Swim spas have become increasingly popular as an alternative to traditional pools. But how are you supposed to know what the ideal swim spa dimensions would be for you?
The answer depends on several factors, from the number of family members to the exercise and leisure activities you'll be focusing on.
Here's my full rundown of the aspects you need to bear in mind when choosing your perfect swim spa.
Swim Spa Dimensions
Swim Spa models come in a range of lengths but one thing to note is that the widths are all fairly similar at around 7-8 feet wide. This is based on the amount of space an adult needs to move their arms freely while swimming or exercising, without touching the sides.
You need to ensure there is enough room in your yard to accommodate this width before you take your consideration of a swim spa purchase any further.
In terms of length, the smallest swim spa designs start at 10-11 feet, with 21-24 feet being about the longest. These larger swim spas are usually "dual-zone", with a separate hot tub section at one end for relaxation and hydrotherapy.
A larger pool may seem ideal, but higher water capacity means extra running costs as well as taking up more space. You're probably now wondering where the sweet spot lies in terms of both overall dimensions and swimming area.
What Size Swim Spa Do I Want?
Assuming you're working with enough space to have a relatively free choice, the ideal swim spa size for your home depends on a few things. It's really important to consider all the pros and cons of the various swim spa sizes before rushing into a decision.
Small Swim Spa Models
Swim spas around 10-11 feet in length are considered small.
Not much larger than some hot tub models, they should still have enough room for one person to swim or exercise comfortably.
These smaller models will not have as many jet seats as larger swim spa sizes, normally a maximum of two.
Some people will use a small swim spa as more of a hydrotherapy pool than for actual swimming, and a decent model will generally have around 50 hydrotherapy jets split between the seats.
The main advantage of this size swim spa is they are very energy efficient due to the smaller water volume.
Mid-Size Swim Spas
Mid-size swim spas are anywhere from 12-17 feet in length. They have more room to swim and exercise than their smaller cousins and are often referred to as fitness or trainer pools as a result.
Some of the fitness accessories offered with swim spas e.g. underwater treadmills are only available once you reach this size range.
In addition to the added fitness benefits, Mid-range size swim spas often have extra design features such as waterfalls/cascades and higher-spec lighting.
They will still normally only have two hot tub-style hydrotherapy seats to relax in, although there may be extra jets compared to a smaller, cheaper design.
Large Swim Spas
Large swim spas start from around eighteen feet long, with the most popular and largest swim spa models being in the 21 foot region.
They can be categorized into two groups, those with the hydrotherapy seats integrated into the same space as the swim spa, and dual-zone spas with the fitness area and hot tub section kept separate.
The relative pros and cons of the two setups depend on how much room you need for swim and fitness purposes. Splitting off a hot tub space means you need a larger swim spa overall to give the same amount of exercise room. Meanwhile, doing so means you can control the temperature independently in each section (it's easier to relax at a higher temperature than you'd want to exercise in).
A large swim spa with integrated massage seating will normally have 4 jet seats (plus a couple of shallower "cool-down" seats), whereas the hot tub section of a dual-zone spa can sometimes seat up to six people.
There are even a few extra large swim spas on the market, which can be up to 25 feet in total length. These giant spas combine a 15-17ft long swim space with a seperate hot tub section approximately 8 feet square.
How Much Space Do I Need?
When deciding on your ideal swim spa size, you need to consider how much room is needed to actually use your new purchase. As a general rule, you'll want to allow at least 3-4 feet around the edge of the swim spa for maintenance access, as well as ensuring there's plenty of space around the steps for easy access.
Many swim spa owners like to include a few feet of decking as part of their installation, giving an attractive outdoor space to relax by their new pool.
What Swim Spa Features Should I Look For?
When it comes to swim spas, size isn't everything. Unless you're planning to pack yours full of friends and family every weekend, getting the largest swim spa you can afford/fit in isn't nearly as important as maximizing the backyard benefits in terms of swimming, general fitness, hydrotherapy, and/or just overall relaxation.
Here are a few of the main things to consider in each of these regards.
As long as there is enough space to perform your strokes fully, the water flow in a swim spa is more important than the dimensions when it comes to swimming.
The best swim spas use either powerful jets or a system of rotating paddlewheels to produce the current with a good control system to let you choose exactly how fast you want to swim.
If you're mainly swimming for some light exercise or aquatic therapy, almost any swim spa model will be sufficient. However, if you swim competitively you'll want to check the maximum water flow to ensure your swim spa can match your fitness level. Some swim spas can produce currents equivalent to swimming times of under 75 seconds per hundred meters, so there's definitely a model out there which can keep up with you.
Aquatic Exercise Features
A swim spa can offer a more versatile fitness solution than focusing on swimming alone. Many swim spas are sold with additional exercise equipment, from resistance bands and bars to underwater treadmill and/or rowing machine features. This allows you to get an effective full-body workout in your own backyard.
Some of these accessories are either inexpensive or can even be included in the basic purchase price. Underwater treadmills are usually quite pricey but can be really worthwhile for those who need the fitness benefits of walking/running without the high impact of performing these activities on land. The water resistance also adds an extra dimension to the exercise.
Need a Hot Tub?
Hydrotherapy Massage Functions
The jet seats in a swim spa aren't just for post-exercise muscle relaxation.
Hydrotherapy massage has been shown to have many health benefits, and the very first jetted hot tubs were designed to alleviate the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis specifically.
If hydrotherapy is important for you, look at the jet seat configuration in the swim spa. You'll want to make sure there are a high number of hydrotherapy jets overall, targeting the areas you want to focus on. For example, not all models have jets aimed at the thighs, calves, or feet.
If you have enough space, you may want to choose one of the larger swim spas, with a separate hot tub section. This lets you keep the hot tub at a higher temperature than the swimming area. This feature will increase the overall swim spa cost, but it is well worth the increased price tag.
Family Fun and Entertaining
If you want to use your swim spa as a party pool for friends and/or family, there are some features and extras you may want to pay attention to.
Waterproof sound systems are a popular option, as are special lighting setups such as app-controlled multicolored LED lighting. If sound systems alone aren't fancy enough for you, some swim spa manufacturers even offer waterproof smart TV screens! Now you can watch your favorite sports team, enjoy a movie, or dance along to the video for the song that's currently pumping out of your swim spa's sound system.
Now you've got a better idea of what size swim spa will work in your outdoor space, why not get some quotes to see what sort of deals are out there.
Of course, you could do this yourself by calling multiple dealerships, but why go through the hassle?
Filling out the form below will let the top swim spa dealers in your local area see what size, features, and budget you're interested in.
They'll send you their most competitive quotes on exactly the type of swim spa that best matches your preferences. Our quote service is FREE and you won't feel pressured into making a purchase.
About The Author
Full-time staff writer at wyllz.com and stay-at-home mom.