PDC Spas vs Hydropool swim spas: Which is best?
PDC is a Pennsylvania-based swim spa company that has a lot of the trickier parts of swim spa-building figured out. Hydropool is a long-time Canadian company that was one of the original swim spa builders back in the 1980s, that has spent extensive time refining the engineering of its swim spas.
So if you’re down to these two brands, we know you’re looking for quality swim experiences. We don’t get asked a lot about PDC, but when we do, it’s by someone who has done their research or knows the company because it’s local.
In this article, we want to compare the two brands, to help you decide which is best, the most unbiased way possible. We know we make our swim spas differently, and that each company comes at manufacturing a different way. We wanted to use this article to point out the differences in how each company makes swim spas, as fairly as possible.
PDC Spas vs Hydropool: Model lineup
You can see that PDC has thought out their swim spa line in a similar way to Hydropool. The model by model comparison looks like this:
- PDC Vitality vs Hydropool AquaPlay
- PDC Synergy vs Hydropool AquaSport
- PDC Summit vs Hydropool AquaTrainer
- PDC TruSwim vs Hydropool Executive Trainer
It’s as close to a perfect matchup as you’re ever going to be between two brands.
PDC Vitality vs Hydropool AquaPlay: Which swim spa is the best?
PDC calls its entry-level swim spa a therapy spa and says it is primarily for aquatic fitness. It has four seats, with one massage seat in there, and the rest being an open tank.
Hydropool calls its entry-level swim spa the FFP – the Family Fun Pool. It’s close to being a giant hot tub, with seating for nine, and four massage seats.
- For PDC, there are three swim spas in the collection, a 12-footer, a 15 and 15S, which has two stand-up seats (an area where you stand but can still get jetted massage).
- Hydropool has a sole entry in the 13-foot FFP.
Both have classic looks and similar swim capabilities – which is to say, that both of these are designed more for fun or fitness than swimming. Both hot tubs come with fitness systems (Hydropool has a 21-day fitness challenge).
- Hydropool has four seats to PDC’s two, which means it has a more generous swim tank for working out.
- Hydropool uses steel framing, while PDC uses wood. We have tried wood, but in our experience the weight and the size of the frame mean it often warps, so we switched to steel across the lineup.
- For energy efficiency, both companies uses perimeter insulation. Both also feature suction-side filtration, which ensures all of your water actually gets filtered.
- When it comes to price, we couldn’t find pricing on PDC’s website (Hydropool’s pricing is on each model page). But we believe it is slightly more expensive than Hydropool in this category.
PDC Synergy vs Hydropool Aquatic Sport: Which swim spa is the best?
- There are six PDC swim spas (from 15 feet to 19) to Hydropool’s three in this category (14,17 and 19).
- Both swim spas use hips in their shell, which is designed to push the water away from the swimmer. This is a rarity, but a nice touch for swimmers as it creates a smoother swim. Hydropool does the same with the AquaSport.
- Hydropool has three options for acrylics, while PDC has one in silver marble.
- Both swim systems use two jets and would be comparable swim experiences. This is a decent, but not exceptional swim for both companies. You will be able to swim in each of these levels of swim spas, but you’ll also be able to get a higher level of swim than these.
- Hydropool’s AquaSport comes with standard self-cleaning technology, which is unique to the company.
- Hydropool comes with FORM goggles that allow you to track your progress while swimming.
- There are some small engineering differences: Hydropool places its suction on the sides, which is where the hips in the shell direct the water flow from the swim jets. We find this creates a flat, smoother and turbulence-free swim. Hydropool also uses oval jets to flatten the water as it creates a current and has a grate in front of its jets that again helps “shred the vortex” – the natural tendency of water to spin.
- We couldn’t find pricing on PDC’s website (Hydropool prices out each swim spa model), but we believe these models to be similar.
PDC Summit vs Hydropool Aquatic Trainer
- PDC shows how logically it has built its swim system: The Summit swim spa has three swim jets. So you move up one jet each category in a PDC swim spa, for a more powerful current each time.
