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Anyone have unbiased reviews for swim spas?

Tom
last year

My wife and I want to put a swim spa in our exercise room in the house we are building. Does anyone have unbiased reviews that compare these things? We mostly want something for low level swimming (not training), other water aided exercises and maybe two seats on the end for relaxation. We’d like something that will ideally last 20+ years (it will be inside). Thanks in advance for any guidance.

Comments (93)

  • Mike Wrob
    28 days ago

    The more I think about the options (or overthink). I'm really leaning towards an Endless Pools acrylic model.

    Where the pool will be setup is rather isolated (@Aglitter you seem to be from Texas, so you may be familiar with Terlingua). So, putting together a number of components to build my own pool would probably be somewhat complicated. That eliminates the Badu and similar options and leaves the acrylic pools. Of those, the PDC TruSwim, Master Spas Challenger series, and Endless Pools E series seem to be the best options as far as swim current and overall quality.

    Since I am happy with my current modular Endless Pool and the newer models have an improved current generator, I'm sure I would be happy with one of the E series pools. I am 63 and haven't swam in any organized events for decades. I am only interested in staying in shape so my needs are rather simple.

    The pool would also be used for hanging out as well and I like the fact that the Challenger and Endless Pools models have 2 jetted seats vs. the one seat in the TruSwim models.

    I have not had any problems with Endless Pools support in all of the time I've owned my current pool. I hesitate to ding anybody too much for current supply chain problems as I just retired from manufacturing myself and know how challenging things have been the last couple of years. But, I didn't want to skip my due diligence and checked Google reviews on all 3 companies. Endless Pools seemed to have the highest percentage of positive reviews. A common theme for all 3 companies was the importance of working with a good reseller.

    At this point I am going to try to schedule a demo swim in an E series Endless Pool and if I am satisfied I will try to negotiate a decent price. Otherwise I will travel to check out a Truswim and a Challenger. I know you were looking forward to a report on a TruSwim, at least now you know they keep one in their factory showroom if you ever get up that way. Thanks for all your help and I will keep you updated.

  • Aglitter
    27 days ago
    last modified: 21 days ago

    @Mike Wrob If you can tolerate the drag on the feet in an Endless Pools E Series, which is a serious question, then that current generator is a winner because it is so smooth and non-turbulent. The E550 gains its extra space from a slightly wider overall width than any of the other E models (5 inches) and by eliminating seats and providing just standing jets only, so if you are looking forward to seating you'll need one of the other models. If you plan to do any strokes with side kicks like breaststroke or sidestroke, I would recommend the E550 15-foot length without seats or possibly E700 with seats but in a 17-foot length. It would be ideal to test the EXACT model you're interested in. At a height of 5 feet 7 inches, I found the E500 15-foot-long with seating to be too cramped for non-linear kicks even when swimming close to the current, but if you are taller, you may need more kicking space than the E500 allows even for linear freestyle and backstroke kicks if that is the only type of kicks you plan to do. Your feet may be hitting things in the back and getting bruises if you don't get the right model, so test as close to the actual model you plan to buy as possible!

    Yes, assembling your own pool can be complicated in terms of the learning curve, and it could be difficult to source specialized materials and labor in an area fairly distant from a major metropolitan hub. Texas is such a big state that there are many places in it I've not heard about, and Terlingua is one of them.

    You can never overthink a swim spa purchase. We are talking tens of thousands of dollars in an investment that will last you for decades if you make the right decision. I'm glad to hear that Endless Pools reviews seem to have improved in 2022 because I had seen a number of them posted after the Watkins Wellness acquisition around 2015 that gave me pause for consideration about potential difficulty in receiving parts and service support. Obviously, the pandemic slowed down many elements of EP's manufacturing as it did with all the spa companies, but it was difficult for me to know what other factors might be in play just based on some of those reviews.

    A trip to Pennsylvania would be a big investment, so if you've been able to narrow down your options without visiting the PDC headquarters, then great! It is good to know that PDC maintains the test model at headquarters as not all swim spa manufacturers do. How some swim spa manufacturers think someone is going to make such a big investment without testing always amazes me, but it is very difficult to find wet test options for some of these spas.

    I'm also a leisure/fitness swimmer rather than a competitive swimmer, but the quality of the current is still really important to me. I know it's been mentioned too many times in this thread already, but just be really cautious going forward that you can tolerate that drag on the feet with Endless Pools. It is definitely a factor in the acrylic models, more so than the modular unit you've used in the past, and is something that you don't want to overlook during your test session. PDC could be a good backup option if you are undecided after your EP test, and if you are interested in therapy jets, you may want to look at Artesian Elite hot spas because they have more power for their therapy jets than any of these swim spa models do. Heat is an important part of therapy when jets are involved, and I have seen many people caution against trying to get a dual-temp swim spa for technical reasons, so if you're really interested in the deep tissue massage with heat, I would recommend a swim spa kept around 80 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit and a separate hot tub around 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

    Remember, $36K delivered and set (with no crane) is the lowest price you are likely to see with an Endless Pools E550, all add-on options removed, and it may be closer to $40K delivered and set now in 2023 as your lowest entry price with the inflation of the past two years. If you need a crane, add at least $3K. Tax on the spa part of the bill, usually not the labor to set it, will be added to the above costs.

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  • Mike Wrob
    27 days ago

    @Aglitter I'm thinking the E700 is what I'm interested in, but will need to try one to test. One thing about the Endless Pools is their propulsion unit seems to stick out further in the pool which I would think requires a longer pool than other brands.


    As far as the foot drag, I was watching a number of Youtube videos about swim spas and I caught something in one of them that made sense. The water is moving slower at your feet than it is at your head. When you think about it, this is because as the current spreads out over more area it has to slow down to move the same volume of water. So, the location of the return vent may not be the issue after all, it may just be the nature of a swim spa.

  • Aglitter
    26 days ago
    last modified: 21 days ago

    @Mike Wrob Please stay with me through what is likely to be a long comment because I went back to my notes and found record of where I sat down immediately after four different wet test sessions on Endless Pools and Master Spas and wrote my initial Impressions. I think excerpts of those notes from the Endless Pools E500 wet test may be helpful to you as you are considering your options right now, and I also prepared some photos to help illustrate the points.

    Size of EP Wave Generator: Before I get to my swim test notes, I would like to reply that yes, the Endless Pools E Series wave generation machine does stick out into the water a little bit more than other brands, but that's not a major issue in terms of space--other brands have acrylic covering up the wave mechanism more than Endless Pools does, so the difference is negligible. If you'll look at a bird's eye view of different brands, Endless Pools has a remarkably thin front wall, while the other brands have a thick wall where the mechanism is covered. Interior swim space dimensions if you start measurements at the point of the current outlet are similar on all these brands. In terms of space, it is the obstruction layout toward the back of specific swim spas that may be more of a problem for some swimmers on some strokes.

    For Good Swimmers, Feet Theoretically Lift as Current is Turned Off: Your YouTube video information may have claimed that swim spa current "slowing down" along its path from fingertips to feet may be causing a "drag on the feet," and I wondered about that myself after doing 4 different wet tests in different units and trying to troubleshoot where that pull was coming from. However, I feel confident, after considering all options, in saying that the opposite would actually be true. In a current that is creating a lot of drag, like Endless Pools' acrylics seem to do, the slower the current goes, the easier it would be to return to natural swimming form, but you'd probably be swimming into the wall before you experienced that effect in a wet test. A good swimmer normally swims high in the water without the aid of any current whatsoever. The pull downward on the feet in some swim spa models is coming from the recirculating current. Oh, and unlike some other brands, there's minimal "slowing" of an Endless Pools E-Series current :-). It's POWERFUL all the way to the end of the spa and can shove your body against the back wall if you don't resist it. Even moderate speeds create a wave rising up against the back wall.

    This is the Modular Endless Pools Current: You are accustomed to a original, modular Endless Pools current. It has a wide open area at the very back of the spa where water is taken in for recirculating. Here are two photos showing that type of Endless Pools Current.




    [This section has been edited to correct the location of EP current intake] EP Generator Intake Grate is Low and in Front: The Endless Pools E-Series Generator takes in water through a perforated barrel low at the center front of the swim spa. This design is likely what is preventing that drag-free swim experience so many swimmers are seeking in a swim spa. If the intake grates were high to the sides in front, or even better, high in the back, the current would almost certainly be much better for swimming. Also note this photo shows the treadmill which is a fun item to have and works flawlessly with the current, additional cost about $1K last I checked.



    Proper Freestyle Form: Here is what we mean when we talk about proper freestyle form, and I'm sure your form had to be similar to this to finish near the top at triathlons, so you know what I mean. The body is high and fairly straight throughout the stroke. I'm including a couple of diagrams of proper freestyle form from Triathlon Magazine Canada and Dick's Sporting Goods. Then I am also including a couple of photos of one of the fastest female swimmers in the world right now, Katie Ledecky, who has broken sixteen world speed records in her career thus far. Notice how straight her form is on freestyle and how high her feet are in the water.






    I Cannot Find an Endless Pools E-Series Demo with Proper Freestyle Form: One of the criteria I have used in shopping for swim spas is to see if I can find one, or preferably multiple, demonstration videos of swimmers using proper form in the swim spa. I have never, to date, been able to locate an example of proper freestyle form in an Endless Pools E-Series, and while this could be partially due to incorrect form of swimmers in the demos in general, I suspect this may be primarily due to the strong pull on the feet which I myself experienced during my wet test. Even kicking extra hard, I was never able to get my feet up to a normal level during my wet test. Here are two photos of swimmers in acrylic Endless Pools. Both of them have feet lower in the water than would be desirable, and you can tell by the angle at which their upper bodies are sticking out of the water that they are swimming at a slant. I do not know which exact model these swimmers are testing, but they are obviously the acrylics line, not the original modular pools.




    My "First Impression" notes from an Endless Pools E500 Test on March 29, 2022: Looking back at the notes I wrote within an hour after completing an Endless Pools E500 wet test, I realize that I disliked it even more than I've alluded to in above comments, and I also realized it was less than a year ago that this test and price quote was done, a correction from prior comments where I said it was almost two years ago. I called Endless Pools' customer service immediately after the wet test to ask a few questions my local dealer couldn't answer, so information from that call is also included below. This is my experience only. You may have a completely different opinion after wet testing, so I encourage you to go forward with your wet test.

    Here are relevant excerpts from my personal experience: "This was a miserable swim experience. The water area was so small it felt like a big bathtub. Several strokes weren't even possible. I hurt my feet kicking into the rear side seating in breaststroke, and sidestroke was also impossible, even swimming up close to generator. I don't know why they make a unit that's so expensive yet you can't do half your strokes in. Would need to test the E550 before seeing if the seat removal corrects the space deficiency. Despite this probably being one of the quietest swim machines on the market, I still felt like it was too loud to be comfortable. There is a pulsing noise in the ears like a drumming noise from the water, and you can definitely hear the motor when you're underwater when the wave generator is on. I have never considered myself to be in the top half of speed as far as lap swimming is concerned. My swims are fairly leisurely. However, I was a strong enough swimmer that in this swim machine I had to have the current high enough just for a relaxing swim that the rush of water against my head was uncomfortable, and the water hitting the back wall was creating a huge downward pull on my legs. [Edit: We now know the drag is caused by the path of the return current centralized and low at the bottom of the current generator, and if the shell had been longer, it would have allowed me to swim further from the source of the current to minimize the feeling of the flow impacting my head.] I was never able to do a proper stroke because my legs were being pulled down so far, and it was a really frustrating experience. It was basically impossible to swim in this thing. When I called Endless Pools customer service, someone told me that the spas are not the best swim experience because they are sort of a hybrid product. This is different from what a lot of the sellers are saying, that the E Series is the top-of-the-line for swimming. The lady at Endless Pools customer service recommended looking at an original pool for a better swim experience, and I kept quizzing her on the fact that the intake for that flow is at the bottom half of the pool and wouldn't it pull the feet down as well, but she would never admit to anything. . . . Another thing about the Endless Pools current is that it tended to push me to one side or the other out of the current field once the current got fairly strong. I'm understanding more now why I was never able to find videos of people with their feet up in the Endless Pools because that current is pushing your feet down, and also I am understanding why people in both Master Spas and Endless Pools like to use swim belts and also go to their local gym to do laps still several times a week because the rushing water against your head experience is not that great and you have to have additional resistance to be able to swim if you are still using the wave generator but don't want it to blast you out and maintain anything but a really slow pace. [Edit: This test took place before I experienced a Master Spas Challenger, and the current in the Challenger was more tolerable to me flowing over my head than the Endless Pools' was in terms of force, albeit the Master Spas Challenger had its own set of issues different from Endless Pools.] I'm becoming more and more convinced that there's not a single swim machine out there that is a good experience for a strong swimmer unless maybe it would be one of the wave generators where you could swim way back from it in a large pool, and at that point why not make yourself a lap pool?"

    Conclusion: So in my own opinion after the E500 wet test, if you can afford and have space for a regular lap pool, do it! As you see, Endless Pools' own customer service told me the original pools provide a better swim experience, and as we can see from the photos and diagrams above, that may well be true. As you know, the original modular pools don't come well insulated, require a lot of assembly, and require liner maintenance and replacement, so they aren't a perfect package. In respect for brevity, I will end here, but I have more detailed notes on my first impression of tests of 3 Master Spas Challenger units if you still want to consider those. Let me know if you'd like more of my notes on the other brands, Thanks!

  • PRO
    GN Builders L.L.C
    26 days ago

    I did an addition with a swim spa in it, it's a beautiful thing homeowners loved it. After the job was completed they invited me to try it out and it's a nice feature to have if you are a swimmer even if you are not it's a great way to exercise and if you having a party you use it as a nice big hot tub.

    I did this addition in the mid-90 I'm sure today they have much better swim spas available with all kinds of features in them, so you will not regret having one.

    Here are a few images to give you an idea, they did so you can access both decks on each side.






    Good luck


  • Mike Wrob
    26 days ago

    @Aglitter Thank you for all the detailed discussion you contribute. The dealer that told you all of the water was returning through that single pipe in the back had to be mistaken. It's just not physically possible. Assuming that pipe is 3" in diameter and the opening is 18" square on the current generator and the water is leaving the current generator at 2 mph, It would have to be entering that pipe at 94 mph. With only 4 ft of water in the pool there is no way to generate enough suction head to do that. Even if you could, imagine the safety hazard if somebody would put a body part up against that opening with that amount of suction.


    Look at this picture of an Endless Pools Fastlane current generator.


    You can see the water returns through the bottom of the current generator. I suspect their acrylic pools operate in similar fashion.


    Although the current is still travelling fast when it reaches the back wall, it will be slower than when it left the current generator because the flow is spread out over a wider area. Think of a river, the water flows faster through the narrow, shallow areas than it does through the wide, deep areas. The faster flow is going to provide more lift than the slower flow. Think about if you hold on to the handle of the current generator and lay on your stomach, your feet will sink. But if you turn the current generator on, your feet will start to rise. The faster the current, the more your feet will rise.


    One of the reasons I'm interested in the E700 instead of the E500 is that protrusions for the filter return are further back, hopefully leaving more room for my feet while swimming.


    From pictures and videos, it looks to me like the PDC Truswim woud have the best current of the three. But if the E700 is similar to my current setup, then it will be good enough for me. I will continue to try to find an E700 to try out.

  • Aglitter
    26 days ago
    last modified: 21 days ago

    @Mike Wrob Thank you so much for explaining about the water return for the Endless Pools non-modular systems. To verify once and for all, I just called Endless Pools' headquarters in Aston, Pennsylvania, and talked to John Lee, who is a triathlete himself and knowledgeable about the technical design. You are correct, the return current in the Endless Pools acrylics goes exclusively through the perforated barrel at the lower front of the wave generator. I am going to edit out the erroneous parts of my previous comments lest it confuse any future readers. Mr. Lee and I think the miscommunication between my local Endless Pools sales rep and me about that issue came from the use of the word "return." Those lower round grills about 5 inches in diameter in the lower back of the spa return water to the pool from the filters rather than collecting and returning water to the wave generator.

    You should know that Endless Pools' headquarters in Aston, Pennsylvania, has an E700 and also an Original Series Performance Pool set up to wet test. You could visit PDC, Endless Pools, and Swimex in about 2 days if you wanted to make a trip to that region. Mr. Lee, who is a height of 6 feet, prefers the Original Series Performance Pool for his training, but he will jump into the E700 and do a training session in it satisfactorily if someone else is using the Performance Pool. He is aware of Endless Pools' issues with foot drag, and I discussed with him at length the need to relocate the current intake to release the drag on the back half of the body. Mr. Lee feels that the E500 is too small for most any swimmer and that the E550 or E700 are the only two models in the E Series that serious swimmers should consider.

    Back to the foot drag question, I believe you and I are talking about 2 separate phenomena. You are talking about lift. Some other brands of swim spas position some of their wave jets to point upward, creating a genuine lift (Bullfrog does, as we discussed), but there is a limit to that because too much upward flow will strike the surface and create turbulence before reaching the end of the swimmer's body. Endless Pools' current flows straight horizontally creating a linear force outward with near zero turbulence. That linear force is going to push whatever is in front of it backward, whatever form that object is.

    We can define lift more closely if we compare the functions of lift to still water. In still water, a swimmer would need to be in motion to keep the full body horizontal--arms, torso, and feet all included. Bringing my feet to the top or to whatever proper form the stroke may dictate is easy for me in still water. I don't need any lift, current, or anything else in order to do this. For example, if the Endless Pools' wave generator were turned completely off, I could flutter kick, easily bringing my feet to the top and breaking the water just as I pictured earlier and will post again here of Katie Ledecky:


    So, what I'm really talking about is drag, a different concept from lift or still water. Drag makes it hard to bring the feet up to proper form. Drag causes the need to kick harder. Drag may be strong enough to prevent bringing the feet to the surface at all, which is what happened to me during my E500 wet test. When the source of the drag is released, then the natural ability to bring feet back to the top is restored. Endless Pools could likely reduce the downward drag in acrylic models by relocating the intake for the wave generator such as I've marked in this photo, or even better, high in the back:


    You're right, I think the PDC TruSwim is a top contender for best overall flow, but I found a video with live sound of TruSwim once, and it seems noisier than Endless Pools acrylics, which is a special concern for me personally.

    If anyone at Endless Pools is reading this, I'd also like to say that I would love to see a 19-foot model with the entire space devoted to swim area. I think that would make it possible for a swimmer to swim far enough away from the source of the wave to make the feeling of rushing water over the head manageable. If you'll notice, all the video demos online of various Badu jets and propellers show swimmers swimming at least 3 to 4 feet away from the source of the current, something nearly impossible in all your E Series models for someone of average height doing all the competitive strokes.

