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Are Swim Spas Worth It?

Swim spas are a big investment. One thing on the minds of many swim spa buyers is whether or not that investment is really worth it. Today, we will look at the costs of swim spas while also looking at their alternatives so you can judge for yourself!

What Do Swim Spas Cost?

The purchase cost of a swim spa can range quite a bit, though most sold in Canada are between $28,000 and $45,000. Along with that initial purchase price, you will also need to consider the installation costs of the swim spa.

A simple above ground swim spa installation (a swim spa sitting on a concrete pad) will typically cost around $4000-$5000. More complex installations are much harder to ballpark, however, as there are many different factors and each situation is different.

For more information about the purchase, installation and running costs of swim spas, check out this article.

What Are The Alternatives To Swim Spas?

The closest alternatives to swim spas are; above ground pools, in-ground pools and hot tubs.

Above Ground & In-ground Pools

One major advantage that both above ground and in-ground pools have are their size. Those looking for a full sized pool will prefer the larger sizes available with more traditional pools.

This size does come at a cost; however. Though they are much cheaper to purchase and install (typically between $10,000-$15,000), the extra size of an above ground pool means a larger, less efficient pump. It also means more water to treat and maintain.

For these reasons above ground pools are typically quite a bit more expensive to maintain than a swim spa; even when you factor in the heating cost of the swim spa. In fact, you’re often able to run, heat and chemically treat a swim spa in the summer for less than the cost of running a standard above ground pool pump!

You can get variable speed pumps for in-ground pools that will drastically reduce their running costs. Even with a variable speed pump and ultra-efficient heater, however, an in-ground pools running costs will still be considerably more than a swim spa. They’re also by far the most expensive to purchase and install.

Depending on the size of your backyard, a traditional in-ground or above ground pool might also end up taking up your entire yard (or not fit at all). For those with smaller backyards; the smaller size of the swim spa might therefore end up making the most sense.

A definite advantage that swim spas have over pools is their insulation and efficiency. This not only makes them cheaper to run, it also means that they can be used at any time of the year. Their built-in heating system is also able to warm the water up to 104 Fahrenheit so they can be used as a warm pool or a large hot tub; depending on your preference. Even with properly sized heating systems, a traditional above ground or in-ground pool can only be run for around 4-5 months before the heating costs get out of hand.

If you are interested in hydrotherapy; swim spas also offer massage therapy seats that can soothe aching muscles in your neck, back, legs and feet. They also feature built in swim current systems that allow you to swim against a variable current. These systems can be fitted to in-ground pools at an additional cost; though this cost is usually at least 50% of the cost of an entire swim spa.

Read More: Pools vs Swim Spas

Hot Tubs

Hot tubs are essentially a smaller, shallower swim spa without a swim current. Both can be used year round. Both are able to maintain a water temperature anywhere from 70-104 Fahrenheit. Both offer massage therapy seats.

Due to their smaller size, hot tubs are more energy efficient than swim spas; especially in the winter. They also offer more hydrotherapy options than most swim spas.

Swim spas are much more flexible than a hot tub, however. The extra size and depth that swim spas provide allow them to be used as a hot tub or a small splash pool. Their built in swim currents and other aqua fitness features and options also make them the best fitness pools available in the marketplace.

So Are Swim Spas Worth Their Cost?

In most cases, swim spas are well worth their cost. They offer a great balance between a pool and a hot tub. For those looking for a simple plunge pool, they have swim tanks large enough to fit several people. For those looking for aqua fitness, they have a variable swim current system. For those looking for massage therapy they have hydrotherapy seats. None of their alternatives can boast this same flexibility.

Those looking for the “ultimate outdoor pool” will likely prefer the look and size of an in-ground pool over a swim spa. Those looking for a large plunge pool that won’t break the bank will likely find above ground pools to be a more attractive option. Those that are simply looking for a place to unwind and relax after a long day, or are looking for the best possible hydrotherapy system will likely be most happy with a hot tub.

For those looking to extend their swim season past the summer, are interested in aqua fitness, or simply are looking for an easy and cheap to maintain pool that won’t take up their whole backyard; a swim spa will be the best choice.


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