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Best swim spas 2021

Best swim spas 2021: Top swim spa brands, prices and reviews
(Image credit: Masterspas)

We’ve ranked all the best swim spas so that you can exercise, treat muscle pain, and get your endorphins pumping in your very own garden. We’ll be covering everything from swim spa costs to what you can use these hydrotherapy pools for. Swim spa prices vary but you can expect to pay around $20,000 for the models in this guide. 

While this is a big expense, these exercise and fitness pools are fitted with high-powered jets that create a current to swim against. The very best swim spas let you adjust the jet speed so that you can have a workout to suit your fitness ability, or you can turn the jets right down if you want to relax. 

Swim spas can also act as hydrotherapy pools, with plenty of flooring options to choose from that have extra grip to prevent anyone from slipping over. What’s more, some of the best swim spas also allow for water weights to be added, or integrated running machines so you can have a completely water-based workout. 

As well as that, you’ll be able to adjust the temperature of your fitness pool to just how you like it, with some models even having built-in speakers so you can enjoy music at the same time. We’ve ranked the very best swim spa brands below but we’ve also teamed up with BuyerZone to offer a free survey that’ll help you narrow down your options. If you’re undecided on whether a swim spa is right for you, read our guides to the best hot tubs and inflatable hot tubs for more hydrotherapy options.

What will you mainly use your swim spa for?
Swimming/training
Swimming/training
Health benefits/therapy
Health benefits/therapy
Relaxation/entertainment
Relaxation/entertainment
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1. PDC Spas: Best swim spas overall

(Image credit: PDC Spas)

PDC Spas swim spas

PDC Spas has the biggest and best selection of swim spas

Reasons to Buy

14 swim spa models
Huge level of customization
Options for all ages and fitness levels

Reasons to Avoid

Lots of options is overwhelming

PDC Spas has a big selection of swim spas with a variety of options for current power and jet customization. A handy product comparison chart on the company’s website makes shopping for a swim spa easy – it lists each available swim spa model along with its details and specifications, including jet type, type of filtration system, dimensions, lighting options and other accessories.

You can choose between models that create the swimming current with three jets or a dual prop propulsion system, which produces a really strong current. It’s easy to spot the difference between the swim spas in PDC Spas’ three series. For example, it’s easy to see you need to buy a Synergy or a TruSwim swim spa if you want cascading water spouts, not a Vitality model. In total, there are 14 swim spas to pick from – that’s the largest selection of the companies we reviewed, matched only by Hydropool’s inventory.

You can personalize your PDC Spas swim spa with audio features and LED lights. Its swim spas come in sizes between 1,792 and 2,700 gallons, and there are many jet options to choose from, depending on whether your spa is for family fun, therapy or a thorough workout. The company also has plenty of online videos to show you how to use your new swim spa.

Best swim spas 2020: Space-saving home pools at every price

2. H2X Fitness Swim Spas: Best exercise pools with hydrotherapy

Best swim spas: A woman in a blue swimsuit performs a rowing exercise in a H2X Fitness Swim Spa

(Image credit: H2X Fitness Swim Spas)

H2X Fitness Swim Spas

One of the best swim spa ranges for fitness and relaxation

Reasons to Buy

Excellent range of swim spas
Superb hydrotherapy features
Spas with built-in hot tubs too
Wi-Fi connectivity option available

H2X Fitness Swim Spas is owned by Master Spas, so you know you’re in for a very high build quality and range of exercise pools here. There are 12 different swim spas in total to pick from, starting with the entry-level Therapool range and rising up to the flagship Challenger range of swim spas, which has the brand’s newest models. The mid-range belongs to the Trainer Series, which leans more heavily on the fitness side of things.

H2X Fitness Swim Spas is very highly rated among its existing customers too, with negative reviews being in the minority and focusing mostly on service issues via authorized dealers, rather than faults with the exercise pools themselves. All of the swim spas are manufactured in the US (in Indiana, to be precise), with a range of shell and skirting color options available. 

