How Does a Swim Spa Compare to Lap Swimming?

Swim spas have been the most recent answer to the phenomenon of smaller living spaces and increased urban density.  Full sized swimming pools and lap pools require quite a large amount of space that may not be available to today’s average city dweller.  And while swim spas may have provided a solution for those who don’t have the room for a full sized swimming pool, how does a swim spa compare to lap swimming?  In this article we’ll go over the differences between swim spas and their larger counterparts.

Smaller Tanks for Smaller Spaces

When you consider that most backyard swimming pools cover an area of 450 to 800 square feet or more, you soon realize that they take up a lot of space – even if you have a lot of space available.  Very few people want to surrender their entire backyard to a tank of water.  Lap pools were introduced to solve this problem, but even they require more space than many people are willing to give up.  Swim spas provide the ultimate solution for those who love to swim, but don’t have or aren’t willing to give up every square inch of their backyard to do it.

Swim Spa Technique

There’s no doubt that swimming in a swim spa is a different experience than swimming in a pool.  The size of the tank combined with the water current creates a turbulence that’s not found in the average pool.  Many veteran swim spa users compare it to swimming in the ocean or a windy lake.  The key to a swimming sensation that approximates that of swimming in a pool is to stay in the centre of the current.  There is a bit of a learning curve to this but choosing a swim spa with a wider and deeper current makes this much easier.  The fact that the current is adjustable allows any stroke to be performed and swimmers of all abilities to be able to use the swim spa effectively.

Year Round Swimming

Many potential swimming pool owners step back from taking the plunge because they know that the pool would spend at least half the year sitting dormant.  Swim spas change that by virtue of their modest size.  The volume of water is small enough that it can be kept heated even in the coldest winter weather.  Full sized swimming pools and lap pools are too large to be able to run them in the winter without the risk of freezing – never mind the economics of doing so.

A Wide Range of Uses

Swim spas are surprisingly versatile.  Of course, the main attraction is swimming, but they can also act as a cooling plunge pool or a soothing hot tub.  Many of the higher end swim spas offer dual tanks which allows both swimming and hot tubbing to occur simultaneously.  And even those with a single tank often have lounge seating that features massaging water jets.  In a swim spa you can pretty much do whatever you can in a swimming pool with the added benefit of the hydrotherapeutic capabilities of a hot tub.


Like most things, you can spend an inordinate amount of money on a swim spa if you really want to.  But if you need to be realistic about your budget, a swim spa can be much more economical than a full sized swimming pool or a lap pool.  When comparing swim spas, lap pools and swimming pools in similar quality ranges, the swim spas most often come out cheaper.  The compact size of the swim spa generally makes installation easier and cheaper as well.  These savings usually continue when it comes to operational and maintenance costs too.  If your budget is a limiting factor when trying to figure out your ideal swimming situation, you’d do well to give swim spas some more thought.

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