The 8 Best Salt Chlorinators

Updated May 18, 2018 by Vann Vicente

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We spent 47 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 that can stain decks? Get rid of that hassle for good while keeping your pool or spa cleaner and softer than ever before with one of these salt chlorinators. They convert the Cl in NaCl to free chlorine in order to sanitize your water in a 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.

8. 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 its conditions aren't optimal.
  • self-cleaning cells
  • makes nearly 2 lbs of chlorine daily
  • doesn't display salt levels
Brand Circupool
Model SJ-40
Weight 22.8 pounds
Rating 4.3 / 5.0

7. 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.
  • takes only 30 minutes to hook it up
  • gives pool water a silky feel
  • display can be hard to read
Brand Hayward
Weight 24.7 pounds
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

6. 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 captures performance information on your pool daily.
  • intuitive user interface
  • replenishes chlorine every day
  • requires separate power supply
Brand Pentair
Model 520555
Weight 7.3 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

5. 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 small above-ground pools that hold 15,000 gallons of water or less.
  • uses standard half-inch attachments
  • provides low salt alerts
  • replacement cells are affordable
Brand Intex
Model 28669EG
Weight 21.6 pounds
Rating 4.3 / 5.0

4. Lemonpool BLH40

The Lemonpool BLH40 has a digital display that makes it easy to monitor your system. It is suitable for any pool with a 40,000 gallon capacity or less, and it is not complicated to install, so it is perfect for people who aren't so handy.
  • reverse polarity cleaning system
  • 5-year limited warranty
  • thorough instruction manual
Brand Lemonpool
Model pending
Weight 24.9 pounds
Rating 4.4 / 5.0

3. ControlOMatic ChlorMaker

The ControlOMatic ChlorMaker is a simple option for both hot tubs and spas. It comes in at an affordable, cost-effective price, and is designed to refresh your salt supply constantly 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

2. Hayward AquaRite

The Hayward AquaRite comes in three size options, so whether you have a 15,000-, 25,000-, or 40,000-gallon pool, there is one well-suited to your needs. It consistently sanitizes your water in a way that won't irritate skin or eyes.
  • reduces overall pool maintenance
  • several installation options
  • gives instant salt and temp readings
Brand Hayward
Model AQR15
Weight 23.9 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

1. Hayward Goldline PL-PLUS

For those who want to automate every aspect of their pool management, from chlorination to water chemistry, the Hayward Goldline PL-PLUS is a fully programmable, top-of-the-line option. It senses pH levels and changes its output accordingly.
  • user-friendly interface
  • works with pools up to 40k galls
  • adjusts pump speed to save energy
Brand Hayward
Weight 41.8 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 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 May 18, 2018 by Vann Vicente

Vann Vicente is an undergraduate Economics student and writer who lives somewhere in the Eastern Hemisphere. He spends about half of his time watching films and is still smiling about Moonlight's incredible Best Picture victory.

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