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How Much Does It Cost to Install a Salt Water Pool?

Low
$25,000
Average Cost
$50,000
High
$100,000
(installation of a 12x24-foot fiberglass inground pool)

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How Much Does It Cost to Install a Salt Water Pool?

Low
$25,000
Average Cost
$50,000
High
$100,000
(installation of a 12x24-foot fiberglass inground pool)

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For people who love to swim regularly and want to lower the amount of chlorine they use as well as the amount of maintenance their pool needs, a saltwater pool is a great alternative. When it comes to building the pool itself, there are few differences between a chlorine 1 and saltwater pool. The difference is really in the addition of a salt chlorine generator and the fact that a few materials used around these pools may not hold up as well.

Therefore, the average cost to install a salt water pool ranges from $40,000-$60,000, with the average homeowner spending around $50,000 on a 12x24 foot vinyl inground pool.

Salt Water Pool Costs

Salt Water Pool Installation Costs
National average cost$50,000
Average range​$40,000-$60,000
Minimum Cost$25,000
Maximum cost$100,000


Updated: What's new?

Salt Water Pool Cost by Project Range

Low
$25,000
Fiberglass salt water inground pool
Average Cost
$50,000
Installation of a 12x24-foot fiberglass inground pool
High
$100,000
Shotcrete salt water inground pool

Salt Water Pool Cost by Size

Owning a salt water pool can save you money on maintenance, but the cost to have one put in depends on the size. Just like chlorine 1 pools, larger pools require more materials so the price goes up as you increase the size you want. Additions that you choose, above ground or inground pools, and land preparation requirements increase the cost as well. Some popular inground pool sizes include:

Salt Water Pool Cost Chart

Salt Water Pool Cost Chart


SizeCost
10x16 feet$15,000-$25,000
12x24 feet$21,500-$33,000
10x30 feet$27,000-$38,000
14x28 feet$35,000-$51,000
15x30 feet$41,000-$58,000
16x32 feet$45,000-$67,000
20x40 feet$71,000-$103,000
25x45 feet$101,000-$145,000


Cost to Convert Pool to Salt Water

For current pool 2 owners, converting your pool to a salt water pool is often a good option. Salt water is less irritating than chlorine 1 and costs less to maintain. Any type of liner 3 works with a salt water pool so vinyl 4, concrete, or fiberglass 5 pools cost the same to convert. Vinyl can become torn or pull away, however, if the metal parts attaching it to the shell become corroded.

The main difference in salt water pool conversion is the chlorinator 1 and the salt versus chemicals. Each type of pool has the same conversion process: balance the water to remove the chlorine, add the required amount of salt for your size pool, and wait about 24 hours. Then the chlorinator will be installed and wired to the existing plumbing. This may sound like a simple process, but requires knowledge about both plumbing and electrical wiring.

Type of chlorine poolSalt water pool conversion cost
Above ground chlorine pool$400-$1,000
Inground chlorine pool$800-$2,500


Converting Above Ground Pool to Salt Water

Above ground chlorine 1 pools may be easier to convert, but if you have lots of metal parts, you may experience rusting of these parts. Resin pools are a better option for converting to avoid ongoing metal parts replacement issues. The cost to make your above ground pool into a salt water pool is $400-$1,000.

Converting Inground Pool to Salt Water

Inground chlorine pools typically require a little more work to convert to salt water because the plumbing is in the ground. Cost to convert is $800-$2,500.

Salt Water Pool Cost by Type

The cost of pool types varies greatly. While above ground salt water pools are less expensive, they do not last as long as inground salt water pools. Some typical pricing for average sizes is included in the information below.

Salt Water Swimming Pool Cost

Salt Water Swimming Pool Cost


Type/Average Size of poolCost
Above ground salt water pool$3,000-$7,500
Inground salt water pool$23,000-$30,000
Salt water lap pool$50,000-$75,000
Salt water infinity pool$50,000-$140,000
Indoor salt water pool$156,000-$200,000


Above Ground Salt Water Pool Cost

While above ground pools are less expensive, the life expectancy is much lower and there is no return on investment if you sell your home. An above ground salt water pool costs $3,000-$7,500 for a 12 x 20 ft pool.


