Salt Water Pool Cost Guide: Labor, Installation, and More

D.P. Taylor
Written by D.P. Taylor
Updated May 4, 2022
A modern villa with a saltwater pool and magnificent view
Photo: piovesempre / iStock / Getty Images Plus / Getty Images

Highlights

  • It costs an average of $25,000 to install a saltwater pool, with a typical range of $12,000 to $38,500.

  • You may only have to pay $500 to $2,500 if you already have a pool and want to convert it.

  • The four main costs are pool installation, the saltwater chlorination system, the pool heater, and filling it with water.

  • You can save money doing the work yourself, but we don’t recommend it.

  • Save money by reducing the pool's size and go with a more common shape, like a rectangle.

Get quotes from up to 3 pros!
Enter a zip below and get matched to top-rated pros near you.

Most swimming pools you're familiar with use chlorine to keep out the germs, but there's been a growing trend toward saltwater pools lately. Not only do they also keep out harmful bacteria, but they're not as harsh on human skin, eyes, and hair.

Expect to pay an average of $25,000 (typical range of $12,000 to $38,500) to install a new saltwater pool, which is only slightly more than a chlorine pool. However, it may cost you as little as $500 to $2,500 if you already have a pool and want to convert it to a saltwater pool—which should make you less salty about the steep price tag to install a saltwater pool.

Minimum CostNational Average CostMaximum Cost
$500$25,000$67,000

How Much Does It Cost for a Saltwater Pool?

TypeCost
Converting a Chlorine Pool$500 – $2,500
Installing a New Pool$12,000 – $67,000

Converting a Chlorine Pool 

In this situation, you’d only have to spend $500 to $2,500 on installing a saltwater chlorination system for the pool. Since the lion’s share of the cost of installing a saltwater pool comes down to the actual installation of a pool and not the water that’s in it, you can save a lot of money by simply converting a chlorine pool into a saltwater pool. 

Installing a New Pool 

Installing a brand new pool will be a lot more expensive since you’ll have to hire contractors to dig the space for the pool and then build it. As a result, the average cost of installing a saltwater pool ($25,000) is only slightly more expensive than the average cost to install a chlorine pool ($23,000).

Salt Water Pool Cost Breakdown

A pool next to green grass and trees in the backyard of a house
Photo: KatarzynaBialasiewicz / iStock / Getty Images Plus / Getty Images

There are four main costs associated with installing a saltwater pool: the installation of the pool, the cost of a saltwater chlorination system, the cost of a pool heater, and the cost to fill the swimming pool with water.

Saltwater Pool Installation

This is the biggest cost, ranging from $12,000 to $38,500. This includes excavating a hole for the pool, constructing the pool, and filling it with saltwater.

Saltwater Chlorination System

You will pay between $500 and $2,500 for a saltwater chlorination system, with the cost largely determined by how big your pool is.

Pool Heater

Expect to pay $1,600 to $3,800 for a pool heater, and you'll also need to spend another $70 for a corrosion-resistant check valve for your saltwater system.

Filling the Pool With Water

The cost to fill a swimming pool with water is anywhere between $60 and $1,250, depending on the size of the pool.

Cost to Install a Saltwater Pool Yourself

It costs $300 to $500 for labor to install a saltwater chlorination system, so that's how much you could save if you decided to do the job yourself. However, it's a more difficult job than you think: you have to access the guts of your system, cut through pipes, and go through a complicated installation process. Unless you have experience, it's probably not worth saving a few hundred bucks.

If you're talking about installing a whole new pool, it's an even worse idea to DIY it. Even if you had the experience and the equipment for the job, it is not a one-person project. Still, if you're curious, a good rule of thumb is that labor will take up about half the cost of building a pool. Instead, contact a pool installation professional near you and ask for a quote. The project may cost less than you think.

Tips to Reduce the Cost of Installing a Saltwater Swimming Pool

If you're really set on getting a swimming pool but balk at the huge cost of installing a brand new pool, you can go for a less expensive above-ground pool instead. A saltwater chlorination system can be installed on these as well.

You can also save money by being willing to scale down the size of the pool until it fits within your budget. Or, if a custom-shaped pool is driving up the cost, you can go for a more standard-shaped rectangular pool.

Another option is to opt for a vinyl pool rather than fiberglass or concrete, which tends to be more expensive. You may have to replace it earlier, but it should still last for years.

Finally, think about foregoing some of the features you were thinking of adding along with the pool. Maybe install a spa at a later date, or scale down your landscaping plans.

Salt Water Swimming Pool Installation Questions and Answers

Is a saltwater pool more expensive than other pools?

Yes, saltwater pools are more expensive than chlorine-based pools because they are a more complex system. Also, if you need to repair them, it's harder to find a contractor with experience with saltwater pools.

Is it cheaper to run a saltwater pool?

No, it takes more electricity to run a saltwater pool. However, the difference is fairly minor. It may only cost you an extra $50 over the course of a year.

Are saltwater pools worth it?

While saltwater pools are slightly more expensive to install and run, they offer a better experience in terms of less irritation to the skin, eyes, and even hair. As a result, you may think the extra expense is worth it.

What are the disadvantages of saltwater pools?

Besides the slightly higher cost, you need to store a lot of salt, and it's harder to find a professional with saltwater pool experience to do maintenance and repairs.

Need professional help with your project?
Get quotes from top-rated pros.