Swim spas have become increasingly popular over the last few years, as people shy away from traditional swimming pools that take up valuable real estate and require a lot of time and money to maintain. Is a swim spa the right choice for you? You may be surprised at all the benefits a swim spa could provide you.

What is a Swim Spa?

Also known as a lap pool, swim spas are small pools that provide a continuous current of water that you can swim against, making it feel like you’re swimming laps even though you’re staying still. They range in size from 12 feet to 24 feet, depending on the model, though there are customizations that can make it a lot larger. Lap pools are many times smaller than a traditional swimming pool, and much easier to maintain. They look similar to a hot tub, with a variety of jets and temperature settings.

Is a Swim Spa Right For you?

If you’re considering purchasing a swim spa, or if you’re deciding between a lap pool and a traditional pool, it’s essential to do your research and examine all the pros and cons. To aid you in this process, here are some of the top benefits of a swim spa. You’ll likely find that many of them are in dealbreaker territory.

1. Exercise

As we mentioned above, swim spas were designed to be used as lap pools, so swimmers could train without needing access to a full-size pool. That is possible because of adjustable currents that push against you while you swim. However, there are many other ways to exercise in your swim spa. That adds to their value and offer additional reasons to consider purchasing one.

In addition to swimming against the current, you can also run against the current, sort of like a treadmill. Running in the water protects your joints, while also adding extra resistance. Just like a treadmill or other exercise machine, you can adjust the strength of the jets to match your speed and workout level.

Speaking of resistance, another workout idea is to use the water currents as a weight. Grip the edge of the swim spa and pull yourself against the current for a comfortable and efficient alternative to pull-ups. Or float on your back and plant your feet against the wall, pushing back against the current, for a powerful leg workout.

You can find a variety of swim spa workouts online, where users have posted pictures and even video tutorials. You can target every muscle group through swimming and resistance exercise, making gym memberships a thing of the past! No more wasted money on things you won’t use.

2. Can be Used Year-Round

One downside to a traditional outdoor pool is that you can only use it in warm weather. For those of us who live in colder climates, that means you only get to use it for a couple of months out of the year which reduces its value. Heating a full-size outdoor pool is expensive and inefficient and takes a long time to prepare.  And let’s face it. Indoor pools just aren’t an option for most of us.

That’s why many professional swimmers prefer to train with a lap pool. You don’t need to be a pro to appreciate the convenience, though. The smaller size of swim spas makes them easy and fast to heat up. They require a lot less energy as well, so you can heat them more often without worrying about expensive electricity bills.

Speaking of heating, another great thing about swim spas is that they can double as a hot tub. Most swim spa models come with a variety of jets that you can use for a relaxing water massage, and their powerful and efficient heating means you can transform your lap pool into a jacuzzi hot tub in just minutes.

3. Health Benefits

It’s no secret that regular exercise is key to maintaining a healthy body. In addition to providing an easy workout you can do right at home, a swim spa has other health benefits as well. All of them add to the reasons why you should consider getting one.

Hydrotherapy has long been used as a method for treating all kinds of ailments, from physical injuries to migraines to chronic conditions like arthritis and fibromyalgia. Since the 1800s, doctors have prescribed whirlpools, hot/cold water submersion, and underwater exercise as therapy for illnesses and injuries. The use of swim spas for hydrotherapy is gaining popularity as our population ages, and folks look for ways to treat their ailments from home.

If you’ve ever been in a hot tub before, you may have noticed how just a few minutes in warm water can relieve a lot of muscle tension and aches and pains. Hot water is also a great way to wind down after a big workout or a hard day at work. Simply turn on the heat and jets in your swim spa and relax! It’s just that easy.

Swim spas are also great for recovery and rehab after injuries or surgery. The low-impact exercises mentioned above are perfect for strengthening muscles without the risk of re-injury. Most major hospitals and physical therapy centers keep hydrotherapy pools for this purpose, but a home spa makes it possible to get the same benefits without leaving your house.

4. Small and Portable

One of the biggest reasons people are switching from swimming pools to swim spas is the smaller size. They’re able to fit in small yards, and you can even install them on a slope. A swim spa can be added to an existing deck or installed in-ground. Talk about versatility!

Their small stature also makes it easier to incorporate a lap pool into the existing landscape or to build the decorative area around them. Some owners choose to surround their swim spa with trees and plants for more privacy or to install them in the garden as an alternative to a fish pond.

If you crave your own place to swim and relax but worry that you might be selling your house in the future, you can ask for a portable swim spa! These models are completely self-contained, and you can relocate them when you move.  That adds to their value and makes them a worthwhile investment.

5. Easy to Install and Maintain

Unlike swimming pools, swim spas typically don’t require any permits or code inspections before installation. Though they do need a professional to install, the process is speedy. The portable, self-contained models can be placed practically anywhere. If you’re getting a more permanent swim spa, or you’re having it built into your deck or in the ground, the process is a little more complicated, but still faster than having a traditional swimming pool built.

If you’re looking for a more customized solution, swim spas can be modified to include a separate hot tub, or a divider to separate the swimming area from the play area, or a channel leading from the swim spa to a larger swimming pool. Some owners have added fountains, sculptures, and seating to create a more relaxing home spa area.  It doesn’t have to stop with the tub.

Cleaning a swim spa is a cinch. Their small size makes the removal of debris a 5-minute job, and dissolvable tablets can be added to the water to keep it free from bacteria and other contaminants. The inside surface is typically made of fiberglass or acrylic, making it easy to wipe down if there are any messes.

All of the mechanical equipment that keeps your lap pool running is typically hidden within the spa itself unless it’s in-ground. Your installer will explain how everything works, and there are many guides online for how to clean and maintain that equipment.  Our advice is to follow their recommendations. Enough said.


Lap pools aren’t just for professional swimmers anymore. Their size makes them ideal for homeowners with small yards or who want them to blend in with the existing landscape. Swim spas are also easier to clean and maintain than a full-size pool, and are more versatile, with their ability to transform into a hot tub with the push of a button. If you’re looking for a way to exercise, play, relax, and recover, right from your own home, a swim spa may be the right choice for you.

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