backyard swim spa

What Makes Swim Spas Different From Lap Pools?

Swim spas are becoming more popular amongst homeowners, and it’s not difficult to see why. After all, they combine the benefits you would get from both a hot tub and a pool. If you’ve only recently discovered what a swim spa is, you might be wondering what makes it so different from other swimming pool options. Here’s a quick comparison of a swim spa and a lap pool to help guide you.

The Defining Features of Swim Spas and Lap Pools

Lap pools, both above-ground and below-ground, can typically be defined as built-in, permanent constructions. They’re a great choice for those who want to swim laps or simply enjoy the water with family and friends. These pools are long and narrow, providing plenty of space to swim back and forth. A lap pool is versatile enough to function as a standard pool, where you and your loved ones can gather to play, swim or relax.

Swim spas, on the other hand, can be described as a mix between a swimming pool and a hot tub. Among their most recognizable features are the jets, which provide a water current that lets you swim against them. It’s similar to how you would do it in a lap pool, but in the case of a swim spa, you’d be stationary. The jet technology is designed to suit your swimming preferences. You can set the jets to whichever level you feel most comfortable and begin swimming against the current. Hydropool swim spas even let you swim with or without a tether. It’s a great way to get a full-body workout! No wonder some people consider swim spas as a little gym for their home. A swim spa can also work as a hot tub, providing a relaxing soak after the current is turned off. You can easily switch from an energizing swim to a revitalizing massage.

Comparing Swim Spas and Lap Pools

To make the comparison easier, it’s best to look at the major properties of both a swim spa and a lap pool. These include size, cost, installation and usage.


Lap pools are usually larger than swim spas. They’re designed to be long and narrow so you can swim laps, which means they require more space. In-ground lap pools can range from 40 feet to 75 feet in length. Swim spas, on the other hand, are smaller and take up less space. They’re usually around 12 to 19 feet long, making them an excellent choice for small yards or patios.


The cost of a lap pool depends on various factors such as size, location and type. On average, an in-ground lap pool can cost about $50,000 to $100,000. As for swim spas, the price range generally falls between $25,000 and $50,000. These figures may vary due to several reasons. This is why if you want to determine the specific prices within your area, getting in touch with a spa retailer near you is your best bet.


Because a lap pool is bigger, it will naturally take more time to install. Depending on its dimensions, the amount of digging and landscaping that needs to be done may also vary. On the other hand, a swim spa installation will require less work and less time because of its compact size. Whether it’s an above-ground or in-ground swim spa, the whole process will be simpler than a lap pool installation.


Lap pools are mostly used for swimming laps or exercising. Some people also use them to relax or socialize with family and friends. Swim spas, on the other hand, can be used for swimming, exercising, relaxing and socializing. Their jets make them ideal for swimming against the current and getting a full-body workout. You can also use them as a hot tub by changing the jet settings.

So which one’s better – a swim spa or a lap pool? They each have unique benefits, so it ultimately boils down to which one’s more suitable for your lifestyle. By reviewing the comparison above, you can make an informed decision as to which one might be the better choice for your home. To learn more about buying a swim spa, download our free buyer’s guide.

Swim Spa Guide

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