American Whirlpool vs Hydropool: Which swim spa is best?
Swim spa shopping invites comparisons, because many companies are making them now, and each own has its own spin on the backyard pool replacement.
American Whirlpool and Hydropool are two of the more prominent swim spa builders. American Whirlpool is a recently re-brand formerly known as MAAX based out of Arizona, while Hydropool has been building swim spas in Canada for decades.
We know people compare brands and we wrote this article so we could give our best sense of the differences between American Whirlpool and Hydropool’s swim spas. We know our swim spas are different from American Whirlpool’s and we want you to see why and how so you can best determine which one is right for you.
We know it might be odd to read one company talking about another’s product, but we want to do it in the most unbiased, fair way possible. So in this article we will compare American Whirlpool and Hydropool’s swim spa:
- Model lineup
- Swim Capabilities
- Ease of Maintenance
Hopefully, by the end you’ll have a good sense of which swim spa is a better fit for you!
Swim Spa Model Comparison: American Whirlpool vs Hydropool
Both American Whirlpool and Hydropool use “collections” to describe their swim spas. Like a pride of lions or flock of seagulls, hot tubs and swim spas come in collections.
American Whirlpool has R, M and D collections, with a range from 12 to 18 feet.
Hydropool has the following collections, with sizes from 13 to 19 feet:
- AquaPlay (family fun)
- Aquatic (multi-use), which comes in Sport or Executive trims
- Executive (elite swimming), which comes in Sport of Executive trims
Here’s a guide on which model lines up with which:
- The R collection with American Whirlpool features a 12-foot RF2 that compares directly with Hydropool’s AquaPlay 13-foot FFP series.
- Hydropool’s Aquatic line has both Sport and Trainer levels. The Aquatic Sport would compare to the American Whirlpool series ML4, while the MB4 would compare to the Aquatic Trainer (the B seems to stand for “bench” with American Whirlpool, as those models offer more seating).
- Next American Whirlpool has a DM8, with a separate hot tub and swim spa within one unit. That’s a similar approach to Hydropool’s DTAX AquaTrainer.
- American Whirlpool also has an MX6, which they call the PowerPool. It would compare best to a 14-foot AquaTrainer or the 17-foot AquaTrainer or in some ways the 16-foot Executive Trainer.
American Whirlpool vs Hydropool: Which swim spa looks best?
Looks are often subjective and if this is an important area for you, we’d advise you to get to a store and see each model in person if at all possible.
What we suggest you look for in looks is a big swimming, splashing, playing and fitness area, and both of these lines put an emphasis on that aspect. The acrylics in both sets of swim spas have soft lines, deep seats and bright silver accents. Both take an overall classic approach to design, meaning the swim spa is intended to blend into backyards rather than standout.
We couldn’t find the color options on American Whirlpool’s swim spas on the company website – all models are shown with white acrylic and in the gallery of images with a dark cabinet. Hydropool has two cabinet shells, a brown and a black, along with three acrylics, a white, grey and a champagne color to choose from.
American Whirlpool vs Hydropool: Which has the better swim?
Both swim spa builders have understood that you need space if you’re going to swim, and both offer substantial swimming areas, even with the benches that line the walls on some of American Whirlpool models.
Here are the swimming elements that stand out:
- The shell designs of the American Whirlpool models other than the MX are in a box shape. This provides a great deal of space to swim in.
- American Whirlpool’s MX has “hips” that are designed to move the current created into intakes which recycle the water and absorb any waves created by the current itself. We applaud this move, as Hydropool uses the same technique, as it builds in hips into the shell on its Play and Aquatic series.
- Like most of American Whirlpool’s swim spas, Hydropool’s Executive series, which provides its elite swim, also has no hips, which creates a larger swim tank space. What helps make the swim elite in the Executive is a grill called a “current collector” at one end of the swim spa, which is designed to absorb the water created by the current and send it back to the front of the swim spa where it can be turned into current again. That way any waves created by the current or the swimmer are absorbed entirely. As a result, there’s no need for hips on the pool to guide any water – what you get is a large tank and a smooth, strong current.
- Hydropool features oval jets to the round jets on American Whirlpool models. We find that oval jets force the water to come out of the jets in a more controlled fashion, spreading the water across the swim spa for a stronger, flatter swim.
- The jet placement and type is another point of difference. Hydropool uses proprietary jets, including its V-Twin jet, which is formed to generate a wide, flat current. American Whirlpool stacks jets in the front of the swim spa, and we can see that the lower jets would help with buoyancy while swimming in the spa. Hydropool moves those jets to the side, again, because we are always trying ways to create a stronger, flatter, more consistent current.
American Whirlpool vs Hydropool: Which is built better?
Despite being made in two very different places – Missisauga, Ontario in Canada and Phoenix, Arizona, the swim spas are built quite similarly. Both have steel frames and a sealed bottom. American Whirlpool uses a patented thermal barrier that reflects heat back into the swim spa, and we have our own similar blanket-style insulation with a silver lining that traps the heat in the swim spa similar to how a triple-paned window locks heat into your house. One difference is that Hydropool has full foam in the middle of the hot tub to secure the plumbing and minimize any vibration from the pumps.
American Whirlpool vs Hydropool: Which is easier to maintain?
For all of its swim spas but the AquaPlay, Hydropool has a patented self-cleaning system that dates back to the company’s history as a commercial or public pool builder. It involves a top skimmer, floor vacuum and pressure-side filtration, which means the spa’s filter is placed behind the pump.
With self-cleaning, water is drawn into the pump through both the skimmer and floor vacuum. These catch any larger debris – like leaves – that might damage the pump. Water then flows through the pump and is forced through the filter. The filter catches the smaller dirt and debris, and the now-clean water is returned to the hot tub through the jets.
American Whirlpool uses a cleaning system that has become the industry standard (Hydropool uses a similar version on its mid-level Signature hot tubs, for example, and in the AquaPlay 13 FFP swim spa, our smallest). In this style of system, water comes to the filter through a top skimmer, located on the side of the swim spa, before it is sent to the filter, which is in front of the pump. It takes longer for the water to be cleaned and your pump has to work harder as a result.
We use both systems at Hydropool, so we know both will work. We find the self-cleaning system is more efficient as there are multiple sources of water coming to the pump, and that it is more effective in that 100 per cent of the water is cleaned as a result, rather than the water on the top taking priority.
American Whirlpool vs Hydropool: Which is better on price?
Although we couldn’t find pricing on the company website, we believe that American Whirlpool on average will be about 10 per cent cheaper than Hydropool, with the main differences because of Hydropool’s self-cleaning system and swim capabilities.
American Whirlpool vs Hydropool: Which is the best swim spa for you?
Swim spas are places to relax, places to play and places to swim in. They can be all of those things or any combination of those things, and different companies specialize in different elements. And studying Hydropool vs American Whirlpool shows that Hydropool’s emphasis is on:
- creating the best swim possible in the Executive
- the most-varied aquatic fitness swim spa in the Aquatic
- the best place for fun in the 13FFP Play series swim spa
Shopping for an American Whirlpool swim spa? They have three ranges as well, the R, M and D collections. The models promise generous swim tanks, some with bench seating and a well-thought out MX6 model for high-performing swimmers.
In this article, we covered the looks, ease of maintenance, how the swim spas are built and even the price – all the kinds of things our retailers are asked as points of comparison between models. We hope by doing this, you’ll have a better sense of which swim spa works for you.
If you’re still undecided, we’d encourage you to either keep reading in our Learning Centre.
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.