everything you need to know about buying a swim spa

11 December, 2019

In this article we're going to walk you through some of our swim spas to help you find the perfect size to fit your backyard and your lifestyle.

Plunge pools, swim tethers, heat pumps and hydrotherapy – purchasing a new swim spa can be a little daunting with so many things to take into account, especially when there are so many out there to choose from.

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.

Firstly, what’s the purpose of your swim spa purchase?

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 a 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.

Second, we need to work out how many pumps you need to fit your purpose?

The number of pumps you need in your swim spa will be determined by the purpose in which you will be using it. Our Plunge pools only have one pump which make them great for splashing around and having a bit of fun, but one pump alone is not enough to generate the force required for freestyle against the swim jets without a swim tether. If the purpose of your swim spa is to swim train and exercise, then we recommend the smart saver specification or Extreme models. These have a minimum of three pumps (four in the extreme) and with the strength combined, a steady swim stream is generated allowing for swimming up to elite levels.  

Next you need to have a price range in mind

There is a wide range as far as pricing goes, but generally a quality Australian Made swim spa will start around $15,000 and range up to $40,000 depending on size, features and equipment. 

The number of pumps you have in your spa relates to how expensive the initial swim spa purchase will be. As our Plunge specification only have one pump, there is significantly less plumbing, equipment and fittings, as well as fewer standard features, making them a less expensive option. With the top of the range spas, there is generally upwards of 70+ jets, numerous pumps, elaborate plumbing and packed full of included extras/features. This, as well as the size of the swim spa will determine which end of the pricing scale you fit into.

Sapphire EXTREME swim spas are fitted with 4 swim jets & 4 pumps to power them. This allows you to swim supported by the high performance jet stream. Even a competitive swimmer will be tested to keep pace in a freestyle stoke against the most powerful swim jet stream available. EXTREME swim spas are manufactured with a fast & economic 8.8kw heat&cool pump so your spa is warm and ready for you to walk, stretch, swim & run, then enjoy a recovery massage straight after. Hooked up to 45amps of power, our top of the range EXTREME swim spas deliver a massive volume of swim jet power and also a highly therapeutic massage throughout the seated area. All our swim spa sizes and shapes, from 4 metres up to 6 metres in length, are available with these extreme specification upgrades.

Our SMARTSAVER swim spas also have 4 swim jets, but these are now powereds by 3 pumps, instead of 4. This simply means the pump power will be shared amongst the jets. Even a stong swimmer will still be able to swim supported by strong jet stream & smartsaver specification, so you can choose a swim spa that is large enough for you to also enjoy aquatic exercise and stretches. We supply a 5.5kw heat&cool pump with these smartsaver swim spas to give you fast and inexpensive spa heating. A 32amp hardwire electrical connection is required for these spas

Our 4.5 up to 6 metre swim spas are also available in the CLASSIC specification, which means they’re plumbed with 4 swim jets, powered by 2 full 3 horsepower pumps. Training for a beginner or competant swimmers is still possible against the steady jet stream and you can also walk, stretch or run supported by the bouyancy of the surrounding water. We also offer an optional, cost saving 5.5kw heat&cool pump to provide more economical temperature maintenance from the equipment which also requires a 32amp hardwire connection.

Four of our best selling swim spa shapes can also be custom manufactured as a PLUNGE pool. Plunge pools have become a popular alternative to the typical backyard swimming pool, as they are fast to install and a smaller and more manageable to maintain. With 2 swim jets powered by 1 pump, you can still enjoy the whirlpool movement of the swim jets, but it’s more suited to childs play and splashing, much like a swimming pool, however you can easily warm the water for year round use. The 2 swim jets are fun for the kids to practice swimming against and enough resistance for those needing the swim spa as a recovery or rehabilitation tool or to maintain motion throughout the older years. Our M5watersedge is much like a swimming pool with wide, shallow entry steps & open plan layout for child’s play & toddler splashing.

Even if you add an optional heat&cool pump for cheaper heat retention, our plunge pools still only require a 20amp connection to run. 

An important decision to make is also the best way to heat your spa depending on how you're planning to use it

Every swim spa has a built-in conventional heater. These conventional heaters are the same as the ones used in our compact spas with 1000 litres or less, but when utilised in a swim spa with 6000 litres it is inefficient and costly to run.  We will always recommend that an external heat & cool pump is added to the swim spa to drastically reduce running costs and keep the spa energy efficient and sustainable to run. The built in conventional heater drawing 23.5 amps is then overridden by the external heat pump which only draws 5.5 resulting in a more energy efficient heat system. Running costs for the built in heater are approximately $9.80 per day versus $1.80 with a heat pump. 

External heat and cool pumps are included as a standard feature in all our smart saver & extreme model swim spas.

Now we're reading to take a look at the size you want your spa to be & how many seats would be ideal?

The next thing to decide on is the size of the swim spa you would like to install and the amount of seats required. Our range has something to suit everyone, with swim spas starting from 4m all the way through to 6m long in various different seating arrangements and designs. Although you are looking to purchase a swim spa, you still won’t miss out on all the great hydrotherapy features that come with a spa as all our swim spas are fitted with luxurious seating options at one end, and a large open swim area at the other. The seating options stretch from a two seater all the way through to twelve, some with full body reclining seats as well as neck & shoulder massage jets. Each seat has an array of different jet types and positions designed to target all muscles of the body so once you have finished your swim training, these seats will help with muscle recovery or any discomfort.

 Finally we will discuss the installation of your new swim spa

Getting your area ready for your swim spa delivery? Most swim spas hold around 6000 litres of water so a firm solid base is essential. A reinforced 125mm thick concrete slab is ideal and leaving an additional 200mm of concrete around the edges of your spa is recommended for stability if your site allows for it. Each specification level of swim spas require a different amount of power and this will need to be hardwired into the control box of your spa by a licenced electrician once delivery has taken place. Check with your Sapphire Spas retailer for the exact power requirements your swim spa needs, or find them on our website. The external heat pump for your spa will also need to sit on a concrete slab but does not need it’s own power source. It will connect into the control box of your spa, allowing it to be fully integrated and give you the ability to control your temperature with ease from the touchpad. Due to the size and weight of a swim spa, these need to be delivered with a crane to lift them into position. Normally a small crane truck will do the job, but if you have limited access or require a lift over a double storey house, your local Sapphire Spa retailer will be able to organise a free site inspection to work out the best delivery route option for you.

Why not book a wet test at your local retailer and find out what all the fuss is about!