Saltwater vs Chlorine


Well-known member
Jun 25, 2020
Hey all, so I am in need of some good solid advice. Our above ground pool is supposed to be installed this weekend. As of right now, we are planning on doing chlorine and have an inline chlorinator being installed with the pool. I've have been doing more and more research on saltwater and see that it looks to be better overall and easier to maintain. My concern is that each time i have brought up saltwater with the pool store we are going thru, he keeps advising against it saying the saltwater will rust the pool, eat away at the line, rust the side walls, etc. Said chlorine is the way to go. The pool we are getting is saltwater compatible. The tracks though are steel, so that could be an issue maybe? I am not sure, but i would love some advice.

If we go the chlorine route, is it really as easy as I see in the pool school? BBB, bleach, baking soda and borax? I am terrified of screwing up and I have never owned a pool before, so I am trying to do as much research as possible. I have read thru multiple posts and thru the ABC's etc.

Just need some others expertise :)

Editing to add- supposedly if we do saltwater it would void the warranty on the pool even though the pool we are purchasing is saltwater compatible.
Last edited:


May 17, 2020
Long Valley NJ
I’ve been using the method within this website for 15 years and have had a cloudy pool twice in those 15 years because I didn’t keep my chlorine levels up for three or four straight days.

Never green!!!

with that said the pool guy has no idea what he’s talking about. Salt water does not make the pool rust.

my understanding of salt chlorinator is that it does make it slightly...and I mean slightly easier to maintain because the salt water generator is consistently maintaining the level
.but to me, especially for an above ground poolnot worth the cost.

If you want the feel of “soft” water all you have to do is go to Home Depot or Lowe’s and get water softener salt crystals and throw them in your pool. The amount of bags you will need to put in the pool will depend on the gallons of water in your pool. As an example I have an inground pool with 30,000 gallons and I put in qty 15 of 40 lb bags and Water is super soft! Best part is it never leaves the pool except through backwashing and dilution.

oh and by the way, a saltwater pool still is a chlorine pool. The salt water is converted to chlorine.

Oh and by the way, you don’t need the in-line chlorinator! Of no use if you’re going to use the BBB method.


Gold Supporter
Editing to add- supposedly if we do saltwater it would void the warranty on the pool even though the pool we are purchasing is saltwater compatible.
Ugh.. don't your just love those Catch 22's... Have you shown the Saltwater compatibility literature to the pool store? I'm curious who's warranty you will be voiding.. the pool store's or the pool manufacturer. Sounds all very suspicious to me ;)

No your pool will not rust from the salt in a SWG pool. The salinity is less than half of your tears. It will more likely rust due to improper chem levels (high pH) or from the salt they throw on the roads in the winter. Here are some hard numbers:
Saltwater pool salinity ~3400 ppm
Your tears salinity ~7000 ppm
The Ocean salinity ~34000 ppm

You are correct that your research is telling a SWG pool is easier to maintain. I can't suggest that you put an SWG in after the the crew leaves for setting up the pool... oops I just did. You will be fine chlorinating with liquid chlorine too if you choose.. just be aware that chlorine feeders usually use a type a chlorine that will cause your CYA to go up and up.. and that will be unsustainable.


Well-known member
May 30, 2012
Montville NJ
I have a ABG, for 5 years I ran it with BBB, for the last 3 I ran a salt pool.

My experience:

BBB is easy, even easier with a chlorinator.

SWCG is stupid easy, Almost too easy.

Seriously, with the BBB method, I would buy 3-4 gallons of bleach at a time. My pool took a quart of bleach a day, unless something was totally off or different. I would add the bleach in the morning before leaving for work. If it was raining, or I was in a rush, I just added the bleach - no testing. On the rare occasion I would have to add some borax, that is about it. If I was away for work, the instruction were simple - add a quart of bleach each day when the filter is running.

Now with salt, I do nothing. My SWG is dialed in, it adds the equivalent of a quart of bleach each day. I don't have to buy bleach every few weeks. I don't have to add bleach in the morning. Every few days I test the pool to make sure everything is OK. If we are going to have a larger than usual bathing load, I kick it into super chlorinate.

Oh, and no more rusting than is to be expected with a non-salt pool either.


TFP Guide
Hello and Welcome to TFP!!

A salt water chlorine generator (SWG) pool is a chlorine pool. Chlorine is the method of sanitation either way. The SWG makes the chlorine or you can pour bleach / liquid chlorine in the pool (or you can use trichlor tabs). ALL methods use or add salt to the pool water. If you take a pool that has been fed with bleach for a few years, you will be surprised (or not) to see that you may be over 1500 ppm of salt. That's half way to a SWG salt level. I can point to thousands pools that have rust or rusted out and never used a SWG. That's because the salt level needed for a SWG has little to do with amount of rust that an AGP will potentially get. Is has more to do with pH and if there is a leak or scratch through the paint on the wall. Most AGPs will get rust around the skimmer and return. Why? because that is where it is most typical to leak.
Ask the dealer where in the paperwork does a SWG void the warranty.
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Bronze Supporter
Jun 1, 2018
Hernando, Ms
Pool Size
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Intex Krystal Clear
Do they not sell swg’s but sell other systems? That may be the reason for discouragement. Although if you need to use your warranty you’ll likely have to go through the manufacturer.


Well-known member
Jun 25, 2020
If you have a SWG you won't be coming in repeatedly to BUY more chemicals from him. STRONG motivation for him to poo-poo SWGs use.
And that's why I think he's pushing against the saltwater system. He also tells us to put pucks in the skimmer and run our pump 24/7, shock our pool weekly, add algacide etc. They've also been pushing back our install date too. First it was Wednesday, now tomorrow. I am so over this pool store after our pool is installed.

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Well-known member
Jun 25, 2020
So if we stick with chlorine via liquid, can we add water softner salt to make the water softer? Our test kit is on it's way. It's the Taylor k2006. The pool itself is 13,595 gallons. So depending on what the salt level of our water after fill, i would like to add softner salt to make the water feel better, but also don't want to risk screwing up the other chemicals. I won't add anything until we test the water .


Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
May 3, 2014
Laughlin, NV
Pool Size
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
Add 1500 to 2000 ppm of salt for your water 'feel'.

Then put in a SWCG next spring.
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