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What Is a Swim Spa? Everything You Need to Know Before You Buy

  |   Buying & Research Guide, Swim Spas   |   No comment

So you’re in a predicament. You love swimming, but the cost of a built-in pool is out of your price range. (The average cost of installing a swimming pool is between $40-70k+.) A hot tub is another option, but it might be too small for your needs. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could combine a spa and swimming pool so you can get something affordable and versatile that you can use all year long? Well, you’re in luck because swim spas are becoming more available with the rise of their popularity. 


What Is a Swim Spa?

bullfrog swim spa

You may be interested, but you might have a lot of questions. What is a swim spa? What does one look like? Are there different types? How are they similar or different from a pool?


A swim spa is an alternative to a swimming pool or spa. In fact, it’s the best of both worlds. You can get water exercise as you would with a pool and therapy like you would with the jets of a hot tub. 


A swim spa features a jet system that creates a water current and feels like swimming in the river or ocean. This current allows you to swim in place, so you don’t need a lot of room. You can move around and get your exercise without the need for a large pool (or the space to install it).


Swim spas are a great alternative to pools because you can use them year-round. You can adjust the temperature to around 80 degrees or so. Whether you want the effect of a cooler pool for summertime fun or you want to increase the temperature for relaxation at the end of an exhausting fall or winter day, a swim spa offers this versatility. You don’t need two separate products, so swim spas are worth it based on that benefit alone.


When looking for the best swim spa, it’s important to note that not all swim spas are created equal. There are several types to consider:


  • Molded acrylic shells: These premade shells allow you to place your swim spa inside your deck. You can then add the landscaping around it, as you desire. You can install the filter, pumps, and heater in another location. 


  • Fiberglass composite shells: You can also place these shells inside your deck. However, the construction is a little different. These are composed of fiberglass, resin, and balsa wood, and the final shell is then covered with a gel coat. These self-supporting shells can be installed above ground, partially above ground, or below ground.


  • Self-contained acrylic shells: These swim spas look like ordinary hot tubs. They are self-contained and portable, so you can move them to different locations if needed. All the equipment is built inside the swim spa, so this does make it big and bulky. However, you do not have to permanently install it, which can be a plus if you ever move.


  • Modular designs: This design is flexible and allows for “endless” swimming. It can easily fit through doorways, so it can also be installed indoors. This design allows you more flexibility in choosing the size of your swim spa, from 7 x 12 feet to 10 x 16 feet. Plus, the water can be as deep as 6 feet. 


You can also customize your swim spa to fit your needs. There are many options available to improve your swim spa experience. Choose from features such as:


  • Jets and customized massage options for various parts of your body (such as feet, lower back, and upper back)


  • Water features such as waterfalls to improve the ambiance


  • Advanced technology, such as stereo/music systems and Wi-Fi controls


  • Lighting packages to improve the mood and add more light at night


  • Water purification upgrades to keep your swim spa super clean


Are Swim Spas Worth It?


are swim spas worth it


If you’re not fond of the water, then a swim spa might not be the right purchase for you. However, if you love swimming and have always wanted to have your own pool but were discouraged by the price, a swim spa can make your dream a reality. When comparing a swim spa vs. a pool, a swim spa offers many benefits.



When you buy a swim spa, you get more than just a spa. While you can use it as a spa, you can also lower the temperature and use it as a pool for exercise. Plus, swim spas offer many options. You can add lighting and technology to make your swim spa a fun place for entertaining. 


If you prefer to use your swim spa more for therapeutic purposes, you can add extra jets to get full-body relief. You have many options to make your swim spa a personalized space you can call your own. 


Year-Round Use

In the best conditions, pool owners can only use their pool for several months out of the year. Once summertime is over and the weather turns to fall, the pool water starts getting colder. Combined with the drop in temperatures, pools just aren’t that fun and comfortable to use most of the year. 


This is one of the biggest differences when comparing a swim spa vs. a pool. You can use a swim spa year-round. It’s easy to adjust the water temperature, so whether you want to swim in warmer water in the spring or fall, or enjoy the therapy of the spa’s jets all year long, you can easily do so. You don’t have to sit around and wait for the right weather to use your swim spa. You can use it in May, December, or any time in between.



You may have decided that owning a swimming pool is out of reach because of your limited yard space. A traditional swimming pool needs a lot of room, but that’s not the case with a swim spa.


Swim spas come in various sizes. You can get them as small as 10 to 11 feet long by 8 feet wide. However, these may not be big enough for continuous swimming, so if that’s your goal, you may want to opt for a bigger model of 12 to 16 feet long. You can get something even larger, at 17 or 18 feet long. And, the largest pools are up to 19 to 21 feet long and come with all the bells and whistles imaginable. Many of these even have dedicated hot tubs that are separate from the main pool. 


If size was the main reason you never invested in a pool, then swim spas are worth it, as they can help you achieve your dream of swimming in the comfort of your own home or yard. 


What Are Exercise Swim Spas?

swim spa exercise

With exercise swim spas, the focus is on fitness. While you can technically relax in them, they are built more for activity. These unique spas allow you to add various accessories so you can stay fit in a unique environment. You can even add special exercise bikes and treadmills to your exercise swim spa. 


Walk, jog, and run in the comfort of your swim spa. You get the same benefits as you would exercising outside of water but without joint impact and muscle soreness. In fact, some professional athletes use exercise swim spas for training.


What Is a Swim Spa & Hot Tub Combo?

Swim spas can come with a hot tub combo so you can enjoy exercise and relaxation in one place. There are also dual-zone swim spas, these special type of combos have two separate areas of water. The temperature of the swimming area can be set as low as the 70s, while the spa area can be set up to 104 degrees. The built-in divider keeps the areas separate and allows multiple people to enjoy the unit at the same time. 


Which Swim Spa Is Right for You?

Now that you know what a swim spa is, you may be considering a purchase. There are many options when it comes to swim spas. You may be overwhelmed by the choices, so here are some things to consider when choosing the right swim spa for your family’s needs.


  • Family size: Swim spas come in various sizes, so choose one that will adequately fit your family. Is it just you and your spouse, or do you have kids? Your family size will ultimately determine the right swim spa size. 


  • Space limitations. The amount of space in your backyard will also determine the size of the swim spa you should get. If your backyard is small, then the largest size would probably be too big. You may want to opt for a small or medium-size swim spa.


  • Use: How do you plan to use your swim spa? Will it be primarily for fun and relaxation? If you want to use it for health and fitness purposes, you will want an exercise swim spa.


  • Budget: How much are you willing to spend? While the average swim spa costs around $25,000, you can get them for less or a lot more. Smaller ones with fewer features will cost less, so do you want something basic, or do you want to invest in all the bells and whistles?

While swim spas and swimming pools may be great for large, active families, maybe you just want a place where you can relax at the end of the day. Our spas are available in various sizes, allowing you to seat from 3 to 10 people. Design the right spa for your needs. We have many options available. 


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



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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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