Ordering & Inquiries
Best Swim Spas
Why Buy Swim Spas?
We spent 40 hours researching 10 swim spa companies online. As we evaluated them, we considered their current systems and the types of jets they offer as well as their customer service, selection, prices and accessories. Unlike hot tubs, which are designed for soaking and relaxing, swim spas are usually large and have jets that make a current you swim against for a workout, physical therapy or even just for fun. Price depends on the model you want and where you plan to install it, so you need to request a quote from the company you choose. Our research shows PDC Spas is the best place to buy a swim spa because of its large selection, strong swim current systems, quick customer service and many fun options.
PDC Spas has a big selection of swim spas with a variety of current power and jet customization options. 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, the latter of 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 and is only matched 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.
We asked PDC Spas for more information and received a call back about seven hours later, which was one of the shortest response times of the companies we reviewed – some didn’t even respond to our inquiries. The company also has lots of online videos to show you how to use your new swim spa.
Endless Pools - Best Value
On Endless Pools' website, you can build your own swim spa and see a price quote right away. It is the only company we evaluated that posts all MSRP prices up front. As such, you can build and dream about your potential backyard addition without talking to a salesperson or feeling pressured to buy right away.
The online spa builder tool was a little hard to find, but a quick chat with a customer service representative online made quick work of it. To access the tool, you select the “Build Your Endless Pool” option in the Products dropdown menu. 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 Pool’s 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 a lot of other design elements you can customize, including jets and lighting.
One of the main reasons people buy swim spas is to swim laps without needing a large 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 is lacking in the accessories department. However, it sells underwater exercise equipment. You can also buy a traditional hot tub from the company.
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.
SwimEx - Widest Water Capacity Selection
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.
The smallest is the 400 OS, which holds 2,600 gallons of water. It's relatively small, at least compared to SwimEx’s other spas, but 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.
H2X - Smallest Swim Spa
If your space is limited but a swim spa would improve your health, H2X Swim Spas’ Therapool SE is a good option. It is the smallest swim spa of those sold by the companies we reviewed, holding just 925 gallons of water and measuring 132 x 94 x 51 inches.
Despite its size and low price, the Therapool SE has a water propulsion system, three swim jets and 18 other jets to provide resistance as you exercise. It also comes with a sound and Wi-Fi module, a non-slip floor and steps, LED lighting and a cover.
In case you want something a bit bigger, H2X sells the 1,065-gallon Therapool D. The company also makes six other swim spas that range in size up to 2,285 gallons.
H2X doesn’t offer online quotes; instead, you need to speak to a dealer, which you can find by filling out a form on the website. The H2X website is a good resource with plenty of information about how to position and maintain a swim spa, exercises you can do, and more.
Why Trust Us
We’ve been reviewing swim spas since 2015. Since that time, we’ve learned all about jet propulsion, water features, fitness systems and filtration. Swim spas are a great alternative to a hot tub or pool for some backyard fun, but they’re also useful for post-physical therapy treatment and staying in shape.
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.
Swim spas are especially helpful for people with osteoarthritis (OA), which is the most common form of arthritis, according to Rick McAvoy, writing for PoolAndSpa.com. There are many reasons why, including the fact that the warm water can help reduce pain. Also, exercising in water can assist with joint flexibility, and water creates the resistance needed for a high-intensity workout but puts little impact on your joints.
McAvoy describes osteoarthritis as an ailment in which your joint cartilage begins to break down, which can cause pain, swelling and stiffness that sometimes requires surgery for relief. He writes that there is a “50-50 chance that at some point in your life, you are going to develop osteoarthritis.”
“One of the most effective ways to treat OA is to exercise,” McAvoy writes. “Your swim spa is one of the most comfortable and effective places a person with arthritis can exercise.”
In another 2018 article in PoolAndSpa.com, McAvoy points out that anyone with weight problems can benefit from swim spa workouts with less risk of joint or muscle pain. Benefits include low impact on joints since you’re buoyed by the water, greater flexibility for tight muscles since warm water helps loosen them, and overall calorie burning.
McAvoy also notes that water provides resistance since the harder you push, the harder the water pushes back. “So no matter what fitness level you are, you control the amount of resistance, which is a very safe and effective way to train,” he says.
Exercising in water can also help certain individuals who suffer from lower back pain. In fact, some studies suggest aquatic exercise may be more effective than on-land workouts for some people with back ailments, according to an article by Rena Goldman in Pool & Spa News.
“According to the National Institutes of Health, approximately 80% of adults will experience low-back pain at some point during their lifetime. It’s also the most common cause of job-related disability and missed work,” Goldman states.
