Pools or Spas? Which is Right for Me?

Pools and spas

Pools and spas provide a double blast of fun outdoor entertainment possibilities. While they make an excellent pair, it’s not always possible to have both. Overall cost, space, maintenance requirements and even lifestyle can all play a part and make one more desirable than the other. When you really want both, but you’re forced to choose between a hot tub or a swimming pool, define your specific aquatic needs and compare costs to help make your decision easier.

Budget Issues


When contemplating a large investment, the initial cost is always a significant factor. Because of the size difference, a swimming pool, especially an inground pool, is almost always going to be more expensive than any hot tub. Inground swimming pool costs can start around $40,000, but high quality above ground pools can start around $2,000. Hot tub prices vary depending on the size and components involved. Long-term ownership expenses like property taxes are also an issue for permanent structures like inground pools and spas, but not portable hot tubs and some above ground pools.

Installation Aspects

Installation costs also drastically differ and involve both a monetary and time investment. Pool construction time depends on the pool type and complexity of the project but can take anywhere from a couple of weeks to several months. This includes acquiring appropriate permits, excavation, installation and filling. A portable hot tub can be installed in a matter of days and usually only takes a day to be filled, chemically treated and ready for enjoyment.

Maintenance Comparisons

Maintenance is unavoidable for pools and spas alike. Due to size alone, swimming pools require more maintenance, water testing and chemical treatments than hot tubs. Less water means less money spent on chemicals, which saves money over the season. Less time performing maintenance means more time for your aquatic pursuits.

Space Considerations

If your backyard offers a substantial amount of real estate, space isn’t an issue and you can choose either option. However, if space is severely limited, hot tubs generally take up much less room. A swimming pool may be out of the question, but vinyl liner and concrete pools can be designed and built in any shape or size to conform to your available space. Pre-built fiberglass pools are also a popular option!

Health Benefits

The health benefits of aquatic exercise are plentiful, no matter which aquatic structure you choose. Low impact water-based exercise allows you to exercise longer without joint or muscle pain. Swimming pools provide a much larger area for aquatic exercise, but traditional hot tubs do offer enough space for low movement exercises and stretching. Both also provide a soothing way to relax and are great for hydrotherapy. However, hot tubs have the added bonus of warm water and soothing jets to provide more pain relief.

Entertainment Factor

Above ground pools

Swimming pools and spas are an investment that can enhance your life, but serves slightly different entertainment purposes. If you prefer hosting pool parties for your large family or group of friends, a hot tub probably won’t do. However, a romantic spa retreat is perfect for quiet soaks either alone or with your significant other. In the end, your lifestyle and how you like to entertain could sway your decision the most.

When investing in your personal aquatic haven, deciding whether a pool or spa is right for you can hinge on:

  1. Initial investment and long-term ownership costs.
  2. Installation costs and wait time before you can enjoy your new outdoor oasis.
  3. Maintenance requirements that take time away from your aquatic pursuits.
  4. Size constraints of your backyard.
  5. Aquatic exercise preferences
  6. Relaxation and therapy preferences.
  7. Whether you prefer small, intimate gatherings or huge affairs with lots of people splashing around.

Once you’ve made your decision, Aqua Spas & Pools in Gig Harbor, Washington, is the premier hot tub and swimming pool retailer in the Pacific Northwest. We provide installation for both pools and spas and can also help make year-round maintenance a breeze. Contact us at 877-775-3442 to get started on your aquatic oasis today!