Swim Spa Buyers Guide
What is a swim spa?
A Swim Spa is a effectively a compact swimming pool that allows you to swim continuously against a water current, there is no need to turn around to continue swimming like in a regular swimming pool. Swim Spas provide the absolute best swimming exercise whilst taking up the least space in your home or garden.
Swim Spas can also be used as smaller swimming pools in the sense that you can relax and splash around in them with family and friends. Some swim spas are what is referred to as split-models, you actually have a hot tub spa in one end with the swimming section in the other.
Swim Spas are available as self-contained or portable units. There are also options to purchase just the shell and set it into a decked area; you can even have a custom swim spa made or the propeller installed into an existing swimming pool.
What is a swim spa used for?
The main use for a swim spa is swimming but they can be used for a variety of other activities. Water aerobics, low impact running and strength training are common uses aside from swimming. Many swim spas include a dedicated hot tub section for relaxation or there are jets around the swimming section.
They have also been used for animal hydrotherapy, particularly for dogs.
What is the best type of swim spa?
- Jet Swim Spas
- Paddle Wheel Spas
- Propeller Swim Spas
Jet swim spas utilise pumps similar to those found in hot tubs and are the most common. These swim spas are also known as pressure driven systems. They are usually powered by a pump that pushes water and air through a jet(s) to create a current to swim against. The addition of air increases the water velocity; this makes it difficult to see even whilst wearing goggles. The streams of water are narrow and can be uncomfortable to swim against; there is the added problem that the current isn't deep enough to swim against. The jets are usually adjustable and can some models can provide current speeds around 8mph. However large pumps are needed and these use a lot of energy. These swim spas are suited to casual swimmers and general family & friends bathing.
Paddle wheel spas use a large rotating paddlewheel to move large quantities of water; this creates a deep and wide current across the width of the swim spa. The current from this type of system is smooth, like jet systems the speed is often adjustable.
Propeller driven swim spas like the Michael Phelps Swim Spa range from Master Spas create a smooth, adjustable current much like that of a paddlewheel spa. A propeller at the front connected to an energy efficient variable speed motor drives water through a grate and is directed toward a grate at the rear of the spa. The current in these spas is clearer; with hardly any turbulence you'll also find the current is deeper and stronger.Propeller driven spas suite all types of swimming stroke and the controls make it perfect for all levels of swimmer.
Both propeller and paddlewheel spas are suited to serious swimmers.Practically all swim spas are made of acrylic although some manufacturers do produce spas that have a liner.
The video below shows the difference between a propeller driven swim spa and a jetted wim spa.
There is also the need to condsider what type of installation you require, a breif overview is below:
Swim Spa Shells
Just like hot tub shells these are moulded out of acrylic. They can be set into a deck or any other landscape you wish such as the image below. With this type of installation the pumps, heater, filtration and any other equipment can be located away from the swim spa.Self contained (portable) Swim Spa
Probably the most popular swim spa today due to easy of installation. These self contained units can be transported and moved if desired because although bulky they don't have to be permanently installed. With all the pumps, heater and filters integrated into one unit it's easy to see why they're growing in popularity.
If you have an existing pool but perhaps feel it is too small or you just want to add some updated features then it is possible to integrate a propeller or jetting system. This will be time consuming and does depend on whether there is room to carry out an upgrade.
Can I have a hot tub and swim spa in one unit?
It's certainly possible to have a dual unit. The Michael Phelps Swim Spa range from Master Spas offers the best of both worlds. All models have at least one hot tub seat, with others offering upto three separate seats.
Are swim spas better than hot tubs?
We believe that swim spas have several advantages over traditional hot tubs. A swim spa is larger than a hot tub and has more uses. They are also significantly smaller than swimming pools and therefore are more economical and cheaper to maintain while offering endless swimming.
Will my swim spa neeed any extra accessories?
There are a few things your swim should definitely have:
Keeping your swim spa water clean and ready to use is paramount to bather safety. There are various chemical paclks on the market but they all do the same thing, it's essential that you keep up with water maintenance.
Ensure your swim spa is covered when not in use. This is vital for retaining heat and stopping debris entering the water. The best covers are thermal rigid with solid insulation and lock to your swim spa. A good cover will last a number of years before needing replacement.
This will be dependant on your installation, however you need to ensure that you can enter and exit the hot tub safely. Some manufacturers will include steps as standard while other will not. Check before purchasing what is included with the swim spa.
Other accessories are available, such as hand rails, sun screens and caddy's