The typical price range for installing a saltwater pool is approximately $25,375 to $64,060, with a national average of $37,315. Small scale projects will cost homeowners $12,515 on average, while larger pools with expensive surface materials could cost up to $100,000. If you want to convert your existing pool into a saltwater pool, expect to pay anywhere between $500 and $2,110.
Whenever we think of a conventional swimming pool, the smell of chlorine and other pool chemicals come to mind. Saltwater pools let homeowners think twice before investing in either type, with low levels of chlorine and affordable maintenance costs playing significant roles in the decision-making process.
Read more about:
- Average Costs
- What Is a Saltwater Pool?
- Cost Estimator by Size
- Other Factors That Affect Cost
- Related Services
- Pro Cost vs DIY Cost
- Cost by Location
- FAQ About Saltwater Pools
Average Saltwater Pool Installation Cost in 2023
|National Average Cost||$37,315|
|Typical Price Range||$25,375 – $64,060|
|Extreme Low-End Cost||$12,515|
|Extreme High-End Cost||$121,830|
The average costs in the table above are based on the swimming pool’s size, surface material, salt chlorine generator, and other cost determining factors. Outside the typical price range of $25,375 to $64,060, small projects such as an above-ground fiberglass saltwater pool can cost about $12,515. If homeowners wish to install a 20×40 inground concrete saltwater pool, they can expect to pay near the high-end cost of $121,830.
You can pay closer to the low-end cost by:
- Installing the pool under direct sunlight to reduce pool heating costs
- Select affordable surface materials such as vinyl and fiberglass
- Above-ground installation rather than below-ground
- Opting for small sized pools
- Avoiding extras and add-ons
Installing large in-ground pools with expensive surface materials and equipment are all factors that could bring the total cost of the saltwater pool closer to the high-end.
What Is a Saltwater Pool?
Salt (sodium chloride) and the salt chlorine generator are what distinguishes this type of pool from the conventional chlorine pool that requires additional chemicals to maintain.
Here is a summary of the salt chlorine generator’s function:
- Salt is added directly to the swimming pool
- Pool water gets drawn into the generator
- Water passes through the salt cell
- Process of electrolysis takes place (splits salt molecules)
- Water that leaves the generator is chlorinated
It is important to maintain chlorine levels in pool water to ensure sanitary swimming conditions.
Below are some pros and cons of saltwater pools:
|✓ The water feels smoother and softer||✗ Regular replacement of salt-chlorinator electrode cell|
|✓ Gentle on the skin, hair, eyes, and swimwear||✗ Bulk salt can be heavy and hard to store|
|✓ Salt is easier to purchase and safer to store on your property||✗ Regular cleaning of salt cell required|
|✓ Low or no chlorine smell||✗ High cost of chlorine generator|
|✓ Better for the environment; less gas emitted than conventional pools with chloramines||✗ Requires expert technicians to repair, especially the generator|
|✓ Salt is more affordable than traditional pool chemicals||✗ Corrodes metal objects found in pools such as heaters and ladders|
Saltwater Pool Installation Cost by Size
The size of the swimming pool can play a major role in the total cost of saltwater pool installation. Large pools require more materials, so naturally the price will go up. Other key points to consider are the number of potential swimmers, empty yard space, expected maintenance costs, and purpose of installation (swimming laps, fun).
With pool sizes starting from 10 feet by 16 feet all the way up to 20 feet by 60 feet, the homeowner’s desire to install a small, medium, or large pool can affect the recommended size options. It is also important to note that most homeowners prefer to install an in-ground saltwater pool rather than an above-ground pool. The table below shows the average overall costs for three common pool sizes:
|Project Size||Average Overall Cost|
|10’ x 16’ (small size)||$15,250 – $25,500|
|12’ x 24’ (medium size)||$24,330 – $40,780|
|20’ x 40’ (large size)||$68,300 – $103,065|
Other Factors That Affect Cost
We have seen how the size of your pool can take the overall cost from $15,250 all the way to $103,065. However, there are several other factors that determine the cost of this type of pool. They include the conversion cost from chlorine pool to saltwater, surface material cost, equipment cost, and heating cost.
- Type of Pool
- Conversion From Chlorine Pool to Saltwater
- Surface Material
- Pool Salt
- Water Delivery Cost
- Pool Equipment Costs
- Additional Considerations
Type of Pool
When it comes to swimming pools, most homeowners prefer in-ground installation. In-ground pools are aesthetically pleasing, long-lasting, and safer for people with limited swimming experience. They can also add resale value to your home, whereas above-ground pools offer almost none.
