You’ve seen the ads and heard the hype . . . swim spas are a great way to get exercise in the privacy of your own backyard.
But, are they really all they are cracked up to be?
There is no denying that a swim spa can provide a good, low-impact workout in a fairly small space. But along with this upside, there are a host of problems.
The first is that many users will be shocked when they receive their initial electric bill. Creating the counterflow and keeping the swim spa heated is far more expensive than most people realize. In general, a regular swimming pool has a better cost:value ratio, when you look at the utility of each. And a traditional spa is much more efficient because of the comparative water volumes involved.
A pool can be used for swimming measured laps when exercise is the goal, and can also be used for parties and entertainment, as well as lounging and relaxing. A swim spa tends to be more of a one-trick pony. Good for exercise and massage, but very limited in other uses.
When you think about the investment in a pool, spa, or swim spa, and then look at that investment versus the overall utility, the advantages of a regular swimming pool, or a pool with a traditional spa adjacent to it, become clear.
And, even as an exercise “machine” a swim spa has drawbacks. The counterflow created in a swim spa is not a true countercurrent. While the exercise value is similar, it is not the same as swimming against natural current, nor are you swimming real, measured lengths. Oftentimes the counterflow in a swim spa is not consistent, leading to areas of strong turbulence and other spots with little resistance. Many first-time buyers are also surprised at the fitness level needed to properly utilize a swim spa. Even at low settings, the current is too strong for many casual users.
The other consideration is the aesthetic effect on your landscape.
While both pools and traditional spas can be integrated into a landscape to be pleasing to the eye and even a design highlight, most swim spas do not offer much flexibility. Many have to be placed above ground, and almost all are restricted to a rectangular shape, limiting the landscaping options.
For the budget-conscious buyer, the swim spa offers an additional dilemma. It is more expensive than a traditional spa, and more expensive to operate and maintain. And, it costs nearly as much as many in-ground pools.
At Immerspa, we have found that our clients generally get much more utility and satisfaction from a traditional spa, or a swimming pool than they do with a swim spa. The value proposition of pools and traditional spas is the deciding factor for most, with the impact to landscaping also being a strong consideration.
If you want to learn more about pools and spas, give us a call. Our team is happy to help you look at the options and make the choice that is right for you and your lifestyle!