When you have a saltwater pool, the pool maintenance procedures will look slightly different from what they do with a typical chlorine pool. The use of pool salt to help generate chlorine is an important part of the process. Homeowners will have to purchase salt and know how to put it into their pool.
Anyone looking for helpful tips on putting salt into their saltwater pools and understanding which type of salt to use, you’re in the right place. We’ll help you complete this process the right way so you can keep your pool in great shape the entire season.
The 2 Best Pool Salt Reviews
1. AQUASALT Aquasalt-40 Swimming Pool and Spa Chlorine Generator Salt
- 100% pure, certified USP-Grade salt produced specifically for swimming pool and spa chlorine generators
- Distribute over the widest water surface area possible for fastest dissolve rate
- Avoid piling salt on the pool surface and brush as necessary until fully dissolved
- 40 pound bag size
The AquaSalt Swimming Pool and Spa Chlorine Generator Salt stand out among the best options for pool salt. This is a 40-pound bag of 100% pure certified USP Grade Salt. Pool owners need to remember many types of salt are available for sale. You need to purchase something specifically for pool chlorine generation.
When you use the AquaSalt, it is essential to distribute it over a large area of the pool so that it can dissolve faster and not clump up. On the back of the bag, it will give you information on making sure you put the proper amount of salt in the pool.
- Large 40-pound bag
- Pure certified USP Grade Salt
- Chart with guidelines for distribution
- 40-pound bags can be challenging to manage when trying to make a wide pattern in the pool
2. Morton Salt Pro Pool Salt
- High purity
- Designed for use with salt water chlorinators
- Available in a 40lb size
Although you may know of Morton as being a brand that makes table salt, it turns out that they make a version of salt perfect for a salt-chlorine generator as well. The Morton Salt Pro Pool Salt comes in a 40-pound bag, and it has a very fast dissolve rate.
You should be able to cast this salt into your saltwater pool and see it dissolve very quickly. You can purchase the Morton Salt in smaller bags if it helps you manage the process of dumping it into your salt pool a bit easier.
- Small crystals dissolve faster
- Comes in a few different sizes
- Specifically made for saltwater chlorinators
- Priced higher than some other market choices
What Is Pool Salt?
When you look at pool salt, you will quickly see that it is almost the same as the table salt that we use on our food. The only major difference (aside from the fact that pool salt is not for human consumption) is that the larger crystals and coarser grind tend to help keep saltwater pools look great all season.
Pool salt is typically sold in about a 40-pound bag, as you will need quite a bit to get the proper amount of chlorine production in your swimming pool.
Pool salt specifically made for pools is the only type you should be using in your saltwater pool. Other salt types may have some additives in them that will make it challenging to balance out the chemicals in your swimming pool. Using other salts can also lead to less chlorine generation.
How Does Pool Salt Work?
Pool salt will only work if a pool has a saltwater chlorinator. The saltwater chlorinator will be able to use the salt to make chlorine for the pool. The process is very natural, leading to a better swimming experience for those in the pool. Naturally generated chlorine is going to hurt your eyes and skin quite a bit less than traditional chlorine.
Why Pool Salt Is Important
Pool salt is important for several reasons. The most important reason is that pool salt helps a salt-chlorine generator work efficiently. This is what will keep your pool clean and clear.
Choosing the proper pool salt will make sure that your pool chlorine generator can process it properly. A saltwater pool that does not have enough pool salt will have issues with bacteria, algae, and more.
Types of Pool Salt
Although pool salt is typically referred to as “pool salt” by those putting it in their pool, there are three main products that pool owners need to consider. The three types are mined salt, mechanically evaporated salt, and solar salt. The best of these options to use in salt water pools is the mined salt.
The best and most important thing you will see about the Mined Sale is that it is mined directly from the earth. This means that the product has not had all that much done to alter the crystals or the chemical composition of the salt. This is important as you will want to keep the type of salt that you use in your pool as pure as possible.
Since mined salt is a bit more simple and taken directly from the earth, it is also much more affordable. You can purchase large 40-pound bags for a very fair price. Certainly cheaper than a 40-pound bag of chlorine you may dump in your pool.
Mined salt will make sure that your saltwater chlorinator stays in great shape for years to come. Sometimes when salt has additives in it, the chlorinator struggles to try to break it down.
Mechanically Evaporated Salt
As we mentioned, mined salt comes directly from the earth; with mechanically evaporated salt, the mining process is non-existent. This method of getting the salt is entirely different. Mechanically evaporated salt comes from heating saltwater and then using the crystals that the evaporation process leaves behind.
