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Swim Spa Pros and Cons: Unveiling Benefits & Considerations

Ready to have an affordable swimming option in your backyard? Swim spa owners swear by the benefits of their swim spas. They are much more affordable and flexible than a standard swimming pool. They also cost less to run and keep heated. 

What’s not to like? Well, there might be a few more pros and cons of swim spa ownership to consider. So, read on and we’ll help you think through these things:

  • The cost compared to an average swimming pool.
  • The range of swim spas and swim spa models available
  • Reasons not to buy a swim spa

Ready to find out all you need to know? Let’s dive right in!

What exactly is a Swim Spa?

A swim spa is a pool with counterflow that creates a constant current of water for swimming. Most swim spas are heated like hot tubs and feature the same types of ergonomic seating. Bubble swim spa jets and hydrotherapy loungers make the average swim spa more versatile than either a standard pool or a hot tub.

What sets a swim spa apart is its compact size, making it a perfect fit for homeowners with limited yard space. Unlike a normal backyard pool or indoor pools, many swim spas are also portable, giving you the flexibility to move it around as needed.

Whether you’re looking to get a good exercise or unwind with a warm water soak, a swim spa offers the convenience of both. So, if you’re seeking the benefits of a swimming pool and a hot tub but have limited space, a swim spa could be the perfect solution for you.

Pros of Owning a Swim Spa

There are numerous benefits to owning a swim spa, making it a popular choice among homeowners. All the benefits help explain the growing popularity of swim spas. Let’s give you a few of the best reasons to own a swim spa.

Convenient Exercise

One of the biggest advantages of owning a swim spa is the convenience it provides for exercise. With built-in current systems, you can swim against a consistent current for miles on end, making it a perfect option for those looking for a convenient workout. The volume of water can be adjusted to suit athletic swimmers or complete amateurs.

Here’s a few exercise benefits of swim spas for the professional swimmer or the weekend splasher:

  • Swimming against a consistent current in a swim spa enhances muscle tone, cardiovascular fitness, and endurance without the need for turning or pushing off walls.
  • The adjustable current settings in swim spas allow for tailored workouts, catering to different intensities and training regimens.
  • Exercising in a swim spa provides the opportunity for both aerobic swimming and resistance training, offering a comprehensive workout.

Year-Round Use

Swim spas offer a unique advantage when it comes to year-round use. Unlike traditional swimming pools, which are often limited by weather and season, swim spas can be enjoyed in any climate.

With their built-in heating system, swim spas provide warm water even during the chilliest months, allowing you to swim and exercise comfortably no matter the temperature outside. This means that whether it’s a scorching summer day or a snowy winter evening, you can still enjoy the benefits of a swim spa.

Swim spas can be cooled down, too. So you can turn down the heat during the summer months. This makes them ideal for pool parties for a few friends and also cuts down the swim spa cost by saving electricity. 

Compact Size

Swim spas offer a compact size that makes them a space-saving alternative to traditional swimming pools. They take up only about 1/3 of the space, making them an ideal option for those with limited yard space or smaller outdoor areas.

With a smaller footprint, it’s easier to add more accessories. For example, you can build a small deck around your swim spa. Include a heated towel rail, bench for resting, and a fridge for sports drinks. Or build a BBQ island to turn your swim spa into party central. The compact design increases the possibilities for unique landscape design.

Hydrotherapy Benefits in a Swim Spa

Swim spas are not just for exercise; they serve as a haven for holistic well-being. Hydrotherapy, delivered through the warm waters of a swim spa, brings a multitude of benefits that enhance both the mind and body.

  • Increased blood circulation in a swim spa ensures essential nutrients and oxygen are delivered to the body’s tissues.
  • The warm water naturally stimulates endorphin production, boosting mood and reducing pain.
  • Hydrotherapy is especially beneficial for muscle relaxation, tension relief, and improving mobility in conditions like arthritis.

In essence, swim spa hydrotherapy is a versatile solution for both physical recovery and holistic health.

