Friday, August 23, 2013

Salt Water Systems: Which is the Best?

When it comes to salt water systems there are a lot to choose from. You have the three major brands, Pentair, Hayward and Jandy - plus a lot of smaller lesser known companies. So who in fact makes the best salt water pool system?

 That is debatable but from my experience the number one system right now is the Pentaier Intellichlor IC40
Pentair IC40
(rated for 40,000 gallons. What makes it the best is the reliability of the system and the way it is designed. The cell itself is composed of pretty much all the electronics and sensors so when the cell goes bad after a few years and you replace it with a new one - you are getting practically a complete new system every time. It is very reliable also and I haven't seen many errors with the system. It will also tell you when the cell life is getting near the end. So this is number one in my book. I have about 10 or more of these on my route. The only drawback is that unless it is connected to an automated Pentair control panel there is no way to know the salt level without measuring it with test strips or a salt meter. Other than that it is flawless.


 The next major brand and in second place would be the Hayward Aqua Rite system.
Aqau Rite by Hayward
 The cell is very reliable and it comes with a power center that is easy to read and will also display the salinity level in the water.  in that the control box that comes with the unit will display the salt level in the pool. So that is one advantage of the Hayward over the Pentair system. The main drawback with the Hayward cell is that when it gets just a little calcium build-up it will give you a false salinity reading - sometimes off by 1000 ppm. But the Hayward cell is very long lasting -sometimes well past five years. I still prefer the Pentair Intellichlor over the Hayward cell but the Hayward cell is not bad. The Pentair is just a little better. Like comparing a Lexus with a BMW.


Jandy AqauPure
 Jandy Aqua Pure not to be confused with the Hayward Aqua Rite is the worst of the major three. The control center is very complicated (two circuit boards) and the system is wracked with error codes. If you own one of these chances are you know what I am talking about. I have three on my route and all three are off-line due to error codes. A very bad choice in my book. Jandy makes good cleaners, heaters, filters and pumps but they really did a poor job on their salt system. I think they just raised their warranty to three years which you will diffidently need if you have one of these. The only reason you should have the Aqua pure is if you purchased a house that has one installed already. Would not sell this unit to any of my customers.

Then you have the smaller companies who are the ones that originally started the salt pool movement.
Nexa Pure by Americansps
They have been brushed aside by the big three who have a much larger marketing budget. The small companies are good and they deserve a look. I recently installed a Nexa Pure system by AmericanSPS and it is a very good system with a nice clear cell and an easy to read control panel. It is unknown basically because they can't advertise like Pentair or Hayward. Other small companies are Ecomatic (not very good), Solaxx and Autopiolot - both of these I haven't tested as of yet. I mention the Ecomatic here and I will emphasize that out of the small companies it is the largest but not a good system at all. The cell life on the Ecomatic system is pathetic - maybe you will get two or three years out of it.

 So if you are thinking of going with a salt pool there are a lot of systems out there to chose from. I will make it easy by ranking them for you: Best:
1. Pentair Intellichlor (excellent)
2. Hayward Aqau Rite (very good)
3. AmericanSPS Nexa Pure (very good)
4. Zodiac LM-3 (tested and is good)

 Worst:
1. Jandy Aqua Pure
2. Ecomatic

 Untested:
Solaxx
 Autopilot

To learn more on each of these see the videos posted on my YouTube Channel under my Salt Pool Playlist.