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In-Ground & Above-Ground Swim Spas: The Differences & Benefits

  |   Buying & Research Guide, Benefits & Features, Swim Spas   |   No comment

If you’re planning to purchase a swim spa, you’re probably wondering whether to get an in-ground or above-ground swim spa. Which one would be better for your home, personal needs, and, most importantly, your wallet?


Bullfrog Spas is here to help you decide. Check out the differences and benefits of each swim spa so you can choose wisely.


In-Ground Swim Spas

As indicated by its name, in-ground swim spas (also called built-in swim spas) are spas built into the ground. For example, if you decide to have one, the installation process would entail excavating an area of your yard to install the spa.




Here are the benefits that come with choosing an in-ground swim spa:


  • Aesthetically pleasing: In-ground swim spas are low profile, so they can seamlessly blend in with any landscaping and other surroundings. This allows you to worry less about aesthetics in your decision-making process and instead focus on spa functionalities.


  • Customizable: In-ground swim spas do not have to be completely in-ground. There are partially in-ground swim spas available. A partially in-ground spa typically sticks out of the ground at seat height, which can make it more convenient to get in and out of the spa. Not to mention, partially in-ground spas can complement the look and feel of your space.


  • Home value booster: Because they are aesthetically pleasing and enhance your outdoor space, in-ground spas can add value to your home. Your sleek and attractive in-ground spa can be used as a selling point, just as if you had a backyard pool.


  • Accessibility: For individuals with mobility limitations, an in-ground swim spa can offer easy access and convenience for getting in and out of the pool.




With advantages, there are also disadvantages of in-ground swim spas to consider:


  • Complicated installation process: As installing an in-ground spa requires excavation, the process can get complex. You may need to sort out how you want to shift the surrounding landscape to help accommodate the spa. These challenges can be mitigated if you decide to go with a partially in-ground spa. This would require less excavation, landscaping, and maintenance.


  • Lengthy installation process: The complexities above can also make the installation rather lengthy. Therefore, you may not be able to enjoy your spa as soon as you’d like.


  • Lack of options: Since in-ground spas require excavation, you may not be able to install your in-ground spa in the space you wanted. Depending on the size of your spa, you may have limited space options. You will need to ensure you’re avoiding power cables, water pipes, and gas lines.




In-ground swim spas typically cost anywhere between $7,000 to $40,000, with mid-range models costing from $16,000-$25,000 on average. Installation costs would add roughly $5,000 or more on top of those fees. You may also need to make room in your budget for landscaping if you need to make accommodations in your outdoor space.


Above-Ground Swim Spas


bullfrog spas swim series


An above-ground swim spa is a self-contained, pre-plumbed unit installed above the ground at your home. The spa is placed in the location of your choice, outdoors or indoors.




Here are the benefits of above-ground swim spas:


  • Quick and simple installation process: Because above-ground swim spas do not require excavation, the installation process is typically faster than it is with in-ground spas. This means you and your family do not have to wait around to enjoy your spa!


  • Versatile: Above-ground swim spas are much more accommodating when it comes to space. While in-ground spas might limit your choices when it comes to location (due to excavation), you have more freedom with above-ground spas. You can install them wherever you want, as long as it fits and the floor can provide substantial support to carry the weight of the spa. And if you decide to move, you can also take your spa with you to your next home.


  • Safe for children: If you have small children or infants, having an above-ground swim spa may be your better option. The height of the spa can serve as a barrier and help prevent your tiny tots from falling into the water.


  • Budget-friendly: Because they require less installation, above-ground swim spas are generally less expensive than in-ground spas.



There are also a couple of drawbacks to above-ground swim spas that are well worth mentioning:


  • Challenging to achieve harmonious aesthetics: Above-ground swim spas tend to be bulky, which can generally make it challenging to complement them with your landscaping and surroundings. Keeping your spa low profile may prove to be difficult.


  • Less accessible: Depending on physical limitations you or your loved ones may have, getting in and out of an above-ground spa may be more challenging than an in-ground spa.



Above-ground swim spas can cost anywhere from $7,000 to $40,000. The exact price depends on the quality of the spa. You may spend around $1,500 on installation for your above-ground spa. If your spa requires a crane to carry the swim spa into place, this may add additional costs.


Which One Is Right for You?


in-ground swim spa


So which spa, in-ground or above-ground, should you get? As every person and home is different, there is no single answer to this question.


We recommend looking at the following three factors to help you decide which one is right for you. These components help strike the right balance between personal preference, lifestyle, and cost.


  • Design: Design is important in a lot of people’s decisions. After all, you want your new spa to look good in your home or yard. So take a look at the location where you’d like to have your swim spa installed. Does it have the flexibility to accommodate the look of an above-ground swim spa? Or is your space already embellished with unique decor that perhaps a low-profile, in-ground spa might complement?


  • Lifestyle: Do you want the experience of actually using your spas to be simple and easy? If you have any physical limitations that might make it more difficult to get in and out of an above-ground swim spa, you may want to consider an in-ground swim spa. Or, if you have small children or an infant, installing an above-ground swim spa may be the better option.


  • Budget: If you have a small budget for your spa, consider getting an above-ground spa or a partially in-ground spa. These can still meet your needs without breaking the bank.


Consider a Large Spa

If you are looking for a swim spa, we do have our S150, S180XD, and S200 swim spa models available at select dealers. If our Swim Series is not available in your area consider designing one of our larger personalized spas for your home such as the M9 or A9L.


Watch the video to learn how Flora Duffy uses her S200 after her training and for her recovery.



The M9 offers more than any other spa in its class. With more space, JetPaks, comfort, and stunning aesthetics the M9 would be a perfect fit for your home.


The A9L sets the standard in spacious luxury spas. The A9L is ideal for those wanting one of the best hot tubs we offer. Enjoy all of your family and friends together for quality time in the A9L.


Design Your Own Swim Spa

Purchasing a hot tub for swim spa isn’t just an investment; it’s a lifestyle change that will benefit your entire family. Only you can decide if a spa is a good investment for you. Use our online Design Studio tool to select your model, JetPaks, and accessories. Once you’re done, you’ll receive an instant price quote.


AUTHOR - Bullfrog Spas

Bullfrog Spas is a premier brand of personalized premium hot tubs. With proprietary hydromassage technology and an eye for contemporary design, Bullfrog Spas is revolutionizing the concept of the portable hot tub and providing a relaxation experience unlike any other. Discover the award winning spa of the future today.

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