What is a Swim Spa? A Comprehensive Guide

If you're like many people, you've probably heard about swim spas in passing but might not fully understand what they are. Well, you're not alone!


By Jon Filson

Hydropool Hot Tubs and Swim Spas

Published Oct 3, 2023

At Hydropool, we often get asked, “What is a swim spa?” by people who have come in to look at hot tub or who have heard of them and are just curious. It’s time to demystify this remarkable potential addition to your garden.

The swim spa combines the best features of a swimming pool and a hot tub. Imagine a long and wide hot tub capable of year-round swimming, complete with comfortable seats and heating capabilities to transform it into a luxurious hot tub.

It’s a fusion of a hot tub and a pool, offering you the best of both worlds at a fraction of the cost of a traditional pool.

A swim spa is:

  • A year-round aquatic playground that seamlessly integrates the benefits of a pool and a hot tub.
  • A versatile unit that caters to everyone, from kids splashing around to elite-level triathletes seeking a training environment.
  • With its seating and heating features, you can enjoy it as a hot tub throughout the year.

Since we are asked about them so often, we wanted to explain what they are in detail. In this article, we will provide answers to the following questions:

  • What is a Swim Spa?
  • What is the Cost of a Swim Spa in the UK?
  • Pros and Cons of Swim Spas
  • How Does a Swim Spa Work?
  • What to Look for in a High-Quality Swim Spa?

Let’s get started!

How Much Does a Swim Spa Cost?

At Hydropool, most customers invest between £25,000 and £50,000 in a swim spa. This comprehensive price covers everything you need, from the swim spa unit itself to the concrete pad, electrical work, and delivery (which may vary depending on your location).

In comparison, the starting cost for an in-ground pool is approximately £60,000, and the expenses can rise significantly from there.

For more details on swim spa costs, feel free to explore our dedicated article here.

How Big are Swim Spas?

Swim spas typically range from 4 to 6 meters in length and are around 2.5 meters wide and 1-1.2 meters deep. The installation process involves placing the swim spa on a pre-made concrete base, and in most cases, a crane can be used for the setup.

What are the Pros and Cons of Swim Spas in the UK?

Swim spas offer a multitude of benefits to enhance your fitness, relaxation, and overall well-being. Whether it’s a chilly winter day or a scorching summer afternoon, you’ll always have access to warm water. They provide a space for aquatic workouts, swimming, and soothing sore muscles. Moreover, swim spas serve as ideal pools for family fun and teaching kids to swim.

Here’s a quick rundown of the pros and cons:


  • Offers the benefits of a hot tub and a swimming pool
  • More cost-effective than an in-ground pool
  • Year-round usability without breaking the bank
  • Simplified installation with fewer permits required


  • Initial costs are higher than a standard hot tub
  • Requires a concrete base and hardwired electrical setup
  • Regular maintenance is necessary, like any pool or hot tub
  • May attract friends and neighbors, which can be good or bad, depending on your preference.

How Does a Swim Spa Work?

A swim spa operates on a concept similar to a treadmill, but with water in place of a conveyor belt. It employs jets or propellers to generate a current, allowing you to swim in place without reaching the end. Swim spas come with adjustable settings, enabling you to customize the swim intensity. Some models even include jets or tethers to help you stay in place as you swim.

Of course, you don’t have to swim in it. A swim spa can be used as a swim spa pool. You can lounge in it, play with the kids or use it like a large hot tub. It combines the best of several worlds.

Hot Tub or Swim Spa: Which is Best?

Your choice between a hot tub and a swim spa should align with your primary needs and preferences. If relaxation and massage therapy are your top priorities, a hot tub is the ideal choice. However, if you seek a versatile solution that combines exercise with relaxation, a swim spa can be a much better choice.

Hot tubs offer intimate wellness experiences, while swim spas provide ample opportunities for fitness.

What Should I Look for in a Quality Swim Spa?

Choosing the right swim spa depends on your specific requirements and usage intentions. Whether it’s for aquatic fitness, family fun, or both, it’s crucial to determine your priorities in advance. Consider these four key factors:

The Swim System: Look for a swim spa that delivers an above-average and versatile swim current, catering to users of all skill levels.

In-Water Fitness Features: High-quality swim spas often include additional tools, such as fitness kits, for in-pool exercises.

Size Matters: Your swim spa should function as both a small pool and a swim area. Ensure there’s enough space for various activities.

A Functionable Hot Tub: Opt for a swim spa with at least two to four seats and ample jets for a relaxing soak.

Why a Swim Spa Might Be Perfect for You?

Swim spas may be relatively new to the market, going back to about the 1980s, but they offer countless reasons to consider them:

  • If you’ve always dreamed of having a pool but prefer a more compact solution.
  • If you love the idea of a hot tub but crave additional functionality.
  • If you seek an aquatic fitness facility for your garden.
  • If you want to swim year-round.
  • If you want a place where your children or grandchildren can have fun.

For more information on a Hydropool swim spa or to find a Hydropool retailer near you, click here.

Jon Filson is the Senior Content Manager at Hydropool Hot Tubs and Swim Spas. Email him at jfilson@hydropoolhottubs.com