Saltwater pool systems are quickly becoming the most popular alternative to traditional chlorine pools. The good news is that they aren’t just for inground pools anymore! Smaller saltwater systems have become widely available for above ground swimming pools. So if you are interested in soft, silky pool water that uses fewer chemicals and doesn’t irritate skin and eyes, a saltwater pool might be right for you.

How Does a Saltwater Pool Work?

Many people do not realize that a saltwater pool is not free of chlorine. A saltwater system uses a piece of pool equipment called a salt chlorine generator that consists of a salt cell and a control panel. This amazing unit actually converts salt in your pool water into chlorine! That’s right, all you have to do is add pool salt to your water, and the saltwater system will make its own chlorine through a process called electrolysis. This means no more buying, handling, and storing heavy buckets of chlorine! Getting started is simple. At start up, pool salt is added to the pool at a rate of 100 lb per 5,000 gallons of water in order to achieve an optimal salt level of 3000 ppm. After that, pool owners can expect to add a small amount of salt about once per year to maintain the proper salinity level. While you don’t have to add chlorine, salt chlorination systems still require water chemistry balancing, including pH, alkalinity, calcium hardness, etc.

Benefits of Saltwater Pools

While saltwater chlorine generators cost more up front, and salt cells need to be replaced every several years, there are many benefits to this type of system.
  • Salt systems produce consistent chlorine levels preventing water issues that commonly arise in chlorine pools.
  • Swimmers experience fewer instances of red eyes and dry, itchy skin.
  • Pool water feels silky and soft.
  • There’s no unpleasant chlorine odor.
  • Eliminates the need to purchase and store buckets of chlorine, saving you money on chemicals.

Are All Above Ground Pools Salt Systems Compatible?

Due to the corrosive nature of saltwater, salt systems are most appropriate for use in resin above ground pools. Steel pools could rust quickly, even with their protective coating. Be aware that resin pools do still have some steel components, but they are simple and inexpensive to replace. Some Intex pools are also available with saltwater chlorinators.

How to Select an Above Ground Pool Salt System

The most important determining factor in choosing a salt system for your pool is pool size. If the unit is too small, it will not be able to generate enough chlorine for proper sanitizing. If it is too big, you will be wasting your money. Another important factor to consider is the plumbing requirements. Some salt cells connect to the wall return fitting, while others are inline units.

Recommended Salt Chlorine Generators 

Hayward AquaTrol Salt Chlorine Generator Hayward AquaTrol Salt Chlorine Generator is easy to install in just 30 minutes and will save you lots of time and money. The digital display and 24-hour timer for filter pump control make it super convenient and simple to operate. Includes a one year warranty for added peace of mind.
Pentair Intellichlor Chlorine Generator for Above Ground Pools Pentair Intellichlor Chlorine Generator is not only good for your pool, it’s good for the planet. This unit allows you to use fewer pool chemicals and saves energy with automatic shut off. Users love the easy-to-read digital display that allows for instant monitoring of salt levels, cell cleanliness, sanitizer output, and more.
Solaxx Saltron Reliant Above Ground Chlorine Generator With eight levels of chlorine production, Solaxx Saltron Chlorine Generator is both versatile and affordable. The control panel display with LED indicators makes it easy to determine salt levels, water conditions, and system status at the touch of a button. Saltwater chlorinators for above ground pools are a popular choice for pool owners who want to save time and have a more comfortable swimming experience. Whether you are purchasing a new above ground pool or upgrading an existing one, Doheny’s has everything you need to DIY your pool maintenance, saving you big money. Whether you are looking for an above ground pool cleaner, a pool cover or a new pool liner, our huge selection of pool supplies is sure to offer exactly what you need. Check us out online at for quality pool supplies at great prices.