Cover lift options available for the swim spa sector
Consumers buy a swim spa to get the benefits of low-impact exercise and relaxation all in one package. They don’t, however, anticipate a full workout before even entering the spa.
“The biggest hassle in swim spa ownership is removing the cover,” says Jeff Bailey, general manager for Spring Dance Hot Tubs in the Philadelphia area. “This is harder than a hot tub because there are several more pieces to the cover and the swim spa usually sits higher, making it more awkward to remove.”
In the interest of helping you offer your customers a better alternative, we’ve compiled details on a few of the swim spa cover lifter options available to dealers, ranging from lifters to full-fledged automated covers.
EAS Lift & Assist MANUFACTURER: Smartop (a division of leisure concepts) MSRP: not offered as stand-alone product/available exclusively with Smartop swim spa cover
The EAS Lift & Assist is a system of hydraulic shocks that aid in making it “fingertip easy” to open and close the front half of the swim spa cover. “With all hot tub covers, the first half is challenging to remove,” says Mike Genova, president and CEO of Leisure Concepts in Spokane, Washington. “As the swim spa cover opens, the user loses critical leverage points due to the added height of the swim spa, making it more difficult to handle the front half of the cover. The EAS system solves this all too common problem.”
The CoverMate Vanish uses a combination of hydraulically assisted side and back arms to gently and easily remove and store even the largest spa cover. The cover rests in a low position so as not to impede the view when the swim spa is in use.
Genova believes the CoverMate Vanish stands out because of its unique design and function. “Our goal was to create a product to help the dealer meet the consumers’ wants and needs of easy removal combined with low profile storage, which creates a sales opportunity that is unable to happen without it,” he says.
VacuSeal MANUFACTURER: Hot Tub Products MSRP: $1,700-$1,900
The VacuSeal Lifter attaches to both swim spa covers on all sides with a patented clamping system. It is also attached on all four exterior corners with its patented sliding bracket. Instead of having to flip the cover over in order to begin removing it, the user just pushes up on the VacuSeal handle, which causes the cover to lift and slide back into place. Pulling down on the handle causes it to slide back on top of the swim spa. The cover won’t shift when it opens or closes, so it doesn’t have to be moved around once its closed to get a proper seal. VacuSeal has even developed a model that will work on swim spas up to 21 feet long.
“Dealers now have a product they can install on the swim spa in their showroom and demonstrate the biggest question in a lot of consumers minds,” says Andy Tournas, president at Hot Tub Products. “It takes four seconds to open up each side, if that.”
The VacuSeal is also available for hot tubs as well. Tournas son, who is a skin cancer surgeon, gives high marks to the VacuSeal, since it can be turned into a canopy protecting people from the sun. “He thinks it’s the only thing I’ve invented that makes any sense,” Tournas says. “But most people are using the canopy for privacy purposes.”
Legend MANUFACTURER: Covana MSRP: $10,000-$15,000 depending on the size of the swim spa
The Covana Legend is an automated cover/gazebo environment system. Four posts that are hooked together through two different motors lift the cover, which is available for 12 to 20 foot swim spas. Owners simply turn a key in the control panel (which can be up to 30 feet from the spa) and the cover raises on its own to whatever height is desired.
Steven O’Shea, director of sales at Covana, says that motivation for the creation of the Legend came down to ease of use and luxury. “When you’re spending the money that consumers are spending on a swim spa and you’re taking the older style, very basic cover and putting that on there — we felt the swim spa deserved a more luxurious cover,” he says. “The consumer deserved better. Plus, old style covers need to be replaced every few years. Our cover should last the lifetime of the swim spa.”
Kelly King, co-owner and president of Mountain Hot Tub in southwest Montana, a Covana dealer, can’t think of any comparable competition for the Legend cover. “There are other cover options and other gazebo options, but I don’t know of anything that looks like a Covana or offers the benefits. I mean, you can open and shut the cover with the twist of a key.”
Cover Caddy with Swim Spa Conversion Kit MANUFACTURER: Cover Valet (Long Beach, California) MSRP: Between $249 and $399
Consumers can use the Cover Caddy from inside or outside the swim spa. While outside the swim spa, it works by pulling the U-arms towards you, which promotes the gas shock to fully extend and hold the Caddy in the open position. Then the user folds open the first half of the swim spa cover and pushes the cover into the Cover Caddy, applying a small amount of downward pressure so the Caddy drops the cover into the storage position.
“The Cover Caddy offers the ease and convenience of a cover lifter, as well as the aesthetic appeal of not seeing the spa cover,” says Matt McMillan, director of sales and marketing for Cover Valet. “Multiple mounting options — under-mount and cabinet-mount — allow the spa dealer to determine what is best for a particular application.”