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What is a Plunge Pool?

Last Updated Jul 5, 2012 · Written by Rob Schneider

We seem to be hearing a lot about plunge pools these days. We're told they are the perfect solution for homes with limited space. We hear about them being used for everything from rehabilitation to relaxation and exercise. While we hear a lot about their advantages, we are never told exactly what plunge pools are. What is a plunge pool and what makes it different from an ordinary swimming pool?

In nature, a plunge pool is one of those beautiful pools of water you sometimes see at the base of a waterfall. It derives its name from the fact that it is formed by the "plunging" of water, creating a natural plunge basin. As everybody who has had the privilege of enjoying a naturally occurring plunge pool knows, they are usually the perfect depth and width for splashing around in, but not as large as a swimming pond.

The term "plunge pool" was adopted by the pool industry to describe a pool that is larger than a spa but smaller than a swimming pool. Manufacturers began designing these pools in response to customer demands for pools that offered the advantages of a swimming pool in a restricted area. Generally speaking, plunge pools range from four to seven metres in length and can be from two to three metres wide. They are usually no deeper than 1.2 metres at the deep end of the pool. As in nature, there are no hard and fast rules to the shape or size of commercially made plunge pools, but as a rule of thumb, a smaller pool is defined as a spa, while a larger pool is considered to be a swimming pool. For a visual on this, browse through our photos of pools.

Features of Plunge Pools

The relatively small size of plunge pools is made up for by the customisable features that are available for them.  The innovative use of jets, pumps and heating elements can transform any plunge pool from an exercise pool to a relaxing spa pool. These are just a few examples of optional features for plunge pools:

  • Waterfalls: Water from the pool can be recirculated via a waterfall, giving you the effect of a natural plunge pool in your own back yard.
  • Massage Therapy: Water can be pumped through jets, giving you a soothing targeted massage as you float in your pool. Alternatively, you can create a whirlpool effect and get the benefits of a gentle full body massage in your plunge pool.
  • Exercise: If you want to regularly swim laps, but don't have the space for a swimming pool, a plunge pool with resistance jets for "swimming in place" are an ideal solution.
  • Temperature Control: Because of their relatively small volume of water, plunge pools can be heated or cooled more quickly than full sized swimming pools. This allows you to luxuriate in a warm water pool in the evening or dip into an invigorating cool water pool in the heat of the day.

Because plunge pools come in such a wide range of shapes, sizes and configurations and have so many optional features, you can virtually custom design your own pool from standard components. Add to that a little creative landscaping, decking and other exterior features and you can create the plunge pool of your dreams at an affordable price.

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