The swim spas all come with a different number of stainless steel jets, including a series of swim jets that create the current (resistance) you swim and exercise against. And you can perform a range of aquatic exercises in a H2X Fitness pool, making these some best swim spas overall for in-pool cardio exercise and strength training. 

The company has even devised a series of fitness programs, depending on your health goals, from weight loss to arthritis support to helping you rehab a shoulder injury. Master Spas, the parent company, teamed up with a Professor of Hydrotherapy to devise the programs. 

H2X Fitness Swim Spas can also be upgraded to include a range of genuinely useful extras too, including a Wi-Fi Module, so you can control certain pool features via app, and enhanced water purification. Our favorite features are the SoftTread Floor System, added to the main entry points and center part of the swim spa, to give you more traction and cushioning underfoot. 

If you’re looking for a top-rated swim spa with plenty of glowing user reviews, H2X Fitness Swim Spas, backed by that Master Spas pedigree, should be top of your list for further research.

Best swim spas 2020: Space-saving home pools at every price

3. Endless Pools: Best value swim spas

(Image credit: Endless Pools)

Endless Pools swim spas

Endless Pools is a great value option where you can see a price quote right away

Reasons to Buy

Can build your own spa online and see the price
Both fitness and leisure options available

Reasons to Avoid

Few accessories for sale
Pools are often bulky

On Endless Pools' website, you can build your own swim spa and see a price quote right away, making it the only company we evaluated that posts all prices up front. We entered our contact information on the site but didn’t request an official quote because the prices are listed in the swim spa builder tool. Even so, we got an informational mailer and DVD in the mail postmarked the day after we used the website, and we received a phone call from a helpful customer service rep in six days.

An online spa builder tool under the “Build Your Endless Pool” option in the Products dropdown menu lets you create your own customized spa and the website will show the recommended retail price. You need to know a little terminology if you plan to build your own swim spa. For example, it asks you to select which liner you want and which coping system.

Endless Pools’ swim spas range in size from 1,200 gallons up to 2,395 gallons. That isn’t the widest size range of the companies we reviewed, but it’s big enough. There are also many other design elements you can customize, including jets and lighting.

A primary reason people buy swim spas is to swim laps without needing a big pool. Endless Pools’ swim spas create a current using a 16-inch propeller, and the current it makes is stronger than those created with jets. Because of the propeller, the current is wider than your body, deeper than your stroke and bubble-free. Endless Pools has only a few accessories for sale, although it does sell underwater exercise equipment.

Best swim spas: Space-saving home pools at every price

4. SwimEx: Best swim spas for sheer variety

Best swim spas: A man performs weights exercises in an indoor SwimEx swim spa

(Image credit: SwimEx)

SwimEx swim spas

SwimEx has a great selection of swim spas at all sizes

Reasons to Buy

Sells propeller and paddlewheel current models
Residential, professional-quality and plunge pool options
Options for all abilities and ages

Reasons to Avoid

Underwater exercise equipment is costly

SwimEx makes six residential swim spa series. Each model holds a different amount of water, has different dimensions, and accommodates different types of aquatic exercise and relaxation options.

The smallest is the 400 OS, which holds 2,600 gallons of water. Although it is small, at least compared to SwimEx’s other spas, it’s big enough to accommodate several people with enough room for all to exercise. It uses a paddlewheel to create full-spa water currents, while its flat, non-skid floor permits all kinds of exercise, including those that require aquatic exercise equipment.

In case you need something much bigger, SwimEx makes the 1000 S – a multi-user swim spa that holds 7,700 gallons of water. It is the company’s largest model and can be used by several people at once. The paddlewheel current allows people to swim side by side, and there's also an area of still water for people who prefer that. 

Further, the 1000 S has a stationary underwater running pad built at an angle that mimics a treadmill as well as a step-up area and an exercise bench. There are also three wells you can use for weight-bearing exercises. These are fine choices, although some are expensive models.

