Which is Better a Swimming Pool Versus a Hot Tub?

By Jon Filson

Hydropool Hot Tubs and Swim Spas

If you have been trying to decide between installing a pool or hot tub in your backyard, we understand. While it can be fantastic to have both, often space or budget will not allow for it. We understand that too!

Really, it comes down to personal preference and how you would rather use your pool or spa that makes one better than the other for your lifestyle and needs. They aren’t comparable objects in many ways.

If you’re comparing a hot tub and a swimming pool, there is a third option you should consider in a swim spa.

We will go through all these combinations in this article:

  • Swimming pool pros and cons
  • Hot tub pros and cons
  • Swim spa pros and cons

Hopefully by the end you’ll know which one you’re looking for!



What Are the Pros of a Swimming Pool Versus a Hot Tub?

Who doesn’t like a swimming pool?

  • Everyone loves the idea of being able to take a dip in refreshingly cool water on a hot summer day in their very own backyard pool. Really, taking a dip is the ultimate way to cool down at home and really beats trying to keep cool with fans, ice water or under an umbrella.
  • Kids love pools. They can be a great tool in teaching your children water safety and how to swim. Plus, it keeps your children entertained all summer long and most likely a lot of the neighbours' kids as well.
  • Pools can also be a tremendous amount of fun. From floating around on an inflatable chair reading a book to playing a game of Marco Polo with friends, it can be a great way to maximize your summer enjoyment.
  • Finally, having an outdoor pool is a great way to get a workout in. Swimming laps is an excellent form of low impact exercise and are ideal for those wanting to lose weight, build strength and keep fit.

What Are the Cons of Having a Swimming Pool?

How many owners have owned a swimming pool … then moved and never got one again? There are reasons why.

  • The size of outdoor pools is often a deal breaker for many homeowners. They can take up a lot, if not all of your yard space, leaving little to no room for other uses of your outdoor space.
  • Probably the biggest con to owning a pool is the cost. A well-made concrete pool and installation can easily start at the $60,000 mark and skyrocket once additional features are factored in.
  • The other major downside to pool ownership is the maintenance that is involved. Keeping your pool clean and in good condition can be time-consuming and a fair amount of manual labour. If you do not want to do the maintenance yourself and hire a pool service, it can be costly.
  • There are frequently a lot of regulations with pools, such as permits and inside-the-fence fencing. They will vary depending on the area you live in.
  • In most of North America, they can’t be used all year.

The Pros of Having an Outdoor Hot Tub

The benefits of owning an outdoor hot tub are hard to beat.

  • Therapeutic hydrotherapy massages are a wonderful wellness treatment. By soaking daily, hot tub owners often find they their quality of life improves.
  • Even if you are not seeking a form of pain relief or better sleep, owning a hot tub for the relaxation benefits is fantastic. Nothing beats being able to take a soothing soak in warm bubbly water after a long day at work. The calming effect of the water does wonders for your physical and mental health.
  • With hot tubs, maintenance is easier compared to hot tubs. Provided that you purchase a quality model, you can spend most of your time enjoying your hot tub and not maintaining it.
  • Hot tubs cost considerably less than pools, which is another benefit. Even quality made, energy efficient models packed with features are extremely affordable.
  • Outdoor hot tubs can be used in every season, 365 days per year. Enjoy a soak as snowflakes fall or the sun shines down, every day is a great day to take a soak.
  • No matter what the size of your lawn is, there is space for a hot tub. From 2-seater spas that are cozy and romantic to ones that can seat 6 or 7 people, the choice is yours.

What Are the Cons of an Outdoor Hot Tub?

  • They do take up space in your backyard.
  • There is a cost. A decent hot tub begins around $10,000 these days.
  • Although less than a pool, there is ongoing maintenance work that must be done. On a Hydropool self-clean hot tub, this maintenance is about 20 minutes a week.
  • They do take up some room and require landscaping.
  • Likely the biggest drawback is that you can’t work out in them the same way you can with a swimming pool or with a swim spa.

What Are the Pros of a Swim Spa?

  • A swim spa does everything a pool can do and a hot tub can do, while costing far less than a swimming pool and not much more than a hot tub.
  • In most cases the cost of a swim spa is less than half of a pool. Quality swim spas begin in pricing in the mid-20s (Hydropool’s least expensive swim spa is the AquaPlay, which is at that price). A good, large hot tub can hit $20,000 with options.
  • Swim spas require fewer regulations because they are considered portable elements.
  • Swims spas are easier to install than pools, requiring a crane and a concrete pad in most cases. It sounds like a lot but it’s usually quite painless and draws quite the crowd!
  • Like a hot tub, you can use a swim spa year-round.
  • You can actually swim in a swim spa. And it comes with seats so you can get a quality massage from the hot tub jets.

What Are the Cons of a Swim Spa?

There are a few cons, mostly when compared to a hot tub. There are almost none when compared to a swimming pool.  

  • Unless you’re going to work out in them or swim in them, it may be more than what you need. If you want to lounge more than anything, a hot tub is better.
  • They are more expensive than a hot tub and require more maintenance overall.  
  • Swim spas don’t come in plug and play models like hot tubs do. They all must be hardwired, requiring an electrician.
  • Your kids will be in it all the time. It’s a bit of a joke, but it’s actually a complaint we have heard. We think it’s great that children will put down their phones and get in a swim spa, but many people have said one of the issues they have is that in big families, finding access to the swim spa can be an issue.

Swim Spa vs Hot Tub vs Swimming Pool: Which is Right for You?

We hope this guide to swim spas vs swimming pools vs hot tubs helped you decide which one you were looking for! There are no bad options here, it all depends on what you need and what you’re looking for.

You can always get more than one! Hot tubs alongside pools are wonderful contributors and there are swim spas with adjoining hot tubs built in so you can have the best of both worlds.

We don’t sell swimming pools at our Hydropool retail outlets, but we can certainly help you with swim spas and hot tubs. If you have any further questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to one of our local retailers.

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