Saltwater vs. Freshwater Pools

a large swimming pool with steps leading up to it.

Do you love the feeling of a cool dip in a swimming pool on a hot summer day? Who doesn’t, right?! Would you like more convenience than your neighborhood pool offers? Consider installing a vinyl liner pool in your backyard. What could be better than stepping out your back door and walking over to a crystal clear pool that refreshes you just by the sight of it!

If you’re thinking a swimming pool is in your future, as you look at options you’ll find that there are several besides just the size and shape.

For example, do you want to go with a freshwater or saltwater pool? Saltwater swimming pools have become very popular for residential homes in the past few years. If you’re trying to decide between the two you may be wondering what the pros and cons for each type of pool are.

At Prestige Pools, we’re here to help you make those decisions. Our specialty is building and installing custom concrete and vinyl liner pools. We would love to show some of our options to help in your decision-making process! There are some differences in saltwater and freshwater pools but, in the end, it’s really about your preference. So, let’s dive right into the pros and cons! (Sorry!)

The Main Difference — Chlorination

The main difference between a saltwater and a freshwater swimming pool is in the process of chlorination. Any body of standing water has the potential to grow E.coli bacteria as well as other potentially harmful bacteria. Without chlorine, bacteria is able to thrive in the stagnant water. So, all swimming pools need chlorine to maintain a healthy environment. With a freshwater pool, you add the chlorine manually. But, with a saltwater pool, you have a powered generator that turns the salt into chlorine gas automatically.

Saltwater Pools

With the chlorination process being the big difference between the two types of swimming pools, what are the pros and cons of a saltwater swimming pool?


  • Gentler on eyes and skin – Because of the chlorine in a saltwater pool being a gas, there is actually a lower level of chlorine with this type of pool, so this pool is gentler on the eyes and skin. This makes a saltwater pool a good option where children and/or swimmers are in the water for long periods of time.
  • Less fading of swimwear and gear – The chlorine levels are high enough to disinfect the water but not so harsh on clothing and gear.
  • Requires fewer chemicals – Due to the natural chlorine, a saltwater pool requires fewer chemicals to maintain it, which reduces long-term costs.


  • More expensive upfront – A saltwater pool is more expensive than a freshwater pool because it requires a higher initial investment.
  • More complex – A saltwater pool is more complex so you need a licensed, specialized technician when the pool needs repairs.
  • Saltwater can cause damage to fixtures – Saltwater can damage fixtures, especially metal ones, such as lighting and heaters. Specialty liners and specific masonry is required and can be costly when renovating and/or replacing.

Freshwater Pools

Here are the pros and cons of a freshwater swimming pool:


  • Initial investment is a lot less – Establishing a freshwater pool requires much less money upfront because there is no need for the chlorine salt generator or special liners, etc.
  • Uses less electricity – The freshwater only requires cleaning equipment and a pump that circulates the water, preventing dirt, bacteria, and algae from growing. A freshwater pool uses less electricity because there is no need for the salt chlorine generator, saving ongoing costs.
  • Chlorine doesn’t damage fixtures – Because chlorine doesn’t damage fixtures, there are no expensive or specialty fixtures needed.
  • Simple maintenance – A freshwater pool is pretty simple and easy to maintain so most maintenance and repairs can be done yourself.


  • Chlorine is harsh on skin, eyes, and hair – When children and swimmers are in a freshwater pool for long periods of time, you can see the results on skin, eyes, hair, and swimwear. You’ll need to purchase bath products that effectively remove chlorine from the body, as well as clothes.
  • Requires constant attention to chlorine levels – You need to check the levels of chlorine on a regular basis in order to properly kill excess bacteria, as well as consistently add other chemicals like balancing agents. This adds ongoing, maintenance time and costs.
  • Requires proper storage area for the chlorine – Chlorine requires a storage area that is free from moisture.

Decision Time

As we said earlier, your decision will depend on your situation and preferences. Though the freshwater pool has lower upfront costs, it needs more regular and routine maintenance, which requires continual expenditures. Freshwater has a higher level of chlorine so it is more harsh for occupants who are in the water a lot, affecting their skin, eyes, and clothing. As a result, you need to spend money on replacing swimwear more frequently and on special bathing and clothing washes.

Saltwater pools are less time-consuming and less expensive to keep clean, but are more expensive initially. And, they are more expensive to repair because of the complexity of the systems. But, if your pool will have occupants for long periods of time, the saltwater will be less harmful to their skin and eyes as well as swimsuits so you can save money here. All in all, the initial cost and the long-term cost may offset each other.

Call Our Pool Professionals Today!

Prestige Pools hopes this information is helpful to you as you make a decision between a saltwater and freshwater swimming pool. We provide custom vinyl liner pools and concrete pools with both options for chlorine. Contact us today to learn more about our selections and how we can help you create the pool of your dreams! Call us at 919-779-1033 or complete the easy-to-use form below.