How Much Does Everything Cost to Convert your Pool to Saltwater?

[EDIT: These example price scenarios were current as of 2019, and may not reflect current pricing]

If you own a pool, there’s no doubt you’ve heard about how great a salt water pool can be. You may be wondering how much it costs, and if it’s supposed to be so great, you’re probably thinking it costs a lot. Luckily, it is a lot more budget friendly than you may think! 

But we can say that all day long- the best way to reassure you that you are making the best money moves for your wallet would be to show you! We’re going to go through a few scenarios to help you get a good idea of how much it would initially cost. 

The basic “conversion” costs involved are...

  1. the price of the saltwater chlorine generator (the equipment)

  2. the cost of the actual salt to put in the water

  3. installation costs (if any)

If you're new to this, the most important thing to remember is that once you convert your pool, a salt system can save up to 40% or more over traditional pool chemical maintenance over its lifespan! A saltwater pool system eliminates the need to buy chlorine, shock, and algaecide, so it pays for itself pretty quickly and gives years and years of savings. Also remember, it's not necessary to drain your pool or replace your other pool equipment in normal circumstances, and the whole start-up process usually takes about an hour.

To help you get an idea of what the total cost might be, we'll show three common examples: a low range, mid-range, and high cost scenario for a typical size pool. Keep in mind that every pool is unique, and that there are dozens of brands and models of salt systems, so these are simply average examples! We’re glad to work with you individually to help meet your needs - whether that’s finding the lowest price, finding the best long-term value, or finding how premium or commercial-grade models might be a good fit for your pool.

Scenario 1 - Average Pool Use, Temperate Climate, DIY Capable - Low Cost

Matthew is 30, married, no kids, and living in his first home in Parkville, MD. The house came with a 15,000 gallon pool, and after the initial excitement wore off, he and his wife will swim maybe on the weekends during the summer, with the occasional get-together at their pool with some of their  friends. 

1) Equipment Cost - Given the usage and environment of the pool, Matthew goes by the system sizing recommendations and chooses a system that is about 50% larger than his pool size. In this case, he chooses a 25k gallon pool system, which does make sense for his climate and pool usage. For example purposes, an average market price for this system could be in the ballpark of $650 (though you can certainly find one priced lower or higher).

2) Salt Cost - Based on Matthew's pool size of 15k gallons and the specs of the equipment, he needs about eleven forty pound bags of salt. At about $5.40 each, he's spending $59.40 on salt. However, that is still drastically cheaper than buying chlorine tablets, and unlike those tablets, the salt will only need to be replaced in smaller amounts over the years when there is a physical loss of water, Chances are, unless there becomes a need to drain the pool, that he won’t have to repurchase such a large amount of salt again. 

3) Installation Costs - Matthew is decently handy. He already has a hacksaw lying around to cut the PVC pipes on his pool plumbing, but can't find any PVC glue or primer in his garage. At the hardware store, he buys a small combo package of PVC glue and primer cans for about $9.97, and decides to buy a little extra PVC pipe and PVC fittings just in case he measures wrong and needs to redo the pipe joint like he did when he fixed the lawn sprinkler head last month. Playing it safe, he's out the door for $25.81. 

Matthew cuts and glues the pipe to plumb the salt system into his piping in about thirty-five minutes, and connects its power cord to his pool pump's timer in about eight minutes. He dumps the salt into the pool in just about ten minutes. Matthew has converted his pool to a salt system in under an hour!

$735.21 - Total Estimated Cost. Looking back a year later, Matthew was shocked that he only spent about $34 dollars on his pool for the rest of that year for some muriatic acid to balance the pH.

So as you can see, a DIY installation is very simple to do and a pretty fast process! More importantly, it does save you money. But what if you don’t feel comfortable installing it yourself and rather leave that to the professionals? We’ll go over that now.

 Scenario 2 - Heavy Pool Use, Tropical Climate, Local Installer - Mid-range Cost

Kim is 52, and lives in Gulfport, MS. Her young grandkids are constantly swimming in her 15,000 gallon pool, and she has done a lot of research and knows for sure that a saltwater pool is the best way to go. She has even picked out the exact system that she needs. However, she doesn't want to bother with installing any equipment on her pool.

