Above-ground vs in-ground spas: pros & cons

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Marko M


The contrast between above-ground and in-ground spas will unavoidably come up for any aspiring spa owner. To choose the best solution for their property, homeowners and potential spa buyers must understand the distinctions between the two choices. It’s important to remember that these spa kinds differ significantly from one another in addition to how they relate to the ground, making it difficult to compare them similarly.

An above ground spa is often the kind that you purchase from a showroom or spa business, transport to your home, and install. An inground spa, on the other hand, must be built by contractors and other experts. We’ll examine all the major distinctions between above-ground and in-ground spas in this article.

Design freedom vs complete package

An inground spa’s major appeal is that you can design it exactly how you want. It can be customized and created to meet your unique requirements. with adjustments that cover even the smallest of details. giving you the option to choose the equipment, color, and even the surroundings’ terrain. Additionally, inground spas can be an independent addition or a component of a pool.

On the other hand, above-ground spas do not provide the same level of customization. Most above-ground models are bought as-is, with little opportunity for additional customization (although some providers do offer customized models). This has the advantage that above-ground spas typically come equipped with everything you need. As a result, you don’t actually need to bother about the design or selecting features because many above-ground spas already have an amazing list of inclusions.

Price and value addition potential

When it comes to how they impact the value of your property, spas are typically not seen nearly the same way as pools are. Having stated that, it doesn’t follow that they can’t add more value when it’s time to sell.

Spas buried underground are thought of as more long-term installations. Additionally, the addition of an inground spa has the potential to completely change a backyard due to the variety of planting options that are available around it. However, above-ground spas are viewed as more of a luxury furniture piece and less of a permanent structure. They typically don’t increase a home’s value as much as a result. But another advantage of above-ground models is that you can simply move with them!

Due to the wide range that both types of spas can have in terms of size and incorporated features, it is challenging to compare their prices on an equal footing. Inground spas typically cost between $12k and $24k, including installation, making them the more expensive alternative. In contrast, the price range for above-ground spas is $2.5k–$20k. It’s important to keep in mind that both kinds of spas might cost far more than those averages.

in-ground spas
above-ground spas
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The second factor to think about is longevity. Both types of spas entail a large commitment in terms of money as well as in terms of time and effort. It follows that you’ll naturally want your spa to endure as long as possible.

Which brand and model you select will have a significant impact on the exact lifespan of an above-ground spa. The distinguishing characteristics of lifespan will be the various building materials used and the level of attention to detail and care used in the creation of your spa. Climate factors, like high temperatures or particularly salty air, have a slight impact on this, but they are significantly less important than how the spa was built. An above-ground spa should last for five to twenty years. The lifespan of your investment will also be extended by doing routine maintenance on the spa equipment.

Although in-ground spas typically survive longer than above-ground spas, this still depends on the spa’s components being of high quality. This is due to a number of factors, including the fact that they are installed inside of a concrete shell, which helps to shield them from damage from the outside world. Additionally, as these are connected internally, they often do not have any exposed electrical or filter connections. This makes those components last even longer than an above-ground model because it lessens the amount of damage that weathering causes to them.

Due to their construction and design, inground spas may also require less upkeep, which can result in longer-term cost savings for owners. If properly maintained, an inground spa should last for about 20 years.


Installation is the final factor to take into account when deciding between an above-ground and an inground spa. Potential purchasers frequently use this as a deciding factor when selecting their spa because they need to decide how much work they’re willing to invest on it. Should this be considered a project for house improvement? Or is it just something you want to buy and get rid of?

Compared to their above-ground counterparts, inground spas require a longer, more difficult installation process since they need specialists to plant, excavate, and install the spa.

Nevertheless, there are some things to keep in mind while installing an above-ground type. Of course, you’ll need access to water as well as nearby access to energy to power the pump and filter system in your new spa. An electrician and frequently a plumber must make at least one visit to an above-ground spa.
Both above-ground and in-ground spas have distinct advantages that make them both worthy investments. Whichever one you decide on, you’ll be investing in a little piece of paradise for your backyard that will offer enjoyment and relaxation for many years.

Looking for professional help? Dolphin Pool Services is ready to help with any pool related issues in the Virginia, Maryland and District of Columbia. Feel free to contact us and schedule our services!

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