How To Choose the Right Salt System for Your Pool

If you’re looking to get a new salt system for your pool, there’s a few things you HAVE to know. In this article, you’ll learn how to choose the correct salt system for your pool. 

If you’ve done some digging around our website, you’ll have noticed there are tons of great models and different sizes available, and we know that can feel overwhelming. Well, this article aims to help you feel confident that you are purchasing the perfect system for your pool. 

So if you’re in the market, this article and video are for you!

Before you checkout , you want to be sure you’re buying the right system for your needs. So, let's talk about what you need to know in order to make an informed decision about your pool and also save you money.

 The most important aspects when choosing a new system that you’ll want to consider are:

  1. Getting a powerful system

  2. Getting a long lasting system

  3. Making sure your system is compatible

A Powerful System

The most important thing you need to do is get a POWERFUL system. Power means a higher “chlorine output” spec and a higher listed maximum capacity.

Not sure what size your pool needs? Here’s what you need to know first  to determine the right size:

  • Your actual pool size

  • Pool use

  • Pool environment

  • Compatibility

  • Maintenance

Pool Size:

This is probably the most important aspect to consider because the pool size is directly linked to how much sanitation it requires. You want a salt chlorinator system that has more than enough power to keep your pool clean.

The industry rule is to get a salt chlorinator with 1.5x to 2x the maximum capacity of your actual pool. As we like to say here, “it’s wise to oversize”. 

Making sure you get enough sanitation capacity for your pool’s needs is the most important aspect when choosing a system because that ensures that you have plenty of power in reserve to clear up pool problems if the arise, and in the meantime the system will not normally have to work near its maximum capacity.  That means it is easier to keep the pool clear and that will make your system last a lot longer. 

For example, if you have a 20k gallon pool, so you’ll want to go for a unit that is 1.5 to 2 times your pool size- a 30K-40k gallon system will be the right one for you to choose. You wouldn’t want to overwork your system by getting one that is MAXIMUM 20k for a 20k pool. We offer sizes meant to work with spas and hot tubs, small, medium and large pools.

Pro Tip: Check The Chlorine Output

If you really want to look deeper and get the most for your money, check out the spec that says “chlorine output”, or in other words, the salt system’s actual sanitation power, which is measured by lbs/day. This is the real rating of power - how much chlorine it can generate on demand. This can really help when you are checking out all our pool options. 

To continue with our example, if you’ve decided on the 40k gallon system and you check out all our options, you’ll see that there are differences between different system’s chlorine output power ratings, so just try to buy the one with the highest listed chlorine output, you’ll be glad you did! Think about it like this, you can always turn the amount of sanitation down as needed (which puts less wear-and-tear on the system), but when you need it to clear the water up after a storm or in the heat of summer, you can’t keep turning your system up after a certain point.

Pool use

So, this just means you need to take into account the activities you use your pool for and how many people use your pool. For example, if your house is always the life of the party, and you have pool parties quite often, you may need to invest in a stronger system. Or, do you have a lot of people that live in your house that all use the pool? That would also be something to consider too because if more people are using it and if you have people over a lot, you’ll want to make sure your pool stays clean, and get a stronger system. This is one instance where the ability to turn the amount of sanitation up higher on demand comes in handy! 

Pool environment

If you live in a hot climate, you’ll want to get a stronger system, especially if that means that your pool gets a lot of use during the summer. If you have lots of leaves and vegetation that fall in the water, a more demanding pool needs a larger  system. If you live in an area with frequent heavy rain and storms, you should get a bigger salt system (and probably check your system’s salinity often).


Think you have to get the same brand salt system as your current system? That’s a common misconception! You do not need to purchase the same brand at all, which opens up a world of options to you. But don’t let that overwhelm you, it's a lot easier to pick the right one than you think. Whichever system you decide to buy, they are designed to work in tandem with your pump, whatever the brand! So feel free to just pick what is best for you and not feel tied down to a specific brand.


Although they require only a small fraction of the maintenance of a chlorine system, you will still need to clean the cell on occasion, and eventually replace the cell over the course of the years. In regard to cleaning, it will only really need to be cleaned one to two times per
season if the water has good chemistry. When you are deciding where you want your salt system to go, make sure to put it in a spot in which you have easy access. For more on maintenance, check this article out!

