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Pool & Spa Buyers Guide Home  |  Hot Tub Spa Buyers Guide Page  |  Swimming Pool & Swim Spa Buyers Guide Page

What is a Swim Spa ?

Photo Credit - Endless Pools

Don't you wish....?

So you think you might want a swimming pool, but it costs too much money.  So you thought about getting a hot tub spa instead, but they seem to be just too small.  Don't you wish that someone would invent something that had all the best features of a pool and a spa combined, but at a really reasonable cost ?  Well, your wish has come true because although Swim Spas have actually been around for a few years, they are just now becoming much more popular and much more available throughout most of the USA - and the rest of the world too !

So exactly what the heck is it anyway ?

Quite simply, a Swim Spa is a machine that allows you to swim continuously against a water current. You never "hit the wall" or have to turn around to continue to swim laps like in a regular pool or a lap pool.  Swim Spas provide the absolute best swimming exercise work out, using the least amount of space in your home or yard.

Swim Spas also act as smaller swimming pools in the sense that you can play around in them, or with some of the split-models, you actually have a hot tub spa in one end of it and a swimming area in the other end.

Swim Spas come in a few different categories and sizes.  Almost any type Swim Spa can facilitate an environment that will allow a person to exercise continuously, relax by just soaking in the warm water to sooth the mind and body, or spend time with family/friends in the comfort of your home.  According to the American Heart Association, just 30-60 minutes of physical activity 3-4 days per week can help reduce your risk for heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. As a regular physical activity, swimming can also help lower your blood pressure and cholesterol. 

You can have self-contained and "portable" unit, you can just get a Swim Spa shell and set it into a deck, you can have a customized Swim spa made for you or you can get a Swim Spa Water Jet and install it into your existing above ground or inground swimming pool.

O.K., so what are all the different types of Swim Spas?

Molded Acrylic Swim Spa Shells You Put In A Deck:

Just like hot tub spas, most Swim Spas are molded out of acrylic and are typically 12' - 24' in length.  You can get these shells separately and then set them into a deck and landscape around it any way you wish.  In this type of installation, the pumps, heater, filter and equipment can be remotely located wherever you choose.

Fiberglass Composite Swim Spa Shells You Put In A Deck:

Some Swim Spas are constructed with fiberglass composite similar to the hull of a boat. They are built with fiberglass and resin layers on each side of a balsa wood core and finished with gelcoat to create an indestructible shell that weathers the elements, is self-supporting and allows for installation above ground, below ground or partially above ground. The Swim Spa to the left is made out of Fiberglass Composite by SwimEx. These type of Swim Spas can be ordered as completed units or come in sections to be assembled on-site for easy access.

Self-Contained Acrylic "Portable" Swim Spa:

Many Swim Spas are also available completely pre-built.  These are referred to as Self-Contained or sometimes "Portable".  Although big and bulky, they do not necessarily have to be permanently installed and can be moved from location to location in a yard and can be taken with you when you move.  These units are fast becoming the most popular style of Swim Spas because of the ease of installation, the fact that all the pumps, jets, filters, heater and equipment are completely built inside the unit, within a wood or thermoplastic cabinet that is pre-installed around the acrylic unit.  Think of it as a really big hot tub spa!

Photo Credit - Endless Pools

Component / Modular Designed Units:

Endless Pools is one of the first companies to develop this Swim Spa, or "endless" swimming pool concept quite a number of years ago.  Because of its modular design, it can be installed indoors in existing spaces. All of the components of an Original Endless Pool fit easily through doorways and down stairs. The modular design also allows for pools of varying sizes from 7' x 12' to 10' x 16' with water depths up to 6' deep. This flexibility has allowed thousands of people to realize the dream of "endless" swimming at their own home.  With these type of custom built units, you can determine the aesthetic. Custom copings and sidings supplement the standard options offered. Because they use a heavy gauge vinyl liner inside the steel wall panels (just like a standard steel wall inground swimming pool), you are not constrained by a mold. If you want multiple and specific water depths, we can have them. You can make it any size you want.

Photo Credit - Endless Pools

Self-Contained "Fast-Lane" Swim Spa Jets:

There is a new invention called a Fast Lane Swim Jet unit that can be been retrofitted into most existing swimming pools.  This is a fairly new innovation by Endless Pools. You can add a Fast Lane Swim Jet unit to most inground or above ground pools and instantly have a Swim Spa water current in your existing pool.

Are they all heated ?  Can I have the Hot Tub part hot, and the Swimming Pool part cold ?

