swim spa comparison

Swim spa comparison: H2X Trainer vs Challenger

You love spending time in the water — whether it’s swimming, playing with the kids, or even just relaxing on a float. But while you have considered building an in-ground swimming pool it’s just not practical. Whether it’s the size of your backyard or the weather limiting the season, a pool just doesn’t make sense.

However, a swim spa is an appealing alternative. Not only can you enjoy the benefits of having a pool in your backyard but the therapy of a hot tub. Plus, you can use it year-round, no matter the climate.

But how do you choose the best swim spa for you? There’s so much choice, so many features, and myriad options – you simply don’t know where to start.

H2X Fitness Swim Spas by Master Spas have a range of models to fit all levels, whether you want to use the swim spa for aquatic therapy or to prepare for your next long-distance triathlon.

The H2X Trainer series and the H2X Challenger series are standouts for many, each providing the benefits of water exercise, hydrotherapy and relaxation. But for those trying to decide between a Trainer or Challenger, the decision often comes down to swim preferences and fitness goals. 

In this swim spa comparison, explore the unique features of both series so that you choose the best swim spa for your backyard.

swim spa comparison

Benefits of a swim spa

Swim spas are space-conscious pool alternatives that combine the recreation of a pool with the therapy of a hot tub. Like a pool, you can swim, splash, and relax on a float. 

But as you explore the best option for your backyard, that’s often where the similarities end.  

Year-round use

One of the standout features of swim spas is their year-round usability. Unlike traditional pools that are limited by seasonal changes, swim spas are designed to be enjoyed in any weather. They are insulated just like a hot tub and have a built-in heater, allowing you to set and maintain the water to your preferred temperature. 

Stationary swimming

Many swimming pools aren’t actually designed for swimming. They are often too “short” to get in a proper workout, requiring you to use a tether or get creative with your workout.

H2X Fitness Swim Spas have a jet system that creates an endless stream of water for stationary swimming. You can adjust the flow rate of the water to swim at a faster pace or at a more relaxed effort. The adjustable current also allows for a variety of water-based exercises, from aqua jogging to resistance training. 


Swim spas offer the therapeutic benefits of a hot tub. The combination of targeted massage jets and warm water can help alleviate muscle tension, reduce stress, and promote overall relaxation. Even if you keep the water at a temperature ideal for swimming, you can still take advantage of the massage jets.

Space-conscious design

Not everyone has the luxury of a sprawling backyard. Swim spas are the perfect solution for those with small backyards or people who don’t want to dedicate their entire outdoor living space to a pool. 

H2X Fitness Swim Spas are 8 feet wide and range in length from 11 feet long to 19 feet long. Their design makes them an excellent fit for smaller yards or even indoor installations. 

swim spa comparison

H2X Trainer series

You want to be able to swim, get in some cardio, and improve your mobility. Maybe even enjoy those hot tub jets after a workout or the end of a long day. 

The H2X Trainer series is designed for individuals and families seeking a comprehensive swim spa experience. It seamlessly combines recreational swimming, exercise, hydrotherapy, and family fun. 

Swim system: Tailored for recreation and fitness

The Trainer swim spas boast a four-jet system that generates a steady swim current. With both high and low settings, which you can further customize by adjusting the diverters, you can tailor the resistance to your swimming ability and exercise requirements. 

The distinctive plate design plays a crucial role in managing turbulence and directing the water flow. By altering how the water is released into the swim spa, you’ll encounter a current that is notably smoother, more streamlined, and powerful.

This system is perfect for those who enjoy casual swimming, water aerobics, and family fun time.

hydrotherapy swim spa

Hydrotherapy at home

Beyond its swim capabilities, the Trainer series delivers a comfortable hydrotherapy experience. The recovery section is equipped with contoured seats and strategically placed jets, delivering a rejuvenating massage experience.

Take the StressRelief Neck and Shoulder Seat. Exclusive to Master Spas, this hot tub seat has out-of-water jets that target the neck and shoulders, which is often where we experience a lot of tension.

Swim spa for every backyard

There are six swim spa models in the H2X Trainer series, from the dual-zone Trainer 19D to the space-saving Trainer 12.

The range in swim spa dimensions allows you to choose a model that seamlessly fits your backyard and landscape design. 

h2x challenger vs h2x trainer

H2X Challenger: Unleashing the serious swimmer

You’re a pretty decent swimmer but are always trying to get better. Maybe you finally clicked “register” on your first full-distance triathlon. Or, you have children who are involved in a swim club. 

As you explore swim spa options, you know one thing: you plan to put the swim in swim spa.

The H2X Challenger series is designed to meet the demands of serious swimmers, triathletes, and fitness enthusiasts. The advanced swim system, which does not have air injected into the stream, provides a faster and more customizable swim experience.

stationary swimming

Swim system: Precision for performance

The Challenger swim spas elevate the swim experience with a six-VIP-jet system. Compared to the dual pump system of the Trainer, the Challenger’s variable speed control allows users to fine-tune the swim current. There are speed settings from zero to 25, accommodating a broader range of swim paces. This makes it an excellent choice for those aiming to train rigorously or improve their swim fitness with precise adjustments. Or, those who just want an opportunity to grow into a swim spa — as opposed to grow out of it.

Recover and relax with hydrotherapy

While it’s easy to focus on the swim capabilities, Challenger series offers athletes an opportunity to recover and relax. There are contoured hot tub seats with thoughtfully placed jets, just like the Trainer series, relieving tension, pain, and general muscle soreness. 

The stand-up Xtreme Therapy Cove has a unique pattern of jets that targets your back, hips, and legs. 

Do you want to go pro?

You can swim as fast as 1:20 per 100-meter pace in an H2X Challenger swim spa. And that’s pretty fast for most people. 

But if you need more power, the Challenger series has a pro model. The H2X Challenger 18D Pro has three dedicated swim pumps, which create a stronger, faster current for stationary swimming. In the Challenger 18D Pro, you can swim as fast as 1:10 per 100 meter pace.

In addition, the 18-foot length is ideal for taller swimmers or for those who just want a little more room.

Choosing the best swim spa

Choosing between the H2X Trainer and Challenger series ultimately comes down to your specific fitness goals and preferences. If you seek a versatile swim spa that caters to recreational activities, family time, and hydrotherapy, the Trainer series might be the perfect fit. On the other hand, serious swimmers and fitness enthusiasts who want to incorporate a swim spa into their training should consider the Challenger series.

how to buy a swim spa

How to buy a swim spa

Do you want to be able to swim, exercise, and relax at home? Having an H2X Fitness Swim Spa by Master Spas allows you to swim on your schedule while adding a fun factor to your backyard. You can click here to find out more about the benefits of hydrotherapy and relaxing in a swim spa. Or, contact your local Master Spas retailer to learn more about swim spa ownership. Wondering how much a swim spa costs? You can request a quote here.