Salt water pools have become increasingly popular because of the convenience of using salt water and salt water chlorinators. Salt water feels softer on the skin and is less irritating to skin, eyes, and goes easier on your bathing suits than traditional chlorine pools.
A salt water chlorine system for a swimming pool uses sodium chloride (table salt) as the base ingredient for chlorine. The generation cell applies a small electrical voltage across two points in the water. This process causes the sodium molecule to separate from the chlorine molecule. The chlorine then becomes available to float around your pool. This is your "free chlorine" just like in a regular chlorine pool except that you "generated" your own salt water chlorine instead of buying it and applying it a concentrated form.
Top Salt Water Chlorinators Comparison
What makes a salt water chlorinator?
1. The Cell
The cell is the part of the system that converts the salt into salt water chlorine. Water passes through the cell and over solid plates which are coated with ruthenium or iridium. These naturally occurring metals are charged from the control board and allow the salt to convert to chlorine through electrolysis. In our pool salt system reviews you will find a few unique improvements to the process of electrolysis.
2. The Control Board
The control board is the control center of the system. Its main purpose is to provide electricity for the process. It also allows pool owners to control the amount of electricity sent to the cell. This allows you to increase or decrease the amount of salt water chlorine in the pool.
How Does It Work?
Salt is the base ingredient that chlorine is derived from. Since salt does not dissipate in water like other chemicals that you use, the initial dose of salt that you put into your pool will continue to be there throughout the season and into the next.
In a regular pool season you may need to add a single bag or two of salt to top off your system and keep the salt in the range of 3000ppm.This is a much easier process than adding chlorine in liquid form every other day.
Will your pool water taste salty?
No, it won’t. You can’t taste salt until it reaches around 5,000 PPM (parts per million) and a typical saltwater pool will have a salt level of 3,000 – 4.000 PPM. This is enough to generate enough chlorine to keep your pool clean. In comparison, the salt level of the ocean is roughly 40,000 PPM.
Will you need additional liquid chlorine?
Again, no, you won’t, which is a good thing about salt water chlorinators: while liquid chlorine is effective, buying, transporting, storing and using it is not the ideal pool maintenance process for pool owners. Liquid chlorine is volatile, loses potency and is dangerous to skin, eyes and lungs. Not the safest product to handle on a daily basis. You may occasionally have to adjust the chlorine levels manually but you can conveniently use chlorine tablets instead of liquid chlorine.
Will your water be well balanced and sanitized?
Yes, it will. Another advantage of salt water pools versus traditional chlorine pools is that it takes much less time to balance and maintain the water chemistry in a salt water pool. Most of this has to do with the fact the sanitizer is automated through the salt water system. You do have to pay attention to calcium hardness, pH and total alkalinity under regular conditions as well as stabilizer levels also.
In addition, the circulation system sometimes fails to deliver the sanitizer to every part of your pool system. Then because of hot weather or debris in the pool, bacteria and algae get a foothold and the problems start. The salt water solutions like these in our salt water chlorinator reviews will solve your pool sanitization problems once and for all.
How durable is a salt water chlorinator?
As regards durability, buying the right size is a must. If you have a 30,000-40,000 gallons pool but you choose to buy the best pool salt system for 25,000-gallon pool, the salt water chlorine generator will have to work harder to produce enough chlorine, which will eventually deteriorate the unit faster. Go for the bigger and adequate model!
Finally, read our salt water chlorinators reviews for information about some of the best salt water chlorinators.
Best Salt Water Chlorinator Reviews
1. Circupool SJ-40 Salt Water Pool Chlorine Generator
Circupool SJ-40 is designed to provide reliable performance and simplicity of use. This complete salt water pool system is designed for pools up to 40,000 gallons water capacity.
Like all the best salt water chlorinators, Circupool SJ-40 features self cleaning functionality which is achieved by reverse polarity. Daily operation of the unit is automatic and comes with a simple user-friendly control unit.
The unit is designed to automatically keep your pool crystal clear, producing comfortable and enjoyable pool water that is gentle to eyes, skin and hair all year round. No need for liquid chlorine any more.
The Circupool SJ-40 is manufactured in the US using heavy duty materials to ensure durability and extended lifetime. Backing Circupool SJ-40 with a 5-year warranty, the manufacturer will not penalize you if you carry out the installation yourself which is one of the reasons Circupool SJ-40 ranks quite high in our salt water generator reviews.
