Recent advances in power generation from renewable resources necessitate conversion of electricity to chemicals and fuels in an efficient manner. The electrocatalytic water splitting is one of the most powerful and widespread technologies. The development of highly efficient, inexpensive, flexible and versatile water electrolysis devices is desired. This review discusses the significance and impact of the electrolyte on electrocatalytic performance. Depending on the circumstances where water splitting reaction is conducted, required solution conditions such as the identity and molarity of ions may significantly differ. Quantitative understanding of such electrolyte properties on electrolysis performance is effective to facilitate developing efficient electrocatalytic systems. The electrolyte can directly participate in reaction schemes (kinetics), electrode stability, and/or indirectly impacts the performance by influencing concentration overpotential (mass transport). This review aims to guide fine-tuning of the electrolyte properties, or electrolyte engineering, for (photo)electrochemical water splitting reactions.