- Hydropool adds a twist here with its Trainer series, switching to what it calls its V-Twin technology. This swim jet technology is designed in house to create a wide, stable swim, and they are the most powerful jets Hydropool offers.
- The Vitality comes with the same wood frame and thermal lock insulation and the same filtration as other models. It comes with an AOP water treatment system, which uses both ozone and UV light to destroy bacteria in your water. This comes with an attractive light feature that lets you know what’s working when on your swim spa.
- Hydropool’s swim spa comes with its patented self-cleaning system as well as standard AOP.
- Hydropool’s AquaTrainer comes with four seats to PDC’s two. So you get a bit more room to swim in the PDC, while you get more massage opportunities with Hydropool’s Zone Therapy system, which uses all four seats to ensure you can get a massage over your entire body.
- PDC has an excellent fitness system, including bars, tethers and resistance ropes. Hydropool has a 21-Day Video Challenge you can check out here that shows you how to use your swim spa to its fullest.
- We couldn’t find pricing on PDC’s website, but we believe pricing is similar between these two models (Hydropool has the price for every hot tub and swim spa on each product page).
PDC TrueSwim vs Hydropool Executive Trainer
- PDC has a wild card here. Instead of adding a fourth jet, on the True Swim the company unveils a propeller system, which is similar to manufacturers like Master Spas. They use a hydraulic system to run dual propellers to create a wide swim lane. It’s an impressive swim, no question.
- A possible downside of this system is that it takes a bit away from the space you have to swim, as propellers need more room than jets. Another thing we noticed here is that there are no hips on the shell of this class of swim spa for PDC. So you’re likely going to get more disruption in the water on the outside of your swim, as the current will create what’s called a reflective wave once it hits a wall.
- Hydropool doesn’t have hips on the AquaTrainer, either. Instead we replace it with what we call a current collector, which swallows the entire current whole, minimizing any reflective wave, and then re-routing it to the front of the hot tub again. The effect is to create a continuous flow of water for a wide, flat swim.
- Hydropool’s swim Executive system is powered by V-Twin technology.
- Hydropool has self-clean and AOP for sanitization, while PDC does have standard AOP. Both swim spas have pressure-side filtration, so that all of the water goes through the filer, with Hydropool’s cleaning all of the water about every 40 minutes. Hydropool has a bottom vacuum drain to pick up anything that make it to the bottom of your spa.
- You can program both swim spas, with PDC offering more programs and Hydropool countering with a control panel located where you swim, for easier access, so you can swim at your own personal swim level.
- We aren’t 100 per cent on this because we couldn’t find pricing on PDC’s website. But we believe this model is about $10,000 more than Hydropool’s top-of-the-line Executive Trainer edition.
Hydropool vs PDC Swim Spas: Which is best?
PDC isn’t a household name like some of the bigger brands out there. But we wouldn’t be surprised if it ends up being one. It’s making good swim spas, and we tip our hat to them.
We know we’re an industry leader in the swim spa category. So we recognize another good brand, trying to make the best swim spas possible when we see one.
Which is best? It depends on what you’re looking for. We find it’s almost impossible to say a definitive “best.”
- Hydropool does more to shred the vortex for a smoother swim and deal with reflective waves created from the current throughout its lineup. It also has more massage chairs in the Aquatic and AquaPlay series and its top-of-the-line swim costs less, with both Aquatic and Executive featuring self-clean.
- PDC has larger swim tanks through most of its lineup for a larger fitness area, and innovative features like the standing massage option. Its move to the dual propellers at the top end allows people another choice of current and its standard AOP system is good sanitization.
One other thing we’d point out is that Hydropool has a retailer network around the world. PDC’s swim spas are found more regionally as the company doesn’t sell across the entire United States and has only a handful of locations in Canada (at least right now).
The choice is ultimately yours. But we do hope this guide has been helpful in spelling out the differences between the two brands and their approach to swim spas, so you have a better sense of what you’re looking at.
If we left anything out, don’t hesitate to get in touch with your questions! You can find your local retailer 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.