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Salt Water Hot Tub Or Chlorine Hot Tub

It’s a debate every single one of our customers go through in their hot tub shopping journey. It’s an important decision to make when trying to choose which hot tub is going to be the best fit for you and your home. Both systems will do the job of sanitizing your hot tub if directions are followed properly. However, there’s an immense difference in what it takes to get your hot tub to the proper sanitation level. Below we’ve laid out all the facts for you to help you decide if a Salt Water Hot Tub Or Chlorine Hot Tub is right for you. Let’s dive in!

Some Questions to ask yourself first (we’ll touch on all of these in the article):

  • How much maintenance do I want in my hot tubbing experience?
  • What is my budget like?
  • Do I have sensitive skin?
  • How do I plan to use this hot tub? (family use, entertainment, solo soaking, rental home etc.)


Salt Water Hot Tubs

Salt water systems use a process called electrolysis to sanitize the water. Salt (sodium chloride) is added to the hot tub, and the salt water system converts it into chlorine through electrolysis. This chlorine then sanitizes the water, similar to the process in a chlorine system.

Less added chemicals: Your sanitation is controlled by adjusting a number on your hot tub control panel. The higher the number, the more sanitation is released into your hot tub. You would increase your “output level” when you’re expecting more bathers or if your hot tubbing more often than usual. Sanitation is steadily released into your hot tub water without the addition of granular chlorine. * If your pH & alkalinity levels need to be adjusted, this will need to be done with added chemicals*.

Empty and refill once per year (or longer): Water needs to be changed when it reaches, what we call, a “stale” state. This means your water chemistry is not aligning no matter what you do. Usually, this occurs frequently when using granulated chemicals daily and weekly. The non caking agents build up in your water and eventually the water needs to be changed. Because you’re not adding as many granular chemicals (if any at all), your water stays fresher, longer. Some customers have told us they haven’t changed their water in well over a year!

Less harsh on your skin: Your skin will actually feel softer if you keep your hot tub at the proper settings. Think of it like saline solution for your eyes. With such a low concentration of salt in the water, the water will actually soften your skin.

Can handle medium soaking loads: The Salt Water Hot Tub system is a great option for those who are using their hot tub truly as a place to relax, enjoy some time to decompress, and as a retreat. If you’re looking for a hot tub to entertain a large group several times per week (larger families, entertainment households, or rental properties) we would not recommend this system. The system will need additional chemical treatment as it’s not made to keep up with frequent large bathing loads. It’s truly meant to be used for a luxurious soaking experience.

Exclusive To Hot Spring & Caldera Hot Tubs: As of now, salt water systems are only featured on Hot Spring & Caldera hot tubs. There aren’t any other hot tubs worldwide that are compatible with salt water systems. There are “aftermarket” salt water systems that are able to be added to any hot tub brand, but these systems require a very high concentration of salt and are NOT recommended.


Chlorine Hot Tubs

Chlorine works by breaking down organic matter like bacteria, algae, and viruses. When it reacts with these contaminants, it oxidizes them, effectively neutralizing any harmful effects they might have on your hot tub experience.

Require Regular Chemical Treatment: There are various types of chlorine water care systems for hot tubs. All of them will require at minimum 2 types of chemicals to add in daily and weekly. These systems to require more time and effort, however, your chemical routine must be followed in order to keep the proper sanitation level in your hot tub. Even if you are not using your hot tub, it’s still very important to continue to add chemicals to the water. If you leave your hot tub alone for a month without any treatment, you’ll most likely have to empty it and start all over again.

Empty & refill 3-4 times per year required: As we talked about earlier, the more granulated chemicals you have to add to your hot tub water, the faster your water will become “stale”. There comes a point where your hot tub water just will not react to any chemicals you add in and that’s when it’s time to change your water. This is typically done 3-4 times per year for regular users.

Can Irritate Skin: Chlorine and other added chemicals can sometimes cause skin & eye irritation. This is due to the chemical itself & non caking agents found in granular chemicals. Some customers notice their skin is itchy if they soak right after a chemical treatment. To avoid irritation, it’s best to shock your hot tub with chlorine on the days you know you won’t be soaking.

Can handle large soaking loads: If you’re the home that has a large family, loves to entertain, or it’s a rental property, a chlorine hot tub is probably the best choice for you. When there are several people using the hot tub several days per week, it’s always best practice to shock the hot tub with chlorine and non-chlorinated shock after each large bathing load. It’s actually very important to make sure you frequently shock your hot tub if it’s experiencing a lot of use.


The decision between a chlorine system and a salt water system for your hot tub depends on your specific needs, budget, and personal preferences. If you prefer a lower upfront cost and are okay with regular maintenance, a chlorine system might be for you. If you’re looking for something gentler on your skin and eyes, with less frequent maintenance, you might opt for a salt water system.

Remember, both systems require understanding and management to ensure your hot tub stays a safe and enjoyable space. Choose wisely, maintain it well, and your hot tub will provide you with a delightful retreat for years to come.


Want The Best Hot Tub Experience? We Can Help!

Have you decided on a system yet, or do you need further guidance? Reach out to us! We’re always here to help you make the best choices for your hot tub needs. Let’s keep those waters sparkling clean, comfortable, and ready for your next soak. Call us (732) 424-0030 or stop in to one of our locations today!