Oval above ground pool in the backyard


Inground Salt Water Pool Cost

Inground pools are traditionally much more expensive than above ground pools. Inground salt water pools are no different, pricewise. To install an inground salt water pool, you can expect to pay $23,000-$30,000 for a 12 x 20 ft pool.


Inground concrete salt water pool


Salt Water Lap Pool

Lap pools are normally long pools specifically made for swimming laps. An above ground salt water lap pool runs $5,000-$30,000 while an inground salt water lap pool ranges from $50,000-$75,000. Lap pools are usually 82 feet long.


Lap pool surrounded by a wood deck


Salt Water Infinity Pool

An infinity pool is designed to appear to have no edge around it. These pools are quite expensive, at around $50,000-$140,000 for a 12 x 20 ft pool and require special terrain on a slope.


Woman in a salt water infinity pool located on a rooftop


Indoor Salt Water Pool

Although indoor salt water pools have many advantages, the cost to build one can be prohibitive. The pool itself costs about the same as other inground pools ($16,000-$60,000) but the enclosure, as well as the need for a dehumidification system, will bring the total price to around $156,000-$200,000 for a 12 x 20 ft. pool.


Indoor in-ground swimming pool in a room of a house


Salt Water Pool Prices by Material

Next to size and type, the largest contributing factor to a saltwater pool is the material that it is made from. Like chlorinated 1 pools, saltwater pools can be made of a variety of materials, each having positive and negative attributes:

Salt Water Pool Prices

Salt Water Pool Prices


MaterialProsCons

Fiberglass

($10,000 - $25,000)

Fast installation

Maintains color well

Lower electricity costs

Resists algae growth

Shape and size are limited

Can be slippery

May bulge

Vinyl

($35,000 - $65,000)

Inexpensive

Easy installation

Fast installation

Can be formed in any shape

Not as durable

Some types of walls cannot be used with salt water

Liner needs regular replacement

Concrete (Gunite 6)

($49,500 - $100,000)

Lots of design versatility

Highly durable

Long-lasting

Highly aesthetic

Expensive

Takes a long time to install

Rough underfoot

Costs more to run

Shotcrete

($50,000 - $100,000)

Lots of design versatility

Highly aesthetic

Faster installation than gunite

Very expensive

May crack

Not as durable


Fiberglass Salt Water Pool

Fiberglass salt water pool material is more resistant to algae and maintains its coloring well. The shell comes already made so installation is quick. However, buyers are limited on the size and shape of a fiberglass 5 pool and may experience a more slippery pool bottom. The maintenance of a fiberglass salt water pool is easy. The main thing you have to do is make sure it has enough salt to keep the levels right. A fiberglass salt water pool cost is $10,000-$25,000.

Salt Water Vinyl Pool

A salt water vinyl 4 pool liner 3 is the least expensive. They are easy and quick to install and consumers can choose from a variety of colors, sizes, and shapes. Vinyl liners tend to be less durable than other types of materials and will need to be replaced more often. You can expect to pay around $35,000-$65,000.

Salt Water Concrete Pool

A salt water concrete pool (gunite 6) is probably the most versatile of all of the pools. There are many designs to choose from and you can expect your pool to be long-lasting. These pools are very aesthetically pleasing which makes them popular. The drawbacks are that they are expensive and take a longer time to install. Expenses to operate these pools are higher and walking in the pool is rougher than on other materials. A salt water concrete pool costs $49,500-$100,000.

Salt Water Shotcrete Pool

A salt water shotcrete pool comes in at the highest cost of $50,000-$100,000. These pools boast as pleasing to look at, but are not as durable as other materials. Buyers can choose from a wide variety of designs and installation is quicker than a gunite pool. They are prone to cracking, however, so are not as practical in areas at risk for deep freezes or earthquakes.

Labor Cost to Install Salt Water Pool

The installation of a salt water pool is identical to a chlorinated 1 1 pool, with the exception of the salt chlorine generator being added at the end of the install.

