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How to choose a swim spa

Family, fitness or fun?

Questions you may have when buying a swim spa

From backyard splash pools to elite endurance training, there is a swim spa to suit everybody and every purpose. I’m going to guide you through all the different types and arm you with the information you need to make an educated decision on which Sapphire swim spa is right for you.  This information is our no-nonsense guide to buying something energy efficient, practical and relevant to your family’s needs.

Have a look at these videos and information to start thinking about which swim spa will fit your backyard and the features you should choose depending on whether you want it for swim training, kids swimming pool, massage therapy or rehab / mobility / stretching tool.


From backyard splash pools to elite endurance training, there is a swim spa to suit everybody and every purpose. I’m going to guide you through all the different types and arm you with the information you need to make an educated decision on which Sapphire swim spa is right for you. This information is our no-nonsense guide to buying something energy efficient, practical and relevant to your family’s needs.

Deciding why you want a swim spa is the best place to start as this will set the guidelines for everything else we are about to cover, such as price, pumps and size.

Deciding whether you want to use the spa for AQUATIC EXERCISE or to SWIM AGAINST THE JETS, or just a SIMPLE PLUNGE POOL to SPLASH AROUND and COOL OFF is your first step.

Sapphire swim spas have been designed to accommodate all fitness levels by adjusting the number of swim jets that are running as you swim. You can lower the speed for a lower paced, long endurance swim or turn them right up for a faster speed session.

With all FOUR pumps on, you’ll get a strong jet stream from your 4 x swim jets, allowing even a competent swimmer to swim steadily without outrunning the flow or touching the end of the swim spa.

A swim spa is a great alternative to the backyard swimming pool for many reasons:

  • it can be heated
  • It will fit in a smaller backyard
  • It also provides heated hydromassage
  • A fully self contained swim spa can easily be placed onto a suitable concrete slab, whereas a swimming pool requires a much more involved installation
  • easier to maintain

Yes the typical backyard swimming pool is larger than most swim spas but this means it would be costly and difficult to heat. Especially throughout the cooler months you will find you’ll get much more use out of a swim spa that’s energy efficient to keep at your desired temperature

With house lot sizes becoming smaller these days, the swim spa has grown in popularity as it’s compact and portable compared to a swimming pool. Some of the smaller swim spas on the market are only 2.3x4.0m in size whereas a backyard swimming pool tends to need much more space.

Massage jets are not offered in backyard swimming pools. Sometimes when a spa is attached to a concrete pool, they will plumb around 10 small jet in, but this is nothing compared to the fully jetted loungers that are available opposite the swim end in a swim spa. Swim spas already have hydropumps installed to power the swim jets so manufacturers will usually add seated massage jets at the other end; simply turn the diverter valves on the topside of your spa to divert the water pressure to the spa end. You can also choose to have maybe one massage seat operating whilst the hubby is swimming against the jets at the other end by selecting another water/pump diverter option. Swim spa are very flexible compared with a swimming pool. If I had the money for both, I agree a swimming pool is a beautiful addition to your backyard but I think you’ll find you get much more use all year round from a swim spa

A swim spa can be craned into your backyard in an hour or so; the minimum requirement is a suitable concrete slab to support the weight of the swim spa and water, then an electrician to complete the power hook up. Whereas a more costly swimming pool installation will require weeks of muddy excavation work, preparation, concrete pouring, paving and equipment plumbing to install. Of course you can add decking and backyard landscaping to a swim spa as well but, if budget is a consideration, at least you can get a fully functioning swim spa into your backyard ready to enjoy, then spend money on the surrounding at a later date.

Quality swim spas range in price from $20,000 to $50,000. The price of a swim spa is affected mainly by the physical size of the spa, the equipment that powers it and the quality of the materials and build. Obviously the larger the swim spa, the more raw materials are required to build it so it will be more costly. 

The hidden costs that you should be aware of though, are possibly the most important! For example, a 5.0metre swim spa made from a formed sheet of acrylic, encased in a timber or plastic cabinet will look very similar from all manufacturers. It’s what’s inside the cabinet that you need to carefully consider. 

