Should I Buy a Saltwater Pool?

Should I Buy a Saltwater Pool? 

Here are the common questions-answered, that most consumers have about saltwater: 


Q. What are saltwater pools?

A.  Simply put, saltwater pools are pools that use sodium-chloride to produce the chlorine you need to keep the water safe. This replaces the traditional chlorine pucks/sticks and decreases the amount of treatment you need to do to maintain the pool overall. 

Q. How does it work?

A. Saltwater treatments systems generally have two components, a control panel that operates the system as well as a cell which produces chlorine from the salt. Special-purity pool salt is added to the pool, which allows the cell to take the salt and break it down into chlorine as the water moves through the system.

Q. How much salt is dissolved in the water?

A. Typical systems run somewhere in the 2,700-4,000ppm range, with lower salt systems available. This is far less than you would see in typical ocean water, which averages around 35,000 ppm. So, no ocean taste and feel 😊.

Q. Are there special pools needed for saltwater?

A. Yes and no, it depends on the type of pool you are looking at. For example, in an inground and onground vinyl pool, there are often no differences in the pool construction materials needed for saltwater treatment. In an aboveground pool, it’s important to have a proper resin-framed pool. Resin-framed pools use a durable resin track and other components that cannot rust, where a steel pool will. 

Q. What about the cost?

A. Fair question and probably where I see the “worst” information given online. Salt maintenance is often less work than a traditional pool, but it’s not often the least expensive option. Upfront, salt systems cost between $1,500 for an above ground, to $4,000 on an in or buried onground pool. This includes the cost of the equipment and the initial big addition of specialized salt. There can be savings year over year with the system versus some freshwater systems, but in the end, I would say it’s really the more expensive of the two options.

Q. Why do people go with saltwater if it costs more?

A. Saltwater pools can be very easy to use and convenient to operate, especially if you are busy. As an introductory article, I don’t want to go too much into water care, but here are the basics of why salt is so popular and the advantages over a freshwater treatment system. Please keep in mind that these observations are based on the premium products our company sells, other chemical products may not be the same:

  • You treat a saltwater pool once per month vs weekly with fresh water. 
  • You can manage the chlorine very easily for a larger pool, so it’s easier to dial in the least amount of chlorine needed to keep the water clear and safe. 
  • Because saltwater pools sanitize all the time, if you go away for a week or two in the summer months, the pool is caring for itself. 
  • You don’t handle chlorine often with these pools. There are no liquid, puck, or granular chlorine products that you are using on an ongoing basis. 
  • Water feel and quality is very nice with a saltwater pool, and it can be easier to maintain clear water. 


Q. Why would someone go with fresh water then?

A. Freshwater systems can be just as effective as saltwater, it’s how you get there that’s different. The pros and cons to each system are a question of both cost, ease of use and convenience. If you have the time to treat the pool weekly, you are around the property most of the summer and you want to cut some of the upfront pool costs, then freshwater may be the better option for you. 

Q. What else should I know about saltwater?

A.  The only thing I always like to mention to clients is that saltwater equipment eventually needs to be replaced. Like your pool pump or any other piece of equipment, eventually you need to replace parts of a salt system too. The cells generally get replaced every 4-7 years if cared for properly, and the control systems usually have a 10+ year lifespan. Proper care and maintenance like with anything else, extends the life of these systems.