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Chlorine Vs. Saltwater Pools: a Comprehensive Comparison


When it comes to pools, you want a sparkling oasis that’s both inviting and safe. But the question remains: which type of pool is better suited for your needs – chlorine or saltwater? In this comprehensive comparison, we will explore the maintenance requirements, cost comparison, health and safety considerations, environmental impact, and overall user experience of these two popular options. By the end, you’ll have a clearer understanding of the pros and cons, leaving you ready to make an informed decision that will transform your backyard into a haven of relaxation and enjoyment.

  • Chlorine pools have a lower initial cost compared to saltwater pools, but saltwater pools require a higher upfront investment.
  • Chlorine pools require regular purchase of chemicals, while saltwater pools have lower ongoing maintenance costs.
  • Chlorine pools can cause skin and eye irritations, while saltwater pools have lower levels of chloramines, reducing odor.
  • Saltwater pools use a chlorine generator, reducing the need for chemicals and their environmental impact.
Clean pool with diving board. Chlorine vs. saltwater pools.


Maintaining a chlorine or saltwater pool requires regular attention to ensure proper water balance and sanitation. When it comes to maintenance time, both types of pools require some level of commitment, but the specific needs differ. Chlorine pools require more frequent testing and chemical adjustments to maintain the appropriate chlorine levels. This means you will need to spend more time monitoring and treating the water. On the other hand, saltwater pools require less maintenance time compared to chlorine pools. The saltwater generator produces chlorine automatically, eliminating the need for daily testing and chemical adjustments. However, it is important to note that saltwater pools still require regular monitoring and maintenance to ensure the generator is working properly and to adjust other water chemistry factors.


In terms of cleaning products, chlorine pools generally require more chemicals to maintain water quality. You will need to keep a stock of chlorine tablets, shock treatments, and algaecides on hand. Additionally, you may need to use clarifiers and other specialty chemicals to address specific issues that may arise. Saltwater pools, on the other hand, require fewer chemical products. The main cleaning product needed for saltwater pools is salt, which is used to generate chlorine. You may also need to occasionally add other chemicals such as stabilizers or pH adjusters, but overall, the product requirements are simpler and fewer.

Learn why you should choose the best pool cleaning and maintenance equipment here.


When comparing the costs of chlorine and saltwater pools, it is important to consider various factors. One of the primary considerations is the initial investment required for each type of pool. Saltwater pools generally have a higher upfront cost compared to traditional chlorine pools. This is because saltwater pool systems require the installation of a salt cell generator, which can be quite expensive. On the other hand, chlorine pools typically require less initial investment, as they only need a chlorine dispenser or a manual chlorination system.

Pool with trees in the background. Chlorine vs. saltwater pools.


However, when looking at long-term expenses, saltwater pools often prove to be more cost-effective. Saltwater pools use salt cells to convert salt into chlorine, which means that you don’t have to constantly purchase and add chlorine chemicals. This can result in significant savings over time. Additionally, saltwater pools tend to require less maintenance and fewer chemical adjustments, which can further reduce long-term expenses.


It is important to note that while saltwater pools may have higher initial costs, the savings in terms of long-term expenses can offset this difference. Ultimately, the choice between a chlorine or saltwater pool will depend on your budget and personal preferences. Considering both the initial investment and long-term expenses will help you make an informed decision that suits your needs and financial situation.


As you consider the costs of chlorine and saltwater pools, it is essential to also evaluate the health and safety considerations associated with each option. One important factor to consider is water quality. Chlorine pools require regular monitoring and adjustment of chlorine levels to maintain proper water quality. This ensures that the water is free from harmful bacteria and pathogens. On the other hand, saltwater pools use a salt chlorine generator to produce chlorine naturally, resulting in a more consistent chlorine level and potentially better water quality.

Pool with green water. Chlorine vs. saltwater pools.


When it comes to skin irritation, chlorine pools have a higher likelihood of causing skin irritation compared to saltwater pools. Chlorine can strip the skin of its natural oils, leading to dryness and irritation. It can also cause redness and itching in individuals with sensitive skin. Saltwater pools, on the other hand, have lower chlorine levels, which can be gentler on the skin and less likely to irritate.


In terms of safety, both types of pools have their considerations. Chlorine pools require careful handling and storage of chemicals to prevent accidents. Saltwater pools, while generally safer, can still pose risks if the salt chlorine generator is not properly maintained or if the salt levels are not monitored regularly.


Ultimately, when it comes to health and safety considerations, it is important to weigh the pros and cons of chlorine and saltwater pools, taking into account water quality and the potential for skin irritation.


