The swimming pool world has come a very long way over the past few decades. We’ve got different methods of constructing swimming pools, different size pools, different pool add-ons and enhancements, and more. Where most pools used to be simple rectangles with steps in one corner, these days, they come in every shape, size, color, and design.
With all that development, we’ve also developed a wide variety of new swimming pool terms and technologies, and to anyone who is not actually in the swimming pool business, it can get a little confusing. One of the more confusing choices and options is swim spa vs pool.
So whether you’re looking for a swim spa in Charleston SC, swim spas in Summerville SC, a plunge pool in Low Country South Carolina or you’re not sure exactly what you’re looking for, you’re in the right place!
Let’s take a closer look at what swim spas are, what plunge pools are, the pros and cons of each, and what you need to know to make the right decision in the great swim spa vs pool debate.
What Is a Swim Spa?
In the pool world, a spa usually means something like what you might call a hot tub. They can be heated or not, but they’re usually small, compact, and have features like jets and hydro massagers.
Traditional spas are not really made for swimming. They’re usually much smaller than a pool, and they have built-in seating. That does mean that they’re a great place to lounge with friends, though!
Swim spas are an evolution of the traditional spa in that they are larger, which means you can swim in them, and they usually have cool water like you would expect in a swimming pool.
However, swim spas also have seating areas where you can relax, and they still have the water jets and massagers that make hot tubs and spas so popular for relaxation. So you could say that swim spas give you the best of both worlds in one compact package.
Many people who choose swim spas in Low Country, South Carolina do so because they have limited space, and they want the benefits of both a pool and a spa without taking up too much room.
Swim spas offer the best of both worlds, but remember that because swim spas have special features you don’t get in a traditional swimming pool, they will require some additional specialized equipment.
What Is a Plunge Pool?
A plunge pool is sometimes confused with a swim spa because it’s also quite small, but it’s a lot more like what you would expect a traditional swimming pool to be, other than its size.
Plunge pools are relatively simple and usually don’t have as many jets and other features as a swim spa. They’re usually small too – so not the kind of pool you would invest in if you like to swim laps!
Plunge pools are designed to take up less space than larger traditional pools, and they’re primarily created to give you a cool place to take a dip on hot summer days.
Plunge pools can be built on-site as in-ground pools, be partially in-ground pools or be fully above-ground, depending on your preferences.
The filtration and other equipment you will require for a plunge pool is very similar to what you would have for a traditional swimming pool, however much smaller and less powerful.
What Are the Pros and Cons of Swim Spas?
Most of us love a multitasker, so if you’re trying to decide between a swim spa versus pool and you like to get more bang for your buck, swim spas might come out tops for you. However, like everything in life there are pros and cons to swim spas. Let’s take a closer look starting with the pros.
- Built-in hydrotherapy features
- You can swim or relax as you like
- Jets add resistance, which is great for swimming or water-based workouts
- Water jets can be beneficial to the skin
Of course, nothing in life is without a downside, and swim spas are no different. So let’s look at things that might count against swim spas in the swim spa versus pool battle.
- Space is usually limited because a large area of the swim spa will be taken up by seating
- Not really designed for swimming, and are more suited to lounging and relaxing
- Not everyone likes water jets
- Swim spas are not the most kid-friendly swimming option
- Because swim spas have more complex equipment, there is more that could go wrong – and to maintain!
As you can see, and as with most swimming pool decisions, a lot of this depends on what your wants and needs are and how you plan to use your swimming area. If you’ve got a young family or love to swim, a swim spa might not be the best choice. However, if relaxation is top of your agenda, then they might be the perfect compromise.
Swim spas are also great for older families, where running around and splashing isn’t the primary goal and where parents are looking forward to enjoying an empty nest (or already are!) Swim spas are a little more sedate, and they’re something you can enjoy well into retirement and beyond.
What Are the Pros and Cons of Plunge Pools?
Since we’re trying to compare swim spa vs pool and make it easier to choose which one you need, it’s only fair that we also look at the pros and cons of plunge pools, and again, lets start with the positive aspects.
- Plunge pools are compact and don’t take up too much of your backyard
- They’re usually much smaller than traditional pools, which means they require less water to fill and are easier to maintain and keep clean
- Plunge pools can be long enough to swim laps if you want to use your pool for exercise
- They come in a huge variety of designs and styles that suit nearly every budget and taste
Next, let’s look at the cons of plunge pools:
- They’re not very large, which means you’re limited to how many people can swim at the same time
- Plunge pools generally don’t come with many water jets and other features, so anything you want to add will be an extra
- Plunge pools are also a drowning hazard, so you will need to fence or secure your pool if you have kids, pets or elderly relatives who might be at risk of falling into your plunge pool
All in all, while plunge pools aren’t ideal for everyone, they are an affordable, space-saving option that can give your family the swimming pool they want without breaking the bank or taking over the whole backyard!
