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What is a swim spa? (Features, comparisons, and more)

October 27, 2022

Estimated read time - 10.5 minutes

Author - Annabella Garwood – Content Manager UK, Jacuzzi Group

Shopping around for swim spas in the UK or simply asking yourself ‘what is a swim spa’ and ‘how much is a swim spa?’ Perhaps you’re wondering how much value for money you would gain from owning and using one at home?

If you look at a traditional swimming pool, you'll be aware that yes they come in a variety of shapes, sizes and can be considered an ultimate way to cool down, relax and have fun.

However, to tick these boxes year-round, chances are you’ll need to dedicate time to regularly maintain the pool, a consistent warm climate and of course, money.

Jacuzzi® PowerActive swim spa

That’s where swim spas offer a point of difference. They combine some of the best features found in a hot tub and a swimming pool.

After reading this article, you should have a clearer idea of the main features you’ll find in a swim spa, what a swim spa can offer and how swim spas compare to other products such as hot tubs and swimming pools. This will help you work out if a swim spa could be an ideal option for you.

Disclaimer: In this article, we’ve used brand names not affiliated with Jacuzzi Group. You can see the list of the brand owners at the bottom of this article. All information, including pricing and product details, was accurate at the time of writing (26th October, 2022) and may change without notice.

What is a swim spa? 

A swim spa is a hybrid of common features found in a swimming pool and hot tub.

Like a swimming pool, a swim spa has a typical rectangular shape so you can perform different swimming strokes such as freestyle, backstroke or breaststroke.

Using the swim spa jets, the swim current can be set to varying levels of resistance, allowing you to set your own limits.

While swim spas allow you to splash around and swim to increase fitness levels, swim spas can also help you relax, just like you would in a hot tub. 

Depending on the swim spa brand and model, you will generally find the seats have specifically placed jets to offer varying levels and types of hydrotherapy. Some seats may offer a simple hydromassage to the back while others will target neck, shoulder and back massage in the one seat. 

All in all, a swim spa is a versatile and multifunctional wellness product that can be enjoyed by people of all ages.


What size is a swim spa?

Swim spas are large products and are available in a variety of sizes.

In most cases, swim spas will be larger than a hot tub and similar or smaller in size than a rectangular shaped swimming pool. 

Depending on what you’re looking for, swim spas can range in length from 12 feet to around 20 feet. 

Some swim spas also have a depth option too. You can learn more about the depth of swim spas further down this article. This could be an important feature to consider if you’re short, tall or have younger children.

The options available to you will depend on the swim spa brand and the models within the range.  

Click the button below to learn about the dimensions available on Jacuzzi® Swim Spas. 

swim spa hot tub Adam Peaty install

What is the difference between a swim spa and a hot tub?

A swim spa is larger than a hot tub and is manufactured in a rectangular shape rather than the common square shape for a hot tub. 

A swim spa also has a deep, open floor to allow ease of movement and provide space for a stable swim current.

Although swim spas feature hydrotherapy seating like hot tubs, they are more renowned for what their name implies - swimming and aqua fitness. If you’re looking for the best of both worlds, a dual zone swim spa will provide you with a separate area to enjoy hot tub hydrotherapy

What is a dual-zone swim spa?

As the name suggests, a dual zone swim spa is two spa types in one. It features a swimming zone, and a spa zone. You can even change the water temperature between both areas too.

A dual zone swim spa is likely to be at the greater end of swim spa lengths - up to around 20 feet. A swim spa of this nature will provide a greater variety of hydromassage seating, and more privacy with a barrier between both zones.

What is an Endless Pool®? 

Endless Pools® look similar to a swim spa at first glance and are a pool designed for carrying out different types of aqua fitness.

According to their website, this includes aqua jogging on a treadmill, an aqua bike and using a range of accessories that aid the training for other sports.

Can you swim properly in a swim spa?

Yes, you can swim properly in a swim spa that’s designed for training. 

Depending on brand and model, some swim spas will give you the ability to swim, unaided, against the jet current. This comes down to the quality, quantity and placement of the swim jets that help keep your body elevated in the correct position for swimming. 

Other swim spas, particularly entry-level swim spas, will require the use of a swimming tether or other relevant accessories so you can swim properly.

The consistent current produced in a training-style swim spa also means you don’t need to stop at the spa edge and turn around frequently, like you may do in an average-size swimming pool at home.

To learn more about the Jacuzzi® Swim Spas that are ideal for swimming training, click the link below.

Ada Peaty swimming swim spa

Do swim spas get hot like a hot tub?

Yes, a swim spa can reach temperatures that are similar to hot tubs, of around 40 degrees. However it is highly unlikely that you would want to set a swim spa to that temperature. 

The ideal water temperature for swimming is 29 degrees. For those who want to splash around and relax, 30-32 degrees is an ideal temperature to set the water to. 

Can you use a swim spa during winter?

Absolutely! A swim spa can be a year-round product, including in winter, as long as you have the right insulation type, swim spa cover and the correct heater that’s able to heat the water to your desired temperature in your area. 

The greater the kWh that a heater produces, the greater its ability to keep the temperature warm in colder weather.

Can you use a swim spa in winter

How much does a swim spa cost in the UK?

Swim spas in the UK range from around £10,000 to up to £50,000 for brand new ones. Refurbished and second-hand swim spas are available from some dealers. Swim spas vary in cost, but you get what you pay for, with quality of materials, length and additional features affecting the price. 