  • Mike Wrob
    25 days ago

    @Aglitter I've seen the videos of the Truswims as well. Unfortunately, they are showing their other models in the videos as well. From what I recall, the shots with a lot of turbulence are of their jetted models. I may be remembering incorrectly, if so I apologize. The current also looks wider on the TruSwim than it does on the other brands we've mentioned.


    I've never looked at the Tritons for a couple of reasons. First, I have the impression that SwimEx pools are expensive, maybe that's not accurate. Secondly, it looks like you still need to provide the insulation and outer shell. Right now I am gravitating to the drop in place units.


    I had a good call late this afternoon with my Endless Pool dealer. They have an E700 coming in for another customer and he is going to see if they can set it up for me to try out. If it proves to be as acceptable as my current pool and they can offer it at a reasonable price I will stick with it. If it is unsatisfactory or I am unsure, I will expand my search.


    My issue with trying the other brands out is not the expense, but the time. It is a day of travel each way for me to get to Philadelphia, add 2 days of testing and that's 4 days to review pools. Knowing that I have been satisfied with my current Endless Pool and my requirements aren't nearly as strict as they would have been 20 or 30 years ago, I think I am safe going with the E700 if I have a satisfactory demo swim. If it does not work out that I can try the E700 locally, I will travel to the factory and test and most certainly swing by PDC as well if I am up that direction. Too bad Master Spas isn't in the area as well.


    Thanks for the lively discussion.

  • Aglitter
    25 days ago
    last modified: 20 days ago

    @Mike Wrob You are correct that SwimEx is significantly more expensive than other brands and comes as only a shell without cabinet, insulation, or cover. A floating thermal cover can be purchased from Swimex as an add-on. [Edit: SwimEx will also spray foam insulation on the exterior of any unit for an added fee.] I believe the last quote I was given for a SwimEx Triton, the propeller model, was in the middle $40K range, but they wanted an additional $10K or so for shipping and then on top of that, another $15K optional service package to get it from the street to the site. I've been writing in comments throughout this thread that SwimEx had intake grates exclusively high and in front on the Triton, but that is wrong. [Edit: The SwimEx Triton swim current has been newly redesigned so that intake is now primarily through two scoops located at each side of the upper back; see photo below.]


    [Edit: PDC TruSwim flow returns through front intake grates surrounding the output lane, a correction from my previous comment that I thought the flow might exit the back.] Yes, TruSwim is more turbulent than Endless Pools. Notice how similar the design of SwimEx Triton and PDC TruSwim are with the bullnose in back to split the current:


    For comparison's sake, here are the front intake grates on a Master Spas Michael Phelps swim spa. The current goes out in the center and returns along the sides to upper and lower front side grates. Master Spas claims the Michael Phelps swim spa models are their best swim experience, and those start in pricing in the $60K range delivered and set before tax. You can occasionally find used ones for half that:


    Back to the PDC TruSwim noise level, about a year ago I found a video with live audio of a TruSwim motor operating at 40% power. It sounds like a kitchen blender, at least to the video's microphone, and the moderator raises his voice to speak over the motor as soon as he turns it up. I wouldn't be convinced until I did a TruSwim wet test that the noise level would be acceptable to me at the speed I would need it to run. Here's the video if you are interested. The motor starts at the minute and forty-second mark: https://youtu.be/p0EXgBb_q18?t=90

    If you ever do move toward wet testing a Master Spas Challenger, one thing we haven't talked about is that the Challenger current pulsates. It gets stronger and then weaker rapidly. I felt that happening when I did my Challenger wet test, but it wasn't a problem for me. It might bother some swimmers, though. (SwimEx paddlewheels reportedly do this too.) My main issue with Challenger was once again the foot drag issue, which was much improved over the Endless Pools E500 but still present enough to make the Master Spas Challenger series a definite no for me after considering all the pros and cons. I would still be open to testing the Michael Phelps Signature swim spa line.

    Remember that John Lee at Endless Pools headquarters prefers the Original Performance Pools over the E700 for his training, though he can swim in both satisfactorily. His primary objection to the E700 is that it is difficult to stay centered in the current, which is something I also experienced in my E500 wet test. You'll want to pay close attention to that if you have the opportunity to test an E700. It's easy to forget something you wanted to check out in the bustle of doing testing. You may even want to take a checklist of things that are important to you so you are sure to catch everything you wanted to notice. I've finished almost every one of my swim spa tests and later remembered something I forgot to check during the test! An EP Original Performance Pool might be a better backup option for you if you dislike the E700 than a PDC would; it just depends on what is most important to you in your swimming experience.

    Thanks for all your input, @Mike Wrob -- you have definitely helped iron out some of my own confusion on these issues which will be valuable if I take up the search for a swim spa at some point again in the future. Best wishes in your hunt.

  • Mike Wrob
    25 days ago

    @Aglitter That comment about staying centered in the current of the E700 concerns me. I have no problem at all staying centered in the current of my current Endless Pool, but I think a narrower current could be problematic. It is certainly something I'll have to be aware of during my swim test.


    I think the return grates for the TruSwim are in the front. Please view this short video. Notice how the narrator talks about the water returning to the front. Also that is the way the beachball moves. Also very telling is is the view of the opening on the bullnose, there is no water entering it. I think that is for the filtration system. Note the round cover on top of the bullnose for accessing a screening basket for water going into the filtration system. Plus, it would require some huge pipes to return that volume of water to the front and I don't think there is enough room between the pool sides and the external panel. I think this diagram shows the current generator and the return grates to the sides and below the outlet for the current generator.



    Regards.

  • Aglitter
    25 days ago
    last modified: 20 days ago

    @Mike Wrob You're right about PDC TruSwim intake being at the front, with the back grills on the bullnose being filtration skimmers. I must have been reading the marketing material I found last night too quickly, because I went back to those articles, and the flow is indeed described as returning along the sidewalls, plus all those grates at the front surrounding the output lane make it self-evident. Here is a diagram of the flow from the PDC website:


    Looking at the marketing materials and demo videos, I think the PDC TruSwim current might be a winner in terms of the current pattern. My big question is still how loud is a PDC TruSwim? In addition to this video which I already linked above demonstrating a kitchen blender-type noise from a TruSwim current generation motor raised to 40% power; here's that link again -- TruSwim Noise at 40% Power -- I also found another TruSwim video today with live sound that broadcasts a high-pitched whine throughout the full 15 minutes; that video here: High-Pitched Whine of TruSwim?

    You would think if PDC had mastered noise attenuation in TruSwim that it would be mentioned in marketing materials, but I have never seen noise level referenced in their documentation or testimonials. SwimEx claims its Triton is quiet, and of course Endless Pools is supposedly one of the quieter brands of swim spas, though the drumming noise the current created was bothersome during my E500 test, with my post-test notes saying, ". . . Too loud to be comfortable." Notes from my post-test of a Master Spas 19D Challenger say, ". . . Noise was bearable." So, I liked Challenger better than Endless Pools in terms of noise. Turbulence always equals noise in a swim spa, but I don't think that is the only factor involved in what contributes to an overall tolerable noise level for a specific swimmer's preference. You might have more turbulence in one with lower motor noise, and less turbulence in another but higher motor noise, so in the end, the one with higher turbulence might edge out the other.

    @Mike Wrob You have never mentioned noise as an important criteria on your list, so let's look again at what is important to you, as follows:

    1. You Want to Swim: You want to swim freestyle in your swim spa for extended fitness sessions. That cuts out the budget, recreational, or air-injected swim spas like from Catalina, Sundance, Bullfrog, and TidalFit. It even cuts out the Master Spas H2X Trainer line which has air-injected jets and too few of them to easily stay centered in the current. The market for most of those less expensive swim spas is families with kids who want to splash around or people who want an oversized hot tub experience, not serious swimmers.
    2. Self-Contained Unit: You wrote earlier in this thread, "Whichever way I go, it will be an above ground installation. The new house has a deck that is 42” above the ground, perfect for sitting on the side of the pool." That cuts out Endless Pools Original Performance Pool (which otherwise would have given you a good swim experience nearly identical to your old pool) and also any of the SwimEx models. The EP Original and any SwimEx pool will need to be insulated and covered with exterior siding on site, so if you want a drop-in model without that extra work, those are out.
    3. You Tolerate Moderate Drag at Foot Level: You wrote, "I am actually an Endless Pool owner for 24 years. I don’t notice my feet being pulled down, but it’s been so long since I trained in a regular pool I may just be used to the current." Yes, you're absolutely used to the current. Many reviewers I have seen regarding the older Endless Pools Original models with bench intake pathway talk about the drag on the feet. It is common knowledge that this is an issue with EP Originals. The fact that you are accustomed to this and that it doesn't bother you means that the Master Spas Challenger or Michael Phelps lines might be good fits for you. PDC TruSwim might also be great for you. The Endless Pools E Series, though? Not so much. The EP E Series has a stronger drag on the feet than the EP Originals do. John Lee from EP headquarters told me yesterday that he often trains for the swim portion of his triathlons using a buoy between his knees. In other words, he is focusing on the upper-body swim workout. This may be to preserve his lower body to allow harder training for the bicycling and running segments. He also said he usually wears wet suits for his triathlon swims which provide a bit of buoyancy, so he doesn't feel like using a knee buoy during training affects his ultimate performance in a race. In other words, you may be more annoyed with the amount of foot drag in an E700 than he seems to be if you are swimming unaided. I was horribly annoyed by the EP E500 foot drag and would take a Master Spas Challenger any day over an EP acrylic due to the foot drag issue. Your preference may vary, but I would put priority going into an EP E700 wet test on noticing how you feel about the current's drag at the back of the shell.
    4. Shell Width Doesn't Matter: You wrote, "I only do freestyle in the Endless Pool. . . ." Therefore, side configuration of the shells in any of your remaining spa options shouldn't matter. Brand differences would matter for wider kicks, but you'll just need to make sure to select a longer model in any brand if you are very tall so you have the option of swimming further back from the source of the current if you desire. Turning a current up higher and swimming a little further back from it usually makes for a better experience than swimming right at the source.
    5. Multiple Therapy Jet Seats are Required: You wrote, "The pool would also be used for hanging out as well and I like the fact that the Challenger and Endless Pools models have 2 jetted seats vs. the one seat in the TruSwim models." I previously wrote that PDC could add jets for you in a second seat, but that's wrong. I just looked at all the models, and only the dual-temp unit even offers 2 seats, but the PDC dual-temp has such a small swim area that it wouldn't work for your height as a swimmer. So, if you want 2 therapy seats in a swim spa, PDC is out. I will tell you that Endless Pools therapy seat jets are weak, in my opinion. They won't offer deep-tissue massage, just a fun place to sit. Same goes for Master Spas Challenger. Here is an excerpt from my post-test notes about the standing therapy jets and the therapy seats on the Challenger 19D, "The therapy jets on the Challenger are very weak and wouldn't provide much therapy, just a fun spot to stand or sit more like it. . . . One more note on the therapy jets with the Master Spas is that the seats weren't very deep so I had to really crunch my body to get the neck jets on top of my neck, and the whole experience just wasn't that great. If I sat upright, the highest jets were going to hit me mid-shoulder or below which isn't really where you need the therapy most of the time." Remember, I'm only 5 feet 7 inches. The neck jets might hit a taller person below the shoulder blades.


    Summary of Options: If you like how I enumerated the above points, Endless Pools E700, Master Spas Challenger, or Master Spas Michael Phelps are the wet tests you will want to focus on. Here are more comments on those models:

    1. EP E700 Foot Drag and Current Issues: You might feel differently, but I'm guessing the Endless Pools E700 wet test will leave you looking for more. You'll feel drag on your feet you haven't felt in your previous Original model, and the rush of water on your face may be more substantial with the post-2017 redesign of the current generator than the older model to which you are accustomed. None of the E Series shells are long enough to allow you to swim much further away from the source of the current than you are already accustomed to doing to reduce this issue. The Master Spas Challenger puts out a more diffused current across 6 airless jets that won't feel as much like an onslaught water on your head as the E700 may, no matter how close you swim to the jets. Also, the E Series presents problems staying centered in the current. It is much easier to stay centered in a Challenger current. You could learn to manage in an E700, but it would require more effort and would make the swim less enjoyable than in something like a Challenger or probably PDC TruSwim.
    2. Master Spas Challenger Issues: The Master Spas Challenger current pulsates, unlike Endless Pools. This may or may not bother you. I was fine with it. Even at 5 foot 7 inches, I felt the 15D shell with its rear seating area was a little cramped, even though my feet weren't usually hitting anything. I would recommend one of the longer models if possible. Here are my post-test notes about the foot drag, "When I tested a 19D Challenger, I felt like that my feet were being held downward slightly to moderately as I swam, not nearly as bad as the Endless Pool, but still enough that it was causing me to exert extra effort to kick harder than normal and that my feet still were not as high in the water as they should be even with the extra effort." I suspect that due to your long experience in an Endless Pools Original, the foot drag in a Challenger would feel about the same, and you would be fine with it. Someone watching me swim in a Master Spas 15D Trainer said my feet were breaking the water on freestyle even though I felt foot drag in that unit similar to the 19D Challenger, so the visible effect is minimal and the difference is mainly a felt one. In EP, I couldn't get my feet to break the water on freestyle on any consistent basis, so that is a big difference, and you see this same problem repeatedly in demo videos of professional swimmers swimming in the E Series models.
    3. You might LOVE a 19-foot Dual-Temp Challenger: Earlier in this thread, I cautioned that many reviewers don't recommend dual-temp spas because maintaining the separate temperatures in a single unit can be tricky. Usually it is better to get a separate hot tub dedicated to therapy so you can get deep seats and powerful jets like an Artesian Elite would offer. However, it seems you are leaning toward a single unit. In that case, I think you should consider the Master Spas Challenger 19-foot dual temp. It is a fun unit! I've tested one at the EP dealership in Plano, Texas, north of Dallas, where they keep it permanently set up (call to confirm before you make a trip, though). The swim area feels spacious enough, the swim current is better than EP if don't mind slight to moderate foot drag (EP foot drag feels major compared to the Challengers'), and the convenience of hopping from the swim side to the heated therapy side is fabulous. You won't get much therapy from an E700 in 80-degree water with its weak therapy jets and seats the same temp as the swim area. In a Challenger 19D, even though the therapy jets aren't that powerful, you have footblaster jets and the heat which are all incredible. You'd enjoy it! The Endless Pools E2000 is a dual-temp, but the swim area in that unit is smaller than in the Challenger 19D, and I think you'd find it restrictive. If you go with a dual-temp, Master Spas is your winner.
    4. Lots of People Like the Michael Phelps Swim Spas: If all else fails, there are the Master Spas Michael Phelps swim spas. I don't know a lot about them and have never tested one, but they have an option for two therapy seats unlike PDC TruSwim. Sales reps have told me the swim current is better in the MPs than in the Challengers. Some reviewers say the propeller in the MPs is set too low for a good swim experience and that you feel like you are swimming over the current. Lowering the water to compensate means the water doesn't reach the skimmers, so that introduces a filtration problem. The price of the MPs is substantially higher than the Challengers, so if the Challenger makes you happy, you'll save $10K or more over a similar MP unit.


    Final Price & Safety Comment: You wrote, "You are correct that I will not need steps as I will just step into the pool from the deck." Be sure to mention this when negotiating price! Many retailers add steps as part of their pricing package, and taking that out will save you several hundred dollars. Also, the steps many retailers provide are made of conductive metal, and this represents a shock hazard if those steps aren't bonded to the spa's bonding lug. Bonding conductive metal steps is a safety issue many retailers fail to address upon delivery.

  • Mike Wrob
    24 days ago

    @Aglitter You are pretty close on my wants/needs, but let me clarify or expand a little bit.


    I definitely plan on separate hot tub and swim spa units instead of a combo unit. I have plenty of room, so see no advantage to a combo unit. There is no cost savings and I feel like the swim section and hot tub area are both compromised in a combo unit. I met with an electrician today and he confirmed that I have the capacity to support both units.


    He also confirmed the difficulty of finding people out here to do the other work I would need to install a modular unit. This eliminates a couple of appealing options. The first is the San Juan Pools Sea Isle with a Badu Turbo Pro. This pool is large enough to accomodate the Badu and has some nice benches for hanging out and sipping cocktails. The other interesting option is to just reuse the components from my existing Endless Pool. I have a deeper model at 52” of water depth. The stainless steel return channels make great benches for sitting in the pool. Although there is some work I can do myself, there is a lot I would have to hire professionals to do. Plus many of my current components are getting kind of tired. Part of this may be laziness on my part, I have made plenty of things like this happen in the past. I will not give up on these options just yet.


    As far as the jetted seats, those are more of a desire than a requirement. I didn’t even know I wanted them until I learned they existed in all of the swim spa models. You may be wondering why I want them if I’m going to get a hot tub as well. In Terlingua the daytime temps are above 100 for weeks on end in the summer and still in the 90s well into the night. I just don’t see the hot tub getting much use this time of year. So they would be a nice option in the pool.


    Going with an acrylic swim spa, I will definitely go with a 17’ or longer model. I am not sure why I have crossed the Challengers off my list, maybe it is the lack of opportunity to test one. The dealer I spoke to in the Austin area did not have one to test. Do you mind sharing the name of the Dallas retailer that has one available for testing? Maybe they would be willing to let me try it out. Maybe I just need to bite the bullet and go to PA to try the Endless Pools and Truswim models. I am retired and have some time available.


    I am starting to think I should focus solely on the swim experience and worry about the other amenities after I have chosen the swim spa manufacturer and model.

  • Mike Wrob
    24 days ago

    Re: Noise. Like anyone, I would prefer a quieter unit. However, after trying some powerful underwater speakers with my Endless Pool, I gave up. The sound of the motor was just too loud to hear the music clearly. I now use a waterproof mp3 player and it seems to work just fine for me. So, noise is a secondary criteria for me.