The installation is simple and can be done DIY if you're handy. With common hand tools and with basic plumbing and electrical skills you’ll have no problem installing it. The kit includes the salt water chlorine generator cell, the control module, mounting hardware and complete and thorough instructions.
Circupool SJ-40 can operate on 110 or 220 volts which is easily switchable during installation. The cell is made out of "high-output" titanium housed in clear material which allows perfect visibility of the chlorine production.
Once you locate the pipe from your filter (or swimming pool heater) that carries the water back to the pool, install the cell assembly. After that, mount the control module in a handy spot and connect the power cord to the timer or switch that controls your main pump. They will go on and off together. Plug in the control module to the cell and you are good to go.
Reverse Polarity Self-Cleaning Cell will monitor performance and salinity level efficiently and accurately on the widest available salinity range of 3000 - 35,000 ppm. The Vector Jet feature maximizes effectiveness of 1.7 lbs / day chlorine output. The self-cleaning Circupool SJ-40 also offers a 125% True Boost mode.
3. Intex Krystal Clear Saltwater System with E.C.O.
Intex Krystal Clear Saltwater System provides optimal sanitation for clean pool water and replaces liquid chlorine with safe, natural and pure salt. Intex specializes in salt water generators for above-ground swimming pools.
When using a salt water generator it’s imperative that you only use sodium chloride (NaCl) salt that is greater than 99% pure. This is readily available food quality or water softener salt and can be purchased in 40-80 lb. bags labeled “Coarse Solar Salt.”
Intex Krystal Clear Saltwater System requires a filter pump with a flow rate between 700-3,000 GPH (2,650 – 11,355L/hr) and is designed for above-ground swimming pools of up to 15,000 gallons capacity.
As the best saltwater pool system Intex has designed, Intex Krystal Clear combines a unique two-stage technology to sanitize pool water. First, natural salt is added to pool water and passes through a unique filtration process to create soft, fresh and clean water without the harsh odor of pool chemicals.
After the filtration process, the water molecules are split into powerful oxidants that destroy contaminants like bacteria and algae. The combination of powerful oxidants and natural chlorine provides you with strong and safe pool water sanitation. The latter process is what makes Intex Saltwater System salt water generators unique.
Even the best salt water system for your above-ground pool will need additional salt if your pool loses water. The amount of salt you will need to add to your pool will depend on how much pool water is lost. Salt should be added to the pool at the rate of 25 pounds per 1,000 gallons or 3 kg per 1,000 liters.
Since this may be difficult to figure out, the best method to determine how much salt to add is to use salt level test strips, which are widely available online. If you are in doubt, take a look at Owner's Manual for salt table list.
One general drawback of even the best salt water pool systems worth mentioning in our salt water chlorinator reviews is that the salt will cause rust on any metal parts such as the bolts and nuts of you pool ladder etc.
The continuous exposure to salt water and air for long term will most likely need using synthetic nuts and bolts or stainless steel materials. You can also use water conditioning salt pellets but it will take longer for them to dissolve. Do not use rock salt, salt with yellow prussiate of soda, salt with anti-caking additives, or iodized salt.
4. Pentair 520555 IntelliChlor IC40 Salt Chlorine Generator Cell
Pentair IntelliChlor IC40 has the capacity to sanitize larger residential and smaller commercial pools up to 40,000 gallons. It produces up to 1.40 pounds of chlorine every 24 hours.
Unlike conventional chlorine additives that must be constantly replenished, Pentair IntelliChlor IC40 recycles the salt continuously, which reduces pool maintenance requirements. This generator cleans itself using the automatic reverse cycling feature which helps preventing scale build-up. This will increase the life span of your generator cell.
Electrolytic chlorine generation truly is the easiest, most efficient and convenient way to keep your pool water sparkling clean. IntelliChlor IC40, like every saltwater chlorinator, uses table salt to produce all the chlorine needed for your pool and it does so effectively, safely and automatically.
Easy-to-view display enables easy and quick checking of salt levels, sanitizer output, water flow and cell cleanliness. Adjustments are easy to make by pressing two buttons.
All performance data, such as production settings, hours of operation, chlorine output, cleaning salt chlorine generator cell cycles, salt readings and water temperature averages, is captured daily, making it easy to maintain perfect water.
IntelliChlor IC40 has a control panel with buttons and LED indicators to control the IECG and produce chlorine. The unit measures both the water temperature and salt level in order to create chlorine at the defined output. It also provides feedback if your water chemistry is incorrect, as you would expect the best salt water chlorinator should.
