With the rise in popularity of swim spas over the last few years; many homeowners in the Whitby / Oshawa area are struggling to choose whether they should purchase a pool or a swim spa for their home. In this article, we will break down the advantages and disadvantages of both to help you choose which is right for your family!

Size Of Backyard

The size of your backyard is a big factor when it comes to determining if a pool or a swim spa is right for you. Traditional above ground and in-ground pools require a lot more room than a swim spa; both in terms of the pool itself and also the pool surround / equipment. Many homes in the Whitby / Oshawa area (especially those in newly-built neighbourhoods) simply don’t have enough room for one of these traditional pools; without taking up the entire yard at least.

If the space in your backyard is limited, or you simply don’t want your entire backyard dedicated to a pool, a swim spa might be the better option. Swim spas are generally around 8ft wide and range from 12ft – 19ft long. This allows them to fit comfortably in any sized yard. You can have the swim spa on one side of the yard & a patio/bbq/seating area on the other making your backyard the one stop entertainment spot for your family & friends!

Swimming Season

The length of our swim season is another thing to consider when deciding between a pool and a swim spa. In Southern Ontario the average swimming pool season is 4.2 months.

A swim spa, on the other hand, can be used up to 365 days a year. This is due to both their smaller size (you could heat an in-ground pool to 80 degrees into the late fall but it would cost you and absolute fortune) and their built in heaters / insulation systems. In fact, you can run your swim spa through the year about the same monthly cost as running and heating an in-ground during the summer.

Installation Time & Cost

Another big factor when choosing between a pool and a swim spa is the installation costs of each unit. This is where there is a drastic difference in cost between your options. Not only are swim spas cheaper to purchase and install; the length of time that your home will be under chaos is also much less.

The average in-ground pool installation takes at least 3-4 weeks to complete. This includes the excavation, framing, pouring concrete, grading, installation of the liner, & final filling of the pool. A swim spa, on the other hand, averages just 3 days to be ready for use.

This not only means less chaos in your backyard, it also means that you can start swimming a lot sooner! With the limited swimming season we get in the Whitby / Oshawa area, losing half of your first swim season waiting for your new pool to be finished can be excruciating!


One of the most important things to consider when planning your new pool / swim spa project is safety. When thinking about safety you’ll need to consider things like:

  •  Fall risks. If you have young children, you’ll want to ensure minimize fall risks using products like winter safety covers.
  • Water quality. Ensuring that your water is clear and safe to use is paramount to your long-term enjoyment of your new pool or swim spa.

Swim spas come standard with a hard cover that not only withstands the weight of a person but also locks that mount directly to the cabinet. Young children cannot open them with ease which eliminates the risk of unmonitored swimming.

Some swim spas; like Hydropool’s Self-Cleaning line of swim spas run on a premium commercial grade filtration system that will filter 100% of the water in just 45 minutes (in comparison with a swimming pool it takes an average of 12-18 hours to completely filter their water). This means that swim spas will give you cleaner, clearer water with less maintenance required.

Heating Costs

One of the biggest factors in the running costs of a pool or swim spa is the cost to heat the water. Whether you’re talking about a swimming pool or a swim spa the warmer the weather is outside, the less it costs to keep the water warm enough to swim in. In fact, the costs for both will be fairly similar in the height of summer. 

The real difference will be seen at the start and the end of the traditional Ontario swimming season. Even if you’re not looking to extend your swimming season too much, pools heaters can easily cost you several hundred per month at the start and end of every season. Swim spas, on the other hand, can keep their water well heated in the spring and fall for a fraction of that cost. This is due to the combination of their smaller size and their energy efficient insulation systems. 


Maintenance is inevitable regardless of whether you buy a swim spa or a pool. There will always be a necessity to balance & disinfect the water and keep the pool or swim spa surface clean. The main difference between a pool and a swim spa is as to how much you are spending on your chemicals, and how much time you spend cleaning it.

The average cost for pool maintenance (including chemicals, equipment, various other things) amounts to approximately $1,000 a swim season. In comparison a swim spa’s maintenance costs are cut drastically, averaging just $500 over the entire year. Hydropool’s Self-Cleaning filtration system also virtually eliminates the time it takes to clean the swim spa; making them by far the easiest to maintain of any pool option.

Wrapping Up

Investing in your backyard not only greatly increases the value of your property but also helps bring the family closer together. One of the best investments you can make in your backyard is a new pool or swim spa. There are many factors that come into play when deciding whether a pool or a swim spa is better for your family. For most families in the Whitby / Oshawa area, however, swim spas are often the clear favourite.

If you’re still unsure which is right for you, give our pool experts a call! We’ll be happy to answer your questions and guide you towards making the correct decision for you and your family. 

The Spa Shoppe

(905) 666-5333

1545 Dundas St E
Whitby, ON L1N 2K6



Monday – Friday: 10:00 AM – 7:00 PM

Saturday: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM

Sunday: 11:00 AM – 4:00 PM

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