  • Aglitter
    24 days ago
    last modified: 20 days ago

    @Mike Wrob Sounds like you are making great progress! That's fantastic you don't need an electrical panel upgrade to put both a swim spa and a hot tub in. My electrical panel won't take either one, and an upgrade to 200 amp which is what I would need costs about $3K USD these days. Here are a few more points to consider based on your last two posts, as follows:

    • PDC TruSwim for Possible Best Swim Lane: Prioritizing the swim experience for your swim spa purchase is a wise choice if you are swimming for fitness a total of a few hours a week. That puts PDC TruSwim back on the table. We've speculated about the noise level of PDC which we cannot verify without further data, but if you are using headphones while swimming, I doubt TruSwim noise is even a criteria for you whatsoever. It would be for me personally, but to you it is meaningless because the spa will be quiet enough and your headphones will cancel everything else. You were quoted for a TXS15 (the number indicating feet of length of the spa), but why not go with the TXS19? The TXS19 looks like a really roomy model that would allow you to swim a few feet back from the propellers for a smooth, enjoyable swim. Just looking at the TXS19 brings a smile to my face and makes me want to wet test it! We already know that PDC has a good current not likely to create any excess drag. The reviews of the TruSwim swim current have been excellent. Here's an article you might enjoy talking about how many serious swimmers have responded positively to the swim current after wet testing: TruSwim - Best Current on Market. Here is a photo comparison of the TXS15, TXS17, and TXS19:



    • Master Spas Michael Phelps a Distant Second to PDC TruSwim: If you are prioritizing the swim experience and don't require the dual therapy seats, I would cross off the Master Spas Challenger line due to the issue of drag at the foot level. Even though the Challenger current is preferable to the Endless Pools' acrylics current according to several reviewers including myself, it doesn't seem worth spending up to $50K on a Challenger when they haven't solved their current's problems like PDC TruSwim has. The Challenger foot drag is a real factor; it will be at a moderate level at the speed you'd probably be swimming. The Michael Phelps line of swim spas might come in a distant second to PDC TruSwim depending on whether drag in the swim lane is present or not (I cannot verify this at present), but MPs only have one propeller, while TruSwim has two. MPs have fewer intake grates than TruSwim, and the one propeller MPs do have is set too low--which I have seen in reviews from multiple users--creating a dead zone on top of the water. Sales reps will agree that MPs have a dead zone on top of the swim current but claim it was "designed" to be that way. The reviewers I've seen hate the dead zone so much they try to lower their water level to overcome it but end up missing the skimmers for filtration. Furthermore, PDC as a company has overall much better reviews for reliability and longevity than Master Spas. If you'll read Google reviews for the Master Spas headquarters at 7102 Lincoln Pkwy, Fort Wayne, IN, and sort by lowest reviews first, you'll read about all types of breakage and warranty issues that are downright scary. YouTube is another place to find cautionary Master Spas swim spas reviews (for example, user @imjimdoingthings has posted three videos of multiple problems with his new Challenger 15D). PDC simply seems to have a better quality record. Their spas are well built and well insulated just like Master Spas' are, but their longevity and warranty track record seems to be significantly better. The one problem I've seen with PDC spas in recent years is that some black matter from some internal part was getting into the water and not being adequately filtered. I don't know what that was all about, but hopefully they've fixed it. [Edit: The black matter was mold from the filters that grew after wet testing at the factory. PDC now ships the filters in a separate bag to allow them to dry out to prevent this problem.] You wanted my contact at the Plano, Texas, store where a Master Spas Challenger 19D stays permanently set up for testing, and it's Colton at Atlas Spas & Swim Spas, 4801 W Park Blvd. Unit 448, Plano, TX 75093, phone (469) 209-6989. They would welcome you to come and test the 19D even if you are out of their selling area. They keep their wet test units maintained with chemicals and have frequent testers in the store, which means you should schedule a time to come in to not conflict with other testers. However, as you can see, I'd encourage you to put effort into the TruSwim test before a Master Spas due to the vastly better swim current, but it's your choice.
    • Hot Tubs Can be Cooled in Texas Summers: If you are getting a separate hot tub, I hear you on the issue of Texas weather being too hot to enjoy them in the summertime! From my research on hot tubs, I learned that it's common for Texans to keep their hot tubs at a low temperature in the summer and then sometimes even throw a bag of ice in the water when it comes time to use it. With summer sun, the water can heat up a lot underneath the thermal cover even if the temperature is set low. If you want a hot tub just for fun and some bubbly jets, then any brand that you wet test and like will do. If you want a serious hydrotherapy machine especially for neck and shoulder jets, Artesian Spas is it, the Elite line. They are using switchless motors which no one else to my knowledge is doing in the industry, making the spa quieter than other brands. They also use more motors than most other brands. They'll have 5 motors for the same size spa in which Master Spas will use 2. This means you can operate multiple seats at the same time without compromising the power of any. Artesian also has so much thought put into their jets and location of the jets that the design on the market is unparalleled, to my knowledge. The one thing Artesian doesn't do well with hot tubs is the shape of their lounger seats. Many people including myself have found them to be uncomfortable. Jacuzzi or Marquis are better options for lounger seats. The sad thing is, lounger seats are actually the favorite seats for die-hard hot tub enthusiasts, so if you want to lie back in the hot tub and don't need especially targeted hydrotherapy, look at Marquis or Jacuzzi. Marquis is probably a better hot tub pick overall than Jacuzzi for a variety of reasons, but Jacuzzi has a couple of models with lounger seats made for extra tall people, so if you are one of those, check out Jacuzzi. I'd put other brands like Caldera, Sundance, Bullfrog, and many others lower on the list. Artesian, Marquis, and Jacuzzi are the three brands that rose to the top in my own research. Master Spas makes a great lounger shape, but their hot tubs are loud and have a lower reputation for longevity than some other brands you could select.


    This whole conversation is making me want to wet test a PDC TruSwim TXS19. Please do keep us posted if you get to test any of the TruSwims. Thanks! Oh, and check out Covana automated covers for your swim spa if you have an extra $10K to make the installation really nice. They are amazing:


  • Aglitter
    21 days ago
    last modified: 20 days ago

    @Mike Wrob Please see my earlier comment above if you haven't already. I always like to mention when I've posted twice in a row because it is so easy to miss a comment in sequence here at Houzz.

    To satisfy my own curiosity, over the weekend I looked for the newest reviews on Endless Pools acrylic models that I could find online and then called both PDC and SwimEx today to get a few more questions answered. Here is what I learned, as follows:

    • Endless Pools' Service Record Unremarkable: Recent Endless Pools' reviews on the Consumer Affairs website and Google reviews of the Pennsylvania headquarters seem to indicate an increase in parts availability post-pandemic. The lack of qualified service people in some areas is still a problem due to the uncommon design of Endless Pools' hydraulic wave generator. The Endless Pools' headquarters technical support department once had a reputation for being outstanding but is now not as responsive as it was prior to the Watkins Wellness acquisition, according to reviews in various places. Endless Pools are no longer primarily made in the USA, whereas the unit you acquired pre-acquisition likely was, and some reviewers are complaining of early breakage and rusting of components on swim spas purchased post-acquisition.
    • Multiple Reviewers of Endless Pools E Series Complain of Feet Sinking, Swim Current Strong and Pushing Them Aside: An unsponsored, unsolicited review of Endless Pools' E series on this triathlon forum thread reiterates the view that I had after my E500 test and that both John and Monique at Endless Pools' headquarters relayed to me, in that the E Series units do not provide the best swim experience EP has to offer. You'll remember that my feet felt pulled down, and I had to work hard at staying in the swim lane. John usually uses a knee float for his workouts so didn't comment on foot drag in the E Series units but finds it easier to stay centered in an Original Performance Pool than the E700, both of which he has access to at EP headquarters for his triathlon training sessions. The consensus seems to be that the EP Originals have a better current and swim experience for serious swimmers than do the E Series acrylics. The reviewer mentioned at the thread linked above wrote, ". . . We have the High Performance which is a high-end original pool. We put ours in a finished room in our basement. And we love it! My former coach (11 time IM champ) has the same pool and loves hers too. She has clients she coaches who purchased those EP Spa pools (comes in one piece) and the current isn't as good. Complaints are that it is hard to stay straight and keep your legs from sinking. . . ."
    • Quick note on Master Spas' Reliability Record: Although I didn't do much extra research on Master Spas this weekend, my comment above about their reliability record possibly not being as good as some other brands is still a question for me. User @imjimdoingthings on YouTube as well as additional recent user reviews of the Master Spas headquarters on Google, Consumer Affairs, and the BBC contain plenty of cautionary tales of early breakage of parts and difficulty getting warranty service. Every company will be putting out a few bad apples with all the third-party sourced components that go into these swim spas, but it pays to be aware of potential issues with each brand nonetheless. I still think the Master Spas Challenger Series has a better swim current than Endless Pools' E Series, so my comment last week about crossing off the Challenger 19D was more in view of how much better a PDC TruSwim current would be over Master Spas or Endless Pools, and the PDC company itself seems to have one of the better reliability records among all the top swim spa brands, as does SwimEx. The Challenger 19D is still a really fun model, and if you're at all interested, I would encourage you to wet test it here in Dallas, Texas.
    • PDC TruSwim Noise: I talked to Ricky, the PDC sales representative for my region, and he confirmed that the two videos I found with live sound of a PDC TruSwim are probably largely accurate. The microphone used in the video may have amplified the sound if the swim spa being demonstrated were placed indoors, but the motor for the TruSwim is large, and there is a kitchen blender-type sound with it running as well as a high-pitched whine throughout operation at any speed. This would be in addition to noise from water turbulence. As discussed earlier in this thread, none of this should bother you if you wear earbuds for music while swimming. It would bother me and probably means TruSwim isn't a viable option for me. Ricky mentioned that the PDC jetted swim spa models in the Synergy and Summit lines are quieter, but they don't provide the power a serious swimmer would need to maintain proper strokes. It is interesting based on his comment today that I had previously found the jetted Master Spas Challenger to be quieter than the propeller-driven EP E500, making enough difference for the Challenger to be tolerable versus the E500 intolerable to me. The airless Challenger jets, unlike PDC's air-injected jets, do provide enough power to resist a strong swimmer, despite creating moderate drag at the feet, though less foot drag than the EP E Series.
    • PDC Wet Test Options: In addition to a TruSwim TSX17 set up for wet testing at the Pennsylvania headquarters, dealers in South Carolina and Virginia also have TruSwims set up for wet testing. Those are the closest locations for TruSwim wet testing to Texas!
    • PDC Moldy Filters Fixed: The issue of black matter getting into PDC tubs which I mentioned earlier that I had seen in multiple reviews of the company was due to filters molding after wet testing at the factory. PDC has since started to ship the filters in separate bags so they can air out, thus alleviating this problem.
    • PDC Isn't a Low-Price Competitor: The regional rep Ricky and I talked about why my local dealer may have dropped the PDC line of hot tubs and only be carrying the PDC swim spas now (in favor of carrying only Caldera hot tubs, reportedly not nearly as well made as PDC), and we concluded it may be due to the lower pricing and/or higher profit margins of inferior lines. PDC has a $2,500 off any unit promotion that appears to be running right now, so if you can catch the purchase at the right time and negotiate with the seller, you may get a better price than a walk-in client any time of year, despite a PDC being more costly than other brands in general.
    • SwimEx Triton Noise: By way of update to some of my previous comments about the SwimEx Triton, I talked to Mike at SwimEx headquarters today who confirmed what I suspected based on a few live audio SwimEx videos I had found, that despite the claim of SwimEx's Triton being "quiet," or at least quieter than its paddlewheel models, all the swim spas that SwimEx produces do put out a fair bit of noise. The powerful motors in all units produce a high-pitched whine similar to what I heard from the Endless Pools E500 and also heard in PDC TruSwim videos. Anyone reading this comment who wonders why noise can be an issue, look up medical references on how any noise for a prolonged period above 70 decibels can begin to damage your hearing. Unless you can tolerate noise protection like earplugs while swimming, decibel rating should be a concern for serious swimmers planning long workouts in a swim spa.
    • SwimEx Triton Current Intake: The Triton current has been updated so that the bulk of the current intake goes through scoops on each side at back, as pictured below:


    • SwimEx Triton Add-Ons: The Triton can be sprayed with insulative foam as an add-on, but no exterior cabinetry options are yet available and must be built on site. I mentioned that the last price quote I had from a couple of years ago was in the mid-$40K range for a Triton before shipping, and it seems this is now too low. I was referred to the residential sales specialist for a precise quote, and she was out of the office today, but I suspect the new quote may be north of $50K now before shipping for a Triton. The Triton is the only swim spa of this caliber still made of fiberglass. The fiberglass shell is supposedly longer-lived than an acrylic shell, but one must question whether the large final price differential between that and a PDC TruSwim, by the time either is delivered and set on site, is worth it if the PDC TruSwim's current is the same or superior to the Triton's.
    • SwimEx Flaws Fixed?: I questioned the SwimEx representative today about paddlewheels warping and grates coming loose and creating noise as mentioned by a previous poster in this thread, and he said that the SwimEx models have gone through redesign of almost every element in the years since the model used by the above poster in this thread was built. Whether redesign has fixed all the flaws is difficult to say, but the SwimEx rep seemed confident in the longevity and quality of the company's products at this time.
    • Three Final Comments: Previously in the thread, I had mentioned some Texas hot tub owners keep the water temperature on the low side and even throw a bag of ice in during the summertime to cool the hot tub before using it, especially if the sun has heated up the water underneath a thermal cover. Another similar tip is that you can freeze water in gallon jugs and throw them in the water instead, thus keeping your water level more constant than ice melting into the water would do. Secondly, I previously mentioned getting a longer swim spa than required so you can swim further back from the current for a better experience. At my height of 5 feet 7 inches, I stretch to a length of nearly 8 feet with my arms and toes extended, so someone taller than myself would take up the majority of a 15-foot long swim spa when swimming fully extended, making something like the TruSwim TSX19 at 19 feet long attractive for added space. If you desire to swim three or four feet back from the current's source, a handy tip is to use a weighted object like a small pool weight or coated barbell on the floor of the spa to mark your spot when swimming strokes where you can see the floor, like freestyle. Finally, you mentioned lack of a second therapy seat in a TruSwim as an obstacle, but not everyone likes an extended session sitting upright in jets, and having a separate hot tub makes swim spa jetted seats redundant anyway. Many people prefer the hot tub lounger jet seats or even lounger floats in order to relax more due to a laid-back position. For a group hanging out in a swim spa, one person could be sitting upright in a therapy seat while the others could use lounger floats, many styles of which are available. I hope this is helpful. Also, if you are interested in the help of one of the largest dealers of Artesian hot tubs in the USA, check out Waco Pool and Spa in Waco, Texas, phone (254) 772-9667. I don't know of any other dealer in Texas who beats their prices on new Artesian hot tubs, among the best hot tubs on the market right now, and they are willing to work with people out of area, too. Marquis and Jacuzzi are still good options as well, especially if you want premium lounger seating which is one of the few weaknesses of Artesian.
  • Mike Wrob
    20 days ago

    @Aglitter Yes, thank you, I saw your previous post. I just didn’t have anything new to report.


    i have the space and plan on going with a 17’ or 18’ unit. I’m not sure I would want something as long as 19’.


    I plan on testing a Master Spas 15D on Wednesday. I saw the negative reviews on Google. The reviews on Yelp are even worse. So this really does concern me. But, I thought I should at least try swimming in one.


    Right now I am planning on flying to Pennsylvania next week to try a TSX17 TruSwim at the factory. I have located an Endless Pools E700 near me to test as well. However, I am thinking of testing the E700 at the factory when I am in Pennsylvania. That way I can test the same day as the TruSwim and have a better comparison. I am worried about the width of the current in the E700.


    As far as noise, my current Endless Pool hydraulic motor makes a whirring or humming sound. I do not find it annoying or painful, however it makes it hard to utilize underwater speakers for music. The waterproof mp3 player and earbuds solves this.


    I would prefer more than one hydrotherapy seat, but this is hardly a deal breaker.


    I will let you know my impressions after I have tried the different pools.

  • Aglitter
    20 days ago
    last modified: 17 days ago

    @Mike Wrob Thanks for the update. You didn't specify whether the Master Spas H2X 15D you will test Wednesday is a Trainer or Challenger, and I'm assuming you are headed to test a Challenger, but just in case, I'll mention most of the H2X 15Ds that dealers typically sell and display are going to be Trainers. The Trainers are less expensive, and most people in the Master Spas swim spa market aren't using the spas for swim training and tend to respond to pricing over quality of current. One Master Spas dealer told me they sell "a ton of 15Ds," and "99%" of the H2X 15Ds they sell are Trainers.

    The Trainers use air-injected jets (making you feel like you are swimming in foam), are less powerful than the Challengers (meaning you as a triathlete might outswim a Trainer even at max power), and have fewer jets (providing a narrow swim lane that is much harder to stay within than the wider Challenger's). The two models are so different as to provide nearly opposite experiences. I liked the H2X Challenger aside from slight to moderate foot drag, and I hated the Trainer.

    If you test a Challenger and like it, remember the only bigger option than the 15D in that line in terms of swim area is the 18D, three feet longer. I felt a little cramped in the two 15Ds I tested, but again I was doing some strokes with wide kicks, so with only freestyle you might find the 15D adequate. The 18D comes in two different power configurations, the standard 18D and the 18D Pro. The 18D Pro has extra power supplied by an additional pump, so 4 pumps instead of the 3 pumps on the regular 18D. For instance, a triathlete may be able to do recovery workouts in the standard 18D but could actually train for competition in the 18D Pro with its more powerful swim current. If you are testing the standard 15D Challenger, you can turn it up to max power and see if you are happy with that as a speed ceiling. If not, the 18D Pro would be the model to consider.

    As for reliability of any brand, it becomes irrelevant if you test the PDC TruSwim and select it, because PDC provides about as good of quality and warranty service as is available in the swim spa industry. Ricky from PDC told me today that the factory has a jetted model of swim spa set up next to the TruSwim. Those jetted models use River Jets, which may be something you wouldn't have the opportunity to test again elsewhere, so it might be fun to jump in and test the River Jets if you have time just so you know what they are like. They are adjustable as to the angle, which is something Master Spas doesn't offer in its jetted models.

    If you are able to drive over to nearby Endless Pools' headquarters while in Pennsylvania, they have an Original Performance Pool set up next to their E700, so comparing those two units might be nice if you have time. Due to the post-2017 redesign of the current, I think the Original Performance Pool would be different from what you have experienced in the past, and everyone seems to like the Performance Pools.

    In the unlikely event you aren't won over by TruSwim, the SwimEx headquarters unloaded a Triton into their showroom today and should have it filled and ready for wet testing in a few days. They also have a paddlewheel 500 model set up for wet testing. I hope you have safe travels and find your perfect swim spa!

  • Arthur Begun
    20 days ago

    I am not in the market so sorry I don't have time to read all of the above comments. But in case anyone is interested in Swimex and wants more info, ours is indoors in a concrete pit with maintenance room all around it per Swimex specs. The newer bearings are supposedly maintenance free but eventually have to be replaced. Ours get an oil change every year, and also eventually get replaced but should have a longer lifetime. As far as asymmetric water flow, supposedly that can be fixed with some fiberglass bricks put into one side of the tunnel but we haven't bothered yet. The reason that the Swimex has become so expensive is the resin has become very expensive due to all the shut downs of factories. Hopefully that info helps in case anyone is interested.

  • Aglitter
    20 days ago
    last modified: 19 days ago

    @Arthur Begun Thanks for your further comments on SwimEx. If the newer bearings don't require that expensive yearly maintenance you were talking about in an earlier post, that would explain why the SwimEx sales representative told me a couple of years ago that yearly maintenance on the paddlewheel units is unnecessary. When I spoke with SwimEx yesterday, the person I asked about warping paddlewheels had no idea of it and said it doesn't happen, but then again, I have had sales representatives from other brands of swim spas deny problems that are widely known across many reviews on the internet, so I'm inclined to believe your own experience that paddlewheel warping might still happen to a SwimEx in the future that was regularly used for a long duration. SwimEx claims its spas last about 30 years, but that is a long time when something is being used nearly daily and has so much water at high power coursing through it.