1) Equipment Cost - Given the usage and environment of the pool, Kim wants to make sure her pool stays clean even during those hot summer months when there might be a bunch of kids swimming in it, all the time. Since she knows the benefits of choosing an over-sized system, she doesn't think twice and chooses a larger 40k gallon pool system.Generally, a possible  price for this system could be in the ballpark of $800 (though you can certainly find one priced lower or higher).

2) Salt Cost - Based on Kim's pool size of 15k gallons and the equipment's salinity requirement, she needs about eleven forty pound bags of salt. At about $5.40 each, she's spending $59.40 on salt.

3) Installation Costs - Kim finds a local handyman online with good reviews. He's installed other saltwater systems, and he says "besides, even if I had never done this before, it's just cutting and gluing PVC pipe and connecting a set of wires. It will take me less than an hour, but my minimum rate is $125."

Kim's handyman cuts and glues the pipe to plumb the salt system into the piping in about twenty-five minutes, and connects its power cord to the pool pump's timer in about 6 minutes. He dumps the salt into the pool in just about eight minutes. Kim's pool has been converted to a salt system in well under an hour.

$984.40 - Total Estimated Cost. Looking back a year later, Kim was delighted that she only had to spend $52 on her pool for the rest of the year for some muriatic acid to balance the pH and some clarifier to help the filter remove all the sand and dirt the kids tracked into the pool.

By now, we have covered a DIY installation and a local handyman installation of mid-range priced systems for medium and high use pools. Here at Discount Salt Pool, we are always trying to find a way to save you money on your installation and equipment so that you can make the best choice for you and your wallet. But if you have a pool already, you probably already have a pool company that you keep in touch with- so you may think “I wonder how much it would cost if I got it through my pool provider?” Well, we have that answer, too!

Scenario 3 - High Cost (what to avoid )

David is 44, living in Huntington Beach, CA, and always uses the pool with his kids at least a few times every week. He hears friends and neighbors talking about their saltwater pools. He's been happy with his pool service, so he asks them what they think about it. The pool company tells him that they've "been in the pool business for a long time and they don't prefer saltwater pools, but a lot of people want it and they can certainly convert his pool for him", and since he uses their pool service they tell him installation will be "free".

1) Equipment Cost - This pool service company prefers to keep selling chlorine, so it only uses one system for every saltwater pool they do, and it might not be sized exactly right for David's pool. The quote for it is about $1800, which means David is paying a lot more than retail.

2) Salt Cost - Based on David's pool size of 15k gallons and the system's salinity requirement, he needs about eleven forty pound bags of salt. Sold to him at the "pool-store" price of about $12.50 each, he's spending $137.50 on salt, which is almost double what the others paid in other scenarios and is way too much.

3) Installation Costs - David's pool company isn't charging him any more for installation.

David's pool company cuts and glues the pipe to plumb the salt system into the piping in about thirty minutes, and connects its power cord to the pool pump's timer in about six minutes. He dumps the salt into the pool in just under eight minutes. David's pool has been converted to a salt system in well under an hour.

4) Total Cost - $1937.50 - Total Estimated Cost (unfortunately). Ouch! That is over double what he could have paid. Looking back a year later, David wasn't very happy to realize that the pool company was still charging him $100 every month for chemicals on service visits, because he thought that he didn't need all that chlorine they were still putting in. What were they still charging him for...?

The moral of the story? Even if you don't convert your pool to saltwater yourself, you can get one installed for usually half as much as you'll hear from a big chain or from a company that doesn’t like how salt systems take away chemical sales. But if you have some basic DIY skills or a handy friend, many people can convert their pool to a saltwater system on their own and save big. Discount Salt Pool also offers unlimited customer support to try and make things as easy as possible for you! If you’re ready, come check out our wide selection and we’ll be happy to help you along the way with whatever you may need! 

