What is a Plunge Pool? (Pros, Cons, Costs, and More…)

What are the pros and cons of a plunge pool? Should you buy one? What are the costs? Get answers to these questions and more in this article.

plunge pool

In nature, a plunge pool is a deep hole made at the base of a waterfall cascade. Taking this natural wonder as inspiration, spa and swimming pool makers have taken the plunge, so to speak, to bring this relaxing experience to our homes.

If you find you don’t have the budget or space for a full-sized swimming pool, a plunge pool could be the next best thing! In fact, you might find it is even better than a full-sized pool for reasons we explain below.

In this article, we will discuss:

So, what is a plunge pool?

A plunge pool is a small, typically deep, pool designed for wading, paddling and water play. While they have many similarities with a typical swimming pool, plunge pools are much smaller. In fact, a typical plunge pool is 4m x 2m. While a standard residential pool is around 9m x 4m.

Like swimming pools, plunge pools have pumps and filtration systems. . They can be built into the ground and made from concrete or fibreglass, or pre-built from acrylic and either installed in-ground or above-ground.

The two most common types of plunge pools are:

  • Small in-ground pools
  • Pre-built acrylic plunge pools

Let’s talk about these two types of plunge pools in more detail below.

Smaller In-Ground Pool

A plunge pool is usually 4 to 7 metres long and just over 2 metres wide and 1.2 to 2.4 meters deep, making it compact and ideal for limited space or at a premium. In general, a pool that measures six metres or less is already considered a plunge pool.

Since this type of plunge pool is constructed onsite, you are free to design and customize it however you like – round, half-circle, l-shaped, square, or rectangular.

There are plenty of options available for plunge pools to be outfitted or to get fancier just like traditional swimming pools, such as jets. built-in stairs, lighting, and other water features.

small in-ground plunge pool

Small in-ground plunge pool

Acrylic Plunge Pool

To picture the size of an acrylic plunge pool, it is larger than typical spa pools but smaller than swim spas. It is commonly made of an acrylic-moulded shell with a cedar cabinet containing all its equipment. Because of this, it can add efficient insulation features, making your plunge pool an efficient year-round heating and cooling option.

Most of the companies that built swim spas and spa pools are also the ones that developed plunge pools, which is why they’re also perfect for hydromassage therapy using spa jets. Furthermore, larger plunge pools are more spacious at one end and can offer swimming exercises and other fitness activities.

acrylic plunge pool

Acrylic plunge pool

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What is the point of a plunge pool?

A plunge pool is a smaller pool designed primarily for leisure rather than for swimming. As its name suggests, it is mainly for plunging rather than swimming because of its small size. While it won’t allow you to take laps or play active games, it is still great for doing low-impact water exercises and for rehabilitation. It is typically used for having a dip to cool down or just for soaking for a relaxing experience.

Can you customise a plunge pool into a spa pool?

Yes, with amenities like jets, pumps, heating components, and water sanitisation systems, plunge pools can be customised and transformed into soothing spa pools.

Can a plunge pool be heated?

Yes, plunge pools can be heated. There are a number of different ways to heat them (i.e. electric or gas heating), but a heat pump is often the best option for homeowners. They're cheap, cost-effective, and can be fast and efficient.

Spanet heat pump

SpaNet™ Heat Pump

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What are the pros of a plunge pool?

There is no denying that a plunge pool can offer a lot of great advantages. But, you also need to weigh up whether it is the right option for you. Let’s take a look at some of the benefits they offer.

Plunge pools don’t take up much space. With the size of a plunge pool comes the chance for homeowners who wouldn't otherwise have the space for a full-sized pool to enjoy a place to relax that enlivens the outdoor space. A plunge pool is perfect if you live in an urban area or in places where lot costs are expensive and where you don’t have the space for a regular swimming pool.

It is cheaper to install and maintain than a traditional pool. There is a lot to love about a plunge pool. One of the main reasons for this is that it makes owning a swimming pool easier and cheaper than ever before.

Plunge pools are very popular because they're tiny and space-saving – which also means that they are cheaper to build and install, are easy to clean, and require far less water than a swimming pool. Because a plunge pool is smaller than a full-sized swimming pool, it uses less water. This is also an environmentally-friendly choice for everyone who cares about sustainability.

It provides relaxation. Soaking in cold plunge pool water can give an invigorating experience, especially during the warmer season. Additionally, an acrylic plunge pool has its own heating system which allows you to use it even during the colder months. Soaking in warm water helps you to relax by improving your blood flow and circulation. This will relieve your body, tensions, headaches, chronic pains, and sore muscles. Warm water also gives a soothing effect that can reduce stress and anxiety, helping you to have better sleep.

