Swim Spas

Hot tub swimming pools

swimming pool hot tub alternative Dorset

Have you always dreamt of having your own swimming pool, but love the idea of owning a hot tub too? Perhaps you have seen some people with extra large hot tubs in their garden and wondered what they are!

A swim spa really is just like an extra large hot tub, most of them share exactly the same components, materials and construction techniques. The most respected brands of swim spa also make hot tubs too, within the same factory or in a dedicated plant like Master Spas. They can offer you all the benefits of a pool and more, in a compact and cost effective package.

A swimming pool sized hot tub!

The main and very obvious difference between a hot tub and a swim spa is the size. Typically most swim spas will be anywhere from 11ft to 19ft long and around 8ft wide. Depth can range from 4″3 to 5 ft. For those who like their measurements to be metric, we are looking at lengths between 336 to 587cm. Width of 239cm and depths of 130 to 153cm.

Picking the right size is as much about the space you have available as what you wish to do in your exercise spa. There is also the height of you and other users to consider. Whilst we advise people on a person to person basis, there are some general rules we can start off with:

  • If you are looking to swim we would advise on a 15ft or longer spa, you could maybe swim in a 13ft if you are on the smaller side or its mainly for children to play.
  • In general a deeper spa is most people’s preference, but again if it’s mainly as a fun pool or for moderate exercise then a standard height spa is just fine. (It’s worth noting that most brands are around 130cm deep, Master Spas is one of a few companies to produce Deep models, like the Challenger 15D).
An example of a swimming pool hot tub is the Challenger 15D
A Challenger 15D, the perfect swim spa for many customers.

A swimming pool, a hot tub or both?

A swim spa is far more than just a place to exercise, with hydrotherapy seating at one end, relaxation is built in! Once you are done with your workout, you can redirect the water flow, so that instead of providing a current to swim against, it goes to the seating area. This means that you are able to enjoy the benefits of a powerful hot tub and its massage jets, all from one unit.

Something to bear in mind is temperature. Everyone is different, but in general most users are going to enjoy exercising in water that is 30ºc or less. However when using the seating for extended periods of time, you would most likely be comfortable in warmer temperatures of around 37ºc. There are several options here, but for now we will look at the most obvious!

Often referred to as “dual temps” , this is a swim spa that has a partition between the seats and swim area. This allows the seating area to be at a different temperature to that of the swim area. As they are two separate bodies of water, each has its own control system to manage the jets, heating and filtration.

Challenger 19D offers both a swimming pool area and a hot tub at separate temperatures.
This Trainer 19 offers separate areas and temperatures for exercise and relaxation!

Why choose a swim spa over a swimming pool

There are many reasons people choose to install a swim spa over a tradition swimming pool. So many if fact, it requires its own article! However we have compiled a list of the most compelling reasons below:

Space saving

Love the idea of a swimming pool, but don’t have the space? A swim spa could be the perfect answer. With the average home swimming pool being around 30ft x 15ft , a well sized swim spa is only 15ft x 8ft and you can do more with it.

All year round use

Unlike a swimming pool, there is no need to shut down for winter. With superior insulation compared to a traditional pool, this locks in heat allowing you to enjoy your spa year round.

Temperature range

With some types of swimming pool, it is not recommended to go beyond 28ºc as it can cause damage. In some cases it can even invalidate your warranty. A swim spa on the other hand, can safely go up to 37ºc with no ill effects. Perfect in winter or when the extra heat is welcome if the pool is for hydrotherapy and to relieve aches and pains.

Ability to swim

Unless building a lap pool that would be around 40ft long and at substantial cost of £100k plus, a normal outside pool is not suitable for swim training. You would spend far too much time turning and not swimming! You can swim for miles in a swim spa without performing a single turn and that equals more time concentrating on your stroke and making improvements.

Other exercise options

Run, row, cycle and lift weights, there is much more than swimming to an exercise pool. With variable resistance you can tailor just how hard your workouts are, just like the resistance dial on an exercise bike.


With built-in hydrotherapy seats, relaxation after your exercise is only a few feet away. With a Master Spa you can stretch off in front of Therapy Cove after workouts. This collection of jets is placed in the main body of the spa, for you to stand in-front of and cool down. It’s a must try on a wet test.


With less water than a swimming pool and great filtration built in, caring for a swim spa only takes a few minutes a week. Compared to the netting, brushing and backwashing of a pool, it’s a great time and money saver.


To build a swimming pool that matches what a swim spa offers would come at a considerably higher cost and still would not offer seating and hydrotherapy.

Ease of installation

All that a swim spa requires is a concrete base and a dedicated power supply. Something many contractors could achieve in one or two days. Most swimming pools can take weeks or months.

Interested to learn more?

We hope this guide has given you a taste of what a swim spa offers. If you would like to learn more or take the next steps and visit us in store to see and try a spa, please contact us. Alternatively, why not learn some more in our other articles: