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Every year, salt water pool systems become more popular. This is due to the fact that salt water pools provide a number of advantages that regular chlorine pools do not have. If you’re interested in converting your pool to saltwater or just want to learn more about salt water pool systems, keep reading!

Why Pick a Saltwater Chlorine Generator System?

Salt water pools are easier to maintain than traditional chlorinated pools, and a saltwater pool is also gentler on the skin and eyes not to mention can be easily installed on swimming pools that are above ground as well as in ground pools. In addition, salt water pool systems generate their own chlorine, so you don’t have to worry about storing or handling dangerous chemicals and keep your pool safe. However, they do have some disadvantages.

For one thing, a salt water system is more expensive up front to install than traditional chlorinated pools. In addition, these pools require regular maintenance, including adding salt to the water and checking the pH levels. Overall, salt water pools are a great option for those who want the benefits of a chlorine pool without the hassle of dealing with chemicals.

The systems we’ll be ranking are:

  • Pentair IntelliChlor Power Center and IC40 Cell
  • CircuPool CORE35 Salt Chlorinator System
  • Hayward W3AQ-TROL-HP-TL AquaTrol Salt Chlorination System
  • Circupool RJ45 Plus Complete Salt Water Chlorination System
  • ControlOMatic SmarterSpa Saltwater Chlorine Generation System
  • BLUE WORKS Salt Water Pool Chlorine Generator System
  • Saltron Mini Salt System Drop-In Saltwater Chlorine Generator

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Here are our top picks of the best salt water pool systems:

Pentair Salt Chlorine Generator 300x178
  • The Pentair IntelliChlor Salt Chlorinator is the premium model
  • 3 units based on pool volume: 20K, 40K and 60K gallons for custom fit
  • User friendly status display front panel for fast salt level check
  • Push button operation to program
  • Automatically turns off to save cell life
  • Flow/No Flow, Salt Level, Cell Status LEDs
  • Long cell life
  • Low maintenance required
CircuPool CORE35 Salt Chlorinator System 300x300
  •  Revolutionary compact design allows for incredibly easy DIY installation
  • Advanced technology with reliability for pools up to 35,000 gallons
  • Simple operation that’s easy to install by a DIY
  • Full display that’s easy to read
  • USA titanium cell with industry-best 8-year limited warranty
  • Heavy-Duty, weather-proof construction with IP-66 rated protection
Hayward W3AQ TROL RJ AquaTrol Salt Chlorination System 300x197
  • For above ground pool lovers up to 18,000 gallons
  • Easy installation without the plumber
  • Digital indicator display shows salt level and 7 other diagnostic metrics
  • Super chlorinate function
  • 24-hour timer to easily program custom schedules
  • Smart dispensing function regulates levels automatically, or with manual switch On/Off/Auto
  • Auto-reversing polarity, periodically cleans the salt cell to ensure best function
  • 1 year parts warranty
Circupool RJ45 Plus Complete Salt Water Chlorination System 300x242
  • Complete salt system for pools up to 45,000 gallons
  • Easy Install. Works with any brand pump and filter.
  • Features OLED digital display, heavy-duty construction, and premium clear salt cell.
  • Seven year limited warranty that’s not effected by installing it yourself
  • USA made Titanium (Best) cell. 220 or 110 volt
ControlOMatic SmarterSpa Saltwater Chlorine Generation System 300x294
  • We like this option for your hot tub since it’s easy to install in minutes
  • Built in chlorine detection built into the electrode preventing over chlorination
  • Onboard self-cleaning reverse polarity system reduces the time you spend worrying about maintenance.
  • Plug-and-play chlorinator system does not require plumbing or mechanical alternations. Just attach the panel to the outside of your pool and lower the electrode into the water.
  • Output is 30g of pure chlorine per day as compared to other brands
  • Longer life span of the titanium plates which is one of the many reason we think this is one of best salt water pool systems combined with the low cost
  • Low 1,500 to 2,000 ppm salt levels needed for the unit to work properly
  • Supports both 110 & 220VAC installs
BLUE WORKS Salt Water Pool Chlorine Generator System 300x189
  • Various sizes designed for pools from 15,000 to 40,000 gallons
  • Works with any brand pump and filter
  • Easy-friendly installation
  • Easy display to read salt level
  • Observe water flow clearly through the transparent cell
  • 2-Year USA warranty
  • System includes controller, salt cell, flow switch, unions and O’rings.
  • This system isn’t produced or sold by Hayward
Saltron Mini Salt System Drop In Saltwater Chlorine Generator 205x300
  • The Saltron Mini Salt System allows any DIY converts any hot tub to a salt water system easily at a low cost
  • Plug and play unit for spas up to 2,000 gallons give us the confidence that this little bad boy is one of the best salt water pool systems for the compact size
  • Cell holder included, for storage while bathing
  • Ultra-low energy consumption with the built-in time/controller with LED indicators
  • The titanium cell is the most reliable power system available. 6′ (72 inch) power cord; 120 VAC, 50/60 Hz, 0.2A. 12′ (144 inch) cell cable; output: 5 VDC 2A
  • 1-year warranty. Replacement cells sold separately

How to get the right salt chlorine system for my pool

Size and Output Matter

With all of the alternatives we’ve listed that should cover a wide enough range to include the pool or spa you may own, it’s essential to explain how to pick which one is best for your salt water pool system.

No shortcuts here; a properly sized salt water chlorine system will make life easier and ensure that your pool remains beautiful all year round.

Here are a few factors that come into play to get the right answer such as:

  • Pool Water Volume
  • Weather conditions
  • Pool Usage
  • Landscaping around pool
  • L × W × D × 7.5 = V (Rectangle) more…
  • Heavy sun, rainy, cloudy
  • Kids and/or adults
  • Trees, shrubs, hardscape
  • Pool Water Volume
  • Weather conditions
  • Pool Usage
  • Landscaping around pool
  • L × W × D × 7.5 = V (Rectangle) more…
  • Heavy sun, rainy, cloudy
  • Kids and/or adults
  • Trees, shrubs, hardscape

The more of these variables you have, the greater your chlorine demand will be. Make sure the system is sized according to the manufacturer’s recommendations; most pools require a salt water chlorinator with a maximum rating capacity 1.5 to 2 times their actual pool size because chlorine demand varies considerably.

Let’s suppose your pool has a maximum capacity of 20,000 gallons. Select one of the top salt water pool systems with a maximum capacity of 30,000 gallons, which is 1.5x more at the very least 2x more if the circumstances above are met.

This will ensure that adequate chlorine levels are maintained, allowing the salt water chlorine pool system to work less hard, thus extending not just the cell life but also the other hardware components.

Two Basic Types of Salt Water Pool Systems

Salt water systems or many pool owners may know them as chlorine generators are offered in two configurations; plug-and-play for small pools or spas which any pool owner can install in minutes and require very little maintenance. The second are saltwater system that are typically for large pools that may be out of reach for a pool owner to install since this setup probably needs to be installed by a pool professional.

These two categories of salt chlorine generators cover every size pool from small inground pools to large commercial pools. The plug-and-play are pretty self explanatory and don’t require much explanation.

The larger salt systems for larger pools have more chlorine production which typically include things like a control box and an independent flow sensor are pool systems that are a bit more complicated and need at least a plumber or skilled home owner to plumb it into the existing circulation system.

Best Salt Water Chlorinator Practices

Practically speaking it’s best to locate all pool related equipment & chemicals such as pool chlorine, test kits, away from the swimming pool area to make the environment less noisy and more enjoyable.

Given this is the case, the plumbed-in salt chlorinator will be too which is electronic and is generating chlorine and you don’t want to have to endure any strong chlorine smells or experience any skin irritation from those chemicals that may be laying around.

First, always make sure that the salt level in your swimming pool is correct. water chlorinators work best when the salt level is between 3000 and 4000 ppm.

If the salt level in your swimming pool is too low, the chlorinator will not produce enough chlorine to keep your pool clean. If your swimming pool has too much salt, the chlorinator will increase the chlorine production and possibly damage your pool equipment with the extra chlorine residuals.

The Sodium Chloride (salt) residuals can be easily tested using a salt test kit which can be purchased from most pool supply stores as well other key levels like pH, & Alkalinity.

Salt and Why It Matters

The salt you use in your swimming pool is one of the most essential components, so let’s talk about it quickly. Don’t get pool salt and table salt confused. They are very different. Saltwater pools need a bit more coarse and pure salt that contains a larger crystal. Your salt pool concentration benchmark or better known as salt concentration mark works far better in your salt water pool system. Compared to pool chlorine, It’s much cheaper in the long run and easy to obtain, so don’t worry about it.

Pool salt is usually sold in 40-50# & 80# bags. The smaller the pool, the less salt you’ll need. Here’s are some simple guidelines to follow:

40,000 gallons or less use between 200# and 400#

50,000 gallons use between 400# and 600#

  • Best Overall Choice
  • Mind Salt
  • 95%-99% Pure
  • Readily Available
  • Second Best Choice
  • Evaporated Salt
  • Less Pure
  • More Expensive
  • Least Favorite Choice
  • Solar Salt
  • Least Pure
  • Least Expensive
  • Best Overall Choice
  • Mind Salt
  • 95%-99% Pure
  • Readily Available
  • Second Best Choice
  • Evaporated Salt
  • Less Pure
  • More Expensive
  • Least Favorite Choice
  • Solar Salt
  • Least Pure
  • Least Expensive 

We’ve gone over the seven best salt water pool systems on the market, as well as how to size and select the right one for your needs. We’ve also talked about salt, and how important it is to use the right kind in your salt water pool system.

In summary, here are the most important things to remember to pick the best salt water system: Size and output matter when you’re ready to purchase a salt water pool system for your home, be sure to keep these factors in mind. With a little research and the right product, you’ll be swimming in salt-chlorinated water in no time!


Patrick creates valuable content about water & home care that give complete insight on subjects that will interest most. Read his content and be a little wiser making good choices in your daily lives.

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