How much does a swimpool cost? (You might be surprised.)
Most companies are a little secretive when it comes to sharing the cost of a swimpool (aka swimspa, endless pool or plunge pool). That’s frustrating for buyers, whose first question is almost always “How much does a swimspa cost?” That’s why we’re breaking tradition with this post, which offers price ranges, installation estimates and money saving tips.
The bottom line
Swim spas are less expensive than inground pools, but they aren’t cheap. Of course, we’ve heard rumours of swim spas from China for $5,000 USD plus shipping, and know of “entry-level” swim spas manufactured offshore and sold in the U.S. for less than $10,000 USD. If you opt for one of these you’re getting what you paid for—which isn’t much. To get a high quality swim spa with an excellent warranty that can stand up to the Canadian climate, budget for the price of a luxury, Canadian-made hot tub and double it—in other words, prices in the range of $18,000 to $40,000, depending on size. (This is still less than a small fiberglass pool, however.)
Always remember that the manufacturer’s suggested retail price is just a starting point for pricing. The time of year, the model you’re interested in, and incentives from the manufacturer or retailer will all mean a unique price, customized just for you.
You get what you pay for
Lower end swimpools and swim spa manufacturers keep their prices down by making you compromise on something. Maybe it’s the quality of the spa experience, with less effective massage jet and less comfortable seating. Or it could be the quality of the swimjets, meaning it’ll be harder to stay in your swim lane, there will be no wave pool experience and you can forget boogie boarding. Perhaps it’s the quality of the shell, the insulation, or the warranty, meaning you’ll be springing for costly repairs sooner than you’d like, and your monthly operating costs will be higher.
Premium swim spa manufacturers invest in research and development so there’s no compromise. The spa will include the features available in the most luxurious of hot tubs. The swim will be enjoyable for every member of the family. Innovation in filtration and insulation keep operating (and maintenance) costs down. They’ll be built to handle anything a Canadian winter can throw at them.
Why the price range?
Once you’ve chosen your manufacturer, prices will increase as the size of your swimpool increases (the smallest models are less than 12-feet long, and the largest models are 19+-feet long). Standard accessories also influence price. Want the maximum number of therapeutic jets? Built-in stairs that double as workout tools? State-of-the-art filtration? You’re looking at a premium swimpool. Optional accessories (some of which are simply unnecessary bells and whistles) will affect your price as well.
How much does installation cost?
We recommend budgeting $3,000 to $5,000 for above-ground installation. Prices vary based on whether you need to have your swimpool craned into place, need a new concrete pad poured, or need electrical work done because the pool is located far from an outlet, or your electrical panel needs to be upgraded. This doesn’t include the price for decking around the pool to create a built-in look.
Installation of in-ground or partially-inground swimpools will be more expensive than above-ground installations because they require excavation, structural support, drainage and backfilling, along with the possibility of plumbing and electrical work. A site inspection is required to properly estimate the cost of an in-ground installation.
How to save money
Your initial investment may be a one-time cost, but every swimpool owner will have ongoing costs for electricity, water, and chemicals. Ask specific questions about the insulation, whether the pool uses waste heat from the pump to minimize electricity costs, the quality of the filtration system, and the insulation value of the cover. If the retailer or manufacturer talks around your question or starts using confusing jargon, ask whether you can talk to customers about their electricity bills. Don’t forget to ask about summer and winter costs.
You may also receive more favourable pricing if you order during the offseason. Buy your swimpool in the fall, winter or early spring and get dollar discounts or optional add-ons for free. You’ll also increase the chances that a floor model or scratch ‘n’ dent model is available for purchase from the manufacturer.
Finally, buy from a reputable dealer and a local manufacturer. This will keep the price of parts and service to a minimum if they’re required after the warranty is no longer valid. A reputable dealer will also offer you money-saving tips and information to prolong the life of your equipment.
Questions to ask your retailer
Why is this manufacturer less expensive (or more expensive) than the competition?
Do you service your what you sell? If so, do you use factory-trained professionals or contract the work?
What are the features in this swimpool that will save me money?
How much does it cost a month to operate in the summer? The winter?
What do you recommend to keep my installation costs down?
Can you help me find reputable, affordable installers?
What can you do to sweeten the deal for me?