What Are the Pros and Cons of Saltwater Swimming?

Diving into the world of swimming pool options may seem overwhelming, especially when facing the choice between saltwater and traditional chlorine pools. Did you know that despite a higher startup cost, saltwater pools often have lower maintenance costs over time? In this blog post, we’ll navigate through both the pros and cons of saltwater swimming, from health effects to energy consumption.

So grab your swim cap – it’s time to dive in!

Key Takeaways

  • Saltwater swimming pools have fewer harsh chemicals, making them gentler on the skin and eyes.
  • Maintaining a saltwater pool is generally cheaper and requires less effort compared to traditional chlorine pools.
  • The corrosive nature of saltwater can damage pool equipment and surfaces over time. High upfront costs are also a consideration when opting for a saltwater pool.

Pros of Saltwater Swimming

Saltwater swimming offers the advantages of fewer harsh chemicals, lower maintenance, and cheaper costs for upkeep.

Fewer harsh chemicals

Enjoying a dip in a saltwater pool exposes you to fewer harsh chemicals than traditional pools. Contrary to what most people think, saltwater pools do contain chlorine. However, it’s present at significantly lower levels – making the water softer on your eyes and skin while equally effective in keeping the pool clean.

This is because these types of pools generate their own chlorine from the added salt using an electrolytic convertor, lowering reliance on harsher chemical additives for sanitation purposes.

Especially if you’re prone to sensitive skin issues or allergies, this can make swimming more comfortable and enjoyable for you — not only extending your swim time but potentially improving overall physical well-being too!

Lower maintenance

Saltwater pools offer the advantage of lower maintenance compared to traditional chlorine pools. With fewer harsh chemicals, saltwater pools require less frequent monitoring and chemical adjustments.

This means spending less time and effort on pool upkeep, allowing more time for relaxation and enjoyment. Furthermore, the reduced need for additional chemicals can result in cost savings over time.

Saltwater pool owners can also benefit from fewer water issues such as algae growth or pH imbalances. Overall, opting for a saltwater swimming experience can be a convenient choice for individuals seeking personal growth without the hassle of extensive pool maintenance.

Cheaper to maintain

Maintaining a saltwater pool is often cheaper compared to traditional chlorine pools. The lower cost of maintenance primarily comes from the reduced need for chemicals and frequent water testing.

Saltwater pools use a salt chlorine generator, which continuously produces chlorine by converting the salt into hypochlorous acid, eliminating the need for manual chlorination. This eliminates the ongoing expense of purchasing chlorine tablets or liquid, resulting in long-term savings.

Additionally, with fewer chemicals used, there is less wear and tear on equipment such as pumps and filters, reducing repair and replacement costs over time.

Cons of Saltwater Swimming

Saltwater swimming has its drawbacks, including the corrosive nature of saltwater, high upfront costs, and increased energy bills.

Corrosive nature of saltwater

Saltwater pools have a corrosive nature that can cause damage to pool equipment and surfaces over time. The high salt content in the water can lead to erosion and deterioration of metal parts, including pumps, heaters, and fixtures.

This corrosion can result in costly repairs or replacement of these components. Additionally, the saltwater can cause discoloration or staining on pool surfaces such as tiles or liners if not properly maintained.

It’s important to regularly monitor your salt levels and conduct routine maintenance to prevent excessive damage from the corrosive effects of saltwater.

High upfront costs

Saltwater swimming pools offer numerous benefits, but one potential drawback is the high upfront costs involved in installing them. On average, the initial cost of a saltwater pool can be around $800, which is significantly higher than traditional chlorine pools.

This includes the purchase and installation of a salt-chlorine generator system, as well as other necessary equipment. However, it’s important to note that while the initial investment may be steep, saltwater pools generally have lower maintenance costs over time compared to their chlorine counterparts.

So if you’re willing to make the investment upfront for long-term savings and enjoyment of a gentler swimming experience with fewer harsh chemicals on your skin and eyes, then a saltwater pool may be worth considering.

Increased energy bills

Saltwater pools may lead to increased energy bills compared to traditional chlorine pools. This is due to the fact that saltwater pool systems require the use of a generator or cell to convert salt into chlorine.

These generators consume electricity, resulting in higher energy consumption and subsequently, higher utility costs. It’s important for individuals considering a saltwater pool to factor in this additional expense when budgeting for their swimming pool maintenance.

