Chlorine vs. Salt System: what’s better for your pool?

Chlorine vs. Salt System: what’s better for your pool?

There are two main methods of caring for and maintaining your pool: the traditional chlorine pool and a salt water pool (however, salt water pools still involve chlorine to keep it sanitized).

So, which is better for maintaining your pool: a traditional chlorine system or a salt system? This question can be a point of debate among pool pros but we believe that each system has its own advantages and disadvantages. In this blog, we hope to provide a brief overview of some of the pros and cons of each system to help you determine the best option for maintaining your pool.

To begin, chlorine pools require the homeowner (or person who is maintaining the pool) to manually add chorine to the pool or system whereas the saltwater pool employs a salt chlorine generator to convert salt (sodium chloride, or NaCl) into chlorine to keep the pool clean.

Chlorine pools

Traditional chlorine pools utilize chlorine to sanitize the water and prevent bacteria and algae from forming. One of the allures of a traditional chlorine pool is that there is little upfront cost and repairs to the system (if needed) are typically minor and can be handled by the homeowner. Most often, homeowners use a combination of liquid chlorine and chlorine tablets to maintain the pool. We recommend that our customers opting to maintain their pool using the traditional chlorine method use an inline chlorine tablet feeder to simplify maintenance and to avoid damage to their surface. Some homeowners use a chlorine floater which can get caught up on the stairs or over another feature in the pool and cause a chlorine burn in that area over time. In addition to lower upfront costs, traditional chlorine pools utilize less electricity than saltwater pools.

Some of the downsides of a chlorine pool are that the everyday costs of maintaining the pool add up over time because homeowners need to purchase chlorine and other chemicals to maintain the balance of their pool. Additionally, they require more time and effort because homeowners must test and balance their water regularly. Also, the chlorine used can irritate the eyes and skin and can damage swimwear and hair.

Saltwater Pools

It seems that the two saltwater pools are: they have much lower day-to-day maintenance requirements than chlorine pools and they are generally gentler on skin, hair, eyes, and swimwear. As previously mentioned, saltwater pools still use chlorine to sanitize the water, however, it does so by creating chlorine from the salt. The chlorine salt generator (for the most part) maintains the water balance for the homeowner so there is less overall maintenance and fewer costs for chemicals than for traditional chlorine pools. Along with less maintenance, homeowners don’t have to purchase and store chemicals for ongoing maintenance. Those with sensitive skin or children tend to favor saltwater pools because they are gentler on the skin and cause less eye irritation. They also tend to be less damaging to swim wear.

There are some drawbacks to saltwater pools too. There is a significantly greater upfront cost with installing a saltwater system and running the system requires more electricity than what is needed to operate a traditional chlorine pool. Also, if there are issues with the salt system, most repairs require a professional. Also to keep in mind—the salt from the saltwater pool can be damaging to fixtures and pool decks as the salt can cause salt scaling and corrosion. We do not recommend homeowners with dyed finishes use salt systems as they produce a high pH and can cause discoloration and scaling of the finish.

At a glance…

Traditional Chlorine Pool

Saltwater Pool





  • Lower up front cost

  • Less electricity required to run the system

  • You can do minor repairs yourself

  • Chlorine and chemicals can irritate the skin, eyes, and damage swimwear

  • Higher cost for everyday maintenance (on-going cost of chemicals, etc)

  • Requires homeowner or other to maintain the chemistry balance

  • Requires place to store chlorine and chemicals

  • More time consuming to maintain

  • Fewer chemicals

  • Less chlorine means gentler on swimwear, hair, skin, etc.

  • Cheaper day-to-day maintenance

  • Less time-consuming maintenance

  • Higher upfront cost

  • Salt can cause damage to pool fixtures, equipment, and natural stone used around the pool area (e.g. not good for marble/travertine decks)

  • Repairs require a professional

Overall, both ways of maintaining your swimming pool have benefits and drawbacks. Homeowners should take all of the different factors and considerations into account before determining which system is best for their pool and lifestyle!

Advanced Pool & Spa is a family owned and operated, fully licensed, bonded, and insured pool remodeling company located in Land O Lakes, Florida. We have been in business for 39 years and take pride in our work. We hope to be able to help answer your pool related questions and would love to help make your remodeling dreams a reality! Give us a call or send us an email today for an estimate on resurfacing or remodeling your residential or commercial pools and spas. We can be reached at 813-995-2939 or

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