What Is A Swim Spa? How Much Do They Cost?

Swim spa in backyard next to lawn and steps to house

You may have seen them in the the back of a magazine advertised as swim spas.  The swim spa was once a fringe novelty item combining two things people love. These two things are the spa feeling with the ability to swim. If you’re interested in being able to move around and even exercise in spa-like conditions, a swim spa is the answer. What is a swim spa? How much do these swim spas cost? In this article, we’ll explain what a swim spa is, how much they cost and the different types you have to choose from.

What Is A Swim Spa?

A swim spa is a large spa or hot tub, most capable of fitting 8 people comfortably. Essentially, a swim spa is a large spa capable of producing a current to swim against. There are two distinct methods for creating the current.

What Is A Swim Spa Jet Style?

What Is A Swim Spa Jet Style Explained In Image Of Close Up Spa

First there’s the swim jets.  These are jet nozzles placed in the spa pushing water from one end of the spa toward the other.  The jets are operated using a large 5 to 10 horsepower pump and they take advantage of venturi action which increases the gallons of water moving in the swim current direction.  

What Is A Swim Spa Fan/Paddle Wheel Style?

Paddle wheel style swim spa

The second current style is the fan or paddle wheel style swim spa.  These are favored by swim coaches and professional athletes for aquatic training.  Instead of jets pushing the water from one end of the spa to the other there is a concealed paddle wheel or fan at one end of the spa which moves the water from one end toward the other.  These are far more evenly dispersed currents and more accurately mimic what you might experience in a river current.

What Is A Swim Spa Made Of?

Swim spas are commonly made of fiberglass and are self supporting like your everyday fiberglass spa.  They are large and require access to make repairs and service the equipment from time to time.  Check with your selected manufacturer to determine the exact clearances and access requirements before designing the space the spa will be integrated into.  You don’t want to inadvertently design a spa that whenever it needs service, must be drained and hoisted out of the hole.

What To Expect: Swim Spa Installation

When your spa is delivered, you may need to hire a rigging company. This will depend on the final location of your swim spa relative to the delivery location.  Be sure to prepare the installation location with all the utilities required by the manufacturer including water and electrical supply. Aesthetically, many clients don’t want the fiberglass shell integrated into their property, but they want the comfort and convenience of a swim spa built into their gunite or stainless steel pool.  

How Much Is A Swim Spa?

There are systems which can be built into a custom pool.  Adding a swim spa system into a pool can range from $5,000 – $15,000. The type of swim spa you choose will determine how much you pay. We’ve highlighted both a lower end and higher end system provider below.

First, there is a jetted system provided by Badu-Jet.  Badu-Jet systems will be the least expensive way to integrate a functional swim-jet system into your pool, usually starting around $5,000.  Next, there’s Endless Pools, who makes a system for custom swimming pools called the ‘Fastlane’ which utilizes their fan style system.  The Fastlane is preferable function-wise if you can aesthetically build them into the project.  Also, you must be willing to pay the premium for the Endless Pools product which can exceed $15,000 installed.  


Now you know the answer to the question, what is a swim spa? Ultimately, a swim spa can be a great addition to your backyard, whether a factory made self contained unit, or as an addition to your custom backyard pool.  Swimming is arguably the best exercise there is, and finding a way to build this into your daily routine is accelerated by adding a swim spa to your backyard.