9 Best Salt Water Chlorinators for 2021

best salt water chlorinators

After years of working with different salt water chlorinators, these are what I consider to be the best salt water chlorinators.

Let’s get right into it without wasting any of your time!

What is the best above ground salt water chlorinator?

Here’s the list of the best above ground salt water chlorinators that are currently available in the market

Hayward AquaTrol Above Ground Salt Chlorinator

If you’re looking for a highly effective salt chlorinator that’s also easy to install, you’ll love Hayward AquaTrol.

This chlorinator works great for above ground pools up to 18,000 gallons. And it has a simple design that makes it easy for you to set up and control. The installation process is largely plug-and-play, so you don’t need expert plumbing knowledge to get the job done.

The device comes with a 24-hour timer, allowing you to set several different pump periods per day, so your pool maintains an adequate level of chlorine throughout the day.

The operation is largely hands-off thanks to its built-in microprocessor automation. Besides, the chlorinator comes equipped with a return jet fitting along with a line cord and outlet. This makes it easy to place the salt cell to the return jet.

I’ve come across few people that had trouble with its control board. But Hayward quickly sent replacement parts in each of those instances. So it seems they don’t slack on their customer support.

Intex Krystal Klear Sand Filter Pump and Saltwater System

This Intex product gives you the best of both worlds: A sand filter pump and a saltwater system.

Sand filter pumps are one of my favorite types of pumps since they aren’t overly expensive and usually last long. Combine that with a salt chlorinator, and you have a system that’ll clear up your pool quickly and effectively.

The device is suitable for above ground pools that are between 4,800 to 15,000 gallons. And it contains a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI), which automatically shuts everything off when it detects a ground fault. 

Moreover, it comes with a 110-120 voltage plug, which should work just fine for standard American households.

The digital timer on the device activates and disables the pump on its own. You can also manually set the timer to run for up to 12 hours a day, so it does the work without needing you to be present.

Some other features include a pump flow rate of 2,650 GPH, a 2,150 system flow rate, and a 0.75 horsepower. The chlorine output is around 11 grams per hour.

A few customers report receiving a package with a broken part. So, if you get this product, I suggest you check all the parts are there and intact before you start assembling it.

If there’s any broken part, you’ll have wasted a lot of time for nothing. That said, this is an extremely rare occurrence. If you check the reviews on Amazon, you can see that nearly 90% of customers only had positive things to say about this pump.

Saltron Mini Salt Chlorinator for Hot Tubs and Spas

Saltron Mini Salt chlorinator is an excellent chlorinator for hot tubs and spas. This device can handle up to 2,000 gallons of water and uses up very little energy during the process.

The installation process is so simple that you don’t need to worry about hiring a plumber to install this.

The device has a built-in timer and controller. And using the timer, you can easily adjust your chlorine output so your pool stays sparkling clean at all times.

The company offers a one-year warranty, so you can always get replacements if any part breaks down during the period.

And another thing I like about the product is that the device comes with an image that displays the ideal level of pH, chemicals, and salt level for spas. This helps you to easily check what numbers you need to shoot for when balancing chemicals.

My only complaint is that the power cord seems a little short. But apart from that, I don’t have many bad things to say about this chlorinator. Just make sure you’re buying this for your hot tubs and spas and not your pools.

Solaxx Saltron Retro Chlorinator

If your pool capacity is lower than 20,000 gallons of water, the Solaxx Saltron chlorinator will do a fantastic job of chlorinating your pool water.

This device is easy to install on both new and existing pools, and it comes with a programmable digital timer to give you precise control.

The salt cell is coated with precious metal, which adds to its durability. And reverse polarity mechanism in the cell ensures there’s no scaling.

Additionally, the device pumps out about 8 grams of chlorine per hour, so your pool remains well-sanitized. And even better, you only need about 3,000 ppm salt to get this to work.

The general consensus is that this device lasts for a couple of years. In other words, if you’re looking for the most durable chlorinator that will last you a decade, this is probably not it.

The warranty period is one year, so make sure you contact the company if anything goes wrong within that period.

Circupool Salt Water Chlorinator

A high-quality saltwater chlorinator with a 5-year warranty. How does that sound? Circupool offers exactly that.

The chlorinator is made in the USA and comes with an exceptional cell lifespan. Besides, it’s compatible with nearly any type of filter and pumps you can imagine.