    As to the price differential, I could hardly believe that resin alone would be responsible for a SwimEx delivered and set price registering roughly double similar-functioning products elsewhere like TruSwim. Something is wrong with SwimEx's manufacturing or pricing model to be so far out of competition with other brands. The raw fiberglass, the resin, the labor to lay it down, and the equipment to lay it down would not be responsible for tens of thousands of dollars per unit in differential between that and their competitors'. Last I checked, SwimEx's pricing package just to deliver and set the spa on site was about $25,000, and they must be skimming a profit off of that alone, completely separate from the manufacturing itself. I suspect that they've priced themselves so far out of the residential market that they don't make very many residential sales, and commercial sales may be limited. and that may be one of the reasons they charge so much. If they could fix their value problem, the design of the Triton with the back intake scoops looks excellent, and they could probably take a lot of market share, both commercial and residential, away from Master Spas' currently booming business despite Master Spas' inferior current.

    If SwimEx would start making acrylic shells, that alone should cut costs. Acrylic blanks designed for spas are improving in technology all the time, and I do not feel there is any longer a need to persist with fiberglass construction if you have lost the majority of your customer base due to additional manufacturing costs, if that is indeed where the bulk of their additional costs are originating, as you suggested. Yes, I know the acrylic shells won't last as long as fiberglass, but at some point customers won't ever get a chance to find out because they'll be buying spas like PDC TruSwim at a lower price.

    Obviously SwimEx is producing a paddlewheel design they feel is superior to anything else on the market, but as we have discussed in previous comments, they have not yet solved the noise problem with those units, and other designs like PDC TruSwim or SwimEx's own Triton could be putting out just as swimmable of a current as a paddlewheel design, and Endless Pools is still handily beating any brand when it comes to low turbulence of the swim current. SwimEx doesn't seem to yet have a handle on everything the majority of residential customers are looking for in a swim machine. Commercial customers of SwimEx are often procuring hydrotherapy options other than swimming, need assistive entry/exit equipment, and may even want custom designs, and that is where SwimEx shines. It wouldn't surprise me if most of SwimEx's sales are to commercial therapy installations, but they have so much potential for the residential market with their Triton design, in my opinion, if they could further reduce the current's turbulence like EP, move to an acrylic shell, insulate the shell and add a cabinet, engineer noise reduction, work better with local dealers to reduce shipping and installation fees, and cut profit per unit in favor of selling many more, leading to higher revenues for the company overall.

    In any industry, it seems there is always room for a top-of-the-line luxury product, so SwimEx is obviously that in the swim spa market, and it could be that they are happy to continue selling low volume in that luxury price category. Thanks again for your input @Arthur Begun.

  • Aglitter
    20 days ago
    last modified: 19 days ago

    Just heard back from SwimEx, and the current Triton prices are not far off from what we have discussed above, but this new sales representative told me she encourages customers toward the paddlewheel models versus the Triton. She said the paddlewheel models are actually quieter than the Triton, though all the SwimEx models produce substantial noise including the high-pitched whine heard in many videos of swim spas from multiple brands that are using hydraulic motors. She said some customers have been able to reduce the noise through installing an elaborate insulative system.

    If the two main factors a swim spa shopper wanted to prioritize were low noise and drag-free current, I don't know of any pre-made package available today that hits those goalposts upon arrival. Endless Pools allows you to locate the motor on certain types of their Original (modular) pools up to a certain number of feet away from the pool to reduce noise, but that reduces energy efficiency. Badu jet motors are loud but can be located a good distance away from the pool, with the exception of the Turbo Pro, again with a loss in energy efficiency the further water must be circulated. So many different swim spa brands could make some tweaks to improve their product to make it viable for a larger market. Maybe, someday, someone will design a quiet spa with the perfect current and break the swim spa market wide open for new customers!

  • Mike Wrob
    18 days ago

    I tested the Master Spas Challenger 15D today. Here are my impressions.


    First and foremost, the quality of the current. Overall I found the current to be very good. It was smooth but a bit narrow. I found it harder to keep myself centered than in my current Endless Pool. However, after 5-10 minutes of swimming I began to adjust and feel that it would not be an issue for me after a few uses. I did not notice the downward pull on my feet that is an issue for @Aglitter. I also found it to be very quiet, much quieter than my current Endless Pool. It was plenty strong enough to give me a good workout.


    I felt very cramped in the pool. Since I want the 18D, I hope much of this would be alleviated. On occasion, my feet would hit the steps while swimming. The longer length of the 18D should solve this problem. But, my hands would also sometimes hit the sides of the pool, this improved as I got better at staying centered. Even though the 18D is the same width as the 15D, I think it would be better because the protrusions are further back on the 18D so my hands would not hit them. They also don't stick out as far on the 18D. I tried the breastroke and did not have any problems with my kick hitting the wall. However, my feet were behind the protrusions and may actually line up with the protrusions in the 18D. I also tried butterfly, but I hadn't done it in a while so I was having trouble staying centered. I don't think it would be a problem once I settle in though.


    Controlling the current is a bit complicated. However, I'm coming from an Endless Pool where you just turn a knob to go faster or slower. The Challenger has 3 motors and they are controlled separately. Since different motors feed different nozzles, this allows you to tailor the current to your liking. After you spend time using it you will know your preferences and you can save the settings. You can also program different workouts and save them, you can't do that with a knob. The control pad was very unresponsive, the dealer kept wiping it off with a towel to try to get it to work. This would obviously not be very convenient while you're swimming.


    I tried the hydrotherapy seats and while they are nice touch, they are not anything I would base my purchasing decision on.


    I brought up the many negative reviews on the web for Master Spas and he said they were the result of poor service from the retailers. He is a factory direct seller and would be handling the service. I felt comfortable that service would not be an issue if I bought from him.


    Next week I have my test swims of the Endless Pools E700 and PDC Truswim TSX17. He felt that the E700 would be the most competition to the Challenger and that I would not be impressed with the Truswim. I guess I will see. I hope one week is not too large of gap to remember how each one felt. He offered to let me come back and try it again if I need to refresh my memory.

  • Mike Wrob
    18 days ago

    I normally take a few months off from swimming every year in order to vary my exercise routine. I hadn't swam in my Endless Pool since October. Since I just tested the Master Spas Challenger 15D yesterday, I thought it would be a good idea to swim for an hour in my pool this morning. I'm glad I did. It reminded my of how much better my current swim experience is than my test of the Challenger yesterday. The current is much wider and much easier to stay in than in the Challenger. I really had to work at staying centered in the Challenger. I suppose it would get easier as you got used to it, but it definitely took more effort in the Challenger than it does in my original Endless Pool. Secondly, my pool is 8 feet wide. This is the inside dimension and there is nothing protruding from the side walls. So I never feel cramped or worry about my hands touching the walls. The hydraulic motor is loud, it is much louder than swimming in the Challenger. Although I don't notice a downward pull on my feet like @Aglitter, I did pay attention and noted that my feet were below the surface all the time. I m not a strong kicker, but even as I made an effort to kick harder my feet remained below the surface.


    I also paused and tried to study the current a bit. Despite the fact that the return grate is a couple of feet below the surface, there is still a lot of water hitting the back wall at the surface. I cannot say for certain why that is, but I have some observations. When I put my hand in front of the return grate, you can not feel any pull at all. The surface area is large in comparison to the outlet of the propulsion unit, but I still would expect more pull. There are also small gaps along the return ducts where water can enter and a gap behind the propulsion unit as well. You can feel water entering these gaps, but they are small, 1/8" max, so the volume of water can't be that great. The corners of the return ducts are mitered about 4" and you can definitely feel water entering these openings. There is also a fair amount water flowing back to the front of the pool along the walls. This water never enters the propulsion unit, but turns around at the front wall and joins the swim current. I think this helps make the current wider.


    That's all for now, I will report back after testing the TSX17 and E700.

  • Aglitter
    18 days ago
    last modified: 17 days ago

    @Mike Wrob Thanks for the thorough reports from your side-by-side Endless Pools Original and Master Spas H2X Challenger 15D swims. Regardless of pros and cons we may discuss in theory about swim spas, what it comes down to for a purchase decision for each individual swimmer is how the various wet tests perform, so I am glad you are getting access to multiple brands for testing. The only surprise to me from your Challenger test is that the swim current was hard for you to stay centered in, which as you accurately pegged, shows how wide and superior your Endless Pools Original current is, to which you are accustomed. I'd like to respond to a few of your points, if I may, as follows:

    • Sales Reps Usually Must Wet Test Competing Models Before Speaking Knowledgeably: Beware of any sales representative making claims about his or her own swim spa brand in comparison to other brands if that sales representative has not wet tested the competition. Of the dozen or so reps I've worked with, the only one who had an accurate knowledge of one of the competing brands I had researched was a man who had wet tested the competing brand himself. PDC has manufactured air-injected, jetted swim spas since around 2011, but its propeller TruSwim has only been out since around 2016. If your rep hasn't wet tested a TruSwim, he is likely speaking beyond his limit of knowledge to say you wouldn't find it superior to his own product, an experience I've had many times myself with reps who didn't know how their brand stacked up to competition. Endless Pools' E Series acrylics line is also new. Your rep must have been referring to the older Originals when he spoke of EP's current being superior to Challenger's, because the thought that the E Series acrylics provide a substantially better current than Challengers is laughable, in my opinion. Less turbulence, yes, but better intake design for an overall better experience, no. By the way, all Master Spas' dealers are "factory-direct" dealers with exclusive contracts per region, so this doesn't differentiate him. The idea of "factory-direct" is more often applied to direct-to-customer sales like SwimEx does, not distribution through intermediate dealers like most all the other swim spa brands do. I'm sure the rep is well-meaning, just perhaps underinformed.
    • The Challenger 18D May Not Be Much Roomier Than the 15D: I've aligned on a grid the Master Spas' website images of a Challenger 15D versus an 18D. Notice that the concave walls peak at almost the same level when the front jets are aligned on the grid, meaning if the concave area was crowding you in the 15D, it may in the 18D as well. Higher quality swim spa brands produce straight or convex walls for added space; the Master Spas' concave design is purely for the purpose of adding strength to the shell so that less reinforcement is needed to resist water pressure, making manufacturing cheaper. Although Master Spas still produces a well-built, well-insulated swim spa, shortcuts like that throughout the design contribute to lower out-the-door prices. Of the three models you plan to test, you'll likely get the best price after negotiations with Master Spas. Notice also that though the rear seating is configured more favorably for swimming on the 18D, the side obstructions still begin with steps upward around the same level on the 15D and the 18D, as shown (click on graphic to enlarge it):

    • Balboa Touch Pads May Malfunction Around Water: I cannot recall for certain if Master Spas uses the third-party touch control pads from Balboa, but most spa manufacturers, do, and those touch pads tend to malfunction when water splashes on the screen. Regardless of how good your local dealer may be in servicing your spa, the question is whether the design of the spa allows sufficient separation from water to prevent this from being an ongoing problem. The YouTuber @imjimdoingthings has posted four videos about his troubles with his Challenger 15D received in October 2020, and one of his problems was the touch pad being replaced 7 times and still not working in the first year of ownership. He didn't get satisfaction with his issues, which included his upgraded Axis cover deteriorating, until he finally filed a complaint with his state's attorney general and the Better Business Bureau. After that, Master Spas sent out techs from headquarters to address the Axis cover and once again replace his touchpad, only this time with a water-resistant one. At the same time, they installed a water-resistant touchpad cover and also sprayed the touchpad cover with a ceramic coating which they said would last a year. Other users of spas with Balboa controls talk about covering the touch pad with a towel while using their spas to help keep water away. Depending on where the touch pad is located, it may be impossible to block water, something that I feel is a design flaw and should be fixed with spas that retail at such high prices. Replacement of the touch pad is one of the top repair issues with any spa using Balboa controller parts, and a local dealer may be powerless to help you if the touch pads are on backorder, as they have been for many spa owners during the past couple of years with production delays. Regardless of servicing issues, the swim spa market is so limited in good options right now that any purchase decision will probably come down to which spa provides the best experience and then dealing with whatever repairs are necessary from that point forward. The next two spas you plan to test also have touch pad controls, including the Endless Pools E700. The Badu Turbo Pro propeller unit as well as Badu's jetted units utilize the more resilient knob control format.
    • Endless Pools Originals Wide Current: That's an interesting observation that the natural whirpool effect of water that misses the back intake grates of an Endless Pools Original would rejoin the swim current to help it feel wider. The only swim spa I know about that evacuates all the water in the current is SwimEx's paddlewheel design. After all is said and done, it wouldn't surprise me if you had an Endless Pools Original Performance Pool back on your list for serious consideration. I'll be fascinated to hear how your next two visits to testing sites go. Thanks so much for reporting back on the Challenger!
  • Mike Wrob
    18 days ago

    @Aglitter If I decide to consider an original Endless Pool, i would do it in concrete like my current pool to avoid messing with a liner. One nice thing about the original Endless Pool is the return ducts make nice benches for people to sit on. However, I was hoping to avoid having to find somebody to do the concrete and tile work. If I am going to go to that trouble, I may as well consider the Badujet Turbo Jet Pro. Have you actually tested the Badujet? If so, what was it installed in? Do you think it would work in a San Juan Sea Isle? Can you install these pools above ground?

  • Aglitter
    17 days ago
    last modified: 17 days ago

    @Mike Wrob Those are good questions. Please allow me to address the issue of the wave generator first and then the box to put it in, because one affects the other.

    You can still put an Endless Pools wave generator in any pool. The stand-alone wave generator is called Fastlane Pro. Because you are accustomed to the Endless Pools' wave generator already, this might be a good fit for you if you are considering a fiberglass or other free-standing box to get more space than the E Series acrylics offer. From photos on Endless Pools' website, it looks like Fastlane Pro has the intake at the bottom of the unit. This brings into question what the current and drag would feel like without that generous back intake to which you are accustomed. In any case, you could definitely get yourself a wider and longer pool than any of the E Series offers if you feel cramped during your upcoming E700 wet test and want to use the Fastlane Pro with a bigger pool. If you are unable to test the Fastlane Pro, just know that the feel of it will be the same as what you experience in terms of current in an E Series pool, only with a wider/longer space in which to swim depending on how you set it up. If the current is too narrow or you feel too much drag with water rushing underneath you to the intake barrel in the E700, then I'd cross this off. You can swim closer to the source of the wave with a Fastlane Pro than any of the Badu units, so if you use the Fastlane Pro, your pool can be shorter. Here are a couple of photos of the Fastlane Pro:



    Talking now about Badu wave generators, all of the jetted models are terribly noisy due to loud motors and air-injected turbulence, but the new propeller Badu Turbo Pro, which is the only Badu product I would want to consider if I were building a pool, is supposedly very quiet. Badu's marketing materials, a tech at Badu's Florida, USA, headquarters, and an Irish dealer of Badu posting on YouTube all claim the Badu Turbo Pro is quiet. You can listen to live audio here, and again the sound may be amplified by the microphone recording both indoors and underwater, but it should give you a basic idea: Badu Turbo Pro In Action.

    If you are happy with the noise level, the real issue you may encounter with Badu is difficulty in wet testing it, which I feel is a prerequisite before spending tens of thousands of dollars to install a pool for the purpose of using the Turbo Pro. I have heard of people working with regional Badu dealers to find installations to test, so that's a possibility. I wish I knew how Badu Turbo Pro stacked up against PDC's TruSwim in terms of noise and current, but I don't. Just looking at videos, it appears Badu Turbo Pro works really well if you have space enough to swim a few feet back from it. You'll notice almost all of the live YouTube demo videos of Badu products, including the Turbo Pro, show people swimming several feet back from the source of the wave for the optimum experience, so you would need a longer pool if you use Badu. Here's a screen shot from this Turbo Pro demo video in which the male is a professional swimmer, and he is swimming as much as 5 to 6 feet back from the source of the wave:



    To my knowledge, Endless Pools Fastlane Pro and Badu's Turbo Pro are the top two add-on products on the market right now that would give you a good experience as a serious swimmer. A number of other add-on swim wave jetted products are available from various brands to add to existing pools, but all of them about which I have read have issues from lack of power to narrow current, not to mention excess turbulence from air injection.

    So, let's say you want to do a freestanding fiberglass pool with a Badu Turbo Pro or an Endless Pools Fastlane Pro, both propeller-driven units that would produce smooth, powerful currents. You can do a shorter pool with the Fastlane, as explained above, so the length of the Sea Isle from San Juan would work fine, except that the Sea Isle is not one of the models that is pre-made for an above-ground installation. After scouring the internet for fiberglass pool manufacturers that offer above-ground units, I've found a small handful, and San Juan is the best of the bunch, but they only offer two models pre-made for above-ground installation, the Canyon Lake (or Canyon Lake Deep, depending on depth you desire), and the Sedona (which comes in two different configurations of entry steps). Neither of those pools have surround benches. However, I think San Juan could probably beef up the shell of the Sea Isle to suit your needs. You would need to talk to them directly about this. They simply would add more fiberglass reinforcement to their models headed for above-ground installation, and they may need to add an extra lip extending down partway on the outside edge, as well. The Sea Isle is large enough that you would probably want at least part of it recessed underground for support. That much water exerts a lot of pressure.

    The Canyon Lake (or Canyon Lake Deep) is the only pre-made above-ground pool from San Juan that I would recommend for installation of a Badu Turbo Pro, because it has the extra length you would need to swim back a few feet from the current, something not necessary with the Fastlane Pro. Again, San Juan may be able to work with you to reinforce another pool with benches that is a bit longer than the Sea Isle. Badu recommends a minimum of 15 feet of length for the Turbo Pro, but if you are a tall person and want to swim several feet back, you'll need more length than that. The Canyon Lake is 18 feet in length measured on the inside where the water sits. The Sea Isle's inside water length is only 15 feet, 7 inches. Extra length could make a difference if you are tall, plus the Sea Isle's benches run around the end portion of the pool, so that technically shouldn't be counted as swim area.