Well, depending on which style you select, you can have that functionality. First you have to decide how you want to use the Swim Spa.  Do you want it just for swimming exercise, or do you want to use it like a hot tub spa as well ?  Do you want it indoors or outdoors, and if outdoors, do you want to use it in the winter ?  Here are the different options you have:

Photo Credit - Premium Leisure

All One Body Of Water - All One Temperature:

The Swim Spa to the left is made by Premium Leisure. Some Swim Spa units have just one body of water.  Obviously, this can only be one temperature.  These are generally to be used just as a swimming machine.  However some manufacturers have also molded some hot tub seating into the ends of their Swim Spas, so you can relax in them as well.  With a large volume of water like this (between 600-2000 gallons depending on the size) it will be somewhat costly to heat up to hot tub temperatures though.  Also consider that you will most likely not want to swim in 100 degree water. So these are things to think about with a unit that is all one body of water.

Photo Credit - Premium Leisure

Detail Shot Of The "Spa" End:

The photo to the left shows the hot tub spa area of an all-in-one Swim Spa unit.  There are many jets to hit all the parts of your body for a soothing massage.

Photo Credit - Premium Leisure

Detail Shot Of The "Swimming" End:

The photo to the left shows the swimming end of the Swim Spa.  Those large oval black things in the photo are the swimming jets.  They are the actual jets that produce the incredibly high flow-rate needed to swim against.

Photo Credit - Premium Leisure

Two Separate Bodies Of Water - Two different Temperatures:

The Swim Spa to the left is made by Premium Leisure. Some Swim Spa units are separated into two distinct bodies of water.  One stays cool for swimming, and the other stays hot for hot tubbing.  The unit to the left is divided to separate the two parts.  This is ideal if you want the best of both worlds.  The down side to this is that the swimming end is normally a little smaller, until you get into the bigger units.  If space is no problem, you may want to consider a larger unit like the one to the left (16' or larger) that has two separate sections molded into it.  Realize that these style units may be a bit more costly because they need two completely separate filtering, pumping and heating systems.

Photo Credit - Dimension One

Matched Sets:

Some people want two different units, but want them to look the same - a matched set !  Well, this is also available from many of the manufacturers (see photos to the left).  With a matched set, you get a separate Swim Spa unit that is all one body of water, and a separate hot tub spa, that you can keep much hotter.

Really ? That is so interesting ! So what do these things look like anyway ?

Take a look at the photos below, which demonstrate the various types of Swim Spas in different environments.

This is a self-contained Swim Spa that has been set on the ground and then had a wood deck built around it. Notice that the body of water is all together (not separated into two areas).  All the water is the same temperature.

This is a self-contained Swim Spa that has been set on the ground and then had a wood deck built next to it. Notice that the body of water is separated into two areas, one for the hot tub spa section and one for the swimming / exercise section.  You can have the Swim Spa cold and the Hot Tub Spa section hot.


This is an Endless Pools Swimming Pool.  Endless Pools was one of the first companies to develop the Swim Spa concept years ago. These are component systems and are a little more custom built and installed for you.

This is an Endless Pools Swimming Pool in a totally custom built indoor setting. Here you can see the swimmer stroking against the current to get a great work-out.


This is a SwimEx Swim Spa Shell that has been set in a floor of a sunroom. Notice that the body of water is all together (not separated into two areas).  All the water is the same temperature. A lot of people like to put Swim Spas indoors for easy year round use.


This is a Swim Spa Shell that has been set in a wood deck, for the look of a pool, crossed with the look of a spa. Notice that the body of water is all together (not separated into two areas).  All the water is the same temperature.


This is a Swim Spa Pool that uses a Paddlewheel for the water current. The paddlewheel technology featured in a SwimEx Pool creates a current that spans the entire width of the pool. It is a deep, wide current that has up to 99 speeds. Positioned in the back of the pool, the paddlewheel pulls the pool water through a rear grate then pushes it through tunnels or under the pool floor to the front of the pool where it comes out a front grille. It can circulate up to 25,000 gallons of water per minute for a smooth, river-like current.


Above are two examples Swim Spa Pools by SwimEx that use the new paddlewheel technology. Actually, SwimEx is the only manufacturer on the market that has this particular water current system.


Here you can see a matched set - a Swim Spa next to a Hot Tub Spa.  Normally this is done to have the Swim Spa cold and the Hot Tub Spa hot.

Here you can see a matched set - a Swim Spa next to a Hot Tub Spa.  Normally this is done to have the Swim Spa cold and the Hot Tub Spa hot.