It has the max chlorine output of 2.3 lbs a day, and it’s capable of accommodating pool sizes up to 40,000 gallons.

With the device’s monitor, it’s easy to keep an eye on the salinity level to check if it’s working optimally.

My favorite feature is its simple and easy controls. This means less struggle figuring things out when using the device.

You’ll also be happy to know that the company doesn’t apply a warranty penalty if something breaks while you’re installing the device yourself. 

Some companies will require you to hire a plumber to install the device. And they won’t reimburse you if you try to install it yourself, and you end up breaking something.

This isn’t the case with Circupool. They’ll still keep their warranty, which is nice of them.

The wire length is a little short, which may restrict where you can put the control unit in regards to the sanitizing tube. It’s possible to solve this problem, but it’ll require a bit of plumbing experience.

That said, this may not even be an issue depending on where you decide to place it.

Intex Krystal Klear Salt Water Chlorinator

This is one of the most popular chlorinators in the market, with over 2,000 reviews on Amazon.

The device is suitable for above ground pools with a capacity of up to 15,000 gallons. And you will need a pump with a flow rate between 700 to 3,000 gallons per hour to use this Intex chlorinator. With the chlorine output of 12 grams per hour, you’ll maintain a constant supply at all times.

This chlorinator uses an electrocatalytic oxidation process to convert water molecules into oxidants. These molecules keep your pool sanitized by fighting bacteria and algae. 

This chemical process allows your pool to only require about one-third of the chlorine chemicals that you’d typically need to sanitize your pool. This is great news if you’re sensitive to high levels of chlorine.

The 24-hour automatic timer ensures the device runs smoothly without your supervision. It also allows you to run the device on a 6, 10, and 14-hour cycle.

One thing I’d like to note is that you want to avoid adding too much salt at once when using this device. The system will shut down if your salt level exceeds the amount that it can handle. So start with a moderate amount and increase as needed.

What is the best in ground salt water chlorinator?

Here’s the list of the best in ground salt water chlorinators.

Hayward TurboCell Salt Chlorinator for In-ground Pool

If you’re looking for a salt chlorinator specifically made for in-ground pools, one of my top recommendations is Hayward TurboCell. There’s a reason why it’s the most installed chlorinators in North America.

The product has a 4.6-star rating with nearly 2,500 reviews on Amazon, which is an extremely high rating compared to other salt chlorinators.

This chlorinator can accommodate pool sizes between 15,000 to 40,000 gallons of water. And with its efficient chlorination process, it can potentially help you save up to 50% on chlorine costs.

Moreover, the device is certified by the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF), which is another testament to its exceptional quality.

Overall, it ranks as the top saltwater chlorinators for in-ground pools on my list. 

On average, this device lasts about four to five years. So you’ll need to replace it once every half a decade or so.

Pentair Intellichlor Salt Chlorinator

Pentair Intellichlor uses common table salt to generate chlorine for your pool, meaning you don’t need to buy expensive salt for it to work effectively.

This chlorinator comes in three types: The IC20 for 20,000-gallon pools, the IC40 for 40,000-gallon pools, and the IC60 for 60,000-gallon pools.

The device displays all the important information on its monitors, such as salt levels, sanitizer output, cell cleanliness, and water flow. And it’s also easy to check the remaining hours of cell life using the tracking features.

If you want to make any changes, it’s just a matter of clicking a few buttons.

Furthermore, it has an automatic reverse cycling feature that allows the device to clean itself. This feature ensures your cell lasts a long time.

In case the water temperature dips below a certain level, the machine will automatically turn off, protecting itself from sustaining damage. Besides, on-time cycling effectively minimizes the calcium and scale build-up.

If you have a pool capacity that exactly matches the recommended capacity of the Pentair Intellichlor, I recommend you go one size up.

For example, if your pool size is 20,000 gallons, it’s better to go with the IC-40 instead of IC-20.

This is because, with the IC-20, you’ll need to run the pump at 100% capacity at all times to chlorinate a pool size of 20,000 gallons. This isn’t ideal, and you’ll end up wasting a lot of money. Plus, you’ll shorten the life of the device.

Hayward Goldline Salt Chlorinator

Hayward Goldline comes in an attractive, simple case, and it’ll automate all the work involved with balancing pool chemistry for you. 

It’s suitable for pools up to 40,000 gallons, making it a great choice for pools of all sizes.