Customizable Features

Swim spas are innovative solutions for fitness and relaxation, designed with customization and flexibility in mind. They allow users to tailor features to individual preferences, ensuring a pool experience that fits both their aesthetic and functional needs.

  • From the interior layout with varied seating and jet placements to a wide array of colors and pool tile combinations, swim spas can be personalized to optimize comfort and complement any outdoor space.
  • Beyond relaxation, swim spas are exercise powerhouses. They offer built-in currents for resistance swimming and the capability to integrate exercise equipment and resistance bands for a comprehensive workout.
  • Fiberglass swim spas stand out for their versatile installation options. They can be positioned in-ground, above-ground, indoors, or outdoors, and their sectional delivery ensures ease of installation, even in tight spaces.

Overall, swim spas blend aesthetic elegance with functionality, making them a prime choice for both fitness enthusiasts and relaxation seekers.

Entertainment Value

Entertainment and Family Time

Having a swim spa at home isn’t just for your personal use—it’s a fantastic spot for hosting gatherings and spending quality time with guests. From parties to simple get-togethers, the swim spa amplifies the fun.

  • Party Central: A swim spa can be the main attraction for many parties, especially during the summer. Set up a BBQ nearby, play some music, and let your guests enjoy a unique pool party experience. With its jets and seating, it’s more interactive than a regular pool, making social gatherings lively and memorable.
  • Relaxed Hospitality: For quieter evenings or smaller gatherings, a swim spa provides a serene backdrop. Friends can soak, chat, and enjoy beverages, making it an intimate setting that combines relaxation with great conversation.
  • Family Time: Swim spas are also great for family bonding. You can have conversations with loved ones, share stories, and create memories. For families with children, it offers a safe environment for teaching swimming and engaging in water games without the concerns of a larger pool.

All in all, a swim spa is more than just a personal relaxation space; it’s a versatile venue that enhances social events and strengthens bonds with family and friends.

Ongoing Maintenance

Investing in a swim spa comes with not only the benefits of relaxation and exercise but also notable financial savings, especially when it comes to maintenance.

  • Fewer Chemicals and Water: Swim spas use less water than larger pools, which means a smaller volume to treat, leading to savings on chemicals and water bills.
  • Advanced Filtration Systems: Their built-in, state-of-the-art filtration systems effortlessly keep the water clean, reducing the need to purchase and deploy additional cleaning agents or tools.
  • Anti-Microbial Surfaces: The specially designed surfaces of swim spas actively resist bacterial growth, saving money on frequent cleaning products and reducing manual scrubbing efforts.
  • Reduced Time and Labor: The combination of these features means less personal time spent on maintenance. Over the long term, this can lead to savings if you ever consider hiring pool maintenance services.

In a swim spa, the focus shifts from constant upkeep to continual enjoyment, ensuring both your peace of mind and wallet benefit.

Energy Consumption

Swim spas are known for their energy efficiency, making them a popular choice for those looking to save on energy consumption compared to traditional pools. One key factor is the use of well-insulated covers that help to retain heat, reducing the amount of energy needed to maintain warm water temperatures.

Swim spas are, of course, much smaller than traditional swimming pools. This means they hold much less water. A swim spa typically contains between 1,400 and 2,200 gallons of water. While this seems like a lot, a traditional 12-by-24-foot rectangular pool with an average depth of 5 feet will hold around 10,800 gallons. 

That’s six or seven times the volume of water to heat, filter, and treat with chemicals. Their smaller size is one of the biggest benefits of a swim spa for swimmers.

Installation Flexibility

Swim spas stand out for their unparalleled flexibility in installation. Unlike traditional pools that come with several constraints, swim spas provide homeowners with various installation options that cater to different preferences and spatial limitations.

