Salt Water vs Chlorinated Pools: Pros & Cons

You may have heard about salt water swimming pools before. What you may not have heard is what makes them different from traditional chlorine pools. The key difference is how you keep them clean. Salt water pools use a salt chlorine generator, or salt cell, rather than just the usual chlorine to keep your swimming pool clean. But which is better? Below we’ll go over the pros and cons of both so you can make the best choice for your needs.

Pros of Salt Water Pools

  • Fewer chemicals – Salt water pools still have chlorine in them, it’s just in much smaller amounts than chlorinated pools. Which means the salt water is much more gentle on your eyes, skin, and swim suits. Fewer chloramines can also eliminate the chemical “pool smell” that sometimes lingers.
  • Cost – Over their lifetime, salt water pools can require less time to maintain and cost less than chlorinated pools. Since these pools rely on salt for cleanliness, you can say goodbye to those seasonal and expensive chlorine purchases.

Cons of Salt Water Pools

  • Upfront Cost – While it is true that salt water pools can be less expensive over time, it does take a pretty penny up front to purchase a salt cell. Salt cells will also need to be replaced every 3-8 years and require steady electricity plus regular cleaning.
  • Salt – Purchasing formulated salts can still be very expensive, sometimes 10x the amount of regulator pool salt. Formulated salts also often have scale inhibitors to control calcium which can shorten the life of your motors, impellers, auto cover ropes, and other pool equipment. Not using formulated salts can cause corrosion on pool equipment without regular descaling.
  • Climate – Salt water pools in Minnesota can also have a tough time since most salt cells won’t operate in temperatures below 50℉. (Which means you may want to keep some chlorine around just in case!)

Pros of Chlorinated Pools

  • Cost – In the short term, it can make financial sense to go with a chlorinated pool. You will only need to buy a single season’s worth of chlorine for your pool at a time rather than a pricey generator.
  • Sterile – While both salt water and chlorinated pools kill harmful germs and viruses, the higher levels of chlorine in chlorinated pools will help eliminate them more quickly. Which means less worry for you and your family. 

Cons of Chlorinated Pools

  • Chlorine – For some, chlorine can be harsh on the skin and cause irritation to the eyes. There are luckily some alternatives available that can help. Potassium based shocks for example, can help reduce the amount of chlorine in the water while borates can even be added to make your pool’s water feel softer on the skin.
  • Maintenance – It can take more time and effort to maintain chlorinated pools than salt water pools. Constant monitoring of their chemical balance is also vital to ensure the best pool experience. Plus a steady supply of chemicals and testing strips will need to be kept on hand in order to properly treat your pool.

Dive Into Your Perfect Pool Experience!

Interested in learning more about your chlorinated and salt water pool options?  Contact Poolside today! Our certified technicians can help you determine which will best suit your unique needs and even walk you through our delivery and installation process.

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