Cocktail Pools


This guide will help you understand the difference between plunge pools, cocktail pools, and spa pools. We’ll cover the cost, process, pros, and cons of installing a smaller pool. So whether you have unlimited outdoor space or a small backyard, by the end of this article, you’ll be able to decide what type of pool is right for you.
You can jump to the section you want or dive right in.

Here are the questions we will answer:

  • What is the difference between a Cocktail pool, Plunge pool, and Spa pool “spool”?
  • How much does it cost to build a small pool?
  • What size is a Plunge pool?
  • How deep is a cocktail pool?
  • Should I DIY my cocktail pool?
  • What’s the benefit of a cocktail pool?

What is the difference between a Cocktail pool, Plunge pool, and Spa pool “spool”?

“Cocktail pools, plunge pools, spa pools, spools, dip pools, lounge or splash pools…” When searching for a small pool, the list and categories can be overwhelming so let’s break it down. Believe it or not, all of the above can be classified as a “cocktail pool,” though each pool is slightly different.

A cocktail pool is simply a tiny pool that is deep enough to allow you to cool off (or warm up) while sipping on a cocktail. So, if these words are used interchangeably to describe small pools, what really is the difference? Plunge Pool – Generally, 4′-5′ deep but maybe deeper. Just think of something deep enough to ‘plunge’ into. It allows your body to be fully submerged.

Splash Pool – Like plunge pools, splash pools provide small water recreation areas but are usually not as deep or have spa-like features.

Dip Pool – Dipping pools are usually shallow and may be heated. They offer just enough space to dip into, sit or wade.

Spa Pool – Also known as a spool, combines the comforts of a small swimming pool and a spa in one. Imagine relaxing in a large hot tub. Some manufacturers sell spools as swim spas, so depending on who you talk to, the debate is out on whether a spool is really a cocktail pool.

How Much Does it Cost to Build a Small Pool?

Cocktail pools are very versatile. You can choose to include a variety of features, such as stone, slate, tiling, benches, heaters, and automatic and lockable cocktail pool covers, to name a few. Therefore, the total cost of a cocktail pool, including labor costs, can range anywhere from $85,000 to $250,000.

What Size is a Plunge Pool?

As mentioned before, a cocktail pool, also called a plunge pool, is perfect for small spaces or as an addition to your inground swimming pool. Though shapes and sizes vary, cocktail pools range from about 9′ to 13′ in length and 5′ to 7′ in width. Derby City Pools offer three sizes to choose from 8’9″ x 5′, 10′ x 6′, and 13′ x 7′, small, medium, and large, respectively. Thus, they can fit anywhere from 2 to 6 people at a time. It may also be considered the smallest size of a swimming pool.

How deep is a Cocktail Pool?

A cocktail pool (or plunge pool) ranges from 4’11” to 5’1″. However, keep in mind that each pool builder may offer varying depths based on zoning, transport, and other factors.

What is the Benefit of a Cocktail Pool?

In my opinion, the benefits are endless. The minimalist trend has moved many to rethink how they are designing their outdoor spaces. Here are just a few of the pros:

  • Due to their size and efficiency, compact pools reduce the carbon footprint and are environmentally friendly.
  • An option for city dwellers or someone looking to maximize their outdoor living space without opting for a full-size pool.
  • Depending on the size you choose, it’s a nice area to supervise children learning to swim.
  • An excellent investment for year-round enjoyment as they can be refreshing in the summer and warm in the winter
  • Economical and energy-efficient, making the cost factor reasonable for a backyard remodel
  • Maintenance costs are lower than traditional pools because it requires less water, heat, and chemicals.
  • Quick and easy to install and can be ready in just a few days, much faster than installing a fiberglass swimming pool.
  • Can be installed at ground level or inground.
  • Great for low-impact exercise, aquatic rehabilitation, and water aerobics, even in the winter.

Now, all you need are some string lights, a fire pit, and a cocktail to complete your backyard experience.

Are Plunge Pools only for Small Spaces?

Absolutely not! Many pool owners prefer a cocktail pool in addition to their lap pool. Taking a dip in the middle of winter and cool off in the summer without opening the larger pool has become very popular.

If you’re interested in connecting with a professional about designing your backyard experience with a cocktail pool, contact Derby City pools to schedule an appointment. You can also take our short intake form “what pool is right for me” and find out what works best in your outdoor space.