In-Ground vs. Above-Ground Spas

Adding a hot tub, or spa, to your pool or backyard can give you a welcome respite when you need it. You can slip into the soothing waters after a long day at work, or you can relax on the weekends with a special someone. You can even take a dip first thing in the morning to help you ease into your day.

in ground vs above ground spas

If you are looking at getting a hot tub, you may have already learned that you have two basic options: An in-ground spa or an above-ground spa. A Queen Creek custom pool and spa builder can help you understand how each option fits in with your current pool or back yard, but here’s a look at how the two options compare generally:

Design Options

You get many more design options when you choose an in-ground spa. You can put the spa all the way in the ground so that the top is level with the ground surface, just like your pool. It can run alongside your pool or be placed apart from it. In fact, many choose to add a hot tub as part of their Queen Creek swimming pool remodeling since it can be flush with the pool and designed to look just like it.

You can also position an in-ground spa so that it is partially above the ground, and then you can build steps and a patio or deck area around it. You can also choose from a variety of shapes since the spa can be built to your specification. You can even get additional water features for an in-ground spa.

With an above-ground spa, you don’t have as many options. You can only place the hot tub completely above the ground, which many people find to look too bulky and unattractive. You can hide the hot tub by building a deck around it and making it blend in with the surroundings a little better.

However, a lot of people struggle to find the right placement that straddles the line between being convenient to access and not too obtrusive.
You won’t have other options for an above-ground spa, such as water features or different shapes.

Queen Creek Custom Pool & Spa Builder | True Blue


An in-ground spa is going to cost more than an above-ground spa. The installation process is more intensive, creating more labor and materials. You can expect to pay at least $10,000 for an in-ground hot tub, but could easily pay up to $30,000, depending on the features you choose. An above-ground hot tub can cost as little as a few thousand dollars, but it can also go up to $10,000 or more depending on the features.

It is important that you think beyond the initial investment when considering cost. An in-ground hot tub will be more stable and less prone to damages than an above-ground hot tub, and it will add more to the value of your property.

Energy Use

Typically, an above-ground spa is going to use less energy than an in-ground spa. An above-ground spa stays at the same temperature, and you can unplug it during long periods of inactivity. In contrast, an in-ground pool can take longer to warm up, and it can affect the temperature of your nearby pool.

There are things you can do to bring down the energy costs of an in-ground pool, such as choosing a more energy-efficient heat pump and by using a separate pump and heater system for the hot tub and the pool. Your custom pool and spa builder can help you understand what options are available to keep costs as low as possible.

custom in ground spa in queen creekIf you are considering swimming pool remodeling, think about adding a spa to your pool. If you don’t have a pool, you can still enjoy an above-ground pool next to your deck or another nice location in your yard. Talk to your contractor about the right option, and then work together to get all the features you want.

True Blue Pools provides custom pool and spa design and construction services for residents in Arizona. We’ll help you plan the addition of a hot tub with your swimming pool remodeling, or we can talk with you about some independent spa options. We can create a beautiful space that includes gorgeous tiling, water features, lighting and more. You’ll love spending time relaxing in your back yard! Call us today to find out what’s possible.

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True Blue Pools
5235 S. Kyrene Rd. Ste 102
Tempe, AZ 85283
Office: 480-820-9495