For instance, if the salt level in the pool water is too low (red on ‘salt level’ display) and consequently, the cell is turned off until you add salt to the swimming pool. Also, cell use tracking feature shows remaining hours of cell life in real-time
IntelliChlor IC40 conveniently delivers chlorine into your pool, while producing far less chloramines responsible for irritation of your skin and eyes. Chloramines are also the reason for the strong and unpleasant chlorine smell. IntelliChlor IC40 also features a water softening effect by reducing dissolved alkali minerals in your pool.
The IntelliChlor IC40 is a great salt pool generator for many reasons, but especially if you, or anyone in your family is hypersensitive to chlorine which is the reason why people with sensitive skin are more susceptible to irritation. Salt water chlorination is far more natural, and more enjoyable for the pool users.
The IntelliChlor IC40 salt chlorine generator will cost you less to maintain over the years as salt is much cheaper than chlorine. You can expect the generator to last about 5 years. Apart from money, you will also save time as the generator is fully automated.
5. Hayward AQ-TROL-RJ AquaTrol Salt Chlorination System
Hayward AQ-TROL-RJ is an affordable all-in-one salt chlorine generation solution for above-ground pools. Hayward AQ-TROL-RJ includes the Salt Chlorination Control unit, an 18,000-gallon Turbo Cell and a plumbing kit.
Suitable for new above-ground pools or retrofit it can be installed in about 30 minutes. It has a digital salt display and 7 diagnostic indicators to provide easy operation and monitoring.
You can select the super chlorinate function and there is a 24-hour timer for the filter pump control. Hayward AQ-TROL-RJ allows multiple pump periods a day and can be programmed in 15-minute increments.
Although there is a manual switch ON-Auto-OFF, a built-in microprocessor automates all functions and automatically cleans the cell by periodically reversing polarity. The patented Turbo Cell provides maximum efficiency and flow rate.
Hayward AQ-TROL-RJ is designed to be mounted directly to the return jet on the outside of your pool.
The Hayward AQ-TROL-RJ also has an integral time clock for control of the pool filtration pump. Since many above-ground pools already have a single electrical outlet for the filter pump, the Hayward AQ-TROL-RJ is designed with an outlet and there is also a timer controlled LED.
The built-in outlet is for the filter pump to plug into the salt generator unit. Hayward AQ-TROL-RJ then plugs into the original outlet which filter pump used to be plugged into. The savings on chlorine and electrical power alone will have the Hayward AQ-TROL-RJ paying for itself in a few years, especially if your pump was running 24 hours before salt chlorinator was added to the pool system.
Since the chlorine (which is what typically causes variations in pH and total alkalinity) is automated and released into the pool in small and steady doses you will experience less overall fluctuations in your pH and total alkalinity levels. Hayward AQ-TROL-RJ will make your above-ground pool water much easier to manage overall.
Unless there's water loss in your pool or a heavy rainfall that causes major water dilution, you probably won't have to add salt for the rest of summer. Unlike liquid chlorine, if you install Hayward AQ-TROL-RJ your pool water won’t be harsh on the skin, eyes, hair, nails, pool items, swimsuits, etc.
This chlorination system from Circupool has a 2.35 pound output. It will chlorinate up to 55,000 gallons. To make things easier on you, it is a reverse polarity self-cleaning cell.
You can easily install this unit yourself. Plus, you get a five-year warranty with no penalty for self-installation, so you can save quite a bit of money upfront.
The unit will monitor salinity levels and performance. The Vector jet will maximize overall effectiveness of this system.
The Circupool SJ-55 is well-known for being very user-friendly. It is easy to start up and maintain, which helps to take a little hassle out of pool ownership.
The operation is very simple. Chorine output can be easily set, adjusted, and even boosted. Just add salt when needed and keep your pH balanced just as you would normally.
Traditional pool systems depend on pool owners to maintain the chlorine level and the chlorine dispensed depends on the usual fixed returns to distribute it evenly throughout the pool. However, pool owners sometimes fail to monitor and administer the chlorine input. This system will do the work for you as long as you don’t forget that even the best salt system for inground pool needs regular treatments to perform well.
The best thing you can do for yourself and your pool is to convert your chlorine pool to a salt system. With this system, you will use fewer chemicals to keep the water clean and clear and the water will be much easier on the hair and skin. It will not bleach out your favorite bathing suits as quickly either.