Is a Saltwater Pool Easier To Maintain?

How Does Salt Pool Maintenance Differ?

Short answer? Yes, it is easier to maintain a saltwater pool. This guide will clearly demonstrate why. The range of stories told about saltwater pools by pool owners and people in the pool industry varies greatly, from claims that they require very little maintenance to assertions that they actually take more work than regular pools. As you might expect, reality lies somewhere in between. So, let’s explore exactly how a salt pool is easier than a traditional pool and just how much easier it really is.

Pool Maintenance Basics

There’s no way around it, other than hiring someone to do it, pools can take considerable effort to keep them safe, appealing and enjoyable. Even if you hire a pool professional to do it for you, every owner should have an understanding of what needs done and why.

Consequently, we will briefly cover the fundamentals and highlight the actual differences involved when people ask “is a saltwater pool easier to maintain”, reserving more comprehensive how-to information for other articles.

The four primary categories of pool care for both saltwater and traditional pools are, Sanitation, Circulation, Water Balance, and what we’ll call Basic Upkeep.


This is where to focus when considering the question “are salt water pools easier to maintain than chlorine pools”. The main requirement of any pool is to keep sanitized water, and this is where conventionally chlorinated pools experience the majority of hassle and expense. Untouched and untreated, a typical pool can quickly become an unsafe, green swamp harboring algae, bacteria, parasites, pests and other organisms. This aspect of pool maintenance comes down to chlorination: how frequently and how well is the chlorine level being maintained?

All pools need a constant, and adequate (1-3 ppm), level of Free Chlorine (FC), also known as Free Available Chlorine. “Available” is the key word. You need chlorine available to oxidize the contaminants in the water. As your water is sanitized, the FC is consumed and the level drops, requiring replacement. The less often chlorine is added to the pool, the greater chance that the FC drops below safe levels.

With a traditional pool, you have two options: regularly replenish the chlorinator with chemical chlorine tablets, or even more frequently add chlorine directly to the pool. As I recall from when I was younger, this gets extremely old, extremely quickly.

Chlorine, whether it’s granular, liquid or in tablets, is a genuinely noxious, toxic substance; beyond the unpleasant smell, it must be handled with considerable care and even storing it has hazards. On top of that, you are looking at continual trips to the store to buy ever-more expensive chlorine.

On the other hand, a “salt pool” simply uses an electronic Salt Chlorine Generator which steadily, reliably, and automatically generates a pure form of chlorine directly within the pool system using a very low level of natural salinity in the water. You have fewer trips to the pool for maintenance, to the store for chlorine, and you don’t have to handle a caustic chemical.

This is the most important aspect of reduced upkeep with a saltwater pool. Salt water pools are easy to maintain because you use an electronic device to generate a set amount of the chlorine that the pool needs on-site and on-demand. In other words, everyday automatically when your pool system runs, the salt chlorine generator provides a steady stream of chlorination without you having to regularly buy, add, store, dose, or handle conventional chlorine. Instead you have reliable, predictable pool sanitation so the water stays blue and swimmable.


Circulation is essential to all pools in order to move water through the filter and remove debris and foreign matter. This means that the filter will require routine maintenance. From the perspective of this article, there is no difference in the maintenance requirements between traditional chlorine and salt pools. For most people, this primarily involves periodic backwashing of sand or DE filters, or rinsing filter cartridges clean.

If you wish to significantly reduce this type of pool maintenance, you should consider incorporating a pre-filter into your circulation system. A pre-filter installed before your primary filter has the ability to intercept and capture up to 80% of dirt and debris before it even reaches the main filter. It is specifically designed to enable quick and easy flushing of its catchment chamber.

By utilizing a pre-filter, you can save a significant amount of time as it allows you to prolong the intervals between thorough cleanings of your main filter. Additionally, when using DE or sand filters, a pre-filter can conserve water by minimizing the frequency of backwashing the main filter.

Water Balance

Your water balance, or water chemistry, is critical in any pool to maintain clear, safe blue water. You need to test your water regularly and adjust those levels as necessary. The goals of managing your water balance or water chemistry are little changed from a traditional chlorinated pool to a saltwater pool, except that you will also need to monitor and maintain the pool’s salinity level, staying within the manufacturer’s recommended salinity range.

Is this a new headache that devours your time? Not at all. Since a saltwater system continually “recycles” salt to generate chlorine, the salinity is unchanged merely by operating the Salt Chlorinator. Your pool only loses salt when water is drained, splashed, or carried out of the pool and not from evaporation.

Saltwater systems have a generously-wide operating range of salinity, so adjusting the salinity is infrequently required. Generally, it takes pretty significant rain (and subsequent draining) to shift the salinity out of the correct range. In general, you use very little salt on a regular basis and saltwater pools don't need water testing any more often than freshwater pools.

Instead, a salt pool system makes maintaining the water chemistry balance much easier overall. That is because the free chlorine level remains steady without the need for frequent manual intervention. Compare that to a traditionally chlorinated pool, where maintaining the free chlorine level can be a weekly (or even daily) hassle.

Basic Upkeep

Basic upkeep of a pool is generally about the same for saltwater and traditional pools. The common elements of basic pool upkeep include checking the skimmer basket and pump for debris, brushing and sweeping pool surfaces, and netting or skimming the surface.

The basic maintenance associated with the salt system involves seasonal cleaning of the salt cell. Cleaning a cell is commonly needed one or two times a year and can take 15 or 20 minutes. Of course it may be necessary to clean your cell more often depending on your water balance, water condition and the length of your pool season.


As outlined above, there can be a significant amount of work involved in maintaining any swimming pool. While a saltwater pool does not completely eliminate the need for maintenance, it does eliminate the most incessant and unpleasant aspect of traditional pool maintenance, which is frequently dealing with chlorine to keep the level just right so that the water stays blue and safe to swim in.

So, instead of constantly handling, purchasing, and storing chlorine, essentially the only maintenance trade-off is that you will only need to clean the salt cell one or two times per year on average. When considering these two tasks, opting for a saltwater pool allows you to exchange the frequent and unpleasant chore of dealing with chlorine for a few cell cleanings.

All things considered, it's a pretty good trade-off.

Frequently Asked Questions

The primary advantage is the automated generation of chlorine within the pool system using a Salt Chlorine Generator. This eliminates the regular need for manual addition, handling, and purchasing of chlorine, making maintenance less frequent and unpleasant.

Traditional chlorine pools require frequent replenishment of chlorine manually, involving trips to the store and handling of chlorine. Saltwater pools generate chlorine on-site and on-demand using a Salt Chlorine Generator, eliminating the need for frequent manual intervention.

On average, a salt cell in a saltwater pool needs cleaning one or two times a year. However, this frequency might vary based on water balance, water condition, and the pool season's length.

A saltwater pool doesn't completely eliminate maintenance but significantly reduces the amount of work and expense involved, including the need for incessant and unpleasant chores associated with managing chlorine levels in traditional pools. The minor trade-off is that saltwater pools require seasonal cleaning of the salt cell, offering a more manageable maintenance routine overall.

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