Saltwater Pools Vs Freshwater Pools: A Thorough Comparison


Before the 2000s, the majority of swimming pools used to be freshwater pools. However, over the last two decades, the popularity of saltwater pools has skyrocketed. Right now, most swimming pools are saltwater pools. It begs the question – what prompted homeowners to choose saltwater pools over freshwater pools?

In this article, we’ll take you through the pros and cons of both saltwater and freshwater pools so you can make an informed choice when investing in a new swimming pool. So, without any further delay, let’s take a deep dive into this article!

The main difference between saltwater and freshwater pools

Essentially, both saltwater and freshwater pools are bodies of standing water. However, the major difference between them lies in how they are chlorinated. A freshwater pool has to be manually chlorinated. However, saltwater pools feature powered generators that automatically turn the water’s salt content into chlorine. Without chlorine in a swimming pool, there are high chances of bacterial overgrowth, which can, over time, make the pool unsafe to swim in.

Freshwater pools: The advantages and disadvantages

As mentioned before, freshwater pools were the swimming pools of choice prior to the 2000s. This indicates that freshwater pools have plenty of positives to offer. However, it’s also true that their popularity has seen a drastic decline in recent years, which is reflective of their negatives. Some of the positives of freshwater pools include:

  • Easy to maintain: In terms of maintenance, freshwater pools are convenient as you can handle most of the repairs yourself. This will save you money as you don’t need to reach out to pool maintenance professionals regularly. Contact your pool builder in Newcastle to learn how to maintain your pool.
  • Manual addition of chlorine leads to limited fixture damage: Chlorine content in freshwater pools is down to when you’re manually adding chlorine when it’s needed. As a result, the pool fixtures don’t have to bear the brunt of regular chlorine damage. Also, a freshwater pool doesn’t need speciality or expensive features.
  • Consumes limited electricity: On the energy-saving front, freshwater pools are better than saltwater pools as they consume less electricity. You’ll only need to worry about running the pool pump and cleaning equipment. There are no salt chlorine generators involved.
  • Lower upfront investment: In terms of installation and setup, freshwater pools are not as draining as saltwater pools on finances. Saltwater pools need special liners and salt chlorine generators, which add to the expenses. However, these things aren’t necessary for a freshwater pool.

The most prominent drawbacks of freshwater pools have to do with chlorination, and they include:

  • Chlorine needs to be stored properly: Since chlorine has to be manually added to a freshwater pool, you need to store it properly. Ideally, you should store chlorine in a moisture-free area. If it’s stored somewhere that’s high in moisture, it can lose its efficacy.
  • Constant monitoring of chlorine levels: The manual addition of chlorine presents yet another problem – monitoring chlorine levels regularly. If chlorine levels dip, and you don’t add it adequately, bacterial overgrowth may occur and make the pool unsafe.
  • The possibility of excess chlorine addition: Manually adding chlorine can lead to situations where you add more chlorine than what’s required. In such a scenario, chlorine can affect the eyes, hair, and skin. Your swimwear may also be affected. If you add more chlorine than what’s necessary, you also need to invest in chemicals that work as balancing agents. All in all, this can lead to more expenses.

Saltwater pools: The advantages and disadvantages

Now that you’re aware of the pros and cons of freshwater pools, it’s time to take a closer look at saltwater pools. Of course, saltwater pools have certain advantages over freshwater pools. If they didn’t, they would never have become more popular than the latter. However, despite those advantages, there still are certain negatives associated with saltwater pools. Let’s look at their positives first:

  • Lower expenses on chemicals: Thanks to the salt chlorine generators, saltwater pools don’t need frequent chemical treatments. As a result, you’ll spend way less on chemicals compared to freshwater pools.
  • Chlorine in the gas form: Salt chlorine generators produce chlorine gas, unlike freshwater pools where chlorine is added manually in the form of a powder. Chlorine in gas form tends to be milder on the skin and the eyes.
  • Perfect levels of chlorine: The chlorine addition in a saltwater pool happens based on the level of chlorine needed. Sometimes, manually adding chlorine can lead to scenarios where more (or less) chlorine is added than what’s required. However, this isn’t an issue with saltwater pools. As a result, the water is disinfected without affecting swimwear and gear.

Some of the negatives of saltwater pools include:

  • Complex repairs: If a saltwater pool needs repairs, you can’t attempt to do them by yourself as they tend to be complex. The only option is to reach out to a licensed technician, which in the long run is likely to lead to increased maintenance costs.
  • Expensive: Saltwater pools are considerably more expensive than freshwater pools as they need special liners and also salt chlorine generators.
  • Metal fixture damage: Metal fixtures inside a saltwater pool may be damaged by the salt content, and may require repairs and replacements.

Conclusion: Which type of pool should you pick?

The answer to this question boils down to your needs and preferences. For instance, if you don’t have much time to look after your pool, a saltwater pool would make for a better investment. You won’t have to repeatedly check chlorine levels and manually add chlorine – the salt chlorine generator can do the work for you. However, at the same time, you have to be prepared to spend more money as saltwater pools are considerably more expensive than their freshwater counterparts.

On the other hand, if you’ve got plenty of time to give to your swimming pool and don’t want to spend heavily, you could opt for a freshwater pool. However, you’ve got to learn about proper chlorine addition, as going overboard with the chlorine can make the swimming pool unsafe. So, it’s time to ask yourself what matters more to you – convenience or affordability?