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Pool Ionisers v.s. (Salt) Chlorinators

Pool Chemical Testing kit

Pool Ionisers VS. (Salt) Chlorinators

As a swimming pool or spa owner you must have done a few Google searches to explore the different alternatives in pool or spa sanitation. Your search will have given you an endless thread of possibilities, the next even more promising than the first. Fact is; there are a lot of alternatives and solutions available and different sources tell different, sometimes contradicting stories.

In this blog post we would like to share with you how pool ionisers compare to other pool sanitisers to help you choose which system suits you best.


Chlorine is the most commonly used to sanitise pools and spas worldwide and is a very effective sanitiser and oxidiser. Chlorine will dissipate by heat and UV over time, and therefore it requires the addition of stabiliser to the pool water to make sure the chlorine keeps its residual effect.

However, there is a reason why there is a growing demand for alternatives to chlorine. Simply put, chlorine is not good for you. You only have to do a search on ‘health risks of chlorine’ and you will find pages of search results that might alarm you (allergies, asthma, pregnancy problems, cancer, heart problems etc.).

Health effects aside, chlorine also has an impact on your pool’s surroundings and swimming suits. Additionally, there are the risks involved in keeping the chlorine at a safe level and the transport and handling of chemicals. The ongoing chemical costs (chlorine, stabiliser, algaecides, acid, buffer etc.) that a chlorine pool locks you into, is the real reason why you might find pool stores “hesitant” about low chemical solutions that will affect the ongoing revenue that you will bring to their store.

Salt Water or Mineral pools

Even though a salt water or mineral salt pool sounds like a chlorine-free alternative, these sanitisers are just chlorinators in disguise. What they actually do is convert salt (sodium chloride, or more recently also magnesium and potassium chloride) into chlorine. So even though these pool systems are being marketed to provide mineral sanitation, a salt chlorinator (Australia’s most used popular pool sanitiser) means 100% chlorine in your pool.

Of course it allows you to stay away from handling chlorine yourself, but a salt system is the most expensive and corrosive pool sanitiser. A salt or mineral salt chlorinator might save you money on chlorine but the costs of replacement salt cells, stabiliser and replacing your equipment that is corroded due to the salt will astound you. With the effects of high levels of chlorine, described in the section on chlorine, salt chlorinators may prove to be a less than an ideal solution.

Ozone & UV

Ozone is a very powerful oxidiser that is usually used as a back up to the residual sanitiser, such as chlorine systems or salt water chlorinators. Ozone might be an effective oxidizer, but only has a very short life being active, as it is only effective when the pool pump is operating and has no residual protection in the pool. Besides that, ozone gas is very toxic and has little effect on algae.

Ozone is also sometimes confused with UV. UV is a powerful sanitiser, however just like Ozone it has no residual sanitising capacities. Therefore, UV always requires an additional sanitiser and algaecide (e.g. chlorine) to make sure bathers are protected against viruses, bacteria etc.

Ozone and/or UV can be a great solution to back up the residual sanitiser and help reduce chlorine usage by up to 50%. On their own, however, these systems will not be able to kill algae or bacteria efficiently enough to meet regulations.

Pool ionisers

Using pool ionisation to sanitise pool water is probably the least expensive effective method for use in pools. Mineral copper and silver ions kill bacteria and viruses and prevent the growth of algae in your pool, even if the pump is not operating. The residual sanitising power of copper and silver has a distinct advantage because these ions are unaffected by UV and heat. Therefore, unlike chlorine and salt, an ioniser does not need stabiliser to keep the ions working in your pool as a biocide and algaecide, even if the pump is not running.

Not only will an ioniser cut the chemical costs, a pool ioniser like Bionizer reduces the number of hours that you need to run your pool pump for thus saving a dramatic amount of power plus wear and tear on equipment. Also copper and silver ions do not corrode your pool equipment or pool surroundings and allow you to backwash your pool water onto your garden undiluted without doing any damage to plants or garden.

What an ioniser doesn’t do is oxidise your pool water: getting rid of the organic compounds that get in your pool water and make it go cloudy and hazy, e.g. suntan lotion, body oils, perspiration, ammonia etc. In addition to an ioniser you will need an oxidiser module or chemical oxidisers. At Bionizer we leave it up to you to choose your method of oxidising; our powerful Eco-Oxidizer or a chemical oxidiser such as chlorine or chlorine free options as Potassium Monopersulphate and Hydrogen Peroxide are all effective oxidizing methods. Some pool ionisers don’t offer an oxidising module at all. Alarmingly, some other ionisers have such a high power-draw oxidising (salt) module that they actually make chlorine as the backup oxidising substance so be aware if choosing these systems that you will actually be swimming in chlorine plus ionised water.

Our advice

At Bionizer we believe that you should choose a solution for your pool and spa that suits you and your family’s needs. Whether that is chlorine, salt, ozone, our products or another system. Our products are tried and proven in over 29 countries in all climates and in pools as large as 1.5 million litres.

As far as the pool ionising method goes, it is a fact that pool ionisers are not for everyone as all pools are different as are pool owner’s preferences and needs. Chlorine at undesirable higher levels masks an unbalanced pool as it bleaches many impurities and only makes the pool water look “healthy”; the opposite is the reality. An ioniser “likes” well-balanced pool water as it uses natural minerals to maintain the pool. By keeping the pool water balanced, a stunning healthy and economical pool is the result. That only requires a couple of pool water tests every week and a couple more every month. But, for some time inhibited pool owners, this makes maintaining an ioniser pool a challenge. That is why we listen to your story and your situation before recommending our products to you. We actually have the pool experience (17 years) to overcome time challenged pool owner’s problems so if Bionizer is not for you and your pool we will tell you and refer you to a more satisfactory method of maintaining your pool to suit your family and your needs.

Because in the end, we want our customers to have the perfect pool system for their pool and enjoy their pool instead of struggling balancing and maintaining it.

Are you unsure about which pool sanitiser suits your pool? Talk to one of our pool experts to discuss your personal situation and we will happily give you our free advice.

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