Man swimming in swim spa

Would you rather have a backyard hot tub complete with all the bells and whistles for total relaxation? Or, would you rather have your own swim spa and enjoy unlimited access to a fantastic form of exercise?

For those that don’t know the difference between swim spas and hot tubs, those can be confusing questions.

We’re here to shed some light on the differences between swim spas and hot tubs so you can make an informed decision.

What Is a Swim Spa?

A swim spa is a specialized type of spa that functions as a swimming machine. That is to say, it produces a continuous current that users can swim against for an indefinite amount of time.

If you want to swim to get in shape and improve your health, a swim spa can help. Swimming as a form of exercise is associated with a number of powerful benefits, such as:

  • Better endurance and heart health.
  • Increased muscle strength.
  • Relief from joint pain.
  • Lowered stress levels.

Plus, swim spas can also help serious and competitive swimmers continue their training at home, no trip to the nearest pool required.

To learn more about swim spas, check out our previous article, “5 Swim Spa FAQs, Answered.”

What Is a Hot Tub?

A hot tub is type of spa that’s designed primarily for recreation and relaxation. They’re often outfitted with a variety of luxurious features, such as:

  • Massaging jets.
  • LED mood lighting.
  • Waterfalls and other water features.
  • Cushioned headrests.
  • Built-in Bluetooth audio systems.
  • Built-in flatscreen TVs.

Since most hot tubs can heat the water up to a steamy 104 degrees, they also offer all the benefits of heat therapy. These include:

  • Reduced muscle and joint pain.
  • Improved circulation.
  • Better sleep.
  • Fewer allergy and asthma symptoms.
  • Effective treatment of depression.

And, hot tubs are also great for entertaining and enjoying some family fun. You can play some hilarious hot tub games , or even use a hot tub to improve your marriage .

What Are the Differences Between the Two?

The main difference between hot tubs and swim spas comes down to their primary purpose:

  • With a swim spa, the primary purpose is to swim, whether for a form of exercise, a hobby or training.
  • With a hot tub, the primary purpose is to relax, unwind and have some fun in a tranquil environment.

Additionally, swim spas tend to cost more than hot tubs, depending on the models you’re comparing. For example, some swim spas start at about $7,499, while some hot tubs start at about $2,500 to $3,000.

However, keep in mind that any of those price tags is significantly less than that associated with an inground pool. As we explained in a previous article , the average cost of such a pool is about $50,000.

So, regardless of whether you choose a swim spa or a hot tub, you’ll pay drastically less than you would for a pool.

It should also be noted that many swim spas also function as hot tubs. This means that if you decide to purchase a swim spa, you won’t have to purchase a separate hot tub in order to kick back and relax.

Some are even equipped with AnyTemp® technology, which allows you to select any temperature between 62 and 104 degrees.

Which Is Right for You?

We recommend choosing a swim spa if you:

  • Want to include a regular swimming regimen in your fitness routine.
  • Enjoy swimming frequently.
  • Are a competitive swimmer.
  • Want to be able to swim at home, without the high cost of an in-ground pool.
  • Don’t mind paying more than you would for a hot tub.
  • Want the benefits of both a swim spa and a hot tub.

By comparison, we recommend choosing a hot tub if you:

  • Don’t plan on swimming regularly.
  • Want a place to relax and unwind above all else.
  • Are primarily interested in reaping the benefits of heat therapy.
  • Don’t want to pay the extra cost associated with swim spas.

If you make a decision that’s based on you and your family’s specific preferences, you’ll end up with a product you can enjoy and love for many years.