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Top-5 Salt Chlorine Generators for a Quick, Easy, and Hygienic Soak

Swimming season is near. Read our article for tips on cleaning the water quickly and effectively with a salt chlorine generator.

Table of Contents

Do you use sanitizer, spa shock, pH Increaser, pH Decreaser, and Total Alkalinity Increaser almost every week? Are you tired of all these chemicals to keep your hot tub or pool clean? We have a solution that will save you time, money, and strength. It is a salt chlorine generator. It does not require as many chemicals as typical sanitizers and it cleans the water nonstop. If you are allergic to chlorine, a salt chlorine generator is ideal for you because it reduces the risk of skin and eye irritation. 

In this article, we will reveal the pros and cons of the top-5 salt chlorine generators on the market. You will learn about the important factors to consider when buying a salt chlorine generator and will understand why the salt system is better (or worse?) than the usage of typical sanitizers.

Comparison table: 5 best salt chlorine generators

📌 Helpful note before reading: the cell is a part of the salt chlorine generator where the salt converts into chlorine.

Model
Characteristics
Winner in the category
The best flow sensor
BLUE WORKS Pool Chlorine Generator Chlorinator BLH40
Power: 2.1 lbs/day
Item weight: 20 pounds
Capacity: up to 40000 gal.
Lifespan: 10000-15000 hours
Salinity range: 3000-4000 ppm
✅ Has a cell failed indicator;
✅ The cell is self-cleaning.
Winner in the category
The best at the fight against algae
Solaxx CLG10A Saltron Retro Self Cleaning Salt Chlorine Generator
Power: 0.4 lbs/day
Item weight: 2 pounds
Capacity: up to 20000 gal.
Lifespan: Not stated
Salinity range: 3000-4000 ppm
✅ Can be used for above ground and in-ground pools;
✅ Does not require plumbing.
Winner in the category
The most durable model
Pentair IntelliChlor IC40 Salt Chlorine Generator Cell
Power: 1.4 lbs/day
Item weight: 8 pounds
Capacity: up to 40000 gal.
Lifespan: Not stated
Salinity range: 2800-4500 ppm
✅ Includes a cell-life tracking which communicates remaining hours of cell life in real-time;
✅ Has an automatic shut-off feature.
Winner in the category
The best salt level indicator technology
ControlOMatic ChlorMaker Salt Water Hot Tub and Spa Chlorine Generator
Power: 0.07 lbs/day
Item weight: 2.31 pounds
Capacity: up to 1000 gal.
Lifespan: 7000 hours
Salinity range: 2000 ppm
✅ Has an easy-to-use control box;
✅ Does not require the spa to be turned on.
Winner in the category
The best at keeping water clean
Circupool Universal40 salt water
Chlorinator
Power: 2.1 lbs/day
Item weight: 24.8 pounds
Capacity: up to 40000 gal.
Lifespan: 10000 hours
Salinity range: 3000-4500 ppm
✅ Has a 4-year warranty;
✅ Does not require professional installation.

We did not include the Saltron Mini Salt System Drop-In salt water Chlorine Generator for Hot Tubs & Swim Spas. This model is not as modern as we would have liked for it to be a part of this article, although it has some advantages. If you want to know more about it, you can read a full review of this model on our site.

How did we choose?

  • First of all, we found 54 salt chlorine generator models with the best ratings.
  • Then we selected 10 models for a detailed review (excluded outdated or models with a small number of reviews). 
  • After that, we analyzed more than 100 customer reviews.

This method allowed us to highlight the most valuable features of salt chlorine generators. As a result, we were able to choose the best 5 models on the market. You can see our calculation process below.

ByRossi® analysis methodology

Factors to consider when choosing a salt chlorine generator

  1. During our research, we discovered that the most important criterion is the chlorine level. A salt chlorine generator should reach the right chlorine level as soon as possible for a certain water volume. Also, it should be easy to maintain this level.

    In our list, the Circupool Universal40 salt water Chlorinator (review) is one of the fastest in cleaning the water. Once the water in your hot tub or pool gets enough salt, the generator will keep it stable. The BLUE WORKS Pool Chlorine Generator Chlorinator BLH40 (review) is also good at producing the right chlorine level but the water is not soft as with the Circupool Universal40 salt water Chlorinator (review).
  1. Pay attention to the number of chemicals that you will need to use. The main idea of the salt water system is to decrease the number of chemicals and to make the process of maintaining your hot tub or swimming pool easier. 

