What Do I Need to Know Before Buying a Swim Spa?

Swim spas are popular among home swimming devotees who prefer the compact size, versatility and relatively scaled-down costs compared with lap pools and full-sized swimming pools. The self-generated current that swim spas are known for making a smaller tank a possibility by keeping the swimmer in one place while they swim. There’s no reaching the end of the pool or needing to turn and go back in the other direction. A swim spa can also act as a de facto hot tub and be operated throughout the winter months. And because you’re dealing with a much smaller volume of water, operating and water maintenance costs are also reduced. If all this sounds intriguing to you, you may still be asking yourself, “What do I need to know before buying a swim spa?” and of course that’s to be expected. A swim spa is a significant investment and isn’t necessarily a common household addition. In order to help you figure out what else you should be asking about swim spa ownership; we’ve put together this article.

The Swimming Experience

Swimming in a swim spa is a different experience than swimming in a regular swimming pool. Many people liken it to swimming in the ocean or a windy lake. Although there will be more turbulence in a swim spa than a swimming pool, you don’t want it to be so noticeable that it interferes with your swimming experience. You want an adjustable pump that creates a current strong enough to keep you in place, but not so strong that it creates too much excess turbulence. Turbulence can often be mitigated by proper tank design. The current should be wide and deep enough so that the swimmer doesn’t have to concentrate too much to remain in the middle of it. Stabilization jets and swim lines or LEDs can help keep the swimmer centered. The best way to know if the swimming experience is appropriate is to wet test the models you’re thinking of buying.

The Massage Experience

Although not typically bought for the massage capabilities, the hot tub-like features of a swim spa often get used more than the swimming component. While swimming may be the original reason for buying a swim spa, spending time relaxing with family and friends often becomes the main draw. For this reason, it’s important to ensure that the seating area is comfortable, and the massage experience is satisfying. Ignoring this feature during the purchasing process can lead to buyer’s regret. When doing a wet test, take note of the massaging water jets and the comfort of the seats.

Energy Efficiency

Although it might not be the first thing that you think about when considering a swim spa, energy efficiency can play an important role in operational costs. This becomes even more important if you plan on using the swim spa throughout the winter. Look at factors such as the amount of time it takes for the volume of water to be turned over, the amperage of the water pumps, and the amount of insulation in the cabinet.

Brand Reputation

Unfortunately, the swim spa industry has fallen prey to the same type of fly-by-night companies that have populated the hot tub industry for decades. While you might be able to pick up a no-name swim spa on the cheap, you should understand that, like many things in life, you get what you pay for. There are a handful of swim spa companies that have been in business since the beginning days of the industry and the only reason they are still around are that their reputation has remained solid because of decades of quality and customer service. Study and compare the warranties that are offered and make note of anything that seems to be out of the ordinary.

What Will I Use A Swim Spa For?

Not everyone realizes that many swim spas can be used for more than just swimming. Quite a few swim spas on the market can also function as a hot tub. They have seating areas complete with massaging water jets. Of course, the temperature of the water will need to be adjusted for either swimming or hot tubbing. For those who would prefer for both to happen at the same time, a dual tank swim spa allows for separate temperature controls that permit hot tubbing and swimming to occur all at once. The knowledge that a swim spa can also function as a hot tub may have you looking at your purchase in a new light.

Who Will Be Using The Swim Spa?

One of the selling points of swim spas is their compact size. However, just because you can buy smaller doesn’t mean you necessarily should. Taller people often find smaller tanks somewhat limiting. They offer less room and more turbulence which could cause a larger person to be forced out of the swimming current. Other people think they don’t need a very big swim spa because their kids will be the main users. However, kids will eventually grow up and you don’t want your swim spa to become obsolete. Asking yourself exactly who will be using the swim spa may change your mind about the model that appears to be right for you.

Where Will I Put My Swim Spa?

Again, swim spas are known for their compact size. However, once on location they may seem larger than they appeared to be in the showroom. You not only need to make sure you have enough space for the swim spa, but you’ll need to be able to get the swim spa into place as well. More people than necessary find out their new purchase doesn’t fit only after it’s arrived. Ask yourself before you buy a swim spa: where will you put it and how will you get it there?

How Much Will A Swim Spa Cost?

It’s important to understand that the retail price isn’t the only money you’ll need to spend on your swim spa. You’ll need to factor in installation costs and more. This may include delivery fees which could require the use of a crane. Swim spas need a dedicated GFCI breaker that will need to be installed by a licensed electrician. The electrician will also need to be on hand to connect the swim spa to the power source – it’s not a DIY job. Swim spas also require a solid, stable, and level base to sit on. Putting it directly on the ground isn’t sufficient. It’s also important to remember that some of the things that are considered accessories are actually necessities. A swim spa cover, a cover lifter, and steps for easy entry may substantially increase the base price. Make sure you know of the extra costs involved before you buy.

Now that you have a better idea of what you need to know before buying a swim spa, download a free buyer’s guide for more information.

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