  • Optimized for Small Spaces: Swim spas are designed to fit comfortably in smaller outdoor areas, making them ideal for homes with limited yard space. Their compact nature also makes indoor installation feasible, ensuring year-round usage regardless of external weather conditions.
  • Diverse Location Options: Whether it’s above ground, in-ground, or partially above ground, swim spas cater to diverse installation preferences. This versatility is especially beneficial for homeowners looking to avoid extensive yard excavations or those without spacious backyards.
  • Fiberglass Advantage: Fiberglass swim spas have the edge when it comes to installation flexibility. Being lighter and more adaptable than traditional pools, they can be maneuvered into varied spots, ensuring a smoother installation process and minimal landscape disruptions.
  • Sturdy Platform Requirements: Although swim spas are compact, their weight, especially when filled, necessitates a robust platform. This guarantees stability and safety. A consultation with professionals ensures the chosen platform is supportive, eliminating any risks.

In essence, swim spas streamline the pool installation process. Their design and features make them a prime choice for those eyeing the allure of a pool without the associated complexities and extended installation times of traditional pools.

Increased Property Value

Adding a swim spa to your backyard can have a transformative effect, not only on your lifestyle but also on the value of your property. It’s like making an aesthetic investment that enhances the overall appeal and functionality of your outdoor space.

Swim spas are compact in size, making them a practical and space-efficient choice for homeowners. They can be seamlessly integrated into your backyard landscape, creating a stunning focal point that potential buyers will admire.

The customization potential of swim spas is another factor that adds value to your property. From different sizes and designs to various features and accessories, you can personalize your swim spa to perfectly match your preferences. This level of customization not only enhances its visual appeal but also makes it a unique selling point to potential buyers.

Cons of Owning a Swim Spa

While there are numerous benefits to owning a swim spa, it’s important to consider the potential drawbacks as well. These aren’t extensive, but it’s good to know about them.

Initial Cost

Swim spas offer an affordable option for those who want a pool-like experience but have a limited budget. While the installation costs for swim spas are generally much lower compared to traditional pools, the initial cost of purchasing a swim spa can still be significant.

Here are some ideas of swim spa costs:

  • The initial purchase price will be anywhere between $20,000-$40,000.
  • Installation can cost up to $5,000. This can be lower if a concrete pad or base is in place already or not needed.
  • A swim spa can use between 150-300 kW hours per month of electricity. That could be between $15-$30 depending on your price.
  • The chemicals and ongoing maintenance will add up to around $50 per month for chemicals, filters, and a small budget for any unplanned maintenance needs.

These are pretty realistic figures. As you plan your purchase, try to keep them in mind. Don’t let them give you too much sticker shock. The average price for an inground pool is about $20,000-$60,000 for a fiberglass pool. Annual maintenance can be $5,000-$15,000 per year.

Space-Saving, But Fewer Seats

Hey, if you’re short on space but still dreaming of a pool, a swim spa might be your ticket! They’re smaller, so they can fit in tiny yards or even inside your home. But here’s the thing:

  • Size Matters: Because they’re compact, you might not get as many seats as a regular pool. They’re designed with a spot to swim against the current in the middle and places to chill on the sides.
  • Balancing Act: Even though you get both swimming and relaxation areas, it might feel a bit cozier compared to a big pool. But hey, it’s a pool where there wasn’t one before, right?

Remember to think about where you’ll place it and ensure it’s got a solid foundation.

The Endless Swim Spot

Now, the swim space in a swim spa is definitely smaller than in traditional pools. But the cool part?

  • Endless Swimming: You can swim continuously against a current, so no more flipping around at the pool’s end every few strokes!
  • Compact but Effective: These spas might be smaller, but they still give you a solid workout and some excellent swim practice.

So if you’re a bit tight on space but want that swim experience, a swim spa is a solid choice.

A Note on Noise

So, there’s something you should know about swim spas. They can be a bit noisy. Here’s the lowdown:

  • What Makes the Noise?: The system that creates the swim current, the jets, and the filter – they can all make some noise. Some love the sound; others, not so much.
  • Silence is Golden: But don’t worry! There are ways to keep things quieter. Consider insulating your spa or using soundproofing materials around it. You’ll be surprised how much of a difference it can make!
  • Location, Location, Location: And hey, if you put it somewhere a bit out of the way, you’ll have fewer noise complaints from the neighbors and a more peaceful swim for yourself.

