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. Within this guide, you'll also find a survey from BuyerZone to help you find the right model for you. 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 (opens in new tab) and best inflatable hot tubs (opens in new tab) as well.
1. PDC Spas: Best swim spas overall
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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.
- Read our PDC Spas review (opens in new tab)
2. H2X Fitness Swim Spas: Best exercise pools with hydrotherapy
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.
- Read our H2X Fitness Swim Spa review (opens in new tab)
3. Endless Pools: Best value swim spas(opens in new tab)
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.
- Read our Endless Pools review (opens in new tab)
4. SwimEx: Best swim spas for sheer variety(opens in new tab)
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.
- Read our SwimEx swim spa review (opens in new tab)
5. Hydropool: Best swim spas for customizable features(opens in new tab)
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 (opens in new tab)
6. Arctic Spa: Cheapest swim spas to run(opens in new tab)
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 (opens in new tab)
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 (opens in new tab).
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 (opens in new tab), 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 (opens in new tab) 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 (opens in new tab), 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 (opens in new tab) 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.