Swim spa users often need assistance with removing their covers, but cover lifter options can be clunky, too manual, view-blocking, nonaesthetic or expensive. However, Andrew Pullen, managing director of Vortex Leisure and owner of Spa World and Vortex Spas, says Vortex’s new ClearLift automatic cover lifter solves these problems and more.
“How to effectively remove a swim spa cover is the dirty secret of the swim spa industry,” Pullen says. “There are a few options but all have their drawbacks.”
ClearLift was developed by Vortex Spas’ product designers and a team of New Zealand engineers to make swim spas more accessible by taking away this pain point. Adam Fisher, director of product development, says their customers were telling them the heavy covers were putting them off from buying or using their swim spas.
“Ever wondered why you never see covers on swim spas in showrooms?” Fisher asks. “They’re too heavy and awkward to shift. No one had come up with an affordable, commercially viable solution until now.”
In addition to its user-friendly design, ClearLift tackled the affordability challenge. “One of the best things is [the] price,” says Pullen, explaining that similar lifters often cost more than 50% of the cost of the swim spa itself, but ClearLift’s numbers hover around 15%, achieving one of Vortex’s main goals.
Pricing aside, the key to ClearLift’s advantages is an actual key.
“It is fully automated and mechanical, so literally all you’re doing is turning a key,” Pullen explains. Users put the key into its slot, turn it and the cover folds off the back of the spa. “The ClearLift, as the name implies, removes the cover to a position flush with the edge of the spa,” Pullen says.
This means the view, as well as the control panel, is not blocked, and the spa can be accessed from three sides. Because it completely clears the top of the spa, Pullen notes kids will have a clear path for jumping and splashing.
With the cover mechanically returned to position, there is less heat loss, which can result from a misaligned cover. The turn-key feature also keeps the cover securely closed, even if the clips are not in place. “So if you’re worried about the kids getting in there when you’re not around or the neighbors hopping the fence and using it, then that’s a great security feature,” Pullen says.
- Sponsor -
An unanticipated perk that emerged during testing was that covers last longer when using a ClearLift. A cover being manually removed and dragged around can cause wear and tear. It only takes a pinprick-sized hole for water to start soaking into the polystyrene, making the cover even harder to remove and replace.
“Because the ClearLift captures each end of the cover, there’s no chance of that cover skin getting damaged,” Pullen says. “It sets it up off the ground so it can’t be dragged around.”
Vortex Spas has been a pioneer in the spa industry since 2009 and began working on the ClearLift five years ago. Fisher says the team of engineers and product designers played around with different designs and materials.
“There were lots of failures, pivots and reinventions during that time,” he recalls.
A single ClearLift has been operated more than 6,000 times in long-term testing without failure, and it only takes 30-40 seconds to completely open or close. Its construction of steel, aluminum and billet foam insulation allows it to work in varying climates. The ClearLift also has a quick installation time, with a two-member delivery team able to set it up in under an hour.
“Currently, ClearLift is only available on Vortex swim spas through Spa World in Australia and New Zealand,” Pullen says. “But as part of the Jacuzzi Group, we will be rolling it out worldwide on a wider range of Jacuzzi Group swim spa products over the next year.”
Fisher says the customer feedback has been incredible.
“They love this product and how much easier it has made owning and using a swim spa,” he says. “Since launching ClearLift in 2023, we’ve had a 70% uptick of future orders wanting to add it to their swim spa order.”
See the ClearLift automatic cover lifter in action here.