Hot Tub Buying Guide
Updated: Oct 14, 2022
Most people want to relax and wind down after a long day, and one of the best ways to do that is to chill out in a hot tub.
Most hot tubs provide health benefits like improved sleep, pain relief, and stress relief. People buy hot tubs because owning one is like having a spa at home.
Depending on type and size, you can find a hot tub on the market for about £2000 to £16000.
Hot tub accessories also influence the price. In this hot tub buying guide, we will show you how to pick out the perfect hot tub, what to expect, and other things to ensure you spend your money wisely on the right hot tub.
We will look at how to choose a hot tub, the best hot tubs, and things to consider, and also answer some questions about hot tubs.
Is Buying A Hot Tub Worth It?
People buy hot tubs to enjoy the treatment they get from swim spas. So, if you plan to use your hot tub regularly, it is worth purchasing a high-quality hot tub.
Also, hot tub buyers should be ready to spend some time and money to ensure the tub gets the required maintenance.
When buying a hot tub, remember it is a valuable investment, so you should be well informed before purchasing one.
What are the most important factors and features to look for when choosing the right hot tub for you?
A hot tub is a luxurious investment but a lot less expensive than building a swimming pool in your back garden. A hot tub is ideal for soaking and relaxing after a stressful day.
When purchasing a hot tub, you must be mindful of many factors before making a final decision. While many hot tubs look great at first glance, they might not suit your needs.
Also, read our hot tub buying guide, Hot Tub Location & Installation, to help with the post-purchase installation of your new hot tub.
So, here are the critical factors to consider before buying a hot tub.
What do you need a hot tub for?
You cannot make the perfect decision if you don't know why you want a hot tub. So let's examine some things that might affect how or why you will use your new hot tub.
There are different types of hot tubs to choose from, each with unique features.
HardShell Hot Tubs
These hot tubs come with solid side panels and sit on a hard base. They are designed with a wide range of pumps, lights, jets and an internal heating system. These tubs are typically made of wood, acrylic, and plastic.
The cost of getting one of these varies widely depending on the size and any extra features you want.
Wood-fired Hot Tubs
A wooden hot tub uses a log-fired stove to heat the hot tub water, so it will not add to your electricity bill. Depending on the hot tub size, heating the water shouldn't take more than four hours.
Most wood-fired hot tubs don't come with jets, and those that do will need a power supply.
Inflatable Hot Tubs
Most people might not know you can buy inflatable hot tubs. But you can! And they are cheaper than permanent hot tubs - in fact, the cheapest hot tubs you can buy. They run on a dedicated 32 amp power supply.
The hot tub jets in an inflatable hot tub are not powerful enough to provide the same hydrotherapy massage as a permanent hard shell hot tub.
In-ground (custom) Hot Tubs
In-ground hot tubs are tubs that are sunk into the ground and designed with tiles. You can get one made to your ideal specifications since they are custom hot tubs.
With outstanding looks and features, they cost a bit more to install. An in-ground hot tub could be the perfect option if you have the space and budget.
You might be wondering what size hot tub to purchase. You need to consider how much space you have and how many people you hope to accommodate in your tub. A general rule is that the bigger the tub, the more it costs.
Small (2-4 people)
This type of hot tub costs from £2500 to £8000.
Medium (5-6 people)
A medium-size hot tub is designed to fit around five to six people and typically costs £3000 to £12000.
Large (7+ people)
If you need to fit up to seven people at once, choose a larger hot tub as they have enough space for the perfect family relaxation time you need. They cost anywhere from £4000 upward.
The hot tub shell is the interior part that holds the water. The hot tub shell also determines how comfortable and relaxing it is to sit in the tub and how long it will last.
A hot tub/spa shell is often moulded and includes reclining seats. Popular materials for hot tub shells include vinyl, rotomolded plastic, and acrylic.
All hot tubs are not created equal. Prices vary, so here is an idea of what you can expect to pay:
Entry-Level: £3000 to £5000
Mid-Range: £4500 to £9000
Flagship: £7000 to £16000
Seating Capacity & Arrangement
Pick your hot tub based on the number of people that will use it and how often you plan to use it. Ideally, if it's for your entire family or you want to chill out with friends, one of the larger models will be best.
You should also pay close attention to the seating arrangement of the hot tub. You can opt for a lounger hot tub or an all-seater. Lounge seats can give you that full-body massage you need after a long day, but don't forget that a lounge seat takes up the space of about three upright hot tub seats.
