Pros and Cons of Saltwater Pools vs. Chlorine Water Pools

a pool with a slide and trees in the background.

Key Takeaways

  • Saltwater pools offer gentler water with lower maintenance costs but require a higher initial investment.

  • Chlorine pools are cost-effective upfront and provide quick sanitization but involve more ongoing chemical management.

  • Both pool types need regular maintenance to ensure water safety and equipment longevity.

Making a Splash: Choosing Between Saltwater and Chlorine Pools

Deciding between a saltwater and a chlorine pool? This guide demystifies each option, focusing on their pros, cons, and maintenance needs for Raleigh residents.

Is a saltwater pool or a chlorine pool better for your Raleigh home?

Saltwater pools are praised for their softer water and lower maintenance costs but come with higher setup costs.

Chlorine pools, on the other hand, offer a more budget-friendly initial setup but require more frequent chemical management.

The best choice depends on your budget, maintenance preference, and sensitivity to chlorine.

This post will dive into the nitty-gritty of saltwater pools vs. chlorine water pools, offering you a clear comparison to help guide your decision.

By the end of this read, you’ll be equipped with a comprehensive understanding of both pool types, allowing you to weigh their advantages and disadvantages effectively.

Whether you’re looking for a new vinyl liner pool installation in Raleigh or contemplating switching between systems, we promise you’ll emerge with valuable insights to make a splash in your pool selection process.

What’s a Saltwater Pool?

In the heart of Raleigh, NC, and its surrounding areas, the choice between saltwater and chlorine pools is becoming increasingly common among pool owners. It’s one of the essential things to consider when building an in-ground pool.

Let’s delve into what makes a saltwater pool a sought-after option for many.

Saltwater pools are often celebrated for their softer feel and less intensive chemical management.

Contrary to popular belief, these pools are not devoid of chlorine. In fact, they do have chlorine, just at a much lower level than a chlorine pool.

Instead, they utilize a salt chlorine generator to convert salt into chlorine, ensuring optimal water quality with a gentler approach.

How Do Saltwater Pools Work?

Saltwater pools operate on a fascinating process known as electrolysis.

This method allows the salt chlorine generator to break down salt, transforming it into chlorine.

The chlorine is produced at a steady and continuous level, whereas a chlorine pool uses chlorine sticks or tablets that are added.

The amount of salt in the pool water is like the salt content in human tears, about 1/10th the salinity of seawater.

Here’s a closer look at how this system benefits your swimming experience:

  • Electrolysis Process: A salt chlorine generator breaks dissolved salt into hypochlorous acid and sodium hypochlorite using electrolysis. Hypochlorous acid and sodium hypochlorite are two sanitizing agents used in chlorine-based swimming pools. The generator does not filter the pool water. A separate filter removes debris from the pool.

  • Fewer Chloramines: This process results in lower levels of chloramines, the compounds responsible for the harsh chlorine smell and eye irritation in traditional chlorine pools.

Types of Salt to Use in a Saltwater Pool

Choosing the right type of salt is crucial for the efficiency of your salt chlorine generator and the overall health of your pool.

Here are some recommendations:

  • Recommended Salts: Solar salt, mined salt, and mechanically evaporated salt are best suited for saltwater pools due to their purity and compatibility with salt chlorine generators.

  • Avoid Certain Salts: It’s important to steer clear of salts with additives, such as Epsom salt, Himalayan salt, and rock salt, as they can harm your pool equipment and affect water quality.

By understanding the mechanics behind saltwater pools and selecting the appropriate salt, Raleigh residents can enjoy a swimming experience that’s both enjoyable and easy to maintain.

What’s a Chlorine Pool?

For many in Raleigh and beyond, the traditional chlorine pool has been the go-to choice for backyard swimming fun.

These pools use chlorine, in various forms, to keep the water clean and safe for swimming by eliminating harmful bacteria and preventing algae growth.

Overview of Traditional Chlorine Pool Maintenance

Maintaining a chlorine pool involves a series of regular tasks to ensure the water remains clear, clean, and safe for swimmers.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • Chlorine Addition: Chlorine can be added to the pool water in the form of tablets, liquid, or granules. This chemical acts quickly to sanitize the pool by killing bacteria and other pathogens.

