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Lack of pool maintenance due to poor water circulation or insufficient dosing of cleaning chemicals quickly leads to poor water quality. This results in cloudy water, algae formation and even the accumulation of germs and bacteria.

To prevent this, reaching for a powerful sand filtration system in combination with a salt chlorinator system is just the right choice. Thus, the use of a salt water system is considered a popular and proven alternative compared to the conventional disinfection of pool water with chemicals.

Salt is known to have extensive disinfecting properties, which can be used for pool cleaning or water treatment. Thus, salt forms chlorine through electrolysis processes, which is why salt systems are also often referred to as salt water electrolysis systems.

Not only is the use of salt in the pool water good for the skin and the environment, but it also immensely reduces the use of chemical care products. As mentioned, such a salt system is always used in combination with a sand filter system to achieve appropriate cleaning results.

It is not only important to ensure that the integrated sand filter pump produces enough power for the dimensions of the pool. It must also be suitable for salt water. For example, many components may react appropriately to the salt used and possibly rust quickly due to contact.

You can also retrofit the pool with a salt system.

Most salt systems operate on the same mechanical system, which triggers a correspondingly similar chemical process. This so-called pool electrolysis forms in the pool water a salt content of about 0.4 percent, so that when diving without restrictions can open their eyes.

To what extent higher-quality salt systems now differ from cheaper models and what all needs to be considered when buying, you can find out in our following salt electrolysis system test.

  • Salt systems are mechanical systems which, when used in conjunction with a sand filter system, result in a very low dose of salt being added to the pool water. The slightly salty water is antiseptic and permanently destroys harmful microorganisms. As a result, the water is not contaminated by chemicals and is accordingly kinder to the skin, softer and overall healthier because it is more tolerable.
  • Since salt water has a corrosive effect on a wide variety of components, it is important when buying a salt system to make sure that they can withstand contact with salt. Stainless steel heat exchangers in particular should be replaced with titanium units to avoid corrosion.
  • The use of salt to clean the pool water, is in comparison sustainably cheaper than various chlorine products. The total costs for the use of corresponding agents are reduced by about 50 percent per year. Thus, the purchase of a salt system reliably pays for itself within a short time.

The best pool salt systems

AngebotBestseller No. 1
INTEX 26669EG QS1200 Krystal Clear Saltwater System with E.C.O. (Electrocatalytic Oxidation) for up...
  • Soft, fresh, clean water without the potential harsh...
  • Redesigned sleek compact casing and control panel for...
  • Requires a pump with a flow Rate between 700 and 3000...
Bestseller No. 2
Hayward W3AQR15 AquaRite Salt Chlorination System for In-Ground Pools up to 40,000 Gallons
  • FOR LARGE POOLS: For in-ground pools up to 40,000...
  • NO MORE HANDLING CHLORINE: Automatically converts salt...
  • LUXURIOUSLY SOFT WATER THAT IS GENTLER ON THE EYES:...
  • WON'T DRY OUT SKIN AND HAIR: The silky soft water...
AngebotBestseller No. 3
INTEX 26679EG QX2600 Krystal Clear Sand Filter Pump & Saltwater System for Above Ground Pools, 16in
  • Designed for use with above ground pools from 4,800 to...
  • Pump flow rate – 2,650 gal/hr. | System flow rate –...
  • 16-inch tank diameter | 0.75 hp motor | Power source...
  • The built in 24-hour timer adds to the hassle-free...
Bestseller No. 4
CircuPool® Universal40 Saltwater Chlorinator - Complete System with 40k-Gallon Max Cell -...
  • Guaranteed compatibility, replaces old system in...
  • No warranty penalty for self install - Four years...
  • Virtually the cost of a OEM Replacement Cell
  • Easy compatible replacement for ANY SIZE Hayward /...
Bestseller No. 5
XtremepowerUS 15K Salt Chlorination System for In-Ground Pools up to 15,000 Gallons Flow Switch Cell...
  • Adjustable Chlorine Outlet - Adjustable chlorine output...
  • High Quality LCD Display Screen - The control box...
  • Easy and Simple Installation - The system offer a...
  • Provide Soft & Smooth Water - The Pool Chlorine...
AngebotBestseller No. 6
Saltwater Pool System, Westaho Salt Chlorine Generator for Above Ground Pools Up to 15,000 Gallons,...
  • AN UNPARALLELED SWIMMING EXPERIENCE: Use our Westaho...
  • CONVERT ANY SWIMMING POOL TO A SALTWATER SYSTEM: The...
  • LED INDICATOR: Built-in timer/controller with LED...
  • LONG SERVICE LIFE: Compared with other products, our...
AngebotBestseller No. 7
CircuPool CORE35 Salt Chlorinator System | 8 Year Warranty with No DIY Install Penalty | USA...
  • Revolutionary compact design allows for incredibly easy...
  • 5th-Generation system, combining the best in advanced...
  • USA Titanium Cell, with industry-best 8-Year Limited...
  • Heavy-Duty, Weather-Proof construction with IP-66 Rated...