Possibility of Repairs

When it comes to repairs, swim spas have an advantage over traditional swimming pools. Thanks to their smaller size and simpler design, swim spas generally require fewer repairs. However, there are still some common issues that may arise.

Leaks can occur in the plumbing or shell of the swim spa, requiring repairs to prevent water loss. Parts may also need to be replaced over time, such as the swim current system or filtration components. It’s important to address any issues promptly to ensure the longevity and performance of your swim spa.

Regular maintenance and inspections can help identify and prevent potential repairs. Overall, while swim spas may require occasional repairs, their smaller size and simpler design make them a convenient and low-maintenance option compared to traditional swimming pools.

Is a Swim Spa Right for You?

Swim spas brilliantly blend the benefits of a swimming pool and a hot tub. They offer both fun and functionality in a compact package. Let’s have a quick recap, in a positive mood, of the the main reasons to choose a swim spa.

Budget and Financial Considerations

Thinking about the wallet? Swim spas, in many cases, are more affordable than in-ground pools. While the initial investment does include the cost of the spa and the setup, the good news is, over time, they cost less to maintain and run. With swim spas, you’re investing in a versatile spa experience that’s easy on the pocketbook in the long run.

Available Space and Location

Limited space? No problem! Swim spas are perfect for those smaller nooks in your yard or even for indoor spots. While they’re compact, they still offer a good balance of swim and relax zones. Just ensure you’ve got a sturdy base, and you’re good to go. Imagine having a pool experience without needing a massive yard!

Intended Use and Goals

Whether you’re looking to amp up your fitness game or just want a peaceful retreat, swim spas have got you covered. Athletes can enjoy a good workout swimming against the current. And if relaxation’s your thing, melt away daily stresses in the warm embrace of hydrotherapy jets.

Personal Preferences

Lastly, swim spas come tailored to tastes. They offer different styles to match your home’s aesthetic. And whether you’re into rigorous swimming sessions or more into the spa-like feel, there’s a swim spa that fits the bill. Just list down what matters most to you, and dive into the world of swim spas tailored to your desires.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Use a Swim Spa for Therapy?

Absolutely! Swim spas are fantastic for hydrotherapy. They not only help you unwind but are also great for easing those muscle aches. It’s like having your personal therapeutic retreat at home.

What is the Lifespan of a Swim Spa?

When you show your swim spa some love with regular care and maintenance, it loves you back! A good-quality swim spa can be your buddy for around 15 to 20 years.

Can Children Use Swim Spas?

Sure thing! Kids can have a blast in swim spas. However, always keep an eagle eye on them, especially if they’re little or just learning to swim. Safety first!

Are Swim Spas Easy to Maintain?

Indeed they are! While they do need a bit of TLC, sticking to a routine makes it a breeze. A little regular care goes a long way in keeping it sparkling.

Can I Install a Swim Spa Indoors?

You bet! An indoor swim spa is a dream. Just ensure you have good ventilation and plan for space and access. Then, you’re all set for year-round indoor splashes!


In conclusion, owning a swim spa comes with its pros and cons. Before making a decision, it’s important to consider your budget, available space, intended use, and personal preferences. A swim spa can be a significant investment, both in terms of upfront costs and ongoing maintenance. However, it offers the convenience of a versatile swimming and relaxation experience in your own backyard. If cost is a concern, you may also want to explore the option of a swim tether, which can provide a similar workout experience at a more affordable price. Ultimately, the choice between a swim spa and other pool options will depend on what you prioritize in terms of size, functionality, and budget. So take your time, research your options, and make an informed decision that best suits your needs.

About The Author:

Manny Brambila

Pool & Spa Expert

Manny has been in the Pool & Spa industry for over 15 years and is considered a pool, swim spa, & hot tub expert. He has been a Certified Pool & Spa Operator (CPO) since 2009 and worked 15 years in aquatic training and development for the largest pool chemical and customer care company. He also has been an outside consultant for the Pool and Spa industry in Chicago, New York and Los Angeles since 2018. In the past few years Manny has become Director of Operations for Epic Hot Tubs with a priority of providing customers with the most reliable information and best service possible.