Saltwater vs. Chlorine Hot Tubs

So, you’re about to buy a hot tub?  Congrats!

One decision you’ll have to make is whether you want salt-water or chlorinated water in your hot tub.  The top two choices in spa water purification systems are either traditional chlorine purification or the salt water system.

Chlorine is the older, more well-known option, but salt water has been gaining incredible popularity over the past 10-15 years, particularly in residential swimming pools.

Both chlorine and salt-water options offer solutions to the common issues you encounter when owning a home spa system. Regardless of which one you choose in the end, maintaining your home spa is an ongoing process and it’s really your preference as to which one you choose.  

First of all, to maintain your spa water using chlorine, you’ll need to monitor a few conditions including the proper concentration of chlorine in your water comparable to the the size of your hot tub and the amount of solution that you need.

Now, let’s take a look into the pros of each. Let’s be clear on one thing before we get started: the salt water produces the chlorine, so it’s a more natural process of getting the chlorine into your water, as opposed to dumping the chemical directly into the water, which could result in an overall harsher effect on the skin and feel of the water.

Pros of Salt Water Hot Tubs

The pros of salt water hot tubs include:

  • It is relaxing. The water feels different, gentler. It’s a smoother and silkier texture. It doesn’t leave your skin dry like some chemicals can, or turn your hair green.
  • Safety. Spa salt systems make their own chlorine naturally, so no need to keep around bromide or chlorine tablets which could become unsafe if left alone for too long.  
  • Pleasant to the senses. No more strong chemical smell of chlorine.
  • It’s more natural. The addition of salt increases the total dissolved solids of the water, making the water less aggressive, and more resistant to water balance fluctuation. So if you had a health condition this would not aggravate it as much as the chlorine would.
  • It’s eco-friendly. The best and most efficient salt water hot tub systems use very little salt, in fact, you’ll never be able to taste it. Plus, you’ll use less water overall.
  • Salt water hot tubs can be more convenient for the appropriate customer. Because salt water systems produce their own naturally-occurring chlorine, there is no need to continually add chlorine or other chemicals to your spa.
  • A salt water set up greatly reduces the amount of other chemicals you need in your home spa, therefore cutting on cost and waste to the environment.

Although salt water is a great resource to use in your hot tub purification system, consider some of the cons as well. There aren’t many, but it can be helpful in considering.

Cons of Salt Water Hot Tubs


  • Some pump shaft seals are made of BUNA rubber that can corrode under salt water conditions, so make sure before you buy that this is what you want in you home spa system.
  • The salt cell used for saltwater hot tubs is a titanium coated electrolytic cell, which eventually loses its power after 2-3 years and stops producing enough chlorine.
  • You must monitor or set a timer that sense whether your hot tub’s temperature doesn’t drop below 65 degrees. This is because many salt systems have trouble producing chlorine at low water temperatures. This isn’t a big deal if you have a way to monitor the reading.

At East Texas Spa, we offer many salt-water options using the Ace Salt Water System. There are many options of hot tubs to choose from if you decide to go that route.

That’s a quick rundown on what you need to know to make your decision regarding the use of a saltwater system or a traditional chlorine system in your spa. Both has its advantages and disadvantages, it really just depends on your preference for maintenance and cost.

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