The good thing about this process is that it doesn’t require people to be in a salt mine; the bad thing is that the pure salt is not always all that pure. When you heat saltwater like this up, you will find bacteria and tiny microorganisms still in the water. These can transfer to the salt.
A process to remove these things will help make the product better for your pool and a bit more expensive. Sometimes the heating process also leaves behind minerals that will decrease the quality and pureness of the salt. If you decide to use mechanically evaporated salts in your pool, you will need to do extra chemical balancing. In addition to salt levels, you will need to check on your calcium and other metals in the water.
Some will find that the extra work required in using mechanically evaporated salt results in them switching back to the mind salt as soon as possible.
The last king of salt for your saltwater pool is solar salt. The only real difference between mechanical salt and solar salt is that the process with solar salt is a bit more natural. With solar salt, wind and sunlight are used to help evaporate the water.
Because this process is not set up by machines, the overall cost of solar salt should be quite a bit lower than mechanical. Since solar energy is used to create this product, there are quite a few cost savings involved.
You will notice that solar salt is quite a bit cheaper in stores than other types of salt. Of course, there is a downside to the solar salt as well. There are typically brine shrimp and bacteria left behind in the solar salt. Although these will die off before they make it into the pool at your home, they are going to make the salt much less pure.
Of the three salt types for your pool, solar salt is the most affordable but the worst choice.
Benefits and Disadvantages of Pool Salt
If you own a saltwater pool, adding pool salt is an absolute necessity to keep your pool water clean. You will have to get used to the concept of adding salt to the pool. Pool salt is overall a more natural substance that makes it much safer to add to your pool than chlorine. Most feel as though you can maintain your pool without exposing themselves to something quite as toxic.
The only real downsides to using pool salt are that the bags can be heavy and that sometimes there are complex water chemistry issues if you use the wrong salt. If the salt you used had too much brine shrimp when created, some likely additives and minerals would throw your water chemistry off.
Getting this to balance again is difficult. Some issues can come up with your saltwater chlorinator making it challenging to get your pool back to being crystal clear and swimmable. Suppose you are careful with what products you use, and you make sure that you check your pool chemistry often. In that case, you should not experience many disadvantages of pool salt.
Considerations for Buying Pool Salt
When buying pool salt, there are a few things that you must consider. There are limited options on the market, so make sure you choose the right one is essential.
Choose a pool salt that is mined and produced just for use in swimming pools. This will cost you a bit more, but in the end, it will be much less of a headache. You won’t need to add salt to your pool often enough to justify the cost savings of going with a lower quality salt.
Most pool salt is sold in a 40-pound bag. Do some calculations before purchasing to see if you need a bag this size. Chances are you will need a few bags depending on your pool’s size and the current levels of salt.
Most pool salt is relatively fair in price. If you see something where 40-pound bags are getting close to the $100 range, you are likely getting ripped off. The price should be closer to the $25-$35 range depending on where you live and the brand you choose.
How to Add Salt to Pool
Now that you have some idea of the best pool salts on the market and all the things to consider before purchasing the salt, it’s time to add this to your pool. Ensuring that you add your pool salt correctly will help keep the salt chlorine generator in great shape.
Here are the basic steps to add salt to your pool. Each pool is different, and if there are specific questions, you should direct them to your local pool supply or the person that installed your pool.
Step 1: How Much Salt Does My Pool Need
The first step in this process is making sure that you know how much salt your chlorine generator needs. With this number in mind, you can move towards getting the pool levels where they need to be. Take a look at your salt chlorine generator, and it will tell you the exact amount of salt that it needs. Most of the time, the number will be represented in parts per million (ppm). The standard chlorine generator wants the water to have somewhere between 3 and 4 ppm of sand.
Step 2: Water Chemistry Test
To know how much salt you need to add in, you first need to know how much salt your pool has currently. The best way to do this is to use a saltwater test strip. When you test the water in the pool with the strip, they give you an accurate picture of how much salt is currently in place.
For a brand new pool, you should know that you are starting at zero, and you will have to add a good bit of sand to get the levels where you need them to be. If you don’t have any salt water test strips (which you should have), you can bring a sample of your pool water to a pool store.
- Features a photometer which gives you a digital reading of test results.
- Water resistant housing and carrying case provided.
- Tests Free Chlorine, Total Chlorine, Bromine, PH, Alkalinity, Calcium Hardness, and Cyanuric Acid.
