In our last post, we discussed the advantages and disadvantages of the different filtration systems to keep your pool clean (link). Another component of clear pools is how the homeowner chlorinates the pool. In the Dallas area, there are two common types of chlorinators:

  1. Chlorine tablets
  2. Salt chlorine generators

At The Complete Backyard, we don’t have a strong preference between one or the other. It is up to the homeowner and which one they are most comfortable with maintaining. Both systems will cost approximately the same amount over 10 years of pool usage. It is also quite easy to decide to switch from chlorine tablets to a salt chlorine generator or visa versa. Usually this can be done with a service call.

Why add chlorine to a pool?

Chlorine is one of the main things which keeps a pool clean and sparkling. It disinfects by killing bacteria and algae. Chlorine uses an oxidation process to destroy and sanitize sweat, body oil, urine, and even bird droppings…anything which finds its way into your pool. Without adding chlorine to a pool, swimmers risk getting a water borne disease, suffering from diarrhea, or picking up a skin infection.


Chlorine is the “traditional” method of sanitizing pools. Chlorine comes in tablet, granular and liquid form. Tablets can be added to your pool with either a pump or through a floating dispenser. Chlorine can also be used as a shock to the pool to help remove harmful bacteria. One thing to note – the usual complaints of green hair, stinging eyes. or the strong smell of chlorine is not due to too much chlorine in a pool, but rather from not having enough chlorine in the pool to handle the chloramines, the byproducts of chlorine cleaning up the pool.

Salt Chlorine Generator

Although these pools are referred to as “salt water pools,” homeowners should realize they still have a chlorinated pool. The salt generator makes chlorine from pool salt through an electrolysis process. After the initial setup, which requires hundreds of pounds of salt, very little salt is required to maintain pools on a monthly basis.

Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of each system.

Chlorine tablets


  • Chlorine tablets have an advantage over salt chlorine generators in that they do not destroy the coping or natural stone around the pool
  • An inline chlorinator does not have lifespan
  • Tablets come with a stabilizer added to it so homeowners shouldn’t have to add CYA (cyanuric acid)
  • Initial installation cost is low


  • Many homeowners feel chlorine dries out skin which can lead to itching. Too much chlorine can also fade swimsuits
  • Currently, there is a national shortage of chlorine which has caused the price of the tablets to soar. This has also led to an increase in the cost of weekly service visits to cover the increased cost of the chlorine tablets
  • Chlorine tablets come in pails which are heavy to move and bulky to store
  • Many people do not like the harsh smell of chlorine, especially when handling it

Salt chlorine generators


  • Salt chlorine generators have lower monthly maintenance costs than chlorine tablets
  • Many people talk about how the water “feels better” on their skin
  • Salt chlorine generators very seldom result in red burning eyes like swimmers can get in a traditional chlorine pool
  • Pools with salt chlorine generators don’t have the chlorine smell
  • Homeowners do not have to buy and store chlorine tablets


  • Salt chlorine will penetrate natural stone surfaces and as the sun evaporates water, it will leave a salt residue behind. Salt intrusion can lead to flaking of natural stone. When The Complete Backyard installs natural stone around a pool, we seal the stone to prevent these problems. However, homeowners will need to be sure to have their stone resealed on a yearly basis
  • Salt generators have a higher upfront cost of installation and the salt cells will need to be replaced about every five years.

When building a new pool, or remodeling an existing pool, homeowners will need to consider the method of sanitizing with which they are the most comfortable. Even with a weekly pool maintenance service, a lot of maintenance still falls on the homeowner. When comparing the costs of the two sanitizing systems, they tend to come out equal in the long run. While a salt generator is more expensive upfront, there is very little in the way of monthly maintenance. Chlorine tablets are cheaper in upfront costs, but much more expensive on a monthly basis. In the end, after approximately ten years of pool usage, the costs come out almost the same. 

Would you like to learn even more about the differences between chlorine tablets and salt chlorine generators? Talk to the experts at The Complete Backyard today, we would be happy to answer your questions and guide you to the right decision for your pool.