Salt Water vs. Chlorine: What’s Better for My Pebble Pool Finish?

posted by PebbleTec International in

Backyard pool with a pebble pool finish.

There are many misconceptions when it comes to the benefits of saltwater and chlorine pools. The good news —both are perfectly safe for your pebble pool finish! The three main factors that help individuals decide on which option is best are maintenance level, price, and physical side effects. With a little research, you can find the best option for you and your family.



Chlorine tablets are the traditional way to keep your pool clean and sanitized from germs, bacteria and algae. Tablets are placed in a floating dispenser or an external feeder. With a feeder, chlorine tablets slowly dissolve into the pool when the pump is running. Tablets will need to be added to both options every 1-2 weeks depending on bather load and weather. The main benefit of chlorine pools is the ease at which proper chlorine levels can be maintained. Conversely, the stabilizer in chlorine tablets can built-up over time resulting in the need to partially drain your pool every year to bring levels back into proper range.

High stabilizer levels will make the chlorine less effective and could cause long term damage to the pool. One of the main misconceptions about saltwater pools is that they are chlorine-free. Saltwater pools use a chlorine generator to produce chlorine from the salt in the water. The generator is made of titanium plates that electrolyze the dissolved salt to make liquid chlorine. Stabilizer is not produced by the chlorine generator and it will have to be added separately. While adjusting the chlorine production level is easily done using a dial in the generator control panel, saltwater pools can be difficult to maintain the proper salt and stabilizer levels and will have to be tested bi-weekly. When salt is added to the pool, it will need to be brushed until it dissolves completely to avoid discoloring your pebble pool finish.



Saltwater and chlorine pools are similar in long-term price, with saltwater pool owners incurring a larger up-front expense. The main price different will vary depending on how often you have to replace components of your chlorine generator.


Physical Side Effects

Some common misconceptions about chlorine pools are red eyes and green hair. If your pool is not shocked as needed — recommended every week during summer months — and has excess levels of chlorine, it can cause eye redness. The green color that sometime appears in your hair after swimming is not from chlorine at all, it is from excess copper levels in your pool. A common praise of saltwater pools is how soft the water feels. The salt in the water can help keep your skin moisturized and prevent it from drying out after a long day of swimming. Unlike the ocean, the amount of salt in your saltwater pool is minimal and will only offer the faintest taste of salt and will help decrease the impact of irritating your eyes.

Frequent testing and balancing of the water is required weekly during the swimming season to assure bather comfort and safety for either type of sanitation method.

Now that you know the pros and cons of saltwater and chlorine pools, you can decide on the best option for you. If you are building a new pool and have selected a PebbleTec® pool finish from Pebble Technology International® (PTI), you will need to wait at least 28 days before adding salt to your saltwater pool. Any residual salt left on the pebble pool finish may scale, stain, or discolor the finish and is not covered by the PTI warranty. Find an authorized PebbleTec® pool builder in your neighborhood and get started in creating the pool of your dreams!