Do I want a spa or swim spa?
If you regularly swim and like the idea of being able to do so whenever you want in the comfort of your own backyard then a swim spa is worth considering. We have a separate swim spa buyers guide that can help you here. Please remember that if you buy a swim spa and you regularly want to have a hot spa then you should consider buying a separate spa (with a greater choice of seating and massage options) or a “dual zone” swim spa (with separate spa) as it is costly and time consuming to heat a swim spa with such a large body of water.
In Ground Spa
- Difficult and expensive to install
- Equipment must be placed externally
- Less power to the jets due to longer plumbing
- Higher running costs
- Manual push button controller
- Can’t move or sell it
- MAJOR problems if the spa leaks (tree roots etc)
- Restricted lighting options + no stereo option
- Limited choice of suppliers and installers
Do I want a portable spa or inground
In-built spas (either in the ground or in a deck) used to be very popular and they can look great when incorporated into a landscaped outdoor living area. In the past people would buy a spa “shell”, dig a hole and plumb it to the pump and equipment which would be placed separately away from the spa (like a pool). These days we would recommend using a portable spa and either building this into your deck or sinking it into a “pit” in the ground (and then decking around it). This is due to the many benefits offered by portable spas, as detailed in the next column.
- Simple to Install
- Everything is located under the spa for easy servicing
- Maximum power and hydro massage
- Lower costs due to better insulation
- Programmable filtration and heating
- Can move or sell it at any time with minimal cost
- Quiet as all equipment built into the cabinet
- Easy to repair as the cabinet is fully removable
- Full lighting and stereo options
- Heaps of choices, options and accessories
What level of spa do I want?
Once you have decided on either a portable or in-ground spa, your main choice is whether you want. You then need to decide what
preferences and your needs are which will directly affect the cost of your spa. You need to choose between…
- An affordable entry level spa – mainly for cooling off or soaking in hot water
- A mid price “all rounder” – that has more features and offers a good level of hydrotherapy
- Top quality “hydro massage” spa with premium features and usually more jets, power and therapeutic benefits.
This decision will determine your everyday spa experience, the price you’ll pay and the power supply you need. If you want a therapeutic spa then make sure the jets are positioned to provide the massage you want.
What is the best size spa for my needs and location?
This will depend upon
- The size of the area you have available.
- The number of people you want in your spa at one time.
- If you like a feeling of roominess in your spa or don’t mind if people are close together.
- The style of seating you want – as recliners take more space.
- The size of the people who will be using the spa.
- Running costs – as the larger the spa the more water you have to heat.
- Your budget – larger spas are more expensive.
Remember that just because you have lots of people at your house doesn’t mean they all want to be in the spa together.
What seating layout do I want? (and how much do I want to spend)
Spas have four main types of seats. Recliner Lounges are designed for lying down and are perfect for when you want to fully relax. These seats often have jets along your legs and on your feet as well as on your back to provide a “full body” massage – but remember they do take the same amount of room as 3 upright seats. Therapy Seats have lots of jets which target muscle groups on your back (and often your feet) to provide therapeutic relief for aches and pains. Neck and Shoulder Therapy Seats have jets that are located at or above the water line to target your neck and shoulders. They can be very deep and can also be restrictive for tall people so make sure to sit in them before buying. Bench Style and Other Upright Seats These seats often have less jets and are best for children and socialising as they are usually shallower, upright and allow you to fit more people in your spa. If you are unsure about what is best for you, sit in some spas – or even better, ask for a “test soak”. Be aware that some people (women especially) tend to “float away” in recliners, especially if the recliner is quite flat. Make sure the recliner(s) have a pronounced well for your bottom or moulding around your knees – so look for this when shopping.