  • Chemical Balance: Regular testing of the pool’s pH levels, total alkalinity, and chlorine levels is essential. Adjustments may be necessary to maintain the optimal balance for safe swimming conditions.

  • Algae Prevention: Chlorine pools often require the addition of algaecides to prevent algae growth, especially during the warm summer months in Raleigh. If you are struggling with algae growth, follow the link to discover how to clean a green pool.

Explanation of Chlorine’s Role in Pool Sanitation

Chlorine’s primary role in a swimming pool is to act as a disinfectant.

As the name suggests, chlorine pools use this chemical to fight germs and keep the pool water sanitized.

Chlorine and pH are the primary defenses against germs that can make swimmers sick.

Chlorine is a naturally occurring chemical element and one of the basic building blocks of matter.

Chlorine is produced from ordinary salt by passing an electric current through a solution of brine, which is a common salt dissolved in water, in a process called electrolysis.

Saltwater and chlorine water both use the process of electrolysis to result in the release of hypochlorous acid (HOCl), the active sanitizing agent.

It’s highly effective at eliminating bacteria and viruses from the pool water, ensuring a safe swimming environment.

Here’s how it works:

  • Disinfection: Chlorine breaks down bacteria and viruses present in the pool water, rendering them harmless.

  • Oxidation: Oxidation also breaks down organic matter such as sweat, oils, and urine that can contaminate pool water.

  • Algae Control: By maintaining proper chlorine levels, algae growth is significantly reduced, keeping the pool water clear.

Chlorine pools have been the standard for swimming pools for decades, offering a reliable method to keep pool water safe and clean.

However, the maintenance of chlorine levels and the handling of chemicals require diligence and care from pool owners.

Pros and Cons of Saltwater Pools

Choosing the right pool for your Raleigh home involves weighing the benefits and drawbacks of each type.

Saltwater pools have gained popularity for their gentle approach to pool water treatment, but they come with their own set of considerations.


Saltwater pools offer several advantages that make them an attractive option for many pool owners:

  • Gentler on Skin and Eyes: The lower chlorine levels in saltwater pools result in less irritation to the skin and eyes, making for a more comfortable swim.

  • Lower Maintenance Costs: Generally, saltwater pools require less maintenance than their chlorine counterparts, with annual costs typically under $100.

  • Softer Water Feel: Many swimmers prefer the silky feel of saltwater on their skin, which is less harsh than traditional chlorine pools.

  • No Need to Store Chlorine: Since saltwater pools produce chlorine through a salt chlorine generator, there’s no need to handle or store chlorine chemicals.


Despite their benefits, saltwater pools also have some drawbacks to consider:

  • Higher Initial Investment: The cost of installing a salt chlorine generator can be significant, making the initial setup more expensive than traditional chlorine pools.

  • Ongoing Electricity Use: Salt chlorine generators require electricity to function, which may increase your energy bills.

  • Potential Corrosion: Saltwater can be corrosive to certain materials, potentially affecting pool fixtures, underwater lighting, and masonry work.

  • Regular Monitoring Required: While less frequent than chlorine pools, saltwater systems still require regular checks to ensure the salt levels and chlorine production are balanced.

Understanding these pros and cons can help Raleigh residents make an informed decision about whether a saltwater pool is the right choice for their home.

Pros and Cons of Chlorine Pools

While saltwater pools have been making waves among Raleigh homeowners, traditional chlorine pools remain a steadfast choice for many.

Let’s dive into the benefits and challenges of maintaining a chlorine-based swimming oasis.


Chlorine pools have stood the test of time for several reasons, offering distinct advantages for pool owners:

  • Lower Initial Cost: Setting up a chlorine pool typically involves less upfront investment compared to saltwater systems, making it a budget-friendly option.

  • Quick Sanitization: Chlorine acts fast to eliminate bacteria and algae, ensuring your pool water remains clean and safe for swimming.

  • Non-Corrosive: Unlike saltwater, chlorine is less likely to corrode pool equipment, decks, and accessories, extending the lifespan of your swimming pool setup.