Whether you’re into sports, returning home from a long stressful day, or just having a personal relaxation time, a plunge pool is a great place to relax any time of the day.

plunge pools for relaxation

It can provide health benefits. Because of spa jets installed in an acrylic plunge pool, you can benefit from a water-based therapy called hydrotherapy. Spa jets are responsible for hydromassage, and with the help of accurate water temperature, they stimulate your body, hence helping your brain to produce happy hormones called endorphins. You can also achieve improvement in your blood circulation.

Hydrotherapy is also used to aid patients who have pains, arthritis, and other muscle and bone ailments by stretching their muscles and soothing their joints.

It is great for entertainment. Owning a plunge pool means you have unlimited access to it and can use it whenever you want (especially if it has a heater). This also means you can stay at home without the need to go to a public pool.

Kids can play and splash around the plunge pool. It also provides a safe setting for your children to learn swimming skills. They can learn how to tread, paddle, and float until they get used to the water.

You can also hold parties and get-togethers with the plunge pool as your centrepiece. You can all grab some drinks and enjoy the soak. To make the most use of it, adding some accessories is a great option too.

family in a plunge pool

It can be great for aquafitness and exercising. Plunge pools can provide space for low-impact aquatic exercise suitable for any fitness level such as water walking or jogging, arms circling, ball water aerobics, water weight lifting, and pool noodle exercises. Exercising in water is great even for those who are pregnant, have balance issues, joint pain, and sports injuries.

Watch: Aquafitness at home in a plunge pool

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What are the cons of a plunge pool?

Despite the many benefits a plunge pool can offer, there are still some downsides to it. We’ve listed them down for you to consider.

It has limited space. Unlike a traditional swimming pool, there's only going to be a limited amount of space inside a plunge pool. Because of its small size, you might only be able to fit up to four adults for it not to get too crowded, so it's not really good for large-scale pool parties. It's also not suitable for lap swimming.

It offers fewer swimming options. Plunge pools cannot be used for lap swimming because their length is limited. They are also not suitable for diving because they are not designed to have a very deep end.

How much does a plunge pool cost?

The price of a plunge pool will vary based on a number of factors, such as the material (concrete or fibreglass), the installation method, and the extra features and amenities included. Let’s take a look at the possible costs below:

The average cost of a small, above-ground plunge pool is $10,000 to $20,000. An in-ground plunge pool costs around $25,000. But if you want a high-quality fibreglass pool, you'll have to budget more. The price can reach up to $50,000 if you want to include every feature (jets for hydrotherapy, heating system, self-cleaning system, and lighting). For pre-built acrylic plunge pools, prices range from $13,500 to $34,000.

Take note that the total cost of installing (above or in-ground) your new pool spa, plus any additional decking or landscaping you choose, will increase the final price.

Plunge pool or pool? Which is better?

To know which one is the best option, consider these factors and see which one fits your needs and situation.

Size. A plunge pool is a better option than a traditional swimming pool if you have limited space. They are small and compact and can be easily installed without worrying about taking up much of your backyard space. This also means that a plunge pool is more affordable than a swimming pool. So this is a win-win situation.

Installation. Aside from being less expensive to purchase, plunge pools are also cheaper and easier to install. A traditional swimming pool requires more materials and complex building procedures that take up several weeks or months to finish depending on the size.

On the other hand, acrylic plunge pools are smaller, self-contained, and faster to install into a proper concrete slab. Adding pergolas, steps, landscaping, and decks is optional and can be completed at a future date.

Built-in heating system. If you are getting an acrylic plunge pool, you would have the heating system as one thing less to worry about. This type of plunge pool has a built-in heating system that allows you to adjust its temperature according to your preference. This makes the plunge pool more versatile than a swimming pool and can be used all year-round.

Maintenance. Swimming pools require more time and effort to clean and maintain. Regular upkeep includes skimming, vacuuming, and filtering. On the other hand, plunge pools being smaller and having less water means there’s less maintenance required.

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In Summary

If you’re looking for a backyard pool that won’t break the bank, is easy to maintain and install and that will provide hours of year-round fun for the whole family – then a plunge pool could be an excellent option for you.

  • Plunge pools are great for backyards with limited space.
  • They are cheaper to build and easier to maintain as they’re smaller than regular-sized pools.
  • They are great for aquafitness, exercising, and relaxing.
  • With jets, plunge pools provide health benefits through hydrotherapy.
  • They can be a good centrepiece for parties or for teaching kids how to swim.

Plunge pools do have some limitations, however, they don’t have the wow factor of a standard-sized in-ground pool.

  • Because of the limited size, plunge pools can’t be used for lap swimming or diving.
  • They can only fit up to 4 adults so they can’t be used for large pool parties.

We hope this article has shown you enough information that you can use to decide whether a plunge pool is right for you or not. After all, you want to invest in something that you will use and enjoy the most.

Yes, think about these factors before you take the plunge into buying a plunge pool!

Disclaimer: This information is not intended to prescribe a particular diagnosis or course of action. We are not medical professionals. If you have any concerns about your current health or well-being, please contact your GP or other medical professionals for advice.

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