With the best swim spas, you can create a haven of relaxation in your own home. Suitable for treating muscle pain or to simply help you unwind after long days, these pools are the key to creating a spa environment in your own backyard. Though they have a high initial cost, a high-quality swim spa is an investment into your health and wellbeing at home that you'll be thankful for.
As a guide, you can expect to pay around $20,000 for a swim spa to be installed in your home. Whichever spa you choose will be installed with high-powered jets, which you can change the speed of to suit your needs. If you want to unwind, you can soak in your spa and feel your muscles become more relaxed. If you want to challenge yourself, you can get active and create a current that you can swim against to feel revitalized.
If you're looking for a way to incorporate hydrotherapy in your home, then you can opt for an options with grip to prevent users from falling over, and build in that essential extra support. If you feel the need, you can also have a running machine integrated within the space, and burn calories from your spa.
Below, we've rounded up of all the best swim spas that you need to know about. If you’re not quite sure whether a swim spa is what you’re looking for, then why not explore our guides to the best hot tubs and best inflatable hot tubs as well.
1. PDC Spas: Best swim spas overall
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PDC Spas have a wide range of swim spas with different options for people of varying ages and fitness levels. There are many choices for different current powers and jet customization. The product comparison chart on the PDC Spas website is a useful tool when choosing the swim spa that suits you, as it lists every available swim spa along with its details and specifications, including jet type, dimensions, lighting options and other attachments.
You can choose between a very strong dual propulsion system or a three-jet system to create a current for swimming and fitness. It's easy to see the differences between PDC's models, a Synergy or TruSwim would be the best choice for you if you want cascading water spouts, rather than a Vitality model. PDC Spas have 19 models to choose from, by far the most out of every company that we have reviewed.
Your PDC Spas swim spa can be personalized heavily with LED lights and audio features. Its swim spas come in a range of sizes from 1,792 to 2,700 gallons and feature a large number of jet options, depending on whether you will use your spa for family relaxation, physiotherapy or exercise.
- Read our PDC Spas review
2. H2X Fitness Swim Spas: Best exercise pools with hydrotherapy
If you're looking for a brand that features great build quality and a wide range of exercise pools then you might want to consider H2X Fitness Swim Spas. H2X fitness is owned by Master Spas, which is known for producing durable and well-built spas that will last a long time.
H2X Fitness Swim Spas receive overwhelmingly positive customer reviews, with the small number of negative reviews focusing on problems with authorized sellers of the spas, rather than faults with the exercise pools. All of the swim spas are American-made, manufactured in Indiana, and can be produced with a range of shell and skirting color options.
Each spa has a different number of stainless steel jets, with some swim jets forming a resistance current that you can swim and exercise against. You can get a thorough workout in their H2X Fitness pool, making them a great option if you are looking to find a swim spa for a cardio workout.
The parent company, Master Spas, teamed up with a Hydrotherapy expert to devise a number of rehabilitation and fitness programs that can aid a number of things such as weight loss and arthritis pain.
H2X Fitness Swim Spas can also come with a number of useful extra features, at an increased price. Many people will find that the extras are worth the money, as you can upgrade your swim spa to have features such as a WiFi Module so that you can control the pool via the app. You can also get enhanced water purification, keeping the water in your swim spa fresh for longer.
If you want a top-of-the-range swim spa, with plenty of happy customers, then the H2X Fitness Swim Spa would be a great choice for you.
- Read our H2X Fitness Swim Spa review
3. Endless Pools: Best value swim spas
Endless Pools' website enables you to build your own swim spa and receive an instant price quote, making them the only company on the list which we evaluated that gives you all prices up front. We simply entered our contact information into the website, and within six days we received an information mailer, DVD and a phone call from a helpful representative from the company.
The website has a tool that lets you "Build Your Endless Pool", offering a selection of customization options, such as different jets and lighting, along with an instant recommended retail price quote. You will need to know some of the terminology associated with swim spas, as the builder tool will ask you which liner and coping system you want.
Endless Pools' come in sizes from 1,200 gallons up to a maximum of 2,395 gallons. It isn't the largest size out of the companies that we reviewed, but it is enough for the average person.
