Traditional Pool vs Freshwater Pool System

Traditional Pool vs Freshwater Pool System

Pool, the shimmering oasis in your backyard – a swimming pool beckons on hot summer days, offering a refreshing escape and a place for family fun. But before you dive in, a crucial decision awaits: choosing the right pool sanitation system.

Two primary options dominate the market – the traditional chlorine pool and the freshwater pool system. Both offer their own set of advantages and disadvantages and understanding them will help you create the perfect swimming experience.

The Ever-Present Chlorine: A Traditional Choice

Chlorine has long been the standard for pool sanitation. It’s a powerful disinfectant that kills bacteria, algae, and other microorganisms that can pose health risks to your pool water. Chlorine comes in various forms, including granular chlorine, chlorine tablets, and liquid chlorine.

Benefits of Traditional Chlorine Pools:

  • Cost-Effective: Chlorine is generally the most affordable pool sanitation option. The initial investment in equipment is lower, and the ongoing cost of chlorine itself is relatively inexpensive.
  • Proven Effectiveness: Chlorine has a long track record of successfully sanitizing pools. Its effectiveness is well-established, and there’s minimal guesswork involved in maintaining proper chlorine levels.
  • Readily Available: Chlorine is widely available at most pool supply stores and even some large retailers. You won’t have to search for specialized products.
  • Fast-Acting: Chlorine reacts quickly to kill bacteria and other contaminants, rapidly responding to any potential water quality issues.

Drawbacks of Traditional Chlorine Pools:

  • Harsh Chemicals: Chlorine can be harsh on skin, eyes, and hair, causing irritation and dryness. It can also contribute to the strong chlorine smell often associated with swimming pools.
  • Maintenance Hassle: Maintaining proper chlorine levels requires regular testing and adjustments. Over-chlorination can irritate swimmers, while under-chlorination can lead to cloudy water and algae growth.
  • Compatibility Issues: Chlorine can react negatively with certain pool chemicals and personal care products like suntan lotion, leading to unpleasant odours or discolouration.
  • Corrosive Effects: Over time, chlorine can corrode pool equipment and liners, leading to a need for earlier replacements.

Freshwater Pool Systems: A Natural Approach

Freshwater pool systems, also known as saltwater chlorine generators or salt systems, offer an alternative to traditional chlorine. These systems use a salt cell to convert dissolved salt in the pool water into chlorine gas through a process called electrolysis. The chlorine gas then sanitizes the pool before being converted back into salt, creating a continuous cycle.

Benefits of Freshwater Pool Systems:

  • Gentler on Skin and Eyes: Freshwater pool systems offer a softer swimming experience as the chlorine produced is lower in concentration and less harsh on swimmers’ skin and eyes.
  • Reduced Chemical Odors: The lower chlorine levels also mean a less noticeable chlorine smell compared to traditional chlorine pools.
  • Lower Maintenance: Saltwater chlorine generators automate the chlorine production process, minimizing the need for frequent testing and adjustments.
  • Reduced Risk of Over-Chlorination: Salt systems generate chlorine on demand, reducing the risk of accidentally adding too much chlorine, which can irritate swimmers.
Traditional Pool vs Freshwater Pool System

Drawbacks of Freshwater Pool Systems:

  • Higher Initial Cost: The initial investment for a saltwater chlorine generator is higher than the cost of basic chlorine supplies.
  • Maintenance Requirements: While requiring less frequent adjustments than traditional chlorine, saltwater chlorine generators still need occasional cleaning and may require replacement parts over time.
  • Saltwater Compatibility: Saltwater systems require a specific type of pool salt and may not be compatible with certain pool liners or equipment materials.
  • Potential for Corrosion: Improper salt levels or a malfunctioning salt cell can lead to corrosion of pool equipment.

Choosing the Right System for Your Needs

The ideal pool sanitation system depends on your priorities and preferences. Consider these factors when making your decision:

  • Budget: Traditional chlorine is the more budget-friendly option for both initial setup and ongoing maintenance.
  • Skin Sensitivity: If you or your family members have sensitive skin or experience irritation with chlorine, a freshwater pool system may be a better choice.
  • Maintenance Time: If you prefer a low-maintenance solution and are comfortable with a higher initial investment, a saltwater chlorine generator might be the way to go.
  • Pool Size and Usage: Larger pools or those with heavy use may benefit from the consistent chlorine production of a saltwater system.

Beyond the Basics: Additional Considerations

  • Other Sanitization Options: UV light systems and ozone generators offer alternative sanitation methods, but may require additional equipment and can be less effective on their own.
  • Professional Advice: Consulting with a pool professional can help you assess your specific needs and recommend the most suitable sanitation system for your pool.


Whether you crave the affordability and proven effectiveness of traditional chlorine or desire the gentler touch and reduced maintenance of a freshwater pool system, the perfect solution awaits.

By understanding the advantages and disadvantages of each option, and carefully considering your budget, priorities, and pool usage, you can create a sparkling oasis that complements your lifestyle and provides countless hours of refreshing enjoyment for you and your loved ones. So, take the plunge, choose your ideal pool sanitation system, and dive into a summer of endless fun!

Tony Augustine

About the author

In 2012, I helped establish KJA & Sons and have been deeply engaged in many swimming pool initiatives ever since. My expertise lies in designing filters for chlorine-free swimming pools, as well as living water gardens, koi fish ponds etc.