When weighing the pros and cons of either a swimming pool or a swim spa, besides your goal for adding a pool or spa to your lifestyle – family fun, entertaining, exercise or therapeutic benefits – here are some practical considerations to factor into your decision:
Size of Yard or Designated Area
Swimming pools take up a large amount of real estate. If you have limited space in your yard, or your “wish list” includes an entertainment and/or seating area, the smaller footprint of a swim spa might be a better fit. Get the dimensions and calculate the area required for each to see if you are restricted by the size of your available space. You may also want to think about eco-friendly design elements of your pool or spa.
Length of Your Swimming Season
If you live in an area with a short summer-weather season, (less than five months) consider the fact that that a swim spa can be used all year long especially if installed indoors, say in a basement or patio.
Installation Time and Cost
The average pool installation takes from 7-14 days, and involves mapping, getting permits, excavation, framing, pouring concrete, etc. A swim spa’s installation averages about 3 days, and costs significantly less, due to its modular construction and turnkey design.
You want to protect your family and pets, from accidents involving your pool or spa all year long. The cost of safety pool covers can range from $2,500 to $5,000, depending on the size of your pool & quality of the cover. Swim spas usually come standard with a hard cover that locks directly to the cabinet; and is not easily opened by children.
The warmer the weather, the less it should cost to keep the pool or spa water warm enough to use. Most manufacturers or distributors of swim spas have charts available that compare the operating costs of swimming pools and swim spas. The numbers should speak for themselves.
Pool maintenance, including chemicals, equipment, etc., averages about $1,000 per year or swim season (swim season is typically 4 months). A swim spa’s maintenance costs are lower, averaging $500 a year with no limited “swim season”.
If costs are not a major consideration for you choice, you can base your decision solely on personal preferences. If the costs do matter to your budget, add up the main cost categories of installation, heating, safety cover, and maintenance to get a pretty good idea of the annual costs involved in maintaining each option. Then you can compare and weigh them, along with the other factors of your decision-making process.