The main reason that people buy swim spas is so that they can swim large lengths without a big pool. Endless Pools' swim spas create a strong current with a 16-inch propeller, stronger than the current created by jets. The propeller also creates a bubble-free current that is wider than your body and deeper than your stroke, with consistent and satisfying resistance. Endless Pools don't have many accessories for sale, but they do sell a selection of underwater exercise equipment.
- Read our Endless Pools review
4. SwimEx: Best swim spas for sheer variety
SwimEx offers a range of six swim spas, each with different dimensions and different water capacities, for different types of aquatic exercise, therapy and leisure options.
The 400 OS is the smallest option, holding 2,600 gallons of water. It is small when compared to SwimEx's other spas, but it is still large enough for several people to exercise in it at once without any problems. The resistance water current is created with a paddle wheel and a wide range of exercises and sports can be practiced with the safety of the non-skid floor, including workouts with aquatic exercise equipment.
The SwimEx 1000 S is SwimEx's largest model, holding 7,700 gallons of water. It can hold many people, being large enough for them to swim side by side against the resistance current. If you don't wish to swim, there is also a still area for other aquatic exercises and therapy.
The 1000 S also has a running paddle, like an underwater treadmill that is inclined for resistance exercises. The swim spa also includes three wells that can be used for workouts involving weights. These are all great options if you want a reliable swim spa for exercise, but they can be costly.
- Read our SwimEx swim spa review
5. Hydropool: Best swim spas for customizable features
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.
- Read our Hydropool swim spa review
6. Arctic Spa: Cheapest swim spas to run
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.
- Read our Arctic Spas review
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 know that buying a swim spa is a serious investment, which is why we’ve spent plenty of time researching the standout options on the market. That includes making sure we have options within this list that customers are searching for, like exercise spas, as well as options that can truly benefit your health and wellbeing (like hydrotherapy spas).
In order to cover all tastes, we’ve strived to include a range of sizes and styles of swim spas here. Alongside that, the massaging jets are a hugely important part of swim spas in order to help you and your muscles unwind, meaning the kind of water jet propulsion systems were high our checklist too.
It’s crucial that the retailer you purchase your swim spa from make the experience as seamless as possible. We took note of how promptly retailers within this round-up responded to our questions, as well as how thorough their answers were. In order to personalize your purchase, we’ve also looked into extras that can enhance your spa at home, from spa covers to sound sytems and LED lights.
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.
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.
How much do swim spas cost?
As you might have guessed, the price of your swim spa will entirely depend on the size, style and features that you’ve selected as part of the personalization process. To put a ballpark figure on this investment to help you get started on your journey, you will find that simple, stripped-back models can cost about $4,000, with the price rising to anything upward of $30,000 for those all-important modifications, like exercise machines built in.
Of course, this is a serious sum of money to think about paying. It is worth bearing in mind that according to HFS Financial, a company that specializes in home improvement loans, that it is likely to be an investment that will really make a tangible difference to your home. At a glance at their research, you’ll see that benefits can include improved sleep and reduced stress, as well as helping to ease muscle pain.
You can also view it as a way to add value to your property, as well as the all-important factor of fun. Your swimming jets don’t need to be on of all the time, so you can enjoy social time with family and friends in your spa too, and become everyone’s favorite house to visit.
Swim spa safety tips
Safety tips for swim spas
Safety is the top priority after you’ve installed your swim spa in your home. This report from the CDC is an essential read if you’re a new owner. You should never leave children younger than 15 years of age unattended near a swim spa, even if they aren’t in the water.
Away from the spa itself, make sure that your backyard is engineered for safety. That includes pulling up or removing ladders to the spa when it is not in use. A reliable safety cover will also help to keep pets or children from harm, as well as a well-installed fence.
A good clean-up operation after you’ve used your spa will help to keep safety at the forefront too. That includes keeping drinks, food and toys far from the area once you’ve finished socializing. As like any public pool, if you enforce rules such as no running or diving, then things should stay calm and organized. Showering before entering your swim spa is good for safety and maintenance too.