Maintaining a Saltwater Pool

Maintaining a saltwater pool involves monitoring salt levels, balancing pH levels, and regular cleaning and maintenance to ensure optimal water quality. Find out how you can keep your saltwater pool in great condition for years to come.

Monitoring salt levels

To ensure the optimal performance and safety of your saltwater pool, it is important to regularly monitor the salt levels. Here are some key points to keep in mind when monitoring the salt levels:

  • Regular Testing: Test your pool’s salt levels at least once a week using a reliable saltwater test kit. This will help you determine if the salt concentration is within the recommended range.
  • Ideal Salt Level: The ideal salt level for most saltwater pools ranges between 2500 and 4500 parts per million (ppm). Maintaining this range ensures that the water is properly sanitized without being too salty.
  • Adjusting Salt Levels: If your test results indicate that the salt level is too low, you can add pool-grade salt to raise it. However, be cautious not to overdo it, as high salt concentrations can lead to corrosion and damage equipment.
  • Diluting High Salt Levels: In case your pool’s salt levels are too high, dilution with fresh water may be necessary. You can partially drain and refill your pool with freshwater to lower the overall salinity.
  • Consider Environmental Factors: External factors such as heavy rainfall or evaporation can impact the salt concentration in your pool. Keep an eye on these factors and adjust accordingly.
  • Monitoring Equipment Performance: Regularly inspect your pool equipment, including the chlorine generator or cell used in saltwater pools. Ensure they are functioning properly and producing adequate chlorine levels.

Balancing pH levels

To ensure the proper functioning of a saltwater pool, it is essential to maintain balanced pH levels. Here’s why it matters:

  1. Prevents corrosion: Balancing the pH levels in a saltwater pool helps reduce the risk of corrosion. When the pH level is too low (acidic), it can cause damage to metal components such as heaters, lights, and pumps.
  2. Optimizes sanitization: Proper pH balance ensures that chlorine produced by the salt cell effectively sanitizes the pool water. If the pH level is too high (alkaline), chlorine becomes less active, resulting in reduced effectiveness in killing bacteria and other contaminants.
  3. Avoids skin and eye irritation: Maintaining proper pH levels helps prevent skin and eye irritation while swimming in a saltwater pool. When the pH level is not balanced, it can cause discomfort and redness for swimmers with sensitive skin or eyes.
  4. Preserves swimwear: Imbalanced pH levels can be harsh on swimwear fabrics, causing fading or deterioration over time. By maintaining proper acidity or alkalinity, you can extend the lifespan of your swimsuits and other pool accessories.
  5. Ensures water clarity: Balanced pH levels contribute to clear and sparkling water in a saltwater pool. An incorrect balance can result in cloudy water, making it less inviting for swimmers.

Periodic cleaning and maintenance

Maintaining a saltwater pool requires regular cleaning and maintenance to ensure optimal performance and safety. Here are some key tasks to keep in mind:

  1. Regularly clean the pool’s surfaces: Use a pool brush or vacuum to remove dirt, debris, and algae from the walls, floors, and waterline of the pool.
  2. Clean the pool filter: Depending on the type of filter you have (sand, cartridge, or diatomaceous earth), it’s important to clean or replace the filter media as recommended by the manufacturer. This helps keep the water clear and free from impurities.
  3. Monitor and adjust salt levels: Check your salt levels regularly using a test kit or electronic monitor. Adjusting salt levels may be necessary if there are changes in rainfall, evaporation rates, or splash-out.
  4. Maintain proper pH levels: Saltwater pools require balanced pH levels for optimal sanitization and swimmer comfort. Test your pool’s pH regularly and make adjustments using appropriate chemicals as needed.
  5. Control calcium buildup: Saltwater pools can become prone to scaling due to high calcium levels in the water. Use a sequestering agent or scale inhibitor to prevent calcium buildup on pool surfaces and equipment.
  6. Inspect and clean your salt cell: The salt cell is an essential part of a saltwater system that converts salt into chlorine. Regularly inspect it for any scale buildup or debris and clean it with a diluted acid solution if necessary.
  7. Keep an eye on other equipment: Check pumps, motors, valves, and other equipment for any signs of wear or damage. Address issues promptly to prevent further problems down the line.
  8. Conduct regular water testing: In addition to monitoring salt levels and pH, it’s crucial to test other chemical parameters like chlorine levels, alkalinity, cyanuric acid, and total dissolved solids (TDS). This ensures that your pool water is safe for swimming.

