A Highlife Aria salt water hot tub sits on a stone patio with easy access provided by side steps. The hot tub is surrounded by plants.

The ocean is a well-loved place for good reason. The sun, sand, and salt water combine to provide an unforgettable experience for people of all ages. Now, you can bring that salt water to your backyard in the form of a salt water hot tub. These water systems are rising in popularity due to benefits like more natural-feeling water, fewer chemicals used, and simpler water care.

This guide explains everything you need to know about salt water hot tubs, plus what to consider when shopping for one.

What is a Salt Water Hot Tub?

Before we go too far, let's explain what a salt water hot tub is—and isn't. A salt water hot tub system is not just a hot tub filled with seawater, nor can it be achieved by dumping a bunch of table salt in your tub and hoping for the best. Salt water hot tubs use special types of salt to keep the water fresh, clean, and free of harsh smells.

Family relishes a relaxing soak in their cutting-edge salt water hot tub from Hot Spring Spas.

How Does a Salt Water Hot Tub Work?

Hot Spring Spas' patented salt water sanitization system (found in our Highlife® and Limelight® Collections) is carefully designed and engineered to create a small, but constant supply of chlorine. This happens with the help of a titanium salt cartridge that generates chlorine when “energized” internal electrodes are combined with salt and water. The small amount of chlorine produced by this process is more than enough to keep the water constantly fresh and contaminant-free, while remaining too low to generate a harsh smell or irritate the eyes or skin. Instead of adding chemicals like chlorine or bromine to your water, you would add salt (made especially for hot tubs) that works with our FreshWater® Salt System to keep your water clean, fresh, and soft. It's the best of both worlds: clean water without the smell or irritation of traditional chlorine-based water.

Are Salt Water Hot Tubs Chlorine-Free?

While salt water hot tubs produce less chlorine than traditional hot tub water systems, they are not completely chlorine-free, using small amounts of chlorine to sanitize and maintain balanced water for your spa.

The Benefits of a Salt Water System

The primary benefits of salt water hot tub sanitization systems include the following:

  • Irritant-free water. Salt water hot tubs are free from chloramines, a potentially irritating byproduct produced in hot tubs when chlorine interacts with ammonia or other substances. For chloramine-sensitive individuals, a salt water hot tub system is a perfect solution, as it keeps the water constantly clean and free from any harmful microorganisms while limiting exposure to chloramines.
  • A soft, buoyant soaking experience. Salt water increases buoyancy, which many find especially conducive to relaxation in a hot tub. In addition, the water produced by a salt water sanitization system feels especially soft and gentle against the skin.
  • Water that smells and feels better. Because salt water hot tubs use fewer chemicals and chlorine for sanitization, the water feels softer on your skin, smells fresher, and is less likely to irritate eyes and skin.
  • Simplified maintenance. With unique sanitization technology that automates the balancing process, salt water hot tubs are easier to maintain than traditional spa water systems.
  • Longer-lasting water. With traditional hot tub water care systems, owners generally must drain and refill their hot tubs every three or four months. While this is a relatively simple and straightforward process, changing the water can be time-consuming and tedious. Salt water sanitization systems can keep spa water clean for up to twelve months* before needing to be replaced, which will help the environment as well.

*Many factors affect the life of spa water, such as bather load and water chemistry. When these factors are accounted for and the spa is properly maintained, the FreshWater Salt System will keep water clean and clear for up to a full year.

Are Salt Water Hot Tubs Maintenance-Free?

While no hot tub is completely maintenance-free, the maintenance for salt water hot tubs is simpler than most traditional hot tubs. Chlorine-based water care systems involve regular testing and monitoring to make sure pH levels are correct and chemicals are properly balanced. While most hot tub owners find it easy enough to follow a consistent schedule for water care and maintenance, salt water sanitization systems make the process even simpler. After the initial setup, the system practically takes care of itself, constantly producing clean, pure water on its own for months of continuous use.

For even simpler water care, Hot Spring Spas offer the FreshWater® IQ smart water monitoring system. This breakthrough system automatically tests your spa water every hour and tells you exactly what to do to maintain clean, clear, and balanced water. This system is an optional feature on all Highlife and Limelight Collection spas.

A blissful couple enjoying a rejuvenating soak in a crystal-clear salt water hot tub, surrounded by serenity.

Can Any Hot Tub Use Salt Water?

Not all hot tubs are manufactured to use a salt water system, as the sanitization process works differently than traditional hot tub systems. The hot tub must be equipped with special parts that work together to maintain the water with salt instead of traditional spa chemicals. Hot Spring Spas offers several different models that come salt water-ready, including our Highlife and Limelight Collections.

Where to Find a Salt Water Hot Tub

Now that you're equipped with knowledge about the differences between salt water systems and traditional water care systems, the next step is finding a hot tub in your area. It's important to note that salt water systems are not available for use with every brand or model of a hot tub. At Hot Spring Spas, our Highlife Collection and Limelight Collection spas are all compatible with our patented FreshWater Salt System and our new FreshWater IQ smart monitoring system. Your local Hot Spring dealer can help you decide if a salt water sanitization system is right for you.

Shop Salt Water Hot Tub Collections

Highlife® Collection

Highlife® Collection

Our best, to unleash your best.

Models starting at $248/mo for 75 mos1
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Limelight® Collection

Limelight® Collection

Advanced design and features. A cut above.

Models starting at $220/mo for 75 mos1
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