Swimex Residential Blog

A swim spa pool uses different water current technologies to create water flow in the pool. It’s important to understand the capabilities of each system before you buy. In the end, the water current you choose dictates what you can and can’t get for functionality.

Swim Spa Pool: Popular Water Current Systems

Water current technology varies greatly in price and function. The most popular systems available today are: Jets, Propellers, Paddlewheel.


A jetted swim spa pool creates the water current with one, two, or multiple nozzles situated at the front of the pool. These nozzles or jets drive air into the pool and move the water from the front to the back of the pool. A single jet pushes between 250-500 gallons of water per minute in a focused stream. Depending on where the jets are placed, the water current depth is shallow and the width depends on the number of jets. swim spa pool jets

Swim spa pools that use jets are often the most inexpensive. Some are constructed as a single shell acrylic vessel. Some use an additional fiberglass backing for strength. Others use insulated fiberglass construction that will last the longest.

You will save money on a jetted pool but these pools aren’t true swim spa pools. When jets push air into the water, the current looks powerful but it’s mostly air and turbulence that you see.  In actuality, the current isn’t strong enough for swimming. In order to swim, you will most likely have to use a tethering system. You must also make sure to swim in the center of the pool. In addition, the air and turbulence make it difficult to breathe while you are swimming.

Choose a jet system if: you have a limited budget and want a pool to relax and entertain.


Propeller systems are big step up from jets. Located at the front of the pool, they also push water into the swim area. But propellers can move between 5000 and 7000 gallons of water per minute. The water current us much stronger, wider, deeper, and smoother than jets.

Propeller water systems create an effective and efficient water flow.  Usually in the mid-price range, they are a good investment for the money. You can swim, workout, and relax in a propeller-driven lap pool. Most propeller systems are less noisy than jets. Look for propeller systems with variable speeds to accommodate different ability levels.

swim spa pool

As with the jetted pools, there are different construction options. There are vinyl liner pools, acrylic pools, and fiberglass pools in this category. Upfront costs will vary but be sure to look at long term expenses, like liner replacement, installation requirements, and equipment add-ons. Understand the pros and cons of acrylic, fiberglass, or vinyl lined pool construction before you buy.

Choose this system if: you have a bit more in your budget, you want to swim, workout, entertain, and relax.


The paddlewheel system is the most effective and powerful water current on the market. It circulates up to 25,000 gallons of water per minute, creating a river-like water flow that is the widest, smoothest, deepest and strongest current in the swim spa industry.

A large paddlewheel enclosed at the back of the pool pulls water into the back of the pool, then pushes it through side tunnels or a false bottom floor out a grille at the front of the pool.  Sometimes referred to as a wall of water, the paddlewheel current spans the full width of the pool and can run as deep as 30”.

paddlewheel water current pool is powerful enough to challenge the strongest athlete yet gentle enough for any ability level.  With 0-99 speeds, you can program the water flow for whatever you want to achieve. Create progressive swim training routines, workouts programs, and accurately monitor rehab sessions. Safely target muscles without the sudden jarring motions of a jetted water current. Achieve core workouts, range of motion exercises, and open and closed chain exercises. If you’re looking for aquatic rehabilitation, this pool-wide current acts as a second pair of hands to support you when you are in the water.

Paddlewheel water current technology is more expensive than jets or propeller systems, but worth it. Driven by an industrial electric gear motor and variable speed control system, the paddlewheel requires very little maintenance, will last for years, and provides unlimited exercise and swimming versatility.

Choose this system if: you want it all. This is the ultimate aquatic machine. You can swim, get a full-body workout, relax, rehab, and entertain. Plus all paddlewheel pools are made with fiberglass construction built to stand the test of time.

The final decision to buy any swim spa pool depends on many factors, including the water current system, pool construction, and on-going maintenance once the pool is installed. Stroke for stroke, it’s important to compare all of these factors to get the right pool for your needs. In the end the best judge is you – so try out each water current system before you buy. Then dive in to your very own swim spa pool.

lap pool guide