Swim Spa Vs Pool: Which Should You Get?

Kenneth Wilson

If you are planning to install a private swimming space at home, you are probably considering some options. Traditional swimming pools are always the first choice. But these days, swim spas are also getting popular for many understandable reasons. So, you may wonder, swim spa vs pool: which should you get?

Swimming pools and swimming spas both are great for fun and fitness. Swimming pools are the best option for having fun all summer long for a large group of people. On the other hand, swimming spas are small but can be used all year long.

In this article, I will talk about the difference between swim spas and pools. When you learn the advantages and disadvantages of both, it will be easier to decide which one to get for your home.

Difference Between Swim Spas and Pools

A lot of people ask about the differences between swim spas and swimming pools. The obvious difference is the size. But there are other major differences like price, design, health benefits, maintenance cost, etc.

Here are the main difference between a swim spa and a swimming pool:

Size and Mobility

Size and mobility is the main difference between swim spas and pools. Swim spas can be 11 feet to 19 feet long. 11 feet to 15 feet long spas are most popular. They are easy to install. Moreover, Swim spas are portable. You can move them to a new house if you want.

Traditional swimming pools do not have any size limits. You can build them as long, wide, and deep as you want based on your space. So, there is no need to say that you cannot move the swimming pool like the swim spa.

Price of Swimming Spa and Pool

Price is one of the most important factors for deciding what you are going to buy. Your budget determines what you can get. Swimming pools are costlier than swim spas because of their size and construction materials like plaster and concrete. Installing swimming pools also requires a lot of manpower. Thus, the installation cost is high.

On average, an in-ground swimming pool costs $50,000. Based on the size, design, and construction, swimming pools can cost $10,000 to $110,000. If you want to build a swimming pool with a low budget, you should consider an above-ground swimming pool. (Related: What Are The Different Types Of Inground Pools And How Much Do They Cost?) It may cost you only $12,000 to $15,000.

Swim spas are smaller in size and do not need pricey construction materials. They are usually made of thermoplastics. So, they are less expensive than a swimming pool. Typically, swimming spas cost $15,000 to $35,000. The installation cost is also low because it requires just one or two-person to install it.

Installation and Building Time

Since swim spas are small and portable, they also take less time to be installed. You can install and use a new swim spa within 24 hours.

A swimming pool, on the other hand, needs days to be constructed and installed. After building the pool, you have to install quite a few things to ensure a proper water supply.

Generally, an above-ground pool is installed in 1 to 3 days. But an in-ground pool takes 7 to 21 days to be installed. The activation of a swimming pool also depends on how fast you get the permit for having pools.


If you want to build a swimming pool, you must get a permit. The requirements for building swimming pools can vary from state to state. Check your state requirements first for building a swimming pool.

A swim spa may or may not need a permit. It depends on the zoning rule of your state. But if you install the swim spa in a safe zone on your property, no permission is needed. Even if you need one, it is easier to get compared to swimming pools.

Swimming Time

A swimming pool at home means you can stay fresh in the hot summer. You can even arrange a pool party during the season and invite your relatives and friends to enjoy swimming in the pool.

In the USA, the average swimming season for pools is short. You can keep the pool active for 4 to 5 months. During winter, it is really costly to keep the pool water warm for swimming.

A swim spa is smaller than a pool. But the large size swimming spas have enough space for 3 to 4 people. Besides, the swim spa works both as a small swimming pool and a hot tub. The heating system keeps the water warm. So, you can heat the water, which makes it usable all year long.

Use of Pools and Swim Spas

Swimming pools are useful if you prefer to stay home to swim in the pool during the summer vacations. Besides, pool parties are always enjoyed by guests. Swimming is also a good exercise that helps you to stay fit both physically and mentally. You get quite a lot of space to practice different swimming styles in a swimming pool.

Some people think swimming spas are just for relaxation. Swim spas are indeed similar to hot tubs, but they have more functions. Although a swimming spa does not have a large space like a swimming pool, it is enough for one or two persons to practice swimming skills simultaneously.