    You hardly need additional chemicals while using the Solaxx CLG10A Saltron Retro Self Cleaning Salt Chlorine Generator (review). You will also like the ControlOMatic ChlorMaker Salt Water Hot Tub and Spa Chlorine Generator (review) but notice that it is suitable only for hot tubs.

    The next important criterion is durability. Once the buyer invests in the salt chlorine system, he or she should expect to use it for at least 3 seasons. Of course, proper care plays is vital for the generator’s life and it is important to follow instructions.

    The Pentair IntelliChlor IC40 Salt Chlorine Generator Cell (review) proved itself as the most durable model. You can be sure that with proper care, it will serve you more than 3 years. The Circupool Universal40 salt water Chlorinator (review) is also a durable model but be ready to replace cells more often than in the previous model.
  1. Last but not least is a warranty. Note that some manufacturers do not give a guarantee if the generator was installed by the customer. Ask about this before buying.

    The Circupool Universal40 salt water Chlorinator (review) has a 4-year warranty and does not require professional installation. This means that you can install it and still have this warranty. Other models in our list also have a warranty but not for a long period. 

Additional factors to pay attention to

  • No cell problems — the cell is the part where the salt converts into chlorine, the less you need to change it, the better.
  • Keeping it clean — not spending too much time on it.
  • Correct data display — to be sure that you have the right salt concentration.
  • The simplicity of the installation — it does not matter whether you install a new system or change your previous one, the installation process should be easy.
  • Clear instructions — will help you during the installation.
  • Customer service — client-oriented and quick response.

Based on these factors, we have chosen the best salt chlorine generators which you can find below.

A detailed review of each model

BLUE WORKS Pool Chlorine Generator Chlorinator BLH40 — the best flow sensor

Category winner:
The best flow sensor

Power:
Item weight:
Capacity:
Lifespan:
Salinity range:
2.1 lbs/day
20 pounds
up to 40000 gal.
10000-15000 hours
3000-4000 ppm
Benefits:✅ Has a cell failed indicator;
✅ The cell is self-cleaning.

Pros: 

⛔️ Cons:

The BLUE WORKS Pool Chlorine Generator Chlorinator BLH40 is ideal for those who want to regulate the water flow. This model has a water flow detector that has clear marks for flow directions. If the water flow is too high or too low, the system will shut the flow to prevent damages. Also, this model has a cell failed indicator which will inform you if something is wrong in the cell. It is also compatible with plumbing and chlorine generation systems like Hayward Goldline AquaRite, SwimPure, AquaRite XL, NatureSoft, SmartPure, Mineral Springs, and Blue Essence.

Like the Circupool Universal40 salt water Chlorinator (review), the BLUE WORKS Pool Chlorine Generator Chlorinator BLH40 also has LED indicators, so you can easily see the readings. The difference is that the BLUE WORKS Pool Chlorine Generator Chlorinator BLH40 has a digital screen while the Circupool Universal40 salt water Chlorinator (review) has an LCD one that offers a dimmer picture. 

In regards to the warranty, there is also a difference between these models. The BLUE WORKS Pool Chlorine Generator Chlorinator BLH40 has a 2-year warranty that is less than the previous model but 2 times more than the Solaxx CLG10A Saltron Retro Self Cleaning Salt Chlorine Generator (review).

Solaxx CLG10A Saltron Retro Self Cleaning Salt Chlorine Generator — the best at the fight against algae

Category winner:
The best at the fight against algae

Power:
Item weight:
Capacity:
Lifespan:
Salinity range:
0.4 lbs/day
2 pounds
up to 20000 gal.
Not stated
3000-4000 ppm
Benefits:✅ Can be used for above ground and in-ground pools;
✅ Does not require plumbing.

Pros: 

  • Does not need additional chemicals
  • No more algae
  • Does not require plumbing
  • Has a programmable timer

⛔️ Cons:

  • Has the shortest warranty (1 year)
  • In some states (e.g. North Carolina) the cell life can be compromised because of the wet climate

If you struggle with algae problems every summer, then the Solaxx CLG10A Saltron Retro Self Cleaning Salt Chlorine Generator is the best choice for you, as it maintains the perfect chlorine level. Its chlorine output power is not as powerful as in the two previous models, however, it does not need to be so powerful since it is intended for water capacity half as much as in the Circupool Universal40 salt water Chlorinator (review) and the BLUE WORKS Pool Chlorine Generator Chlorinator BLH40 (review). Also, this model has a programmable digital timer. It is useful, as you can adjust the turning on/off time and go about your day.