Saltwater vs Chlorine Pools

When comparing saltwater pools to chlorine pools, the costs of maintenance and water quality are significant factors to consider.

Comparing costs

When it comes to choosing between a saltwater and chlorine pool, a key aspect to consider is cost. Both types have unique cost factors associated with installation, maintenance, and long-term care.

Cost Factor Saltwater Pool Chlorine Pool
Installation Higher initial costs, with an average setup expense of around $800. Installation is less expensive compared to saltwater pools.
Maintenance Fewer harsh chemicals result in lower maintenance costs over time. Requires more frequent purchase and addition of chlorine, increasing maintenance costs.
Energy Bills Saltwater pools can increase energy bills due to the need for a salt chlorinator. Less impact on energy bills, as they don’t require a salt chlorinator.
Long-term Care Corrosive nature of saltwater can lead to potential damage, requiring more intensive long-term care. Lower long-term care costs, as chlorine pools are less corrosive.
Expertise for Balance & Maintenance More expertise and knowledge needed, potentially increasing costs if external services are used. Easier to balance and maintain, reducing the cost of external services.

Remember, cost is just one aspect to consider when deciding on a pool type. Individual preferences and specific needs should also play a significant role in your final decision.

Differences in water quality

Saltwater swimming pools offer a distinct difference in water quality compared to traditional chlorine pools. The lower chlorine levels in saltwater pools make them more gentle on the eyes, skin, and even swimwear.

This can be especially beneficial for individuals with sensitive skin or allergies. Research suggests that saltwater pools may provide a more pleasant swimming experience due to the reduced chemical irritants.

Additionally, the lower chlorine content in saltwater pools can result in softer feeling water, making it a preferred choice for many swimmers seeking a more natural and refreshing environment.

It’s important to note that while there are differences in water quality between saltwater and chlorine pools, personal preferences should ultimately guide your decision-making process when choosing a pool type.

Considerations for personal preference

When considering whether to choose a saltwater pool or a chlorine pool, personal preference plays a significant role. Some individuals may prefer the gentle and softer feel of saltwater pools on their skin and eyes.

Saltwater pools have lower chlorine levels, which can reduce skin and eye irritation for those with sensitivities. Additionally, the lower chlorine content is generally gentler on swimwear, hair, and skin.

On the other hand, some people may prefer the familiar scent and feel of traditional chlorine pools. It’s important to consider your own preferences when deciding between these two options.

Saltwater pools also require more expertise for maintenance and water balance compared to traditional chlorine pools. If you enjoy being hands-on with pool care or are willing to learn about monitoring salt levels and balancing pH levels properly, then a saltwater pool could be a good fit for you.

However, if you prefer minimal maintenance responsibilities or are not comfortable with understanding water chemistry intricacies, then a traditional chlorinated pool might be more suitable.


In conclusion, saltwater swimming has its pros and cons. The lower chemical levels in saltwater pools make them gentler on the skin and eyes, while also requiring less maintenance and being cheaper to maintain.

However, the corrosive nature of saltwater and high upfront costs should be taken into consideration. Ultimately, it’s important to weigh these factors against personal preferences when deciding between a saltwater or chlorine pool.


1. What are the pros of saltwater swimming?

Saltwater swimming has several advantages compared to traditional chlorine pools. It provides a more natural and gentle experience for swimmers, as the water is softer on the skin and eyes. Saltwater pools also require less maintenance, as they do not need frequent chemical adjustments.

2. Are there any drawbacks to saltwater swimming?

While saltwater swimming has many benefits, it is important to consider some potential drawbacks. The initial installation cost of a saltwater pool can be higher than that of a chlorine pool. Saltwater systems may also require periodic maintenance and replacement of parts such as the generator or cell.

3. Is it safe to swim in saltwater pools?

Swimming in properly maintained saltwater pools is generally considered safe for most people. The saline levels in these pools are similar to those found in human tears, making them more comfortable and less irritating on the skin compared to chlorine pools.

4. Can I convert my existing chlorine pool into a saltwater pool?

Yes, it is possible to convert an existing chlorine pool into a saltwater system with proper equipment and professional assistance from a qualified pool technician or contractor who specializes in conversions. This conversion process typically involves installing a chlorinator cell and adjusting the necessary plumbing components.

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