Should I Replace My Salt Cell With A Different Size or Brand? Expert Considerations Before You Decide.

The inevitability of salt cell replacement in saltwater pools is a simple reality. When this time comes, it's prudent to explore your options in choosing a replacement cell. Should you stick with the same brand, opt for the same size, or consider something entirely different? Let's see what you need to know and consider.

OEM vs Aftermarket

Buying a replacement cell of the same brand is the standard choice, as it’s what the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) intends. There’s always a high comfort level when choosing an OEM replacement cell that you will have complete compatibility, matching specifications, and that your system will perform just as it did before (assuming no product updates, of course). However, OEM replacements often sport a premium price.

Alternatively, aftermarket, or generic cells may be an option for your chlorine generator model. These could offer better pricing along with specs and warranty that could be the same, better, or worse.. That means you might want to do some due diligence if you aren’t going to choose an OEM replacement cell. Let’s discuss the considerations of aftermarket cells.


The very first consideration about an aftermarket cell is the salt cell compatibility. To begin with, there can be similar looking models that are not actually equivalent - make sure the product description specifically mentions the model name of your existing chlorine generator.

In very rare cases, you may also need to consider the age of your system; make sure an older control box has the ability to support a replacement cell type that was developed after the old system’s release. For example, original Goldline Aqua Rite controllers before 2009 only supported a 40,000 max gallon cell type, and later 15,000 and 25,000 max gallon cells were created and released; in that scenario, the original controller would only be compatible with the original size.

If in doubt, check for reviews of others who have purchased and used the cell with the same chlorine generator model you use.


Review and compare the specifications of the OEM and Aftermarket parts. Does the Aftermarket cell minimally meet all OEM specs? If the cell under consideration meets or, better yet, exceeds the OEM, then that’s a big plus. If it does not have the same quality, that is a significant factor to weigh.

One of the most important specs to ensure is maintained as high quality is the lifespan and durability of the cell. The lowest quality cells can have as little as ¼ the lifespan, which can translate to as little as 6-12 months of use!

Another spec to compare is the chlorine output of the replacement cell. It would be very important that a replacement cell has as much if not more chlorine output as the original - otherwise it would be a downgrade.

Compare the features of the OEM vs aftermarket cell as well. In some cases, aftermarket cells can offer additional updates that provide more or easier functionality. For example, this aftermarket cell offers a display screen and more control settings than its comparable OEM cell.


How do the warranties compare? Is there social evidence (reviews, Better Business Bureau profiles, forum discussion, or even scam alerts!) of the company’s customer service that shows what the company behind the warranty is like, and what their technical support or warranty claim process is like? As with product features, you might find a better warranty with an aftermarket cell. However, this does not necessarily mean that the product will last that long. That’s why it’s important to check aftermarket or generic cell reviews to see if the warranty actually corresponds to quality. In either case, determine exactly what is covered, how long it’s covered and at what level of proration.


Read both good and bad customer reviews of the cells under consideration, but take what they say with a grain of salt. Primarily, you’re looking for patterns in the reviews to help confirm the claims or complaints.

Different Size (Capacity)

If you’re looking to change the size of a replacement cell, it is essential that you first determine if your system’s control module is able to correctly operate a cell of a different size or capacity. Check your manual, consider contacting the manufacturer, and document any assurances made by the seller.


Perhaps your original salt cell was too small or maybe you noticed that the larger cell is (hypothetically) 10% more expensive, but gives you 25% more potential chlorine output. Having determined that your system will support a higher capacity cell, go ahead and move up in size. The increase will extend the lifespan of your salt cell vs the original and you will have greater flexibility and production capacity too.

What if you need to upsize your cell in order to merely right size your system, but your CM won’t allow you to boost capacity? You have several options here, ranging from adding a second, complete salt system to your pool, to supplementing with chemical chlorine, or adding a chlorine-free sanitation unit - UV or ozone. Explore your options for upsizing your cell capacity here.


If you are considering a smaller cell, think carefully before you commit. Does the smaller cell still meet the minimum recommended capacity of 1 ½ -2 times the pool volume? If the smaller cell still meets capacity recommendations, then go ahead, but if finances permit, you will always be better off with a larger cell.

Would you simply prefer to spend less for a replacement cell upfront or does your current budget make it critical to spend less? As we know, a larger cell will save you money over the long run, but sometimes, long-term savings is a luxury you need to forego. Downsize if you must, but never below the cell size that still gives you adequate capacity.


Changing sizes or brands on replacement salt cells can be an opportunity to improve your salt system in regard to capacity or financial efficiency, but it is essential to dot all the “i”s and to cross all the “t”s with respect to adequate sizing, compatibility, warranty coverage, etc. Any of these factors could quickly make you regret the change if you get it wrong. Done correctly, changes of this nature can work out for you in improved pool care and/or cost savings.

Ready For What Comes Next?

Choosing the right salt cell is crucial. Explore our comprehensive guide to selecting the perfect replacement cell based on compatibility, specifications, and more.
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