Saltwater vs Chlorine Pools, Which is Better for You?

The first chlorine pool was invented and used in the year 1911 by Brown University (See source here). Since then, chlorine pools have become the most popular type of pool in the world. But is it time to rethink that norm? Today on Pool Calculator we are going to be comparing chlorine and saltwater pools. This means we’ll be giving a brief overview of each pool, including giving the pros and cons of each pool, and interjecting our personal opinion on whether making the change to saltwater would be right for you.

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Chlorine Pools

Most people assume you are talking about chlorine pool when referencing a swimming pool. To most, “swimming pool” and “chlorine pool” are synonymous. Chlorine pools are fresh water pools that are treated with chlorine to clean the water and keep it safe for public use. This safety is paired with the fact that these pools are cheap to install and require less maintenance than saltwater pools. They’re considered “old school” to most people, but if the formula isn’t broke why fix it?

Chlorine Pool Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Lower initial costs. This is because saltwater pools are expensive to install.
  • Chlorine is not harmful to fixtures or to your pool. Unlike chlorine pools, saltwater can be harsh on surfaces
  • Chlorine pools use less energy than saltwater pools. These pools only require a pump for the injection of chlorine, and no “salt converter”
  • Most maintenance and repairs can be done DIY (Do it yourself). This means that you will not require much professional help.

Cons:

  • Chlorine is a harmful chemical. Can be irritating to humans and animals, and side effects include red eyes, irritated skin, and damage to hair.
  • Chlorine pools require constant attention to maintain chlorine level and kill the bacteria in the pool. This means you will need to devote more time to your pool.
  • Chlorine must be stored carefully. If stored improperly the chemical can become less effective, be considered “inactive”.

Saltwater Pools

While it is commonly believed that saltwater pools have no chlorine, this is simply not true. Chlorine is produced from the salt that is added to the pool using a salt converter. This salt converter works just hard enough to do the job. This tactics means that the overall chlorine level is lower than chlorine pools and offers just enough chlorine to kill the bacteria in the pool. Being newer to residential areas, saltwater pools offer many pros and cons for consumers to consider:

Saltwater Pool Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Lower chlorine level. This lower chlorine level means that swimming is less irritating on the body. Leads to Increased convenience for swimmers.
  • Chlorine levels are high enough to disinfect, but not high enough to be harmful
  • Saltwater pools require fewer chemicals (and less overall attention) to treat the water.

Cons:

  • More expensive when compared to traditional pools. This means there is a higher initial investment a for salt converter.
  • Repairs will likely need to be performed by a professional. More complex than chlorine pools.
  • Saltwater can damage pool, and other fixtures. This means you will likely need to purchase “salt proof” items for the pool. Additional costs incurred.

What Pool is Best for Me?

Chlorine and saltwater pools are highly comparable. This means that the “best option” is not usually clear to see. Chlorine pools are cheaper and simpler in practice, but require more maintenance. Saltwater pools offer lower chlorine levels and less chemical treatment, but are more complex. These pools are easier on the human body, but harder on your pool fixtures. The small differences are easy to see, but there is one huge difference; the cost of installation. Chlorine pools are clearly the budget option. For that reason alone they will likely continue to be the more popular option for consumers.

Try out our Pool Calculator as you clean and maintain your pool! For more information on how to care for your swimming pool, see our blogs on Pool Maintenance

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