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Swim spa vs swimming pool (Differences, running costs, considerations and more)

June 12, 2023 - Estimated read time - 9 minutes

Author – Fin Green - Content Creator UK, Jacuzzi Group 

Are you thinking about creating a swimming oasis on your property?  

Traditional swimming pools and swim spas are two popular choices on the market. They give you the ability to cool off and exercise during the hot summer months. While they have their own unique benefits, they each have their drawbacks too. 

In this article, you’ll get a really clear idea about the differences between swim spas and pools. This will help you decide which product could be best for you.  

Swim spa on deck in sun in england

What is a Swim Spa?  

 A swim spa is a combination of a swimming pool and a hot tub. It is large enough to swim around in, (like a small pool) and comes with hydrotherapy jets and seating. You can also adjust the temperature to suit the season.  

A swim spa is fitted with swim jets that you swim against. You can also use them to play with or to carry out aqua fitness exercises. There's also elements of a hot tub that you'll find in swim spas too, such as hydrotherapy jets and seating (mentioned above) and temperature control.

Swim spas come in a range of sizes and styles so you can choose one that suits your needs and budget. It’s highly likely that you’ll be able to find one that ticks all your boxes in the UK market.  

To learn more about the common questions people have about swim spas, read this article.  

Pros of swim spas  

Swim spas are becoming a popular alternative to traditional pools. Here’s some of the general benefits you’ll get from owning a swim spa:  

  • Space efficient - Swim spas don't require a lot of space. Most swim spa brands offer a range of sizes from a small swim spa to larger options. 
  • Year-round use - Feel comfortable using the water at any time of year. Maximise the use you get from the swim spa.  
  • Hydrotherapy - Many swim spas come with some hydrotherapy jets, that you'll also find on hot tubs. 
  • Installation options - Swim spas can be installed both indoors and outdoors. This means you have some flexibility when it comes to choosing a location that works best for you.  
  • Technology - Swim spas, like any product, are regularly updated to include latest technology features and accessories. These include remote-control apps, fitness training programmes, optical display goggles and more.  
  • Ease of swim - A big pro is that you can actually swim in them. Unless you have an Olympic size pool in your garden, you will find yourself turning around a lot while doing laps.  

Cons of swim spas  

  • Design limitations May not be as pleasing to the eye as a custom-designed small swimming pool. It's important to note that swim spas do come in a range of shell, cabinet and cover options. 
  • Cover options You can purchase a standard cover, rollaway cover or summer cover for most swim spas. While covers are a necessity, they can be difficult to take on and off. A quality cover option with better ease of use is more likely to cost more too.  

Still wondering is a swim spa is worth the investment? Learn more by reading this useful article. It delves further into pros, cons and what you should look for in a quality option. 

Swim spa vs swimming pool - Quick review from Adam Peaty OBE

What is a Swimming Pool?   

A swimming pool is a body of water designed specifically for swimming and other aquatic activities. They are typically found in public use areas, but they can also be installed indoors or outdoors.

Swimming pools vary in shapes, sizes and designs. They range from small above-ground pools to large in-ground pools. 

These larger pools often include diving boards, slides and water features. They offer many benefits, such as exercise, relaxation, and entertainment. A swimming pool can also be a great design feature for your property.  


Pros of a swimming pool  

Here’s some of the benefits you can gain from owning a swimming pool:  

  • Heath benefits - Swimming is also a great cardiovascular exercise which can help you maintain a healthy lifestyle. Unlike running, swimming is low-impact and puts less strain on your joints. This makes it a great option for those with injuries or chronic pain.  
  • Possibly increase the resale value of your home - Most pools are permanent to a home. A pool with a gazebo, summer house, greenery and other attractive furnishings has the potential to increase the resale value of your home.  
  • Private swimming experience - Allows you to swim and exercise at your leisure, in the privacy of your own home.   

Cons of a swimming pool  

  • Limited use - Mostly made for seasonal summer use and rarely used in winter. This is due to weather and cost of use, especially in the UK where temperatures are low during the winter months.  
  • Safety concerns - They can be a safety risk, especially for young children, if there is nothing to stop them from falling into the water. 
  • Large initial investment - Swimming pool installations cost a lot more than swim spas. An inbuilt one will need to be landscaped into the ground.  
  • Limited length - If you're trying to do some lane swimming, you will regularly be stopping to turn around. 
  • Maintenance - The time and costs in maintaining a swimming pool can be known to be rather high. They usually require third party maintenance which can be pricey. 
Swim spa on deck in clouds and countryside

What are the purchase and installation costs for a swim spa and swimming pool?  

The cost to buy and run a swim spa or swimming pool could be on your mind. 

It’s hard to provide you with a defined answer because there are many factors involved. This includes – brand, installation requirements in your location, customisations, landscaping and more.  

However, you will find the cost to purchase and install a swim spa can range from approximately £20,000-£40,000.  

The cost to purchase and install a swimming pool can cost between £50,000 - £150,000+. This huge price difference is due to the amount of extra planning and labour that goes into building a pool. 

What are the running costs for a swim spa vs swimming pool?  

The running costs of both a swim spa and swimming pool can vary depending on factors such as:  

  • The size of product  
  • How much you use it   
  • Location (indoors or outdoors)  
  • Electricity cost  
  • Heating method  
  • Desired temperature of product  
  • Types of Insulation  

According to the Swimming Pool and Allied Trades Association (SPATA), a swim spa costs approximately £6-8 a day to run in terms of an energy price, whereas an outdoor swimming pool would be £10-15 in energy.  

