What You Need to Know: Hot Tubs VS. Swimming Pools VS. Swim Spas

Whether your goal is fitness, relaxation, or a mixture of both, you can’t go wrong by investing in a hydrotherapy product for your backyard. Swimming pools swim spas and hot tubs not only elevate your outdoor living space but also offer relaxation, stress relief, and a whole host of health benefits. And it’s because all three of these products have so much to offer that choosing which one to install can be so difficult.

To help you in your quest for the ultimate hydrotherapy experience, we’ve compiled a helpful cheat sheet of all the things to consider before making a purchase.

1. Swimming Pools

Size: Round 12-33 feet, Oval 12×17 to 21×43 feet
Price: $2,000 to $16,000+ (depending on installation, size and quality)
Usage: Up to five months of the year

The Advantages

It’s pretty hard to top a swimming pool on hot and humid summer days. There’s no better way to cool off than by jumping into the crystal, clear water. That’s not all swimming pools have to offer, however. It’s also the perfect place to unwind after a long day, get in a full-body workout, or hang out with family and friends.

Regular pool use has many benefits, from reduced stress to better physical fitness. Whether you swim laps or do a water workout, it’s the perfect way to increase your cardiovascular fitness and tone and strengthen your body. The buoyancy of the water also eliminates all of the stress your body would experience in a traditional land workout.

A pool provides a wide range of social possibilities from fun days hanging out poolside with the family to hosting a pool party for friends. Even living in New York, you can still get a solid five months out of your pool by installing a heater. With the ability to swim May through mid-October, you’ll be able to enjoy your investment nearly half of the year.

The Practicalities

Even if you want your pool to be the focal point of your outdoor living space, it should be a seamless addition, complementing your entire yard. The key to doing this is ensuring you choose the right size pool and having it installed in a place with easy access to and from your home. The larger your yard, the easier this is to do.

Even a small pool takes up a lot of space. A 12-by-18 foot oval pool, for instance, needs a 17-foot-wide by 18-feet-long installation space. So, if your yard is quite small, you may be better served by a hot tub.

When it comes to maintenance, taking care of your pool is pretty straightforward. Weekly maintenance includes cleaning the floor and walls, emptying the skimmer and pump baskets, and testing and balancing the water. This process is made even easier if you have a robotic pool cleaner to do the vacuuming for you.

2. Swim Spas

Size: 10-21 feet
Price: $15,000 to $35,000+
Usage: Year-round

The Advantages

A swim spa offers the best parts of a swimming pool and hot tub in one convenient package. Resembling a large hot tub, a swim spa can be used for soaking in hot water with a jet massage or it can be used for cooler-water fitness.

A swim spa was designed to allow you to swim stationary laps against an adjustable current. The resistance offered by the jet propulsion enables you to gradually build up your strength and endurance. You can also purchase a rowing kit and resistance bands for some great strength training options.

From strengthening your body and improving your cardiovascular health to lowering your stress and allowing the warm jet massage to rid your body of pain and tension, there’s a lot to love about swim spas.

The Practicalities

Like a pool, a swim spa needs a fair amount of installation space so is best suited to medium yards and larger. They can be installed inside or outside, above-ground or partially- or fully-recessed. The installation method you choose will depend primarily on budget and personal preference. The location you choose should be a flat, sturdy surface with a solid foundation that can handle the weight of a filled spa — roughly 20,000 pounds. Foundation options for a swim spa can include a deck or patio, which can be inspected and brought up to code by a professional. It is absolutely imperative that the foundation will support your swim spa, when empty and full, for years to come without falter.

Locating it near a water source, such as a garden hose, is helpful when it comes time to fill it up. Requiring a GFCI electrical hook-up by an electrician, your spa will need to have easy access to a power source. Swim spa maintenance is a little more involved than pool maintenance. Aside from testing and balancing your water one or two times a week, you’ll need to clean your filter monthly and drain and clean your spa every four months.

3. Hot Tubs

Size:  2-person to 9-person
Price: $2,000 to $20,000+ (depending on size and quality)
Usage:  Year-round

The Advantages

A hot tub is the ultimate luxury for your home. There’s nothing more comforting and relaxing than sinking into its heated depths after a long day. Not only can your spa help you relax and combat stress, but the combination of heated water and jet massage can also relieve tense, sore muscles and alleviate headaches. It has been shown to improve sleep quality and offers relief to those suffering from chronic conditions such as arthritis or sciatica.

Larger hot tubs are also a wonderful place for family time and socializing. Whether you have hot tub parties or a scheduled time to relax with your family, nothing brings people closer together than the tranquil atmosphere of your own home spa. While not as large as a swim spa or pool, a hot tub can be used for stretching and strengthening exercises. In fact, there’s no better time to get in a little bit of fitness than in your spa. The heat of the water makes your muscles more pliable, extending your range of motion — and that makes stretching even more effective.

The Practicalities

Requiring far less installation room than a pool or swim spa, a hot tub will work in most spaces. Even a tight or awkward space can usually accommodate a two-person unit. Like a swim spa, a hot tub does take more work to maintain than a pool. Weekly testing and water maintenance, monthly filter cleaning and draining, and cleaning your spa every three months are pretty standard. Your hot tub cover should also be cleaned quarterly.

Long-Term Ownership

As you shop for your pool or spa, it’s important to note that you will get what you pay for. While it may be tempting to opt for an above-ground pool or hot tub under $5,000 from your local home show or home store, these products can, unfortunately, result in more trouble than they are worth. More often than not, these products will provide you with a sub-par experience that doesn’t really meet your needs, along with repair issues, untrustworthy warranties, limited service and repair options, and limited life span.

When you invest in a quality product, you are making a lasting investment in your home, health, and lifestyle. What might feel like a higher cost upfront can pay off with years of exceptional water therapy, minimal repairs, and upkeep, and ultimately a higher-quality experience all around. Especially when you shop at Ace Swim & Leisure. Our experts are here to help you find the best option for your health, budget, and lifestyle, and then assist you long after the sale is complete. All of our products are available with a reputable warranty, along with assistance from our service department for any issues that may arise.

Ace Swim & Leisure

Whether you’re ready to make a purchase or still need some help deciding, come visit us at Ace Swim & Leisure. Our experts can help you determine which option will best suit your needs, budget, and outdoor space. As your top provider of high-quality hot tubs, swim spas, and swimming pools in Northern New York, our goal is to help our customers get the most out of every purchase. Drop in to see what we have in stock at any of our four locations or to discuss your needs with one of our experts.

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