For the installation of a fiberglass 5 pool, which is one of the more common materials used with salt water, the process involves excavating and hauling away the dirt from the yard.Then the leveling and sloping of the surrounding area will be done. If the property is fairly level 7 and has little to no rocks or trees to remove, the cost is on the lower end of the spectrum at $1,500. However, when cleaning up and preparing property that is more rocky or has clay soil, the homeowner could end up spending as much as $5,000. Tree removal can increase costs considerably at a cost of $300-$700 per tree. Additional items that may need to be done include building retaining walls at a cost of $4,500-$6,000, or septic tank relocation with costs in a range of $2,000-$4,500.

After the ground is prepared, the single-piece shell is installed. The stairs, filters, pumps 8, salt chlorine generator, and decking are installed last before the pool is filled and the salt and other chemicals added. The entire process takes about 2 weeks.

Fiberglass 5 pool shells are made off-site, while gunite 6 and shotcrete are applied on site in the shape of the pool. Vinyl is a combination of the two methods, with part of the pool made off-site and then applied on location. Other labor costs include the installation of the equipment and finishing of the deck.

Most contractors will charge a flat rate for the clean up, leveling, and any excavation required. However, the general cost per hour for land clearing will run about $110-$245 per hour. Land preparation for above ground salt water pools costs the same amount per hour, as costs are based on the condition of the property and what has to be done to install the pool.

Salt Water Pool Electricity Cost

Consumers will save money on chemical costs with a salt water pool but the electricity cost is slightly higher. The increase should only be about $40-$60 more per year than a chlorine 1 swimming pool. Pool owners can take steps to save energy by using a solar pool blanket at $50-$200, turn down the temperature on the heater when the pool isn’t in use and trimming trees that hang over the pool. The trees will shade the pool rather than allowing the natural sun to warm the pool. Taking these steps will also cut back on the amount of cleaning needed.

Salt Water Pool Salt Level by Pool Size

The amount of salt needed for your salt water pool is based on the size of the pool, whether you are filling it for the first time, if you are converting it from a chlorine pool, and/or the annual usage amounts. Your chlorinator should come with a chart showing the amount to add in order to reach the proper measurement according to the situation.

The levels should be checked before adding salt to an already prepared salt water pool. Levels should measure 2700-3400 parts per million 9 or ppm. A brand new salt water pool will initially need about 200 pounds of salt.

Salt Water Pool Salt Level

Salt Water Pool Salt Level


Pool’s sizePounds of salt needed to reach 3200 ppm
8,000 gallons213
10,000 gallons267
12,000 gallons320
14,000 gallons373
16,000 gallons427


How Much Pool Salt Do I Need

While the name of the pool is called “salt water” and requires a lot of salt to run, this does not mean that the pool is devoid of chlorine. Instead, a salt chlorine generator turns the salt into chlorine 1, so the eventual levels of salt in the pool are around 3,000 parts per million(ppm) of dissolved salt. At 3,500 ppm is where most people begin to taste salt, which makes a salt water pool around 1/10 of the salt found in the ocean, closer to the amount found in human tears. So, the amount of salt cannot be tasted or felt.

Initially, about 200 pounds of pool salt is added to the water. A salt chlorine 1 generator, which costs between $500 and $2,500 for an inground pool, converts the salt to chlorine, filtering the pool. You still need other pool chemicals and to test the water, but the amount of chemicals and maintenance is far less because the generator controls the bulk of the job.

Salt Water Pool Pros and Cons

Salt water pools have some definite advantages over chlorine pools. However, there are some disadvantages as well. Most people find that the advantages of a salt water pool outweigh any potential negatives. Salt water pool pros and cons include:

ProsCons

Soft, silky feel to the water

Less drying to skin

Does not burn eyes

Uses fewer chemicals

Salt is inexpensive

Only need to add salt a few times a year

Corrosive to metals and stone

If not properly maintained, chlorine level can become too high

Parts may need to be replaced more often

Vinyl liners may rip apart due

to corroded parts

Cells in chlorinator need to be

replaced every few years


Filling a Salt Water Pool for the First Time

After the pool is built, it needs to be filled. Depending on your water supply, you may do it yourself with a hose for around $65, or you may need to hire a company to deliver the water. This can cost as much as $1,250 depending on how much water you need and how far it needs to travel to reach your property.