Guide: Buying the right salt system for pools

Salt electrolysis systems combine modern, high-quality and reliable technology with a sustainable good result for the well-being of the whole family. Thus, after deciding to buy, it is not a big effort to integrate the new salt system into the already existing pool system.

After a few simple steps, it is immediately possible to clean the pool water in a completely natural way and to keep it permanently disinfected. This not only keeps the water quality permanently at the highest level, where dirt and algae are reliably dissolved.

Likewise, the added salt frees the pool water from bacteria and makes it skin-friendly, soft and even beneficial to health.

If you are now convinced and decide to buy, however, you are faced with a multitude of products, as well as a multitude of possible options. In order not to lose the overview of this specific and technical topic, the following guide should give a guideline to safely reach for the right product for the individual need.

What are salt electrolysis systems?

Salt electrolysis systems are technical devices which are connected to the sand filter circuit of the pool. They usually consist of an electrolysis cell and a control module. Optionally, manufacturers combine both elements into a single compact product.

A salt electrolysis system adds salt to the pool water during operation. The salt has a disinfecting property and produces chlorine via electrolysis processes. This purifies the pool water in a natural and skin-friendly way and keeps it clean in the long term.

How do salt systems for pools work?

The water in the pool becomes salty through the manual addition of salt. This salt (chem. NaCl) is then gradually transferred by the filter pump to the electrolytic cell. This has a minus and a plus pole. In the cell, the flow of current causes the salt to split.

Sodium and hydrogen then collect at the negative pole of the electrolysis cell. Chlorine with oxygen collects at the positive pole. Since sodium reacts very easily, it forms sodium hydroxide (chem. NaOH) with the water. This sodium hydroxide then reacts again with the chlorine and sodium hypochlorite (chem. NaOCl) is formed.

Sodium hypochlorite is ultimately responsible for the actual disinfection of the pool water, as it fights microorganisms. In the pool itself, the resulting compound releases the oxygen by oxidation and salt is formed again.

This is called a closed system, since salt is split but rebuilt with little loss. It is therefore not surprising that salt systems are generally extremely low-maintenance.

Self-cleaning salt system vs. non-self-cleaning salt system

Although the electrolysis cells installed in the salt system always have exactly the same function, they can differ in terms of their self-cleaning properties.

Self-cleaning means that the electrolysis cell has a time-controlled automated pole reversal. This ensures that the negative and positive poles swap at regular intervals. The result is that no lime deposits occur on the poles and the electrolytic cell can therefore provide the same performance over the long term. A self-cleaning electrolytic cell usually does not require any maintenance, so that any manual intervention or manual cleaning can be saved.

If an electrolytic cell is not self-cleaning, this means that lime deposits can occur on the cathode as well as on the anode. As a result, this severely limits the operation and also the performance of the salt system.

The formation of natural chlorine is thus severely restricted, and the pool can no longer be reliably disinfected. Accordingly, these deposits must be removed manually. Citric acid or commercial vinegar is recommended.

