How to Choose Between Hot Tub and Swim Spa

With the closing of gyms and community centers, more people are looking for home-based recreational activities. Due to their relatively small size and ease-of-installation, hot tubs and swim spas have become incredibly popular. But deciding on one over the other requires some thought. If you’re still trying to figure out how to choose between hot tub and swim spa installations, we’ve put together a list of comparative qualities to help you decide.


Probably the biggest difference between hot tubs and swim spas is their main intended function. Hot tubs allow you to soak in superheated, massaging water. They’re most often used to help relax, soothe sore muscles, and spend time with family and friends. The main function of swim spas, on the other hand, is to swim. The powerful current they generate keeps the swimmer in place which allows them to practice their strokes in a relatively small tank.


Swim spas are necessarily larger than hot tubs. They require extra space to allow swimming to occur. The mechanical components of a swim spa also require more space than those of a hot tub. That said, some of the largest hot tubs can rival the smallest swim spas in size. But generally speaking, a swim spa will have a much larger footprint than a hot tub.


Hot tubs are generally designed to maximize space for seating. Whether these are bucket seats, loungers, simple bench seating, or a combination of the bunch, you’ll spend most of your time sitting when you’re using a hot tub. Swim spas, on the other hand, focus more on swimming and less on seating. However, many swim spas feature seating areas as well – even if they aren’t the primary focus. For this reason, seating space in a swim spa is often limited.


Generally speaking, a swim spa will cost you more than a hot tub. It will likely cost you more upfront, as well as over the long run. Swim spas require more powerful water pumps than hot tubs and therefore need more energy to operate. The larger body of water will also require the addition of more chemicals to keep the water chemistry properly balanced. Hot tubs might use more energy to heat the water to the maximum temperature, but once the peak water temperature has been reached, it requires much less energy to maintain.


Many of the same features can be found in both swim spas and hot tubs. Things such as sound systems, mood lighting, water features, app controls, and ergonomic seating are available to both swim spa and hot tub owners. The main differences when it comes to features are the power of the pumping systems and the size of the tanks. These are necessarily larger in swim spas to create the proper conditions for swimming.


One of the advantages of a swim spa is the flexibility it provides. You can use your swim spa as a hot tub, but you’ll find it very difficult to use your hot tub as a swim spa. As most swim spas feature seating areas with massaging jets, simply increasing the water temperature can create hot tub-like conditions. Whereas even with the largest hot tub you’d have a tough time getting in even a few swimming strokes before you ran into a wall.

How to Choose Between A Hot Tub and Swim Spa

When it comes to the decision of choosing between a hot tub and a swim spa, you’ll need to compare and contrast all the points mentioned above. You’ll also need to take into account the type of lifestyle you have and aspire to. Ultimately you’ll need to weigh the factors that are most important to you and your family to make the correct decision.

Now that you’ve learned more about the differences between hot tubs and swims spa, download a free buyer’s guide for more information.

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