Hydropool versus TidalFit Review: Which is the Best Swim Spa for You?
Comparing Hydropool to TidalFit shows the breadth of choice available in the swim spa market today. While once only a few swim spa builders existed, today there is a considerable range of swim spa makers, each with different focuses and purposes.
Hydropool has been building swim spas since the early 1980s, while TidalFit began in 2008. The Las Vegas, Nevada swim spa maker is owned by the same overall company that owns Artesian Spas, which is a hot tub builder that we review in another article.
On its website, TidalFit puts a strong focus on aquatic fitness and the versatility of its swim spas, stressing that they are pools, hot tubs and aquatic fitness centres all in one. Its slogan is “the exercise pool” and its experience is “fun for the whole family.”
In turn, Hydropool puts an emphasis on its three model lineups right off the bat, with each offering a range of experiences and swim capabilities. It has models designed for fun all the way up to models meant for elite swimmers, giving users the best swim spa options to choose from.
It may be surprising for you as a reader to see one manufacturer comparing their products to another so openly and we admit, it’s unusual. But we have been in business for more than 40 years, and we have always understood there will be competition. We also know that we are making our swim spas for specific types of customers. So are brands like TidalFit.
While we hope that everyone could find a swim spa at Hydropool, we also understand people sometimes have good reasons to consider other brands. We wanted to write this article so people would understand what they are getting when they buy a swim spa from us compared to one from TidalFit.
So in this article we will take a look at:
- Model comparison: Which swim spa models match up well together?
- The aesthetics and looks of each swim spa.
- We will rate the swim capabilities of each swim spa.
- How easy is it to maintain each swim spa?
- And lastly, we’ll take a look at swim spa pricing.
Let’s jump in!
Hydropool versus TidalFit: A Complete Guide to Comparable Swim Spa Models
Similarities and significant differences in approach between Hydropool and TidalFit are immediately apparent when comparing models.
- TidalFit’s lineup opens with a 12-foot Active EP-12, and an Active Plus EP-12 model, with EP standing for “Exercise Pool.” According to the company website, the Active Plus model is a little bigger, at seven inches deeper, while offering more jets. It also comes with a twin-bench version as well, which offers lots of seating down each side of the pool.
- Hydropool’s entry-level offering is the 13-foot Aqua Play FFP, which also comes with standard benches down each size. It’s that size because we found 12-feet a little small for swimming. While the “FFP” stands for “Family Fun Pool”, you can still swim comfortably in the Aqua Play FFP if you choose, although it is primarily meant for someone who wants a significantly sized hot tub. Four jetted seats are standard.
- Next up is a 14-foot swim spa from TidalFit called the Premium EP Pro-14, which also comes with optional twin benches down each side of the swim spa for more seating. TidalFit also has a Pro EP-15, which is 15-feet long and no longer comes with optional additional bench seating. These two models most closely compare to Hydropool’s 14-foot AquaSport and the 17-foot AquaSport.
- TidalFit also has two duel-temp models, which feature hot tubs and swim spas together, with both a 19-foot model and a 21-foot. Hydropool builds a comparable 19-foot model, with some key differences, which we get into in the next section.
- TidalFit also makes a swim spa called the Core Swimmer, which features no seating and is strictly a swim tank. Hydropool used to make a similar model called the IX, but stopped making it nearly a decade ago because we saw we could make comparable models with more options for about the same pricing.
- Lastly, Hydropool carries two lines with no obvious comparable from TidalFit in the Executive Collection and the Trainer series in both the Executive Collection and the Aquatic Collection. These are elite swimming units, offering adjustable swim speeds, and far more powerful jets to swim against. They do cost more than anything TidalFit offers, but they are also designed as more advanced swimming and fitness structures.
Hydropool versus TidalFit: Which Swim Spa Looks Best?
Externally, both hot tubs take a classic approach to design, with manufactured woodgrain on the outside of the swim spa.
