Swim Spa Buyers Guide - Part 1 - Learning about Swim Spas
When a customer visits our showroom for the first time, one of the most frequent questions is ‘what are those, they look like a giant hot tub!?’ They’re of course referring to our swim spas, and they’re not wrong. Swim spas do have an outer appearance like a hot tub, and even have jetted seating, so it’s no wonder people would think that. But swim spas, while sharing some characteristics of a hot tub are a vastly different animal all-around.
Q. So, if they aren’t giant hot tubs, what really are swim spas?
A. Swim spas are first and foremost made for swimming. Using jets and current created from pumps, swim spas generate a steady stream of water for you to swim against. This current can be a slow push for doing water aerobic activities, or a strong swimming current, able to keep up with Olympic athletes in some cases.
Q. What can you do in a swim spa?
A. Simply put, a lot! Swim spas are a very versatile addition to any home or backyard. That’s why they have become so popular. Here are just some of the activities and uses of a swim spa:
- Swimming of course!
- Plunge pool. Swim spas are a wonderful way for a family to cool off and entertain guests.
- Low-impact exercises. Buoyancy has many advantages including helping reduce the impact of exercising on your joints. There are many video series out there that create classes for how to do activities like yoga, box fit, aqua aerobics, physical training, cross fit, and even prenatal exercises in your swim spa.
- Family Fun: That current jet isn’t just for swimming and exercise. You can turn your swim spa into your own waterpark ride, by using a tether and boogey board to create a mini wave park.
- Massage: Many swim spas will have jetted seats, for a nice massage while you relax.
Q. What are the advantages to buying a swim spa over a pool?
A. Swim spas’ popularity have grown dramatically over the last decade, due to the versatility of the product. Here are some of the common reasons why people would choose to go with a swim spa:
- A smaller footprint than a traditional pool. Most swim spas range in size from 12’-19’ in length and 8’ in width. Compared to a pool, this takes up a lot less area, especially in smaller sub-division lots.
- A longer season. While most Canadian pool seasons would max-out at 5-6 months, that’s with a pool heater, swim spas typically have an 8–12 month season. Yes, that’s right, you can swim all year long!
- Costs to operate. It’s a smaller body of water to treat compared to a pool, as most swim spas are around 10,000L compared to 50,000-100,000L for above and inground pools.
- Less maintenance: Again, the smaller footprint of a swim spa means there’s less to maintain and keep clean compared to a pool.
Q. Where do they fall-short of a pool?
A. While they do a lot well, there are some limitations to going to a swim spa over a pool. It mainly deals with the unit size. Because a swim spa cannot be much wider than 8’ (think shipping,) you do not have the same kind of area to “play” as you would in a typical pool installation. Activities like pool basketball/volleyball, swimming laps and diving just are not possible in a swim spa. There is also something to be said for the focal point created when you have a fully renovated pool and deck, creating your very own backyard resort.
Q. I see the swim spa has jetted seating, so what is the difference with a hot tub?
A. Here, it all comes down to temperature. Swim spas are traditionally kept at a similar temperature to a heated pool, which is 80-90 F. To get the benefits of a hot tub, you really need warmer temperatures above body temperature.
Do not be discouraged though, as some crafty engineer came up with a solution that gives you the best of both worlds. The dual-tank swim spa. These units have a swim area on one side of the unit and a hot tub on the other. Each tank is kept at different temperatures so you can enjoy 104F on the hot tub side, and 85F in the swim tank.
Q. They must cost a fortune.
A. As with anything, there is a price tag and swim spas are indeed a luxury good and a significant investment. However, that does not mean that they are unaffordable. For instance, if you were to compare the cost of installing a swim spa to installing an above ground pool and decking all the way around it, they would likely be similar. Compared to inground construction, swim spas run about half the cost of a typical project.
Typical price range for a swim spa is $27,500 - $55,000. Doing a concrete pad and incorporating electrical costs, you would be around $5,000 additional for a normal setup.
Up next, part-two “What to look for when buying a swim spa.”