This may seem like a huge difference but remember that swim spas are essentially compact swimming pools that are designed to retain heat and run all year long.  

It's important to note that there are other running cost factors to consider within both products, such as maintenance, third party cleaning, chemicals and more.   

Headrest on a Jacuzzi Hot Tub

How is a swimming pool better than a swim spa?  

Even though swim spas are new and have a few more features than swimming pools, they will not be for everyone.  

Traditional swimming pools may still be a more desirable option for some people's homes and lifestyles. Some of these reasons include -   

  • Space and depth - Swimming pools can be much larger, deeper, and more versatile than swim spas. This makes them ideal for a variety of activities, such as diving, laps, and water polo.  
  • Aesthetics - Traditional swimming pools are often considered more aesthetically pleasing and may add to the resale value of a property.  
  • Social aspect - Swimming pools are often used for social gatherings and events. This can make them a great option for people who like to entertain guests and spend time with family and friends.  

Can you do the same things in a swim spa and a swimming pool?  

There are many activities and benefits that you can gain from using a swim spa or swimming pool.  

In this next section, we’ll take a closer look at how both products compare against each other, and which one we think in fairness comes out on top. 


A swim spa with seating can provide hydromassage through the seats’ jets. A swimming pool cannot provide any hydromassage as they don’t typically have seating, swim and hydrotherapy jets built in them.  

Our winner - Swim Spa. Swimming pools are unable to provide hydromassage benefits 

Relaxation in a swim spa or pool  

Yes, both swimming pools and swim spas can provide relaxation. Although they have different features and benefits. They're both great for relaxation and reducing stress.  

Our Winner - Swim Spa. The seating element, and the hydrotherapy properties of the jets within them can provide a relaxing massage.

Freestyle swimming in a swim spa

Swimming in a swim spa or pool  

Of course, you can swim in both a ‘swimming pool and a ‘swim’ spa, but the experience will be different.

Swim spas are known for their resistance jets for high intensity training. Swimming pools are generally larger, great for recreation and low impact training.  

Our winner - Swim Spa. If you're weighing up your options and wanting to gain swimming strength, a swim spa would be our winner. You can customise the swim resistance to your ability, and you have the chance to build it up.  

Exercise in a swim spa or pool  

Exercise in a swim spa can be more intense than a swimming pool, due to the resistance of the jets you swim against.

You can add a tether, adjust the speed and intensity of your work out. In a lot of swim spas, you can purchase fitness kits, water-based work out equipment, water bikes and more. 

On the other hand, swimming pools are good for physical laps and both products are great for aerobic exercise.   

Our Winner - Swimming Pools. There is usually more space in most swimming pools than swim spas (especially those that are designed for swimming in). This creates more opportunities in different kinds of aerobic exercise, especially if more equipment is needed.  

Teach kids to swim in a swim spa or pool  

Children can be taught to swim in both a swim spa and a swimming pool. Swimming pools usually have different depths, whereas swim spas have an adjustable jet.  

Both products are customisable in different ways to accommodate different levels of ability.  

Our winner - Tied. If it's not broke, don’t fix it! Swimming pools are a great, safe and easy way to teach children how to swim. They have different depth levels and don’t have jets which may overwhelm them. 


Swim spas can also be a great starting point for children. They are deep enough for a child to feel like they are in a swimming pool, and the addition of customisable resistant jets can help a child advance their skills in their own time. The temperature can also be set and adjusted quickly in a swim spa to suit children's preferences.  

Swim spa in an english country setting

Ease of use entering and exiting pool  

It may come as a surprise, but swim spa and swimming pool covers are quite different to handle, as well as their ways to enter and exit.  

Our winner: Swimming Pools. Swimming pools are typically larger than swim spas. This means they may have larger covers which have easier mechanisms (e.g. automatic) to take on and off.


Swim spas on the other hand typically have manual cover which may be harder to manoeuvre.  

Steps can be more practical in swimming pools than swim spas. That's because a lot of built-in swimming pools have sturdy built in steps so you can walk down into it. Swim spas, you may have to ‘go up to come down’ by entering up then down via two sets of steps.


When it comes to deciding between a swim spa and a pool, it's essential to consider your lifestyle, preferences, and budget.

Swim spas offer the best of both worlds, providing a relaxing and therapeutic spa experience, as well as a swimming area for exercise.   

Pools, on the other hand, are a classic option that provides ample space for family fun and exercise. Ultimately, the choice between a swim spa and pool depends on your unique needs and interests.   

If you’re looking for:  

  • Seating and hydrotherapy in between your swim  
  • Intensity swim training  
  • A year-round product  
  • Fitness Technology  

A swim spa will be a great option for you.  

If you want:  

  • A larger space for summer fun  
  • Traditional space to learn how to swim  
  • Seasonal use  
  • Potentially increase the value of your home  

It may be better to consider a swimming pool.  

Price may be a deciding factor for some. If your budget is less than £50,000, a swim spa is likely to be the best option.

We hope this article has provided you with valuable insights that will help you make an informed decision. With whichever option you choose, we wish you many happy hours of swimming and relaxation in your indoor or outdoor oasis!   

Interested in learning more about our range of swim spas? Learn more about the Jacuzzi® Swim Spas we offer across our three collections.