Whether you want to exercise or simply relax, swim spas offer both in a more compact size than a regular pool, while still being big enough for a relaxing soak with the family. But did you know that there are three different types of current systems? Here’s how to choose a swim spa current type to suit your needs.
Swim spa current speeds average from 2.5 to 8 miles per hour. It is important to choose a system that will give you long-term satisfaction. A swim spa that lacks sufficient water flow to give you a good workout would be of no use at all. On the other hand, too much turbulence will also decrease your enjoyment of the swim spa.
Three Current Systems
The three types of current systems available in swim spas are as follows:
- Jet propulsion is the most common. It is also known as a pressure-driven system and is typically powered by a 4-horsepower motor that pumps water through jets. These systems feature one or more jets and adjustable current speeds up to 8 mph. Jets can be adjusted for current direction and speed, as well as to assist with flotation, allowing you to customize your workout. The distribution of water may not be as wide or as even as other propulsion methods.
- Paddlewheel systems are powered by a rotating paddlewheel at one end of the swim spa to create an adjustable-speed current. The wheel creates a smooth current across the entire width of the spa, moving in a sheet-like flow that is both wide and deep. Up to 80 percent of the swim spa’s water is circulated under the swim current back to the paddlewheel.
- As the name suggests, propeller-powered systems use propellers to send a centered stream of water through a grate in the spa wall toward the back of the unit and through another grate on the rear wall. The water at the edges stays relatively calm. This spa current type creates a smooth, adjustable-speed current like that of a paddlewheel system but with the smaller swim current width of a jet propulsion system. Water travels back to the propeller through recessed channels, often concealed in bench seats or beyond the spa’s side walls. Some spas contain two propellers so that two can swim at the same time while maintaining separate paces.
Try Then Buy
Before buying a swim spa, ensure that the model you pick suits your exercise style and requirements by trying it out in the showroom. Most dealers offer test swims and it’s a great way to try out the various swim current systems.
Look for uniform water distribution, a high rate of water circulation and an adjustable current and flow speed. You should be able to regulate the water flow to match or challenge your abilities and be able to increase the speed to build endurance and strength. Remember that a stream of water that seems acceptable initially, might not meet your requirements as your skills and stamina increase.
No matter what type of swim spa you ultimately decide is right for you, you’ll need a cover to go on it. For most people this starts out as an after thought but this will be a key to whether you continue to use it or not.
Typical foam filled swim spa covers are just more sections of the same old tired hot tub covers. A saturated hot tub cover is bad enough but saturated swim spa covers can be downright dangerous because of the added height of a swim spa.
Plus many owners try to play “musical chairs” with the sections that become too heavy to lift, opening only the sections they can still manage. This is a recipe for disaster to say the least.
At SpaCap.com they have been building lightweight, easy to use swim spa covers for years. Many female owners report that they are able to open their SpaCap.com Swim Spa Covers with one hand!
The secret to long term benefit from your swim spa investment is easy access. If you have to go out and struggle with a saturated foam cover you are going to use the spa less and less.