Advantages and disadvantages of pool salting systems

Manufacturers usually promote their devices with all kinds of arguments to encourage people to buy them. However, it is easy to lose track of the facts, and you should not always believe everything that manufacturers try to tell you. Accordingly, we have prepared a list of advantages and disadvantages of pool salting systems, which should be easy to understand.

Advantages of pool salting

  • Salt does not go bad and accordingly has no expiration date
  • Salt is not consumed in the electrolysis process, so this method of cleaning is extremely low maintenance
  • The high disinfecting effect of salt ensures a reduction in costs and energy, as the running time of the filter pump can be massively reduced
  • Comparatively low cleaning costs, as salt is very inexpensive. Thus, 40 kilograms of salt for 10,000 liters of water cost about 12 euros
  • As a natural product, the low concentration of about 0.4 percent ensures that eye irritation does not occur, as the body’s own tears have an identical salt content
  • As a natural product, salt can be stored in large quantities without any regulations. The important thing is to observe the hazard warnings.
  • No annoying chlorine smell, as salt destroys combined chlorine
  • The pool water becomes soft and is gentle to the skin. Salt can even help with skin problems and miracle cures due to its disinfecting properties

Disadvantages of salt systems

  • The electrolysis process continues to produce a lot of chlorine, which is why testing the chlorine level is necessary
  • Corrosion of various stainless steel components if chlorine levels are not maintained
  • Salt systems are not for steel shell pools and stainless steel pools, because the salt will interfere with the steel shell and it will rust

Salt system pool experiences: What owners say

Testimonials of quite a few owners of salt electrolysis equipment reflect the comprehensively listed advantages.

Thus, customers are pleased not only about a consistently fast and easy installation of the salt system, but also about an uncomplicated retrofitting or conversion of their own filter setup. All instructions are described very clearly and understandably, and the respective components are marked in such a way that they will not be installed the wrong way round.

Some owners have admittedly struggled with this for a while, but after buying a salt system they are very enthusiastic. Having experienced both ends of the spectrum when it comes to pool cleaning, they can give a particularly good picture of how the differences play out.

Initially skeptical, these customers were particularly pleased with the noticeably softer water, as well as a noticeably lower chlorine odor of the pool water. The fact that the salt content in the water is so low that it does not irritate the eyes in any way has also appealed to customers with children.

Likewise, the low-maintenance nature of the salt system was a boon to owners who commute a lot and are thus home only irregularly. While some owners decided to revert their salt system back to a chlorine pool for hygiene reasons, they were not specific enough in their comments to make this seem understandable.

Additionally, other owners note that they initially struggled with unexpected rust in various components, but were able to easily replace them.

Getting a salt system up and running: Here’s how

Contrary to the way it works, commissioning or retrofitting a salt system is conceivably easy and can be carried out without any problems in just a few steps.

First, it should be checked whether there are enough free power connections, since the control element requires a continuous power supply. Then the salt system itself with the electrolysis cell is glued or connected on the pressure side into the line of the filter system. On the pressure side does not mean before, but after the filter system. Likewise to recognize that the flow direction is at the entrance of the cap side.

Any solar or heat exchangers must be located upstream of the electrolysis cells but downstream of the filter system. The control element can now be mounted vertically on the wall; manufacturers do not recommend operation in the horizontal position.

If the filter system of the pool has been extended accordingly, the previously determined amount of salt can now be added directly to the pool water. The salt must now be given about 24 hours to completely dissolve and distribute in the pool.

Finally, the salt system can be put into operation by supplying electricity to the electrolysis cell. Now all that remains is to set the desired production rate and enjoy the new and natural cleaning method.

FAQ: Frequently asked questions about pool salt system answered

In the following, we would like to address a few more specific questions that we have received over time. In addition to the comparison and guide in this article, there should be no questions left unanswered afterwards, so that nothing stands in the way of buying a new salt system.

Amount of salt for salt system: How much salt do you need?