In a nutshell, match the seating arrangement and capacity of your hot tub to the needs of the people that will use it.
When you go hot tub buying, you'll see many different shapes of hot tubs you can choose from:
Round hot tub
This shape is typically smaller than the others and can fit two people.
Square hot tub
This is a more popular shape with the same number of jets and seating on each side.
Rectangular hot tub
This is another popular shape with longer sides to facilitate more entry points.
Triangular hot tub
This shape is made to fit perfectly against the side of your house in a corner.
Unusual hot tub
You can go for a spa with an unusual shape if you have a flexible budget as they have different designs and shapes.
Hot Tub Brands
There are different hot tub brands you can choose from in any hot tub showroom, with each of them having unique features and quality. Some of the best hot tub names include Reef Spas, Vita Spas, Jacuzzi Hot Tubs, and Lay-Z Spas.
If you purchase one of these brands, you get the best value for your money. They are tough, durable, and efficient.
The hot tub's air jets directly affect how effective its hydrotherapy massage will be. Hot tubs with prices on the higher side, like hydropool hot tubs, give you more jets that you can adjust to suit and deliver the optimal massage.
So, when you are testing the hot tub, it is essential to take note of the number of jets and how many combinations are possible. A hot tub with powerful jets will definitely give you a good massage.
There is a popular misconception that hot tubs with more pumps and jets are more robust. While it is true, to an extent, a hot tub only draws a limited amount of power from its electrical source.
Hot tubs are designed to maximize efficiency while maintaining their hydrotherapeutic benefits and maximum power. So, instead of only paying attention to the number of jets, you should also look at the pump specification and quality.
You will not need to spend some time maintaining the water quality in your hot tub if it comes with good enough filters to keep the water clean. The more filters a hot tub has and the bigger they are, the less effort is required to maintain the water quality.
So it's advisable to go for a hot tub with at least 100 square feet of filter area per cartridge.
A good filtration system helps reduce the number of chemicals needed and maintenance required to run the hot tub as it efficiently cleans the water on its own.
The ongoing costs of a hot tub are greatly influenced by its insulation. A hot tub that is not fully insulated will struggle to retain heat and will cost you more to run because it will waste heat.
If you want the most efficient hot tub with maximum heat retention, go for the one with top-grade foam insulation. The foam for retaining heat is inserted in all the areas except the control panel as it requires some maintenance access.
Hot Tub Covers
If your hot tub has an airtight and fully insulated cover, it is sure to be much more energy-efficient.
To test if a hot tub cover is effective, place your hand on it. If the surface of the tub cover is at room temperature, it is trapping heat effectively.
If you can, purchase a hot tub that has a cover with lockable clips. This ensures that young children cannot get unauthorised access to your hot tub/swim spa. It will also prevent the hot tub's cover from being blown away in windy weather. A hot tub cover lifter is also a handy extra to have.
Most quality hot tubs come with LED lighting fixed to their acrylic seating. This can help to set the mood for your soak at night. So, you can rest and enjoy the light show.
Although interior hot tub lighting is not a must-have, many people enjoy the effect. Since you will most likely use your tub at night, you might want to look for models with exterior lighting.
One of the greatest mistakes you can make when purchasing a hot tub is not shopping from a reputable dealer. You can ruin your whole hot tub buying experience with bad after-sale service.
Before you visit any dealer and make a purchase, you need to know who you are dealing with, their reputation, and how long they have been in business.
If you want a reputable dealer with the best quality hot tubs, head to the Aqua Warehouse website and browse their selection of top-quality hot tubs.
A warranty is optimal, as it protects your hot tub in more ways than one. Before buying a hot tub, ensure it comes with a comprehensive manufacturer's warranty.
You should also remember that many hot tub brands offer warranties that differ. Ensure you get a trusted brand that will handle warranty claims - not just the dealer. This is the best way to ensure credibility.
Other Appliances and Accessories
Deciding whether you want to add accessories to your new hot tub is dependent on your budget. Extra accessories can enhance your hot tub experience but come at a cost.
You might decide to invest in accessories and appliances like hot tub gazebos, floating trays, or a sound system. These extras help maximize your enjoyment in an outdoor space with a combination of music and refreshing air.
These are some of the appliances and accessories you can buy for your hot tub:
Hot Tub Steps
More often than not, you will need to hook up your hot tub to an energy source to heat the water and run the pump. Heating the water to the ideal temperature could take some time, and the hot tub should stay heated to save energy and time.
Expect an average hot tub to add around £50 to your monthly electricity bill. However, some hot tubs run for as little as £10-£20 monthly. This guarantees you can chill out in your tub without worrying too much.
There are a lot of factors that influence the running costs of a hot tub. So, keep these in mind before you purchase:
Price of electricity
Frequency of hot tub use (pumps, chemicals)
The water temperature
The model and quality of insulation
Hot tub ownership means doing some maintenance. To properly maintain your hot tub, you need to carry out tasks like cleaning the inside of the tub, cleaning the filters, and checking the chemical levels.
Use a skimmer to eliminate the debris and dirt lingering inside your tub. Also, ensure that the hot tub filters are cleaned every two weeks.
Opting to maintain your hot tub yourself means you will only be paying for materials instead of other maintenance costs like labour. These materials will only cost you around £20 monthly. If you give your hot tub the required maintenance, it will last a very long time.
You will need to add hot tub chemicals in the right proportions to ensure the water quality remains optimal.
Ensure you clean and change the water regularly. Adding some salt water and chlorine when cleaning and maintaining your hot tub helps.
New hot tub owners should also plan to call a hot tub professional for routine services to ensure that the hot tub functions optimally.
Financing a hot tub
If you don't have the money to purchase a hot tub, you can opt to finance it. You don't necessarily have to go for cheap hot tubs or the wrong hot tub because you cannot pay the upfront cost.
With financing, you can cover the cost with affordable monthly payments.
Hot tub finance repayment terms range from about three to five years. There are a lot of quality hot tub retailers that offer financing options.
If you want to buy a hot tub, you can apply for financing from Aqua Warehouse. It's a great option as no payments are due for the first 12 months.
You also don't have to pay any interest if you settle the agreement before the holiday period ends. There is a fixed interest rate of 12.9% APR over four years.
Plan the installation of the hot tub and know its costs
Before you get your hot tub, consider the installation costs. Depending on the type of hot tub you purchase, you might require professional installation to set it up properly. That said, you will need an access point to the backyard, a nearby garden hose, and levelled solid ground.
Where are you going to install the hot tub?
It is relatively easy to install a hot tub in your backyard, but it needs to have an access point that is as big as the hot tub.
So, an important part of choosing the area for the installation of your hot tub is the size of the access point. If the entry is not wide enough, you can arrange for a crane delivery with your dealer.
How to fill a hot tub?
You need to fill your hot tub properly. It can be fun getting your hot tub filled for the first time, and you can make the process as smooth as possible by following these steps:
Pre-filter your garden hose. Then take out the filter close to the control panel.
Turn on the water, ensuring the hose doesn't shift out of place. Add in the sequestering agent after the water level fills the footwell.
Wait for the hot tub to fill up. The wait time depends on the water pressure and how big your hot tub/spa is. Make sure it's filled to the minimum safe water level.
Next, remove the garden hose and have the filter replaced, then turn on the breaker.
When you've reached the end of this hot tub buying guide, you should have a good idea of what kind of hot tub is right for you.
If you're still unsure, here are a few pieces of advice to help you decide.
First, take into account how often you'll be using the hot tub. If you plan on using it every day, then you'll want to choose a model that is durable and easy to maintain. On the other hand, if you only plan on using it occasionally, then you might be able to save money by choosing a less expensive model.
Second, think about how many people will be using the hot tub at one time. If you usually entertain large groups, you'll need to choose a large enough model to accommodate everyone.
Finally, consider your budget. Hot tubs vary in price, so set a realistic budget before shopping. By following these tips, you can be sure to find the perfect hot tub for your needs.
What time of year is the cheapest to buy a hot tub?
Pricing for hot tubs can vary quite a bit depending on the time of year. Many retailers run specials and promotions during the warmer months in order to spur sales, so you'll often find the best deals on hot tubs during spring and summer.
However, if you're willing to wait for a potential sale, you might be able to snag a great deal on a hot tub during autumn or winter. So ultimately, there is no one definitive answer to this question - it really depends on when you're willing to buy!
Shopping for a hot tub can be an exciting activity, and while there may be no ideal time to purchase a hot tub, if you want to save money - look for sales and special offers when buying a hot tub - it can make all the difference in terms of cost.
Can you negotiate the price on hot tubs?
You should always negotiate. A general rule is that the initial price offered is not always the best. While managers and even a salesperson can drop the price a bit, most hot tub manufacturers look to clear out their bulky inventory at the end of the season. Many hot tub dealers offer generous discounts off-season, reducing the cost of even the most luxurious tubs to the lower end of the regular price scale.