There are only a few brands at the very top of the list which make swim spas. If you have done preliminary research, you realize that there aren’t 50. The number is likely closer to five, and we doubt you’ll find more than 10 you’d consider to be truly elite swim spa makers.
That means chances are, if you’ve been looking at swim spas, you’re going to be able to get your list of brands to consider down to a few near you quite quickly. And when you do that, we fully expect that Hydropool and Master Spas are going to pop up on that short list. Both of these brands have long histories and have worked to establish the market for swim spas around the world.
But which is best? It’s a fair question and one many people ask. And our answer is always the same: The best one is the one that’s right for you.
We don’t mean it as a cop-out answer that doesn’t really answer the question. And we don’t want to just shout from the rooftops that “Hydropool is best!” (even if we might think it is).
We know some people choose Master Spas, and some choose us, and it’s because people need to decide what they want, and what is best for them.
That’s why we wrote this article. With that in mind, we want people to understand what they get with Hydropool and what they get with Master Spas, to help them decide which is best.
We will use the following areas to compare:
- Swim Capabilities
- Ease of Maintenance
We have been in this business for 40 years, and we understand people will comparison shop. We will always have competition. What we want to do with this article is try to explain which of the two swim spa brands is closer to what you’re looking for, to help you speed up your search and get you into the swim spa you want.
Hydropool versus Master Spas: Which Swim Spa Looks Best?
Both Hydropool and Master Spas have been around for a long time, with Master Spas celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2021, and Hydropool going back to the late 1970s. It’s little wonder then that each company has taken what you could call a classic approach to design.
Color options are also similar. Hydropool offers three acrylic shells in Alpine Mist, Pure White and Silver Marble as opposed to Sterling Silver or Sierra with Master Spas, and both feature two cabinet choices, with Hydropool offering a grey/brown and a black, while Master Spas has a rich brown and a graphite.
If one color combo jumps out at you from that list, it could be a factor in your decision, but the goal of both companies is clearly to offer mainstream, pleasing colors, with an emphasis on neutral options. Both builders have designed their swim spas to blend into yards as opposed to stand out in them. At Hydropool at least, we have found most people want their swim spa to blend into the landscape and have guided our design ideas accordingly.
The choice comes down to: They look very similar, so unless there is a detail that jumps out at you, this one is either a personal choice or a draw.
Which has the Better Swim: Hydropool or Master Spas?
Before we tackle this, we need to establish what we’re comparing. This is because both companies put a lot of emphasis on the swimming experience and offer a variety of options to have a good swim.
Both companies have relatively complex product lines. Each is clearly trying to offer something for every possible swim spa customer, and when doing that, some complexity in the product lines is guaranteed.
If you’re comparison shopping, it’s best to compare the following collections of each swim spa company:
- Endless is split into two collections, H2X and MP. Hydropool roughly measures up with a Play, Aquatic and Executive collection. Breaking it down further:
- The Master Spa H2X Therapool and Hydropool Aqua Play 13FFP are comparable as family-oriented pools, with less of an emphasis on swimming.
- The Master Spa H2X Trainer trims are roughly comparable to Hydropool’s Sport trim lines, which are found in both Aquatic and Executive Sport collections.
- Master Spas’ X2X Challenger is comparable to our AquaTrainer models.
- Master Spas’ MP collection is comparable to the Executive Trainer.
When it comes to swimming, what does this mean?
- On the H2X Therapool and Hydropool’s Play both use similar jet propulsion.
- On the H2X Trainer and the Hydropool Sport swim spas, Hydropool uses different types of jets to create the swim.
- The H2X Challenger, uses jet propulsion to create the swim, as does Hydropool with its AquaTrainer.
- On the higher-end MP collection, Master Spa uses a propeller system. Hydropool Executive Trainer uses a variable-speed V-Twin jet system, which is unique to it.
Let’s look at each in turn.
