How much does a swim spa cost in Australia? (Swim spa prices, considerations and more...)

If you're thinking about purchasing a swim spa, there's a good chance one of the first questions you have is: "How much does a swim spa cost?" 

You may even be asking: "Why is there such a huge range in swim spa pricing?”. 

After all, you can spend $12,999 on one swim spa or $59,999 on another and (on the surface) they look pretty similar. But are they?

For example, we compared three different swim spas with (on the face of it) similar specifications. 

The following swim spas all are 4.5 metres, seat 4-5 adults, have a circulation pump (filtration pump) and two jet pumps, and have 35-40 jets – but look at the difference in price:

Why are swim spa prices so different?  

As you can imagine, when building a swim spa, manufacturers have many options to choose from.

Here are some factors that can have an impact on the final sale price:

  • Where the swim spa is made?
  • How will it be made?
  • What parts are going to be used to make it?
  • What to put in and what to leave out?
  • What kind of warranty and after-sales service is offered?

Does it matter where a swim spa is made?

Swim spas are very labour intensive to make. 

Most of the process is not automated and therefore the cost of the labour in the country of manufacture, ultimately influences the price (but not necessarily quality) of the swim spa.

Many of the best quality swim spas in the world (and certainly the best value swim spas) are made in China, Mexico and Eastern Europe where labour costs are lower than in developed countries. Learn more about spas and swim spas made in China and if Chinese swim spas are worth the money.

It's important to note that where a swim spa is made is not a guide to quality. 

Some of the best swim spas on the market for quality and value are made in developing countries; Jacuzzi® and HotSpring® spas have factories in Mexico. Oasis Spas™, Lifestyle Spas™ and Vortex Spas™ are made in China. 

Equally, we have seen some very poor quality swim spas that are made in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the US and Western Europe. 

Why? Because; the higher the labour costs – the fewer the hours invested in the production. Otherwise; the higher labour costs would have to be passed on to the customer.

This does not mean that there are not some great swim spas made in developed countries (Sapphire Spas™, Signature Spas™, and Endless™/Fastlane™ Swim Spas are all made in Australia and the US respectively). 

Ultimately, where a swim spa is made should not be the final judge of the quality.

How can you tell it's a good quality swim spa?

The options for how a swim spa is made are too many to mention, but there are two things to look for which are good indicators of quality: 

  • What are the warranties on the product?
  • How long has the brand been operating for?

Firstly, warranties. Generally speaking, the longer the warranty, the longer the swim spa will last. The shell of the swim spa should be warranted for at least 10 years and the pumps and electronics should be warranted for two to five years. 

But beware. We have seen newcomers offering long warranties to grab sales before they have been around for the duration of their warranty.

Which leads to the next point; how long has the brand been around? 

As you would expect, longevity leads to experience. Newcomers to the market will generally know less about making a swim spa than a company that has been around for decades. 

Two really good questions to ask when buying a spa are:

  • How long has the product been made for?
  • Ask how long the retailer has been selling swim spas for? 

There are many great swim spa makers and sellers who could answer 20 years+ to both questions. Jacuzzi®, for example, has been manufacturing spas for over 64 years!

As an influencer of price, superior manufacturing techniques will certainly lead to higher prices. 

Cutting corners in the manufacturing process will certainly allow for a cheaper swim spa, but will just as certainly mean the swim spa will not last as long, and equally as important, will cost more to maintain and operate.

The six key things that set swim spas apart 

The average swim spa has hundreds of components and manufacturers have options for every one of them. 

Put simply, cheap parts lead to a cheaper swim spa. They also lead to breakages, failures and buyer remorse!

Here are six really important things to look for when choosing a swim spa:

  • A heaving gauge galvanised steel frame. Ask to see the frame so you can judge how robust it is. Remember it has to support the shell with up to 7 tonnes of water in it. Also, don’t be fooled by ‘stainless steel’ frames. It is usually very low-quality stainless steel and we have seen many rusted steel frames

  • US-made acrylic shell. If it doesn’t state US-made, it isn’t. No one outside of the US makes decent quality acrylic sheet yet.

  • A recognised brand of control system. The big ones are Balboa, Gecko and SpaNet. HotSpring Spas® make their own and these are also very good. Once again, if the supplier is not claiming they use one of the above brands – steer clear!

  • A decent warranty on the jets and plumbing. This should be 2-5 years.

  • The quality of the cabinet. Ask the retailer to remove it for you so you can assess the weight and integrity. The cabinet is going to get hit with years of UV rays and poor quality cabinets will quickly fade and warp turned your new spa into an eyesore

  • Swim system. This is one of the single biggest determiners of swim spa cost and value. Most swim spas use big spa jets to provide the swimming stream, but high-end swim spas such as Jacuzzi® and Fastlane® use either specially designed swim jets, or in the base of Fastlane®, a turbine. These certainly make for a great swimming experience but they can drive the price up.

In summary, the extra cost in a swim spa can be hidden in the components. Using quality components can easily double the manufacturing cost of a swim spa, which in turn leads to a retail price that is twice as high.   

Just be aware, it is almost impossible to build a quality swim spa and bring it to market for less than $16,000 and even then, it would have very low functionality (see below).

The seven top features to look for in a swim spa

The more features a swim spa has, the more it will generally cost – but the more enjoyable it is likely to be to own it. 