But for those on tight budgets who are not seeking a long-term investment, above-ground pools are less expensive and easier to install.
|Above-ground pool||$3,620 – $15,500|
|In-ground pool||$32,900 – $63,100|
Ground preparation could sometimes be necessary to install an in-ground pool. Apart from getting a large hole dug, preparation may also require some plumbing and electrical work. On average, ground preparation will cost homeowners an additional $20,000.
Conversion From Chlorine Pool to Saltwater Pool
With many benefits attributed to saltwater pools, it comes as no surprise that many homeowners are looking to convert their existing pool into a saltwater pool. The conversion process is not a difficult one, and draining the pool is not required. The saltwater system essentially relies on pool salt and the salt chlorine generator.
Converting a traditional chlorine pool to a saltwater pool typically costs between $500 and $2,110.
There are several types of surface materials you can choose for your saltwater pool such as vinyl and concrete. Each material can affect the overall installation cost, expected maintenance costs, and pool’s longevity.
|Surface Material||Average Cost|
|Fiberglass||$12,285 – $29,715|
|Vinyl||$26,430 – $65,005|
|Concrete||$47,785 – $100,000|
|Shotcrete||$50,000 – $100,000|
|Gunite||$50,000 – $120,000|
This material is non-porous, making it the most popular choice for saltwater pools. Starting at $12,285, fiberglass pools are the least expensive option for those on a tight budget. Additionally, fiberglass can be installed rather quickly.
- Resists algae
- Best option for saltwater pools
- Compatible with salt chlorine generator
- Low maintenance costs
- Few customization options
- Slippery pool bottom
- High cost of transport
This material is among the most durable and easiest to deliver to your home. It is fairly priced compared to other materials, but is not the best option for saltwater pools.
- Take less time to install than concrete
- Pre-made vinyl liners available to purchase
- Very durable
- Easy to deliver
- Saltwater might corrode metal frame
- Liners require regular replacement
- Rips in the liner can cause further damage
With prices starting at $47,785, we are no longer in the budget-friendly category. However, concrete pools are a worthy investment for homeowners looking to increase their home’s resale value. As for appearance, concrete can be customized to give your pool a unique look.
- Easy to customize
- Most versatile
- Aesthetically pleasing
- Can raise your home’s value
- Takes long to build
- Not as long-lasting as other materials
- Rough on the feet
- More chemicals required to reduce pH levels
With a price range of $50,000 to $100,000, we can see why this material is not very popular among homeowners. Shotcrete installation could sometimes take weeks, costing you both time and money.
- Wide variety of design options
- Fast installation
- Very rough surface
- Coating required every 7 to 10 years
- Prone to cracks
Another expensive option, but is considered to be more durable than concrete. Some regard this material as a long-term investment to increase the pool’s value.
- Aesthetically pleasing
- Lasts longer than concrete
- Highly expensive
- Very rough on the feet
Unsurprisingly, one has to consider the amount of salt required to obtain the required salinity level for saltwater pools. The amount of salt needed depends on how many gallons of water your pool requires.
|Gallons of Water||Pounds of Salt|
|Pounds of Salt||Estimated Costs|
|213||$70 – $150|
|267||$85 – $175|
|320||$100 – $200|
|373||$120 – $250|
|427||$135 – $275|
|533||$140 – $350|
The average price of a 40 pound salt bag is $11. With additional bags of salt required to maintain salinity levels, homeowners should expect to pay between $100 and $400 annually.
Water Delivery Cost
Simply put, you can’t have a swimming pool without water. It is quite an obvious statement, but having water delivered to your home is a necessary expense once the saltwater pool is built. The price range varies with how many gallons of water your saltwater pool requires.
A water truck can supply about 9,000 gallons of water, so having one delivered to your home costs between $175 and $380. It will cost you anywhere from $525 to $1,800 for 15,000 to 30,000 gallons of water.
Pool Equipment Cost
The filter is arguably the most important of all three, as it captures debris and prevents bacteria from spreading. There are three types of filters most commonly used in swimming pools: cartridge filter, sand filter, and DE (diatomaceous earth) filter.
|Filter Type||Average Cost|
|Cartridge||$8 – $75|
|Sand||$150 – $500|
|Diatomaceous earth (DE)||$600 – $700|
Pumps also play a key role in keeping your saltwater pool sanitary, they push water through the filter and salt chlorine generator to help each with their respective roles. On average, a pool pump costs between $345 and $1,005.