Exercising in water takes pressure off joints, and that makes it easier to move than if you were working out on land, according to Goldman. People with lower back pain, or any kind of joint pain, can build strength and take part in moderate-intensity cardio workouts while in water. In addition, this can help with weight loss, which helps ease back pain for many individuals.
“People who are unable to move as easily on land can be more physically active in the water,” says Goldman.
Are Swim Spas and Hot Tubs Healthy?
The answer is a qualified yes, they can be. Because the same water is used and reused (and multiple people often use them), proper maintenance and regular cleaning are important. If you keep your swim spa or hot tub clean, you won’t end up in germ-filled water and it will last longer, maximizing your financial and health investment.
One important task is to sanitize the water. “Without proper sterilization, all of the germs and other bodily fluids like sweat that are excreted by everyone that uses it will become overpowering very quickly,” according to SwimSpasHotTubs.com. You can use chlorine, although the slightly more expensive bromine is easier on your skin. If you see any algae, you must drain the swim spa and clean it.
Another important task is testing and adjusting the alkalinity of the water because if your water is hard, you’ll end up having to replace swim spa parts. Many swim spas come with a PH tester kit, but you can also purchase one separately. Testing a water sample weekly and adding the right chemicals to get the correct levels is essential to maintaining your swim spa.
What Kinds of Exercises Can You Do in a Swim Spa?
Swim spas can be used for many types of exercise, beyond the invigorating workouts you get swimming against the resistance current. For example, beginners can strengthen their muscles by stretching and doing leg lifts or arm movements in the water. You can also get quite a good workout just walking in place with the water jets set at a low level. Additionally, you can fill clean plastic milk jugs with water – partially at first, adding more over time – to use as inexpensive weights. As you get fitter, you can invest in resistance bands that attach to the side of the swim spa and further expand your exercise options.
Intermediate and advanced exercises can incorporate more vigorous movements, and you can intensify workouts with the addition of aquatic exercise equipment. For example, hand weights designed for use in water can strengthen arms and pectoral muscles, while ankle weights provide resistance to help you strengthen, trim and sculpt your lower and upper legs and rear.
Many spa companies sell treadmills, stationary bikes and other equipment that works in chemically treated water. These pieces of exercise equipment give you a familiar, straightforward workout. The more costly, sophisticated versions of these machines have digital screens to track your pulse, exertion, workout history and more.
How We Tested
For testing, we requested a quote from each company. To be as fair as possible, all requests were made during mid-morning hours on a weekday. Our requests were all for a residential address in northern Utah and if the website required it, we said we wanted to buy a swim spa in the next one to three months. We then timed how long it took for a salesperson or customer service representative to get back. We counted weekend days because there was actually one company which did call us on a Saturday. If we didn’t hear back in seven days we stopped waiting and counted it as a nonresponse.
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. Other factors we considered include whether the company provides informational videos and which accessories it sells. 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.
A swim spa is ideal for staying in shape because its jets allow you to use it like a lap pool, but it doesn’t take up nearly as much space. Each spa uses one of three ways to create a current, and each has its pros and cons.
Spas that use jet propulsion create a current through several jets built into one end of the spa. This option is typically less expensive than the others. However, since it uses air to make the water move, it isn’t as powerful as other current systems.
Propeller systems are just what they sound like: Propellers located at one end of the swim spa spin to create a current. This type of current is typically stronger than that made by a jet system. The third kind, a paddlewheel system, pulls water through the swim spa and pushes it out the other side to create one of the strongest, widest currents available.
If you’re thinking about getting a backyard pool or hot tub, you might want to consider a swim spa instead. Swim spas include jets and are warm like a hot tub but are the size of a small pool, making them perfect for both relaxation and fun.
Swim spas are also useful exercise and rehabilitation tools for athletes and people with injuries because you can get a comprehensive workout without straining your muscles and joints. They’re also great for families looking for a smaller pool for kids to play in. You want to take climate into account too – if you live in a place with longer winters, you’ll get far more use out of a warm swim spa than a traditional outdoor pool.
Installation & Costs
The price of your swim spa is contingent on a lot of factors, including its size and the extras you add. The smaller and simpler the spa is, the less it’s going to cost. If you want to add railings, color-changing LED lights, a speaker system and special siding, the bill is definitely going to be higher. Prices aren’t advertised upfront on most of the websites we reviewed, so you have to call and ask for a quote. However, that’s because prices vary depending on where you live and where you’d like to install the swim spa.
Whatever you end up buying, we recommend you have experts from your area swim spa dealership install your new pool for you. And don’t forget: You’re also going to need a cover.