Best swim spas: Space-saving home pools at every price

5. Hydropool: Best swim spas for customizable features

(Image credit: Hydropools)

Hydropool swim spas

The best swim spa for customizing to your specific space

Reasons to Buy

Build your own swim spa online and request a price quote
Options for senior living and health care
Designs fit well in small spaces

Reasons to Avoid

Slow response time

Hydropool has swim spas for relaxing, working out and even a little bit of both. With a bunch of customizable jet and design options, you’ll be able to find something your entire family can enjoy.

This company has five lines of swim spas: AquaPlay, AquaTrainer, ExecutiveTrainer, AquaSport and ExecutiveSport. In total, there are 14 different models to personalize, which is the largest selection of the websites we evaluated alongside PDC Spas.

If you don't want to deal with maintenance, Hydropool has what you're looking for. According to promotional information we received from Hydropool, the company's self-cleaning spas like the AquaTrainer 14 fX can filter 100 percent of their water in 45 minutes. These spas can cost between $14,700 and $42,295 though, so they're not cheap.

You can customize most swim spas with steps, an ozone or bromine filtration system, cover or various colors of internal shells and external cabinet. Shell options range from the whitest of whites to a dark grey which looks a little like stone. You can get external siding in varying colors of black and grey or even wood so your swim spa blends in seamlessly with your deck. 

The website’s 'build your own' feature is a convenient way to figure out what you want in a swim spa and request a price quote online. We did this and while we got an email immediately saying a sales representative would follow up, we didn’t get any more information until four days after we requested the quote. If you're looking for something more custom, this is one of the best swim spa options for you.

Best swim spas: Hydropool swim spas

6. Arctic Spa: Cheapest swim spas to run

Best swim spas: Arctic Spas swim spas

(Image credit: Arctic Spas)

Arctic Spas swim spas

Offering quick service, Arctic Spas models are also cheap to run

Reasons to Buy

Most cost under $2 a day to operate
Specialists in spas for all climates
App-compatible spas

Reasons to Avoid

Isn’t a very large variety of swim spa sizes

Arctic Spas has a quick sales team and lots of customizable swim spas so you can live extravagantly or find a more affordable unit that will fit your family’s needs.

There are seven base swim spa models to customize at Arctic Spas: Hudson, Kingfisher, Wolverine, Ocean, Athabascan and Okanagan. Each has its own unique qualities and options you can adapt to fit your lifestyle whether you want to work out or just have fun with the kids. In most cases, these swim spas cost less an $2.00 a day to operate.

The Athabascan Swim Spa is an all-weather pool with quite a bit of swimming area in its 1,347 gallons of water. It comes standard with a heat transfer pure fiberglass shell and an insulation system to trap warmth even during colder months. The Kingfisher is also an all-weather pool and has lights swimmers can use to make sure they're swimming straight against the pool's current. 

You can use a smartphone app to run your swim spa from afar, opt for a speaker system and even a fancy cover to protect your investment. There are a lot of informational videos throughout the website as well to make your decision a little easier. 

The range of sizes is the smallest of the websites we evaluated with spas as small as 1,347 and only as large as 1,453, but this range does seem to be the most common sizes of swim spas on the market. There also isn’t any workout equipment for sale, but this website’s wide range of customizable swim spas make it worth a look.

Best swim spas FAQ

How does a swim spa work?

Swim spas are mostly shaped like a traditional swimming pool, but they also include jets like a hot tub. But these jets create a current for you to swim against to strengthen muscle groups and extend your endurance. The jets have different settings to vary current speeds, so you’re continually challenged as your strength increases.

For more advanced swimmers, who enjoy a more challenging swim, the jets can be replaced with a propeller. These propellers are usually designed to go at the front of the swim spa to push the swimmer backwards, and give them a greater resistance to push against. These models are usually more expensive than the jet models, with prices starting in the $25,000 range. 

Swim spas with paddlewheels are the most expensive design and usually cost $35,000 or more, but offer an excellent current to swim against. This design creates a cycle of water that is taken out of the back of the tank, and reintroduced to the front to create a smooth and stable current. 

