Saltwater Vs. Chlorine: Which Is Best For Your New Pool?

A new clear, sparkling pool can add so many new opportunities for your backyard — giving you your own personal slice of paradise right at home. In the dead heat of summer in San Antonio, it is nothing short of refreshing to say the least. The reasons that justify the installation of a new pool for your home are practically endless, but there are a lot of factors to consider when beginning this process. One common decision that has become a hot topic within the pool industry is whether a chlorine or salt-based cleaning solution is best for pools While there is no right or wrong answer, there are pro’s and con’s to both sides that sway people one way or another with their new pool installations based on their personal preferences.

Here at Wood Duck Pool And Patio, we have gathered knowledge through our experience in the pool industry about both chlorine and saltwater pools to help you decipher which is best for your new pool installation or if you should make the switch for your current pool. If you are planning to potentially install a pool for your home in the San Antonio area, reach out to the Wood Duck Pool And Patio team for a free consultation. With our Top Rated Local® pool repair and installation services, we can give you your dream pool with our award-winning designs — all within your ideal budget.


Debunking The Myths

First, let’s start off by addressing a commonly held belief about saltwater pools. When most people outside of the pool industry think of a saltwater pool, they assume that it is a pure salt solution being used to maintain their pool, similar to the ocean. The reality is that saltwater pools do, in fact, still rely on chlorine in their cleaning solution — just with much lower amounts. The chlorine in a saltwater pool is mixed with the salt solution and produces a constant, steady level of chlorine in the pool compared to traditional chlorine pools that involve constantly adding chlorine sticks and tablets.

Health Factors

Without any doubt, the lower chlorine concentration consistent with saltwater pools will be much gentler on your swimmers’ skin. This is an especially good benefit for those with allergies because chlorine in traditional pools can have a high enough concentration to cause skin to become itchy, dry, and even burn. On top of this, the storage of salt requires none of the special considerations and precautions that are associated with chlorine. Chlorine involves very particular storage requirements in order to retain its effectiveness as well as to prevent hazards from possibly breathing in the toxic fumes.

Cost Factors

This is the area where the traditional chlorine pool comes out on top. The initial set-up cost for a saltwater pool involves a much higher out-of-pocket cost. A saltwater generator can set you back anywhere from $400 to $1800 and the installation can cost more as well. On the other hand, the cost of the salt itself is much less than what chlorine can cost you. Pool salt costs an average of $5 for a 40-pound bag. Depending on the size of your pool, anywhere from 400 to 1,000 pounds of salt could be needed. This means it will cost you somewhere between $50 and $125 in most cases for the initial amount of salt to have your pool up and running, but we always recommend keeping extra on hand. Overall, saltwater has a much more expensive upfront cost, but it is a long-term investment since the cost of daily chemical needs will be much less than what a traditional chlorine pool requires.

You can maintain the correct balance of salt and chemicals in a saltwater pool for less than $100 a year if done correctly. On the other hand, a chlorine pool will cost you between $300 and $800 a year in chemicals for regular maintenance. It is also worth mentioning, especially if you’re owning a pool in the San Antonio area, that chlorine levels have to be kept higher in warmer climates. A saltwater generator also has to work even harder in these conditions, though, meaning that more electricity will be used, and the generator’s cells will wear out faster than their typical lifespan of three to five years. A new cell for a saltwater generator can range from $200 to $700 and the additional electricity usage usually adds about $50 a year to your power bill more than chlorine-only pools do. So in this case, both methods are subject to the same amount of influence. You will basically be making the choice of whether you would rather pay for regular chlorine chemical solutions or for additional electricity and saltwater generator cells.


The greatest benefit of a saltwater pool system for homeowners is the low maintenance that the pool requires. Modern systems can maintain a crystal-clear pool for two weeks without need for any modification. On the other end of the spectrum, a traditional chlorine pool requires weekly maintenance — adding chlorine tablets or sticks on a regular basis, checking pH levels, and other tasks. While both pool systems will require keeping tabs on the chlorine levels present in your pool, a saltwater pool’s chlorine is adjusted through the generator control box where it adds more salt and chlorine blend to the water. This can be less hassle than playing guess-and-check with chlorine tablets being dropped into the water.

Chlorine pools will also require periodic “chocks” of higher concentrations of chlorine in order to rid your pool of algae and bacteria. This process involves dissolving chlorine in a bucket of water and slowly adding it to the pool water. Saltwater pools will have times this is necessary as well, but not nearly as often.

One area where the chlorine pool shines is with self-diagnosing and solving issues that arise. With a saltwater pool, the problem may require a pool professional to resolve it, while for chlorine pools, homeowners can use at-home testing kits and chemical combinations to solve most issues that they come across. If your heart is set on a saltwater pool, though, don’t fret! That’s what we are here for.

For more information about these two pool systems, reach out to our experts at Wood Duck Pool And Patio to let us help you decide which is the best for your specific needs.