To assess the environmental impact of chlorine and saltwater pools, it is important to consider factors such as chemical usage, water consumption, and potential effects on the ecosystem. Here are four key points to consider:

  • Water conservation: Saltwater pools have an advantage when it comes to water consumption. Unlike chlorine pools that require regular draining and refilling, saltwater pools have a self-sustaining system that recycles the water. This reduces the overall water usage and helps conserve this precious resource.
  • Impact on aquatic ecosystems: Chlorine pools can have a detrimental effect on aquatic ecosystems. When chlorine is used in pools, it can be released into the environment through backwashing or evaporation. This can harm aquatic plants, and animals, and even contaminate groundwater sources. On the other hand, saltwater pools use a natural process called electrolysis to generate chlorine, minimizing the release of harmful chemicals into the environment.
  • Chemical usage: Chlorine pools require regular addition of chlorine, which can involve the use of harsh chemicals. These chemicals not only have potential health risks but can also contribute to air pollution. Saltwater pools, on the other hand, use salt as a natural disinfectant, reducing the need for additional chemicals.
  • Overall environmental impact: While both chlorine and saltwater pools have their environmental impacts, saltwater pools tend to be more environmentally friendly. They require less water, use natural processes to generate chlorine and minimize the use of harsh chemicals.


Considering these factors, saltwater pools are a more sustainable and eco-friendly option compared to traditional chlorine pools.

Child with pool float holding oranges in front of eyes. Chlorine vs. saltwater pools.


With the environmental impact of chlorine and saltwater pools considered, it is crucial to now examine the overall user experience of these two types of pools. When it comes to water quality, both chlorine and saltwater pools can provide a clean and safe swimming environment. However, some users may find that saltwater pools have a more pleasant feel to the water. The salt content in these pools can leave your skin feeling softer and smoother, giving you a more enjoyable swimming experience. On the other hand, chlorine pools may cause skin sensitivity for some individuals, especially those with allergies or sensitive skin. It is important to note that proper maintenance and regular water testing are essential for both types of pools to ensure optimal water quality. In terms of overall user experience, the choice between chlorine and saltwater pools ultimately depends on individual preferences and sensitivities. While saltwater pools may offer a more luxurious and soothing experience for some, others may prefer the familiarity and accessibility of chlorine pools. It is advisable to try both types of pools before making a decision, taking into consideration your own needs and preferences.

Can I Switch My Existing Chlorine Pool to a Saltwater Pool?

You can switch your existing chlorine pool to a saltwater pool by going through the conversion process. There are several benefits of saltwater pools, such as reduced chlorine usage and softer water for a more enjoyable swimming experience.

How Often Should I Test the Ph Levels in a Saltwater Pool?

You should test the pH levels in your saltwater pool regularly. It is important to maintain the right balance for optimal water quality. Testing frequency may vary, but typically, once or twice a week should suffice.

Is It Safe to Swim in a Saltwater Pool if I Have Sensitive Skin or Allergies?

If you have sensitive skin or allergies, swimming in a saltwater pool can be a safe option. The natural chlorine produced in saltwater pools is gentler on the skin and doesn’t cause the same irritation as traditional chlorine. Additionally, saltwater pools require less maintenance and offer numerous health benefits for swimmers.

Can a Saltwater Pool Damage My Pool Equipment or Surfaces?

Saltwater pools can have some effects on pool equipment and surfaces. The pros of saltwater pools include softer water and less chlorine smell. However, it’s important to consider the potential cons and ensure proper maintenance to prevent damage.

Are Saltwater Pools More Prone to Algae Growth Compared to Chlorine Pools?

Saltwater pools are not more prone to algae growth compared to chlorine pools. In fact, the saltwater’s natural chlorine content helps prevent algae. Additionally, saltwater pools can be more cost-effective in the long run.

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Betty Garmendina

Betty has been part of our team since February 2020. She oversees new accounts and works along side our service manager managing the bids and schedule for the repair department. She is also the receiver of our website and Yelp inquiries. Originally from Mexico, she can help our customers in English and Spanish. She has lived in Marin County for 30 years. In her spare time, she loves driving the countryside enjoying the scenery with her daughter. As a dog, and animal lover in general, she gives back to her community by fostering dogs in need. She is passionate about maintaining her friendships with her girlfriends and sees that as both empowering and fulfilling.

