How do you install a swim spa?

By Jon Filson

Hydropool Hot Tubs and Swim Spas

You’ve decided you want a swim spa, you may even know which one you want. You’re just stuck on the details now. Details like these ones:

  • How much is installation going to cost?
  • How much space does a swim spa need?
  • What kind of electrical hookup is required for a swim spa?
  • How does a swim spa get delivered?

Installation is a key part of any swim spa purchase. And these are the questions everyone asks themselves as they consider buying a swim spa for the first time – or any time! We go through this frequently at our local Hydropool retailer outlets and have since we first started selling swim spas in the 1980s.

In this article, we will go through all those questions above, while giving you our best guide on how to plan for a successful swim spa installation. By the end, you’ll know what you’ll need to do to have a swim spa installed in your backyard.



How much does a swim spa installation cost?

The cost will vary on multiple factors, but there are some fixed costs and others that are more flexible.

The fixed costs of buying a swim spa include:

A concrete pad to support your swim spa: While hot tubs can be installed on top of pavers or on a deck, a swim spa’s size and weight requires a concrete pad to be built. You can do this yourself or hire someone: A local retailer will be able to make recommendations here on who to use. The typical cost to have this done is about $3000.

Electrical to run your swim spa: Swim spas require a 220V connection, which is larger than your standard plug-in. So an electrician is required to run a cable and install your swim spa. In many cases this is left up to you, although if you buy from a local swim spa retailer, they will typically have someone with experience they can recommend. Expect to pay around $2000 for electrical work.

Delivery of the swim spa: This will vary depending on where you bought it. Big box stores and locations like that will simply drop it off at your house and you’re left to figure out how to get it into place. At Hydropool, all swim spas are installed and put in place with a crane. This will vary depending on your location, but a rough guideline is about $2500.

Flexible costs when buying a swim spa include:

Landscaping around the swim spa: This is where costs can fluctuate a great deal. A swim spa can simply be placed on a concrete pad, but most people envision a backyard where the swim spa is built into the landscape. This can include tumbled stone pathways, decking, pergolas, umbrellas, seating – the options are many here. What we see is that people often spend between $3000 and up to $10,000 on landscaping around the swim spa. But you can spend much more, especially if you opt for an in-ground installation, which comes with costs of its own.

Which is better In-ground versus above-ground installation?

Better how? That’s a key question. In terms of cost, it’s much less expensive to go with an above-ground installation. And they can look wonderful. Here’s a look at what one person did to ensure her swim spa was built into her yard the way she wanted.

Here’s why an in-ground installation costs more. It requires:

  • a separate container built into the ground, wide enough to allow technicians two to three feet of access all around the swim spa (without it, you’d have to remove the swim spa from the ground any time something goes wrong with it).
  • That in-ground container also needs to have a drainage system, so it doesn’t flood if it rains, so it needs to be well-thought-out and executed.
  • It also needs to be entirely made of poured concrete so it’s strong enough to support the swim spa.

All that (extra) work can cost from $10,000-$20,000.    

Is it worth it? That one is up to you to decide. It all depends on what matters to you most, design or budget. In-ground installations can look amazing and be cornerstones of truly beautiful backyards (we have one in our factory showroom in Mississauga). If you choose to install a swim spa in ground, they can completely integrate with your landscaping and become the focal point of your backyard. There are so many style options from creating a modern, sleek look to designing an outdoor living space including a kitchen, lounge area, and fire pit to surround your spa. It always can be incorporated into your home to suit your taste and décor scheme.

But so can raised installations, which are also a lot less hassle over the years. It really is whatever you want to pay for though: we have sold many of both, so we understand the need for each.


Our best advice on how to plan for a swim spa installation

Here are the steps we’d recommend:

  1. Choose your swim spa model first. They aren’t all the same size.
  2. Once you do that, you know:
  • how much space you require
  • how big of a concrete pad
  • where the electrical hookup is going to be and likely when you need it, because you’ll know when the swim spa is being delivered.

Every other decision is best made after you’ve made the decision on which swim spa you’re actually going to put in place in your yard.

What kind of space does a swim spa need?

As we said in passing above, a swim spa, like a hot tub, requires two to three feet surrounding it. This is to ensure access to all parts over the lifetime of the swim spa, so that if it ever requires servicing, you can get to the area that needs it.

What kind of electrical hookup is required for a swim spa?

You need a 220V hookup done by an electrician. A swim spa requires more power than any standard plug-in can offer. A local retailer will usually have someone who can do this work for you.

How does a swim spa get delivered?

It’s easy to joke here and say something like, “very carefully!” Because if you’ve made an investment in a swim spa that costs tens of thousands of dollars, the last thing you want is it falling off a forklift or being dumped into your front yard for you to figure out how to get it in place. And yes, there are stores that do those things. So this is an area to make sure you understand before you buy.

The best way to deliver a swim spa is by crane. It’s the safest for your swim spa and it takes any obstacles out of play. So while there are always options: trolley, forklift, etc, a crane is always going to be your best bet. This is best done when you buy the swim spa, worked out with your retailer.

How does a swim spa get installed?

A swim spa is installed when, at minimum, you need a method of delivery, an electrician and a contractor to build a concrete pad. Once you have that, you’ve got an installation plan, which is something everyone needs once they decide to purchase a swim spa.

We get asked about installation a lot, with a common question being whether above ground or below is best. That one is ultimately up to you to decide, but we will let you know that the cost of going below ground is significantly higher.

If you have any other questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to a local retailer. You can find one here.

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