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Saltwater Pools Buyers Guide

Saltwater pools are becoming more and more popular. Learn the basic components that make a saltwater pool different than your basic chlorinated pool.
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Pool owners love saltwater pools because they can be very easy to maintain and swimmers love the silky soft feel of the water. Saltwater systems consistently make small amounts of chlorine so you do not get the high and low chlorine levels that you would with shock and chlorine. It’s a more steady chlorine residual that will consistently prevent cloudy water and algae, and it’s less expensive to run.

4 Basic Components to Buying a Saltwater Pool


Saltwater Compatible Pool

Saltwater can be corrosive to most above ground pools. You should only use a saltwater system with pools that are specifically built for saltwater use.

A stainless steel service panel protects the skimmer and return lines from rust and corrosion on a saltwater-compatible pool. The Saltwater 5000, Saltwater 8000 and Saltwater LX will all include this stainless steel service panel.

Saltwater 5000 Stainless Steel Service Panel

The Saltwater Aurora features a 100% Corrosion Resistant Non-Metallic Resin Wall and Resin Frame which provides longevity and durability unlike any other above ground pool on the market today (Stainless steel service panel not required). The entire Resin Composite Wall utilizes a multi-layer reinforced polymer design which proves to be stronger than steel or aluminum.

Saltwater Aurora Skimmer & Return View of Resin Composite Wall

The Intrepid features a corrosion resistant extruded aluminum wall that is made up of 4-1/8” wide extruded aluminum interlocking slats. The Intrepid’s extruded aluminum interlocking wall is stronger than a rolled one-piece pool and adds superior strength.

Intrepid Oval Skimmer & Return Panel

The Saltwater 5000, Saltwater 8000, Saltwater LX, Saltwater Aurora and Intrepid are saltwater pools built with special components to resist the corrosion issues associated with Saltwater and are all warrantied for saltwater use.

Saltwater 5000 Round
Saltwater 5000 Oval
Saltwater 8000 Round
Saltwater 8000 Oval
Saltwater LX Round
Saltwater LX Oval
Saltwater Aurora Round
Saltwater Aurora Oval
Intrepid Round
Intrepid Oval

Pool Filter System

Saltwater can be used with any type of filter media; you can choose from the following 3 options:

It is important to choose a filter system that is large enough for your pool size. Choosing a slightly oversized filter can make maintaining a pool much easier for a pool owner.

Upgraded filter systems do not typically cost a lot more and are worth the extra investment.


Saltwater Pool Systems

A Saltwater System (also known as a chlorine generator) will convert the dissolved salt in the pool water into chlorine. The electrolytic cell inside the saltwater system will destroy chloramines, which can cause a chlorine odor; red irritated eyes, irritated skin, bleached/green hair and damaged bathing suits.

Saltwater Systems for saltwater pools come in two basic types:

  1. Drop-in units that hang over the pool wall into the water.
  2. In-line units that connect directly to the water jet return fitting or the return plumbing line of the filtration system.

Drop-in Saltwater Systems are less expensive than in-line units but are also very effective. 2 reliable drop-in units (at a reasonable price) are:

In-line Saltwater System (popular model):

Saltron Retro Salt System
Drop In Unit: Solaxx Saltron Retro Salt System
In-Line Unit: Hayward Salt & Swim ABG System

Salt For Your Swimming Pool

Any high purity Sodium Chloride Salt will work. Purity greater than 99% is recommended. It is usually available in 40-80lb bags and is the same product as food quality salt or water softener salt. Do not use rock salt; it is not very pure and hard to dissolve.

Pool Gallons5,00010,00015,00020,00025,000
Pounds of Salt (3400ppm)140 lbs.300 lbs.440 lbs.560 lbs.680 lbs.
Please note the recommended salt level is 3400 ppm (parts per million). We recommend purchasing a saltwater test kit to properly maintain balanced water.

Related Articles We Recommend

How to Customize Your Saltwater Pool Package

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Learn how to customize your saltwater pool package and the differences between all of the available accessories by reading the following guide.

How Much Salt To Add To Your Pool

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This guide will show you how much salt to add to your pool. You must put the correct amount of salt in order for your salt chlorine generator to work.

Saltwater Pools vs. Chlorinated Pools

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A comparison as to the pro’s and con’s of both saltwater pools and chlorinated swimming pools.

  • June 22, 2014 at 9:05 AM

    We purchase a above ground pool with a salt water. We no nothing about putting the chemicals and salt in the pool. Where do we put the salt? in the filter or directly into the pool.

  • January 25, 2015 at 5:35 PM
    guadalberto feliciano

    How deep can we go when installing a semi inground pool? I am interested in buying a semi inground pool package (Size 15 x 30).