A Long Lasting System

You’ll obviously want a system that lasts a long time. When correctly used, salt systems do last a long time, but remember, the “cell” of the system is a wearable part — meaning, the titanium plates will eventually wear out and need replacement. 

This doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be out of a lot of money to just replace the cell! 

Instead, make sure you get a system that offers a long warranty, because that is generally a good indicator of how long the cell is expected to last, as well as if anything goes wrong within your warranty’s time frame, you can rely on that to help with the cost of replacement. 

Depending on the quality, the general expected life of cell titanium plates range from three to eight years, so expect to see warranties that match those numbers. Even when it does come time to replace the cell, it’ll be a fraction of the cost of your whole system, and still significantly more affordable than the same amount of chlorine tablets!

Also, if you’re like most people who are planning to DIY the installation of your new salt system, make sure you check the details of your warranty. 

With some warranties, doing the installation yourself may void the warranty. As long as you make sure DIY installation will not void your warranty, feel free to install it yourself! It only takes about an hour on average.


In almost all cases, as stated before, your current pool equipment system will be compatible with any salt system you choose. However, there are a few things you’ll want to double check to make sure your system is 100% compatible.

Now, don’t panic, most of these cases are very rare, which is why we say that generally all systems are compatible. 

Pool Water

If you’re using basic chlorine in your pool, you’re all set. You don’t have to drain your pool, and your system is compatible. If you’re using a chlorine substitute known as Biguanides, often known as products like “Soft Swim” and “Baquacil”, you’ll just simply want to wait for winter when your levels of the chemical will be low enough before converting. 

Pool Materials and Equipment

Most equipment is compatible, but older pools may come across some issues. Extremely old pools that use iron or copper pipes are usually not compatible, but those types of pipes are rare and aren’t up to code.

Most pools are made of compatible materials like concrete, plaster, tile, stone, vinyl, fiberglass, and other similar materials, but if your pool is made from an exotic material, just give your pool builder a call and make sure the material you used is compatible with a salt system. Though, most materials are safe with salt systems.

Comparing Different Models

If you’ve already been poking around our website, you’ll have noticed that we have an online comparison chart that lets you compare the specs and features of all the different models we offer. We offer a huge variety of systems, including popular systems like Autopilot, Circupool, Hayward and Pentair, and we know it can get overwhelming with all your options. 

Luckily, we’ve done all of the work for you so you can easily figure out which system will be perfect for you. If you haven’t checked it out yet, do so here! You’ll find a big chart that covers everything from value scores, price, warranties and more! This will drastically speed up the decision process. 

Locking in The Final Features

So, those are the top three aspects of salt systems that you should keep in mind while looking for a suitable one for your pool, but here are a few extra tid-bits that some people look into when deciding which salt system is right for them. 

Not sure which features and specs you want yours to have? 

Well, luckily, all new systems  are already self-cleaning and come with water sensors, but if you have a low or variable speed pump, a flow switch is preferred. Some systems have digital sensors, which displays information and communicates using a LED screen or LED indicators, which is very user friendly.

Another feature that pool owners prefer to have is the ability to make sure your  salinity is in range. Some salt systems will display your PPM salinity reading. (For salt pools, you’ll typically want your ppm to be around 3500 ppm.)

There is also another feature you can choose called a clear cell, which is exactly what it sounds like- it is a clear cell so that you can actually see your cell operate! This is a really handy thing to have if you want to make sure there are no clogs or debris in your cell. 

Lastly, there is another feature called Boost Mode, or super-chlorination mode, that boosts the chlorine output  temporarily to maximum power so you can deal with pool situations with ease, such as after a heavy rain or pool party. 

Making the Switch!

If you’re ready to start finding the perfect system for you, we’re here for you! Just make sure to get yourself a system with a high amount of power, which is the most important quality of any system. 

Just take it a step at a time and you’ll find yourself the right system in no time and I promise, it isn’t as confusing as it may seem. If you have any questions at all, please call your salt pool experts at Discount Salt Pool- we look forward to hearing from you!

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