Plunge Pools And Lap Pools - What Are The Main Differences?

When in the market for a swimming pool, there are almost seemingly endless options to choose from. Two front runners are plunge pools and lap pools, and if you are contemplating either of these, you’ve come to the right place. In this post, we’ll share what the key differences are between the two and we’ll explore them both in detail.

Put simply, the two biggest differences between a plunge pool and a lap pool are the shape and the intended swimming purpose.


Let's Take A Look At Plunge Pools

If you’ve never heard of, or seen a plunge pool before, to give you a visual idea, they are typically a compacted version of a regular-sized pool. As plunge pools are on the smaller side, they are targeted to those who want a pool primarily for relaxation purposes or those that don’t necessarily need a bigger pool. You’ll find that most plunge pools have large seating areas running around a good part of the pool. This comes back to their intended purpose, which is more soaking than swimming.

How Big Are Plunge Pools?

Here at Barrier Reef Pools, we have a generous selection of plunge pools available, and their size can vary. Their width can be anything from approximately 2 to 4 metres wide and their length 2 to 7 metres long. Most plunge pools are more square than rectangle, and the depth can be from 1.2 metres to 1.7 metres.

Pros Of Plunge Pools

  • Suitable option for the modern-day backyard, courtyards, and smaller blocks.
  • Extra generous bench seating – lots of room for multiple people to sit at once.
  • Lower water and chemical consumption.
  • Compatible with spa or swim jets.
  • Fast to clean.
  • Heat efficiently.
  • Can increase the value of your property.
  • Perfect design for rehabilitation and physiotherapy purposes.
  • Lots of styles on offer.
  • Safer for children gaining confidence in the water.


  • Not enough length to perform laps properly.
  • There isn’t usually a lot of room for entertaining large groups.
  • The cost is similar to that of a regular-sized pool.

How Much Is A Plunge Pool?

The price of a plunge pool can waver depending on numerous factors, including the type of lap pool you want, the inclusions you choose, how much access there is to the proposed pool location, the site and much more. You can expect to pay $25,000 or more for an entry-level plunge pool, given you have good access and a flat block.

Deciding Whether A Plunge Pool Is For You

Before choosing a plunge pool, you should ask yourself the following questions:

  • Will it be big enough for your family and entertaining?
  • What is the main reason you want a pool?
  • How much room do you have for a plunge pool?
  • Is being able to swim laps a priority?

Let's Take A Look At Lap Pools

Lap pools have been designed for people to be able to swim laps and work on their fitness. Easily recognisable from their long and narrow shape, the lap pool is a favourite amongst Aussies. This type of pool not only appeals to the health-conscious, but their shape allows them to fit in an array of backyards, making them a suitable choice where others may not be. As they are a bit longer than a plunge pool, they can typically fit more swimmers.

How Big Are Lap Pools?

Like our plunge pools, we have a variety of lap pools on offer. They are always rectangle in shape, and the size will differ depending on which one you choose. The length usually starts at around 8 metres and work their way up to around 12 metres long. The width is typically 3 to 4 metres wide. One thing about laps pools is they aren’t very deep, and this design element is deliberate. It enables swimmers to walk laps of the pool. Most lap pools have a depth of about 1.35 metres.

Pros of Lap Pools

  • A great choice for narrow backyards or those lacking space.
  • Tonnes of options to choose from.
  • Can increase the value of your home.
  • The best for fitness-related swimming.
  • Can be used for many activities including laps, entertaining and games.
  • Compatible with spa and swim jets.
  • As they are long and narrow, they free up room in the backyard for other elements.
  • Lower water and chemical use.
  • Perfect for little people learning to swim.


  • The cost doesn’t differ greatly from a larger pool.
  • Only one person can do laps at a time. Some larger lap pools allow for two people to swim simultaneously.
  • Generally won’t fit in a courtyard or small box-shaped backyards.

How Much Is A Lap Pool?

The same factors apply to lap pools as they do to plunge pools. The price guide for a lap pool is around the same as a plunge pool.

Deciding Whether A Lap Pool Is For You

Before choosing a lap pool, you should ask yourself the following questions:

  • Will a lap pool work given the layout of your block?
  • Does the shallower depth bother you?
  • Is the main reason you are getting a pool to swim laps?


While there are some distinctive differences between plunge pools and lap pools, they do have some things in common. Both are commonly paired with spa or swim jets, in fact, most have designated areas for the installation of these. Plunge pools and lap pools heat effectively due to their condensed size. They are a breeze to clean, and they use less water and chemicals. The pool equipment doesn’t usually have to run for as long as a bigger pool as the volume of the pool is circulated faster. Other equipment such as automatic cleaners can complete their route much quicker too. Our plunge pools and lap pools both have non-slip surfaces and a child safety ledge running around the inside.

To Conclude

Plunge pools and lap pools are equally good choices. Which one is better for you and your family comes down to what you want out of a swimming pool, and which one would be better suited to the shape of your backyard. Here at Barrier Reef Pools, we have several fibreglass plunge pools and laps pools to choose from, and we’d love to help you find the perfect one for your place. Contact us to get started.

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