Hot Tub vs Pool: Which Is Right for Your Backyard?


Hot Tub vs Pool: Which Is Right for Your Backyard?

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Are you looking to add water works to your backyard but struggling to decide between a hot tub or pool? Well, you've come to the right place. We've compiled all the important points to consider.

You'll find, generally pools are more expensive, and require more maintenance but allow for more space for activities and have a longer life span. Hot tubs are more easily installed and maintained, but limited in space.

Let's take a look at a few key comparisons to find which is the right fit for your lifestyle, budget, and space.

How much space is required?


Pools will require more space, but it depends on the size and shape you're looking for. The size of your outdoor space will determine what kind of pool you should consider installing. There's no need to stretch for an olympic sized pool!

Many pool contractors follow a general rule of thumb. They estimate that your pool should occupy about 25% of the total available outdoor area. So, if you have a small yard, consider a plunge pool.

Hot tubs

If you're looking for a water addition to your home but have limited space, you're in luck. Hot tubs are compact and require little space.

They're easily installed and can be above or in-ground making finding the perfect space for a hot tub pretty simple, even in a limited outdoor area.

How difficult is installation?


There are lots of things to consider when installing a pool. Although not terribly difficult, it can take some time to choose the right space, material, and paperwork.

In-ground pools take a lot longer to install, taking between 7 to 21 days to install and get it up and running. But the positive is that they have a longer life span.

Above-ground pools are much easier to install, taking between 1 to 3 days from start to finish.

You'll need to get a permit for an in-ground pool which can take some time. Generally, above-ground pools don't require permits or inspections, so the installation time is faster.

Hot tubs

Once you've chosen the perfect spot for your hot tub, the installation is fairly easy.

Though, once the hot tub is in place, you may need to hire an electrician to hook it up, depending how complex the system is.

Is there ongoing maintenance?


More space equals more maintenance. There's a fair amount more maintenance needed for a pool than a hot tub.

You're looking at a weekly maintenance routine that consists of adding chemicals, checking the pumps and filters, and skimming the surface for floating debris.

Here's a weekly and monthly pool maintenance checklist to help you keep on top of things!

Hot tubs

Hot tubs need ongoing maintenance, but it's less than a pool, meaning you have more time to relax!

Hot tubs need water maintenance to ensure the water is clean while you're soaking in it. You'll need to do a monthly filter cleaning and draining of the water. It's also important to buy a good quality hot tub cover, which should be cleaned every couple of months.

It's important to note that hot tubs can quickly deteriorate if you skimp out on maintenance, so be sure to keep your hot tub spick and span.

Does it benefit your health and fitness?


Pools give you the opportunity to get in some exercise. If you have the space for a regular pool, you can swim laps. Otherwise, a plunge pool will still allow for different types of water workouts.

In addition to fitness, swimming in a pool has also been linked to reducing stress and boosting mood.

Hot tubs

Hydrotherapy is a type of water therapy. As the water is hot, sitting in the hot tub has shown to help relax muscles and reduce pain.

Studies have also shown that hydrotherapy can help with more serious health concerns too. People with certain arthritis symptoms can benefit from hydrotherapy, as well as the aches and pains that pregnancy can cause.

What about the fun factor?


Pools are great for families, especially kids. Whether you're teaching your kids to swim or having a pool party on a hot summer day, pools give you hours of entertainment! Add a few pool noodles, lilos, and rubber rings all add to the fun.

They also give you more opportunities for creative design. You can have fun with the color, shape, and design of your pool. Depending on the look you're going for, you could mosaic around the pool, choose different tiling, etc.

Hot tubs

As hot tubs are smaller, they are super social. Invite a couple of friends for a few relaxing drinks in the pool.

With jets and bubbles, hot tubs can be a soothing and relaxing space in your home. As most adults can attest, relaxation is fun in its own right!

How much does it all cost?


This might be the most important factor when deciding between a pool or a hot tub. A pool suits a larger budget as you'll need to consider the installation of the pool as well as a heftier maintenance cost.

In-ground pools require landscaping, permit, and installation costs. You're typically looking at $16,000 to $40,000+, depending on the size. above-ground pools are on the cheaper side, but will set you back around $6,000-$10,000.

Hot tubs

Hot tubs are initially cheaper to buy, and only require a simple electrical hook up. You're looking at around $1,000-$5,000 at the low end.

The maintenance cost is also much lower, so hot tubs are a great investment for your home without too much risk.


Both pools and hot tubs are a fantastic addition to a home. Each comes with their own advantages and disadvantages. It really comes down to your budget and space.

If you've got the money for installation, the time for proper maintenance, and a big enough space, a pool is a fantastic choice for any home. An added benefit is that in-ground pools raise home value!

If you've got a tighter budget and prefer an easier installation and maintenance, a hot tub is the way to go. They're also very social and great for any season.

Happy swimming, floating and soaking!

This article was contributed by Poolonomics, a blog that helps pool and spa owners spend more time enjoying a soak, and less time managing it.

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