Swim spas are a great alternative to traditional above ground or inground pools. Not only do they allow you to swim year-round, they also have soothing massage therapy seats and swim current systems. How do their costs compare with the cost of more traditional pools though? Today we will look at what swim spas cost to purchase, as well as what their ongoing costs are.
So How Much Do Swim Spas Cost?
Most swim spas sold in Canada will set you back anywhere from $10,000 to $50,000. As you can imagine, there is quite a difference between a $10,000 swim spa and a $50,000 swim spa. To get a better idea of what you get for your money, let’s break down this range further.
Low-End Swim Spa Prices
For the most part, swim spas costing between $10,000 and $20,000 are considered low-end swim spas. These swim spas are usually designed and built to keep costs low. Most are built overseas using the cheapest materials available. Rather than using jets and pumps specially designed for use in swim spas, most instead use generic parts most commonly found in cheap hot tubs, leading to very underwhelming swimming and massage experiences.
Their filtration systems are also made for hot tubs and are simply not designed to efficiently clean the amount of water found in swim spas. This leads to high energy bills as the filtration system has to work around the clock to clean the water.
Mid-Range Swim Spa Prices
Most swim spas found in Canada fall into the mid-range category; costing between $25,000-$35,000. These swim spas are usually made in North America, have a higher overall build quality and come with a more robust warranty. Most mid-range swim spas are also built with equipment that has been designed for use in swim spas. Parts like pumps, swim jets and current diverters are made specifically with swimming in mind and deliver a much better experience than low-end swim spas which use hot tub parts.
High-End Swim Spa Prices
High-end swim spas outperform mid-range swim spas in a few ways.
- Size. High end swim spas are generally larger than other swim spas.
- Swimming experience. The highest quality parts are used to deliver a stronger, wider and smoother swimming experience then other swim spas can provide.
- Options. High-end swim spas also include added hydrotherapy and fitness options that aren’t found in other swim spas. Some also offer dual-temperature control where you can set one side of the swim spa to a comfortable swimming temperature and the other side to a temperature more suited to hydrotherapy.
Note: With the exception of Hydropool’s Self-Cleaning swim spas, many mid-range and high-end swim spas still utilize hot tub style filtration systems, despite using other specialized swim spas parts such as pumps and jets. Although these systems do work, they are very inefficient and increase both energy costs and the amount of maintenance needed to keep the water clear.
Other Costs To Consider
The purchase price is only one part of the total cost of a swim spa, however. To understand the total cost of a swim spa you will also need to consider its installation costs and its ongoing costs.
Swim Spa Installation Costs
Swim spa installation costs can vary quite a bit depending on how you plan on installing your new swim spa. Installing your swim spa on a concrete pad next to your house, for example, is much more cost-effective than sinking it into the ground in the middle of your backyard and building a patio around it.
As a general rule, a simple above ground swim spa install on a concrete pad will cost around $4000-$5000. This budget will not cover the electrical costs.
More complex swim spa installations are harder to ballpark as each situation is different. No matter how you’re planning on installing the swim spa, however, you will need to make sure that you account for the concrete pad and electrical install. For some swim spa installation ideas, check out this article.
When buying a swim spa it is also important to consider how much the swim spa you’re planning on buying will cost you over the long term. Picking a swim spa purely based on the purchase price can end up costing you a ton of money in the long term if it isn’t energy efficient; especially if you’re planning on using it during the colder months.
While you can never know exactly how much a given swim spa will cost you to run and maintain, there are a few things you can look for to help minimize these costs:
- How efficient is the filtration system? The faster the filters can clean the water, the less the swim spa will need to run when you’re not using it.
- Where is it made? Swim spas made in North America are generally more reliable than those made elsewhere. Their parts are also generally cheaper to ship and arrive sooner, reducing downtime if there is a problem with the swim spa in the future.
- What exactly does the warranty cover? Some cheaper swim spas offer long warranties that look good on paper but only actually cover parts. This leaves you on the hook for the labour, the much more expensive part of most fixes.
- How well is the swim spa insulated? If you’re planning on using it into Fall and Winter, you’re going to want to make sure that your new swim spa is well insulated to reduce heating costs. Look for a swim spa that insulates both the water in the swim spa and the outer cabinet. The insulation around the cabinet traps in waste heat created by the pumps and heater, greatly increasing the energy efficiency of the swim spa as a whole.
How Do Swim Spa Costs Compare With The Cost Of Other Pools?
Most above ground pools cost between $5,000-$10,000 and an inground pool will cost you a minimum of $35,000, with many exceeding $60,000. Most low to mid range swim spas therefore fit right between the cost of above ground and inground pools. Depending on local bylaws (some require that above ground or inground pools be fenced in) and your own installation plans, the total purchase and installation costs of swim spas are much cheaper than inground pools and often only slightly higher than above ground pools.
The running costs of swim spas are also typically much lower than a pool’s running costs. Between their smaller size, smaller pumps and insulation, swim spas are able to run, filter and heat themselves for less than the running cost of the pool pump. Combine this with their longer swimming season, massage therapy seats and variable swim currents, it’s no wonder why swim spas have skyrocketed in popularity in the last few years!