    You've probably heard of container pools, which are shipping containers turned into pools, and Containur Pools is one of the standouts in that category. (Look up ModPool reviews before going with them and beware of that brand!) The Containur Pools company was promoted by Lucas Congdon of Lucas Lagoons, otherwise known from his TV Show Insane Pools: Off The Deep End. These pools are the only container pools of which I am aware that utilize fiberglass on the inside, avoiding the rust and corrosion issues that some of the other container pool manufacturers have with their painted-on inner gelcoats. The Containur Pools manufacturer is also familiar with installing swim jets in the pools, though I do not know if they have ever used the models we're recommending here. If you'd like a window in your pool, this is the way to go. The costs of the Containur Pools are roughly equivalent to some of the high-end swim spas you are testing right now, so you wouldn't save money going that direction, and you'd probably get a better swim current overall switching over to something like the SwimEx Triton if you were in that price range. Here are a few Containur Pools photos:




    In terms of other fiberglass pool manufacturers that would do a totally above-ground pool, I did see a photo I think from the innovative Thursday Pools company that showed extra spines being added for reinforcement to one of their fiberglass pools headed for an all-above-ground installation. Another newer company doing some great fiberglass designs is Aviva Pools, but you would need to check if they offer additional reinforcement for select models. I would stay away from the pre-cast concrete pools designed for above-ground use. Users report a lot of problems with those. A really cost-effective alternative would be a Crestwood round wooden pool with a built-out area to hold the swim generator, but you are getting into a pool liner situation with that brand.

    It's always disheartening after a wet test to think that here's another swim spa brand that didn't work for me, but hang in there, because I think you're going to love PDC TruSwim. If you don't, I feel sure that you could find plenty of pool contractors willing to travel to Terlingua to get you the pool you want if you go that route. Lucas Congdon regularly travels all over the USA for his pool installations, and he was supposedly at one time working on a network of dealers to help him install Containur Pools for package rates. Safe travels next week for your next swim spa wet tests!

  • Mike Wrob
    17 days ago

    @Aglitter

    I hesitate to speculate too much more until I actually try the pools next week. But just some quick random thoughts and clarifications.


    I see no need to go with the Fastlane. To me, it is something you add to an existing pool. If you’re starting from scratch, you may as well put in the return ducts etc. My existing setup is more than satisfactory for me. Maybe I need to start putting more effort into locating somebody that can do the concrete and tile work for me.


    Even though I said noise as not really a criteria for me, it was very nice yesterday experiencing the quietness of the Challenger.


    One impressive thing in that video of the Badujet is the fact that the current is wide enough for 2 people to swim side by side. However, even though the Badujet looks likely to be an excellent choice, I can’t see choosing them without a chance to try one. I will try to talk to them in the next few days to see if that is possible.

  • Aglitter
    17 days ago
    last modified: 17 days ago

    @Mike Wrob Thanks for those clarifications. I understand not wanting to compromise with a Fastlane when you could just build another Original pool that you know will have a superior current.

    Another thought I might offer on the Sea Isle fiberglass shell from San Juan is that if you installed a Badu Turbo Pro along the bench end of the wall, you could possibly maintain the quality of the current--if the bench didn't stick out too far--thereby gaining unobstructed space at the other end to float further back on your swims like it appears is best for the Badu Turbo Pro swimmers. Looking at the Sea Isle diagrams again, it almost appears there isn't the space to comfortably do this in that model. It would be tight for both the Badu and the swimmer! However, I think the Broadway with two tanning ledges and steps and the Cyberlane with Spa have more of the unobstructed swim length you would need. (I realize you weren't really looking for a dual pool/spa unit, but the regular Cyberlane has no seating.) Both of these models have seating areas, as shown:


    The question is whether San Juan could bulk those up enough for you to put them all above ground. I think it is possible they could, but the shells would need some extra spines attached, or they might ask you to halfway recess the pool. Water puts a lot of pressure on walls, and fiberglass alone isn't designed to handle too much of that without extra support.

    Containur Pools I think start in the $50K range, not sure how shipping is incorporated with that from the Nevada manufacturing plant, but you can put one of those anywhere as a freestanding unit, or even on piers, and all the plumbing, filter, pumps, and heater are contained within the pool accessible via a side maintenance door, so it is a plug-and-go unit. Containur Pools are fiberglass on the inside, so they have extra quality and longevity over their competitors' gelcoated interiors. A Badu Turbo Pro should work well with a Containur Pool. The company is already accustomed to putting River Jets in their pools, so a Turbo Pro should be easy for them. The question again is whether Containur Pools felt wide enough to you, as the exterior width is 8 feet, so the interior would be narrower.

    Yes, testing the Badu Turbo Pro would be essential before building a pool around it, and to be honest, despite all the claims of how "very quiet" the unit is, I still wouldn't be convinced of that until I swam with it myself. The Turbo Pro has only been on the market since around 2020, so there cannot be that many of them in operation yet, but my impression is that they are poised to take the market by storm as more people learn about them. The Jacksonville, Florida, primary USA location for Badu is open from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. ET, and they should be able to direct you to a testing site for Turbo Pro if there is one. Their phone is (904) 739-2626.

    While I understand not wanting to speculate too much until you have completed your next wet tests, I don't think Endless Pools E Series is going to impress you, and I do think PDC TruSwim has a good chance of winning you over if it isn't too loud, so I'm glad you'll have the opportunity to visit both locations. Remember that PDC has a jetted swim spa set up for wet testing that is quieter than TruSwim, so you may want to jump into that one and test it as well. You can get River Jets like PDC uses in its jetted swim spas for an independent pool installation if you want a more spacious swim area than PDC offers. Also, as mentioned above, Containur Pools uses River Jets as a standard add-on for people who request a swim current, so you could get a feel for River Jets during your PDC visit if you wish. PDC's hot tubs are reportedly well built and insulated just like their swim spas, and I would expect they would have at least one of those set up to wet test as well if you are still leaning toward a separate hot tub.

    Remember that the life of an acrylic swim spa is about 20 years. Acrylic isn't expected to hold up more than a couple of decades, especially in sun, and it is difficult to repair. Quality fiberglass like from San Juan can potentially last double that and is able to be repaired and recoated as necessary (their structural warranty is for 25 years, but quality fiberglass can last 50 in the right conditions). The person believed to be the oldest in the United States passed away at 115 years of age a few days after New Year's Day 2023, so you never know how much life you'll get to live yet! If you are planning on this new home being a permanent one, I cannot imagine anyone objecting to your planning for the most durable pool installation you can achieve that fits your swim and leisure needs.

    One more note on the Master Spas Challenger series, even though my graph in the previous comment isn't showing significant swim space difference on paper between the 15D and the 18D, I will say that in my own wet tests, I did feel less restricted in the 19D than the 15D (never had the opportunity to test an 18D). The 19D's swim space allotment is roughly halfway between that of the 15D and the 18D. So, if you come out of all your wet testing gravitating toward the quietness of the Challenger plus are satisfied with its swim current just as much as any other brand, then don't cross off the 18D just because the space comparisons don't look great on paper. I would try to wet test a larger model to just see how you feel in it. Sometimes a few inches this way or that can make all the difference to an individual swimmer.

  • Mike Wrob
    16 days ago

    @Aglitter one thing on the 18D is the space between the steps is wider than the 15D, so that should give more room for your feet than the 15D.

    I spoke with the Badujet rep today. He said the reason for the 20ft. pool length recommendation is that on higher speed settings, the water could go over the back wall of the pool because of the strength of the current. He claimed that unlike their jetted units, the Turbo Pro is very quiet. He said in the spring they will be coming out with a smaller unit, 3 feet wide and 4 hp. I haven’t decided whether to make a trip to Florida to try one of their units.

    I assume that what degrades the acrylic pools is sunlight. It’s hard on everything. If I keep the pool covered when not in use, I would hope to get a long life from it.

    Tom thanked Mike Wrob
  • Aglitter
    16 days ago
    last modified: 16 days ago

    @Mike Wrob That's fabulous news that Badu's Florida location has a Turbo Pro set up to test! Thanks for the tip!

    My impression from reading reviews of various swim currents is that competitive or former competitive swimmers may not do well with lower powered units. Plenty of untrained swimmers with slow stroke form reach their max speed in weak swim currents, but people with good stroke form accustomed to swimming long distances tend to need higher powered currents to maintain acceptable speed. For example, even though it would be educational for you to test the River Jets jetted PDC swim spa next week to gauge noise level and flow quality against the TruSwim, most reviews I've seen of River Jets say they aren't powerful enough to resist a good swimmer. That said, Badu's original Turbo Pro is extremely powerful, so it is possible that the lower powered Turbo Pro in development might be enough for someone who has good stroke form but is doing fitness rather than competitive training. Some of Badu's older, jetted units famously do not provide enough power to resist a good swimmer, leading to multiple reviews warning people to get the strongest jet configuration possible for a serious swimming installation. Turbo Pro has solved all of that now with such high power in a single unit.

    That's fascinating that the Badu rep you talked to said a minimum length for the Turbo Pro was 20 feet, because the technician I spoke to about a year ago at the same location told me the minimum length was 15 feet. Gauging from the videos of swimming swimming so far back from the Turbo Pro, I would think 20 feet would be the safer pool length for optimal swim distance, but your advisor had a point that with the power of the Turbo Pro, a swimming pool with the typical 4-inch drop from top edge to water line could lose a lot of water over the back with the swim current running in a pool shorter than 20 feet, so the longer length would be safer no matter how close you swim to the current's outlet. This video shows a Turbo Pro installed in a 4.5 meter long pool (13.1233 feet), and the current is in no danger of overflowing it at moderate speed, so if space were absolutely a factor, you could probably get away with less than 20 feet.

    The manual for installation for the Badu Turbo Pro specifies setting the unit fairly far down in the water. If I were ever able to test it, one of the items on my checklist would be to measure how far down the unit is placed in the test pool and how I felt the current performed at that level. In my own potential installation, I suspect I might want to raise it slightly from what the manufacturer recommends just looking at demo videos compared to the technical manual, but that would need to be verified by testing. It sounds like for your needs of a freestanding pool that a self-contained swim spa fits your needs better if you find one you like, so that's a good approach to put your Badu Turbo Pro potential test last. I would even recommend going back to test a larger Master Spas Challenger before the Turbo Pro if possible.

    To clarify my comments about size differences among the Master Spas Challenger Series models, I was thinking more about width when encouraging you to not completely cross off this brand. You mentioned your fingertips touched the sides at some points during your 15D wet testing, which was not an issue for me at a height of 5 feet 7 inches, but I can see how it would be for a taller swimmer. The concave walls on the 18D peak a few inches further back than they do on the 15D. I don't know if a few inches' change in concavity would make enough of a difference to generously accommodate your wingspan. As to rear configuration, you are correct that the steps are further apart on the longer models, and the steps may start lower down, as well. In my wet testing, although I didn't regularly hit anything in any Master Spas swim spa as long as I stayed in the current, the 15D felt cramped, and the 19D was not overly spacious but felt roomy enough to me personally. The dual-temp 19D's swim area is about halfway between the 15D's and the 18D's. Nothing will help a tall swimmer if the concave sidewall is too narrow in all models, though. Here's the 15D vs. 18D concave sidewall level graph again:

    Not being an acrylic vs. fiberglass expert, I hesitate to list too many details here, but I will say that of the many swim spa reviews I have read, a common theme seems to be that acrylic is more difficult to repair than fiberglass and that fiberglass lasts longer than acrylic. The reason for longevity to some degree is because fiberglass is more easily able to be refreshed and repaired. Crazing and cracking are two common problems for acrylic as it ages, whether exposed to sun or not, though you are correct that sun exposure dramatically enhances aging of acrylic. Chemical imbalances can degrade both acrylic and fiberglass, so if you purchase an acrylic spa, you will want to read the owners' manual carefully as to any chemicals that must not be used with a specific type of acrylic blank, for instance, Lucite acrylic blanks manufactured by Plaskolite must not be treated with Tri-Chlor which will damage the look and performance of the surface.

    Cabinetry used with acrylic spas is not a pleasant topic in terms of longevity, but it is worth mentioning here that most swim spa manufacturers use cabinetry that fades and degrades over time when exposed to sunlight, sometimes as soon as a few years if you believe reviews. The typical spa covers do not extend all the way to the ground, so cabinetry is left exposed to sun in outdoor installations. Some manufacturers void the cabinet warranty if the cabinet is exposed to sunlight, and I think Master Spas may be one of those. You could also possibly anticipate early warping from some types of spa cabinetry, as well, an issue I have seen in Master Spas reviews. From simple appearances, Endless Pools' E Series seems to have a superior cabinet quality compared to other brands of swim spas, but cabinetry defects are a common issue many swim spa owners encounter before an acrylic spa reaches the end of its 20-year expected lifespan.

    On a final note, I've been thinking it would be fun to bring up to you the idea of lazy rivers. This is probably not something you would consider unless you anticipated dozens of children coming over and floating around your pool constantly, but a lazy river is another way of getting a drag-free swim current in place that you can swim against. Above-ground lazy rivers take up a lot of space, but they do exist. Lazy rivers are becoming more popular with in-ground, residential pools, so it shouldn't be hard to find a contractor who has experience with them. A few pre-fab, above-ground models are available for residential homes, but the generators for them would typically not be as powerful as for commercial or even in-ground residential installations. Here is an image of several lazy rivers from Paradise Pools Mart:


    Tom thanked Aglitter
  • Tom
    Original Author
    15 days ago

    @Aglitter and @Mike Wrob,

    Wow! What a wealth of information from Aglitter and Mike Wrob. Thank you so much for your time and obvious passion about this subject!


    Our house building process has had numerous delays – none related to our swim spa project that generate the original OP for this thread. One big benefit...all this additional info that you both provided should make my swim spa research much easier. After reading the entire thread today (!) I have some questions that I hope someone might have some feedback on.


    I’m kinda in a hurry to get some answers because I just happened to notice an ad for a “National Hot Tub Expo” be held this weekend less than 10 minutes from where I live! Wondering if any of you have heard of this. I was hoping I could see (and maybe do a wet test!!) various brands but I did some Googling and it looks like (though it's not clear at all from their website https://bit.ly/3H2IJ4Z) this event is run by South East Spas which looks like it only sells Master Spas. I also found they have TERRIBLE reputation on BBB. That might be made worse by the fact that they are located 1000 miles from my Northern KY home. Unfortunately, they are my Master Spas dealer even thought MS HQ, located in Fort Wayne, IN is only a 3 hour drive away and other dealers look like they are 2 hours away in Indianapolis. Do you think I can literally get sales and service help directly from HQ or Indy? Any thoughts on this event?


    As I think I mentioned somewhere in the thread, our swim spa is going to located inside our exercise room in our new house. My wife and I attend to use it probably 60% non-swimming exercise and 40% swimming. The swimming is ONLY for exercise (i.e. not competition) , probably not longer than 15-20 minutes at a time (we’re 62 and are not athletes like you guys). We would be considered to be beginner swimmers . In fact, neither of us have swam any length at all since we were teenagers & may very well have to go back to the YMCA to learn again – I think we could do backstroke and side stroke but we’d have to get used to the side breathing of free style again. So...our main swimming objective is to exercise and not drown or be frustrated with stops and starts. Very slow strokes. We wouldn’t care at all about the foot drag or anything close to perfect form. Noise-canceling waterproof MP3 earphones would be used. I’m 6’ and my wife is 5’8” – we wouldn’t want to keep hitting sides even with our terrible form (that probably would make us quit). This requirement – I THINK makes use want to look for a harness or swim belt of some kind. Yeah...I know that’s like finger nails on a chalkboard for you good swimmers. It’s just reality. We are not sure of the non-swimming exercise we want (suggestions welcome) other than I think we’d like to be able to walk against the current. I’m a little worried about the reliability of a under water treadmill & wondering if we can accomplish the same thing without something mechanical that could break down. We like the idea of jetted seats but don’t want to do dual temperature to achieve maximum benefit. We don’t need most options (like stereo, special lighting, fountains interior step pads etc.).


    We have an all in budget of $50,000 including, cover (see comment below) delivery (assume crane needed to lift from street over house to a garage entry on the rear of the house about 135’ from the middle of the street), installation (electrician needed to install to what will be existing 220 circuit as well as helpers to guide it in from the crane and roll it into place – above ground in the exercise room) and tax (6.5% in our state).


    At first I was leaning toward a Master Spas H2X Trainer model of some kind but comments about not staying centered in the lane made me think we’d be frustrated. Would a swim belt or harness solve this issue for us? I’m very much looking forward to Mike’s review of his PDC TruSwim as well as the EP 700 wet tests. Swimex we eliminated because of various reason including price. We also eliminated any complicated options using a Badu or Fastlane model.


    So based on this info any thoughts on a good direction for us?


    Another very important issue for us no matter what we end up buying is a cover that is going to REALLY keep the heat (and especially the humidity) inside when covered. We’ve had a HVAC consultant advise us on how to handle the humidity with different HVAC equipment (separate unit from the one providing heat and a/c to the rest of the house) but he said it was very important that the cover keep the humidity in when covered (which will be 90% of the time give our max use of 1.5 hours/day). I found a Master Spa dealer in California who, given our situation and without being influenced by profit since he wouldn’t be the one selling to us, strongly recommended The Sport from End2End Swim Spa Covers in Nevada. Any thoughts on this?


    How quickly can the temperature in these swim spas be raised. I think I read we should have it at 84 degrees when we swim but my wife might want it warmer when she is just sitting in it – maybe 90? Also, we go south for a couple of weeks in the winter. Can we turn the temp down when we are gone? What temp would we set it to? How long would it take to warm up from that temp?


    Lastly, for whatever model you might point us to...any idea on lead times for it?


    Thanks again for your TREMENDOUS help with all this. Hope to hear from you soon,

    Tom

  • Aglitter
    15 days ago
    last modified: 15 days ago

    @Tom Thanks so much for your kind comments on the information that has been compiled in this thread by various contributors. It is true that it is hard to find unbiased reviews of swim spas around the web, and hopefully this thread will rank high in search results going forward to help people including yourself evaluate the options.

    Please allow me to address your all-in budget first. You have capped your budget at $50,000 USD. I know that it seems you should be able to get anything you want for that high price, but to be honest, these swim spas are creeping up in price all the time, and some of the higher end spas that we have been discussing on this thread may not come in under that price point including delivery, depending on your site's requirements. One of the better swim spas that comes in at a great value is from Artesian, and it is called the TidalFit. Lead time on that could be up to a year, but I know Artesian was supposed to open an additional factory in 2022, and if that happened, they may have been able to cut their lead time down to less. Pre-pandemic their lead time was one month, but like every manufacturer, they were hit with production delays and are just now recovering. An Artesian TidalFit swim spa will be energy efficient, contain quality parts, have a good thermal cover, and be extremely price competitive against other spas of similar quality. Look for a pre-delivery price in the $20,000 range with negotiation. The jets will be air-injected and provide a weak swim current, but given your parameters, that may be acceptable to you. It would be best to test a TidalFit first, which I believe you can do at the Nevada headquarters. Because your needs are for light fitness, I would recommend against going with the hydraulic, propeller-driven models simply due to noise. TruSwim, Endless Pools, and some other models that provide stronger swim currents are going to be louder than you will want for your day-to-day light exercising, even if you are wearing noise-canceling headphones.

