What is the Best Swim Spa to Buy in Canada (An Unbiased Review)
You’ve decided it’s not a hot tub you want, and not an inground pool either: The swim spa is just right for you. The question then is, which one?
“Which swim spa is the best in Canada?” is a common one we face at Hydropool. We are a Canadian-based company, headquartered in Mississauga, with all of our production lines there as well. So we are well aware of who is selling quality swim spas in the Canadian market. Hydropool was actually one the first companies to develop and market a swim spa specifically for Canada, starting in the 1990s, so we have seen many competitors come and go!
But this is not where we tell you to “Buy Hydropool or else!” We know comparison shopping can be time consuming, while still being a sensible element in purchasing anything as expensive as a swim spa. So we want to go over some of your best options in Canada today when it comes to swim spas, in an unbiased a way as possible. We hope we have a product that meets your needs, but if not, we know you have options to consider.
As much as we might want to believe it’s us, there is no one heavyweight king of the swim spas, a company universally recognized in the way Apple is considering the ultimate developer of personal technological devices or how Google owns the search engine market. The swim spa market works differently, with multiple brands offering their spa up as “the best.” We are always striving that Hydropool is always in that conversation too!
What this article will do is:
• Highlight some of the best swim spa lineups for Canadian shoppers
• List our four key suggestions for what you should be looking for when buying a swim spa, so that no matter what model you are looking at, you can see what makes up a high-quality swim spa.
What are the Best Swim Spas Available in Canada Today?
A top five list of brands you may want to consider when buying a swim spa in Canada might include: Arctic Spas, Coast Spas, Dynasty, Endless Pools, Hydropool, and Master Spas. For this article, we will only be expanding on the other swim spa brands, not ourselves.
This is a mix of Canadian and American brands. There are fewer competitors in the swim spa market than you would see if you were considering hot tubs. Fewer manufacturers make swim spas, and fewer still do it at a high level. You’ll note there is some pricing throughout this story: All of it was accurate and taken from websites at the time we wrote it, but pricing may have changed in that time.
Arctic Spas Swim Spa Review
Artic Spas is based in Edmonton, with its major production facility in nearby Thorsby, Alta. Relatively new in the market, it’s been around since 1994 and it bills its products as being “engineered for the world’s harshest climates.”
Arctic calls its swim spas as “all weather pools.” All of the company’s pools are 14’ in length, which is a bit unusual – most companies offer a variety of sizes (Hydropool has a range from 13’ to 19’, for example, and other companies below you will see have a similar variety).
Artic has multiple ways in which you can swim in its pools. You can by one that allows you to swim by Tether alone, Tether and Monsoon or Tether and Niagara:
• With Tether, a swimmer is buoyed by a rope that hangs above them, and swims knowing he or she can’t reach the other side because the rope and harness around them prevents them from moving ahead. Hydropool doesn’t use this model, but some companies continue to offer it.
• Tether and Monsoon: Monsoon is a jet system that creates a current in the water for the swimmer to swim against. It is aimed at recreational swimmers and can also be used with a tether to keep the swimmer in place.
• Tether and Niagara: Niagara is the company’s strongest jet system that sprays water at a swimmer, moving it up to 27 feet per second. Swimmers can wear a tether or not, as they swim directly into the jet spray, adding resistance and keeping them from reaching the other side.
They have a range of models available, including the Kingfisher, which has just three jets and is meant for anyone who wants as much space as possible to use the pool for fitness, and the Athabascan, which has one jet, minimal seating and is intended to be largely as backyard pool. The Wolverine is the company’s top pool, featuring the topline Niagara current as its swim option, 26 jets and seating for two.
As a company, Arctic Spas emphasizes its form of insulation, which is a perimeter-style insulation modelled after the way we insulate our homes, designed to trap the heat from the spa’s pumps where it can be used to heat the unit’s water. Arctic Spas does not publish its pricing for its spas, or we couldn’t find it.
Coast Spas Swim Spa Review
Coast Spas features the following swim spa lineup, which it calls its Swim Collection. All of these swim spas come with a swim tether, so that you can choose to put on a harness and swim:
• 1302 Bench – A 13-foot model, the bench is defined by its bench seating that circles the entire pool. It has 24 jets, including two “River Jets” which are designed to create a current in the swim spa to swim against, (with up to three being available for top models).
