Swim Spa Costs – Have You Budgeted Enough?

Swim spa costs are usually not openly advertised. It’s pretty difficult (impossible) to find a price list for most manufacturers.

Trying to buy something has never been so difficult!

Today we are going to explain why it’s so darn difficult to find out how much a swim spa costs, alongside average prices/installation costs (and a handy swim spa price comparison tool).

Disclaimer: This article is 100% impartial, we have no affiliation with any specific brand, country, or manufacturer. All estimates in this article are based in US Dollars.

How Much Do Swim Spas Cost?

Swim spa prices vary drastically from state to state, but here is a very general cost guide.

  • The cheapest Chinese import models can be as cheap as $5000 to $7000
  • Mid range swim spas cost between $15,000 to $25,000
  • Some of the best and largest swim spas are priced between $30,000 and $50,000

No Fixed Prices

As you can see, there is quite a range of prices. To make things even more complicated, there are many different factors that come into play when it comes to the final cost including:

  • Time of year
  • Your State (prices vary state to state)
  • Your Town / City
  • Your property
Hypothetical example: If you got a swim spa in July in Los Angeles, you would potentially be paying thousands of dollars more than someone doing the same (with the same model) in December in New York.

The reality is that there is no one size fits all price when getting a swim spa. That’s why you can’t find accurate pricing information online. Without knowing about your location and your property, it’s going to be nothing more than a very rough guess.

Which is why we developed this tool…

To Get Accurate Price Quotes For Your Area, Try Using Our Handy Tool Below.

As you may see from getting quotations using the tool above, the cost can be different for just because you live in a different part of the world (or the country) to someone else.

Location, time of year, the kind of swim spa, intended usages, installation location and installation type all significantly affect the final price of the project.

Why Are Low-Cost Chinese Swim Spas A Bad Idea?

We know that you might have been a little excited when you saw that you can get a spa for $5000 from China at the start of this article, but hold your horses. Things are not as good as they may seem.

While these cheap Chinese units might seem like they are well priced at first, in the long run, they are going to cost you much, much more.

There is no denying that it’s an attractive prospect knowing that they will save you $2000 to $4000 on the up front cost compared to a domestic quality product. But this is a long term investment, let’s look at some of the not so obvious hidden costs.

Firstly, you need to take into account the cost of delivery from China. We have never ordered from China, but we have obtained estimates that the overall costs for delivery to mainland USA would be in the region of $1500 to $2000. This obviously reduces a lot of the potential savings obtained by buying from China in the first place.

Then you have to take into account the fact that these cheaper lower priced products are of an almost laughable quality. The swimming experience feels unnatural, the water flow is jerky, and most importantly – they breakdown (lots).

Most of the warranties on these Chinese products are not worth the paper they are written on. They are either not honored, or they are very limited. This means you have to buy parts to repair the dodgy spa directly from the people who sold it to you.

While the unit might have been cheap, the individual parts cost just as much as domestically made parts (made for higher quality products). You then also have to factor the cost of paying an engineer who works on these products to diagnose and resolve a problem on an unfamiliar unit.

Honestly, if you want to take the risk with these products you can get lucky sometimes. Some batches of these cheap swim spas are well made and won’t break that much. But most of them do break, and all of them are unsatisfactory in terms of usage. It’s a false economy.

Cheap Chinese Swim spa
A Cheap Chinese Swim Spa

Our Swim Spa Price Comparison

Budget Price Bracket

The Cheapest entry-level offerings range from between $9000 to $12,000. But don’t get too excited, because these products are not much better than the cheap Chinese models we talked about above.

In fact, many of them are the same products from the same factory just with minor differences. The companies selling these products import them from China, add the shipping cost onto the final price, re brand them, and try to market them as a “quality product”.

The only “benefits” products in this price bracket have over the Chinese imports is that you are going to be dealing with a US company. Their warranties are still very limited (and short) compared to some of the more reputable brands, but they are better than the warranties you will get from China.