    • the number of pumps that power a swim spa alters it’s cost dramatically; some swim spas may be powered by just 1 x pump compared with a more costly swim spa which has 4 x pumps providing a much better water pressure through the jets. You possibly won’t even be able to actually swim against the jets in a swim spa with only 2 pumps as the jet pressure is too low to hold your body buoyant and in place during your strokes. 
    • Insulation is also another important consideration. As it costs you money to heat your swim spa, you should check how well insulated it is inside the cabinet. A well insulated swim spa should have foam sprayed onto the underside of the moulded acrylic shell and also attached to the inside of the cabinet walls for the most effective prevention of heat loss. Beware of some spas that are foam filled or have loose foam within the cabinet as they may cause issues with the workings of your spa. A well-fitted swim spa cover is also an added layer of protection against heat loss so purchase a sturdy, thick hardcover with your swim spa to save on heating costs.
    • Heater capability and efficiency is also where some manufacturers may take shortcuts. Beware of cheaper swim spas which have less powerful heating equipment which is not matched to efficiently heat the larger body of water in a swim spa. Swim spas will not be heated efficiently just with the inbuilt heater system alone; most will require at least an 8.8kw external electric heater. These days, an efficient external heat pump will hold your swim spa at temperature and ready to use for a reasonable heating cost.
    • When purchasing a swim spa, don’t forget to factor in the delivery and installation costs as most will require a crane to lift into your backyard and the minimum of a suitable concrete base and electrician to complete the power hook up.


Do your own due diligence on anything under $15,000 or on second hand swim spas to ensure the manufacturer is available to support the product if needed.


1 x day for delivery and hook up

Once you have prepared a suitable concrete base for your swim spa, the crane delivery and electrical hook up could take place all in one day, then you just have to wait for it to fill with water. 

Due to the weight of most swim spas, they need to be craned into your backyard. This typically only takes an hour or so once you’ve prepared the site.

Once the swim spa is in place, a licensed electrician will be needed to complete the power hook up. If you book your electrician in advance, the electrical connection could be prepared earlier so hook up can be completed on delivery day.

As long as you have a stable base for your spa to sit on, a smaller spa pool can also be crane lifted or maneuvered into place with man power and a trolley in an hour or so.  

2 x days for concrete

Most concreters would take a day to excavate, box out and prepare for the concrete slab, then return another day to pour the concrete.

Many people want to install their swim spa into a deck or build a deck around the swim spa for ease of access and aesthetics of backyard landscaping. Of course you can add decking and backyard landscaping to a swim spa but expect this to take longer than simply placing it on a concrete slab. Decking, permits, safety fencing (if required) and the construction will usually take place over a number days but you will be able to organise some of these elements prior to delivery.. 

The addition of a swim spa to your backyard is exciting for all family members. Take your time to prepare once you decide to purchase one and the installation should go smoothly.

Swim spas can look amazing when seamlessly installed into your backyard decking. The surrounding area then gives the feel of an inground swimming pool as you can sit on the edge and dangle your feet in. Installing swim spas partially inground also allows you to sit on the edge to easily get in and out of the pool.

You can install a portable swim spa almost anywhere you want as long as you allow for access to the equipment within the cabinet. 

Portable spa pools and swim spas are not suitable for digging into the dirt like a swimming pool however, as they have more intricate plumbing hoses, electrical equipment and heating systems within the surrounding cabinet

If you're unsure, you can always have your swim spa installed onto a minimum 150mm thick reinforced concrete slab, the decide the rest later.....

A swim spa that is well integrated into the property will increase the value of your home if you consider these aspects:

An extension of your home so it’s close and comfortable to use every day

Outdoor living is one of the most valued aspects of a home

Within view of the house so you can supervise kids

If it’s easy to maintain with a good sanitisation system


If it’s economical to heat with an efficient heat and cool pump


Now you get to choose the colour of your spa and cabinet to match with your backyard landscaping. Maybe you're considering just sitting your spa on a concrete slab or building a deck to allow you to sit around your spa at a social level

Choose your ideal combination of Sapphire Spa colours then simply order with your local retail store

Sapphire Spas is always looking at new colour options to keep ahead of market trends; please talk to your local Sapphire Spas retail store about our extensive colour selection (limited edition options are also available depending on current stock)

Click here to view our extensive range of colours options =>>



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