Should You Choose a Swimming Pool or a Swim Spa?

Whether to invest in a swim spa or a swimming pool can be a big choice. Depending on your lifestyle, one may be much more ideal than the other.

In order to know which choice is right for you, there are many differences you’ll want to consider including cost, maintenance, and versatility.

Below, you’ll find out which factors you should consider to determine whether a swim spa or a swimming pool is right for you.

Your Ideal Swim

Swimming pools and swim spas offer very different swimming experiences. For those who want to take their fitness to the next level, you’ll want to make the choice that can give you a challenging workout.
A swimming pool requires you to stop at the walls or do a flip turn after each lap. With a small swimming pool, you may have to stop or turn after just a few strokes, requiring between 60 and 80 laps to swim one mile.
A swim spa provides a different kind of workout where you don’t have to turn or stop. As you swim against the current, your endurance will be challenged.

Year Round Use

If you want to swim as often as possible, a swim spa will give you a distinct advantage over a swimming pool. Outdoor swimming pools usually only allow three to four months of use each year. On the flip side, swim spas can be used every day of the year. For athletes in training or those who want to swim every day, a swim spa is the best option.

Activities and Versatility

Swimming pools provide the possibility for many fun activities. Kids delight in doing cannonballs and using the diving board, so if fun and relaxation are your top options, a swimming pool may be a good choice for you.
If you want a wider range of activity options, however, a swim spa can provide what you’re looking for. A swim spa provides kids the opportunity to splash and play while also serving as a a gym, hot tub, wave pool, and a complete aquatic center. If variety is important to you, a swim spa is the best option.

Insulation and Energy Efficiency

When you want an energy efficient swimming option, swim spas provide complete insulation that helps them gather and regenerate heat. This makes them a lower-cost option than a swimming pool and will cost you much less to heat and use year-round than a pool.

Installation Considerations

If you want to start swimming quickly and at as little cost as possible, a swim spa is the better choice. Swimming pools are not only more expensive to install, but installation is also more time-consuming.
For comparison, you can install a swim spa over three days at a cost of $22,000 to $50,000. A swimming pool, on the other hand, takes two to four weeks to install and costs twice as much, between $45,000 and $100,000.

Safety Covers

Safety covers are essential for both swimming pools and swim spas, but their costs and ease of use can vary widely. While a swimming pool cover costs between $3000 and $5000, you can purchase a swim spa cover for between $1200 and $2000.

Another important point is that swim spa covers can be locked, making it possible to put them on in just a few minutes, while a swimming pool cover is more difficult and time-consuming to put on and remove.


Because swimming pools easily lose heat from their surface, they are not known for their energy efficiency. The cost of heating a swimming pool on a cold day can be expensive, especially if you want to heat your swimming pool year round.

Swim spas are less expensive to heat even when the weather is cold. This is due to their ability to trap waste heat from the motor within the cabinet so it can be reused. Swim spas’ insulated hard covers also trap waste heat from the water, making it unnecessary to heat your swim spa during the summer months. If you want to save on heating costs, a swim spa is the better choice.


If you don’t want to spend a lot of time on maintenance, you’ll want to consider whether you’re up to the task of skimming, vacuuming, and purchasing expensive robotic cleaners for a swimming pool. Not only does this cost you money, but it also costs you time.

For minimal maintenance, invest in a self-cleaning swim spa that will clean the surface and bottom for you. This will eliminate the need for skimming and vacuuming and allow you more time to enjoy your swim spa.

Liner and Shell

Another additional expense when considering purchasing a swimming pool is the cost of liners and shells. A swimming pool liner has to be replaced every 10 to 15 years, but swim spa shells never require replacement.

By carefully considering the differences between swim spas and swimming pools, you’ll be able to make the right investment decision.

To find out more about how to select the right swim spa for you, download our swim buyer’s guide.

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