    In terms of purchasing a swim spa during a sales event, that is only a good idea if you have done your research ahead of time and know exactly which model you want and are able to get the best price at a swim spa event. I have been to quite a few events sponsored by Master Spas and even tested one of the Trainer 15Ds at the last event I attended, so it is a good place to get a feel for various products Master Spas offers, and yes, Master Spas often advertises their spa events without making it clear that they are the only company whose spas are on the floor. They may advertise that spas from a multiple number of different lines will be displayed, but all of those lines will be under the umbrella of Master Spas. Other companies do events as well, but Master Spas is one of the more prolific ones.

    In terms of poor reviews about a dealer for Master Spas, that is sadly a common thing with reviews around the web. Some Master Spas dealers are great, and some aren't. I doubt that the headquarters would deal with you directly, but you can always call and ask. As we have discussed, Master Spas is probably not in the top five manufacturers in terms of reliability of the units that they produce, though they are well insulated. You would likely get better reliability in addition to a better price from Artesian TidalFit, and that's why I mentioned them first, if you are open to the air-injected jet experience. Master Spas does produce the airless jet Challenger line which we have discussed in detail above. If you have more specific questions about the Challenger line, please let us know. Depending on your local dealer's pricing model, your site delivery requirements, and the swim spa options package you select, the least expensive Challenger could exceed your all-in budget even before tax or the electrician's bill to wire and bond the unit to code. If you are interested in the Challenger, you must test one before making the commitment in order to ensure your investment is worthwhile.

    You won't like what I am about to say next, but I want to do you a favor before you invest tens of thousands of dollars into something you find that you aren't using as much as you thought. If you think that you will be able to get into a swim spa with air-injected jets and comfortably swim side stroke or backstroke for even 15 to 20 minutes per day, you may be surprised. The swim experience in a swim spa, especially an air-injected one with a limited current size (making it harder to stay centered versus the more expensive airless or propeller models), will be very different from your swim lane at the YMCA, and you may not be able to tolerate it in the same way. If you were willing to increase your budget and go with the airless jet Challenger line, you might find the swim experience more tolerable, but again wet testing prior to purchase would be essential to giving you that data.

    It is possible to jog in place against the force of a swim spa current without a treadmill. A treadmill makes it possible to truly water walk, but treadmills in swim spas regularly malfunction if you believe multiple reviews from people who have had treadmill breakdowns with fairly new spas from reputable brands. For long-term reliability, the fewer mechanical add-ons you have in your swim spa, the fewer maintenance problems you will have later. As a former lifeguard, I would never recommend tethering for swimming while in a pool. Too many life-threatening things can go wrong with that. Many people do it, but my personal opinion is that it is not the safest approach to exercising in a pool, and safety around residential pools should be a top priority for homeowners since lifeguard protection is usually absent in the home setting. Now if you said you primarily want to get into the swim spa to do water aerobics in a standing position, then I would say wet test as many brands as you can, and pick the one you like the best because the swim current won't matter that much.

    If you have never owned a pool before, you will need to know that the pool chemicals need to be checked several times a week under ideal circumstances, and you will have increased energy and chemical costs for maintaining the pool. You will actually save energy keeping the pool at a constant temperature, so lowering the temperature and then raising it just to swim is not cost-effective unless you are closing the pool for a long period. Thermal covers for swim spas do vary in quality and effectiveness, and I am unfamiliar with the one you named, but it is actually just as important to get a well-insulated spa when it comes to energy costs.

    Different brands of swim spas have limits as to how cool the water can be. Usually it's down around 70° Fahrenheit or so, which would be a cool swim. A temperature of 90° is not going to provide deep tissue therapy. You would need a hot tub closer to 100° Fahrenheit for that. A pool in the range of 80° to 90° is going to feel like normal pool water. Raising the temperature a few degrees in a swim spa takes a minimum of several hours and plenty of extra electricity compared to keeping the temperature constant.

    Also, note in multiple comments above that swim spa therapy seats are rarely designed for premium hydrotherapy like dedicated hot tubs are. If you want genuine hydrotherapy, you'll need a separate hot tub for the heat, which is non-optional for deep tissue therapy, as well as for jet power and configuration.

    You said you had crossed off a built-in pool due to complexity, but once you get up into the $50,000 range, you are not that far away from having someone pop in a small fiberglass shell such as from San Juan and adding a few jets. A built-in would look much better in your indoor installation and add much more value to your home overall than a freestanding, "disposable" swim spa with an expected longevity of only 20 years if that depending on how well the brand you select holds up. It wouldn't hurt to get a few quotes for a built-in fiberglass minipool if you are even halfway open to the idea. Please keep us posted on your progress, and thanks for starting this great thread!

    Tom thanked Aglitter
  • Tom
    Original Author
    15 days ago

    @Aglitter

    It was easy to ask the first question in the OP! We have been truly blessed to have passionate, unbiased, hard-working and knowledgeable people like yourself and @Mike Wrob to respond in great detail like you have. On top of that, you responded in great detail to my questions which I just posted 11 hours ago in 5 hours, which, in Texas would have been the middle of the night!!! Thank you SOOOO much!!!


    I appreciate your honesty in your recommendation. I CAN handle the truth! The main problem is that, though I think the Artesian TitdalFit may be more of a fit, I think that it is outside the scope of your research because you (and @Mike Wrobb) are clearly better swimmers than my wife and me. Unfortunately, that MAY put me back where I started. Few if any unbiased reviews of swim spas at our level.


    I took a quick look at their web site. Their “Aquatic Training System” shows rowing bars, resistant cords and stationary resistant swim. The rowing bars and resistant cords don’t even seem to use the current for anything. Honestly, if we wanted to do either of those activities we’d do it with a separate rowing machine which would give us better form and a more complete workout. Resistant cords could easily be strapped from a wall. The stationary swimming swim is done with using a tether (which may be OK) but the video of that activity also looks like it doesn’t use a current either! It talks about walking against the current and has a pic of a guy with a tether who looks like he is walking against a current. But then why does he have a tether on? As I mentioned in my recent post we’d both like to walk against the current ideally without a treadmill. Their website really doesn’t show how to do this.


    I’m going to investigate more later, but this first brief look makes me wonder if this is a fit. I wish they would show more of what you could do with it. It also starts me thinking about the Master Spa H2X Trainer again. Do either of you have any idea of the pricing of that model? Do you know if it has some accessory that would allow us to stay centered in the current?


    Thanks again for your help!

  • Tom
    Original Author
    15 days ago

    @Aglitter @Mike Wrob

    From a budget standpoint...I think delivery and installation will be about the same for whatever I get. Does anyone have any clue how wide of an area that would be needed for a non-crane delivery? Would they use a forklift for that? I read in the thread that a crane delivery would add 3K+. Do you think it would more than 5K (distance from center of my street over house to the rear where it would have to be lifted and swung in from is about 155 feet including the length for the pool)? As far as the install goes...we will already have a 220 circuit run (will there be more electric than that for the swim spa?)...how many more electrician hours would be needed for the install. Again, this is going into a garage like exercise room on the back of our house. It will be completely above ground. Any other install delivery cost I am missing?

  • Tom
    Original Author
    15 days ago
    last modified: 15 days ago

    @Aglitter @Mike Wrob

    UPDATE: We went to this Swim Spa Expo and my guess was right – all Master Spa equipment. The rep and her manager were very nice and were low pressure. On a Trainer H2X 15D they offered a “steeply discounted” price of $26,495 (supposedly $50K list 40K normal price from a dealer) including non-crane delivery, steps, cover, ozone, ecopur and exercise equipment. We didn’t bite...yet. Based on your experience, how much lower do you think I can get them to do?

    We were not able to wet test but, I’m not sure a wet test is going to help me at this point. A year ago I wet tested a Endless E500. As bad of a swimmer that I am (and my skills haven’t changed), I was not able to swim for more than a minute – and that was side stroke – and thus it was not helpful in my evaluation at the time and won’t be helpful now.

    We like the exercise features. I had done a fair amount of research on it over the last year and as I said earlier, was leaning that way. I really think my only concern at this point is whether my hands or feet (at 6’ tall) will be banging around a lot in the 15 footer based on @Mike Wrob’s comments (the rep said the 15D Challenger and the 15D Trainer were the exact same size). I may not have that problem because I could really see me mainly using the breast and side stoke. Also...as much as @Aglitter doesn't like it, I probably would explore a tether, harness or swim belt that I could use if I freestyle. The Spa Expo ends tomorrow at 4 and supposedly they can’t offer that price passed that time. Any thoughts about whether they really can let the deadline pass by a few days or thoughts on whether this might be a good idea? As I said, I did look at the Artesian TidalFit website and was not impressed. Also.,.are either of you familiar with Master Spas contract? Is there any gotcha's in there? I’m going to be doing more research later tonight and tomorrow but I’d thought I’d get this info out there now to get your response.

  • Mike Wrob
    15 days ago

    @Tom I am 5’10”. I suspect you may have a little trouble with the 15D, but I certainly can’t say for sure. I have an End2End cover on my current pool and am confident that it will hold in your heat and humidity. However, I find it much harder to roll on and off than what they advertise, especially as it gets older.

    I once had a house where I had a hot tub room on the main floor. I did not have any ductwork to the room so the air stayed out of the rest of the house. I put plastic sheeting behind the cedar siding I used for paneling and used waterproof drywall in the ceiling. I had an exhaust fan in the ceiling hooked to a humidistat. I never had any trouble with moisture in the room or humidity in the house.

    They only need a path slightly wider than the spa to deliver it. They just slide it off the back of the truck or trailer. If they can’t get all the way to the install sight but the ground is flat, they will lay pvc pipe on the ground and slide the spa on top of the pipe.

    Tom thanked Mike Wrob
  • Mike Wrob
    15 days ago

    @Tom Depending on the size of the swim spa you get, you will be able to raise the water temperature 1/2-3/4 of a degree per hour.

  • Tom
    Original Author
    14 days ago

    @Mike Wrob

    Thanks for feedback!...all good info. On the End2end is it possible that mine will stay easier to uncover since it is inside not out like I think yours was? My wife who is pretty strong now at 62 but not sure how we will age, will definitely need to be able to remove the cover by herself. I'm hoping my breast stroke or side stroke will enable me not to hit sides or ends. It won't be the end of the world if I can't do freestyle.

  • Mike Wrob
    14 days ago

    @Tom I’m not sure what to tell you about the End2End. When I first got it, it was a lot easier to roll up. Although, rolling it up from one side only was still a bit of a challenge. I found that rolling it back a couple of turns and then standing in the middle of the pool to push on it and roll it made it a lot easier. My yard has a lot of trees, which is a double edged sword. There is a lot of shade and the cove has no sun damage, but there are lots of leaves, twigs, pecans, tassels that fall on the cover. Over time, the stays/arches began collapsing or falling over inside the cover. So, the water no longer drained off the cover. Whether the cover became waterlogged because of the water on top or the moisture underneath, I do not know. But right now my significant other does not use the pool because the cover is too hard for her to roll back. My cover is 8-1/2 years old and has been difficult to work with for a few years now. So, you spend $3,000 for a cover and get 4 years out of it. Do you want to budget $750/yr for a pool cover? You may have better luck indoors. I’ve delayed replacing my cover because I don’t think I’m going to be in the house a lot longer. I’ve recently started looking into these covers, and they may be a good option for you, https://belitespacovers.com/.

    Tom thanked Mike Wrob
  • Aglitter
    14 days ago
    last modified: 14 days ago

    @Tom Yes, it is true you will often get a little extra taken off the price at spa expo events due to manufacturer incentives, but please believe me, Master Spas will have more of these events! They have them multiple times per year in major cities! You will have other chances! :-)

    At the last Master Spas expo I attended in November 2022 just a few months ago, I was offered a final price delivered and set for a Master Spas Challenger 15D of $32K USD plus tax with an additional out-of-area surcharge of about $1K. It was the best price I had ever been quoted, with prior estimates ranging from the upper $30Ks to over $50K from a different dealer for the same unit with extra add-on options, so there is a lot of room for price negotiation with Master Spas. Granted, I had been in touch over a span of a couple of years with the dealer who offered $32K+, and this was a last-ditch offer from them, as they knew I wasn't thrilled with the foot drag of the current, so sometimes the "best price" quote depends on how badly a dealer wants to make a sale. I was concerned your local dealer might be firm in sticking to the higher MSRP price range, making your $50K all-in budget unachievable at least for a Challenger, but it sounds like they are willing to work with you for discounts. It would be valuable to get your Trainer quote from the expo rep in print or by email if you can, even if it has an expiration date, to save for your files.

    As you've read in this thread, there is no comparison between the Trainer current and the Challenger current. For a $5.5K difference between what you were quoted today on a Trainer and what you may be able to get if you find a dealer to go as low on a Challenger as I was quoted, the extra money is totally worth it if the 15D accommodates your tall frame, which is questionable. I suspect you may need the 18D for length, but even that may not be wide enough for your sidestroke swimming as you mentioned above that you plan to focus on doing in addition to backstroke. My sidestroke kick span is about 5 feet in width at my height of 5 feet 7 inches, and sidestroke is usually the widest kick of any stroke you would probably be doing in a swim spa. The interior width of a Master Spas Challenger is restricted due to concave walls, so at some points may not accommodate your sidestroke kick width at your height of 6 feet, whereas other brands with straight walls may. How well you stay centered in the current also plays a role in whether you will hit your feet on the sides with wide-kicking strokes, and the Challenger is much easier to stay centered in than the Trainer. Expect starts and stops staying in the Trainer's current; the Challenger provides an easier, more centered swim. Wet test, wet test, is the only further advice I can give you on gauging Master Spas' space allotment.

    My advice would be to take your time with this decision until you can work through exactly what your needs are in a swim spa and can wet test several brands for comparison. It sounds like construction has not even yet begun on your home, so you could end up with storage fees plus dual moving fees for a spa that is sitting around for a while if you purchase now. Also, all these spas are wet tested at their respective factories, so the longer a spa sits wrapped in plastic from transit, the more time mold will have to develop from residual moisture if the spa is not delivered and unwrapped promptly. It is good that you are fielding quotes already to start getting a feel for the market. When spending tens of thousands of dollars on something you plan to use weekly for decades, it pays to make sure of your choice before committing.

    I bounced your questions off of another good listener this evening and have more comments for you from that chat as well as my own observations, if you are up for another list of points, as follows:

    • Heavy Roll-Ons Covers are a Two-Person Job; Look for Mold-Resistant Covers: The heavy roll-on covers like Master Spas' Axis or the one @Mike Wrob pictured in a prior post almost always require two people to remove and replace. Looking at pictures of the E2E Sport Cover you are considering, it appears bulky as well. If your wife needs to operate the cover alone, cross off the heavy ones. Also, many covers develop mold underneath, both the roll-on and the lift-operated ones. You can help minimize the mold by shopping around for a cover that does not have components in the construction, particularly foam, which will absorb water as badly as others. My research on this topic was so long ago that I cannot list all the options off the top of my head, but they are out there, including some covers made primarily of wood which is a great insulator and avoids the thick foam layer that becomes soggy over time. Another caution about roll-on covers is that if you tend to collect dust or debris on the cover that cannot be cleaned prior to every removal, that dust will roll on to the underside of the cover as it is removed and then be deposited into your water as it is replaced. This should not be as much of a problem with an indoor installation. One water-resistant concept I have seen for spa covers are floating covers that eliminate the air gap between water and cover. I believe SwimEx offers that as an add-on option for their swim spas, so you could call and ask if they manufacturer those in-house or utilize a third party for them, and if so, which brand. Here is a photo from Canadian Hot Tubs showing a wood rolling cover (many other companies make similar styles, some with small cedar strips rather than the large spines pictured here) that will not absorb water over time and provides good insulation, followed by a photo of a lightweight floating spa cover sold by Horizon Ventures on Amazon and a Be-Lite Aluminum Spa Cover that @Mike Wrob mentioned:



    • Cover is Secondary to Bottom/Side Insulation & Energy Efficient Design for Energy Bills: You've mentioned how you are concerned about heat retention to save on energy costs, but the spa itself must be well insulated and the mechanics efficiently designed or else the cover won't do that much to help with your monthly bill. The top-of-the-line swim spa for energy efficiency, the Endless Pools' E Series, comes down to not only a thermal cover but also insulation on the bottom and sides of the spa as well as how the energy is modulated throughout filtering and heating mechanisms during the 24-hour running cycle of the spa. Endless Pools' E Series has some sort of energy certification that allows it to be sold in regions that legally limit the energy consumption of above-ground spas, and it is the most energy-efficient spa to my knowledge that I have researched, with Artesian TidalFit, Master Spas, and PDC TruSwim also holding good ground when it comes to insulation. The room in which you place the swim spa will also play a role, whether it is insulated or not and how well.
    • Underwater Treadmill Possibly Tricky to Repair Indoors: Clarifying from multiple posts above, I mentioned an underwater treadmill with an Endless Pools E Series acrylic unit runs about $1K and works well with the current, which is true. Many brands of swim spas offer an underwater treadmill as an option. However, I have seen multiple reviews of underwater treadmills from several brands including EP cite premature failure of the treadmill and costly repairs. When I mentioned the treadmill as a fun thing to have, that is true, but my caution to you against it was more based on the fact that you are installing the swim spa indoors where repairs could be difficult. Placing this swim spa indoors introduces a number of extra concerns that should be considered in addition to expected longevity, which I will try to enumerate in successive points. However, if you aren't sure what other types of exercise you would do in a swim spa aside from swimming, a treadmill would give you a great option for exercise. In response to one of your earlier comments, it is hard for me to suggest which types of water aerobics exercise you might do in a swim spa because I am a swimmer myself and cannot imagine lasting long with my attention span doing anything but swimming in a swim spa. Your local YMCA might have some water aerobics classes that would help you get a feel for various standing water exercises you might like. You cannot "walk" against a swim current without a treadmill, but you can jog. Here's a video of someone jogging against a current from the flat bottom of the spa to give you an idea if you would be happy with this type of exercise without a treadmill: Aqua jogging for triathletes and runners with pro Tim O’Donnell | Master Spas swim spa tips.
    • Humidity in the Spa Room: Managing humidity in the spa room is critical and can make or break the success of your installation. As a disclaimer, please remember that I am an anonymous poster on a public forum with no certifications in any building trade, and my comments about engineering requirements are my opinion only based on my amateur research. You should consult with experts who can advise based on your individual situtation and applicable building codes before moving forward. To give you some tips on what to ask your local experts, find out if they plan to incorporate fresh air into the spa room. Most homes especially where you live will be well sealed to conserve heating in the wintertime. Unless you have a robust dehumidifier, you'll need an exchange of fresh air in and humid air out to control humidity satisfactorily while the spa is uncovered. Kitchen vent hoods, especially in cold climates, are often installed along what is called a Make-Up Air system, or MUA for short. Something like this could help provide incoming fresh air alongside a forced air output. You could even set up MUA next to fan extraction so that the setup is turned on only when the spa is uncovered to help save energy costs. A dehumidifier is another option, but swim spas can evaporate gallons of water a day when in regular use, so a dehumidifier would need to be robust if you went that route. Also, it is common for splashing to occur outside the bounds of the swim spa when in use. You may need to install a surround shower curtain or make other provisions to separate the spa area if the gym room you described has other equipment that is sensitive to moisture. Your jurisdiction may also have building codes that influence what you are allowed to do with an above-ground spa indoors.
    • NEC Safety Codes: When installing a swim spa indoors, for your own and others' safety if not to meet your jurisdiction's building codes, you should follow the NEC rules for swimming pools and spas to prevent electrical shock and drowning. These rules include bonding anything that is conductive within a certain number of feet of the water's edge horizontally (usually 5 feet, I think) and also a certain number of feet of height over the top of the water (which I think is 12 feet). This is often neglected in swim spa installations, but it can mean the difference between life and death if anything electrical were ever to go wrong with the spa. These rules affect any metal steps leading up to the spa, any metal or conductive materials within reach of the water's edge, and anything conductive overhead which could make contact with skimmer poles or other pool equipment. You also need to make sure nothing conducting electricity could ever fall into the water. Please make sure your electrician is familiar with the bonding requirements for your installation. Swim spas come with a bonding lug to use in creating a bonding loop. Some extra-careful electricians will lay a copper bonding grid beneath swim spas prior to delivery for extra safety.
    • Other Technical Requirements for a Swim Spa Site: You mentioned the swim spa will be in a garage-type room. Make sure your builder knows a swim spa will go there. Each swim spa company has its own requirements for how thick the base layer of concrete must be to support the weight of the spa. It is usually 6 inches thick but can be 8 inches or more. Helical piers can substitute for a concrete foundation for a swim spa. The thickness required for a concrete slab underneath a swim spa may be greater than your foundation would be, with foundation field thicknesses at typically 4 inches or 6 inches. Also, garage floors are often finished with a significant slant to drain water away from the rest of the house. This doesn't work for a swim spa. An uneven surface not only makes it difficult to utilize the spa properly, but it can also put undue pressure on one side of the spa, leading to spa wall failure. You'll need a level, thick surface (or helical pier support) for setting your swim spa. Many jurisdictions also require building permits for placing an above-ground pool or spa anywhere on the property, and one requirement is usually to have sanitary sewer access for draining the spa. If your builder can place sanitary sewer access near your swim spa site, that would be very helpful. Regulations are also usually enforced as to how close electrical outlets can be to a spa or swim spa, and sometimes a "convenience outlet" is required to be placed within a certain range away from the water but not more than 20 feet away. The voltage of your circuit and the overall amperage capacity of your panel is something that should be determined once you select your spa, examine the requirements, and consult with your electrician regarding the overall needs for the house and any future anticipated additions. Upgrading an electrical panel is expensive, so it is better to go with a larger one the first time around as needed.
    • Draining the Swim Spa: You mentioned being away from home a few weeks every winter, and that might be a good time to consider draining your spa (into the sanitary sewer access you have per building code requirements). The spa will need to be drained and refilled every six months to one year to keep it in peak form, another cost to add to your yearly maintenance bill. Leaving the spa drained and winterized (blowing water out of pipes) while you are gone would also guard against power outages and freezes that could cause spa damage or leakage while you are away.
    • Heating the Spa: You mentioned your wife would like the water to occasionally be warmer than swim temperature, and many swim spas can max out at a high temperature near 99 degrees Fahrenheit (I've even heard of aftermarket tricks to make the swim spa go a few degrees hotter than that), but once again, changing the temperature regularly will cost you much more in energy bills than maintaining it at a constant temperature. If you really think your wife will want heat therapy on a daily basis while either of you will also want to swim or exercise on a daily basis, a dual temp swim spa or a separate hot tub should be back in the discussion. You cannot have both daily temperature swings and energy efficiency, so you'll need to pick among having separate bodies of water for the different temperatures, paying more in energy bills to vacillate the swim spa, or just keeping the swim spa at a constant temperature and foregoing heat. If it were me, I'd be looking into a separate hot tub if heat were important to me.
    • Spa Lead Times: I mentioned in a prior comment that all spa manufacturers were hit with production delays during the pandemic and are just now recovering, but lead times are so variable. With a portable swim spa, there is always the chance it may need to be replaced, so building the room with a door large enough to remove and replace it would also give you extra leeway for potential production delays by allowing you to finish construction on the home and set the spa at a later point in time.
    • Swim Spa Current: To answer your question, I do not know of any accessory that would help staying within the swim current. The best approach is to test the exact swim spa you plan to buy and make sure the current is wide and deep enough that you can swim comfortably in it. You mentioned you aren't concerned about drag in the current, but if you are a beginning swimmer, you should be. Backstroke, which you listed as one of your favorite strokes, was actually the hardest for me to do in the Master Spas Trainer 15D of the four competitive strokes I tested in that model. This was due to the inferior current that made my feet sink especially badly on backstroke. At the risk of sounding repetitive, you need to wet test before you buy, and I still think you may want to spend more time at your YMCA pool to get a feel for the types of strokes and water aerobics you like best so you can tailor your swim spa selection to what you'll do most while in the water. Different swim spas cater to different functions, which is why this thread has gotten so long in discussions of pros and cons. One swim spa does not suit everyone.
    • Delivery Costs Vary: A standard crane delivery adds around $3K (in 2022 numbers) to existing delivery costs which can easily run up to $10K or even more, but your distance of 155 feet for a crane to span is huge for a residential setting. A roll-in delivery, preferably from a truck driven to the back of your property near where the swim spa will go, would be safer and less costly. Your delivery and setup costs will differ depending on which dealer is helping you. Different dealers markup the delivery costs with vastly varying margins. SwimEx charges $15K just to get a swim spa from the street to the site, and that is in addition to the delivery costs from their factory to your house. Most dealers don't charge as much as that for street-to-site, but the prices are definitely not a commodity among dealers of various brands. You mentioned your nearest Master Spas dealer is several hours away, meaning they may bill you extra for a long-distance delivery, and you may also be charged a travel surcharge for any successive maintenance visits.
    • Artesian is Absolutely a Great Spa Company: You suggested that I don't know enough about the Artesian TidalFit swim spa line to offer a reliable review, and while I have not wet tested a TidalFit, I still feel qualified to speak about the brand. I have wet tested an Artesian Elite therapy spa and am familiar with the Badu air-injected jets used in the TidalFit product. Artesian uses quiet, switchless motors for therapy jets, and I don't know of anyone else in the industry doing that. Artesian's therapy jets are as quiet as spa jets get, based on my wet test experience. The design of Artesian's therapy jet system and the motor configuration relative to the jets is almost unmatched. You will almost certainly get better therapy seats in Artesian's TidalFit than any other swim spa you could buy. My research on the Artesian company has spanned years, and I have visited multiple showrooms where I have seen many Artesian spas in person. Artesian is a privately owned company that makes a well-insulated, high-quality product at a very competitive price. For you to dismiss an Artesian TidalFit in favor of a Master Spas Trainer is potentially your loss. To the best of my knowledge, Artesian is a better product at a lower price than the Trainer if you are going with air-injected jets, but again, you should wet test any product before you buy. Almost all the swim spa companies including Master Spas offer fitness equipment like rowing bars, resistance bands, and tethers. Artesian highlights fitness equipment on its TidalFit website, but almost all the swim spa companies offer the same. You won't be able to get a treadmill with TidalFit, but you can jog against the TidalFit current if that suits you. Artesian has a better overall long-term reliability record than Master Spas which would be attractive to anyone considering an indoor installation with repair access issues. If you have a bigger budget than required for TidalFit, sure, go with the more expensive swim spa you like better. I recommended TidalFit because you seem to have a firm cap on expenses, and this brand would help with that. I would like to see TidalFit incorporate the new Badu Turbo Pro for an airless current, a question you could bring up to your dealer or a factory rep if you investigate this line further. Since TidalFit already uses Badu jets, transitioning to the Turbo Pro should be a possibility for them.
    • Endless Pools Originals for Two-Person Usage: This could be a longer post if we went point-by-point over what is important for you in a swim spa and which brand would likely be the best fit, but the one tip I would like to leave you with at present is that Endless Pools' Original line offers customization of the swim area for a dual-user pool. You could get two side-by-side treadmills and/or two side-by-side swim currents from Endless Pools Originals, so check it out if that interests you.
    Tom thanked Aglitter
  • Tom
    Original Author
    14 days ago

    @Aglitter @Mike Wrob I can’t thank you both enough for quick and EXTREMELY detailed and helpful feedback. I really would be lost in this process without you. Our builder/architect addressed raised many of the issues you brought up. The biggest one was the humidity. We hired a special hvac designer address BUT even that person said we needed to make sure to get a good cover and well insulated unit to keep the heat and humidity from escaping as much as possible. Base on your and @Mike Wrob comments we’re definitely going to need to do more research into a cover because my wife needs to be able to open it. Any idea about what a good motorized cover may cost?


    Also, I think you said Master Spas was not rated in top 5 in reliability. Can you post links to these ratings? Regarding service – I brought this up to the exp rep – they claim that MS products can be serviced by local repair people who have been certified for MS. They said much of what goes wrong with any spa involve the same skills to fix so repair people are certified..just like a local appliance repair shop would be certified to work on different brands of appliances. Thoughts or experience with this? One of the things we may not have thought enough about was the splashing issue...we expected the floors around the unit to get wet but there will be other non-electric exercise equipment in the room. How far away do these need to be placed to keep them dry?

  • Aglitter
    14 days ago
    last modified: 13 days ago

    @Tom A Covana motorized swim spa cover cost about $10K USD a couple of years ago, but that was before post-pandemic inflation. Covana covers are usually only needed for outdoor installations, but they are 100% automatic.

    At one of the Master Spas expo trade shows I attended, I had the opportunity to operate a swim spa cover that had non-electric, hydraulic lift bars, and it was easy for me to do. I forget the brand name of that system, but these various swim spa cover companies come and go, and I heard as recently as this summer that Master Spas had ended its professional relationship with one of the spa cover companies that it formerly promoted. In order to test a hydraulic cover lift, you would need to check with your local swim spa dealers to see if they partner with any such company currently.

    Yes, I could post links I've bookmarked about longevity reviews for multiple brands of swim spas on forums and other places around the web, and I could also go find links to reviews on all the major review sites including Google business reviews (best results from searching for headquarters and local dealership results), Yelp, BBC, Consumer Affairs, YouTube and others. I could also go back to my notes and pull out tidbits of information I have gleaned over several years of researching swim spas, and I could add to that comments in my memory from dealers and factory reps with whom I have discussed the reliability and longevity of their products. However, doing all that for you would honestly take a lot of time, similar research is something you can and should do yourself for any brand you are considering (it's good to be your own boss :-)), and many of the pitfalls with various brands and a key links to negative reviews have already been posted in previous comments in this thread (@imjimdoingthings on YouTube is one example, as you've read).

    Off the top of my head, based on my subjective opinion only from research spanning several years, if I were to rank the swim spa companies with whom I believe you are likely to have the fewest reliability issues, SwimEx would top the list (and even they have their problems per prior reports in this thread). PDC might be a close second. Artesian might be third because they have a stellar record of minimal breakdowns and long spa life, though you'll need good dealer support to get replacement parts under warranty with them if the need arises. Endless Pools was once one of the most reliable swim spa brands, but the jury is still out on how new owner Watkins Wellness will do following up on service and parts after pandemic delays. Some owners have reported early failure of Endless Pools components now that manufacturing has been moved out of the USA after the acquisition, but Endless Pools still seemingly has a better record for longevity than Master Spas, all considered. Other brands like Jacuzzi and Bullfrog produce swim spas, and though I have not extensively researched those brands, I would want to do so before placing them lower in the line than Master Spas for reliability and longevity based on recent reviews I have seen and heard.

    While many dealers like the one with whom you have interfaced will deny having heard of any problems with longevity of the brand they represent, one of the Master Spas dealers with whom I spoke around 2020 admitted that he dealt with many nightmare warranty issues on some of his brand's more complex hot tubs with lots of jets that seemed bent on going haywire regularly. Does that mean you shouldn't buy a Master Spas? No, not if that brand turns out to be your favorite after wet testing. As mentioned earlier, your best insurance for making the right decision with this purchase is to wet test, wet test. Travel if you need to like @Mike Wrob to test all the brands you think have potential, and then for the rest of your life, you should never regret your final decision. If you buy a Trainer right now, though, I guarantee you won't get all the things you are hoping for in this swim spa project, at least as listed in your comments, except maybe price.

    Yes, it is true that you can get any trained spa technician to make repairs on a Master Spas jetted model if you pay out-of-pocket. However, for service under warranty, you must use the technician your dealer supplies, and many Master Spas owners have reported equipment failures within the warranty period, so I would plan on using your dealer's technician for the first couple of years. For a dealer out of area, you may be charged an extra travel fee for that warranty service.

    In the swim spas I have wet tested, I would say that the splash distance my basic, competitive swim strokes have produced at moderate speed reached up to 5 feet around the spa for streamlined strokes but more like 10 feet for an impact stroke like butterfly. It can be quite messy, and I've exited all of my swim spa tests to see water splattered on the steps and floor around the test model. I've seen one user who primarily trains with freestyle put a shower curtain around his swim spa which was located near other exercise equipment, a video of that here: MASTER SPAS REVIEW (Triathlon Taren's Challenger H2X 15D Swim Spa)

    Tom thanked Aglitter
  • Mike Wrob
    14 days ago

    @Tom I just got done swimming for an hour in my endless pool, freestyle the whole time. There was water 4-5 feet on either side of the pool. I don't think it was so much from splashing as it is from water on my hands and arms flinging off when I do my recovery because it wasn't a lot of water. Something like butterfly would definitely make a bigger mess. Sidestroke and breaststroke shouldn't be too bad.

    Tom thanked Mike Wrob
  • Mike Wrob
    11 days ago

    @Aglitter and @Tom I tested the TruSwim TSX17 and The Endless Pools E700 today. I’m glad I made the trip because there was a huge difference in the swim experiences.


    In the morning I tested the TruSwim. I was extremely pleased with it. The pool itself was roomy. I had no problem with hitting the sides or my feet. The straight almost vertical sides left plenty of room whether doing freestyle, butterfly, or breaststroke. the stairs were far enough back and wide enough I never had my feet hit while doing any stroke. The current itself was very smooth and wide. I had no problem staying centered and had no problem with turbulence while breathing. I specifically tried to notice any downward pull on my feet and couldn’t.


    The Truswim has 20 speed settings, so control is not superfine, but that did not seem to be an issue. The speed is plenty fast enough for me. The control panel worked fine for me, but it looked like the same panel as on the Master Spa, so reliability worried me a little bit. You can also program workouts on it. The bullnose design in the back seems to work well. The seat and stairwell are the same size, so water flow is symmetric. There are no protusions on the side walls to mess up the current or get in your way while swimming. The unit was louder than the Master Spas unit I tested but quieter than my current Endless Pool and certainly tolerable. One downside to PDC is that they deliver to your curb and you have to arrange unloading and placement. Pricing is competitive.


    The Endless Pools E700 was a disappointment for me. I felt very cramped in the unit. My hands would hit the sides at times and my feet hit the steps a lot. Breaststroke was impossible, my feet hit the steps hard all the time. Butterly was OK. I think one reason I had trouble with my hands hitting is that it was difficult to stay centered, nothing like my original Endless Pool. The salesman freely admitted that the original model has a better current. As far as my feet getting pulled down, although I din’t notice unless paying attention, I think that’s why my feet were hitting the steps so much. I stopped and watched the current and it appeared to angle towards the back right corner, curl around the back wall, and come back to the front along the left wall. This may also explain why it was hard to stay centered. In Endless Pools favor were a few things. The current could go faster than any of the other units, but they were all adequate for me. The current on the E700 is slectable in 1 second per hundred yard increments with a clock displaying your pace. The current is also controlled by a remote rather than a finnicky touch screen. BTW, I don’t know why the manufacurers put the touch screens at the back of the pool when you swim at the front of the pool. The E700 was quiter than the PDC, but jot as quiet as the Master Spas. The same steps that get in the way while you’re swimming provide easy access to the pool. That being said, the steps in the PDC were just fine. Endless Pool sells through dealers, so they arrange delivery and setup, but this means higher pricing also.


    Tomorrow afternoon I will be in Jacksonville, testing the Badujet Turbo Pro. Honestly, it’s hard for me to imagine the swim experience being much better than the PDC Truswim. Given the additional headaches of building and installing a pool to use it in, it’s going to have to be way better. So far the TruSwim checks all of the boxes for me. But since the trip is booked, I will go through with it.

  • Aglitter
    11 days ago
    last modified: 11 days ago

    Thank you for all that excellent information @Mike Wrob! I had been eagerly waiting for your report and felt like saying "drumroll, please," when I saw you had posted!

    I believe the touch control pads Master Spas and PDC would be using are both from Balboa, thus the similar look and feel. Be sure to keep the touchpad dry if you purchase the PDC. You may even want to put a towel over the pad while you are using the spa. If it malfunctions they'll just replace it, no problem. By going with the PDC, you'll lose that extra therapy seat you wanted, so your separate hot tub will become all that more important.

    It sounds like that you have found the spa you want, so when you test the Badu Turbo Pro, it may not be valuable to you, but it will sure be valuable to me if you can report back, particularly on the noise level. If the Badu Turbo Pro is quieter than the PDC TruSwim, or even better, as quiet as the Master Spas Challenger, and has a drag-free current, I would investigate anything needed to build a pool to be able to use it.

    I'm glad you got to test the E700 just to make sure it wasn't going to work for you. I actually injured my left foot on the E550 doing breaststroke, and it took a few days to heal. Those back steps are definitely not a smart design choice, in addition to all the other design choices EP could have done differently to make better swim spas for their first foray into the acrylic market. Safe travels to Florida, and thanks a MILLION for the report thus far!

  • Mike Wrob
    11 days ago

    @Aglitter The moment you have been waiting for. I tested the Badujet Turbo Pro today.


    Overall the Turbo Pro was as expected. The unit was very quiet, I’m sure it would satisfy even the most discerning user. You only hear the flow of the water past your ears, no motor sound at all. It was also quiet out of the pool, so you would not disturb the neighbors. The current was very smooth. Visually there appeared to be a slight chop on top at high speeds, but it was a non issue while swimming. The current was very easy to stay centered in, with one caveat. The current starts fairly narrow where it exits the nozzle (8 inches in diameter) at fans out the length of the pool. The test pool was 20 feet long and 12-15 feet wide. The current slows down as it fans out as would be expected. My sweet spot was with my head 5-6 feet from the nozzle with the my hands entering the water 3-4 feet from the nozzle. I don’t know if it would have been hard to stay centered if I got closer to the nozzle but I suspect it would. If you let yourself drift back, the current slows and it is a good way to catch a breather. I’m not sure if the current would fan out quite so much in a narrower pool. This widening of the current is not a problem, just something to be aware of. I like having the control buttons on the grate, to me that is best location of any of the pools I looked at. However the current varies from 650 gpm to 1500 gpm with only 10 steps. If you need finer control, you can vary your position in the current. You can also control the current at the control box in one gpm increments, but you have to get out of the pool to do that. You can also vary the current in one gpm increments using their app. The current at the highest level was faster than any of the pools I tested and I’m sure it would satisfy most competitive swimmers.