• 1400 VE Infinity Edge – This is a 14-foot pool, with 33 jets. That includes two River Jets.
• 1600 – There are two versions of this 16-foot pool, one which offers variable speed swimming and one which does not. Each of these comes with the maximum three River Jets creating current and 32 jets overall, curiously one less than the 14-footer.
• 1700 – By now this should be clear: This is the 17-foot model. It comes with 52 jets, including three River Current-style jets, and also has the variable speed option like the 16-foot model does.
• 2100 – The largest in the lineup, this 21-foot pool has 67 jets, the option to buy a variable speed model and three River Current jets.
Another B.C.-based hot tub company, Coast operates out of Langley, just outside of Vancouver and has since 1994, the same time that Arctic Spas opened up. Coast does not publish its pricing, or at least we couldn’t find it.
Endless Pools Swim Spa Review
Endless Pools invented the swim spa in the United States, developing it at Columbia University in the mid-1980s. As we noted above, Hydropool was right behind them, developing a model in Canada just a few years later.
Today the company has one of the most complex and varied product lines available, with the widest range of accessories, which include floor mirrors, underwater bicycles and treadmills. Here’s an overall look at what’s on offer:
• Streamline Pool: This is a 14-foot pool, starting at $24,875.58 (listed price is $18,999 U.S.). It is the smallest and least expensive swim spa the company has to offer.
• The Original Pool: The original is sized at 7x12 but can go up to 10x16. It can be 39” deep or be 45” or 51” (following models come in similar ranges). See what we mean about all the options available? For that you get a single-propeller current that generates as your swim system (propeller current generally means you don’t require a tether to use them). Pricing begins at $41,891.23 (listed at $31,999 U.S.).
• The Performance Pool: You get a larger water outlet providing current here, providing nearly 30 per cent more space for the current to flow, while at the same time the promise that with more current, more water turbulence doesn’t come with it. A second propeller is added to that end. Online prices start at $44 509.52 ($33,999 is listed as U.S. price).
• The High-Performance Pool: Everything the Performance Pool comes with but with 7.5 hp, allowing you to swim even faster. Starting at $48,436.94 ($36,999 U.S.).
• Dual-Propulsion Pool: This pool features two currents side by side in a wider model so that two people can swim together at the same time. Price is approximately $56,291.80 ($42,999 U.S.).
• E2000 Endless Pools Fitness System: This is the largest model, with a 15-foot swim spa, combined with a 5’x7’ hot tub extension, that is separated with a wall so that someone can swim while others can use the hot tub at the same time. It sells for $79,856.35 ($60,999 U.S.).
Endless Pools is a premium brand in the swim spa marketplace. What’s above is not the full lineup the company offers but is meant to provide a range of options that the company sells.
Master Spas Swim Spa Review
In contrast to the wide variety of Endless Pools, Master Spas has two lines of swim spas: The H2X Fitness Swim Spas and the Michael Phelps Signature Swim Spas, bearing the name of the accomplished American Olympian swimmer and … although we should add that each of them then has three model types, so the line does get busy again. The company is based in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
Let’s look at each line in turn:
• H2X Fitness Swim Spas
• In the Therapool you get two or three “flow stream” jets, depending on your model. It comes in 11 or 13-foot models and is aimed at the casual fitness aficionado.
• The Trainer has 12, 15, 18 and 19 models, including deep models which are 60” instead of 51” and four airless jets creating current this time.
• Move to the Challenger and you get six airless jets which generate a wider current to swim against. It comes in 15, 18 and 19 feet and features 25 levels of adjustment for its water current speed.
• Michael Phelps Signature Swim Spas
• Michael Phelps Force Deep – this is the shortest of the Michael Phelps swim spas at 17 feet, which holds 39 jets (the Deep designation means the spa is 60” deep).
• Michael Phelps Signature Deep – this is an 18-foot model, which promises the largest swim area of the entire lineup.
• Michael Phelps Momentum Deep – is a combination swim spa and hot tub model, nearly 20 feet long overall. With twin temperature controls, you’re able to set the hot tub to a completely different temperature than the pool side.