Salt Water Pool Equipment Cost

Just like a chlorine pool, a salt water pool has certain equipment that is necessary to its proper operation and maintenance. These items won’t last forever so knowing what to expect as far as replacement cost is important.

Salt Water Pool Heater Cost

Although a pool heater is not a necessity, many people enjoy their pool more when they have one. Pool owners who live in areas where the temperatures get cold at night, but warm up significantly during the day, will want to have a pool heater. Keep in mind that a pool heater will increase your electric bill by $50-$200 a month, unless you purchase a gas- or solar-powered heater. There are several different choices in pool heaters. If your pool is smaller, you may want to purchase a tankless water heater. The cost is $450-$600. Gas-powered pool heaters are a little less expensive at $750-$2,450, while an electric pool heater will run you around $1,200-$3,000. Lastly, solar powered pool heaters are great for areas that have lots of sunshine. Cost for these heaters is hefty at $2,500-$9,500.

Salt Water Pool Pump Cost

When choosing salt water pool pumps 8, it is wise to consider one that has maintenance help capabilities such as telling you when the salt is low, self-cleans, has temperature detection, monitors water flow, and more. To buy a salt water pool pump for an above ground pool, you should expect to pay $475 and up. Inground pool pumps range from $700-$900.

Salt Water Pool Filter Cost

Salt water pool filter systems use sand 10 to filter pool water and make it sparkling clean. A salt water pool filter system for an above ground pool is $200-$300 while an inground pool filter system is about $450-$1,500.

Salt Water Pool Maintenance Cost

The maintenance of a salt water pool is generally considered to be lower than that of a chlorine 1 pool. salt water pools maintain themselves better, resulting in fewer chemicals, less algae, and less scale. It is common to spend around $100 in chemicals and salt per season as opposed to the $300 in supplies needed for a chlorine pool. Professional pool maintenance costs are also usually lower, closer to $500 for the entire season.

There are tasks that a pool owner will need to do on a regular basis to maintain the pool. Testing the water about once a week for free chlorine 1, stabilizer, or cyanuric acid and ph levels will help to know when the pool requires attention.

Monthly maintenance testing should be done as well. Using a testing kit, pool owners should check the salinity, alkalinity, calcium hardness, and total dissolved solids. You will also want to test for copper, iron, and manganese as these items should not be present in your water at all.

Doing yearly maintenance on your salt water pool will be easier if the weekly and monthly maintenance have been kept up. Pool owners should inspect the salt cells of the chlorinator to make sure they do not have any calcium build-up. With proper care, the cells should last 4-6 years, or slightly longer with diligent pool cleaning and correct chemistry balance. Every 3-6 years the salt cell will need to be replaced at a cost of $500-$800. If the salt cell fails and is not immediately replaced, chlorine cannot be created and your pool will become unsafe for swimming. Keeping the salt cell clean from salt build-up may extend the life of it.

The cost to maintain and clean a salt water pool on your own is about $40 a month or $480 annually. If you hire a professional, you can expect to pay $75-$125 a month or $900-$1,500 a year.

Salt Water Pool Cleaning

Salt water pool cleaning helps to keep your pool crystal clear and ready for swimming. In addition to skimming leaves, bugs and other debris, pool owners will need to remove debris from the skimmer, pump 8 baskets, and the automatic pool cleaner. Also, the pool will need to be vacuumed and the walls brushed with a stiff brush. The filter will need backwashing and salt cells should be routinely cleaned to avoid build-up.


Professional cleaning a salt water pool


Salt Water Pool vs. Chlorine Pool Cost

Regarding the construction of the pool itself, there is little difference between a chlorine and salt water pool. The biggest differences come from the maintenance of the pool, how much it costs to run, how many chemicals you use, and how the water feels.

Chlorine 1 must be added weekly and the smell is in the air regardless of what you do. This adds up to an annual cost of $275-$975. It is also more irritating to the skin and eyes as well as changes the color and texture of human hair. Chlorine pool owners have to store dangerous chemicals. Safe storage is a vital part of chlorine as the fumes themselves are harmful if inhaled. Another concern is that chlorine pools need to be shocked more often.

