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Are Saltwater Hot Tubs Better?

Updated: Sep 16, 2023

Hot tubs have been a popular choice for relaxation and rejuvenation for many years. They provide a soothing environment to unwind, relieve stress, and even alleviate muscle pain. Traditionally, hot tub water is treated with chlorine or bromine to maintain cleanliness and prevent the growth of bacteria. However, in recent years, saltwater hot tubs have gained popularity due to many factors including saltwater pools being promoted within real estate ads. But is a saltwater hot tub better? Before we begin, there are two main consumer misconceptions that must be addressed. The first is that salt in a saltwater hot tub is the disinfectant when it is not. It is used to generate chlorine. Secondly, many customers believe that they will experience water like on vacation in the Caribbean or Mediterranean Sea. Saltwater oceans contain about 35,000 parts per million of salt, whereas saltwater hot tubs contain between 2500 and 3500 parts per million so there is little comparison. In this blog post, we will explore the benefits and drawbacks of saltwater hot tubs to help you decide which option is best for your needs.


Health Benefits of Saltwater Hot Tubs

One of the main reasons people consider saltwater hot tubs is because of the perceived health benefits they offer. Saltwater contains minerals like magnesium, potassium, and calcium that can be absorbed through the skin during a soak. These minerals are reported to help improve circulation, soothe sore muscles, and promote relaxation. In addition to these mineral benefits, saltwater hot tubs also tend to be gentler on the skin and eyes compared to their chlorine/bromine counterparts. This is because saltwater systems use a process called electrolysis to convert salt into chlorine at lower levels than those found in traditional hot tubs. As a result, people with sensitive skin or allergies may find that they can enjoy a soak in a saltwater hot tub while experiencing less irritation or discomfort.


Maintenance Differences Between Saltwater & Traditional Hot Tubs

Another factor that may influence your decision between a saltwater or chlorine/bromine hot tub is maintenance requirements. While both types of hot tubs require regular cleaning and maintenance to keep them running smoothly, there are some differences between them. Saltwater systems require the testing and addition of salt to generate chlorine through electrolysis. Again, saltwater hot tubs still require regular testing and balancing of water chemistry, just like chlorine/bromine hot tubs. Many people find the process of adding salt to their hot tub to be time-consuming and messy. If salt levels are too low, the system will not generate enough chlorine. If they are too high, the salt will damage the hot tub, so it's important to ensure the levels are correct. And salt water systems may require more expensive replacement parts (such as the salt cell) over time compared to traditional chlorine/bromine systems.


Environmental Impact

When considering whether a saltwater hot tub is better, it's also important to think about the environmental impact of each option. There is a debate as to whether saltwater systems are more eco-friendly than chlorine/bromine systems. Each method requires regular testing and balancing and the same products to remedy any issues. Saltwater systems require the addition of salt. The chlorine/bromine system requires the addition of chlorine or bromine. Both types of hot tubs still consume electricity for heating and filtering the water. If you're looking for a more environmentally friendly option, a well-built, energy-efficient hot tub is likely the best way to reduce the environmental impact over choosing a saltwater chlorinator vs a traditional chlorine/bromine system.


Cost Comparison

Finally, cost is always an important factor when choosing between a saltwater or chlorinated hot tub. Saltwater systems have higher upfront costs due to the need for a salt cell and other specialized equipment. They also require the replacement of the electrode every few years, and if the hot tub water is not properly balanced, the salt damages the hot tub parts and pieces.


Conclusion

Ultimately, whether a saltwater hot tub is better depends on your individual needs and preferences. Saltwater hot tubs offer potential health benefits and may be gentler on sensitive skin. However, they may also require more expensive replacement parts over time and can be more difficult to maintain compared to traditional chlorine/bromine systems. Before making your decision, consider factors such as health benefits, maintenance requirements, environmental impact, and cost in order to choose the best option for your needs. Northern Hot Tubs are renowned for their well-built. well-equipped and all-inclusive approach and offer a saltwater chlorinator as a dealer installed option. Our recommendation is to try the base system of electronic water purification combined with a low level of bromine. If this method does not prove to be satisfactory, the addition of a saltwater chlorinator can be ordered anytime.


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