Read more

Tim Robles

Date 7/7/2018

hello my name is tim robles, my pool is 5,800 gallons . How much including labor to make it a salt water system?

DSP Staff

Date 7/10/2018

Ryan Lillis

Date 8/31/2018

Does it matter if I have solar on my pool? I already have a solar panel in my pool house similar to the one you are showing for the Salt Water system. Will I be able to hook both of them up?


Date 9/16/2018

I've worked on pools that have both solar and salt systems.


Date 10/14/2018

I would like to convert my pool to salt water and want to buy a full system

DSP Staff

Date 10/16/2018

Steve Schneider

Date 8/3/2019

David should sue the pool company to recoup the charges!

Barbara Banck

Date 8/6/2019

I'm buying a house and looking into a converting the pool into saltwater

DSP Staff

Date 8/8/2019

Francie Hall

Date 8/7/2019

I'm on a condo board in Kansas City, MO. This article was amazing to me. All 3 examples were in temperate climates. Any differences because of Midwest winters? Our pool is open from mid-May to early October. Thanks so much for this info & your reply.


Date 8/12/2019

The more northern the climate, the less hard the equipment has to work on average because of cooler temperatures and shorter seasons. Compared to a southern climate, a salt system would probably last longer because its getting less wear-and-tear.

Rodney Young

Date 5/1/2020

Good afternoon, My wife and I are in the process of building a 20x40 pool. We are looking for ways to save money. I am pretty handy with tools so when I saw your post, I thought it was worth looking into. Please provide me with any information that you believe would be appropriate. Sincerely, Rodney Young

DSP Staff

Date 5/2/2020

Rodney, a good place to start would be at this linked page. Feel free to reach out to our experts at any time and we can help you go over all the details or questions you might have: 866-766-5243

Jorge Castillo

Date 2/1/2021

hi , i want to change my chlorine pool system to salt system for this summer. i was wonder if i can have a appraisal thanks

DSP Staff

Date 2/2/2021

Suzanne Workman

Date 4/13/2021

Thinking of changing over to saltwater from chlorine. We can DIY, however, living in Pensacola, FL, what is the danger of rusting? Is there any way to prevent corrosion?


Date 4/14/2021

It is not normal to see rust/corrosion just because a salt chlorine generator is being used. The rule of thumb is that if materials are pool-grade and meant to be around chlorine (which is corrosive), you should not see any differences. If cheap or inappropriate building materials have been used, things aren't installed correctly, if the pool is not properly bonded, etc... then those existing issues will continue to get worse.

Nancy Stevens

Date 5/11/2021

I need an estimate on changing my fresh water to a salt water pool thank you Nancy

DSP Staff

Date 5/12/2021

James Barry

Date 5/21/2021

We have a community chlorine pool. I was hoping to get an estimate on the annual savings of salt vs chlorine pools. What info would you need to give us a somewhat accurate estimate? Thank you, James Barry

DSP Staff

Date 5/21/2021

James, The industry rule of thumb is an estimate of cost savings of salt chlorination of up to 50% or more, as mentioned here: Please let us know what other questions you might have. You can speak with our experts at 866-766-5243


Date 2/8/2022

Good article


Date 3/8/2022

Bravo, this rather good

Richard dennis Nims

Date 6/13/2022

do the systems use 120 or 240 volt power

DSP Staff

Date 6/13/2022

Generally speaking, salt chlorinators can use both. They typically come pre-configured to accept 240V (which is most common for pool equipment), but will usually have instructions in the manual to configure them to accept 120V.

Jane See

Date 12/22/2022

I am interested in your business

DSP Staff

Date 12/22/2022

Jane, we're happy to assist you! Don't hesitate to call us at 866-766-5243 and our experts will be able to give you fast, friendly help.

Faye Jury

Date 1/4/2023

Thank you

Dorothy Rasmussen

Date 1/10/2023

I'm going to go ahead with this on my Miami pool

Nicholas Green

Date 1/12/2023

I'm surprised that I was able to convert my pool in about the same ball park of cost even though this was probably written somewhat long ago!

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