Ok, I love this idea....How much do they cost ?

You are probably thinking, "Yeah, this sounds great, but it probably costs like a trillion dollars."  That is a common misconception about Swim Spas...that they are only for the fabulously wealthy.  Well, nothing could be further from the truth.  Swim Spas actually cost a bit more than a portable hot tub spa and a lot less than an inground swimming pool. 

When Swim Spas first came on the market about 10 years ago, they were priced in the $25,000 range.  At that time you could get a pretty nice portable hot tub for about $4000 and a fairly well equipped inground pool for around $25,000.  At that point in time, the Swim Spa did not really seem like such a great bargain.

As time progressed though, the average price of a portable hot tub spa shot way up, mostly because of all the new features and advanced technology that was being built into them.  This put the typical hot tub in the $8000-$12,000 price range, with the deluxe models approaching $16,000.

At the same time, the price of swimming pools rose greatly as well....partially due to advances in technology and features, and partly due to the increased price of installation and insurance that pool builders had to pay.  So all of a sudden, a "nice" inground pool price was in the $30,000-$40,000 range, with deluxe pools going for upwards of $100,000.  Add to that the price of the decking around the pool and the landscaping costs, and you have a very expensive (albeit beautiful) backyard project.

During the mid-2000's, a few keen hot tub manufacturers saw that there might be a larger market opening up in the Swim Spa industry, and a number of them changed their production lines to also produce the larger, more bulky Swim Spas.  Innovative jet pump & equipment technology and newer manufacturing methods made the cost of production of the Swim Spa to come down to the levels of a high quality portable hot tub.

All of a sudden, you could produce a 14' to 18' long Swim Spa and offer it for sale anywhere between $13,000 - $25,000 complete, delivered, hooked up and installed and ready for use in a few hours.  Now the price of a Swim Spa seems very reasonable when compared to a $16,000 hot tub or a $40,000 inground pool.

Who makes these things ?

There are many companies making Swim Spas these days  If you go to our new Swimming Pool and Swim Spa Buyers Guide page, we have a complete chart and directory where you can easily see the different Swim Spas offered on the market today, as well as getting links and contact info on each manufacturer.  Tell them you heard about them on PoolAndSpa.com!

How can I see some of them and where can I buy one ?

Many dealerships now display Swim Spas in their stores.  Check our Swimming Pool and Swim Spa Buyers Guide page to see the various brands available, then to find a Dealer near you, use our free Company Locator Search Engine to help you find a Pool or Spa Dealer in your town.  Search our Database of over 40,000 dealers nationwide. You can simply search by either your area code, zip code or a specific company name to locate a dealer in your area.

Swim Spa Videos

We also have many videos right here on our web site where you can see Swim Spas in action, right from your own computer screen.  Take a look at all the wonderful videos on our Poolandspa.TV video page to get a feel for all the different pools, spas and swim spas on the market today.

Here are some quick links to the most popular Swim Spa videos:

º Premium Leisure Swimmer's Edge Swim Spa Video
º Cal Spas Swim Spa Video
º Master Spas Swim Spa Video
º How Do They Build A Swim Spa & A Hot Tub Spa? (you can see this video below, right on this page)

How do they make something this big, all in one piece ?

Funny you should ask, because we happen to have a video that Poolandspa.TV produced in 2008 at the Artesian Spas factory in Las Vegas, NV.  The video is actually called "How Do They Build A Hot Tub Spa?", but the model that they are building in the video happens to be a large 16' Swim Spa.  About 4 minutes into the video you get to see a huge sheet of acrylic heated up and sucked into a Swim Spa mold.  It is quite interesting to see this done.  Click on the video below to take a look.

Watch a large Swim Spa being formed out of a single piece of acrylic.  It's amazing!

"How Do They Build A Hot Tub Spa?" - Part One

Watch this brand new video from Poolandspa.TV which takes you through every step in the spa manufacturing process.  See them actually forming a large swim spa out of acrylic, plumbing up the spa, water testing, cabinet making and more.  A must-see for anyone thinking about a new spa or swim spa purchase.

Single Click Image Above To Start Video

"How Do They Build A Hot Tub Spa?" - Part Two

Watch Part Two of this brand new video from Poolandspa.TV which takes you through the plumbing, jetting, insulating and cabinetry necessary for every hot tub spa or swim spa. A must-see for anyone thinking about a new spa or swim spa purchase.

Single Click Image Above To Start Video


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