What is the Difference in a Pool and a Swim Spa?

After a year’s worth of lockdowns, social distancing and business closures, the world has a very different view on health and exercise. Those who would regularly spend time in their local gym or community center have now begun to look at recreating an effective exercise program at home. For swimming enthusiasts, training at home is a little more complicated than what a weightlifter or cyclist has to worry about. And if space is at a premium, the actualization of a full sized swimming pool might be an impossibility. But what about a swim spa as a substitute for a swimming pool? What is the difference in a pool and a swim spa? To help answer these questions we put forward this post.

What Is A Swim Spa?

A swim spa differs from a swimming pool in that it generates a water current strong enough to keep a swimmer in one place as they practice their stroke. Think of it as similar to an aquatic treadmill. As long as the swimmer doesn’t overpower the adjustable current they never reach the end of the pool and don’t have to turn around and go back the other way. The swimming is continuous and unconstrained by the size of the tank. Because of the swim spa’s differences in design compared to a swimming pool, they offer some unique advantages which we’ll list here.


Because a swim spa’s current keeps the swimmer in place, the tank is much smaller than a full sized swimming pool. Most swim spas are 12 to 20 feet in length and 8 to 10 feet in width. To be able to comfortably swim laps in a swimming pool, the recommended minimum length is to 35 to 40 feet. For those who live in urban areas or have a small backyard, a full sized swimming pool may simply not be an option. However, a swim spa will allow endless amounts of swimming without the need for a lot of space.


Although no swim-at-home situation will come cheaply, swim spas typically come at a fraction of the price of a full sized swimming pool. This becomes even more apparent when comparing swim spas with inground pools. And not only are the upfront costs of a swim spa much less than a full sized swimming pool, but operating costs are also generally much cheaper as well.


If you’re installing a full sized swimming pool – whether above ground or inground – the process will take weeks and possibly even months. A full sized swimming pool will arrive in several pieces that need to be put together. A swim spa, on the other hand, is typically a self-contained unit that can be wheeled or hoisted into place. With some proper planning, upon delivery you could be swimming the same day that the swim spa arrives. You’ll definitely be using it within the week. If getting up and swimming quickly is important to you, a swim spa is, by far, the path of least resistance.


While a full sized swimming pool may provide more space, the swim spa offers a versatility that can’t be matched by a pool. Not only can a swim spa be used for swimming, but it can also double as a hot tub. Most swim spas feature a seating area complete with massaging water jets. Some swim spas have dual tanks to allow swimming and hydrotherapeutic hot tubbing to occur at the same time. And because of the smaller tank size and the ease of maintaining a higher water temperature, swim spas can be used year round – even in the depths of winter.

Now that you have a better understanding of the differences between a pool and a swim spa, download a free buyer’s guide for more information.

SS Guide

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