Mineral Pool System vs. Traditional Chlorine Pool: How Are They Different?

Written by Michael Dean
June 14, 2023

mineral pool system vs. traditional chlorine system

Chlorine has been the go-to choice for pool owners for decades, but it has some setbacks. Concerns about chlorine’s harsh effects on the skin and eyes and chemical odors have led many pool owners to explore alternative sanitation systems. Mineral pool systems offer an alternative approach to water sanitization by utilizing minerals like copper and silver to clean the water.

In this article, I will go over the pros and cons of mineral pools and chlorine pools, shedding light on their key distinctions to help you make an informed decision for your swimming pool.

Main Takeaways

  • Mineral pool systems utilize minerals like copper and silver, reducing the reliance on traditional chemical sanitizers.
  • Mineral pools have reduced chemical dependency, are gentler on the skin and eyes, and provide enhanced water quality.
  • Chlorine pools offer effective sanitization, versatility, and affordability, but they have chemical odors and can cause skin irritation.
  • The main differences between these two pool systems lie in the sanitation method, cost, maintenance, water feel, and effects on swimmers.

Mineral Pool System

A mineral pool system utilizes specially designed mineral cartridges that contain minerals like copper and silver.

Water sanitization in a mineral pool system typically involves two key steps. Firstly, as water passes through the mineral cartridge, it comes into contact with the minerals, which release ions into the water. These ions disrupt the cellular structure of algae and bacteria, effectively hindering their growth and reproduction.

Secondly, to complement the mineral sanitization process, a minimal amount of chlorine is still required in a mineral pool system, but just 0.5 ppm, as opposed to 1-3 ppm.

Pros of Mineral Pool System

  • Reduced chemical dependency: The minerals inhibit the growth of algae and bacteria, resulting in lower chlorine usage. This reduces the chemical dependency and diminishes the associated chemical odors, creating a more pleasant swimming environment.
  • Gentler on the skin and eyes: Mineral-treated water is gentler on the skin and eyes compared to heavily chlorinated water. The minerals in the pool system provide a more soothing and less irritating experience, making it ideal for individuals with sensitive skin or eyes.
  • Enhanced water quality: The presence of minerals improves the overall water quality in a mineral pool system. These minerals help maintain water clarity and give it a pleasant feel.
  • Reduced wear on pool equipment: High chlorine levels can be harsh to pool equipment, and since the water of a mineral pool is much softer, there will be less wear on the equipment. This means your precious equipment may last longer.

Cons of Mineral Pool System

  • Initial cost: Purchasing mineral cartridges and a dispenser, along with any necessary installation or conversion expenses, can add to the initial investment required.
  • Mineral buildup: Minerals may build up over time on pool surfaces and equipment.
  • Limited effectiveness: Although mineral pool systems inhibit the growth of algae and bacteria, they don’t eliminate the need for occasional shock treatments or other supplemental sanitizers.

Traditional Chlorine Pool System

Chlorine is a powerful disinfectant that effectively eliminates algae and other pathogens, which is why it is the number one choice for pool sanitation. It is available in various forms, like liquid, granules, or tablets.

Chlorine works by releasing free chlorine ions into the water. These chlorine ions act as oxidizers, breaking down organic matter and neutralizing harmful microorganisms that can thrive in pool water. You must regularly test chlorine levels to ensure the water is adequately sanitized and safe for swimming.

Pros of Traditional Chlorine Pool System

  • Effective sanitization: Chlorine is a trusted and proven sanitizer, effectively eliminating harmful bacteria, viruses, and contaminants from pool water. It protects against waterborne illnesses and helps maintain a safe swimming environment.
  • Versatile: Chlorine products are widely available in various forms, such as liquid, granules, or tablets, making it convenient for pool owners to find and use the preferred type of chlorine.
  • Cost-effective: Chlorine is an affordable option for pool sanitization. The initial investment in chlorine products and equipment is relatively low compared to alternative methods.

Cons of Traditional Chlorine Pool System

  • Chemical odors and skin irritation: Chlorine can produce distinct chemical odors, especially when the chlorine levels are high. Prolonged exposure to heavily chlorinated water leads to skin dryness, irritation, and eye discomfort, particularly for individuals with sensitive skin or eyes.
  • Potential health concerns: There are potential health effects associated with prolonged exposure to chlorine byproducts, such as chloramines.
  • Ongoing maintenance and testing: Proper chlorine levels and water balance require regular monitoring and adjustment. Pool owners must regularly test and maintain chlorine, pH, and other chemical parameters to ensure optimal sanitization and water quality.