The device automatically senses oxidation-reduction potential and pH levels in your pool. And when the pH level isn’t in the ideal range, it distributes chlorine to your pool to control the pH level.

Using the device, you can even control and monitor your pool from your home using the Aqua connect HA feature. You can also modify the cleaning, filtration, or lighting schedule and check the pH and sanitization level.

In my opinion, this makes the product well worth the money despite its high price. I’d much rather have the option to control and check my pool from home rather than stepping out on a rainy day to do things manually.

If you use this product in conjunction with a variable-speed pump, you can potentially save up to 75% on your energy cost. And if you are anything like me, you probably hate seeing those big numbers on your bill.

You’ll have to hire a professional to install this, which will cost you extra money. Since the product is already expensive as it is, this can be a turn-off for many people.

This is certainly one of the highest-quality salt chlorinators available in the market if you can afford it.

Best Salt Water Chlorinators Buyer’s Guide

These are some of the things you’d want to consider before you buy a salt water chlorinator.

Type of Pool

Don’t forget to check which pool type the chlorinator supports. Some chlorinators should only be used for in-ground pools, while others are only suitable for above ground pools.

Some work equally well for both types of pools.

Filter pump flow rate

The filter pump flow rate matters because saltwater chlorinators almost entirely depend on your pump’s ability to circulate the water into the salt cell and back out to the pool.

If the flow rate isn’t up to par, your pool water will suffer from a low level of chlorine and lose the ability to sanitize. In general, you want your pump to turn over your pool in about 8 hours.

It’s important to keep in mind that a pump with a larger flow rate isn’t always better. In fact, it may unnecessarily drive up your utility bill while making a marginal difference in improving circulation.

So you want your filter pump to have a  flow rate that matches your saltwater chlorinator’s requirement.

Capacity

Every saltwater chlorinator will come with a different limit for the pool size it can handle. Some chlorinators can only effectively sanitize a few thousand gallons of water, while others are capable of sanitizing tens of thousands of gallons.

Make sure you read the product’s description carefully to find out the device’s limit.

Warranty

It’s important that you read warranties thoroughly.  Just because the product comes with a 2-year warranty doesn’t necessarily mean you’re fully protected during that period.

For example, many companies will require you to prove that professionals installed your chlorinator before reimbursing you.

That said, some companies will reimburse you even if you break something while trying to install the device yourself.

Salt Water Chlorinators FAQs

Here’s the list of the most commonly asked questions about saltwater chlorinators.

How Does Salt Water Chlorinator Work?

As your pool water goes through the saltwater system, the dissolved salt converts into sodium hypochlorite, which then sanitizes the water.

When the sodium hypochlorite is finished with its job, it reverts back to salt. And the process repeats indefinitely. 

For this reason, you don’t need to refill your pool with salt continually. The only exception is if a significant percentage of your pool water splash out of your pool.

Dangers of Salt Water Pool

You want to avoid using a saltwater system for an above ground pool made of steel or aluminum since the saltwater can rust metals.

You shouldn’t worry too much about the salt absorption through your skin. When using a salt water chlorinator, the salt concentration in your pool is only a tenth of the seawater concentration, so you’ll barely even notice the salt in your pool.

What is Better Between Saltwater Pools vs Chlorine Pools?

I like saltwater pools because they usually generate a lower amount of chlorine to get the job done. I believe this is a good thing since you don’t want to expose yourself to more chemicals than necessary. 

Excessive chlorine levels irritate your skin and eyes and make the swimming experience less enjoyable in general.

The downside is that it has a high upfront cost. You may also end up spending quite a bit of money on repairing if your saltwater system stops working. That said, you won’t have to spend money buying chlorine chemicals since the salt in your pool is continuously recycled to produce chlorine. 

Chlorine, on the other hand, is much cheaper initially. But you have to consider the money you’ll be spending buying chlorine every year. 

You’ll also have to constantly measure the chlorine level and manually pour the chlorine chemical into your pool when necessary. With salt water chlorinators, you’re exempt from these hassles.

All in all, I’d recommend saltwater pools over chlorine pools if you’re looking for convenience.

Conclusion

To conclude, my top recommendation for above ground salt water chlorinator is Hayward AquaTrol. The device comes with everything you’d want in a high-quality chlorinator at a reasonable price.

If you own an in ground pool, I recommend Hayward TurboCell. If you don’t trust me, you can simply read through reviews to see that thousands of people share favorable opinions about the product.

Thanks for reading!

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