Cocktail Pool or Plunge Pool: Is It for You?

A cocktail pool outside a home in the Southwest.

Dreaming of an oasis in your backyard without the expense and maintenance of a full-size pool? Look no further than cocktail pools and plunge pools! These compact water features are gaining popularity among homeowners who desire a refreshing escape with a smaller footprint. But what exactly are cocktail pools and plunge pools, and which is right for you? This article will dive into these miniature aquatic havens and explore why they might fit your lifestyle perfectly. If you want to relax with a drink or take a quick dip to beat the summer heat, cocktail pools and plunge pools offer a versatile and space-saving solution.

Let us explore their benefits, design options, and maintenance considerations to help you decide if these compact water features are the missing piece to complete your backyard paradise.

Differences Between Cocktail Pools and Plunge Pools

Though cocktail and plunge pools may seem similar, the two have key differences. Cocktail pools are typically smaller and shallower, designed for lounging and socializing. They are usually no more than 14 feet long and around 4-5 feet deep. On the other hand, plunge pools are often slightly larger and deeper, offering a more refreshing swimming experience. Plunge pools can range in size up to 18 feet long and 6-8 feet deep. Both options provide a compact alternative to traditional swimming pools, but their size and depth variations make them suitable for different purposes.

Benefits of Cocktail Pools

A cocktail pool in a shady backyard.

Cocktail pools offer several advantages, making them an attractive option for homeowners with limited space. Their compact size makes them ideal for small backyards or urban environments. They can easily integrate into existing outdoor spaces without overwhelming the area.

Versatility is another benefit of the cocktail pool. They can be designed to include various features, such as built-in benches, waterfalls, or even a spa section. This allows for customization based on your preferences and lifestyle. Whether you want a relaxing space to unwind with a drink or a place to cool off on a hot summer day, a cocktail pool can provide the perfect solution. The compact size also means less water and fewer chemicals are needed for maintenance, resulting in cost savings over time.

Benefits of Plunge Pools

A plunge pool with cement decking around it.

While cocktail pools are great for lounging and socializing, plunge pools offer different benefits that cater to those who prioritize swimming and exercise. The increased depth of plunge pools allows for a more vigorous swimming experience, making them suitable for those who want to stay active in the water. Plunge pools can also offer a unique visual appeal, resembling a miniature natural water feature, enhancing the overall aesthetic of your backyard.

Plunge pools can be designed to include features such as jets or swim-in-place systems, further enhancing the swimming experience. Though plunge pools require similar maintenance to traditional swimming pools, their smaller size means less water and fewer chemicals, resulting in reduced maintenance costs over time.

Factors to Consider

When deciding between cocktail and plunge pools, consider your intended use and available space. Cocktail pools are perfect for small gatherings and socializing, while plunge pools cater to those who want a more robust swimming experience. Budget is also a key consideration, as cocktail pools are typically more cost-effective than plunge pools.

Maintenance is crucial, but both options require regular upkeep. Cocktail pools have a slight advantage, as their smaller size makes maintenance tasks more manageable. However, depending on the desired use, the bells and whistles in plunge pools may outweigh the slightly higher maintenance effort.

Design Options

Cocktail and plunge pools offer various design options to create visually stunning and functional spaces. You can customize the shape, incorporate built-in seating, add water features, and choose different materials for construction. The endless possibilities allow you to tailor your pool to your preferences and lifestyle.


Cocktail and plunge pools are excellent choices for creating a backyard oasis. The decision ultimately depends on your preferences, available space, and budget. Cocktail pools are perfect for lounging and socializing, while plunge pools cater to swimming and exercise enthusiasts. Consider your needs, explore the design options, and weigh the maintenance requirements to find the best fit for your backyard paradise. So why wait? Dive into the world of cocktail and plunge pools and create your own aquatic haven!

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