Main Differences Between Mineral and Chlorine Pools

Here are the main differences to consider when comparing mineral and chlorine pools.

Sanitation Method

Mineral pools utilize specially designed mineral cartridges that contain minerals like copper and silver. These minerals release ions into the water, disrupting the growth and reproduction of algae and bacteria.

The chlorine pool system releases free chlorine ions into the water, eliminating pathogens to maintain a safe swimming pool.


Mineral pools generally have a higher upfront cost than traditional chlorine systems. The purchase of mineral cartridges and dispensers, along with any necessary installation or conversion expenses, contributes to the initial investment.

Chlorine pools typically have a lower upfront cost, as there is no need to purchase a mineral cartridge and dispenser.


Mineral pools require regular monitoring of mineral and metal levels to prevent staining and scaling. The cartridge also needs to be replaced every few months. Furthermore, it is still necessary to balance the pH, alkalinity, and calcium hardness levels.

Chlorine pools require regular testing and maintenance to ensure appropriate chlorine levels and water balance. This includes monitoring and adjusting chlorine levels, pH, calcium hardness, and more.

Water Feel

Mineral-treated water is gentler on the skin and eyes than heavily chlorinated water. Minerals provide a soothing and less irritating experience, making it ideal for sensitive skin or eyes.

Chlorinated water has a distinct odor, particularly when chlorine levels are high, and prolonged exposure to heavily chlorinated water causes skin dryness, irritation, and eye discomfort.

Effects on Swimmers

Mineral pool systems offer a potentially more enjoyable swimming experience, with reduced chemical odors and less irritating water. The minerals enhance water quality and clarity, creating a pleasant environment for swimmers.

The higher chlorine levels of a chlorine pool mean that it can lead to chemical odors, skin irritation, and eye discomfort for some individuals, especially when the water is not well-balanced.

DifferencesMineral PooChlorine Pool
Sanitation MethodMinerals (copper and silver)Chlorine
CostHigher initial investmentCheapest type of pool to set up
MaintenancePeriodic replacement of mineral cartridges, monitoring of metal and mineral levels needed, other chemicals need to be balancedTesting and adjusting chlorine levels, pH levels, and other chemical parameters
Water FeelGentler on skin and eyes, soothing experiencePotential odor and skin/eye irritation
Effects on SwimmersReduced chemical odors, a more enjoyable swimming experienceThe higher chlorine levels may cause discomfort for some

What’s Better: A Mineral or a Chlorine Pool?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer. The better choice depends on your needs and preferences.

Mineral pool systems offer reduced chemical dependency, gentler water for the skin and eyes, and enhanced water quality. However, they come with higher upfront costs and maintenance requirements. Pool owners should also keep in mind that mineral pools only partially eliminate the need for supplemental sanitizers, so if the pool gets excessively dirty, you may still need to use chlorine to shock the pool.

On the other hand, traditional chlorine pool systems provide effective sanitization, versatility, and affordability. They require more regular maintenance and can cause chemical odors and skin irritation.

To make an informed decision, consider your budget, maintenance capabilities, chemical sensitivity, and what your family and friends prefer.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Are mineral pools better than chlorine?

Mineral pools are often considered better than chlorine pools for those seeking a more pleasant swim. The minerals used in mineral pool systems create softer water that is gentler on the skin and eyes, making it ideal for individuals with sensitivities.

Furthermore, mineral pools tend to have reduced chemical odors, providing a more enjoyable environment for swimmers.

Do mineral pools have less chlorine?

Yes, mineral pools generally require less chlorine than traditional chlorine pools. Mineral pools have a chlorine concentration of just 0.5 ppm, compared to a chlorine pool’s 1 to 3 ppm. Instead, mineral pool systems utilize minerals like copper and silver to disrupt the growth and reproduction of algae and bacteria.

What are the disadvantages of a mineral pool?

Mineral pool systems can pose maintenance challenges for typical pool owners. If not carefully maintained, accumulating minerals may lead to issues such as staining and scaling. There is also a higher upfront cost with a mineral pool than a chlorine pool. Additionally, while a well-maintained mineral sanitizing system can yield great results, it is generally considered unsuitable for pools with high activity or significant debris.

Bottom Line

Choosing between a mineral pool system and a chlorine pool is important when creating your ideal swimming environment. A mineral pool might be better if you have sensitive eyes and skin, but chlorine may be better if you’re looking for a budget-friendly option. Both pool types have pros and cons, so there is no right or wrong answer. While you’re at it, check out my comparison of mineral pools vs. saltwater pools as well.

More questions? Let me know!

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