Some swim spas have treads at the bottom, much like a treadmill. These allow you to walk in your pool providing you with a whole different workout. And you can still use your jets to create resistance during your run. Side bars offer not only support, but also a means for additional water aerobic exercise. Some swim spa models, including those offered by Endless Pools, support mobile fitness apps that monitor your workout and send the results to an online fitness trainer.

Several swim spa models have a section dedicated for cooldown and relaxation. This area generally doesn’t hold more than one or two people at a time, and its jets mimic those found in traditional hot tubs. This area helps massage tired or sore muscles and lets you decompress after a good workout.


How we evaluated the best swim spas

We have been researching and reviewing swim spas for several years. During our research, we considered the styles and sizes each company makes, as well as the number of swim spas available, the kinds of water jet propulsion systems used, and the price range. In addition, we look for swim spa manufacturers that offer a variety of extras to enhance your experience, including spa covers, underwater workout equipment, sound systems, railings and LED lights.

Further, we consider how promptly companies respond when we request a quote. The faster and more comprehensive the response the better, as it indicates the level of customer service you can expect. We also take into account how informative the customer service representative is versus how eager they are to just make a sale.

Armed with quantifiable information as well as our own perceptions, we put the data we gather into a chart and use a proprietary system that weighs different factors. This helps us select which swim spa companies should be included in our reviews.

A woman relaxes in a swim spa

(Image credit: Getty)

Who makes the best swim spas?

Of course, we also looked at the swim spa systems each company offers. We favored those that sell spas with paddlewheel current systems, since they’re usually the strongest. In addition, we preferred companies with wide selections of therapy and swim jets.

We counted the number of swim spa models for sale on each website and gave preference to companies that make models in a wide range of sizes. You can personalize most swim spas by adding more jets, lights and a plethora of other features, making the actual number of models for sale nearly limitless.

As part of our research we also spoke with a regional representative for Master Spas. Kevin Richards explained some of the inside workings of the industry, what to look for, questions to ask and where to purchase a swim spa. For example, most swim spa companies have clearance sales in November and December to make room for newer models that typically hit showrooms in early February. It isn’t uncommon for people to get a quote during the clearance season, but it won’t be valid once new models are delivered.

Richards also encourages you to purchase a swim spa directly from a reputable dealer in your area. This is because installing your spa may come with plumbing or electrical work, and a dealer will be able to recommend a respected tradesperson to ensure your spa’s warranty is compromised during self installation.


What is the difference between swim spas and hot tubs?

The main difference between swim spas and hot tubs is the flow rate of the water, as swim spas have a higher flow rate. Plus, the technology of the swim jets in exercise pools is far more advanced. 

Swim jets help create currents you can walk, run or swim against to help you get your hit of in-pool cardio. Plus,  just like their name suggests, swim spas offer you an exercise-solution at home, whatever the weather. As well as being able to swim, run or walk against a swim spa’s current, you can enjoy a range of other aquatic exercises. 

Whether this is utilizing its under-water treadmill, lifting specialized water weights or enjoying a pedal on a bike. You can, of course, buy a swim spa with a built-in hot tub, which means you get the best of both worlds. However, these do come with a higher price tag. Tubs are better known for their relaxation and hydrotherapy benefits thanks to the soft and soothing bubbling motions created by their jets. 

A woman performs weight training in a swim spa

(Image credit: Getty)

What features should you look for when choosing a swim spa?

Swim spas are brilliant, however they are a large investment so you need to be sure you get your money's worth. Firstly, when it comes to features, we’d suggest looking out for the size and how many gallons of water the spa can hold. The more gallons of water it can hold will determine how big your swim spa is and how many people can fit in it at any one time. 

If you are investing in a swim spa, you’ll probably desire it for its fitness credentials as well as general relaxation and water-based fun. A number of swim spas can be customized to allow them to offer specialist in-pool exercise equipment such as running and walking machines, an exercise bench, as well as a step up area. So look into these different features and whether it can be tailored to suit your needs. 

