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Swim Spas as a Pool Alternative

As swimming pool lead times increase, consider a swim spa

As a result of long lead times for hot tubs and pools, many consumers looking to enhance their backyards during COVID-19 are giving swim spas a closer look. As a quarantining populace spends more time at home, they’re feathering their nests.

Swim spas are self-contained like hot tubs, but allow users to get a full body workout utilizing a resistance swim current for a full range of motion in a stationary swim. Most range from 12 to 18 feet in length and may have a jetted massage seating area at one end. While swim spas also have extended lead times, there are some benefits to buying a swim spa instead of a pool in this season.

Paul Madden, co-owner of Water By Design in Roanoke, Virginia, says most of his customers buy swim spas for the added resistance they can’t get in a pool. The lower cost of a swim spa versus a pool may influence sales to some degree, he says, but the bigger factors are people staying home, cancelling vacations and the like. The fact that swim spas are portable, in case the homeowner moves, and that workout accessories can be added are also advantages, he says.

“They are less expensive than an in-ground pool,” says Jennifer Gannon, owner of the retail division of BonaVista LeisureScapes in Toronto, “and offer a year-round place to swim, since many people aren’t working out at the local pool or gym.”

Additionally, set up is much easier for a swim spa. “You put a pool in and you’ve got weeks of them driving in, tearing up your backyard,” says Brian Wasik, owner of Spas of Montana. “You can have a swim spa in a day. And they’re a fraction of the cost of a pool, so that helps.”

Gannon says the smaller volume of water needed is also a plus.

“The swim spa is easy and fun to use as a hybrid pool that can be heated to a hot tub temperature,” she says. “With a water volume less than 10,000 liters and a well-insulated design, it’s an affordable luxury that provides exercise and therapy.”

Steven O’Shea, vice president of sales and marketing at MAAX Spas in Chandler, Arizona, has been observing swim spa sales from the manufacturing side. Has he seen many customers buying swim spas instead of pools?

“Absolutely!” he says. “Customers want these products immediately to enhance their home during quarantine. Consumers are looking for any reason to have family gather at their homes, and hot tubs and swim spas have been a perfect solution.”

He says the lower cost of a swim spa versus a pool has influenced recent sales trends, but the ease of installation and the fact that a swim spa takes up less than 25% of the space of the standard in-ground pool are also factors.

Even with similar wait times for delivery, swim spas are a viable alternative to pools as you work to enhance your backyard experience for now and the future. Talk to a local spa dealer soon so you’ll be taking advantage of the full swim spa experience in 2021.

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