Swim spas come in a range of different lengths, widths, and depths—each aimed at a different type of person.
For example, if you're a tall swimmer interested in using your spa exclusively for fitness, you'll want to pick a different model than a family who is simply looking for a pool alternative to relax in.
With all the options available, choosing the perfect swim spa for your backyard can be overwhelming. Here's a guide to help you choose the best size swim spa to fit both your space and your swimming needs.
- Do swim spas come in different sizes?
- How deep is a swim spa?
- What is the average size of a swim spa?
- What is the best size for a swim spa?
- How tall should swim spa steps be?
- Final thoughts on choosing the best size for your swim spa
Do swim spas come in different sizes?
Yes, swim spas come in a range of different dimensions.
The shortest swim spa is around 11 feet long (like the H2X Therapool SE), while the longest is up to 20 feet long (see the SwimCross Exercise Systems X2000 from Endless Pools).
20' spas are usually dual-zone, meaning they have a separate hot tub section at one end:
This means you don't get the full 20 feet to swim, but it can be convenient if you want to use the spa for multiple purposes, since you can make the transition back and forth between pool and hot tub without having to leave the spa.
Swim spas come in different heights too: 50" is average, while 60" versions also exist if you're looking for a bit more depth.
How deep is a swim spa?
Swim spa depths are typically 10 inches less than the advertised height. So, a 60-inch spa will have around 50" actual water depth.
This is because you have to account for some of the height being taken up by the floor, and also the fact that you can't fill it right up to the top.
Unlike width, depth is something you can often choose, even when shopping within a single brand.
So whether you want something average or a deeper spa, chances are you might be able to just pick a different model.
What is the average size of a swim spa?
The average size of a swim spa is 15' in length, with 17' considered long, and anything under 15' considered compact.
Swim spas are generally 89" to 94" wide, depending on the model. There isn't much choice here, since swim spa width is not generally offered as an option, and the width is predefined by the brand more than anything.
Even at 89" wide, that's still over 7 feet! Plenty spacious even for someone with a large arm span to do a butterfly stroke.
The average height is 50", with 60" found in 'deep' models.
What is the best size for a swim spa?
The best size for you depends on your intended use and your budget, as well as the space available, but there are some common guidelines to follow.
Best size for most people
For most people, the average length of 15 feet and height of around 50 inches will work just fine.
With these dimensions, you get enough depth to do most strokes without either scraping the floor or constantly finding yourself being pushed into the back wall.
Best size for tall people
If you're a tall swimmer, you may want to look at a 17' model instead. This will let you take full strokes without being cramped or risking kicking the back wall of the spa as you swim.
You also might want to consider a deeper-than-average swim spa. This is especially true if you have long arms—it's possible you could reach the floor with your hands when doing the front crawl if this applies to you, so you might want the extra depth for comfort.
Best size for (mostly) leisure
If you're of shorter or average height (or you only plan on using your swim spa for leisure or relaxation) then any length or depth can work.
This doesn't mean you can't also use the swim spa for exercise if you find yourself wanting to do that later; most swim spas are obviously designed to allow this. Just know that if you are taller, then you may need a length of around 15 feet or more to swim comfortably.
Another thing to consider is if you have young kids and want to be able to use the spa as a family pool, you may not want to go for an extra-deep option for safety.
Best size for the space
The best size for a swim spa also depends on the space you have available. Luckily, swim spas are available in quite a variety of lengths (from 11 to 20 feet!) so they can fit in many different types of backyards.
If you only have enough room outside your house for a 12' spa, then that's obviously the maximum you can consider. And this might be fine—unless you're very tall of course.
If you're limited on space but are taller than average, the best thing you can do is wet test a model of your desired length/depth to see if you feel comfortable in it. That's the only real way to know for sure.
How tall should swim spa steps be?
Swim spa steps are typically taller than hot tub steps due to the higher sides of these spas. With steps for an above-ground swim spa, the height of the top step will usually be between 30" and 60".
It's quite a large range because some people choose to have steps that sit flush with the top of the spa, while others have a set of steps that require them to step over the top to get in.
Either is fine; choose based on your ability to step up and over, or just aesthetic preference.
As a general rule, you want the top step to be at least two-thirds the height of the swim spa. Any lower and it'll be difficult (and potentially unsafe) to get in and out.
Additionally, swim spa steps often have handrails or a larger platform on the top step to make it easier to get in and out of the spa:
It's a long way down so you want to avoid any slips or falls.
Final thoughts on choosing the best size for your swim spa
When shopping for your perfect swim spa, these are the main questions you need to ask yourself:
- What's your intended use? If it's mostly a family pool substitute, pretty much any size will do. If you want a little fitness and a little relaxation, look at dual-zone options.
- How tall is everyone who will be using the swim spa? If you're a tall family who wants to be able to actually swim, be sure to wet test a few models, and consider going for a 17' spa if you find yourself kicking the back wall.
- What space do you have available? If you have a smaller yard, know that compact options exist that are just 11 or 12 feet long. Just be aware you could have difficulty swimming in these, depending on your height.
Keep these three things in mind and you should end up with a swim spa that suits everyone's needs.