Not having to deal with shipping, customs costs, and a language barrier when ordering is an added bonus. This is especially true when your spa breaks down and you need to order a replacement part. These companies usually keep a stock of replacement parts in their warehouses, they are a little more expensive than ordering direct from China but are delivered quicker.

But at the end of the day, you need to remember what you are dealing with when you look at products in this price bracket. They are the same low-quality unreliable rubbish that we talked about in the China section. They will still break down, they still provide a horrible swimming experience, and they are still best avoided as much as possible.

If this is all you can afford, then consider finance options or just saving a little longer – it’s going to be worth it in the long run. Trust us.

Mid Range Price Bracket

Mid-Range Swim Spas brought in the US range in cost from between $15,000 and $25,000. It’s quite a step up in price from the budget swim spas we talked about above, but in our opinion, they are worth every single cent.

There is a whole host of reasons that make us say this, but reliability is, without a doubt, the biggest change you are going to notice once you start shopping around in this price bracket. While they are not the most expensive products on the market, they are undoubtedly well made (generally).

Corners have not been cut to reduce production costs, materials are usually high grade, and rigorous tests are conducted by quality control testers before allowing them to be sold to the public.

We are not saying that spas in this price bracket will never break down, that would be absurd. But what we are saying is that it’s going to happen much less frequently. You can go for years without having the slightest bit of trouble with them.

And if you are unlucky enough to have a problem with a mid range product, you can rest assured that you are in good hands. Warranties on these products are generally comprehensive and long lasting, with 3 and 5 year extended warranties usually available for a small additional cost.

Swim spas in this price bracket are usually made by well-known brands that any good engineer will know. This makes diagnosis and repair (when outside of warranty) quick and cheap – reducing labor costs. Admittedly, the parts themselves are slightly more expensive than the Chinese products, but again they are premium parts with a premium price tag.

It’s not just reliability that makes products in this price range a better option, they are also much better in terms of swim quality too.

The amount of research and development time that these brands put into each product makes the cheap Chinese products look like toys. Everything has been purposely designed. The jets are optimally positioned and ergonomics is no longer an afterthought. The water currents are stable, strong, and reliable. The water flow generally feels very natural (but still slightly different to normal swimming).

Expensive Luxury Spa
This luxury spa costs $20,000 USD delivered!

Premium Price Bracket

These are obviously the most expensive, and best products on the market. This is where big name brands like endless pools, swimex, and Micheal Phelps call their home. You can expect to pay between $30,000 to $55,000 for one of these monsters, in some cases even as high as $60,000!

However, you really do get what you pay for. The research and development that has gone into them is very apparent from the moment you get in the water. Every water jet is of the highest quality and located at the perfect angle. The jets are also usually much more numerous than the mid range spas (which makes the water flow smoothly and incredibly natural). It’s difficult to tell you are not in a normal pool if you close your eyes when in one of these machines.

The inner molding is ergonomically designed and tested to perfection. Models in this price bracket also usually come with very long and very comprehensive warranties as standard which will give you peace of mind for years to come.

Is that difference in quality is worth the extra $20,000 or $30,000 compared to a mid range swim spa? That is up to you to decide!

So as you can see from our initial swim spa price comparison there is something for every budget. As a rule of thumb, bigger swimming areas, with more jets, cost more money. Size matters in this industry!

One surprising thing to note is that the prices of in ground units are not much more expensive than those that are installed above ground. Above ground, models are slightly more expensive (a price increase of about $1000 $2000) compared a similar inbuilt underground model. This is mainly because there is no need for the manufacturer to concern themselves about external aesthetics and they can, therefore, lower production costs and pass the savings on to customers.

However, despite an in-ground swim spa costing less than an above ground one, the installation costs for in ground products are much higher (as you will see below).

A Swim Spa Being Delivered and ready to be installed
A Swim Spa Being Delivered and ready to be installed

Installation Costs

Remember how we were talking about how location can affect cost earlier in the article? Well, installation is the main reason why. The time of year, the amount of work the contractor has, and logistical requirements all alter your final quotation.

