WHAT IS A SWIM SPA? (FEATURES, COMPARISONS, AND MORE)
10 Minute Read
If you’re thinking about purchasing a hot tub, swimming pool or swim spa, there are many things
to consider and variables for each decision. Whether you have already made the decision or still
need some information about each, this article can help provide answers to questions you may
have to help you make the best purchase for your needs.
Most people know the basics of a hot tub or swimming pool, but what about a swim spa? If you
are considering a swim spa but want to learn more about their features and how much value for
your investment you might gain from a purchase of one at your home, this article can help.
A swimming pool can be purchased or designed in a variety of shapes and sizes and is as an
excellent way to cool off, relax and have fun right in your own backyard. However, time and
money are required to properly maintain the pool year-round, particularly in warm weather
Perhaps a swim spa would be a better option. A swim spa can serve as an alternative than
combines the best features of a hot tub and a swimming pool.
Read on to learn more about 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. Armed with this knowledge, you can make the best decision for your needs.
WHAT IS A SWIM SPA?
Just as its name implies, a swim spa is a hybrid of common features found in a swimming pool
and a hot tub. Like many swimming pools, a swim spa has a typical rectangular shape designed
for you to perform different swimming strokes such as the backstroke, breaststroke or freestyle.
Using the swim spa jets, the swim current can be set to varying levels of resistance, allowing
you to set your own limits or challenge your fitness swim.
Swim spas allow you to swim to increase your fitness, splash around for fun, and they can also
help you relax, much like you would in a hot tub.
Depending on the brand or model, you will typically find that the seats in a swim spa have specifically placed jets that offer varying levels and types of hydrotherapy. Some seats may offer a simple hydromassage for the back while others might target neck, shoulder and back massage in one seat.
Overall, a swim spa is a versatile and multifunctional product that the entire family can enjoy
WHAT SIZE IS A SWIM SPA?
The space you have to accommodate either a swimming pool, hot tub or swim spa is another
factor to take in consideration in the decision-making process.
Swim spas are available in a variety of sizes. Typically, a swim spa is larger than a hot tub and
similar in size or smaller than a rectangular swimming pool. Depending on what you’re needs
are, swim spas can range from 12 feet to approximately 20 feet in length.
Some swim spas also have a depth option as well. Height may factor into this decision as well
as if you have small children. We’ll delve further into the depth of a swim spa further in the
Overall, the options available to you will depend on the swim spa brand and the models within
Click below to learn more about the dimensions available on Jacuzzi® Swim Spas.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A SWIM SPA AND A HOT TUB?
After covering the differences and similarities of a swimming pool and a swim spa, now we’ll
compare a swim spa with a hot tub. A swim spa is larger than a hot tub and manufactured in a
rectangular shape versus the typical square shape of a hot tub. A swim spa also features a
deep, open floor that allows ease of movement and provides space for a stable swim current.
Much like hot tubs, swim spas do feature hydrotherapy seating. However, they are more
renowned for their swimming and aqua fitness features, as the name implies. If you’re looking to
incorporate more of the traditional hot tub features in your swim spa, a dual-zone swim spa
features a separate area in which you can enjoy hot tub style hydrotherapy.
WHAT IS A DUAL-ZONE SWIM SPA?
A dual-zone swim spa really combines the best of both worlds and could almost be considered
two spa types in one. It features a swimming zone and a spa zone. You can even opt for different water temperatures in the two areas.
A dual-zone swim spa will typically be on the larger end of the swim spa length options, around
20 feet. It can provide a greater variety of hydromassage seating as well as more privacy, with a
barrier between the two zones.
CAN YOU SWIM PROPERLY IN A SWIM SPA?
The short answer is yes you can swim properly in a swim spa that is designed for training.
Depending on the brand and model, swim spas can provide the option to swim unaided against
the jet current. This is dependent on the quality, quantity, and placement of the swim jets, which
help keep your body elevated and in the correct position for swimming.
Other brands and models, particularly entry-level swim spa, may require the use of a swimming
tether or other accessories the assist in swimming properly.
The consistent current produced in a training-style swim spa eliminates the need to stop at the
edge and turn around frequently, as you would need to do in an average size swimming pool at
To learn more about the Jacuzzi Swim Spas that are designed for training, click the link below:
DO SWIM SPAS GET HOT LIKE A HOT TUB?
A swim spa can reach temperatures equivalent to a hot tub and up to 104 degrees F. However,
it is unlike you would want to set your swim spa water to that temperature.
The ideal temperature of the water for swimming is about 84.5 degrees F. For those that simply
want to splash around and relax in their swim spa, set the water between a range of 86 and 88
CAN YOU USE A SWIM SPA DURING THE WINTER?
You can absolutely use a swim spa in the winter or any season. One of the pros of a swim spa
is that is can be used year-round as long as you have the right insultation type, a swim spa
cover when it not in use, and the proper heater than can heat the water to your desired
temperature in your area.
This will come down to the kWh (kilowatt-hour) that the heater produces. The higher the kWh,
the greater its ability to keep the water temperature warm despite cold weather.
WHAT IS THE AVERAGE COST OF A SWIM SPA?