As a rule, about 3 to 5 kilograms of salt are required for 1000 liters of water in order to achieve the correct salt concentration in the bathing water. This corresponds to a salt concentration of approximately 0.3 to 0.5 percent salt. However, the exact amount of salt required varies depending on the salt system and must ultimately be taken from the operating instructions.

Salt system yes or no: Is a salt system for pools worthwhile?

As can be seen from the list of advantages and disadvantages, the positive facts that generally speak for the purchase of a salt system predominate. If you are bothered by the dry skin, the strong chemical smell and the comparatively costly maintenance of the water quality, you would be well advised to buy a salt system.
Of course, it is important to consider the possibility of replacing components due to corrosion. In addition, it is more important than ever to counteract calcification of the electrolytic cell with decalcifiers. Likewise the not to be neglected purchase price, is to be stressed.
However, if you are a regular visitor to your own pool and have the appropriate capacity, you are advised to buy one. A more pleasant feeling in the water, a proven better skin compatibility and a largely maintenance-free start-up will not give rise to any further doubts in the short or long term after the purchase.

Can the result of a salt electrolysis system be compared with sea water?

No, the saline pool water is very different from the well-known sea water and therefore cannot be compared. A salt system works with an average salt content of 0.4 percent. Sea water, in comparison, has a salt content of as much as 3.5 percent. You can taste the salt in the sea, but not in the pool water.

Is salt water healthier than water treated with chemicals?

In fact, salt water is healthier than chlorinated water. Due to the mentioned low salt content, manufacturers do not praise it with several advantages for nothing. Salt is a natural product, not a chemical one, and is therefore better for the skin when dissolved in water.
Likewise, it does not irritate the eyes in any way when diving. Even for rehabilitation purposes and for gentle treatment of skin diseases such as neurodermatitis, salt water is beneficial.

How to test the effect of the salt system?

Salt systems produce unstabilized chlorine, which oxidizes very quickly and is difficult to measure. Accordingly, chlorine stabilizer must first be added for chlorine measurement. Then, during operation, its effect can be measured directly at the nozzle of the salt systems.
However, it should be noted that due to the addition of the chlorine stabilizer, there is both free and combined chlorine in the water. This falsifies an accurate measurement, since only the free chlorine contributes to the disinfection and, accordingly, purification of the water.

Where can I buy salt for salting systems?

You can get salt on Amazon and many other online stores, in hardware stores, warehouses, Raiffeisen markets or wholesale stores like Metro. It usually has the name industrial or evaporated salt and is sold in 25 or 50 kilogram bags. The salt is available as tablets or loose salt.

Does sea salt make more sense when using a salt electrolysis system?

No, salt is salt. Any arguments that are made in favor of sea salt are purely market strategy arguments that are deliberately made by manufacturers and companies. Just buy the salt with the best price-performance ratio in your area.

Is it allowed to use salt systems with steel shell pools?

The use of a salt system in combination with a steel jacket pool is only conditionally recommended. Basically, the pool will quickly corrode and, accordingly, become unstable and brittle.
However, if you do not bother, you can protect your steel shell pool accordingly. Thus, it is necessary to treat the cut edge of the built-in parts with zinc spray to prevent rusting. Silicone sealant between the seals on the steel wall is also recommended.

Conclusion

Salt electrolysis systems for pools represent an innovative technology, which makes ideal use of natural resources, in order to be able to draw its advantages from it for the own use.

Especially the easy installation or retrofitting of such a salt system can be convincing. In use, it is not only advantageous for people who want to save time on maintenance. Likewise families with children, who have a still much sensitive skin, can draw their increase in value from a salt system.

This way, children can be guaranteed to refresh themselves in soft skin-friendly water without having to worry about looking into the red eyes of their offspring after bathing fun.

With a short planning phase to protect components from corrosion if necessary, after a quick installation and commissioning everything is immediately ready for refreshment in sustainably disinfected, soft and skin-friendly natural pool water.

Larry has been a true water rat since childhood. Pure pleasure turned into a passion. That's why he is the first point of contact for friends and acquaintances when it comes to pool-related problems. He is an integral part of the PoolHandbook editorial team.