Other features that are worth checking include:  how many swim jets your model is fitted with for resistance training, whether it has non-slip flooring and whether it can be heated to your chosen temperature. Don’t forget to check the speed of the current flow.


What are the health benefits of a swim spa?

Christine Schulte, president of the American Physical Therapy Association’s Aquatic Physical Therapy Division, said you should always go to a professional if you need aquatic physical therapy. However, something like a home swim spa can be a great transitional tool afterward for staying in shape.

“We absolutely have patients who go out and purchase pools for their home because they’ve had such success with the therapies,” she said. And if you’re interested in swimming laps without installing a massive pool, swim spas are a great alternative. Schulte said in her opinion, spas with paddlewheel water current systems create an experience that’s truest to regular lap swimming.

Aquatic exercise in a swim spa can be helpful for people with chronic conditions, but Schulte said it varies by person. For example, people with multiple sclerosis should avoid a swim spa because warm water can exacerbate symptoms, while people with arthritis tend to prefer a pool that is around 90 degrees Fahrenheit.

“Putting them in a pool and using depth and buoyancy, it gives them an environment where they can freely move,” Schulte said.


A woman relaxes in a heated swim spa after a swimming workout

(Image credit: Getty)

How much do swim spas cost?

Swim spas vary dramatically in cost depending on size, jet power, features and installation. A basic model costs about $4,000, while more expensive swim spas, complete with custom features, cost upward of $30,000.

Most of us don’t have money to burn, but if it is an investment in your health, a swim spa could pay off beautifully, according to HFS Financial, a company that specializes in home improvement and swimming pool loans. 

An article on the company’s website lists the health benefits people with no serious ailments can derive from a home swim spa: improved sleep, reduced stress, faster recovery from injuries, weight maintenance, reduced muscle pain, increased muscle strength and better flexibility.

Besides those benefits, swimming spas can also help your heart and lungs. “When you exercise in one of these spas, you will be utilizing every muscle group in your body in a controlled setting. It is an excellent way to obtain a cardiovascular workout without having to leave your home’s property,” the article says.

They’re also great for socializing, since you don’t need to run the swimming jets all the time. Friends and family can enjoy a pleasant time soaking in the warm water and chatting. Alleviating loneliness can go a long way toward improving your health.


What exercise equipment can you use in swim spas?

Many of the best swim spas offer a range of water-based fitness solutions. Thanks to their high-powered swim jets you can walk, jog or swim laps against a current, even though you stay in the same place. This allows you to enjoy an uninterrupted swim without having to turn around and go back on yourself.

While other swim spas can either be adapted or are already fitted with a range of specialised exercise equipment. Essentially you can create your very own aquatic gym. These types of swim spas can be fitted with resistance bands, an aquatic bike and a treadmill, which offers low-impact walking or running options with all the cardiovascular benefits. You can also get floating weights and water barbells so you can pump iron while immersed in warm water.

Swim spa safety tips

Safety tips for swim spas

In a report, the CDC, noted 6,400 pool or spa-related injuries in children younger than 15 years, so never leave your child (or a pet) unsupervised near a swim spa, and keep these safety tips in mind:

  1. Always keep an eye on your child while they are near water, even if they aren’t swimming. It only takes a couple of seconds for a young child to fall in and get hurt. If your child is in the pool or hot tub, especially if they are very young, get into the water with them. This helps you stay focused and engaged with them and prevents injuries.
  2. Install fencing or invest in a sturdy cover that kids can’t fall though, even if they step on it. Also, pull up or remove ladders from above-ground models when not in use to prevent children from climbing into the pool or hot tub.
  3. Pick up around your pool. Even if you don’t have a regular recreational pool, make sure there isn’t anything enticing left around your swim spa or hot tub. This includes drinks, food, radios, flotation devices and toys. A lot of kids accidentally fall into open pools while trying to get something that’s near the pool.
  4. Establish and enforce clear rules around your swim spa. Think about the rules posted at public pools, including no running or diving, showering before and after swimming, and no peeing in the water. These same rules apply at residential spas, hot tubs and pools, too.