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Zach has been a pool service technician with Marin Pool Service since May of 2022. He learned the ropes quickly and is a very thorough technician with attention to detail and really cares about his clients, and their pets. He Loves traveling, road trips and going to music shows. Enjoys outdoor activities, hiking, camping, canoeing, fishing and of course swimming! Originally from Nebraska I’ve lived in Marin for over 15 years.

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Jorge Salazar Bernal​

Jorge has been with since July 2020. He is a pool service technician. He is reliable and dependable. He and his wife live in Novato in their recently purchased Condo. He is a musician, a surfer, swims year round and loves to travel. He is currently taking English classes. He doesn’t like raisins.

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Mike Watson

Mike has been with Marin Pool Service since February 2016. He is a valued part of our repair team, and he is our resident Spa Expert, diagnosing and fixing portable spas. He does pool equipment installations and repairs as well. He likes to go camping, fishing, and photography with my pup, Maxine (Max).

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Senior Pool Route Technician

Jane Ciuchta – Hired 2015

Jane came to Marin Pool Service with 6 years of experience as a pool route technician. She is very conscientious and cares and always goes the extra mile not only for the customer, but also for the team. She oversees the receiving and organization of all our inventory and keep the shop yard in tip top shape. She is a very private person who lives in the country with chickens and wild animals.

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Pool Repair and Construction

Bruce Muir – Hired 2020

Bruce spent 30 years as a house painter. His attention to detail in second to none. He has apprenticed under David Metzger and has quickly learned many aspects of the trade. He is a huge asset to our team. He is a single parent to a wonderful daughter and in his spare time enjoys anything outdoors and especially the beach and is a Giants fan.

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Operations/Service Manager

David-Metzger – Hired 2014

David started in the pool business as a summer job in high school and continued during college, when the birth of his first child changed his education plans, he chose to continue his career in the pool industry. In the decades of his career, he has been involved in all aspects of the industry including safety, automatic pool covers, pool construction, pool service, repair, and remodeling.

He has 4 grown children that he is extremely proud of and spends time with regularly. He enjoys giving back to the community through various volunteer organizations. He is an avid scrabble player, a daily wordle and crossword solver, loves to read and enjoys documentaries.

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Robin Clarke – Hired 2019

Robin came to Marin Pool Service almost 5 years ago as a route technician and has since turned it into her passion. She’s dedicated to healthy water chemistry. Since becoming route manager, she has spear headed switching our service pools to the Orenda program after trying it with much success for a year on the pools on her route. In her spare time, she has a passion for watercolor painting, being outdoors, flowers, clouds, and animals of every kind.

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Maddi Davidson – Hired 2022

Maddi had 4 years of customer service experience when she joined the team at Marin Pool Service. She is on the front lines answering the phones, texts, and emails. She is also tasked with handling the schedules and work notes from all the service technicians as well as the acting liaison between the technicians and customers. She is a multi-tasker and a go getter. She is passionate about her dog Kona and family.

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Senior Pool Route Technician

John Albachten – Hired 2015

John came to Marin Pool Service with a vast knowledge of pool chemistry from his time as manager of Leslie’s Pool Supply. He not only has a route but is responsible for the “start-up” of our new service accounts making sure water chemistry is on point, pool sweep, and equipment are in good working order, cleaning the filter all in preparation to hand off to the weekly service technician. John is a team player and is often the “go to” call for new technicians he has trained. Besides his vast knowledge, he is friendly, humorous, approachable, and well-liked by all his clients and co-workers. In his spare time, he enjoys live music, photography, the outdoors, and is always willing to help a friend in need.

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Jay Bergmann – Hired 2023

Jay is new to the industry but has jumped in and is eager to learn more about the pool industry. He has been in the construction field and can think on his feet. He is a fun, athletic person who loves the beach, plays music, and works on cars. He is a people person and helps in his community.

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Rebecca Jones – Hired 2015

Rebecca was born and raised in San Anselmo. After a 2 year sailing adventure in her 20’s, she settled back in Marin in Novato where she owned a restaurant for 10 years. When that partnership dissolved, she moved into retail management. It wasn’t until Marin Pool Service that she really found her work home and her stride. She came in with strong customer service skills and jumped right into learning the pool industry both on the business and service side and now has an abundance of knowledge and experience.

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Operations/Service Manager

Jane Doe – Hired 2014

Jane started in the pool business as a summer job in high school and continued during college; when the birth of his first child changed his education plans, he chose to continue his career in the pool industry. In the decades of his career, he has been involved in all aspects of the industry, including safety, automatic pool covers, pool construction, pool service, repair, and remodeling.