Swim Spa v Small Swimming Pool - Which is Better?

So, you want to add a pool to your property? What a brilliant idea. Not only are there many health benefits, but it’ll also make a great stand-out feature that could add value to your home.

If you’re looking to buy a pool for the first time, there are a few considerations, like if you have the space and what it’ll be used for.

If you’re just going to use it for a refreshing dip, then a small pool is just fine. However, if you’re going to use it for swimming then should you buy a traditional swimming pool, or a perhaps swim spa?

The rise in popularity of swim spas has risen but we’ll take you through what you need to know so you can make your final decision.

Benefits of a swim spa versus a swimming pool

The main benefit of a swim spa is that you get a spa and pool in one – you can plunge in and swim or take advantage of hydrotherapy seats for a relaxing spa treat, usually placed at one end.

Cost – Swimming pools are much more expensive to buy, install, insure, and heat than swim spas. Upfront costs are likely to be higher too. Plus, maintenance costs vary too.

Space – Swim spas are more compact and can be relocated if you wish. It’s essentially a swimming pool in a box, whereas installing a swimming pool is a more permanent fixture.

Technology – The main difference between a swim spa and a swimming pool is not the size but the technology a swim spa has to offer. You can adjust jets, pump pressure, filter requirements, temperature, music settings (if it includes Bluetooth) and mood-lifting lighting, thanks to user-friendly controls.

Versatility – You’re limited to what you can do in a swimming pool, as they’re essentially used just for swimming, whilst swim spas offer multiple uses, from swimming to aqua gym (you can even attach resistance bands to help with your exercise) and hydromassage to unwind and rejuvenate. Plus, swim spas can be used all year round, even in the cold weather. Find our more about aqua aerobics in a swim spa in our guide.

Swim experience – In swimming pools, you tend to swim laps by turning at each end, and the number of turns you take depends on the pool size. A swim spa generates a strong current to swim against, so it’s one continuous swim, which make them much more flexible as you’re not limited by the dimensions of a pool.

Hydrotherapy – If you’re looking to relax as well as swim, or even improve your mental well-being, swim spas benefit from seating positions and all the hydrotherapy technology of hot tubs. They use water, air, and heat in the form of rotational and directional jets to soothe muscular aches and pains, improve circulation, your health and much more. Swimming pools don’t offer this benefit.

Find out more about hydrotherapy here.

What can I do in a swim spa versus a small pool?


Swim Spa

Swimming Pool





Yes – unlimited

Yes – unlimited







Using swimming as an example, if you were to swim in a small pool that was 20 feet long, it would take 260 turns to swim just one mile whereas in a swim spa, it would be one continuous swim.

What does a swim spa look like?

They’re a cross between a hot tub and a swimming pool – see the swim spas that have been installed for our customers below to give you an idea-

What does a swim spa look like

Do you need planning permission for a swim spa or swimming pool?

Swim spas or hot tubs shouldn’t need planning permission. However, if you plan to construct a building above, contact your local authority. Outdoor swimming pools don’t need planning permission, but it’s best to check any local regulations.

What’s the cost of an average swim spa versus a swimming pool?

Swimming pool

The cost of a ground-level swimming pool can range from £20,000 to £100,000 depending on the size – they’re bigger than swim spas due to people needing more space for swimming.

Swim spa

In comparison to the above, our swim spas range from approximately £14,999 to £39,999 depending on the requirements like number of jets, jet power and number of seats within. Not only are they cheaper to buy, but they often require much less maintenance. We also offer flexible finance on all of our swim spas.

How much does it cost to maintain a swim spa versus a swimming pool?

It can be challenging to determine the daily running costs since the cost of energy is constantly inflating. However, you can take steps for minimising any increases right from the start. Plus, it's worth keeping in mind that the cost of running a swim spa or swimming pool can vary depending on the following factors:

  1. The size of your pool.
  2. How much do you use it?
  3. Location (indoors or outdoors).
  4. Electricity cost as mentioned.
  5. Heating method* - see link below.
  6. The temperature of your pool.
  7. Insulation method - whether it’s inground, above ground, or with a liner.
  8. Using a pool cover – a cover can keep heat in so you’re not constantly reheating.

Below is an idea of the running costs between a swim spa and a swimming pool according to the Swimming Pool and Allied Trades Association (SPATA):


Swim Spa

Swimming Pool

Per Day



Per Week



Per Month



Please note these costs are approximate and are dependent on the above factors.

*To reduce energy consumption, why not invest in a heat pump, they reduce heating costs by up to 50%. You can purchase one from us here.

Parting advice

Compared to a swimming pool, a swim spa does seem to be the better option. A swim spa offers the benefits of a full-size swimming pool and a hot tub in one. With a compact design, less maintenance and lower upfront cost - we're flying the flags for swim spas. Ultimately, it comes down to your personal preference and what’s right for you and your family.

To learn more or to see one in action, visit our Leeds or Hull showroom. We stock a wide range of swim spas, including Jacuzzi® and TidalFit.

Not near a showroom? No problem contact us, and we’ll be happy to help.

Check out our other online guides here, and to stay up to date with our latest products and updates, follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

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