    • January 26, 2015 at 3:50 PM

      Hi Guadalberto,

      All of our semi-inground pools are warranted for installation of up to “halfway” in the ground, so 26” for a 52” high pool and 27” deep for a 54” high pool. The Intrepid pool is warranted for installation of up to 36” in the ground.

      Please click here for a full listing of all our semi inground pool models.

  • April 26, 2015 at 8:11 AM
    Patricia richard

    I’m assuming the pool will taste like the beach and smell salty like the beach with this application of salt

    • April 27, 2015 at 5:07 PM

      Hi Patricia,

      The water in a swimming pool with a saltwater generator is soft with little or no taste of salt or resemblance to the ocean. Ocean water would have about 10 times the amount of salt as in a swimming pool. Most pools are maintained at about 3500ppm salt, which is very close to the amount of salt in our eyes and therefore is not irritating to the eyes or the skin.

  • April 27, 2015 at 8:17 PM

    I am interested in purchasing the 5000 saltwater oval pool 12x24x52. What would I need to complete the pool package with a salt water filter? What would your recommendations be?

    • April 30, 2015 at 3:16 PM

      A basic saltwater pool package would usually include the following 3 items:

      1. Filter System
      2. Saltwater System
      3. Ladder

      Additional popular options:

      • Robotic Cleaner
      • Underwater Pool Light
      • Saltwater Chemical Kit
      • Covers
      • Pool Cove
      • Liner Floor Pad
  • April 28, 2015 at 5:25 PM
    Dustin Harris

    I was wanting some more info on the saltwater pool half inground pool.

  • June 21, 2015 at 11:29 AM

    We are having the Saltwater 8000 15x30x54 installed this week.

    How many pounds of salt need to go in the pool? If I’m understanding correctly, the pool holds 10,500 gallons of water, so it would need 315 lbs. of salt? Is that correct?

    Does the salt get dumped into the pool after it is filled with water, or before?

    How do you know how much salt to add, if you test the water and it’s off? I don’t know anything about the testing yet, but I assume you sometimes have to add salt.


    • June 29, 2015 at 12:58 PM

      Hi Lauren,

      Yes, you are correct, your pool holds approximately 10,500 gallons and we recommend 320lbs of high purity salt, broadcasted across the pool surface after the pool has been filled. Salt will only be lost from splashing and it is easy to test and adjust the salt level with any salt test kit.

      Here is a good article that explains how much salt to add to a pool and how to add it.

  • July 12, 2015 at 4:54 PM
    Sharon Daigle

    I purchased a 27 round Saltwater 8000 above ground pool and it was installed about 3 weeks ago. I am having trouble with waterbugs, how can I get rid of them.

    • July 13, 2015 at 12:21 PM

      Hi Sharon,

      Super-chlorinate or shock the pool water and use a concentrated algaecide if you have visible algae in your above ground pool. Most water bugs feed on algae so shocking the pool will eliminate their food source. Brush and vacuum your pool regularly and use a net to skim out any bugs on the surface.

  • July 13, 2015 at 12:58 PM

    Hi, I have the Saltwater 8000 15x30x54″. I used the 4+ test strips for the first time (we just set up and added salt – that’s it). All the levels are good except CYA is “0”. What do we add? And will that then throw other levels off?

    • July 27, 2015 at 12:39 PM

      Hi Lauren,

      CYA is Cyanuric acid which is also know as chlorine stabilizer. Chlorine stabilizer will help the chlorine that you produce in your saltwater pool last longer. It can be found in the Saltwater Series Chemical Kit that you purchased. Since it is an acid, it may lower your pH and alkaline levels, so you will need to check and adjust those levels after adding the chlorine stabilizer to your pool.

  • September 15, 2015 at 5:28 PM

    Can I use my gas heater and sand filter with a saltwater system? Or do I need special heater and filter for saltwater?

    • November 24, 2015 at 12:46 PM

      Hi Tammi,

      Yes, you can use a natural gas or propane heater with saltwater but the heater must be equipped with a special heat exchanger and other features to handle it. The FD model from Hayward has cupro-nickel corrosion resistant heat exchanger suitable for use with saltwater pools. The forced draft heater comes in natural gas and propane models. The Pentair MasterTemp series and the Sta-Rite Max-E-Therm series are also available with cupro-nickel heat exchangers and are suitable for saltwater use.

      Most sand filters can be used with saltwater pools.

  • May 27, 2016 at 1:24 PM

    Will the salt in my salt water pool damage the workings of the battery charged pool vacuums?

  • August 17, 2016 at 3:03 AM

    What’s the difference between the saltwater 5000,8000 and Lx?

  • January 7, 2017 at 10:58 AM

    We want to purchase the 27 foot above ground pool. What is the difference between the Saltwater 8000 and the saltwater LX.

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