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Thread: Salt water generator comparison/review

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    Salt water generator comparison/review

    We installed Eco-Matic when we redid our pool and were very happy with it until it quit working after only 3 years. We did all maintenance as per instructions. We expected it to last longer. A replacement cell was so expensive, last summer we decided to try old-fashioned chlorine routine and went crazy trying to keep pool balanced (we are not very disciplined/methodical) and spent so much money on chemicals we figured it would have been cheaper to buy the replacement cell. We want to pruchase a new salt water (chlorine) generator - Eco-Matic is no longer distributed in our area. Does anyone know of a place to find Consumer Reports-like reviews/comparisons of salt water generators? Any recommendations?
    30,000gal. IG pool - applied fiberglass over gunite when pool was remodeled, cartridge filter, 1HP pump, 100 gal/min flow rate

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Salt water generator comparison/review

    I don't know of any true comparative reviews. You can find out a lot by reading through posts here, but they aren't well organized for making comparisons.

    The AutoPilot Digital is very well though of and has some nice high end features, but is more expensive than most. The Hayward Aqua Plus is a great deal if you need a simple automation system. The Hayward Aqua Rite and Pentair IntelliChlor are both very popular, though that is really because builders tend to install all Hayward or all Pentair equipment.

    For above ground pools, the Intex SWG is extremely inexpensive, is missing several important features, and has some significant quirks. The Hayward Aqua Trol is well though of.

    And then there are all the others, none of which seem to really stand out.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
    Creator of PoolMath and Pool Calculator. Other handy links: Support this site, TF Test Kits, Pool School

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    MikeInTN's Avatar
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    Re: Salt water generator comparison/review

    Quote Originally Posted by JasonLion
    I don't know of any true comparative reviews. You can find out a lot by reading through posts here, but they aren't well organized for making comparisons.

    The AutoPilot Digital is very well though of and has some nice high end features, but is more expensive than most. The Hayward Aqua Plus is a great deal if you need a simple automation system. The Hayward Aqua Rite and Pentair IntelliChlor are both very popular, though that is really because builders tend to install all Hayward or all Pentair equipment.

    For above ground pools, the Intex SWG is extremely inexpensive, is missing several important features, and has some significant quirks. The Hayward Aqua Trol is well though of.

    And then there are all the others, none of which seem to really stand out.
    Must be why I like it so much then - it's alot like me.
    24' x 52" AGP - approx 13,500 gallons
    Pentair Optiflo 1 hp/2sp pump w/ Swimpro Voyager 150 sq ft cartridge filter
    Intex 8110 SWCG
    "Fear the Schnauz!"

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    Re: Salt water generator comparison/review

    I also had an Eco-Matic. Also lasted about 3 years. My understanding is they are out of business now. I am just installing a Hayward Aqua Rite to replace it.
    28000 gal. Quartz, 2hp Pentair pump, Pentair Cartridge Filter, 2x 1hp pumps infloor cleaning,
    Pentair Heatpump, Eco-Matic 36 SWG (POS), DEAD Ultra-Pure Ozone (also POS)
    2hp waterfall pump, 1hp fountain pump
    http://www.paddockpoolsucks.com

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    Re: Salt water generator comparison/review

    If anyone as not seen it, there is actually a very comphrensive comparison chart of pretty much every currently sold model at http://www.discountsaltpool.com/Comparison.htm
    20,000 gallon plaster in-ground plaster pool with DE Filter

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    NWMNMom's Avatar
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    Re: Salt water generator comparison/review

    Also note that models sold for IG pools may be used on AG pools as well its just that they have a capacity to maintain much larger pools. Those with large AG pools may benefit from some of the more beefy larger systems.
    18x33x52 Buttressfree Seaspray (Wilbar) AGP - 1.5hp Pentair Maxim w/22" Pentair Meteor Sand Filter, Aqua Rite SWG System, Biltmore Walk In Steps - 2/4x20 Solar Panel Setup - Doheny Jet Drive (RIP -Pool Rover Jr) - finally hard plumbed the whole darned thing -
    Beats Driving to the Lake!