Master Spas does not publish its pricing online.
Dynasty Spas Swim Spa Review
It’s been around since 1995, and Dynasty Spas features a popular range of swim spas, all coming from Athens, Tennessee. The company has a rowing option, where you can work out using row bars under water, with the water’s resistance creating force.
Each of the company’s swim spas are described by length and trim:
• 13-foot – which comes in:
• Party Swim Spa, with two illuminated river jets and wide bench seating that can hold 11 people if no one is swimming and 29 jets.
• Pro, 3” deeper at 54” versus 51” for the Party Swim Spa and 10 jets, as the tub removes the bench area.
• Pro Plus, as deep as the Pro, but with a third river jet added to create a stronger current to swim against.
• 16-foot Pro Aquatic Trainer – Three river jets come with the 16-footer, and it is 60” deep for a larger swimming cavity and more room to do a wider variety of workouts.
• 17-foot Pro – We’re back to 54” deep, but the same three jets to swim against.
• 19-foot Dual Pro – Three jets to swim against, 54” deep and a separate hot tub that holds three, while the entire unit holds seven plus one swimmer.
Dynasty does not offer online pricing, at least that we could find.
Why Don’t All Companies Publish Pricing for Swim Spas?
You’ll note that many of the swim spas here do not have prices available, even ballpark prices. This is common in the industry, if not always ideal for anyone shopping. Frequently companies ask you to send over your information or to head to a dealer for pricing in person.
Driving this common belief is the idea that swim spas are purchases that require explanation and that prices on their own come across as sticker shock and scare customers away. Also, some hot tubs and swim spas are sold at different prices in different countries or in different parts of countries by some companies. Published pricing also allows some companies to undercut and try and sell their tubs and spas that way.
Whatever the reason is, it does happen in the industry. We aren’t trying to push our own brand here with this article, but we’re proud to say Hydropool does publish its prices online. And we can tell you that most of our swim spas start around $20,000 and go up to around $50,000 (CAD) at the higher end.
The Key Elements of Buying Any Swim Spa
At the start of this article, we promised we’d tell you the four main components to any good swim spa. Here they are! What you need to look for when you’re buying, regardless of brand:
Swim system: The spa should produce an above average and versatile swim current – you can’t just have one speed for the variety of people who may want to use the spa. You should be able to set the spa cater to a beginner, intermediate and athletic swimmer so that anyone can use it.
A range of in-water fitness features: Additional tools, such as a fitness kit that would enable a user to do in pool fitness exercises are now expected from a good swim spa. Guidance should come with the tools so that people can understand how to make the most of them.
Small pool: Although originally designed for swimming, today people have capitalized on the size of the pool. Any spa needs to function as a small pool as well as a place to swim. Swim spas that don’t do well here have too many benches and seats and try to enclose the swim area too much, essentially treating it like a large hot tub, which limits what the spa can do. There is a substantial portion of the world that likes to use swim spas as a small pool, standing in the water, glass in hand. Your spa should let them do that too.
It also has to be a hot tub though: There’s a tricky balance here. In some way you need to have the swim spa serve as a giant hot tub. That can mean two to four seats in any model so people can sit and enjoy the pool, with sufficient jets that provide at least average or better massage in those seats.
We think these are good guidelines for anyone looking to buy a swim spa to ensure they are buying a quality spa. They are also what we try to follow while we build our own swim spas, but we know this piece isn’t about us!
And the Best Swim Spa to Buy in Canada is…
The best one to buy in Canada is … the one that is right for you. As you can see, there is a wide range of swim spas available to Canadian buyers, some which are made in Canada and some which come from the United States. There are good values and there are high-end models, ones designed for aggressive swimming and others designed as pools or big party hot tubs.
We purposefully did not put Hydropool on this list of brands available in Canada, because we understand anyone shopping is going to look around and see what the competition has to offer. No single hot tub manufacturer can provide a model that is right for every customer. While we hope you would find one of our swim spas that work well for you in our lineup, we understand other models might be a bit better for you. That’s why we created this list, so you could see what’s best in the marketplace today.
• If you’d like to read more about Hydropool’s swim spas, click here.
• If you’d like to talk to a Hydropool dealer, click here.