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Swim spas vs hot tubs: Which should you choose?

Swim spa vs hot tub: Which should you choose?
(Image credit: Master Spas)

Hot tubs and swim spas are both significant investments and both can benefit your physical and mental health as well as your social life. You should consider three things before you decide which one to buy: your budget, how you plan to use it, and where you plan to put it.

The best swim spas are often designed for exercise. Their powerful, adjustable jets let you swim and do other low-impact cardio and strength training workouts that are easy on the joints. However, you can turn the jets off and just soak, and many swim spas have an area designed just for that – essentially, there is a hot tub area in your spa. In general, swim spas tend to cost more than the best hot tubs of comparable size, although that varies depending on such things as the number of jets and other amenities.

On the other hand, hot tubs help reduce muscle tension and let you soak your stress away. They are intended to be relaxing. In general, hot tubs cost less than swim spas, although very large, beautifully designed models can get pricey.

We recommend you give plenty of thought to where you want to put the hot tub or swim spa you buy. You need enough room, whether it goes on your patio or in your yard. Also, if you plan to put it on a deck, you need to be sure the deck is strong enough to support it.

What’s the difference between a Swim Spa, a Jacuzzi, and a Hot Tub?  

People often use the terms “spa,” “hot tub” and “jacuzzi” interchangeably, but in fact, each refers to something different. Here’s a mini glossary:

Swim spa: This is a small pool that uses powerful jets to propel water toward you so you can get a workout by swimming against the tide, so to speak. They can be quite big, and you can also turn the swimming jets off and just soak.

Jacuzzi: This is the trademarked name of a corporation with a history of manufacturing excellent hot tubs and spas. It’s so well-known, its name has become synonymous with these products, much like Kleenex is with tissues. Jacuzzi also sells swimming pools, saunas, walk-in bathtubs and more.

Hot tub: Unlike swim spas, these are made for relaxation. They hold warm water, have seating and include jets that push hot water out from all sides. At the same time, water is drawn out, filtered, reheated and cycled back in.

Hot Tub vs Swim Spa: Why not get both? 

Hot Tub vs Swim Spa

(Image credit: Endless Pools)

Swim spas are mostly shaped like a traditional swimming pool, but they also include jets like a hot tub. 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. 

Although they're used in different ways, swim spas and hot tubs often feature the same elements, such as high-power jets and heating options. Due to this, many swim spa manufacturers also produce top-end hot tubs. Some even double up to produce two-in-one products which offer exercise options from a swim spa, with muscle-soothing solutions for relaxation and hydrotherapy. 

One such option is Endless Pools, which offers customization for models with swim spas, with hot tubs installed at the end. One drawback of these models is the size - so if you're looking to double up on swim spas and hot tubs we suggest making sure you have an appropriate space available for the investment.