You may have stumbled on this article because it’s hot where you live and you want a pool. Or maybe it’s colder outside and you’re thinking about a fancy hot tub. Either way, you’ve made it here, so welcome! We’d love to talk about some backyard pool and hot tub ideas, whether you’re looking for one or both.

We thought the best way to go about this would be to start with the pros and cons of hot tubs and inground pools, and then talk about whether or not it’s worth having both and what your options are.

At Baltimore Swimming Pools, we not only love making and installing inground fiberglass pools, but we also love teaching people about pools. When a homeowner decides they want an inground pool, it can be overwhelming. Trust us when we say we’ve seen it before: the uncertainty, questions, and even doubt as homeowners try to decide what kind of pool is best for them. We’ve seen how hard it can be to make this choice, so we’ve known for a long time that, while we do care about our fiberglass pools, what we really care about is helping homeowners choose a pool that will let them spend time with the people they care about. Even if it’s not fiberglass.

Anyway, let’s get to the main topic: the pros and cons of hot tubs and inground pools.

Hot Tubs & In-Ground Pools: Pros & Cons

You’ll probably hear this about most things in life: everything has its pros and cons. The same is true for hot tubs. There are pros and cons to owning a hot tub, but how much one outweighs the other will depend on your situation and what you want to get out of it.

Pros of Hot Tubs:

  • It gets hot. We know it’s obvious, but even if you put a heater in your pool, a hot tub tends to get hotter and be better for soaking in.
  • They can help with healing. This can also be said about swimming in a pool since it has been shown that exercising in water is a great way to work out. But, like when you take a hot bath to ease sore muscles or joints, the hot water in a hot tub can have the same effect, but in style. The jets that come with hot tubs can also be great for relaxing.
  • Your yard may not get as messy during installation as it would with a pool. Don’t get us wrong, putting in an inground feature of this kind is going to cause some trouble. But to be fair, an inground pool requires a much bigger hole than a hot tub.
  • Less expensive to maintain than a pool. Less water means fewer chemicals are needed to keep it up.

Cons of Hot Tubs:

  • They are not very big. Not a lot of lap swimming is going to happen in a hot tub (or much swimming at all for that matter). If you decide you want to try out that new water aerobics routine you saw online, your hot tub probably won’t be enough.
  • There are fewer ways to design them. Since you have limited space, you won’t be able to get things like tanning ledges that you might find in an inground pool. (You might not need one, but hey, it’s nice to have the
    choice, right?)
  • You may need to get a permit. You may have thought to yourself, “I’ve heard of permits for swimming pools, but do you need a permit for a hot tub?” This will depend on the rules where you live. Some places may only need a permit if the hot tub holds more than a certain number of gallons of water, so always check with a builder if you’re thinking of getting one.

Inground pools are a little different, since they are, well, much bigger than a regular hot tub.

Pros of Inground Pools:

  • They give you room to move around and swim freely, but you can also lounge on them. How much swim space you have compared to lounge space will depend on how your pool is made, but in general, you’ll have much more room than in a hot tub, no matter how big your pool is.
  • They make a statement. This isn’t to say that a hot tub can’t do the same thing, but an inground pool tends to draw attention and give your yard an auto-luxury boost.
  • They offer more unique design options. In-ground pools can have tanning ledges, courtesy ledges, zero-entry steps, and more, depending on the type of pool and the manufacturer you choose.

Cons of Inground Pools:

  • You’ll most likely need some kind of permit. Like with hot tubs, the permits you’ll need will depend on where you live and any rules your area has for private residence pools. Your pool builder is often the best person to talk to about what permits are needed and if you need to get them.
  • During installation, your yard will probably get a lot more messed up. We like to be honest with our customers about this: when we install inground fiberglass pools, there is going to be a mess to clean up. Excavating, hauling dirt, plumbing, and all the other things that go into the installation are messy by their very nature. Your yard won’t look like this forever, and it’s all a means to an end—a beautiful pool.
  • Higher costs to keep up than a hot tub. As we said, there’s more water to take care of and manage here than in a hot tub, so you’ll probably spend more on chemicals to keep it balanced. How much you spend on pool maintenance depends on the type of pool you choose.

Is It Worthwhile to Have Both?

So, we looked at the pros and cons of having one over the other. But is it worth it to have both? In theory, can hot tubs be used as pools? We’d say no, not really. But maybe this depends on how you see how a pool is used. If you see a pool as a place to sit, relax, and float, then yes, a hot tub could serve that purpose. 

However, you won’t have as much room to swim in a hot tub as you would in a whole pool. It may be worth it to have both in your yard if you plan to use them for different things. For example, you may want to swim laps in your pool and relax in your hot tub after a long day.

Possible Choices for In-Ground Pools & Hot Tubs

You can get a pool and a hot tub separately, but there are also options for pool and hot tub designs that combine the two. When you work with concrete or vinyl, which let you make custom designs, you can make a pool with a spa in it if you want to. Since fiberglass pools are pre-made and pre-designed, you would have to find a manufacturer that has a pool-spa combo design in their line. As an example, this is the X36 pool model from Baltimore Swimming Pools. This is a rectangular pool with a hot tub and a ledge for tanning.

There are designs out there that have both a pool and a hot tub. Some are freeform, while others have a pool in the shape of a rectangle with a hot tub. With a design like this, it’s easy to move from the pool to the tub to the tanning ledge in any order. Plus, everything comes in one package and doesn’t need any extra digging outside of the pool shell itself.

Rather keep the two things apart? No worries, there are a lot of options for you to choose from. When it comes to fiberglass, there are a lot of options to suit different tastes, such as modern rectangular pool designs, carefree freeform designs, and classic Roman designs.

Each style of the pool creates a different feeling, so it’s best to decide if you want a more modern/clean look (rectangle), a natural look (freeform), or a classical/historic look (Roman).

Most spas are either square or round, with the option of adding a spillover. What exactly is a spillover spa, you may ask? It is exactly what it sounds like: a spa that is cut and designed so that water flows out of it and into your pool like a waterfall. Here’s a neat little diagram that shows how spillovers work compared to a regular spa:

A spillover takes water from your pool, circulates and heats it, then puts it back in the pool. People tend to choose this option because it feels elegant.

Last Thoughts

We hope this gave you all the ideas you needed to come up with some backyard pool and hot tub ideas. In the end, both pools and hot tubs are great options for places to relax and have fun. As we said at the beginning, our goal is to help homeowners create a space where they can spend time with the people they love. We think an inground pool is the best place for a night of relaxing with your coworkers or book club friends. Or maybe you like to keep things low-key, and your idea of a perfect evening is to relax with your partner at home. In that case, a hot tub is calling your name. No matter what you do, we hope you use it to have some great times with great people.

No matter which way you go, if you’re interested in doing it with fiberglass, contact the Baltimore Swimming Pool Pros dealer in your area for pricing.