Fresh vs. Salt Water Swimming Pools

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When comparing salt water swimming pools with their fresh water counterparts the arguments seem to fall into two main areas: cost and chlorine.


There is no doubt that a salt water pool is more expensive to install. However, without the expense of chlorine, running costs are considerably lower.


Chlorine is present in both types of pools but it is generated in a salt water pool using electrolysis so the chlorine is evenly distributed throughout the pool. It has to be added to a fresh water swimming pool and can remain at a high concentration in local areas for some time.

Chlorine, as used in a freshwater pool, has certain drawbacks. Chlorine is quite corrosive and gives off a dangerous gas so it needs to be handled with care. If it splashes on clothes it always leaves a mark. The chlorine in a fresh water pool is easily detected by smell, but you can’t smell it in a salt pool. A very common complaint with fresh water pools is itchy and red eyes caused by the chlorine. Salt pools do not have that problem. It has also been shown that the various chlorine by-products in fresh water pools can lead to asthma and lung damage as well as many other health problems.


One daily chore for fresh water pool owners is the checking of the PH level of the pool to discover when chlorine needs to be added. Salt water pool owners need to test that the salinity of the water is high enough to know when to add more salt.

Salt water pool owners do have to test for salinity and may have to add more salt to their pools

Chlorine Generators

The chlorine in a salt water pool is generated using an electric shock in a special cell. These cells last about five years and can be expensive to replace

Softer Water

Salt pools have softer water, which can enhance the swimming experience.

There are many different opinions on the relative merits of salt water versus fresh water. In the end, it is still a matter of personal choice.