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How can I buy the best swim spa on the market?

If you haven’t bought a swim spa before, one of the tricky parts is not knowing what you COULD have. You know, for example, that cars can come with air conditioning, and you likely want that.

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By Jon Filson

Hydropool Hot Tubs and Swim Spas

Published Oct 17, 2023

If you haven’t bought a swim spa before, one of the tricky parts is not knowing what you COULD have. You know, for example, that cars can come with air conditioning, and you likely want that.

But if you’re like most people, you don’t know what to look for when looking at swim spa models, because it’s a far less frequent purchase. That makes it hard to figure out which swim spa is the best for you.

“Although swim spas have been around since the 1980s, many customers are learning about them for the first time through the Internet or through seeing them in the store when they come in to look at hot tubs,” says Jeff Fox, director of swim spa sales at Hydropool. “While every good swim spa company gets repeat business, about 95 per cent of Hydropool customers are first-time swim spa buyers.”

So it’s okay if you don’t know what you could have. That’s why we wrote this article. (If you’re not entirely sure what a swim spa is, we can help: Start here, with “What is a swim spa?”)

We wanted to write this article to let you know what to look for when shopping for a high quality swim spa, so you can spot a good one when you see it and feel good about your purchase as a result. We want you to know what is the best swim spa you can buy.

We have also been in business for 40 years, so we know a good swim spa when we see one! So we think we can help.

So in this article, we will cover:

  • What’s the best swim spas?
  • What should I look for when sh.opping for a swim spa?
  • What should I look for when it comes to swim spa maintenance?
  • How much does a swim spa cost?

Hopefully, by the end, you’ll have a better sense of what you’re looking for!

What’s the best swim spa?

Just like there is no one best car, there is no one best swim spa. This is because swim spa are designed for different purposes.

Some swim spas are actually meant to function as large hot tubs or traditional swimming pool replacements. They may have swimming or fitness equipment but that’s not their primary focus. In this category, one tip is that if you see a swim spas with a lot of bench seating then the priority likely isn’t swimming or fitness. Instead, it’s to make sure everyone at the party or in the family has a spot inside the swim spa. Hydropool’s AquaPlay FFP is an example of this. We are candid about it: the FFP stands for Family Fun Pool. So if you’re looking for swim spas aimed at families and fun, or as a pool substitute, they are out there.

Some swim spas are meant to offer a bit of everything. You will often see manufacturers pitch their products as “aquatic gyms” or “home fitness centres” (some sell optional underwater treadmills and bikes). If so, then they are aiming for people who want to run in place in water, or row, or even perform muscle-building workouts in the swim spa, as well as swim. So health benefits are emphasized in these models and they are built to offer a range of aerobic activities. These swim spas will also have hot tub elements for massage, so these athletic types can cool down. These swim spas are also good for hosting parties or having family in them as well – they are meant to be versatile and adaptable swim spas. Hydropool’s Aquatic series is an example of this style.

Some are elite swimming machines, aimed at athletes and high performers (here’s a quick page on how a couple of elite rowers used a swim spa as part of their training program to get themselves across the Atlantic). This is where the industry actually started, before broadening out to pool and gym replacements. That being said, not every swim spa manufacturer has a model in this category, because it’s a smaller market than the others. Hydropool, as one of the original swim spa builders back in the 1980s, does have an elite swimming unit with the Executive Trainer series, which has a tether-free, adjustable swim, capable of training elite swimmers and triathletes.

What should I look for when buying a swim spa?

To some extent, this will depend on what you’re looking for: a place for the family to frolic with a large swim area, an aquatic home gym you can swim in or a place to swim your heart out in. But every swim spa should have the following components:

Can you swim in a swim spa?

Swim system: Look for a versatile, adjustable swim current. You will want to be able to set your swim system for a beginner, middle-of-the-road and elite swimmer. You may get better as you use the swim spa, or you may have multiple people using the swim spa of different abilities. You want to make sure your swim spa allows for all options. You also don’t need to buy any swim spa that requires a tether, as there are many swim spas out there where you don’t need one to swim in them.

Can I work out in a swim spa?

Look in-water fitness equipment and options: Fitness kits are part of good swim spas: You should have optional ways of working out if you want them. A series of videos should also be available so you don’t need to teach yourself how to use them swim spa once you have it.

Is a swim spa like a pool?

It sure should be. Look for a big enough tank to hold everyone you will want it to: A swim spa is a small pool, except you can use it year-round. Any spa you buy should be capable of hosting family and friends in a pool party of the size you have in mind. There are multiple swim spas that combine hot tubs with swim spas, offering the equivalent of a pool and a hot tub, so size isn’t the limit here (Hydropool calls these duel-temps, check out one here).

Is a swim spa like a hot tub?

Yes. Any swim spa you buy should have sufficient massage seats for you to enjoy the hot tub experience as well as the swim spa. In essence, it should be a hot tub when you want it to be one – it’s one of the best perks of owning a swim spa.

  • That can mean looking for a swim spa with a separate hot tub attached, like this one.
  • That can mean looking for a swim spa that has hot tub seating for four within the same tank, like this one.

Here are a few other questions to consider when shopping:

How hard is a swim spa to maintain?

A good swim spa should have an advanced maintenance system, including AOP, which stands for Advanced Oxidation Process. Given the size of the body of water, we recommend this feature for anyone buying a swim spa (it is standard on most Hydropool swim spas). Here’s a video on how AOP works to clean your swim spa. Other manufacturers have similar systems, and we recommend them (we are also have our own unique self-cleaning system on our swim spas. For a look at it, check out this video).

How much does a swim spa cost in the UK?

The total cost of a swim spa installed in the UK is going to be approximately £38,000. That’s for everything, completely installed, including your pad, delivery and electrical. Want to see how we break that down? Check out this article on swim spa costs here.

Which swim spa is right for me?

Swim spas are aimed at a variety of customers: people looking for pool replacements, people looking for versatile aquatic centres and people looking for elite swimming experiences.

We highly recommend thinking about what you’re actually looking for before you venture out into stores to see specific products as a result.

We want you to be able to buy the best swim spa on the market, whether you decide it’s a Hydropool or one from another company. We want people to feel confident when they come in to shop at Hydropool or any swim spa store.

We wrote this article to give you a sense of what’s out there in the world of swim spas and most of all what to look for when you’re considering a swim spa. We know it’s a new product for most people to consider buying. As a result, it’s hard to know what you could have!

We hope we answered your questions, but there is a chance we didn’t. If so, please don’t hesitate to reach out to the closest Hydropool dealer near you for more answers.

Jon Filson is the Senior Content Manager at Hydropool Hot Tubs and Swim Spas.