Another advantage is that you hardly need additional chemicals. This salt chlorine generator is efficient. It is because the Solaxx CLG10A Saltron Retro Self Cleaning Salt Chlorine Generator needs salt for a 20000 gallons capacity as much as the BLUE WORKS Pool Chlorine Generator Chlorinator BLH40 (review) needs for 40000 gallons. Thanks to this aspect, you will get more chlorine by adding less salt than in other models and the water in your hot tub or pool will be clean the whole season. 

Pentair IntelliChlor IC40 Salt Chlorine Generator Cell — the most durable mode

Category winner:
The most durable model

Power:
Item weight:
Capacity:
Lifespan:
Salinity range:
1.4 lbs/day
8 pounds
up to 40000 gal.
Not stated
2800-4500 ppm
Benefits:✅ Includes a cell-life tracking which communicates remaining hours of cell life in real-time;
✅ Has an automatic shut-off feature.

Pros: 

  • Tracks the remaining hours of cell life in real-time
  • Has the largest salinity range (2800-4500 ppm)
  • Easy-to-view displays on the top of the generator
  • Has an automatic shut-off feature

⛔️ Cons:

With the Pentair IntelliChlor IC40 Salt Chlorine Generator Cell, you will be sure that your investment will pay off. You will use it at least for 3 seasons. The Circupool Universal40 salt water Chlorinator (review) is also a durable model but be ready to replace the cells more often. To get maximum durability, clean the cell every 3 months, which is, by the way, very easy as the manufacturer has added a lot of features to prolong the cell life. First of all, it is the only generator that has a real-time tracker to tell you how much time the cell will work depending on environmental conditions. It also has an automatic shut-off feature that will work if the water temperature is low for a long period. To maximize cell life, it also has an on-time cycling feature that prevents the buildup of calcium and scale. 

We have recommended the ControlOMatic ChlorMaker Salt Water Hot Tub and Spa Chlorine Generator (review) as the best generator for controlling the salt concentration. The Pentair IntelliChlor IC40 Salt Chlorine Generator Cell does not have a vacation mode or high current shutdown but it checks not only the salt level but also the cleanliness, sanitizer output, and water flow. You can see all these readings on the two-color status displays. Remember that you need to buy the power system separately. It may be inconvenient but it’s a good investment for your free time and relaxation.

ControlOMatic ChlorMaker Salt Water Hot Tub and Spa Chlorine Generator — the best salt level indicator technology 

Category winner:
The best salt level indicator technology

Power:
Item weight:
Capacity:
Lifespan:
Salinity range:
0.07 lbs/day
2.31 pounds
up to 1000 gal.
7000 hours
2000 ppm
Benefits:✅ Has an easy-to-use control box;
✅ Does not require the spa to be turned on.

Pros: 

⛔️ Cons:

  • Can be used only for hot tubs/spas, click here for more powerful models from this manufacturer
  • The smallest daily chlorine generation

With the ControlOMatic ChlorMaker Salt Water Hot Tub and Spa Chlorine Generator, you will be sure whether the amount of salt that you use is enough or not. This salt chlorine generator has the best salt level indicator technology. There is one specific feature — a vacation mode. When the generator is inactive for 2 weeks, it will reduce the chlorine output. The water still will be clean but the usage of salt will be reduced. One more advantage is the high current shutdown feature. It will come into action if you accidentally put in more salt than you should. The idea is to protect the power supply and titanium plates from the high salinity. 

As in all models, it shows low, normal, and high salt levels. Thanks to this, you will know when you need to add salt. There is also an automatic cleaning feature like in the BLUE WORKS Pool Chlorine Generator Chlorinator BLH40 (review). The generator reverses from time to time polarity for this. If you need, you can easily take out the cell and clean or replace it. 

The only disadvantage of the ControlOMatic ChlorMaker Salt Water Hot Tub and Spa Chlorine Generator is that it is less powerful than other models on our list. But this is because it can be used only with hot tubs or spas which have up to 1000 gallons capacity. 

