5 Differences of Hot Tubs and Swim Spas

Outdoor hot tub deck installation.

Does your backyard need a boost?

If so, you’ve come to the right place! At Big John’s in Kalispell, we have a wide range of backyard solutions fit for just about every home owner. No matter your style or budget, there’s a solution for you. But if you’re like the many others who come in search of a warm, jet-driven soak in the luxury of a spa, you might be hit with the same debacle: should I buy a hot tub or a swim spa?

While very similar, hot tubs and swim spas do have a few things that set them apart from one another. In this article, we’re going to dig a little deeper into what separates the two and hopefully help you come to the best decision possible!

What’s the Difference Between Hot Tubs and Swim Spas?

Hot tubs and swim spas have a few main factors that set them apart.


The first thing you’ll notice is that swim spas are quite bigger than hot tubs. In some cases, double or triple the size. That’s because hot tubs offer an inclusive seating area, perfect for rest, relaxation and socialization. Swim spas, on the other hand, have the same inclusive seating, but with a large tank area that’s geared toward exercise and recreation. If you have a smaller backyard, a hot tub might be the ideal choice for you. But if you have a much bigger backyard with lots of room for flexibility, you might want to consider getting a swim spa instead.


Although hot tubs and swim spas have many features in common, there are a few that set them apart. Some of the features that they share include ergonomic seats, hydrotherapy jets, user-friendly control systems, interior lighting, Bluetooth technology, and high-quality materials. The two main features that set them apart are the large tank area and high-powered jetting system within a swim spa. Since swim spas are geared toward the everyday athlete and young families, this larger tank area provides the perfect spot for water-based fun and recreation, while the powerful jet at the end creates a stream of water strong enough for a user to swim, walk or jog against as part of an exercise regimen.


There is most often a price difference between hot tubs and swim spas, although not by much. Swim spas do tend to cost a little more, solely because the system is much bigger with more capabilities, including that jet system we mentioned earlier.

At the end of the day, even if you were to purchase both a hot tub and a swim spa, it likely still wouldn’t cost more than an in-ground swimming pool. So, it’s a win-win for you either way!


Depending on the hot tub or swim spa, one may have more seating options than the other. Hot tubs range from two-person hot tub models that seat a few people for a more intimate experience, to larger hot tubs that can accommodate six or more with ease. Most swim spas offer two to three seats, although models such as the AquaSPORT 19 DTfX and the AquaTRAINER 19 DTfX can seat about three to five comfortably.

Should I Get a Swim Spa or Hot Tub?

The last thing that sets hot tubs and swim spas apart is the intended purpose. Some are looking for a system that can provide them with a comfortable environment to exercise or play with their kids, while others would prefer a relaxation station, equipped with aromatherapy scents, soothing music and a good book.

If you live a particularly active lifestyle, complete with routine workouts and spending time with family and friends, a swim spa might be the best solution for you. On the other hand, if you have a modest backyard and your hobbies include relaxing, reading and low-key socialization, a hot tub might be right for your lifestyle. One system isn’t better than the other, it’s all about what the intended use is.

Hot Tubs and Swim Spas in Kalispell

For the best deals on high-quality hot tub accessories, hot tubs and swim spas, visit Big John’s in Kalispell today! We have the latest models from leading brands like Sundance® Spas and Hydropool Swim Spas on display at our showroom. Located in the heart of Kalispell at 170 7th Avenue NW, one of our experienced and friendly team members would be happy to help you get started.