Melburnians have long looked to their pools and spas as a way to beat the heat and relax at home, but recently, a new trend has overtaken the market: swim spas. With their smaller footprints and less-demanding upkeep schedules, there’s a lot to love about swim spas. Given the space issues many Australian cities face, swim spas can be a great way to get the joy of a private pool and a private spa in just one compact fixture.
But is a swim spa right for your home? How is a swim spa different than a pool? And how do you know which you should choose? We understand that researching all the various types of pools on the market can be tricky, so we want to make your pool buying experience as simple as possible for you. Here’s everything you need to know about the pools versus swim spas debate.
What is a swim spa?
Simply put, a swim spa merges all the things you love about both pools and spas into one relatively compact space. Like a pool, a swim spa is large enough for casual swimming. However, swim spas are much smaller than classical pools. They take up less space while still allowing the user to swim freely and even enjoy simulated long-distance swimming, making swim spas a great choice for homeowners who don’t want the pool to take up their whole yard, or who simply have less backyard space available to work with.
Unlike a traditional pool though, the primary function of a swim spa is relaxation. Like a spa, a swim spa is equipped with hydrotherapy jets and, in many cases, additional swim jets. The regular spa jets allow you to utilise your swim spa for hydrotherapy, which is great for both avid swimmers who often suffer from muscle soreness or injury and others who are just looking for a way to unwind at the end of the day. The extra hydrotherapy jets can be used to increase your swim spa’s relaxation benefits, or to amplify the water resistance and increase the difficulty of your workout during a swimming session.
By amplifying your regular swim, you can enjoy the health benefits and strength training associated with long-distance swimming in a smaller space. Small swim spas also allow you to enjoy both workouts and spa sessions in the privacy of your own home, which may be especially appealing to those recovering from injuries or who wish to utilise their spa outside of normal business hours.
How big is a swim spa?
As with virtually any pool or spa, swim spas come in a wide variety of sizes and shapes. Homeowners can customise their swim spa to fit the space and aesthetic of their property. Since the purpose of a swim spa is to enjoy the perks of a pool and a spa without taking up so much space, most swim spa owners tend to prefer smaller, more compact designs that allow just enough room for a swim using the swim jets.
In Australia, most swim spa sizes are about five to six metres long and two to three metres wide. These numbers are only a guideline. It’s also helpful to remember that most of a swim spa’s space is dedicated to seating as opposed to free swimming space. For this reason, only one person at a time could swim in a swim spa, but two to four average sized adults could relax in the swim spa.
Generally speaking, a swim spa is ideal for an individual, comfortable for a couple, but not ideal for use by a whole family. For more information on small pools that might be more practical for use by a whole family, scroll down to our suggested swim spa alternatives.
Advantages of swim spas
A swim spa’s compact size can be a huge advantage for homeowners with smaller properties, or who simply wish to have a pool that occupies less space. This particular asset is what makes swim spas so popular in the Melbourne, Australia area, where land is at a premium and lots are typically small. If you’re looking to save space without losing your ability to go for a swim, a swim spa may be exactly what you’re looking for.
In addition to its size, another advantage of choosing a swim spa over a pool is versatility. A swim spa allows you to enjoy the luxury of having both a pool and a spa without the expense, maintenance, or space issues associated with caring for two separate fixtures. You’ll love having the option to go for a swim then soak your tired muscles without ever having to leave home—or even leave your pool, for that matter!
A swim spa also makes a particularly attractive addition to almost any property. Since they can be customised to virtually any size or shape, they make fantastic statement fixtures for backyards. A well-landscaped, well-maintained swim spa is a great way to improve the aesthetics of your outdoor living space. In general, swim spas tend to substantially increase the value of a property. Homes in Australia that feature any type of pool or spa are seen as more desirable and often sell more quickly for more money when they are on the market. Your swim spa is sure to make an impact with future prospective home buyers.
Disadvantages of swim spas
As with anything, choosing a swim spa over a pool does have a few potential disadvantages. While some may see the compact size of a swim spa as a huge benefit, others might consider the smaller size a disadvantage. Swim spas are not appropriate for families who wish to use their pool for group swims or water games.
Swim spas may also not be appropriate for competitive swimmers. While the swim jets do simulate the experience of long-distance swimming quite well, they cannot completely replicate natural conditions. Therefore, you can’t accurately gauge how you will swim in a competition setting based on your experience in a swim spa pool.
Swim spas may also not be suitable for young children or particularly weak swimmers. The swim jets create a current that could easily overpower a small child. If a child is allowed to use a swim spa, they should only ever be allowed to do so with close adult supervision.
How much is a swim spa?
Compared to a traditional pool, swim spa prices are considerably lower. Since swim spas vary substantially in size, they tend to also range greatly in price. At the very top end of the spectrum, a larger, luxury swim spa can cost between $15,000–$30,000. However, there are plenty of low and mid-range models available for drastically less.
One of the factors influencing the price of a swim spa is whether you choose a standard above ground swim spa or an in-ground model. Most swim spa pools arrive as one complete unit that sits on top of the ground. They require very little ground preparation and are ready to use almost as soon as they are delivered. All you need to do is hook it up to an electrical outlet and fill it. These models tend to be much more cost effective.
On the other hand, in-ground swim spas require extra work and extra expense. During the installation process for an in-ground swim spa, a professional will need to excavate your backyard to prep the area for installation, just as you would with a traditional in-ground pool. For this reason, your swim spa won’t be ready to use for several days or even weeks. However, many people prefer the sleek aesthetic appearance of in-ground spas. If cost is of little concern, in-ground swim spas provide an especially luxurious, sophisticated accent for your property.
Regardless of which option you choose, you should always do your research to ensure that you’re purchasing a high-quality spa from a reputable professional.
Swim Spa Alternatives
If a swim spa doesn’t quite sound like what you’re looking for, we at Natural Pools in Melbourne, Australia are happy to offer a wide variety of swim spa alternatives. Some options to consider include traditional spas, infinity pools, plunge pools, lap pools or pool and spa combos. Having a smart pool with a spa attached built is very popular with our customers these days.
Feel free to check out our gallery of architectural pools, natural pools, luxury pools, and more for ideas about your pool or spa project. As one of the leading pool companies in Melbourne, we specialise in the design, creation, construction, and maintenance of beautiful pools and spas for both residential and commercial properties alike. With a wide range of sizes, styles, and types of spas and pools available, we feel confident in our ability to provide the spa you’ve been dreaming of.
Please contact our team at Natural Pools in Melbourne, Australia for more information about spas, pools, swim spas, plunge pools, or other pool-spa combos. We’ll be happy to answer your questions and help you get your pool buying process started.