Finally, the heater can extend the swimming season by providing warm water to enjoy with your family and friends. Depending on your budget, there are several types of pool heaters to choose from:
|Heater Type||Average Cost|
|Electric Pump||$1,400 – $5,600|
|Gas||$1,700 – $4,900|
|Heat Pump||$2,250 – $5,875|
|Solar||$2,700 – $6,400|
If you have not exceeded your budget for a new pool installation, you can ask for these upgrades to get the most out of your pool and its surrounding space. These add-ons include waterfalls, pool covers, and retaining walls.
|Waterfall||$550 – $11,000|
|Diving Board||$366 – $5,000|
|Pool Cover||$392 – $2,400|
|Enclosure||$6,333 – $19,666|
|Retaining Wall||$4,000 – $8,000|
|Fence||$1,700 – $8,133|
Unlike other outdoor installations, saltwater pools will lead to a rise in energy prices. Pool owners will see an annual increase of about $300 on electricity, while the monthly water bill will cost between $60 and $120 more.
After installing your saltwater pool, you may be interested in other services, such as pool maintenance, building a pool deck, or building a pool house. Let’s take a closer look at those prices below.
In the long run, saltwater pools will cost less to maintain than chlorine pools. They require less chemicals and testing than chlorine pools, but include replacing salt cells that suffer from calcium build-up. Generally, a salt cell would need replacement every 5 to 7 years.
|Annual Professional Maintenance (not recommended to DIY)||$920 – $1,625|
|Salt Cell Replacement||$275 – $750|
If you wish for a more aesthetically pleasing outdoor space, building a pool deck is one way to go. It will provide you with extra space to dry off, add pool chairs, entertain guests, and relax under the sun!
Above-ground pool decks cost between $15 to $30 per square foot. As for in-ground pool decks, most homeowners spend between $3,600 and $15,733 depending on the deck’s size and material.
Adding a pool house will certainly increase the value and overall appeal of your property. Some advantages of having a pool house include:
- Store towels, lounge chairs, and maintenance equipment
- Space to change into swimwear
- Easier to throw pool parties
Adding a pool house will cost homeowners between $100 and $600 per square foot.
Pro Cost vs. DIY Cost
Installing an in-ground pool is not considered a DIY project. It is a detail-oriented process that requires heavy machinery and experienced professionals. You may harm yourself and damage your property by performing tasks that should be left for plumbers or electricians.
However, installing an above-ground pool is not as dangerous or complex. You can find DIY kits with easy-to-follow instructions that do not require the skills of a professional. An above-ground pool kit typically costs between $1,463 and $6,150, though cheaper options are available for less than $100.
Cost of Saltwater Pool Installation Across the U.S.
All the costs listed in this pricing guide are national averages. Pool installation in urban areas is usually more expensive due to higher material and labor costs. Living in a hilly area would also raise the overall cost of installation, mainly due to ground preparation.
FAQ About Saltwater Pools
In-ground saltwater pools can increase a home’s value, sometimes by as much as 7%. But there are several factors to consider. The region in which you live is arguably the most crucial, because warm climates such as Texas and Florida allow for a longer swimming season. The pool’s style, condition, and age are other factors that determine the resale value.
Pools do not cause swimmer’s itch because the parasitic larvae that trigger the allergic reaction are found in shallow areas of lakes, ponds, and rivers. In general, saltwater pools do not harm the body, and studies have shown they can help with skin disorders such as eczema.
The simple answer is yes. Dogs are known to occasionally drink out of the pool, so it is safe to assume that they do so while swimming. However, this should not be a major concern as long as your dog has another main source of fresh drinking water. If properly maintained, salinity levels in saltwater pools are so low that even we may not be able to taste the salt, so the occasional drink will not cause harm to your dog.
Salt levels in oceans are at 35,000 ppm (parts per million), ten times more than that of saltwater pools. If properly maintained, saltwater pools have an average salinity of 3,000 ppm.
While chlorine pools remain popular, more homeowners seem to be switching to saltwater pools. In-ground pools with costly surface materials may be quite expensive, but many homeowners would see it as a long-term investment to add to their home’s resale value. For a healthier swimming experience, saltwater pools lack additional pool chemicals and are gentler on the skin. With an average cost of $37,315, saltwater pool systems are a great addition to your outdoor space, allowing you to have fun and spend more time with family and friends.
Worried your new backyard will attract unwanted insects and crawlers? Call up a local lawn care professional to clear off any invaders and maintain your brand new pool area.
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