On the other hand, salt water pools use a chlorinator to create chlorine from the salt. This device does use electricity so you may see an increase in your electric bill, but it shouldn’t be a significant amount. The chlorinator will most likely need cells replaced every few years at a cost of $500-$800 Maintenance consists of adding salt on occasion at a cost of $100-$400 annually.

Turn Hot Tub into Salt Water

As more and more people are becoming aware of the advantages of converting a chlorine 1 pool to a salt water pool, some are considering making their hot tub into a salt water hot tub. The benefits are the same as a salt water pool and the cost is about $500-$5,000. An additional consideration is the fact that hot tubs are much smaller than a pool. Two to four people in a tinier space emit more sweat, body oils and bacteria. This means that the salt levels may not maintain a sanitized environment as effectively.


Wooden above-ground hot tub


Enhancement and Improvement Costs

Self Cleaning Salt Water Chlorinator

If you want to lower the amount of maintenance you do on your chlorinator 1, consider investing in a self-cleaning system. Salt water pools have positively-charged calcium that lives in the water. The calcium is attracted to the negatively-charged electrode plates. A self cleaning salt water chlorinator uses reverse polarity to periodically change the charge of the electrodes to a positive charge, thus the calcium does not build as quickly. Although you will still need to clean the cells, the self cleaning chlorinator will eliminate much of the work. They cost between $500 and $2,000 on average.

Salt Water Pool Decking

It is common to have a pool deck installed around your pool for drainage and provide a non-slip surface. Typical decks cost around $7,000, although some may be included in the total cost of the pool.

Pool Enclosure or Fence

Most pools also require some type of enclosure or fence to keep pets and children safe. These come in many configurations and cost anywhere from $1,200 to $22,000.

Pool Lighting

Lights can be built into the sides of your pool for between $150 to $300 per light. You may also want to consider deck lights for around the same cost.

Salt Water Pool Cover

Your pool will likely require a cover if you plan on closing it at the end of the season. Covers come in several styles and cost between $75 for a traditional cover up to $15,000 for an automatic one.

In addition, you may consider a solar blanket 11 pool cover. These covers are a favorite due to the ability to contain 99% of water evaporation and to keep the balance of the water intact while covered. They are very easy to install and act like a solar heater, heating the water by up to 8 degrees. The best solar blanket for a salt water pool costs $50-$200.

Ladders and Diving Boards

Some pools have ladders included in the price, while others need it added on. Diving boards are usually an extra cost, although not recommended for fiberglass 5 pools because they are not deep enough to use safely. Ladders cost around $70 to $200 each, while diving boards run around $400.

Water Features

Water features such as waterfalls ($450-$15,000) are aesthetically pleasing to add to the design. You can also add features such as fire ($100-$1,000), fountain bubblers ($50-$300), hot tubs ($10,000-$25,000), and grottos ($5,000-$10,000).

Winterize Salt Water Pool

Preparing your pool for winter is a vital part of pool ownership. Harsh winter weather can cause pipes to freeze and crack. In addition, concrete or fiberglass 5 pools can crack in cold weather. The cost for closing or winterizing is $150-$300.

Landscaping Rocks

Landscaping rocks can add texture and beauty to your salt water pool. These are usually not real rocks as it can be problematic to obtain the amount needed and shipping heavy rocks is prohibitive. Hollow rocks run about $85 for a 21”x 21” size.

Pool Lift

An accessible lift can be installed for those who are wheelchair-bound or who do not have full use of the legs or arms. This makes the pool usable by everyone. You can expect to pay around $3,000.

