Saltwater pools were rare just 10 years ago, but they’ve exploded in popularity. We wanted to take a moment to better educate our customers about what a salt pool is—and isn’t—so you can make an informed choice.

Salt Generator Pool

Salt Generator Pool

There are a lot of misconceptions about saltwater pools. Perhaps the biggest is that they don’t contain any chlorine. We often hear, “Oh we don’t use chlorine, we use salt.” from customers in our retail stores. In actuality, saltwater pools use a generator to convert salt into chlorine, which is necessary for sanitation. Salt is not a sanitizer, the chlorine made from it is. So, in fact, a salt chlorine generator pool is most definitely a chlorine pool.
The chlorine levels required are the same as chlorine pools using traditional methods of chlorine introduction such as an automatic feeder or a floater, but there is more automation with a salt chlorine generator and less daily checking required by the pool owner. And, with saltwater pools, there are no chlorine tablets to buy or add. However, your salt level (special salt is required) needs to be maintained at the proper level for chlorine production which means adding 40 pound bags of salt from time to time. Only a water test can determine your current level and if more is needed. At Pettis Pools, our free water test labs are fully set up to test for salt levels and all other important water balance parameters.
Another major misconception about saltwater pools is they’re as salty as the ocean. In truth, the salt content is about 10 times lower—similar to that of natural tears so most people cannot taste the salt.

How Much Does a Saltwater Swimming Pool Cost?

The distinguishing factor between a saltwater pool and a chlorine pool is the existence of a chlorine generator. In order to have a saltwater pool, you need to spend about an extra $1,100 – $2,000 on a generator and have it installed. You’ll also have to spend about $50 each year for salt to top up your levels, but you won’t have to purchase chlorine, which is more expensive. You will however still need balancers, and we strongly recommend an algaecide. In addition, the type of chlorine that a salt chlorine generator manufactures needs to be protected from the UV rays of the sun so you need to be sure you have the proper amount of stabilizer in the water. Again, we can easily test for this at either Pettis Pool location, free of charge.

Saltwater Pool Pros

  • No chlorine to buy: Because saltwater pools produce chlorine using a generator, you will not need to worry about purchasing, transporting and adding chlorine to your pool.


  • Increased comfort: Saltwater pools provide a more comfortable swimming experience. The water is softer on the skin and is less likely to cause itching, burning, dry skin, green hair or swimsuit fading. You can open your eyes underwater without irritation. Most people who opt for saltwater pools do so for the increased comfort to their skin and eyes.


  • Spend less time: Maintenance takes less time than a chlorine pool.


  • Self-regulating: The generators in a saltwater pool produce a steady flow of chlorine. Chlorine pools require regular chlorine treatments to maintain the appropriate levels. A steady flow of chlorine reduces algae build-up and maintains a more reliable, even level of sanitization.


Saltwater Pool Cons

  • Price: Saltwater pool systems are more expensive to install because of the initial purchase of a salt generator.


  • Harmful to plants: Saltwater can kill plants and rob soil of important nutrients. Because of this a few cities and towns around the country ban saltwater pools.


  • Maintenance costs: Metal parts and components will have to be replaced more often because salt is corrosive. Salt chlorination cells need to be inspected once every three months and replaced every three to four years in our area.


Chlorine Pools Overview

People are more familiar with chlorine pools, making them the most popular choice. Chlorine is a powerful chemical that instantly kills harmful bacteria. With a chlorine pool, you’ll buy chlorine tablets and add them on a regular basis to maintain the pool’s proper chemical balance.

How Much Does a Chlorine Swimming Pool Cost?

You’ll save $1,100 – $2,000 upfront by opting for a chlorine pool because there’s no salt chlorine generator to buy. Chlorine pools are less expensive to maintain because the parts and components are less likely to corrode. However, you will have to purchase buckets of chlorine on a regular basis. They are more expensive than salt.

Chlorine Pool Pros

  • Cost: Chlorine pools are less expensive upfront and cost less to maintain—even after you factor in the cost of purchasing chlorine. This is largely because you don’t need to purchase a generator and replacement cells.


  • Supplies: Are easy to obtain for chlorine pools.


  • Speed: Chlorine treated pools reportedly scrub bacteria from the water faster and more thoroughly.


  • Familiarity: Chlorine pools have been the standard in residential pools. After learning to properly maintain the chemical balance, switching involves a bit of a learning curve because the maintenance is different.


Chlorine Pool Cons

  • Irritation: Chlorine can cause itching, burning, dry skin, green hair and swimsuit fading. Some people find it uncomfortable to open their eyes underwater. Most of this can be minimized—or completely eliminated—by maintaining proper levels of chlorine, pH, and alkalinity.


  • Maintenance: Without a generator to create chlorine and regulate chlorine levels, the pool owner is in charge of maintaining the proper balance. You’ll need to add chlorine on a regular basis and monitor the chlorine levels. You will also need to perform periodic “shock” treatments to prevent algae growth and regulate chlorine levels.

A quick look at several types of chemistry
Salt Solutions by Ultima

Ultima Salt Solutions

Ultima Salt Solutions

Comprehensive Chemical System developed for pools using Salt Chlorine Generators
When you’re looking for reliable pool products that are powerful enough to solve existing problems and prevent new ones, try the Ultima® brand, a unique line of specialty products for swimming pool care. Salt Solutions by Ultima offers easy-to-use products for any pool where the owner wants to spend more time enjoying the water than maintaining it!
Baquacil CDX

Baquacil CDX System

Baquacil CDX System

Why use chlorine at all when you can choose Baquacil CDX?
With premium Baquacil® pool care products, you can finally achieve the kind of clarity your pool was designed for in the first place. Baquacil does away with tedious pool care by enabling you to convert your pool into a chlorine-free, carefree sanctuary in less than 24 hours. The result? Clear, beautiful water that’s gentle on eyes, hair and skin, not to mention pool surfaces and swimsuits.
The chemical structure makes it extremely stable and it is not affected by sunlight, temperature or pH fluctuations. The CDX® system features a 3-step, three product chlorine-free routine that is easy to use. But the real advantage behind Baquacil brand is the peace of mind all of our products offer thanks to the brand’s dependable, consistent bacteria control.
We hope this provides a quick overview to help you decide what type of pool is best for you. We are always happy to answer any of your specific questions. Just call or stop in at either one of our Pettis Pools & Patio locations.