    So, am I going to get one? Right now I would say I’m leaning toward the PDC TSX17. While the current of the Badujet was better for serious swimming, the PDC was more than adequate for me. The PDC was a bit smoother, and wider from the beginning. The Badujet was quieter and stronger. However, the big advantage to me of the PDC is that you can just set it in place, connect the electricity and go. The Badujet would require building a pool or installing a fiberglass pool. Don’t get me wrong, the Badujet itself is very easy to install. The challenge for me is getting the pool itself built. Plus, the Badujet would require a larger pool. They recommend a minimum of 10 ft wide and 20 ft long. The width recommendation is in case you want to do butterfly but he said you could do 8 ft if you’re comfortable staying centered in the current. The 20 ft recommendation is to keep the current from going over the back wall at higher settings. This could be solved with a higher back wall. However, since you’ll be swimming a ways back from the front wall, I think 16 ft minimum, probably slightly more, with no seats or steps at your feet. BTW, the unit is flush with the front wall, so there’s that.


    Let me know if you have any questions.

  • Aglitter
    11 days ago
    last modified: 10 days ago


    @Mike Wrob Thank you, thank you, thank you! You are the best! In the 5 years I have been participating in the Houzz forums, I have to my recollection never before printed out a comment, but I just printed out a hard copy of your Badu Turbo Pro test results so I can save them securely! The combination of noise reduction plus good swim current is exactly what I had hoped the unit would provide but could not be sure about given the limited material online, and your test results are magnificent. Thank you so much for making the trip to Florida and sharing the experience with all of us. I'm so excited now that maybe I can have a swim spa after all with the Badu Turbo Pro!

    Here are a few reactions to each point, as follows:

    • Win on Noise! - I'm loving your description of "no motor sound at all" both in and out of the water. At present, the solitary live audio video available from an Irish Badu dealer on YouTube seems to indicate some sound in addition to water flow, but this was with one of the newest Turbo Pro models in an enclosed facility with a cell phone microphone that amplified any noise like a sonar. Improvements in the unit could have been made since then, and at least three people including yourself have said the unit is "very quiet" in person. Win, win win!!! Noise level and current quality are the two problems that very few swim current manufacturers have solved in tandem, and both are so critical to me personally that I would not embark upon installing a swim spa unless both issues had been addressed to near-perfection. My installation would be outdoors, and the open air would help mitigate every noise, including operational noises like filter circulation.
    • Current Relatively Smooth - Thanks for your observation on the smoothness of the current. Videos had shown some turbulence, which must be the "slight chop on top at high speeds" you noted. Those Turbo Pro videos I've seen must be demonstrating speeds higher than would be necessary for an extended fitness session at moderate to low speeds, based on your report. It's good to know that any turbulence produced was a non-issue while swimming.
    • Sweet Spot Fairly Far Back - Your finding the sweet spot with head 5 to 6 feet back (hands entering 3 to 4 feet back) is unsurprising based on similar patterns of demonstrators in the Turbo Pro videos online, and it is good to have your confirmation. On a side note, being able to swim a bit further back from the source of the wave probably also helps with noise reduction.
    • Question of How Long to Make the Pool - Knowing the sweet spot is fairly far back rules out a 15-foot or less minimum-length pool for all but maybe children, in my opinion. You suggested a "16-foot minimum, probably slightly more with no seats or steps at your feet." I think the 20-foot minimum rule suggested by one of the Badu techs to whom you spoke is probably the safest advice to allow for a range of heights of potential swimmers. At a height of 5 feet 7 inches, my body length with arms and toes fully extended is about 8 feet, so the gap needed between hands and feet to pool walls would be right on the line of requiring more than 15 feet for someone my height. By the time you build a 17- or 18-foot pool, why not be roomy and go for 20? The number differences sound big on paper, but in the field, it's not that much difference. Some strokes like breaststroke and butterfly will probably see the swimmer moving forward and back a little in a swim current, and as you said, it is good to be able to float further back for a slower pace from time to time as needed.
    • Width of Test Pool Surprising - I'm surprised by the width of the test pool, at 12 to 15 feet wide. That certainly brings more considerations into planning an installation and may even point to a round pool. I've always thought a round pool would facilitate the intake design of the Turbo Pro beautifully since intake is at both sides. You said the reps recommended a minimum of 10 feet in width but that 8 feet would qualify. Again, if you are going to the trouble of building a pool, I think the extra 2 feet will be negligible in cost, and you might as well go for the space. You'll have a little extra energy costs maintaining and heating the extra gallons, so that would be the only reason to reduce the space. Once again, a round pool would shine here because you would have the extra width right where you needed it but without the maintenance of the extra gallons of a square pool. Notably, a round pool can be safely installed above-ground due to the engineering of the shape resisting water pressure, while a square pool is usually in-ground for support. Some above-ground pool suppliers like Crestwood also offer both oval and round pools, but the ovals require side supports that the round pools do not.
    • Badu Should Step Up Its Game on Controls? - It could be that Badu is running into technical limitations making more fine-grained control available while inside the pool, but the 10-step control falls behind its competitors' offerings at the high end of the swim spa market, and needing to get out of the pool for additional control sounds messy. It could be that someone who swims regularly would be able to adjust the flow satisfactorily at a set speed, but I really love the programmable workouts you can get with Master Spas, and that would be a great addition to the Badu Turbo Pro some day. Doing that would probably introduce the problematic touch pad system, though, so until that technology improves, maybe the knob is preferable due to reliability. For competitive athletes, they will love knowing they cannot max out the Badu Turbo Pro to train at their desired speed, a problem with most other swim spas on the market (in addition to noise and current drag) and one of the reasons more competitive athletes aren't shopping for residential swim spas.


    It's natural you would be leaning toward the PDC TruSwim TSX17 because that is what you originally wanted, a ready-to-go, freestanding unit to place next to your existing deck. Also, the TruSwim current is wider and smoother than the Turbo Pro and offers plenty of power for your needs. The only drawback is the lack of second therapy seat. PDC could probably add some standing therapy jets to the unit at side back (similar to Endless Pools' and Master Spas' standing therapy jets) for you as a custom order, but I'm not sure it would be worth it if you have a secondary hot tub. By the time you get a TSX17 set, including having a foundation poured, hiring street-to-site movers, and electrical work done (bonding perimeter conductive materials in accordance with the National Electrical Code standards is a must for safety, and beware that not all contractors automatically do this for a swim spa), you will be beyond the $50K mark, and that is a lot of money, but whether or not you could get a pool built for the same amount is questionable. Not too long ago, $50K was an entry-level price point for an in-ground pool, but I spoke with a retired pool builder recently who told me current entry prices are closer to $80K to get an in-ground pool built these days, which wouldn't surprise me with inflation.

    Pros and cons of freestanding vs. in-ground swim spa are something that only you can gauge as to importance, but if I were making a list personally, the foremost item would be which swim current I favored. All else would pale in comparison to how well I liked each facet of the swim experience. Assuming the swim experiences, site requirements, and building permit accommodations were equal, then I would want to consider the probability of how long I would be at the location (freestanding swim spas can be moved with you), how upset I would be when the freestanding exterior cabinet started to fade or warp from sun exposure (it will happen in time, but most of those swim spa cabinets can be repainted with special paint), and what my anticipated budget would be if I ended up needing to replace the swim spa down the road, since an in-ground pool usually has a longer life expectancy than a portable swim spa. Longevity between in-ground vs. freestanding swim spas becomes irrelevant if a move is expected before 20 years elapses. How well energy costs could be controlled between the two types of installations would also be important for me personally. Some people would place beauty as a factor, which isn't high on my list, but to illustrate that point, here are a few photos of what your backyard could look like with an in-ground swim lane and water features like an infinity edge:




    You didn't want a liner pool, but just for fun I'm throwing in a photo of an above-ground liner pool from Crestwood made of Grade 1 Southern Yellow Pine. If you could create a mount for the Badu Turbo Pro, I think a pool like this including the Badu Turbo Pro unit would come in under $20K, so it is the least expensive option of any we have discussed for a decent swim lane experience. Crestwood uses high-quality liners that need replacement about every 10 years. Other options for wood pools exist including from water tower manufacturers using cedar and planks thicker than Crestwood uses. Wood is an excellent insulator, and foam is placed between the wood and the liner in these above-ground models for added insulation. All told, however, a wood pool will not conserve heat in the wintertime as well as a TruSwim would if you plan to swim all year.

    Your review was thorough, and I don't have questions at the moment. If I do go forward building a Badu Turbo Pro pool, I'll be heading to Florida myself to test the unit, and one of the things I'd like to check is how far down the unit is set from the water's edge. It looks low to me in demonstration videos, and I would want to be sure there wasn't any dead space on top of the current due to placement such as is rumored to be present with the Master Spas Michael Phelps' line of swim spas where the propeller is set too low and the current doesn't reach the top soon enough. It could be that if swimmers could swim further back in the MP units, they would get the proper effect as the current had more room to rise to the top, but that is impossible due to the limitations of the acrylic shells in the MP line.

    It's impossible to thank you enough for your reviews. Thank you so much, and happy swimming whatever setup you end up choosing!

  • Mike Wrob
    11 days ago

    @Aglitter No worries. Your posts have been extremely helpful and it’s the least I can do to return the favor.


    A few comments or clarifications. I think the TruSwim current is better than the Badujet current. It is a little smoother and it is wider at the source so it is consistent for the length of the pool. The Badujet is without a question quieter. Although I thought the Truswim was pretty quiet, if you thought the E700 is too loud, you won’t be satisfied with the Truswim, it is a little louder than the E700. By the way, the Master Spa was very quiet as well, as quiet or quieter than the Turbo Pro.


    After experiencing the hydro seats, they’re nice but hardly critical for me. I will be just fine with the one seat of the TruSwim.


    I think most people would be satisfied with either the Turbo Pro or the TruSwim. It comes down to what you are looking for in a pool. The TruSwim is good because you can pretty much drop it in place and be ready to go. You also get the other bells and whistles like a hydro seat, LED lighting, etc. The Badujet is going to apeal to the person that wants their own pool design or wants an in ground pool.


    In my case the cost is not the issue as much as the availabilty of someone to build a pool for me.


    As far as the durability of the complete units, I’m not really worried. The structural part of the acrylic shell is warrantied for 35 years and the surface finish is warrantied for 15 years. Since I will be keeping the pool covered and maintaining good water quality, I think the surface will hold up fine. The sun is relentless where I will be installing the pool, so I expect the cover and cabinet will need periodic replacement. The cover problem will be the same regardless of which pool I install. The cabinet will just require replacing the Trex every few years. The pumps etc. will have the same life regardless, they don’t know whether they’re serving a swim spa or in ground pool. The electrical work will be the same for a swim spa or in ground pool. Again, I think it comes down to personal preference.


    Thanks again for the great discussion.

  • Aglitter
    10 days ago
    last modified: 10 days ago

    @Mike Wrob Well, it was a HUGE favor for you to give such a comprehensive review of the Badu Turbo Pro, and thanks for these clarifications! I'm glad to know the information I've shared has been helpful, but as you have experienced, it really all comes down to how the wet testing performs for each individual swimmer as to which swim spa emerges at the top of the list for each installation. Different users prioritize varying elements of the swim spa experience, and body size and type of strokes also play roles in interfacing with the interior dimensions of different brands.

    It would make sense based on size alone that TruSwim would have the better current. Turbo Pro has smaller output and intake grates, and they are concentrated together in that rectangle shape. TruSwim's output and intake cover the entire front of the spa, probably nearly 30 square feet. If noise is all the same to you and you prefer the TruSwim current, the decision sounds like it is made right there. All the other factors are peripheral to those two things, in my view, swim quality and noise.

    Plenty of little swim spa tidbits that we haven't covered here are archived in my notes, but forum threads like this aren't designed to cover every item that might be applicable to the gamut of shoppers, so I've tried to respond mainly to points that have come up. One of those bits of information that I feel sure is saved in my notes somewhere is about the type of paint you can use to recoat Trex or other materials like Monarch poly of which the typical swim spa cabinetry is made. That poly fades in the sun and can even warp over time. Some people have reported problems with Master Spas cabinetry warping in as few as three years, but hopefully PDC's Trex will last much longer. Replacing the cabinet, as you suggested, is the best way to refresh the look, but you can get special paint to adhere if fading is a problem, and it seems I recall that the paint needs to be heat resistant to stand up to the sun exposure. If you are interested in those details, please let me know, and I will search for the specifics of what properties the paint needs to have.

    It would be unfair for me to call Endless Pools E Series "loud." The Endless Pools E Series I tested was on the border of being quiet enough yet just over the line that I felt I would have been unhappy with the noise, particularly in combination with its current problems. The E Series created some sort of popping or drumming noise to my hearing which was maybe from the way the water flowed so directly, and that drumming was louder than any motor noise. I felt the Master Spas Challenger was quieter, enough that I could have tolerated it long term, but again I ultimately decided against Challenger due to current drag. The EP had a high-pitched whine that the Challenger did not, and I have been told the high-pitched whine comes from all swim spa wave machines that are driven by hydraulics, so that would include all SwimEx spas, PDC's TruSwim line, and all EPs. Challenger and Badu Turbo Pro units do not incorporate any hydraulics, thus the absence of whine noise with them. So, as I understand, you have listed the brands in order of noise level, quietest to loudest as you perceived them, as follows:

    1. Master Spas Challenger
    2. Badu Turbo Pro (close second)
    3. Endless Pools E Series
    4. PDC TruSwim
    5. Endless Pools Originals


    This is incredibly helpful, and thank you again! Low noise is one of my non-negotiables, and I appreciate having someone like you wet test all these models and compare them.

    It sounds like you're the future owner of a PDC TruSwim, and you must be excited! Actually I'm excited for you! You're going to love that spa and hopefully get a couple of decades of use out of it, maybe more.

    @Tom If you are still with us, I think these reports from @Mike Wrob should help direct your focus to a PDC TruSwim for serious consideration for your swim spa project. Pricing will be higher than the Master Spas Trainer you were quoted, but the TruSwim current is so superior that it may be just the thing you need to support you in actually being able to swim for extended periods. At your height of six feet, I would not recommend going any smaller than the TruSwim TSX17 that @Mike Wrob tested yesterday. Having a good, drag-free current will mean the world to you embarking upon your swimming exercise journey. If you think that you and your wife will primarily prefer to do aerobics or treadmill work in the water rather than swimming, check out the standing water exercises that SwimEx publishes on their YouTube channel (which can be done in any pool with a waterline at chest level or below), and also consider the two-person Endless Pools Originals setup, pictured below, which comes with two propulsion units and can be fitted with two treadmills as well.



  • Mike Wrob
    10 days ago

    @Aglitter I think that’s how I would rank them as far as sound level. I didn’t listen to them side by side and I suspect our memory for sound level is pretty malleable. In addition, conditions were different for each observation. For example the Badu was outside while my other tests were inside. I tested the TruSwim first thing in the morning, the E700 was 3.5 hours later after interstate driving the whole way. I can tell you the following with certainty:

    • The Master Spas Challenger and Badujet Turbo Pro are definitely quieter than the others. I think the Challenger is the quieter of the two.
    • The TruSwim TSX17 and the Endless Pools E700 are the next step up in noise level and very similar. I think the E700 is a little quieter.
    • My original Endless Pool is definitely louder than the others. I’ve got the hydraulic pump 30-40 feet from the pool, otherwise it would be even worse. The pool is 15-20 feet from our bedroom. My partner, who is a light sleeper, asks me to keep the window closed when I swim in the morning or else it wakes her up.

    The Badujet rep said that the San Jaun Sea Isle would not work with the Turbo Pro because of the little step downs on the wall. He said most fiberglass pools have the same issue.


    Facebook must be tracking what I’m doing because this ad showed up in my feed, Plungie Pools. It’s a 10 x 20 concrete pool and could even be used above ground. I don’t know that they could cast an opening for the Turbo Pro, but I suspect they could.

  • Aglitter
    10 days ago
    last modified: 5 days ago

    @Mike Wrob Thanks for the concrete pool tips. I am always looking for unique, freestanding pool ideas and have over the years run across several brands that offer precast concrete. On further inspection, the Plungie pool and other precast, concrete pool forms I have researched seem to have poor longevity reviews. They look adorable, and the concept sounds ideal, but people deal with chipping, cracking, and even worse problems once they are set. If it is a low-hassle experience someone wants with a swim spa, a TruSwim is a universe ahead of precast concrete pool products. Concrete products that are cast on site, even freestanding concrete pools cast on site, tend to fare much better. Sadly, plenty of unsuspecting customers continue to purchase these portable concrete products because, as we've discussed throughout this thread, unbiased reviews of swim spas and freestanding pools are hard to find. You must search all the potential places for online reviews to learn about some of these flaws.

    Simply based on my own swim spa testing as well as videos with live audio online, I can believe that your lineup of noise levels is accurate. We know that hydraulic products will usually be louder than jets in a swim spa, though I am sure exceptions exist. A PDC rep told me that his Synergy and Summit swim spa lines with jets are quieter than TruSwim because TruSwim has a hydraulic motor. That was a smart move to put your hydraulic Endless Pools motor 30 to 40 feet away. People are doing that with the old Badu Jet motors as well to try to reduce noise, and at least some of those are hydraulic. When I swim, my sessions are usually an hour, and over that length of time with my sensitive hearing, it's just not feasible for me to purchase a swim spa with a running level over the 70 decibel range. I wish swim spa companies would give decibel rankings on their swim spas, but even much larger industries like the vacuum cleaner industry rarely do this even though it's an important factor for the purchaser when dealing with a product that could impact hearing.

    If @Tom can deal with a noise level higher than the Master Spas Challenger, he'll get a better current from the TruSwim, but if noise is his priority, I don't know what to suggest because anything in the Master Spas H2X line will promote sinking feet during the swim. A stronger swimmer might not feel it so much, but someone just getting back into swimming might have trouble with it. He might want to try TruSwim's jetted Synergy or Summit lines to see if they have a better current than the Challenger. Whether he could tolerate an air-injected jet stream as well as Challenger's airless jets remains to be seen. I still think the Artesian TidalFit might be a good option for him, as well. They specialize in dual temp units, and their premium therapy seats would offer his wife that warmer soaking temperature she was hoping to get.

    It is still sinking in that I have a quality review on the Badu Turbo Pro now thanks to you. You truly have made my year by doing this. Thank you, thank you!