- According to its brochure, TidalFit offers a wide range of outside cabinets, including colors such as Sequoia (a warm red) and Taupe (a chestnut brown) and Antique (a greyed brown), as well as traditional grey, black and brown. It also features a stone-wall surround for any swim spa built halfway into the ground. It has two acrylics in a Silver Marble and Wispy Blue.
- Hydropool has two cabinet colors, in a grey/brown and a warm black. It has three acrylics, a white, silver and a champagne color.
- TidalFit’s approach to the duel-temp models is unique in the industry in that the two units are enclosed in one case, but are built as a separate hot tub and swim spa. That’s why it is able to offer a 21-foot model.
- It’s quite difficult to stretch acrylic past 19 feet, we have found, which is why our models stop at that length: Our dual-temperature swim spa/hot tub combinations are created as one solid unit. So the look is different than Hydropool’s which is one consistent piece.
- On the other hand, that allows TidalFit to create an L-shape with its dual-temp models, which would allow the swim spa and hot tub to go in a corner and fit more backyards. We have to say, that’s a neat idea (it’s possible with Hydropool if you buy a separate hot tub and swim spa as well, but TidalFit is clever in that the company combined it into one case – we will tip our hat to that).
- The inside acrylics do look considerably different, not in colour, but in design. Hydropool’s swim spas additional soft curves, as well as more aggressive grates.
The choices are easy here: Hydropool offers exterior colors designed to blend into most backyards, while TidalFit offers a range so you can choose the one you like the best. As always, when it comes to appearances, we encourage you to see each swim spa in person before you decide which swim spa is best.
Hydropool vs. TidalFit: Which Swim Spa is best for Swimming?
TidalFit promises that their swim spas are all-round exercise pools, while Hydropool has created a ladder of swim spas, each offering a higher level of swim capabilities.
On its website, it promotes a “stationary resistant swim” – which means using a tether. Hydropool offers that as an option on its swim spas, but the majority of them are designed so you can swim in them just as you would a pool, without attachments. And when you come to Hydropool’s Trainer series of swim spas, Hydropool offers a swim designed for anyone up to elite triathletes.
In looking at the models the company offers, TidalFit’s best swim systems are comparable with the Sport system in the Aquatic Sport lines at Hydropool. They move water at a similar rate and are built with jets that provide similar power and are priced comparably.
TidalFit’s highest level of swim features four round jets, formed into a V on the face of the swim spa, and you swim into the current those jets create.
Hydropool’s Play system features two more powerful jets that achieve roughly the same power as TidalFit. The major difference is in the overall engineering of the swim spa. There are many engineered touches on Hydropool that show the nuanced differences in how the companies approach swimming.
- For example, Hydropool’s Aquatic collection features hips on the shell of the swim that create eddies in the water. The water, once it comes down to the end of the pool is curled around and pushed into filters, where it is recycled and used again. Without the hips, a reflective wave is created when the current hits the far side of the swim spa, which disrupts the overall swim.
TidalFit’s swim spas are shaped like a rectangle, without internal “hips” that determine waterflow. Hydropool’s Executive Trainer has a similar square shape. What it has instead is called a “Current Collector” which swallows the entire current at the far end of the pool, before moving the water around the swim spa, recycling it into current again and again. Without that Current Collector, we have found that a current of any kind creates a reflective wave in a pool without hips, which further disrupts the swim experience.
A few other points where Hydropool’s system has unique engineered features:
- Hydropool’s system also works to “shred the vortex” water creates, to create a smooth current and swim.
- Oval jet openings smooth out the water, while grates in front of the jets also contribute to calming the water down, while maintaining a strong current to swim in.
- Buoyancy jets on the side on most models also help keep swimmers in place on Hydropool models.
- Underneath the swim spa, a manifold evenly distributed the water without using a diverter, which weakens the jet stream.
- Hydropool uses 2.5” pipes, while TidalFit uses 2.”