They have a built-in-current system that produces current continually. You can swim against the current, to build your muscles and improve your swimming skills. You can use the spa to get relief from muscle pain or back pain.

Swim Spas: Advantages and Disadvantages

Now that we have seen the main difference between a swim spa and a pool, we should focus on them separately to understand their advantages and disadvantages.

First, let us consider the advantages of owning a swimming spa:

Compact Size: The small size of the swim spa makes it easy to install. You do not need a large area to install it. You can even fit it in your small backyard.

Fast Installation: It takes just one day to get the spa active. There are a few things to install that need very little time. You do not even have to wait for permits.

2 in 1: A swim spa is like a mini pool and a hot tub. You can practice athletic-level swimming skills and relax in the hot water. Kids can even learn to swim safely in a swimming spa.

Less Expensive: Swim spas are expensive, but they are surely less expensive than swimming pools. Besides, you do not have to pay a lot of money to maintain a swim spa.

Low maintenance cost: There is no need to spend too much money to clean a swim spa. Some spas also have self-cleaning systems.

Year-round use: You do not have to worry about winter-proofing your spa because you can use it all year round. The heated water of the tub makes it comfortable for winter use.

Health Benefits: Swim spas are perfect for enhancing swimming skills and work as a therapy for muscle pains.

Swimming spas have some disadvantages which you should consider before buying. These are:

  1. 1
    Limited space for swimming.
  2. 2
    High electricity and heater cost.
  3. 3
    Not as aesthetically beautiful as a swimming pool. 

Pools: Advantages and Disadvantages

Swimming pools also have benefits and drawbacks like swimming spas. Consider these facts to find out if you want a pool or not:

Convenient for summer: If you have a swimming pool at home, you can use it during summer to get refreshed and stay cool.

Learning Swimming: Swimming pools are the best for learning how to swim. You get enough space to move around.

Socialization: Your family member, relatives, friends, and even your pets will love to swim in the pool. So, swimming pools can help you to connect with more people.

Relaxation: Swimming in pool water or sitting beside the pool can help you relax.

Health benefits: Swimming is beneficial for our health. Blood circulation and breathing improve because of swimming.

Adds to the aesthetics: Having a pool and maintaining it nicely can dramatically enhance the beauty of your house. You will become one of the cool people in your neighborhood.

Similar to swim spas, swimming pools also have some disadvantages that can affect your decision to buy a pool.

  1. 1
    High priced and high maintenance cost
  2. 2
    High utility bill
  3. 3
    Not portable
  4. 4
    Requires a lot of space
  5. 5
    Requires permit from the state authority
  6. 6
    Can be used only for 3 to 5 months
  7. 7
    Use of harmful chemicals
  8. 8
    Can create bad smell if not maintained

Which Should You Get? And Why?

Swim spas and pools both have some advantages and disadvantages. Therefore, you have to be careful before choosing any of them. So, which should you get?

It actually depends on a few things. First of all, consider your budget. Then, your use and the space you are planning to use. If you want to enjoy pool parties with friends and you have a good budget, then you should get a swimming pool. But you must mentally prepare yourself to maintain it regularly, even in off-seasons.

And if you want to buy something for both relaxation and fitness, you should install a swim spa. You can buy a less pricey one or an expensive one. Furthermore, you can move a swim spa with you if you ever change your home. Unfortunately, it is not possible for a swimming pool. As a result, you lose a lot of money.

You can also research which one is more popular these days and why it is so popular. It will surely help you to make a decision.


So, swim spa vs pool: which should you get? Hopefully, you can make the right decision after reading this article. Swim spa and swimming pool both are great for our body and relaxation. However, you must think about factors like budget, time, and space before building either one of them in your house.

Kenneth Wilson
August 19, 2021

Kenneth Wilson

Retired contractor. Currently residing in Southwest Florida. Now in semi-retirement, I write and manage this blog focused on helping home owners make savvy decisions when it comes to finding contractors and getting their projects done. I also operate remodeling design service for homeowners.

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