Swim Spas vs Swimming Pools: Are They Worth It?

Swimming and water aerobics are safe and effective ways to lose weight and maintain strength and agility, but not everyone has time to go to the beach or the pool. In fact, many consumers are now deciding to try an at-home approach when it comes to overall health and fitness.

Among the many decisions that need to be made, the first should be whether a swim spa will best meet your needs, or if a conventional swimming pool is a better fit. If you are wondering just what a swim spa is, read through this quick guide regarding the uses and benefits of a swim spa versus a swimming pool.

What Is a Swim Spa?

A swim spa is smaller than a regular swimming pool. At one end, a current is generated that you can swim against for exercise or rehabilitation. You regulate the current strength according to your needs and ability. The current can also be used for resistance training, and is an excellent way to recover after an injury or to help alleviate pain. When the current is not turned on, your swim spa can be used as a regular pool or for a relaxing soak.

swimming pool or swim spa
Photo Credit: Jacob Ammentorp Lund

Primary Use

If you envision poolside barbecues with lots of people playing or lounging in the pool, then a swim spa is probably not the right choice for you. However, if your vision includes exercise or rehabilitation, a swim spa may be just what you are looking for and the swim spa cost may fit nicely into your budget.

In a swim spa, you can enjoy exercises like:

  • Swimming against current
  • Rowing
  • Strength training
  • Stretches
  • Walking

Swim spas are an excellent low-impact mode of rehabilitation for health issues such as:

  • Back problems
  • Arthritis
  • Joint pain
  • Injury recovery
  • Fibromyalgia

Are Swim Spas Worth It?


Both swimming pools and swim spas are wonderful additions to any household. Check out some of the benefits that a swim spa has over a swimming pool:

  • Fit in small yards or even on a reinforced deck
  • Smaller size means less cleaning
  • Swim spa cost for heating is lower
  • Swim spa cost to install is less than a pool (as opposed to an in-ground pool)
  • Installation time is much less for a spa (approximately 3 days versus 7-14 for a pool)
  • Offers versatility for exercise, rehabilitation, swimming, or use as a spa/hot tub
  • Hard cover for added safety
  • Can swim distance without having to go back and forth

Types of Swim Spas

There are a variety of swim spas available, but the four most common types are:

  1. Molded Shell: Great for placing on decks. It comes in one piece, so you need to make sure you have clearance to get it into the desired spot.
  2. “Portable”: These spas are free-standing, so you can move them to different spots in your yard or deck (or even the interiors of your home), and you can also take it with you if you move. They are easy to install, but not as durable.
  3. Component-designed: These spas are delivered as parts and put together on-site. They work better if you want an interior swim spa that has tight space for getting materials in and out of the home.
  4. Fast Lane Jet: This can be used to retrofit an existing pool or can be installed in a new construction home. The retrofit comes as a deck-mounted drop-in or as a side-mounted unit, but the side-mounted units are not highly recommended. You can cause more damage to your pool than it is worth. If you choose a side-mounted unit, make sure you have it installed by a professional.

Swim spa prices will differ based on the type of swim spa you choose, as well as the size and other amenities such as a separate hot tub area.

Whether you are relaxing on a floatie in your swimming pool, or getting your daily workout in your new swim spa, remember to always practice comprehensive water safety!