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Can you use an inflatable hot tub as a pool?

how to protect your inflatable hot tub

In the world of backyard leisure, hot tubs and pools are popular for relaxation and entertainment. However, with space and budget constraints, some might wonder: can a hot tub be used as a pool? This article explores the feasibility, benefits, and considerations of using a hot tub in place of a pool.

No, you cannot effectively use a hot tub as a swimming pool. While both are water-based recreational spaces, they are designed for different purposes:

  1. Size and Depth: Hot tubs are much smaller and shallower than swimming pools. They do not provide sufficient space for swimming, diving, or other pool activities.
  2. Temperature: Hot tubs are typically heated to higher temperatures suitable for soaking and relaxation, not for swimming or cooling off.
  3. Jets and Seating: The design of hot tubs includes jets for massage and built-in seating, which restricts movement and is not conducive to swimming.
  4. Health and Safety: The high temperatures in hot tubs can be unsafe for prolonged activities like swimming, and the confined space increases the risk of injury.

While a hot tub can’t replace a swimming pool, it’s excellent for relaxation, hydrotherapy, and enjoying a warm soak.

Key Differences Between Hot Tubs and Pools

Before diving into the possibility of using a hot tub as a pool, it’s important to understand the fundamental differences between the two:

  1. Size and Depth: Pools are generally larger and deeper, suitable for swimming and aquatic activities. Hot tubs are smaller and designed for sitting and soaking.
  2. Temperature Settings: Hot tubs are typically heated to higher temperatures (around 100-104°F) ideal for relaxation and hydrotherapy, while pools are usually cooler, making them more suitable for exercise and cooling off.
  3. Water Jets and Circulation: Hot tubs have water jets for massage and relaxation, whereas pools have minimal water movement.
  4. Maintenance and Chemical Balance: The maintenance of a hot tub differs from that of a pool, especially in terms of the frequency of water changes and chemical balance.

Using a Hot Tub as a Pool: Pros and Cons


  1. Space Efficiency: In limited spaces, a hot tub can serve dual purposes, providing relaxation and a place to cool off.
  2. Cost-Effectiveness: Operating and maintaining a hot tub can be less expensive than a pool.
  3. Year-Round Use: Hot tubs can be used throughout the year, unlike most outdoor pools.


  1. Limited Space for Swimming: Hot tubs don’t offer enough space for swimming or vigorous aquatic exercises.
  2. Higher Temperatures: The warmer temperatures of hot tubs are not ideal for cooling off during hot weather.
  3. Water Quality Concerns: Frequent use as a pool can alter the chemical balance, affecting water quality and requiring more maintenance.

Safety and Maintenance Considerations

  • Water Temperature: If using a hot tub like a pool, lower the temperature to a comfortable level, especially during hot weather.
  • Hygiene and Chemical Balance: Regularly test and adjust the water’s pH and sanitizer levels to maintain water quality.
  • Supervision: Always supervise children, as hot tubs are not designed for swimming and can pose a risk for drowning.
  • Regular Cleaning: Increased use may require more frequent cleaning and filter changes.

Alternatives and Solutions

  1. Portable Pools: Consider portable swimming pools as an alternative for swimming activities.
  2. Swim Spas: These are larger than traditional hot tubs and designed for both swimming and relaxation.
  3. Cooling Down Hot Tubs: Some hot tub models allow for cooler water settings, making them more pool-like in hot weather.


While a hot tub can serve as a makeshift pool in certain scenarios, it’s important to consider its limitations and the inherent differences between hot tubs and pools. For those with space or budget constraints, a hot tub can offer a relaxing experience, though it can’t fully replicate the swimming and exercise capabilities of a pool. It’s crucial to prioritize safety, proper maintenance, and the intended use to ensure a satisfying and enjoyable backyard experience.

FAQs tailored for the topic of using a hot tub as a pool

Is it safe to swim in a hot tub?

Hot tubs are not designed for swimming. They are shallower and have limited space, making them unsuitable for swimming. Always prioritize safety, especially with children, as the risk of drowning is still present.

Can I adjust my hot tub temperature to make it more like a pool during summer?

Yes, you can lower the temperature of your hot tub to make it more refreshing during hot weather. However, ensure it’s not too cold, as sudden temperature changes can be stressful to the body.

How often should I clean my hot tub if I’m using it as a pool?

Increased use as a pool generally requires more frequent cleaning and maintenance. It’s recommended to check and adjust the chemical levels more often and consider changing the water every few weeks, depending on usage.

Will using my hot tub like a pool affect my energy bills?

Using a hot tub as a pool, especially if you’re adjusting the temperature frequently, can impact energy consumption. Cooler water requires less heating, which might reduce costs, but increased filtration and jet use might offset these savings.

Are there health benefits to using a hot tub as a pool?

While hot tubs don’t offer the exercise benefits of swimming pools, they can still provide relaxation, stress relief, and muscle relaxation benefits, especially with the massaging action of the jets.

How can I ensure the water remains hygienic if I use my hot tub more frequently like a pool?

Maintain diligent water testing and treatment. Regularly check and adjust the pH, chlorine or bromine levels, and ensure the filtration system is clean and functioning properly.

What is the maximum number of people that should use a hot tub at one time if using it as a pool?

Adhere to the manufacturer’s recommendation for maximum occupancy. Overcrowding can quickly degrade water quality and strain the hot tub systems.

Can I use pool toys in my hot tub?

It’s advisable to avoid using regular pool toys in a hot tub, as they can damage the tub or get sucked into the filtration system. If you want to use toys, choose ones specifically designed for hot tub use.

What should I do if the water becomes cloudy or develops an odor?

Cloudy water or a foul odor indicates a chemical imbalance or contamination. Test the water, adjust the chemicals as needed, and consider a shock treatment. If the problem persists, completely drain, clean, and refill the hot tub.

Are there specific hot tub models more suitable for dual use as a pool?

Swim spas or larger hot tub models are more versatile for dual use, offering more space and adjustable temperature settings suitable for both hot tub and pool-like experiences.