Master Spas H2X Trainer vs Hydropool Sport
The H2X lines and Sport lines are both designed for a range of swimming abilities, but each stops short of offering a top-of-the-line experience. That’s reserved for the elite trim levels.
Since both systems use jet propulsion to create their swims, if you guessed the experience is similar in each swim spa, you’d be right. Here are the key differences that we see, which is that Hydropool has spent more effort on engineering a smooth, stable swim. Hydropool has three features that help it create a smooth swim in the Sport series:
- Oval Jets: Oval jets help spread the water out, rather than have it come out directly, like water through a hose. The oval opening forces the water into a fan shape as it is pushed out into the spa, which creates a smoother, more stable swim.
- Shredding the Vortex: Within that oval jet opening, Hydropool has placed what looks like a large cheese grater. What it does is break up the water’s tendency to spin and again, without weakening it. Again, the effect is a smoother, more stable current that you can swim in.
- The shape of the Hydropool swim spa is designed to reduce reflective waves that disrupt swimming. When the water is pushed out of the jets and into the back wall of the swim spa, it needs to go somewhere or it will come back at the swimmer. Hydropool has engineered the shell of their swim spas to absorb this effect.
Master Spa’s H2X Trainer has created a simple, easy to use swim system. It features:
- Four injector plate adjustable jets.
- Velocity Injector Cones, which, along with the water flowing through the jets, help to create negative pressure around the perimeter of the jet face allowing water to be pulled through the front grill, into the main water stream.
- The jets are able to be turned on and off with a valve, on the side of the swim spa.
What the Master Spas H2X Trainer vs Hydropool Sport Series Choice Comes Down To:
When it comes to swim spas, we urge you to try them before you buy. Find a retailer that offers both or find two retailers that each offer one of the brands. For the amount of money a swim spa costs, if you want to use your swim spa for swimming, then we believe you need to see the difference and decide for yourself.
Hydropool AquaTrainer vs Master Spa H2X Challenger Series
- elite-level V-Twin swim jets powered by three swim pumps, combined with a digital display control that’s inside the swim area that allows you to adjust the speed or dial in programs. You can actually see it as you swim and adjust it.
- Has performance flow intakes that absorb the reflexive wave that creates a more consistent swim
- The overall shell is designed with hips to control the reflective wave.
Master Spa H2X has:
- Has 6 swim jets, are powered by three swim pumps
- It has a digital control that sits up top, out of the swim area, where you adjust your swim level.
- It is very easy to enter from either side, with steps on either side of the swim area coming down the side of the swim spa, allowing entry.
Hydropool Executive Trainer vs Master Spa MP Series
Both propellers and jets can create high-end swim experiences.
- Master Spa uses what it calls Wave Propulsion. A motor powers a propeller which generates a current in the water, without the addition of air. That creates a strong current, as the water is pushed directly from the propeller, allowing swimmers to swim against it.
- The MP swim spas have a digital control that allows the swim to be controlled from 0-100. It’s very similar to the control on the Hydropool Executive Trainer, which interfaces with the standard FORM goggles, which creates a virtual heads-up display that gives you time, distance and caloric output, among other things, as you swim, all calibrated to the swim spa.
- Hydropool uses a variable speed V-Twin jet that is powerful, but doesn’t create havoc in the water either. That’s because of the engineering that shreds the vortex on the water as it comes through the twin jets. For more on how Hydropool does this, click here. Essentially, the jets spread the water out across the swim spa, allowing a stable, wide current, rather than creating a rapid or other splashing. Hydropool has a patent on this system.
If you’re pushing water into a contained area, it has to go somewhere. The two companies have handled this differently. Hydropool pushes the water to the outside of the swim spa, moving it through what’s called the Current Collector, where it can be pushed out of the jets again. Master Spa has suction on the front of the swim spa as opposed to the back, so that the water returns to the front, underneath the swimmer, before being inhaled by the propeller again. It’s two ways to accomplish the same thing.
