How Similar are Hot Tubs and Swimming Pools?

If you’re like thousands of other Canadians this year, you might be considering adding a hot tub or swimming pool to your property. But deciding which one will be better for your situation will require some general knowledge about these two different types of installations. How similar are hot tubs and swimming pools? They may both contain water, but beyond that, their differences are extensive. To give a better idea of which one might be better suited to your lifestyle, we’ve put together this article to compare and contrast hot tubs and swimming pools.


Other than in extreme circumstances, a hot tub will generally be smaller than a swimming pool. This could be an important factor, especially if you don’t have a lot of space for installation. That said, because hot tubs are so compact, you’ll have a tougher time making room for a large number of people. Even the largest hot tubs can become too crowded if there are more than eight or ten people. A full-sized swimming pool, on the other hand, could easily fit two full volleyball teams. If size matters to you, you’ll need to choose appropriately when it comes to deciding between a hot tub or a swimming pool.


Because of their larger size, swimming pools are typically more expensive than hot tubs. That’s not to say you couldn’t buy a hot tub that’s so large and fancy that it’ll cost more than the smallest, plainest swimming pool on the market, but generally speaking, a swimming pool will have a higher retail price. Costs, however, don’t stop there. Installing a hot tub could be as simple as wheeling it off the back of a delivery truck and plugging it in. A swimming pool, on the other hand, will typically require several days to several weeks to install. And that will, of course, cost you more money. Recurring operational costs will also generally be more for a swimming pool compared with a hot tub. You’ll require more chemical additives and use more electricity running the water pump and heater of a swimming pool. You’d probably keep the water temperature of a hot tub much higher than in a swimming pool but maintaining that temperature doesn’t cost a whole lot more once it’s been attained.


If swimming is your passion, you’ll have a tough time swimming laps in a hot tub. A full-sized swimming pool would be the obvious choice. However, if you’re looking for hydrotherapeutic health benefits, having a hot tub at home could help with a wide range of health issues. And it’s still possible to use a hot tub for exercise, you’ll just have to perform those exercises on the spot rather than going for distance. Having a good understanding of what you expect from your purchase should help you make the correct decision.

Winter Use

If being able to get into the water in the middle of winter is at the top of your list, you’re going to want to choose a hot tub. Swimming pools are generally too large to keep heated enough to prevent them from freezing over in cold weather. Many hot tubs, on the other hand, are expressly built to be able to withstand cold weather. They’re manufactured with extra insulation to retain heat and can even reuse the heat generated by the mechanical components to allow for efficient year-round use.


Both swimming pools and hot tubs require regular maintenance to keep the water fresh and safe. You’ll need to test the water chemistry several times a week and add chemical additives to keep the water properly balanced. You’ll need to skim the water surface to remove floating debris. Water filters will need to be cleaned and replaced regularly. One of the biggest differences in maintenance procedures is that hot tubs need to be drained and cleaned at least three or four times a year. This is usually a day-long process. Swimming pools, on the other hand, avoid the need for regular draining because of the lower water temperatures, the greater volume of water and the need for vacuuming the pool’s inner surfaces. That said, the swimming pool will need to be drained before the arrival of winter and filled back up again when the warm weather returns.

Hopefully, this article has shed some light on how hot tubs and swimming pools are similar yet different. For more information, download a free buyer’s guide.

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