If you’re a pool novice, check out this guide to understand how a pool chlorinator simplifies maintenance, regulates chlorine levels, and prevents bacteria and algae. Learn how it ensures a clear, hygienic, and enjoyable swimming experience without much effort on your part. Keep reading to discover how a chlorinator helps enhance your pool’s daily cleanliness

What Is A Pool Chlorinator

If the chlorine levels in the pool are insufficient, you’ll be greeted by a proliferation of green algae and bacteria. This can result in cloudy water, unpleasant odors, and pose health risks to swimmers. On the other hand, excessive chlorine can irritate the skin and even damage pool equipment.

Manually adjusting chlorine levels can be time-consuming and challenging to control. That’s where a pool chlorinator comes into play. It’s a convenient device that continuously adds chlorine to your pool without any effort on your part.

How Does A Chlorinator Work?

When water passes through the chlorinator, it dissolves chlorine and evenly distributes it throughout the entire pool water. The chlorinator releases a specific amount of chlorine based on the pool’s size and the desired disinfectant level.There are three types of chlorinators on the market: automatic chlorinators, floating chlorinators, and salt chlorinators.

Types Of Pool Chlorinator

Automatic Chlorinator

An automatic pool chlorinator is a device that automatically distributes chlorine into the pool. Simply place chlorine in the automatic chlorinator and set it to dispense at the desired rate. There are two types: inline chlorinators and offline chlorinators. They function and cost the same, but their installation methods vary and may not be suitable for every pool type.

In-line Automatic Chlorinator

If you’re about to own or plan to have a pool, consider opting for an inline chlorinator. An inline chlorinator directly connects to your filtration system, chlorinating the water after it passes through the filter or heater before returning it to the pool. This helps protect pool equipment from corrosion.

Off-line Automatic Chlorinator

If you already have a swimming pool and want to avoid the hassle of a complete pool overhaul, then an offline chlorinator is your best choice. With an offline chlorinator, installation is hassle-free; simply make a small opening in the pipeline and attach the chlorinator.

Please refer to the diagram below for a better understanding of the differences between inline chlorinators and offline chlorinators.

Inline Automatic Chlorinator and Off-Line Automatic Chlorinatorfrom:swimuniversity.com


  • Works automatically even when you’re not at home
  • Allows control over the rate of chlorine distribution into the pool
  • Suitable for various types of pools


  • More expensive than manual chlorine addition
  • Requires regular maintenance
  • Needs a designated installation space, and installation can be somewhat cumbersome.

Floating Pool Chlorinator

A floating chlorinator is the most convenient option, requiring no installation on the connecting pipeline. Simply place the appropriate amount of chlorine tablets or sticks into the chlorinator and put it directly into the pool. As the floating chlorinator moves around the pool, it gradually releases chlorine, helping to maintain a consistent chlorine level in the pool water.

floating pool chlorinator


  • Affordable
  • Easy to use


  • Mostly made of plastic, susceptible to damage from weather exposure, prone to fading under prolonged sunlight
  • Requires regular opening of the chlorinator to check chlorine levels, manual addition of chlorine, which involves direct contact with chlorine; protective measures are necessary during chlorine handling.

Salt water chlorinator

Salt systems, unlike other chlorinators using chlorine tablets, generate chlorine through salt electrolysis. When saltwater passes through the chlorinator, low-voltage charges break down salt particles, converting them into hypochlorous acid—also known as chlorine! In a salt chlorination system, the chlorinator is installed in the pool’s circulation system. Refer to the diagram below.

salt water chlorinator


  • Convenient, reduces the need for manual chlorine addition
  • Compared to traditional chlorine products, salt chlorinators are gentler on the eyes and skin, have a milder odor, and salt is easier to store.


  • Higher purchase and maintenance costs
  • Presence of salt in pool water may lead to corrosion of metal components like ladder rails, potentially affecting pool equipment performance.

How To Use A Pool Chlorinator?

Before using any chlorinator, it’s essential to calculate your pool’s capacity. Determine the required chlorine level based on the pool capacity formula: Pool Capacity = Surface Area x Average Depth x 7.5.

Automatic Pool Chlorinator

Add chlorine tablets to the chlorinator, then choose the rate based on the pool capacity, and finally, activate the chlorinator.

Floating Pool Chlorinator

Wear protective gloves, avoid direct contact with chlorine tablets. Place an appropriate amount of chlorine tablets into the floating chlorinator, cover it, and then put it directly into the pool. You can also secure the floating chlorinator to the pool edge with a rope to prevent children from mistaking it for a toy. Be cautious when the flap is fully open to avoid small medication pieces falling out and potentially contaminating the vinyl and plaster pool surfaces.

Salt water chlorinator

When using a salt system for the first time, record the current chlorine levels in the pool. Let the salt system run for a week, then measure the chlorine levels with a target of achieving approximately 1-3 ppm of free chlorine. If the chlorine levels are low, increase the system’s output setting; if it’s too high, decrease the output. 

The control panel of the salt system will have indicator lights that inform you about the chlorine status in the pool. Observe the indicator lights as needed and adjust the equipment settings accordingly based on the specific situation.   

Which Pool Chlorinator Should I Choose?

   1.What’s Your Budget?

If you’re willing to spend only a few to several dollars, a floating chlorinator is your best choice. If budget is not a concern, both automatic chlorinators and salt systems are good options.

   2. What Type Of Your Pool?

For inflatable pools, there’s no need to spend a lot on installing an automatic chlorinator; a floating chlorinator is sufficient. When purchasing a chlorinator for an above-ground or in-ground pool, it’s essential to confirm if the chlorinator is compatible with both types, as some are specifically designed for a particular pool type.

   3.What Size Of Your Pool?

The size of the pool affects how much chlorine is needed to maintain it at a safe level. You need to calculate the pool’s capacity in gallons using the formula: Surface Area x Average Depth x 7.5. Remember this number; it will be helpful when choosing different equipment for your pool.

   4.Is There Enough Space?

Consider if there is extra space around the pool for installing a chlorinator and whether it needs to be integrated into the existing pipeline. If you prefer to avoid resizing pipes or purchasing additional accessories, it’s necessary to buy a chlorinator that matches your existing equipment.

   5.Consider well-known brands

Not all chlorinators are the same; you can research different brands. Opting for a more well-known brand may ensure easier availability of replaceable parts, and some chlorinators offer longer, more comprehensive warranty policies


In summary, this guide explores various types, advantages, and considerations of pool chlorinators. It is hoped that after reading this article, pool owners can make the most informed decisions for their swimming pools.


Why is pool chlorination necessary?

Swimming pools require chlorine as it disinfects water, killing bacteria and viruses, and prevents algae growth, creating a safe and hygienic swimming environment.

How long after adding salt can I swim?

After adding salt to a pool, it is generally recommended to wait for at least 24 to 48 hours before swimming. This allows sufficient time for the salt to dissolve and distribute evenly throughout the pool water. 

Can pool chlorine kill head lice?

No – the chlorine levels in a pool are nowhere near high enough to do that. 

Is a saltwater pool corrosive?

As long as the salt content is kept below 6000 ppm, it won’t lead to corrosion of metal components like ladder rails, handrails, and other metallic parts. Regular maintenance and proper care are crucial to minimizing corrosion and extending the lifespan of pool equipment to the maximum.