Can a Hot Tub Also Be a Pool? Exploring Dual-Function Options

Can a Hot Tub Also Be a Pool

Have you ever wondered if your hot tub can double as a pool? Well, you’re not alone! It’s a common question among homeowners who want to maximize their outdoor space and get the most out of their investment.

While it’s true that a hot tub can be used as a pool to some extent, there are some key differences to consider. In this article, we’ll explore the possibilities and limitations of using your hot tub as a pool, as well as some creative alternatives that offer the best of both worlds. So, let’s dive in and find out if your hot tub can really do double-duty!

Hot Tubs Vs. Pools

When considering whether a hot tub can also be a pool, it’s essential to compare them based on their design and purpose, as well as their size and capacity.

Differences in Design and Purpose

Hot tubs are primarily designed for relaxation and therapeutic purposes, with features such as jets, warm water, and built-in seating. Pools, on the other hand, are designed for recreational activities such as swimming, playing sports, and exercising.

While hot tubs and pools may have similar functionalities like sanitization, circulation, and filtration, the main distinction is found in their intended purpose. A hot tub is meant to be a place where you can unwind after a tiring day, whereas a pool is an entertainment spot for you and your family or a place to get some exercise.

Size and Capacity Comparisons

Generally, hot tubs tend to be smaller in size than swimming pools, which makes them unsuitable for swimming. However, it is possible to have a hot tub that is large enough to accommodate swimming, although you might have to get it custom-made to meet the necessary size specifications.

Here’s a comparison of typical hot tub and pool sizes and capacities:

Hot Tubs Swimming Pools
Size (length x width) 6-8 feet (diameter) 20-40 feet x 10-15 feet
Depth 3-4 feet 3-12 feet
Capacity 4-8 people Variable, depending on size

Hybrid Options

If you’re looking for a versatile solution that combines the relaxation of a hot tub with the exercise benefits of a pool, there are some great hybrid options available.

Swim Spas


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Swim spas offer the perfect balance between a hot tub and a pool. They are smaller than traditional pools but larger than hot tubs, providing just the right space for in-place swimming and relaxation.

Typically designed at a spa’s depth, swim spas come with heating-fitted systems and tub-type seating, allowing you to enjoy both exercise and relaxation in the same space.

This means you’ll have the flexibility to swim, workout, or simply lounge around in the warm water, depending on your mood.

Some swim spas are fitted with powerful jets that can create a continuous flow of water that you can swim against, making swimming possible despite being in such a small pool. This is probably the option you’re looking for if you want your pool to do double-duty.

Plunge Pools

what is a plunge pool
Cayo Espanto Private Island, CC BY-SA 4.0

Another option to consider is a plunge pool. These pools offer in-place swimming and are often accompanied by tub-type seating, making them an excellent choice for relaxation and exercise.

They can be fitted with heating systems for year-round use or even be transformed into a cool pool during the warmer months, providing the perfect escape from the heat.

Keep in mind that plunge pools tend to be smaller than traditional swimming pools, so they might not be the best option for serious swimmers or larger families.

However, if you’re looking for a space-saving solution that offers a mix of swimming and hot tub benefits, a plunge pool might be right up your alley.

Factors to Consider

hot tub vs plunge pools

Installation and Space Requirements

When deciding if a hot tub can also be a pool, you need to consider the installation process and space requirements.

A custom-made hot tub may be necessary if you want it to accommodate swimming. You should also ensure there’s sufficient space in your backyard for such a feature.

To create a seamless integration between the hot tub and pool, you might need to invest in a hot tub pool combo. This allows for a shared water system, making maintenance and installation more straightforward.

Cost and Maintenance

You should also consider the overall cost and maintenance implications. Remember, a pool requires a larger budget than a simple hot tub, especially when factoring in installation, landscaping, and permits. If you combine both features, expect higher costs for both initial setup and maintenance.

Despite the increased expenses, a hot tub pool combo offers a simpler maintenance process. With a shared water system, you usually only need to maintain one filter, pump, and water treatment method, saving you time and effort.

Heating and Energy Efficiency

Another essential factor is heating and energy efficiency. While a hot tub pool combo shares components, heating both the spa and pool at the same time may not be an option in some cases. This can limit the hydrotherapy options and require you to wait for the spa to heat up before each use.

Furthermore, lower energy efficiency and potentially costly repairs should be considered when opting for a hot tub pool combo. Depending on your preference for hot tub temperature, you might need to manage the settings during changing seasons or prolonged heatwaves to maintain your desired comfort level.

Pros and Cons

Benefits of Combining Hot Tub and Pool


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When you combine a hot tub with a pool, you create a versatile backyard oasis that caters to both relaxation and recreation. You can enjoy the best of both worlds: unwind in the soothing warmth of your hot tub, and then effortlessly transition to the refreshing waters of your pool.

Space is another key advantage of a hot tub pool combo. Instead of dedicating separate areas of your backyard to a pool and a hot tub, you can have a neatly integrated setup that maximizes your available outdoor living space.

Additionally, a well-designed hot tub pool combo can enhance the overall aesthetics and functionality of your backyard. Imagine a hot tub elevated above your pool, featuring a waterfall that seamlessly pours into the pool below – it’s a luxury touch that can truly elevate your outdoor experience.

Drawbacks and Limitations

While hot tub pool combos have their advantages, they also present some challenges. One potential drawback is the maintenance involved.

Hot tubs tend to require more frequent monitoring and adjustments to ensure the water chemistry stays balanced. Mixing highly-chlorinated water from your hot tub into your pool can lead to increased levels of chlorine in the pool, causing skin and eye irritations and even encouraging the growth of algae.

Cost is another factor to consider. Hot tubs can have higher upfront and ongoing expenses, such as heating and chemical treatments. Combining a hot tub and pool may seem like a cost-saving measure, but be sure to weigh the added maintenance costs and energy consumption before making a decision.

Lastly, it’s important to consider the space requirements for a hot tub pool combo. While they can save space compared to separate installations, these combos may still require a significant amount of room. If you have limited backyard space, a dual-zone swim spa may be a more suitable alternative for you.


So, can a hot tub also be a pool? The answer is not straightforward, as it depends on your unique preferences and requirements. Swim spas, heating-fitted plunge pools, and extra-large hot tubs offer a blend of functionality, allowing for relaxation and in-place swimming.

When deciding between a hot tub, pool, or hot tub pool combo, consider your space, budget, and intended use. If you envision hosting pool parties and swimming laps, a pool might be your best bet. However, if you prefer enjoying hydrotherapy and prefer a maintenance-friendly option, a swim spa would probably be your best bet over a hot tub.

Remember that a hot tub pool combo comes with its own challenges, such as potential inefficiencies in energy usage. Yet, the advantage of sharing one water source and system makes maintenance a cinch.

Ultimately, it’s up to you to weigh the pros and cons and determine which option best aligns with your backyard vision and lifestyle. Happy soaking!