Circupool Universal40 salt water Chlorinator — the best at keeping the water clean

Category winner:
The best at keeping the water clean

Power:
Item weight:
Capacity:
Lifespan:
Salinity range:
2.1 lbs/day
24.8 pounds
up to 40000 gal.
10000 hours
3000-4500 ppm
Benefits:✅ Has a 4-year warranty;
✅ Does not require professional installation.

Pros: 

⛔️ Cons: 

  • Does not have a winter mode
  • Reads the salt level a little bit higher than that identified with salt water test-strips 

The Circupool Universal40 salt water Chlorinator has the most powerful chlorine output (2.1 lbs/day) that keeps the water in your hot tub or pool clean and soft (free from calcium, iron, and magnesium). The BLUE WORKS Pool Chlorine Generator Chlorinator BLH40 (review) has the same output but users claim that the water is not as soft. Also, this model works with a wide salinity range (3000-4500 ppm). This means that this range will provide you with the cleanest water. When the salt concentration is lower or higher than required, you need to change the amount of salt in the water. You can use salt water test strips to be sure that your generator shows the correct readings.

One more advantage of this model is the installation process. It is so easy that you can do it on your own. The Circupool Universal40 salt water Chlorinator is easily compatible with any size Hayward, Goldline, and Aqua Rite plumbing. It will take you around 2 hours to remove your old system and install this one. Self-installation does not affect the warranty for Circupool and that is why you will be able to receive a 4-year warranty should you need it. 

How does it work?

Let us begin with the basics of the salt chlorine generator to understand how it works. So, every generator has:

  • The cell — the part where the salt converts into chlorine to clean the water.
  • Control panel or board — its purpose is to provide and control the amount of provided electricity to the cell. Also, it can be designed to control the salt level, cell cleanliness, sanitizer output, and water flow like in the Pentair IntelliChlor IC40 Salt Chlorine Generator Cell (review).

There are also additional features that will make your experience more user-friendly.

Now we can discuss how the salt chlorine generator works. Note that all chlorine generators operate in a cycling manner. First, you add the required amount of salt depending on the information in the manual. Then, you need to turn on the pump (or the timer will do it). The salt water gets to the cell, where it will be separated into sodium and chloride and turned into chlorine gas with the help of a low-voltage current. After that, the chlorine gas rids the water from algae, bacteria, and dirt. And the final step is the conversion of the chlorine gas to chloride in the chlorinator. This chloride combines with the sodium to result in salt. This is how the cycle works.

The process of separation of chlorine from the sodium to sanitize the hot tub
The process of separation of chlorine from the sodium to sanitize the hot tub

Pros and cons of using salt chlorine generators

There are some advantages and disadvantages of using salt chlorine generators instead of typical sanitizers like chlorine and bromine. We highlighted them below:

Pros:

  • You will need fewer chemicals. Our research showed that you would need four times fewer chemicals for salt water rather than for chlorine or bromine water. The full list of chemicals for salt chlorine generators is here.
  • Reduction of skin and eye irritation as chlorine is released steadily in the water with the chlorine generator and is better than adding chlorine directly to the pool or hot tub. That is why salt water is more suitable for those who have sensitive skin.
  • Less chlorine smell as chlorine here is produced from odorless natural chlorine molecules. Unlike traditional sanitizer, chlorine is chemically extracted and has a specific smell.
  • Saving your time and strength as hot tubs and pools with salt water require less cleaning and maintenance.

⛔️ Cons:

  • The possibility of corrosion if the salt level is higher than the operational range.
  • Expensive replacement of the cell in a salt chlorine generator. The cell lifetime may vary and depends on many external factors but roughly it will last around 18 months. Then you need to replace it, which will cost around $200 (11$/month).

If you want to use a salt water hot tub, you can read its advantages and disadvantages in our article.

How to convert your hot tub to a salt water tub

There are 5 steps to convert your hot tub to a salt water one.

  1. First of all, you need to decide whether you want to convert it with the help of chlorine or bromine generators. Usually, chlorine generators are cheaper and more popular.
  1. The next step is to decide which type of construction you prefer to use: drop-in or in-line. With a drop-in system, you need to put the device into the water and it will work. The Solaxx CLG10A Saltron Retro Self Cleaning Salt Chlorine Generator (review) and the ControlOMatic ChlorMaker Salt Water Hot Tub and Spa Chlorine Generator (review) are examples of a drop-in system.