Here are the seven top features to look for in any swim spa you buy: 

  • A circulation pump. Circulation pumps lead to cheaper running costs, better water quality and a quieter spa than a two-speed pump. A spa with a circulation pump would be at least $1000 more than the same spa fitted with a 2-speed pump.

  • An automated sanitising system. Ozone (which clarifies the water) is a must. UV (which sanitises the water) is preferable, and any spa with multi-stage filtration is going to be easier to maintain than one without. A very good automatic sanitising system can easily add $2,000 to the price of a swim spa.

  • Good levels of insulation. The bare minimum should be insulation of both the shell of the spa and the inside of the cabinet, but ideally, choose a spa with ‘full-foam’ insulation as these have the lowest running costs. Full foam insulation can add $4,000 to the retail price of a spa but the savings over time on running costs could be considerably more, making good insulation a great investment. 

  • A heavy cover. A thicker, higher density cover is better for reducing heat loss and therefore running costs. Choose a cover lifter to make removing the cover easier. 

  • A galvanised steel frame. Once again, ask the retailer to remove the side of the spa and show you.

  • Big hydrotherapy water jets. Manufacturers will often inflate the jet count of a spa by using lots of little water jets or air jets. The bigger the jet, the better the massage. Some of the best hydrotherapy spas on the market including Jacuzzi®, HotSpring Spas® and Bullfrog® have relatively low quantities of jets. More jets is not necessarily better. What is important is the way the jets are designed into the spa. Spa companies with great design and engineering teams will generally produce a spa with superior hydrotherapy, but this does come at a cost. This is one of the many hidden costs that are not recognised, but certainly, contribute to a better spa ownership experience.

  • Fitness App integration. A big attraction of swim spas in the fitness aspect. If you use apps to track your progress and monitor training you’ll want to connect them to your swim spa. Jacuzzi® and Fastlane® (Endless Pools®) both offer swim spas with fitness app integration via WiFI and smart devices.

Spa warranties and after-sales service

A warranty is a written guarantee issued to you by the retailer or manufacturer, promising to repair or replace your swim spa if anything goes wrong within a set period. 

Be aware that warranties can vary in the spa industry.   

There are too many retailers and manufacturers coming into the market and offering warranties that are longer than they have been in existence. 

Many shut down before the end of the warranty period, leaving customers with no support and potentially no access to replacement spare parts. This can render the spa unusable.

The best way to avoid this happening to you is to buy from a retailer with a solid track record. As mentioned above, many (like Jacuzzi®) have been around for decades. 

Another important thing to consider when buying a spa is the level of after-sales service offered by the retailer. 

All swim spas will require consumables and after-sales support over their lifetime. Many retail groups nowadays have integrated parts and consumables divisions. The best retailers offer 7-day support via a centralised call centre.

Other things to consider when buying a swim spa

The above points are easy to look for but there are some other aspects of a swim spa that are harder to spot. 

We’ve already mentioned things like the acrylic, the framing, the controller type and the insulation, but there a couple more to pay attention to.

The first is the amount of resin that is applied to the acrylic shell. This is probably the single biggest determiner of swim spa life span. Discuss this with the retailer.

Lastly, check the type of piping that is used in the plumbing. Clear plastic tubing is not good. You should be seeing ribbed flexible PVC plumbing. This type of plumbing has been specifically designed for hot, chemically treated water.

Selecting the right swim spa retailer

Choosing a swim spa can be a complex and complicated process – but it shouldn't be. A reputable retailer can guide you through the process and help make it a stress-free experience.

The retailers we recommend in Australia are Just Spas®, SpaChoice®, HotSpring Spas® and Spa World. 

The most important thing is to ask the retailer how long they have been operating for. If the retailer or manufacturer has warranties that are longer than how long they have been around for, maybe it's a good idea to keep searching.

Want to learn more about buying a swim spa?

Hopefully, after reading this article you now have a better understanding of why swim spas that look the same on the surface, can vary so much in price. 

For more information, visit the Spa World product pages where you can see all of our spas, swim spas and prices.  

Our Ultimate Spa Buyers Guide is also an excellent resource for anyone interested in purchasing a spa or swim spa.



Download The Buyers Guide

DISCLAIMER

In this article, we’ve used brand names not affiliated with Spa World™ or Vortex Leisure Pty Ltd, the parent company of Spa World™.

All information, including pricing and product details, was accurate at the time of writing (8 July 2020) and may change without notice. 

The following registered trademarks are owned by companies not affiliated in any way with Spa World™ or Vortex Leisure Pty Ltd:
Oasis Spas® trademark is owned by Oasis Leisure Products Pty Ltd.
Artesian Spas™ trademark is owned by Artesian Spas 
Bullfrog Spas® trademark is owned by Bullfrog International, LC
Signature® Spas trademark is owned by Spa Industries Pty Ltd (SCS).
HotSpring® Spas trademark is owned by Watkins Manufacturing Corporation (Watkins).
Lifestyle Spas® trademark is owned by Lifestyle Spas and Leisure 
Just Spas® trademark is owned by Just Spas 
SpaChoice® trademark is owned by Spachoice 
Sapphire Spas®

Affiliations:

Vortex® Spas, Fisher™ Spas and Spa World® are trademarks owned by Vortex Leisure Pty Ltd.
The Jacuuzzi® brand is owned by Jacuzzi Inc. and exclusively licensed for use to Spa World™ in Australia and New Zealand.