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    New2Me's Avatar
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    Re: Salt water generator comparison/review

    Great chart link!!!
    Gotta love those comparisons!!!
    They must sell only the CircuPool brand, since it is the highest rated.
    If I were to rate them for a value score, I would just look at cost and production only.
    If I had an automation system, I would look at compatibility, too.
    But for a stand alone unit most of the "features" that they rate are marketing selling points that give the pool owner little benefit, if not a reduction in benefit.

    Here's my view of their chart items (not that anybody asked for it)-
    Average price - looks like MSRP, if you can't find it for less then this, you didn't even try!!!
    Chlorine Production - What you want to know!!!
    Warranty - They don't tell you how much it is pro-rated, years at less then 100% are only a sales tactic, IMHO.
    Cell replacement - see warranty above.
    Salinity range - once you get in it, you should stay there, barring large leaks and floods.
    Controls - if it works, it works - oh, wait, digital must be better! Tell that to the Hi-Fi nerds with tube amps and vinyl records!!
    Self-cleaning - they tell you that you eventually have to manually clean it, but they don't tell you that polarity reversal reduces cell life. Adjustable cleaning intervals would be a feature.
    Lo/Hi salt indicators -\
    Salinity Test -/ more of a "I have a dirty cell" or "I'm broken" then a useful salinity test. Ignorant users will just keep adding more salt before they realise the ECG is incorrect.
    Super Chlor - not a useful thing, unless you sell cells.
    Clear cell - OK, this is a useful feature, and it is fun to show off!
    Ph controls - they say the benefits are arguable, and the added equipment very expensive. I'll agree. It's only found on the high end units, and is probably listed as a way of discounting them.
    Vector Jet - most pools have adjustable return eyeballs, don't they?
    Flow sensor - if it an in-line unit it HAS to have one, so why list it?
    Winter mode - physics steps in when the temperature drops, I think most people turn them off, but maybe it matters to some?

    Still, a great place to start for those interested in a Electronic Chlorine Generator, to see the production numbers that are often so buried in the sales literature that you can't find them! (Atlantis?)
    What do the other users think of my assessment of the features? Can you not live with out "Super Chlor" or "Lo/Hi salt indicators/salinity test"? (The chart mistakenly lists the latter as missing on the Intex, but it does test salinity, and alarm on Lo/Hi salt, as that is the main reason for most of the help needed posts.)
    22 x 40 IG vinyl lined, 23,570 gal.
    1 hp. Pac-Fab Challenger pump 300# sand filter
    Intex 8110 SWG, Hayward CL220 offline feeder
    Hayward 250K Btu gas heater
    Aquabots

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Salt water generator comparison/review

    That is a great comparison chart. I would not call it a review however. Their value score is simply a straight calculation based on the specs, and nothing tells you what the units are actually like. Still, it is very handy to have.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
    Creator of PoolMath and Pool Calculator. Other handy links: Support this site, TF Test Kits, Pool School

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    BobinBaltimore's Avatar
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    Re: Salt water generator comparison/review

    The chart is a good starting point, and easy to use. As Jason notes, it just follows the specs provided. For example, I have a Intellichlor IC40 running right now with salt at 2950ppm and it is putting out plenty of Cl. 30% setting seems to be holding FC steady at 3 with a CYA of 60. Spec says it won't kick in until 3200ppm, but that is dependent on temp and other factors. I'll raise it to 3200ppm is weekend.
    25' x 37' freeform, 22,000 gallon saltwater, 3'6" to 6'6" deep, including baja shelf and benches, 120 ft EP Henry retaining wall
    Pentair equipment (CC420 cartridge filter, VS-3050 variable speed pump, IC 60 salt cell, EasyTouch), 200 sq ft pool house
    View our Pool Build - View our Pool House Build

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    Re: Salt water generator comparison/review

    Apparently you have never contacted Discount Salt Pool, they sell all makes and models and sell you whatever brand you want. That Comparison chart is spot on. I have had a CircuPool salt generator now for three years and NO problems, just look at the display and you get all the answers. I even bought another one for my son's house and he also has had NO problems....



