictureMike Roberts

Saltwater vs. Chlorine Pools: Which Is Right For You?

If you’re considering a pool for your home, you’ll need to decide whether you want a traditional chlorine pool or a saltwater one. Each option offers its own advantages and disadvantages, so let’s look at what you need to know.

How chlorine and saltwater work

Both traditional chlorine pools and saltwater pools, also called saline pools, rely on chlorine to sanitize the water and kill harmful bacteria. The difference between saltwater and traditional pools is how chlorine is introduced.

With a traditional pool, you add chlorine in liquid, powdered or tablet form directly to the water. Saltwater pools have a special generator that converts the salt you add to the water into chlorine. The salt method produces less chlorine than what is added directly in the traditional way, but neither type has the edge over the other when sanitizing the water.

Pros and cons of the two types of pools

  • Though the initial investment in a saltwater pool is higher, the annual maintenance cost is a fraction of what you’ll pay with a chlorine pool.

  • Saltwater has a softer feel than chlorine pool water. It also won’t fade swimsuits and isn’t as harsh on the skin, eyes, and hair. Traditional chlorine also has an odor that many consider unpleasant.

  • You must occasionally “shock” a traditional pool with a strong jolt of chlorine, after which swimmers must stay out of the pool for 24 hours.

  • A saltwater pool’s salt generator needs regular checking and maintenance and must be replaced every three to eight years.

  • A saltwater pool’s generator cannot sanitize water below 60 degrees, but chlorine pools stay sanitized even in cold weather.

  • Salt can accelerate the erosion of the pool’s structure.

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