How much does it cost to run a swim spa?

Defining swim spa running costs is challenging because it depends on a number of factors including 

-How often you use the swim spa 

-Quality of hot tub cover and its ability to lock in heat from the water

-Quality and type of insulation installed

-Quality of heating and filtration systems

-What temperature you set the water to

-Ambient temperature 


Jacuzzi® Swim Spas have an average energy output of 20kWh a day.

This is based on 5 hours a week of use, an average temperature of 30.5 degrees and an average air temperature of 15.5 degrees. 

It will cost more in the winter and less in the summer to heat the water, based on changes with ambient temperature. 

Source – This information is based on CEC (California Energy Commission) testing data from 2019. 

Are swim spas energy efficient?

If you want to swim in your back garden, a swim spa can be the most efficient option if you’re also tossing up the idea of installing a swimming pool.

In comparison to a swimming pool, a swim spa is more energy efficient, and you will gain year-round use.


The level of efficiency a swim spa will provide and savings to your energy bills will come down to the quality of:

-Build and materials

-Insulation used

-Filtration system

-Type of heaters

A good quality swim spa can be a highly efficient way to achieve having a pool that you can swim, play and relax in, without leaving your property. 

swim spa energy efficiency

How deep is a swim spa?

Swim spa dimensions vary across brands, and this includes depth too. 

You will typically find swim spa depths range between 3.5 feet and 5 feet. Some brands and models will offer a standard or extra deep option. 

This is an important feature to keep in mind if you are short, tall or prefer a greater depth for swimming and entertaining.

How long does a swim spa last?

Like any investment, if it’s made from quality materials and looked after well, it can last a long time.

Similar to a hot tub, a swim spa can have a lifetime of 20 years or more if care is taken to keep it in great working condition. The lifetime of a swim spa comes down to a number of key factors - 

-Quality of materials

Can the frame, shell and plumbing deal with different weather conditions and hot chemically treated water?

-Quality of swim spa cover 

Protects swim spa and helps retain water temperature.


Are you provided with clear instructions on how to maintain the swim spa from daily, weekly, monthly, yearly?


How long are the warranties for components such as the swim spa shell and frame? Features like this are hard to replace.

The longer the warranty (as long as it’s not longer than the company has been in business), the more confidence you can have in the components doing their job for many years to come.

Although you should stick to the recommended maintenance and water care guidelines, you will also enjoy a swim spa for a longer period of time if you buy from a brand that has a solid reputation, great warranties and reliable customer service.

Are swim spas hard to maintain?

Just like owning and looking after a car, maintenance is a necessary part of keeping your swim spa working at its best so you can enjoy it as intended.

This doesn’t mean it’s hard to maintain a swim spa.

In many cases, keeping a few important points in mind will go a long way to making swim spa maintenance easy. 

A higher quality swim spa is more likely to feature filtration and water care systems that are simple and reliable. This means you will spend less time maintaining the swim spa, and it will last longer too.

You can also make swim spa maintenance easier for you by sticking to good swim spa ownership habits that will help keep the filters clear.

These habits include avoiding the use of sunscreen, creams and oils on your body before entering the swim spa.


Can a swim spa be installed in-ground?

Yes, a swim spa can be installed in-ground. An in-ground installation can act as a focal point or be designed to blend into the landscaped area.

In-ground installations do come with additional costs. We recommend you have a chat with a sales consultant about what requirements you need to be aware of if you want to pursue this option. Click here to view our Install Inspiration Gallery.


Can you walk in a swim spa?

Yes, you can do aqua walking in a swim spa. The swimming area has a flat surface and should be deep enough that you can walk in the water without touching the bottom of the swim spa.

You can also purchase aerobics equipment for your swim spa, allowing you to perform aquatic exercises with the water acting as a great resistance tool. 

Many swim spas have been designed with steps which allows you to descend into the swim spa safely and easily. Additional accessories like exterior steps and a handrail can make accessibility easier.

If height is a concern for you or those using the swim spa, ensure you dry test walking in the swim spa so everyone can see if they can use it comfortably. 


After reading this article you should have a clearer idea of what a swim spa is, how a swim spa compares to a pool and hot tub and all the main considerations to keep in mind as you shop around for different options.

If you’re looking for versatility, simplicity, the ability to save on running costs, strengthen your body with aqua fitness, use at any time of the year and soak up the benefits of hydrotherapy, a swim spa could be an ideal option for you. 

However, if size, performing lane swimming (similar to being in a public pool), design and perhaps you’re only planning to swim or splash around in the warmer months, then a swimming pool could be a better option.

If you prefer to sit back and relax in heated water and in a smaller space, then a hot tub may be a better product to explore.

Interested in learning more about Jacuzzi® Swim Spas? Wondering if one of the models in our three collections is right for you? We recommend that you read this in-depth review article that covers Jacuzzi® Swim Spa costs, features, benefits, considerations and more.

You can also download our Swim Spa Buyer's Guide.

Disclaimer: The following registered trademarks are owned by companies not affiliated in any way with Jacuzzi Group.

Endless Pools® is a trademark owned by Wellness Marketing Corporation.

Affiliations: Jacuzzi® is a registered trademark of Jacuzzi Group. All rights reserved.