- Uses liquid reagents for all test factors except Cyanuric Acid, which uses tablets.
Step 3: Do the Math
This is where you will be glad that you paid attention in math class as a kid. You must figure out the difference between the salt you have in your pool and the level you need to get the salt to generate chlorine effectively.
You will then use a pool calculator to put in the size of your pool, the amount you need to raise the salt, and get a general idea of how much salt you need to add. Just as with chlorine pools, sometimes pool water chemistry is not an exact science. Sometimes you will need to add a good amount of salt and then check again to make sure that it has worked as it should.
Step 4: Turn off Chlorine Generator
Although this may seem like a step in the wrong direction, you must take all precautions to keep your salt chlorine generators in good shape. These are expensive parts of a pool, and when you don’t take care of them properly, you will be replacing them much more often than you would like.
Turning off the chlorine generator while you add salt helps to ensure no damage is done during the process of adding the salt. Once it is off, you can add the salt to your pool.
Step 5: Adding Salt to Your Pool
During this step, you will start physically adding the salt to your swimming pool. When you put salt in, you will want to broadcast it across the pool and not simply dump it all in the skimmer or the skimmer area. If you end up placing it all in one spot, you may notice clumping and have to brush some of it away.
If your pool needs a large amount of salt added, you may notice that it takes 24 hours or so for it to dissolve in the water properly. You will have to recheck your saltwater levels to make sure that you have added enough. We usually like to wait until the next day to see where the salt levels settled and whether the pool will need more salt.
How Much Salt to Add to Pool
The amount of salt that you add to your pool will depend on the pool size, the amount of salt you currently have in your pool, and the level you need to get the pool to.
As long as you know what type of chlorine generator you have and the size of your pool, you should be able to figure these things out. Always make sure that you don’t add too much salt; you will have to drain some and then rebalance the pool by adding more water if this were to happen.
How Often to Add Salt to Pool
One of the great things about having a saltwater pool is that you won’t need to add salt all that often. Most of the time, you will add salt once per year or if you need to drain the pool for some reason.
It’s important to remember that any water you have to add to your pool will lower the overall salt content. If you have a large party and tons of water get splashed out onto pool surfaces, you may want to use a saltwater test strip to make sure your pool has enough salt.
Adding salt to a pool will be a much less frequent experience than adding chlorine to a standard swimming pool.
Pool Salt FAQ
Here are a few questions that many pool owners ask about pool salt and adding the proper amounts and types to their pools.
What Is the Best Pool Salt?
The best pool salt is mined salt that is as close to 100% pure salt as possible. The fewer minerals and additives that pool salt can have, the better. Mechanically engineered salt tends to be a bit less pure, and it can throw off the calcium hardness levels in your swimming pool.
How Much Does Pool Salt Cost?
Pool salt is usually sold in a 40-pound bag, and it can range in price from around $25 to $40. When you first open a brand new pool, the cost of salt can be high. However, from a yearly maintenance perspective, salt is going to be considerably cheaper than using chlorine. Overall, saltwater pools are much less expensive to maintain than traditional chlorine pools.
What’s the Difference Between Pool Salt and Regular Salt?
Pool salt has larger crystals, and it is made to dissolve a bit quicker when salt is added to water. Pool salt has also not gone through a process to be tested and certified for human consumption; this is why it is not advised to eat pool salt.
Can I Just Add Salt to My Pool?
For the most part, adding salt to your pool is very simple. However, you must make sure that you are using a type of salt rated for swimming pools. You will also need to turn your chlorine generator off during this process so that you don’t do damage to your pool.
How Long After Putting Salt in Pool Can You Swim?
After waiting about 30 to 60 minutes, you can start swimming in your pool again. You want to give the salt some time to absorb into the water before you start swimming in a pure salt pool.
Pool Salt Recap
Hopefully, you now feel as though you can make an informed decision regarding pool salts. It is essential only to use salt that is specifically for use in swimming pools. The more pure the salt is, the better it will be at generating chlorine in your pool. The AquaSalt pool salt is the best overall choice. It does an excellent job keeping your pool chlorinator functioning and producing chlorine.
For over 15 years, Sean Moore has been sharing his love and enthusiasm for swimming pools and hot tubs with everyone he knows. His goal is to help everyday people DIY their maintenance to save money by teaching how to properly take care of your equipment, safely and correctly balance chemicals, and extend the life of your water oasis.
Pricing on this page was last updated on 2023-12-04