    An in-line system means that you attach the cell to the hot tub’s plumbing. This system has no visible wires. All other models in our list are in-line.
  1. The third step is to buy everything that is needed: a salt chlorine system, chemicals, a hose with a filter, and a GFCI electrical outlet with a cover.
  1. Prepare your hot tub: clean it, refill and check its chemistry.
  1. The final step: install the salt water system.

You can read a more detailed description of each step in our article.

Chemicals for the best experience 

We have mentioned the importance of chemicals while using salt chlorine generators a few times. So, here is the list of them:

Salt and Salt Water Test-Strips

AQUASALT Aquasalt-40 Swimming Pool and Spa Chlorine Generator Salt

You can use only NaCl salt with a purity of at least 99%. Remember that it is easier to raise the salt concentration than reduce it. That is why for the first time we recommend using 75% of the recommended amount of salt and then test the water.

AquaChek 561140A Salt Water Swimming Pool Test Strips


Salt test strips are one of the easiest and fastest ways to check the salt level in your hot tub or pool. Using them, you can check whether your salt chlorine generator shows accurate readings.

pH Decreaser and pH Increaser

Essential Values PH Increaser

Use when pH is less than 7.2
✅ Raises pH level;
✅ Increases effectiveness of sanitizer;
✅ Prevents corrosion of metal parts (such as a heater, pump);

Leisure Time 22338A Spa Down Balancer

Use when pH is over 7.8
✅ Lowers the pH and total alkalinity;
✅ Increases effectiveness of sanitizer;
✅ Prevents scale formation;

Alkalinity Increaser

Leisure Time ALK Alkalinity Increaser Balancer

Total Alkalinity (TA) and pH levels are interrelated. Without proper TA, you cannot adjust the right pH level. Low alkalinity (80 ppm) causes corrosion of metal parts and that is why you need to use a TA increaser. There is no TA decreaser but you should use a pH decreaser instead. A too high TA (150 ppm) level will cause cloudy water and make chlorine less effective in dealing with bacteria.

Chlorine Shock and Filter Cleaner

Clorox Pool&Spa 33512CLX Pool Shock XtraBlue

Chlorine shock is a quick solution. It kills algae and all bacteria. The water will be ready for swimming in 15 minutes.

Pool Filter Cleaner (32oz, 2 Uses), Spa Filter Cleaner

You need to clean the filter monthly to prolong its lifespan. This filter cleaner is suitable for both hot tubs and pools.

Summary

A salt chlorine generator is a good alternative for those who want to spend less time maintaining their hot tub or pool, and it will save the lifespan of the hot tub. It is gentle on your skin, which is suitable for those people who are allergic to chlorine. 

Before investing in a salt chlorine generator, pay attention to the generated chlorine level, the durability of the generator, and whether it has a warranty. Other factors to consider include the simplicity of the installation, clear instructions, customer service, no cell problems, the simplicity of keeping it clean, less use of chemicals, and a correct data display. Below you can see our choice of top-5 salt chlorine generators.

BLUE WORKS Pool Chlorine Generator Chlorinator BLH40Winner in the category
The best flow sensor
Solaxx CLG10A Saltron Retro Self Cleaning Salt Chlorine GeneratorWinner in the category
The best at the fight against algae
Pentair IntelliChlor IC40 Salt Chlorine Generator CellWinner in the category
The most durable model
ControlOMatic ChlorMaker Salt Water Hot Tub and Spa Chlorine GeneratorWinner in the category
The best salt level indicator technology
Circupool Universal40 salt water ChlorinatorWinner in the category
The best at keeping water clean

FAQs

📏What size of a salt chlorine generator do I need?

It depends on your hot tub or swimming pool size. Most users prefer to choose a generator with a maximum capacity of 1.5-2 times higher than the actual pool or hot tub size.

🥇What are the best salt chlorine generators on the market?

The best salt chlorine generators in 2021 are:

⌛How long do salt chlorinators last?

Usually, a salt chlorine generator lasts at least 3 years. With proper care, you can prolong its life up to 7 years.

🤔Do I need a salt chlorine generator?

There are some pros and cons of the salt water system. You will use fewer chemicals, it is gentle on your skin and eyes. But there is a possibility of corrosion and the cells are expensive to replace. You can read more pros and cons in our article.

🧼How often do I need to clean a salt cell?

The cell of a salt chlorine generator should be cleaned at least twice a year. Some models such as the Pentair IntelliChlor IC40 Salt Chlorine Generator Cell require cleaning every 3 months.

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