Above ground models are very easy to install, most of them only require a simple concrete pad as a base. Most well-built patio areas can support their weight, which will make things cheaper. The only other requirement is a power source which can easily be installed from any domestic power supply. About $1500 will be needed to install an above ground model (the price will be less if you don’t need a concrete pad).

In ground models, however, are obviously a much larger task to install. Things, like excavating the earth, providing supporting structures to support the cavity, and obviously securing the spa, add up to create a large bill. You can expect to pay $2000 – $4000 to get it installed and running.

Depending on your property you may also need to factor in the logistical costs of actually getting your swim spa to the correct location. These are big products that can’t be moved easily. If you are lucky then your property will have some kind of access route to allow the swim spa to be delivered by a forklift. This is the cheapest method and should only cost you around $150. However, if you’re unlucky (and very dedicated) then you will need to look into the possibility of hiring a crane to lift the swim spa over your home and into position. As you can imagine, cranes are not cheap. You can expect to pay anything between $1000 and $1500 for this service depending on the type and height of crane required, and the difficulty (time it takes) of the lift.

As you can imagine, cranes are not cheap. You can expect to pay anything between $1000 and $1500 for this service depending on the type and height of crane required, and the difficulty (time it takes) of the lift.

Note: This section obviously depends massively on location and time of year, but it should give you a rough idea of the costs involved. If you didn’t use our price quote tool earlier, you should do so now. Click here to jump back to the tool.

Running Costs

Providing an above ground swim spa is properly insulated the running costs are pretty standard across all models in the medium and premium price brackets. There are differences but they are almost negligible for the purposes of this article. Under regular usage, you can expect that it will cost you in the region of $50-$100 per month. This might seem like a lot but when you consider that a normal swimming pool can easily cost you around $200 per month in maintenance, then it’s actually not a bad deal at all.

However, for the more eco conscious readers who have made it this far down the article, there are a few specific brands that pride themselves on sustainability (and low running costs). Arctic spas are one of the most well-known brands for this, but other brands are slowly catching on to the rising demand for eco-friendly swim spas.

This section obviously depends on climate, in warmer locations the cost is lowered because the water heater does not have to work as hard to keep the water temperature stable. Similarly, in summer your running costs will be much lower than in winter due to the ambient temperature.

Underground or indoor installations further reduce the potential cost because they are insulated (via the earth or your home) from the cold air.

Maintenance Costs

Many of the larger brands come with lengthy warranties, the smaller brands or Chinese imports usually either have no warranties or a very short and limited warranty at best. Maintenance can be needed at any time. Putting aside $150 a year or around ($10 per month) for maintenance should keep you covered when the worst happens (unless you are very unlucky and have some major repairs that need doing).

Money Saving Tips

Before purchasing call up local installers in your area and check they will be able to fit it for you. They may try and convince you to buy one from them – barter with them and see if they will price match the online price. You will find most of the time online site will still be cheaper even with their discounts. If the price difference is worth the extra hassle of you purchasing the spa yourself online – they will still be very happy to install it for you.

Call around several installers in your area and get a few quotes, the prices can often differ massively depending on how much other work they have on at any point in time.

If you have made it all the way down here to the end of this article you should now understand why it is difficult to actually guesstimate how much a swim spa costs. If you didn’t use our handy tool to get accurate quotations at the start of this article, we are guessing you probably now understand why we recommended that you use it.

Click here to jump back to the quote tool.

So that concludes our detailed guide to the world of swim spa prices. It’s not an easy thing to estimate how much these things cost without knowing a few details.

We know that this all probably sounds expensive (and a lot like hard work) from this article. But let’s take a second to remember that we are talking about the boring financials of swim spa ownership here.

Once all this is out of the way, you’re going to enjoy every single cent you spent while you spend time swimming and exercising in the comfort of your home (in any weather).

How much did you pay? Help others who are thinking about swim spa costs by joining the discussion in the comments section below.