What Do Swim Spas and Plunge Pools Cost?
The next big question that many people ask about swim spas vs pools is what they cost, and here again, the range is enormous for both options.
You could expect to pay anything from $20,000 upwards for either a swim spa or a plunge pool, and those numbers will increase depending on construction methods, add-ons and extras you want to add to your swim spa or plunge pool and more. Larger, more complex swimming pool and swim spa projects could cost significantly more than that too – which is why most pool companies can’t give you a price until they’ve seen your yard and discussed your requirements.
If you choose to add a deck, pergola or other features, you could add several thousand dollars more to the final price tag.
If you’re trying to decide on a swim spa vs pool and you want to calculate the financial part of the equation, the best thing you can do is call a pool company that offers both swim spas and plunge pools and ask them for quotes and options that meet your budget and your needs.
Make sure that any company that does offer a quote visits your home to inspect the site so that they can factor in any features or obstacles that might complicate the installation process. The last thing you want is to get a swim spa or pool quote site unseen, only to find that there are all kinds of extra costs once the time comes to do the actual installation.
Different Types of Maintenance
If you plan to hire someone to maintain your pool or swim spa, it’s important to remember that not all pool maintenance companies will maintain swim spas, and vice versa. So it’s very important to ensure that you have qualified maintenance and repair options in your area for whichever option you choose.
How to Make a Swim Spa or Plunge Pool Your Own
The good news about modern plunge pools and swim spas is that there really are endless options to make them uniquely yours.
There are several things you can choose that will affect the price of your swim spa or plunge pool, but also the look and functionality of the space. When you’re looking for pool companies to build your dream pool or swim spa, be sure to ask about all your options, including:
- The shape of the pool or swim spa – there are so many shape options out there; you don’t have to think inside the box if you don’t want to!
- The number and type of water jets in your swim spa, if you’re choosing a swim spa over a plunge pool
- The material that your plunge pool or swim spa is made of – there are metal, fiberglass, precast concrete, and other options out there, all of which offer different pros and cons
- The color and decorative features of your swim spa or plunge pool – remember, dynamite does come in small packages, and with endless options in tile, coatings, and more, you really can design something that suits your style perfectly
- Custom deck and patio areas around your swim spa or pool – why not create the ultimate outdoor entertaining space with your pool or swim spa as the central feature?
- Lighting, fountains, slides, and other accessories and add-ons – just because your swim spa or plunge pool is smaller than some pools does not mean you can’t add all the bells and whistles!
Good pool and swim spa companies will discuss your wants and needs and your budget before they start offering you options that you could choose for your project. This helps ensure that you can get the best possible results, no matter your budget.
Don’t forget to ask the pool company if there are optional features and extras you can add at a later date too. Sometimes, starting simpler and then adding those things later makes your swim spa or pool more affordable and gives you more bang for your buck.
While you’re designing your swim spa or plunge pool, try to balance your creativity just a little. If you ever plan to sell your home, having a stylish, elegant swim spa or pool rather than a garish fiesta might make your home a little more attractive to buyers! Choosing timeless and elegant options for anything you do in your home is always a wiser choice.
Both Great Choices
The truth is, while there’s no denying that there are differences between swim spas and plunge pools, they are both great choices, and they will give you and your family and friends a great space to spend time outdoors, cool off, relax and splash. No matter how you look at it, and no matter which option you choose, that’s always a good thing!
Swim spas and plunge pools are smaller, more affordable pool options that let families with smaller budgets and backyards have all the fun without the big investment.
Adding a swim spa or a pool to your home will not only make it the go to destination for family events and friendly get-togethers, but it can also increase the value of your home, which is another big benefit to any kind of swimming pool.
Finally, swim spas and plunge pools generally require a lot less maintenance (and have lower maintenance costs) than larger pools, which means they not only save you money upfront, but they’ll also save you money in the longer term!
Find the Right Swim Spa or Plunge Pool for Your Home
Now that you know the difference between plunge pools and swim spas, you still don’t have to decide everything immediately.
Reach out to the team at The Little Pool Co and let us show you what all the options are and what the cost and timeline for each one would be.
That way, whether you’ve got your heart set on swim spas in Summerville SC, or you think you want a plunge pool in Charleston, you’ll know exactly what your options are, what you will need to invest, and how long you can expect the project to take. We’ll even tell you what the warranty and expected lifespan of each option is, so you can make the best long-term decision too.
There’s lots to think about when you’re thinking about investing in a pool or swim spa, but the more information you have at your fingertips, the better equipped you will be to make the right decision.