Additional Considerations and Costs

  • Saltwater can damage the landscaping around your pool as well as certain types of stone decking. Due to these issues and the toll it takes on soil nutrients, some communities ban saltwater pool systems. Always check your local ordinances before installing.
  • Converting an existing pool to a saltwater pool is possible. This usually costs around $2,500 to complete and involves adding a salt chlorine generator and the right amount of chemicals.
  • Swimming in salt water does not burn more calories than swimming in a chlorinated pool. Regardless, swimming is a great way to exercise.
  • While a saltwater pool does not require chlorine or shock, you will need to purchase test kits, salt, and chemicals that balance the pH and to prevent algae and other water issues.
  • The warmer your climate, the more chlorine your generator will need to produce to keep the water clear. This may mean that it will use more electricity or wear out and require repair or replacement more frequently, offsetting the lower maintenance costs of this pool type.
  • Your generator should run 4 to 6 hours a day in the winter and 10 to 12 hours a day in the summer according to most pool professionals. These numbers vary depending on climate, water temperature, and how often the pool is used.
  • If you aren’t a fan of waiting, you should consider having a company deliver the water to fill your pool as it will take a while to fill with a garden hose. Homeowners with well water may also want to have the water brought in. Well water will stain the pool and the water.
  • On occasion your pool may need to have water added. If you choose to do this with your home water hose, it will increase your water bill by $5-$18 a month. Due to evaporation, most pool owners experience a loss of about 2 inches per month.

FAQ

  • Is a saltwater pool better?

Saltwater pools are less irritating to the skin and eyes and are usually lower in maintenance and related costs.

  • Is a saltwater pool more expensive?

Saltwater pools cost marginally more in some instances, depending on the type of pool and salt chlorine 1 generator involved. They typically cost less to run, however. ​

  • How much does it cost to convert to a saltwater pool?

To convert an existing pool to a saltwater pool costs around $2,500 on average.

  • Is a saltwater pool easier to maintain?

In most cases, yes, a saltwater pool is easier to maintain, requires fewer chemicals, and less cleaning.​​

Remodeling Terms Cheat Sheet

Definitions in laymen's terms, cost considerations, pictures and things you need to know.
See full cheat sheet.
1 Chlorine: A chemical added to the water in a swimming pool to kill bacteria and microorganisms that can make people sick
2 Current pool: A swimming pool that generates a current, enabling the user to continue swimming "endlessly" without making forward progress. This allows the size of the pool to be much smaller than a traditional pool
glossary term picture Liner 3 Liner: A covering, usually made of vinyl, for the walls and floor of a swimming pool, used to keep the water in and protect the pool's surface.
glossary term picture Vinyl 4 Vinyl: A synthetic plastic made from ethylene and chlorine. Vinyl has many applications in the construction industry and it is widely used in sidings, window frames, roofing and gutters, among others
glossary term picture Fiberglass 5 Fiberglass: Plastic that is reinforced with glass fibers. The fibers may be mixed randomly throughout the plastic, or come in the form of a flat sheet, or be woven into a fabric
glossary term picture Gunite 6 Gunite: A type of concrete used for building concrete pools, lining tunnels, and structural repair. It is applied by being sprayed through a pressure hose, and produces a dense, hard layer of concrete
7 Level: The process of evening out the ground's surface, making it either flat or sloped.
glossary term picture Pump 8 Pumps: A device used to move air, liquid, or gas by mechanical means
9 Parts per million: An acronym for Parts Per Million, a measurement used to describe dilute concentrations of substances in water or soil
glossary term picture Sanding 10 Sand: Process of removing the top surface of a material, such as wood, using sandpaper and/or a specialized sanding machine (for large surface areas)
glossary term picture Solar Blanket 11 Solar blanket: Protective outdoor pool cover used to trap the sun's heat, thereby helping to keep pool water warm

Cost to install a salt water pool varies greatly by region (and even by zip code). To get free estimates from local contractors, please indicate yours.

Updated:
The information provided by our cost guides comes from a great variety of sources, including specialized publications and websites, cost studies, U.S. associations, reports from the U.S. government, contractors and subcontractors, material suppliers, material price services, and other vendor websites. For more information, read our Methodology and sources.
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Cost to install a salt water pool varies greatly by region (and even by zip code). To get free estimates from local contractors, please indicate yours.

The information provided by our cost guides comes from a great variety of sources, including specialized publications and websites, cost studies, U.S. associations, reports from the U.S. government, contractors and subcontractors, material suppliers, material price services, and other vendor websites. For more information, read our Methodology and sources.