Swim Spa vs Hot Tub what’s the Difference?

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If you are currently in the market looking for something which can make you feel relaxed while being in the water you will most likely have come across three things. Hot tubs, Swim Spas and Pools. All of these have their unique twists and turns and while they may seem similar they are actually all very different.

In this article, we will be focusing mainly on Swim Spas vs Hot Tubs, as they both are very alike in function and purpose however they are also massively different at the same time.

Ready to see the differences, the advantages and the disadvantages of either a Swim Spa or a Hot Tub? Let’s jump in!

Swim Spa vs Hot Tub: Price Differences

The first, and for many people, the most important and the biggest deciding factor is the price difference between a Swim Spa and a Hot Tub.

The price difference between a low-end Swim Spa and a Low end (portable) hot tub are massive, with a Low-End Swim Spa costing on average around the region of over $8,000 while a low-end budget Hot Tub like a Lay Z Hot Tub can cost from as little as $400.

However, with the middle range and high-end hot tubs and swim spas, the price difference becomes less and less. A high-end Swim Spa can on average cost you over $30,000/the price of a new car, while a high-end Hot Tub can cost you around $18,000.

With that in mind, let’s advance to the next comparison.

Swim Spa vs Hot Tub: Structural Differences

Now we know the price difference between a Hot Tub and a Swim Spa we should now look deeper into what exactly is the difference between the two, and why the lower-end swim spas cost a lot more than the low-end Hot Tubs.

Swim Spa Structure: The Swim Spa has to be built into the earth unlike lower-end hot tubs, and is, on the whole, a lot larger than any hot tub you can buy. Most of them are rectangular and are almost the size of a small swimming pool

Portable (Low-End) Hot Tub structure

The budget Hot Tubs are usually comprised of affordable inflatable hot tubs, which can be inflated practically anywhere using the pumps etc provided with the Hot Tub, a portable hot tub is circular and can usually fit around 4 people sitting in it at the same time.

Fixed Hot Tubs (Middle to High-End)

Fixed Hot Tubs, the ones that are much closer to the Swim Spa in price, have to be built into the earth or a solid structure just like the Swim Spa. These are not inflatable and so can’t be easily moved from where you decided to install them. Fixed Hot Tubs are also commonly circular and can seat anywhere from 4 to even 12 people (with very large hot tubs).

Swim Spa vs Hot Tub: Functional differences of a Swim Spa

Even though from the surface a Swim Spa might be confused for a Hot Tub, it is important to know, especially if you are in the market for either of the two, just how fundamentally different a Swim Spa is from a Hot Tub. We will now get into what a Swim Spa does

In simple terms, a Swim Spa is almost like a small pool that, built into it, has a machine that creates wave currents which always make you swim against a current, meaning you can continuously swim and never hit the wall. This is extremely useful because it means you can practice your swimming and continuously swim like you where in a massive pool with the bonus that you don’t have to stop and head back in the other direction if you hit the walls.

Now you know what a Swim Spa is, let’s get into what a Hot Tub is.

Swim Spa vs Hot Tub: Functional Differences of a Hot Tub

The main difference between a Hot Tub and a Swim Spa is that a Hot Tub is almost certainly not meant for swimming in. A hot tub is usually a circular tub filled with hot water which is used to provide relaxation once sat in it. Hot Tubs utilize many different ways of providing relaxation to its users, from just the hot water itself to using jets to provide massages to the people using it with water.

As you can see, the functional differences between a Swim Spa and a Hot Tub are massive, and they are very much not the same type of machine.

Is there a middle ground?

If you have a bit more cash to spend, then yes, there is a middle ground. A lot of Swim Spas can also be constructed to include a Hot Tub, which lets you have both and so then you don’t need to decide between which one to get. This is the same with a lot of large pools, a hot tub can also be ordered to be installed alongside them.

There are only advantages to having a Hot Tub-Swim Spa hybrid, it allows you to utilize the features of both and lets you switch seamlessly and effortlessly between them, meaning you could have a couple of minutes doing some intensive swimming in the Swim Spa and then deciding to swim into the Hot Tub so you can relax for a few minutes before going back into the Swim Spa.

The only disadvantage of a hybrid is the price, which will usually be as expensive as combining a high-end hot tub and a high-end swim spa, meaning it on average costs around $20,000 to $40,000, much more expensive than buying either of the low or middle-end options for both of them.

How deep is a Swim Spa?

If you’re leaning towards a swim spa you will want to know how deep it is. Though it varies from model to model on average most Swim Spas are around 6 feet or 39 inches deep.


In conclusion, a Swim Spa and a Hot Tub are both very different machines and are used for very different purposes. The main things you should consider before getting either of them is to ask yourself what you would spend more time doing, either it being relaxing while being water massaged or doing a lot of continuous swimming. If you prefer both and have the money then you can get a hybrid/combo of the two.

Thanks for reading our article and we hope we helped you in learning about swim spas and hot tubs and we hoped we helped you in deciding on which one to get. We would love to see you soon! Bye!