How To Test Salt Level

How To Test Salt Level In A Pool - Ultimate Guide

If you are running a salt water pool, maintaining adequate amounts of salinity in your water is essential for keeping your pool sanitised and well-maintained.

Because high and low levels of salinity both have undesirable side-effects, it is important to be able to adequately test your pool’s salt levels to make sure they fall within the ideal range.

In this article, we will discuss the ideal salt levels for your saltwater pool as well as the different ways you can test your salt levels.

Our guide not only includes information about how to perform each type of test, but also discusses the pros and cons of each testing method so that you can choose the right approach for you.

Need Pool Chemicals?
Use the coupon code FEB15 to get 15% off pool chemicals on eBay!

Ideal Salt Levels For Your Pool

Typically, the ideal level of salinity for a saltwater pool falls between 2,700 - 3,400 parts per million (ppm), with the sweet spot being around the 3,200 ppm mark.

In a salt water pool, the ideal salt levels can vary slightly, especially if your saltwater chlorine generator has its own requirements. Some studies suggest that higher salt concentrations can be fine for chlorinators, but it is best to follow manufacturer instructions.

Different Ways To Test Salt Levels In Your Pool

There are many different ways to test the salt levels in your pool, but not all of these testing methods are equally reliable.

In this section, we’ve described the most common methods of testing your pool’s salinity levels and composed a list of benefits and potential drawbacks of each approach.

Method Verdict
Test strips Easy and affordable, moderate accuracy
Test kits Instructions a little complex but affordable and good accuracy
Salt chlorinator reading Easy and free but poor accuracy
Digital salinity meter Easy and good accuracy but expensive
Pool shop Time consuming but free and good accuracy

Test Strips

Testing strips are often the easiest to use and least expensive option for testing the salt levels in your pool. The AquaChek strips need only to be dipped in your pool’s water for a few minutes, then the results can be read off the chart.

Testing strips are a very convenient and cost-effective option, but they are not particularly precise. You will be able to tell the general range of salinity that is present in your pool, but will be unable to pinpoint an exact number in terms of parts per million.

While these kits are effective enough to allow you to keep your pool’s salinity within the appropriate range, some pool owners prefer more precise readings.

Liquid Test Kits

Liquid test kits are known to be more accurate than testing strips, but testing kit solutions that measure salinity levels can be hard to come across. Luckily, if your pool supply store carries these test kits, they are fairly easy to use.

To use a liquid test kit, you will first collect a sample of your pool’s water. Then, you will add a certain number of drops of the testing solution to this water sample, and follow your product’s guidelines to wait for the water sample to change in colour.

You will then compare the colour of your water sample to the colour chart provided by the product manufacturer in order to determine the salt levels in your pool.

Some benefits to liquid test kits include their ability to get more precise readings than can be achieved with testing strips, although this method is still less precise than others.

With a test kit, it’s easy to accidentally add the wrong amount of a reagent, invalidating the results. Some pool owners may have difficulties comparing the colours of the testing solutions to those provided in the diagnosis chart.

Salt Chlorinator Readings

Checking the levels on your salt chlorine generator is another method of diagnosing the amount of salinity in your pool water.

It’s free and you can check it within seconds, but unfortunately, as the salinity meters on most salt chlorinators are not chlorinated regularly, they don’t provide very accurate readings.

Some models show a reading that is composed of your pool’s average salinity throughout the last 24 hours. This is helpful most of the time, but not useful if you’ve just added some salt and want to see what your new concentration is.

The main drawback to basing your readings on the salt chlorinator alone is that you will not have a basis for comparison in the case that your salt chlorine generator is providing incorrect readings.

For this reason, we recommend occasionally using another method to confirm your salt chlorinator’s results.

Digital Salinity Meters

A digital salinity meter uses the electrical conductivity of water particles to determine the salinity of the water, often with a very high amount of precision compared to other methods.

To use a digital salinity meter, you simply dip the testing end of the meter into your pool water until your results are ready. You can then read your results directly off of the meter.

Digital salinity meters are fully waterproof, making them completely safe and suitable for this use. These meters are by far the most accurate method of reading your pool’s salinity levels, and will also provide you with the most precise results.

Some digital salinity meters can distinguish very small changes in salt levels, making them much better than the other methods discussed here.

Pool Shop

Lastly, you can take a sample of water to your pool shop for analysis. Salt concentration in your water is quite stable, so a sample collected at elbow-depth and measured at your local pool shop will give you a good indication of your salt level.

While this is usually free and quite accurate, it is annoying to have to visit the pool shop every time you want to check your salt level.

For accurate tests on-demand, consider getting a digital salinity meter.


In terms of budget, testing strips are often the most cost-effective option when measuring your pool’s salt content. Although these are not incredibly precise, they are accurate enough to allow you to maintain proper salinity levels.

If you test your pool’s salinity fairly often, digital salinity meters may be a great investment. Test strips are typically available in packs of ten, which means you may need to purchase refills often. A digital salinity meter will last for several years without losing any effectiveness as long as it is stored properly.

If you accidentally add too much salt and find that your salinity is high, consult this guide on how to lower the salt concentration in your pool.

Do you have any questions about the best method for testing salt levels in your pool? Leave us a comment down below, we’d love to help!

Louis from Pool Advisor


A chemical engineer by trade, Louis is committed to debunking myths in the pool industry by explaining the underlying chemistry and making it accessible to all.