    Quote Originally Posted by New2Me View Post
    Great chart link!!!
    Gotta love those comparisons!!!
    They must sell only the CircuPool brand, since it is the highest rated.
    If I were to rate them for a value score, I would just look at cost and production only.
    If I had an automation system, I would look at compatibility, too.
    But for a stand alone unit most of the "features" that they rate are marketing selling points that give the pool owner little benefit, if not a reduction in benefit.

    Here's my view of their chart items (not that anybody asked for it)-
    Average price - looks like MSRP, if you can't find it for less then this, you didn't even try!!!
    Chlorine Production - What you want to know!!!
    Warranty - They don't tell you how much it is pro-rated, years at less then 100% are only a sales tactic, IMHO.
    Cell replacement - see warranty above.
    Salinity range - once you get in it, you should stay there, barring large leaks and floods.
    Controls - if it works, it works - oh, wait, digital must be better! Tell that to the Hi-Fi nerds with tube amps and vinyl records!!
    Self-cleaning - they tell you that you eventually have to manually clean it, but they don't tell you that polarity reversal reduces cell life. Adjustable cleaning intervals would be a feature.
    Lo/Hi salt indicators -\
    Salinity Test -/ more of a "I have a dirty cell" or "I'm broken" then a useful salinity test. Ignorant users will just keep adding more salt before they realise the ECG is incorrect.
    Super Chlor - not a useful thing, unless you sell cells.
    Clear cell - OK, this is a useful feature, and it is fun to show off!
    Ph controls - they say the benefits are arguable, and the added equipment very expensive. I'll agree. It's only found on the high end units, and is probably listed as a way of discounting them.
    Vector Jet - most pools have adjustable return eyeballs, don't they?
    Flow sensor - if it an in-line unit it HAS to have one, so why list it?
    Winter mode - physics steps in when the temperature drops, I think most people turn them off, but maybe it matters to some?

    Still, a great place to start for those interested in a Electronic Chlorine Generator, to see the production numbers that are often so buried in the sales literature that you can't find them! (Atlantis?)
    What do the other users think of my assessment of the features? Can you not live with out "Super Chlor" or "Lo/Hi salt indicators/salinity test"? (The chart mistakenly lists the latter as missing on the Intex, but it does test salinity, and alarm on Lo/Hi salt, as that is the main reason for most of the help needed posts.)

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    Re: Salt water generator comparison/review

    I'm in the market to replace my Hayward T Cell 15 and found a clear one with a 5 year limited warranty. Not a lot of information regarding what all the warranty covers but 5 years is the longest I've found.

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    HomeHayward / Aqua Rite Replacement Cells › Platinum Edition Replacement Salt Cell for Hayward T-CELL-15 | 40,000 Gallons | 5-Year Warranty



    Platinum Edition Replacement Salt Cell for Hayward T-CELL-15 | 40,000 Gallons | 5-Year Warranty

    Deal or no deal......that's half the price of the Hayward replacement....
    22,538 gallons, Salt chlorinator, IG, Gunite/plaster, Installed 2012
    Hayward 2 HP-2 Speed, Hayward Model C5530BHMB Filter, 550 Cartridge
    Hayward GLX-PL-LOC-P-4 Display Local with Pro Logic P4, Hayward Sense & Dispense AQL
    Hayward TurboCell-T Cell 15 Salt Chlorinator, Dolphin s300i Robotic Cleaner
    Add water from well for evaporation purposes

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    Port Saint Lucie, Flirida
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    Re: Salt water generator comparison/review

    I am curious about that one too, for my jandy replacement.



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