  • Ease of Maintenance: With chlorine tablets readily available at pool supply stores, maintaining the right chemical balance is straightforward.

  • Energy Efficiency: Chlorine pools generally consume less energy since they don’t require a salt chlorine generator to operate.


Despite their popularity, chlorine pools come with their own set of drawbacks that potential pool owners should consider:

  • Chemical Handling: Managing chlorine levels means handling chemicals, which requires caution and proper storage to ensure safety.

  • Regular Maintenance: To keep the pool water in pristine condition, owners must regularly check and adjust chlorine and pH levels, which can be more labor-intensive.

  • Potential for Irritation: Higher chlorine concentrations can lead to skin and eye irritation, as well as a strong chemical smell that some find unpleasant.

  • Ongoing Costs: Although the initial setup is less expensive, the cost of chlorine and other necessary chemicals throughout the swimming season can add up.

Understanding the pros and cons of chlorine pools can help Raleigh residents make an informed decision that aligns with their preferences, budget, and willingness to engage in ongoing pool maintenance.

Maintenance and Cost Comparison: Saltwater Pools vs. Chlorine

When it comes to choosing between a saltwater pool and a chlorine pool for your Raleigh home, understanding the maintenance requirements and associated costs is crucial.

Let’s break down what you can expect in terms of upkeep and expenses for each type of pool.

Saltwater Pool Maintenance

Maintaining a saltwater pool involves specific tasks to ensure the system functions properly and the water remains clean and safe:

  • Initial Setup and Conversion Costs: Transitioning to a saltwater system or installing a new saltwater pool requires a higher initial investment, mainly due to the cost of the salt chlorine generator. The upfront cost of the salt chlorine generator is between $400 and $1,800, and the installation costs range from $300 to $500. This initially makes the saltwater pool cost more than a chlorine-based pool. Both the salt chlorine generator and the generator installation are included in the standard package with Prestige Pools of NC.

  • Yearly Maintenance Costs: Once set up, saltwater pools tend to have lower annual maintenance costs, often less than $100, primarily because they require less chemical usage.

  • Salt Cell Replacement: The salt cell, a critical component of the salt chlorine generator, typically needs replacement every 5 to 7 years, which can cost between $200 and $800.

Chlorine Pool Maintenance

Chlorine pools, while cheaper to set up, may require more attention and ongoing costs:

  • Upfront and Ongoing Chemical Costs: The initial cost of setting up a chlorine pool is lower, but pool owners can expect to spend $300 to $800 annually on chlorine and other chemicals to maintain optimal water quality. However, there are simple ways to reduce chlorine consumption for your pool.

  • Regular Maintenance: Chlorine pools require frequent monitoring and adjustment of chlorine levels, pH levels, and total alkalinity to prevent algae growth and ensure the water is safe for swimming.

Both pool types require a commitment to regular maintenance to keep the water clean and equipment running smoothly.

However, the choice between a saltwater vs. a chlorine pool often comes down to personal preference, budget, and how much time you’re willing to dedicate to pool upkeep.

Dive Into Your Dream Pool with Prestige Pools of NC

Throughout this guide, we’ve navigated the waters of saltwater and chlorine pools, shedding light on the pros and cons of each to help you make an informed decision.

Whether you’re drawn to the gentler touch of saltwater pools or the traditional charm of chlorine pools, understanding their maintenance and costs is key to enjoying a splash-worthy backyard oasis.

Prestige Pools of NC stands ready to bring your vinyl liner pool dreams to life in Raleigh, Johnston County, Wake County, and beyond, ensuring a seamless installation process tailored to your preferences and lifestyle.

Our expertise in crafting the perfect backyard retreat means you can trust us to handle every detail of your pool installation, from choosing the right type of pool to ensuring it’s properly maintained.

With Prestige Pools of NC, you’re not just getting a pool; you’re getting a lifetime of summer fun and relaxation designed with your needs in mind.

Ready to take the plunge and transform your backyard into a haven of leisure and enjoyment?

Prestige Pools of NC is here to guide you every step of the way.

Fill out our contact form today, or give us a call, and let’s start planning your ideal pool experience.