The 7 Best Salt Chlorinators

Updated October 12, 2017 by Brett Dvoretz

7 Best Salt Chlorinators
Best High-End
Best Mid-Range
Best Inexpensive
We spent 45 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top options for this wiki. Sick of stinging eyes and chemical-smelling water? Tired of messy liquid chlorine that can stain decks? Get rid of that hassle for good while keeping your pool or spa water cleaner and softer than ever before with with one of these salt chlorinators. They automatically convert the Cl in NaCl to free chlorine to sanitize your water in a clean, cost-effective, low maintenance and efficient manner. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best salt chlorinator on Amazon.

7. Circupool SJ-40

The Circupool SJ-40 is made in the USA and is known for having long-lasting cells. It is backed by an unmatched 5-Year limited warranty, and it works with a wide salinity range so your pool should always stay clean even if your levels aren't optimal.
  • self-cleaning cell
  • makes nearly 2lbs of chlorine daily
  • doesn't display salt levels
Brand Circupool
Model SJ-40
Weight 22.8 pounds
Rating 4.3 / 5.0

6. Solaxx CLG10A

The Solaxx CLG10A can be used for both in-ground and above-ground swimming pools. It is suitable for any pool with a 20,000 gallon or less capacity, and it doesn't require the installation of any plumbing so it is perfect for people who aren't so handy.
  • doesn't require much salt to work
  • completely self-contained system
  • has to run about 12 hours per day
Brand Solaxx
Model CLG10A
Weight 11 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

5. Hayward Aqua Trol

Designed to save on chlorine creation and energy usage in above-ground pools, the Hayward Aqua Trol is able to control your existing filtration pump via an internal time clock. Plus, it is virtually maintenance free once installed.
  • only takes 30 minutes to hook it up
  • gives pool water a silky feel
  • digital display
Brand Hayward
Weight 24.7 pounds
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

4. Intex Krystal Clear

The Intex Krystal Clear uses an electrocatalytic oxidation process that will keep your pool fresh, safe, and free of that chlorine smell. It has been designed specifically for above-ground pools holding 15,000 gallons or less of water.
  • uses standard half-inch attachments
  • provides low salt alerts
  • replacement cells are affordable
Model 28669EG
Weight 21.6 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

3. Pentair 520555 IntelliChlor IC40

The Pentair 520555 IntelliChlor IC40 features an automatic shutoff designed to protect the cell in case of low water levels and that also prolongs its life during cold water conditions. It does require the separate purchase of the Intellichlor Power Center, though.
  • intuitive user interface
  • replenishes chlorine daily
  • cycles to prevent calcium buildup
Brand Pentair
Model 520555
Weight 7.6 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

2. ControlOMatic ChlorMaker

The ControlOMatic ChlorMaker is a simple option for both hot tubs and spas. It comes in at an affordable price, and is designed to constantly refresh your chlorine supply while reducing maintenance to make your life easier.
  • 10 chlorine generation levels
  • easy three-button control panel
  • boost mode for after spa use
Brand ControlOMatic
Model ChlorMaker DO
Weight 2.4 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

1. Hayward AquaRite

The Hayward AquaRite comes in three size options, so no matter whether you have a 15,000-, 25,000-, or 40,000-gallon pool, there is one well-suited to your needs. It consistently sanitizes pool water in a way that won't irritate skin or eyes.
  • reduces pool maintenance
  • several installation options
  • gives instant salt and temp readings
Brand Hayward
Model AQR15
Weight 24.1 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

How Salt Water Chlorinators Work

Many people think saltwater pools don't have any chlorine, but this is simply untrue. They have a perfectly balanced level of free available chlorine, which is constantly generated by the saltwater chlorinator. Traditional swimming pools have a combination of FAC and combined available chlorine. CAC is formed as FAC reacts with amines in the pool, and high levels of CAC are associated with skin and eye irritation in swimmers. FAC isn't known to cause any irritations and won't result in that chemical smell found in heavily chlorinated traditional pools.

