How Much Salt to Add to Your Pool

This guide will show you how much salt to add to your pool. You must put the correct amount of salt in order for your salt chlorine generator to work.

How Much Salt to Add to Your Pool

After purchasing a salt chlorine generator it is important to know how much salt to add to your pool, the correct salt levels (ppm) needed for your above ground pool will help you get the best results. The target salt level is 3200 – 3400ppm (parts per million). Depending on the size of the above ground pool, the number of pounds of salt will vary to reach this ideal range. The way in which salt is added to the pool though stays the same, no matter what type of salt system or above ground pool you have.

Remember to first test the pool water to see the current levels of salt. One should either bring their pool water to a local professional, or if they should purchase their own tester the staff at The Pool Factory recommends the Solaxx Digital SafeDip Tester. The source for your pool water may contain some salt levels already and it is a good idea to find out the level in which you are starting prior to figuring out how much salt to add to your pool.

Solaxx SafeDip Digital Chemistry Tester

The SafeDip is a digital chemistry reader designed to make measuring pool parameters easy. Simply collect the water sample from the pool using the onboard cup and press the Start button to take your measurement. Learn more...

Solaxx SafeDip Digital Chemistry Tester for Pools and Spas MET20A

It is important to always use salt made for swimming pools. Salt available at local pool and spa vendors will be the best for salt chlorine generators. Any high purity Sodium Chloride Salt will work. Purity greater than 99% is recommended. It is usually available in 40-80lb bags and is the same product as food quality salt or water softener salt.

DO NOT USE Rock Salt, it is not very pure and hard to dissolve.

DO NOT USE Rock Salt

How To Add Salt To Your Pool

Follow these easy steps when adding salt to your above ground pool.


Salt can be added directly into the pool by broadcasting it across the surface.

How To Add Salt To Your Pool

Make sure the filter is running to create good circulation and speed up the dilution of the salt.

Make sure the filter is running

After distributing the salt evenly around the pool, use a pool brush to brush any piles of salt that may have built up.

use a pool brush to brush any piles of salt

Continue to run the filter for 24-48 hours or until all of the added salt is dissolved.

Continue to run the filter for 24-48 hours

Pool Water Circulation Hack

Most above ground pools do not have a main drain and are limited to only the thru-wall skimmer. In order to have the benefit of the water leaving the pool through the floor, here is a good trick:


Plug in you vacuum hose to the skimmer and leave a vacuum head on the floor of the pool UPSIDE DOWN.

vacuum hose connected to skimmer

Now when you start the filter, all the water is being pulled from the bottom of the pool. This will also help speed up the process of dissolving the salt.

This also works well when you have cloudy water that settles at the bottom of the pool. Give it a try!

If the salt generator system has a built in salt level display, the salt needs to be fully diluted in order to give a proper reading. Be sure to wait at least 24-48 hours after adding salt to rely on the display.

Test Salt Level

A Few Fact’s about Saltwater Pools

The salt added to your pool will never dissipate on it’s own. Only during backwash, splashing, or draining your pool will salt need to be added.

Salt will not leave your pool from evaporation or running your salt system.

Always keep an eye on the overall salt level of the water but keep in mind that once you reach your ideal levels, it will be hard to lose them. That’s the beauty of having a saltwater pool.

Salt Reference Table

The following table displays a pools size and shape and the recommended amount of salt one would need based off those dimensions.

Pool SizeShapeGallonsSALT (lbs.)BAGS (40lbs.)
12'Round 3,000 872
24'Round13,000 406 10
12'x17'/18'Oval 5,000 1453.5
15'x30'Oval 10,500 3198

Please note: Pool calculations below have been rounded off to be used as a quick guide for easy pool maintenance. For exact calculations please use our pool volume calculator.