Brand new swim spas greatly range in price anywhere starting at round $17,000 and reaching
up to $40,000 or more. You may also be able to find a refurbished swim spa from select
dealers. On average, you can expect to spend around $5,000 to $10,000 to have a new swim
spa installed in your backyard. Costs vary; however, remember the adage you get what you pay
for. Quality matters and length of the swim spa as well as additional features will also impact the
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO RUN A SWIM SPA?
The exact cost of running a swim spa can be difficult to pinpoint because there are several
factors to take into consideration including:
- How often you use your swim spa
- Quality of the hot tub cover and its ability to lock in and retain heat
- Quality and type of insulation installed
- Quality of heating and filtration systems
- What temperature you set the water to
- Ambient temperature
Jacuzzi® Swim Spas average an energy output of approximately 20kWh per day. This number
is based on six hours of use per week, an average water temperature of about 87 degrees F
and average air temperature of nearly 60 degrees F.
It will likely cost more in the winter and less in the summer to heat the water in your swim spa,
based on changes in ambient temperature.
ARE SWIM SPAS ENERGY EFFICIENT?
If your goal is to swim in your backyard, a swim spa can still be your most efficient option as
compared to a traditional swimming pool.
A swim spa is more energy efficient than a swimming pool and you can enjoy it all year round.
The level of efficiency your swim spa can provide and savings to your energy bills are
dependent on the quality of the following:
- Build and materials
- Insulation used
- Filtration system
- Type of heater
A high-quality swim spa, where you can swim, play and relax, can be an excellent alternative to
a swimming pool.
HOW DEEP IS A SWIM SPA?
The dimensions and depth of a swim spa depends on the brand and model. The average depth
of a swim spa ranges between 3.5 feet and 5 feet. Some brands and models offer a standard
and extra-deep option.
This is important depending on your height (very tall or very short) or if you prefer a greater
depth for swimming and entertaining.
HOW LONG WILL A SWIM SPA LAST?
Just as with any long-term investment, the product will withstand the test of time if it is made
from high-quality materials and is well maintained by its owner.
Much like hot tubs, swim spas can have a general lifespan of about 20 years or even more
when taken care of properly to ensure it stays in great working condition. The lifespan of a swim
spa is also dependent on several key factors including:
- Quality of materials. It is important to determine whether the frame, shell and plumbing handle varying weather conditions and hot, chemically treated water.
- Quality of the swim spa cover. This accessory is a must for protecting the swim spa and retaining water temperature.
- Maintenance. Your swim spa should come with clear instructions on how to maintain it on a daily, weekly, monthly and yearly basis.
- Warranty. When considering a swim spa, you may want to check how long the warranties are for components such as the swim spa shell and frame. Features like this can be complicated and costly to replace. The longer the warranty, the more confidence you can have in the components doing their job for many years to come.
In general, a swim spa should last between 5 and 20 years. You can elongate this time frame by
caring for your swim spa properly and following the recommended maintenance and water care
guidelines. You can also enjoy your swim spa for a longer period if you buy a quality model from
a reputable brand that has a solid reputation, excellent warranties and reliable customer service.
ARE SWIM SPAS HARD TO MAINTAIN?
Maintenance is a necessary part of any ownership — from a car to a home to a swim spa. To
keep your swim spa working efficiently so you can enjoy it for many years to come, a little
maintenance is involved. However, it is not difficult to care for a swim spa. It’s also important to
keep in mind that your initial investment may determine how much maintenance your swim spa
requires from you. For example, a higher quality swim spa is more likely to feature filtration and
water care systems that are simple and reliable. The better the filtration and water care
systems, the less time you will spend maintaining your swim spa and it will likely last longer, too.
Swim spa care is easier the better you are at maintaining good ownership habits to keep the
filters clean. For example, something as simple as not applying sunscreen, creams and oils
before entering the swim spa can help maintain 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 incur additional costs
and we recommend speaking with a sales consultant about what requirements you should know
about if you want to pursue this option.
CAN YOU WALK IN A SWIM SPA?
You can certainly enjoy 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. You can
also purchase cardio equipment for the swim spa that can allow you to perform aquatic
exercises with the added benefit of water resistance.
Many swim spas have been designed with steps that allow you to descend into it safely and
easily. Additional accessories such as exterior steps and handrails can allow for easier
If height is a concern for you or those who will be using the swim spa, it’s important to do a dry
test walking in the swim spa to ensure everyone can use it comfortably.
Based on the information we’ve shared in this article, you should have a better idea of what a
swim spa is, how it compares to a swimming pool or hot tub as well as the main factors to
consider when shopping for swim spas.
If you’re looking versatility, simplicity, the ability to save on running costs, aqua fitness, year-
round access and benefits of hydrotherapy, a swim spa encompasses all these things.
If a custom size and shape, public pool-style performance-lane swimming, and summer-only
use is preferred, a traditional in-ground swimming pool might be best for you. If simply sitting
back, relaxing and soaking in heated water is your main goal, a hot tub might be the way to go.
About The Author: Erica Moir
Vice President of Designs and Advanced Technologies, Jacuzzi Group
Erica Moir has been with Jacuzzi Group for more than 22 years, working in both the Spa and Bath business... Read Full Bio
The latest powerful swim current technology and the historic performance of Jacuzzi® PowerPro® jets combine to deliver the perfect swim, year-round.