Both companies offer digital panels to control swim speed on these trimlines, allowing swimmers to set and adjust their swim speeds as they need.
Hydropool Executive Trainer vs Master Spa MP Series: The Choice Comes Down To:
If you’re down to comparing these two elite models, then we urge you to try both and see what you like best. At this price point, you should be getting the model that works just the way you want it to. Both can deliver good swims, so what matters most is what works best for you, no question.
Which is Easier to Maintain: Hydropool or Master Spas?
As with most of these categories, you’ll find more similarities than differences when it comes to maintenance:
- Each of these swim spas offers UV and ozone systems that help make it so bacteria doesn’t form. Ozone is standard on Master Spa, and you can get ozone and UV as an upgrade, allowing you more choice. Hydropool has both standard.
- Hydropool uses steel frames, while Master Spas use a coated wood frame.
- Master Spas uses full foam insulation, while Hydropool uses a thermal blanket (for more on insulation, click here). Both lines are certified by the California Energy Commission, which is the strictest regulatory body in the world.
The main difference is that Hydropool has a patented self-cleaning system that is adapted from commercial pools, while Master Spas is using a system similar to one originally designed for hot tubs.
The choice comes down to: Hydropool took sanitation from a large body of water and modified it for a smaller body of water, while Master Spas, like most companies, uses what has become the industry standard method of cleaning swim spas. Which do you prefer?
A quick word about a post-swim massage:
- Master Spa’s unique massage capability allows you to stand and receive a full-body massage. Hydropool has full body massagers, where you move seat-to-seat so that your full body can receive a massage. While you can get a full body massage in both systems, Master Spa’s system is uniquely impressive, and we’d be remiss not to point it out here.
Which is Better at Price: Hydropool or Master Spas?
This one is hard to figure out. At the time of this writing, we could not find pricing for Master Spas swim spas online. While Hydropool publishes pricing for its models, not every company does, and Master Spas is one that doesn’t.
With that being said, we can tell you that:
- Pricing is going to depend on where you live. In most of the United States, you can expect Master Spas to likely cost somewhat less than Hydropool. In Canada, you can expect Hydropool to cost you less.
- Shipping within the U.S. costs Master Spas less – they are made in Indiana, while Hydropool’s are from Mississauga, Ontario, in Canada. It’s worth asking about that early in the buying process, so you know what to budget for.
- The exchange rate at any given time plays a big role in final costs. Sometimes you can get more swim spa if you’re buying Canadian, sometimes it’s better to buy American, no matter where you live.
Which is better when it comes to pricing? If you want to compare fairly, what we’d suggest is working with one company to figure out the model that you want. Then take that quote to a dealer who sells the opposing brand and ask them to outfit you with a comparable model, without showing the amount you were first quoted. It’s our best advice to see if you’re getting a fair price.
Master Spas vs Hydropool: Which is right for me?
It’s a great question, and one that many swim spa buyers must contemplate. Which to buy?
We wrote this article because we know you may well start asking yourself that question when considering buying a swim spa.
Hydropool and Master Spas are two of the elite swim spa builders. What we think you will find as a customer is that it will come down to a personal preference in a detailed element or a cost advantage of one over the other.
In this article, we compared the looks, swim capabilities, ease of maintenance and cost of these two leading swim spas builders. Here’s some of the key differences, and some good questions to leave you with:
- How much do I value the highly-engineered swim experience that Hydropool has versus the cachet of the MP line offered by Master Spas?
- Do I want Hydropool’s self-cleaning technology or am I good with Master Spas’ industry standard system?
- Do I want to get a Master Spa massage standing up or am I fine with moving seat-to-seat in a Hydropool?
Each of these decisions will help you make what amounts to a very close call between the two brands.
Disclaimer: In this article, we’ve used brand names not affiliated with Hydropool or Jacuzzi Brands LLC, the parent company of Hydropool. All information, including pricing and product details, was accurate at the time of writing and may change without notice.