Salt water chlorinators use a generator to create electrical currents, which are then passed along a cell. This cell is comprised of titanium plates that are coated with either iridium or ruthenium. Electrolysis attracts minerals in the pool water to these plates as the saltwater passes through the circulation system. A low-voltage current running through the plates breaks the salt and water up into hydrogen gas and hypochlorus acid. The hydrogen molecules then bubble up to the surface and are released from the pool, while the acid remains behind to act as a disinfectant.

This process creates an excess of hydroxyl as it releases the chlorine molecules from the salt. This results in an overly alkaline pool and the leftover hydrochloric acid from the electrolysis process is used to neutralize the alkalinity. This is repeated over and over again, constantly releasing a steady stream of usable chlorine into the pool water.

The salt isn't consumed in the process and is continuously split and reformed as it passes through the titanium plates of the cell. Periodically, new salt must be added to saltwater pools, but this is because some is lost from splashing and other activities like backwashing.

Benefits Of Salt Water Chlorination

Saltwater pools have a number of benefits over traditional pools, first and foremost being the reduction of harsh chemicals. As mentioned previously, saltwater pools have chlorine, but there is significantly less that what is found in traditional pools. They are ideal for people with sensitivities to chemicals who often find that other pool types irritate their skin and eyes. Since you won't be adding pure chlorine directly to a saltwater pool, you won't have to deal with handling and storing a toxic chemical either. This makes it safer and more environmentally friendly.

Saltwater pools also require less maintenance than traditional pools, as they clean themselves continuously. You will still need to periodically check the water chemistry to monitor your pH, ppm, and salinity to ensure your swimming pool is at optimal levels, but rarely will you have to add anything other than a stabilizer. Unlike traditional pools, which often experience high and low levels of sanitizer, the level in saltwater pools stays constant, which results in less formation of algae.

The initial setup cost of a saltwater pool is higher than a traditional pool, but the yearly maintenance cost is significantly less. This means that, over time, you will actually save money by having a saltwater pool. As an added bonus, you may find yourself saving money on swimwear, as well, if you use your pool constantly. Just as saltwater pools are easier on your skin, they are easier on bathing suits, and won't discolor them or cause their material to weaken over time.

Maintaining A Saltwater Pool

You can break up your saltwater pool maintenance into three separate categories: weekly maintenance, monthly maintenance, and quarterly maintenance activities.

Every week you should test your pool chemistry to check the pH and amount of free chlorine. As with a traditional pool, you can use a drop test kit or pool dip strips. Ideally, your pH should be maintained between 7.2 and 7.6. Your free chlorine should fall somewhere in the 1 to 3 ppm range. You can add muriatic acid to lower pH and sodium bicarbonate to raise it. Free chlorine can be adjusted via the output control on your system's cell or control box.

In addition to your weekly maintenance schedule, you should test your pool's, salt, stabilizer, alkalinity, and calcium levels at least once every month. It is vital that your pool has enough salt as this is directly related to how much free chlorine your system can create. Your stabilizer, calcium, and alkalinity can be tested with the same testing kit you use for your weekly maintenance, and your salinity level is usually displayed somewhere on your chlorinator. It can be good to periodically check your salinity manually, as sometimes chlorinators need to be recalibrated.

Your quarterly maintenance should include a physical inspection of your chlorinator system. Open your cell and look for any scale buildup that could affect your system's efficiency. You also need to check the coating on your cell as it can be stripped off if you run your chlorinator for too long without enough salt in your pool. While the cell is open, remove any debris that may have made it past your filter.

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Last updated on October 12, 2017 by Brett Dvoretz

A wandering writer who spends as much time on the road as behind the computer screen, Brett can either be found hacking furiously away at the keyboard or perhaps enjoying a whiskey and coke on some exotic beach, sometimes both simultaneously, usually with a four-legged companion by his side. He hopes to one day become a modern day renaissance man.

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