- The jets are also placed as close as possible to the pump, so the water doesn’t have to travel very far.
TidalFit is clear that it is creating an exercise pool, which allows for swimming. Hydropool has some products that offer that experience and others that offer elite swimming if that’s what you’re looking for. As always, the choice is yours.
Hydropool versus TidalFit: Which Swim Spa is Easier to Maintain?
The two companies start out in similar fashion at the lower levels of the swim spas, but as with swim capabilities, Hydropool puts more resources into this area.
- If you start with Hydropool’s 13-foot FFP and TidalFit’s 13-foot model, both companies have similar approaches, with 50-square foot filters, optional ozone and optional AOP systems – which combine UV light and ozone to clean water.
- Move up a level in size, and Hydropool puts in a 75-square-foot filter and a floor vacuum as part of its patented self-cleaning system, as opposed to side suction on the TidalFit. Particles in water either float or sink, and a floor vacuum ensures anything on the bottom of your swim spa is taken care of. TidalFit offers ozone and AOP as options, while Hydropool makes it standard.
- Larger models match up on filtration, as TidalFit increases the size of the swim spa filter. But Hydropool maintains its patented self-cleaning system, which is built on the model of how commercial or public pools are built. They require cleaning of both the top and the bottom of the pool and are regulated to a higher standard than today’s hot tubs and swim spas. Hydropool was originally a commercial pool company, so it uses that system in all of its self-cleaning models.
We could offer more points here on sanitation, but again, you see the two approaches of the companies. Hydropool puts a major emphasis on ease of maintenance. TidalFit provides upgrades as options, with industry-standard filters and maintenance systems.
- When it comes to build, TidalFit uses a wooden frame. Hydropool uses steel, as it is less prone to warping and can handle the pressure from the water inside the swim spa.
- On insulation, they have a full foam system, while Hydropool uses full foam in the middle of the spa and then a thermal blanket that makes the most use of residual heat in the swim spa, while providing easy access for maintenance.
- Both companies use ABS floors.
- Hydropool offers a rollaway cover, which we recommend as being easy to use, while TidalFit uses sectionals.
Hydropool vs TidalFit: Which Swim Spa is Cheapest?
It should not be a surprise that TidalFit swim spas are less expensive than Hydropool. The company does not post prices on its website like Hydropool does from what we could see, but in general we have found that they are between 5-10% less expensive than comparably sized Hydropool models. This pricing is on purpose, on both sides.
Hydropool is building more elite swim spa models, designed to be easier to use and provide specific experiences such as swimming and greater ease of maintenance and lower ongoing costs. TidalFit is selling a series of swim spas chiefly designed to be aquatic fitness and fun centers, according to its website.
Hydropool versus TidalFit: Which Swim Spa is Right for You?
We wrote this article because we know that people will consider more than one option when buying a swim spa. And we know that people will often consider TidalFit as one of those options. While both companies produce quality swim spas, our approach to the market couldn’t be more different overall.
- TidalFit is creating an “Exercise Pool” designed for a great deal of bench-style seating and a place to work out and swim. Hydropool has created a deeper line of swim spas, offering fun models, plus more engineering, with models designed for better swim experiences as well as aquatic fitness and fun.
- Each company does have some exclusive features that may be deciding points for you: TidalFit has unique models such as the L-shaped combined hot tubs and swim spas, while Hydropool has elite swimming machines in its Trainer series.
We hope this has helped focus your decision and explain the differences between the two companies. We hope this guide has been helpful for you as you consider what is available on the swim spa market today. If you have any questions about this article or swim spas in general, we hope you won’t hesitate to reach out to our Hydropool team by clicking here.
Disclaimer: In this article, we’ve used brand names not affiliated with Hydropool or Jacuzzi Brands LLC, the parent company of Hydropool. All information, including pricing and product details, was accurate at the time of writing and may change without notice.