How Much Does A Swim Spa Really Cost?
Swim spas are normally considered luxury items with high end models even reaching up to $60,000. Most swim spas are made of molded acrylic and part of the high cost goes into the process of putting in numerous jets to mimic a smoother and more natural water flow. A lot of work also needs to go into making the mold inside the shell as ergonomic and comfortable as possible. You can expect an average decent quality swim spa to cost at least $20,000.
Not all swim spas use the acrylic tub model. There are popular swim spa brands like SwimEx or Endless Pool that use a fiberglass or steel tub. The advantage of these pools is they use a motor to generate an artificial current instead of jets. These motors give much better resistance then jet based swim spas but they are loud, generate a lot of turbulence and limit the types of swimming strokes you can use. It costs a lot to test, build, and develop these types of swim spas so the high price tag is understandable.
Swim spas are a great product. They have a lot of functionality, look very elegant, and do what they do very well. Overall it is a fantastic package, but there are some areas where our humble therapy pools actually outshine them and let you do things you normally would not be able to do even with a high end swim spa.
Remember, a swim spa is basically a small pool with additional swimming capabilities. You put on an artificial current machine, elongate the shell and you have a swim spa. Unfortunately, a swim spa is generally only about 7’5” wide. In fact, the water current surface may even be as narrow as 5’10”. Most swim spas use a shell design so they can mount jets and still function as a spa, but unfortunately this shell restricts a lot of the different swim strokes an adult swimmer can practice. For many models popular strokes like the backstroke and butterfly stroke are out of the question, not to mention you have to stop each time you want to adjust the current, and always need to keep your eyes open.
If you want a spa plus some extra bells and whistles a swim spa may be a good option for you. If you want to purchase a swim spa you have to keep in mind that not all swim spas are designed to be true swimming pools. Lower end swim spas may range at the $9000 price point but no matter what swim spa you choose you also need to consider installation costs which can be substantial.
Installing a swim spa is a big project. Swim spas weigh more because it is one solid fiberglass or acrylic shell, and you will need at least a 6” thick reinforced concrete slab to serve as a base. An above ground installation of a swim spa generally runs about $1500. Since the swim spa is so big and heavy you need to make sure your location is accessible by a forklift or you will need to hire a crane to move the pool over and set it where you want it. Operating a crane lift is not cheap, and the cost of a crane lift by itself is about $1000 to $1500.
It is true that an in-ground swim spa is cheaper than an above ground swim spa, but once you factor in installation costs an in-ground swim spa will probably end up costing more. In-ground installation will require you to dig a hole large enough to accommodate the tub, while making sure to avoid any underwater power cables, phone lines, gas lines, or water pipes. After you dig out the cavity you will need to spray concrete or mortar on the sides of the hole to protect the shell of your swim spa as well as install proper drainage in the cavity. An in-ground installation will generally cost around $2000-$4000 about more than double the price of an above ground installation. If you are installing a fiberglass swim spa in ground you also need to make sure that the correct backfill is used and applied. Backfill such as sand that is not well compacted can potentially cause bulges or cracks in your swim spa walls which can be costly to repair.
The location where you can install a swim spa is limited. A majority of owners will choose to install their swim spa in the backyard while laying a reinforced concrete slab. Patios or garages that can hold the total weight of the swim spa plus water, which can go up to roughly 12 tons, are also an option. Once you have installed the swim spa you will need a system in place to drain the pool every 3-4 months. There will be bacteria in the pool living inside the plumbing lines and you will need to use a spa purger to flush out the oils, film, and bacteria out of your plumbing lines before you drain out the old water with a sump pump and refill it with fresh hose water.
Another important point about swim spas is jet stream or pump problems which may happen due to calcification of water or other factors. This prevents the pump from circulating water smoothly or your jets from working and may happen when your swim spa is only 2-3 years old. A good recommendation would be to use a spa cleaner and descaler frequently. Since our therapy pools don’t use jet streams or even motors they are less susceptible to calcification issues but calcification can leave your pool cloudy or with white flakes so balancing the pool chemistry is still important.
Instead of working so hard to try and create the perfect artificial current environment using jets or a really powerful motor, our approach is different. We realized swimming resistance feels better being pulled from behind instead of in front. Like the story of how millions of dollars was spent trying to develop a pen that would work in space, we just used a pencil instead. The big question we asked ourselves was:
What if we could give the same benefit, by using a different approach?
Thus we use an innovative patented resistance system that lets you perform all the different swim strokes without having to worry about a motorized current. This dual tether system even lets you adjust your swimming resistance just like a jet stream pool without needing a motor or jets! Our home therapy pool can be enjoyed by everyone in the family, from athletes to children to even pets.
Compared to installing a swim spa, Fitmax therapy pools are much easier. We use a freestanding pool design made of an easy to assemble galvanized steel frame and a river rafting liner. It generally takes two people about an hour to slip the metal tubes through the liner, mount the legs from the bottom and assemble the pool. Since it comes in separate parts you do not need a forklift or crane to move the pool to where you want it to go. We designed our pools to be as easy to put together and durable as possible so you can take it down and put it back up whenever you like.
The small footprint of our pools is roughly the size of an SUV allowing you to install the pool in any space that you normally would a swim spa. In many cases a concrete base is not necessary, and it can go directly on foam or rubber matting as long as the surface is level and even. Since it is smaller than most swim spas, it requires much less maintenance. You would need to drain the pool once a year at most if you manage the water chemistry well. Plus the fact it does not use a shell gives bacteria and biofilm less places to hide.
In terms of durability although our liners are not in the tens of thousands of psi range as fiberglass is, it can still easily handle several hundreds of pounds of force. The river rafting liner our therapy pools use have up to five layers and are composed of a mesh of polyester thread. Originally also used as the bottom for artificial lakes because of its strength and flexibility, our liner is thicker than what is normally used for liner based pools.
This clever design allows you to easily repair any pinhole leaks that occur and also prevents leaks from growing bigger in the unlikely case of a puncture. We also include a product lifetime warranty with our therapy pools because we are confident in the quality, durability, and design. Fiberglass, although strong, is much more rigid and is much more difficult to repair.
Swims spas and our therapy pools each have various strengths. Depending upon your needs and budget you may gravitate towards one or the other. Both are excellent options that offer the benefits of a home swimming pool without the significant space and maintenance requirement. Swimming and aquatic exercise is excellent for health and well-being we hope you will consider the advantages having a private home swimming pool can offer.