If you’re planning out your backyard oasis, you may be wondering if you should invest in a swim spa or a pool. They both offer aquatic relaxation but they cater to different needs and preferences. 

Whether you’re a dedicated swimmer or looking for recreational fun for the family, the choice between a swim spa and a pool is not one to be taken lightly. In this blog post, we’ll dive into the differences of pools and swim spas to help you make an informed decision that aligns with your needs.

What is a Swim Spa?

First, what is a swim spa? A swim spa, also known as an endless pool, is a large tub with water jets that create currents for you to swim against. Think of them like a very large hot tub. Some even come equipped with seats offering relaxation benefits as well.

swim spa installed on a wooden deck in a backyard

Space Requirements

The size of your backyard is a big factor when determining between a pool and a swim spa. Swim spas range in size from 12 to 19 feet long and pools anywhere from 8’ x 12’ to 18’ X 34’, depending on the dimensions you choose.

If you have a small backyard, swim spas may be more ideal. If you have a large backyard, you could go with either one. 


Above ground pools generally take 1 to 3 days to install, fill, and get running properly. In-ground pools take about 7 to 21 days, depending on the finish and size. And swim spas can be installed in as little as a few hours and are typically ready for use within 24 hours. If you’re installing your pool or swim spa in the ground, you’ll also want to be aware of costs for excavation and safety features such as fencing. Permits are another factor to consider. Municipalities require a permit and inspections if you’re building a pool, but many have swim spas in the same class as hot tubs which don’t require a permit. You’ll want to check with your municipality.

Operational Costs

In addition to your initial purchase cost, you’ll also want to consider the operational costs of your new pool or swim spa. Above-ground and in-ground pools generally consume are $2 to $3 of electricity a day. Meanwhile swim spas average about $1 to $3 per day, depending on the time of year. 


Swim spas include filtration systems and antimicrobial covers so much maintenance isn’t needed. Dual filtration swim spas from SwimLife direct debris and oil toward the side of the swim spa so they can be removed by the dual skimmers. With a self-cleaning spa, you may only need to add a couple of chemicals each week. On the other hand, pools need a fair amount of weekly maintenance. This includes adding chemicals, skimming the surface to remove debris, and vacuuming the bottom.

swim spa in a backyard setting, surrounded by trees and a fence

Year-Round Use

Pool season is typically around 4 to 6 months out of the year, unless you have a heating system or live in year-round mild weather. Swim spas are equipped with heat pumps and insulated against the cold so you can use your swim spa all year long.

Swim Spas and Pools at Royal Pools and Spas

Swim spas and pools each have their merits and the choice ultimately depends on your lifestyle, backyard space, and your budget. Whether you’re leaning toward the versatility of a swim spa or the traditional appeal of a pool, we’re here to help you every step of the way! At Royal Pools and Spas, we have experts ready to help you craft your perfect aquatic oasis, so contact us today and let’s make your dreams come true!