Hot Tub Buying Guide
Updated: May 25
Most people would 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 would provide health benefits like improved sleep, pain relief, and stress relief. With the right hot tub, you feel like you own your spa.
You can find a hot tub on the market for about $2000 to $16000, depending on the type and size.
The 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.
We will be looking at how to purchase the best hot tubs, things to consider, and also answer some hot tub questions.
Is Buying A Hot Tub Worth It?
People buy hot tubs to enjoy the treatment they get from spas. So, if you are going to be utilizing your hot tub regularly, it is worth purchasing.
Also, you should be ready to spend some energy and time to ensure the tub gets the maintenance required.
When buying a hot tub, you should keep in mind that it is a valuable investment, so you should be well informed before purchasing and using it.
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 and is like your personal swimming pool, which makes it ideal for soaking and relaxing after a stressful day.
When purchasing a hot tub, you need to be mindful of many factors before you make your final decision. This is because, while many hot tubs are great, they might just not suit you.
Assuming you have already read our other guide ‘Hot Tub Location & Installation’ you have now decided on the perfect location whether inside or out and now you have some questions, all of which could affect the final price.
So, these are the biggest 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 your hot tub use. You need to first discover how the hot tub would be of service to you before you go ahead to buy one.
There are different types of hot tubs to choose from, with each of them having its unique features.
HardShell Hot Tubs
These permanent hot tubs come with hard side panels and sit on a hard base. They are designed with a wide range of pumps, lights, and jets and also boast an internal heating system. These tubs can be made with different materials, including wood, acrylic, and plastic.
The cost of getting one of these varies widely and largely depends on the size and any extra features you might want.
Wood-fired Hot Tubs
This is a wooden hot tub that uses a log-fired stove to heat the water, so this will not add to your electricity bill. Depending on the hot tub size, it shouldn't take more than four hours to get the water heated.
Most of these kinds of swim spas don't come with jets, and the ones that do will need a power supply.
Inflatable Hot Tubs
Most people would want to go for an inflatable hot tub. Yes, they are among the cheapest hot tubs, and they run on a dedicated 32 amp power supply. With that in mind, the hot tub jets present are not powerful enough to give you the type of hydrotherapy massage gotten from its permanent counterpart.
In-ground (custom) Hot Tubs
In-ground hot tubs are tubs that are sunk into the ground and designed with tiles. You can easily get one made from your ideal specifications since they are custom hot tubs. With their outstanding looks and features, they would cost you a bit more to install. An in-ground hot tub could be the perfect option if you have the space and the budget.
You might be wondering what size hot tub to go for. You need to consider how much space you have available and also how many people you hope to accommodate in it. A general rule is that the bigger the tub, the more it costs.
Small (2-4 people)
This type of hot tub can fit a maximum of four people and costs around $2500 to $8000.
Medium (5-6 people)
This is a medium-sized hot tub that is designed to fit around five to size people and could cost you about $3000 to $12000.
Large (7+ people)
If you need to fit up to seven people at once, then you will need to go for a larger hot tub as they have enough space to give you the perfect family relaxation time you need. They can cost anywhere from $4000 upward.
The hot tub shells are the interior part responsible for water retention. It determines how comfortable and relaxing it is to sit in the tub. The spa shell also determines how long it will last without sustaining damages. It can be moulded based on the recline angle and number of seats. There are vinyl, rotomolded plastic, and acrylic hot tubs.
Hot tubs are not created equal, and so they must have different prices. Based on the various tiers of hot tubs, these are the prices to expect;
Entry-Level: $3000 to $5000
Mid-Range: $4500 to $9000
Flagship: $7000 to $16000
Seating Capacity & Arrangement
It is recommended that you pick your hot tub based on the number of people that will be utilizing it as well as how frequently. Ideally, if you are going to fit your entire family or you want to chill out with friends, then you will need to go for the larger models. All you will need is additional space and also to splash out some more money.
You should also pay close attention to the seating arrangement of your hot tub. You can opt for a lounger hot tub or an all-seater. It is true that a lounger seat can give you that full-body massage you need after a long day, but you should not forget that a lounge seat can take up the space of about three upright hot tub seats.
In a nutshell, the seating arrangement and capacity of your potential hot tub should depend on the number of people you hope to fit into it.
The shape of the hot tub you should be looking for also depends on the purpose of the tub and the space you have. These are the different shapes of hot tubs you get to choose from;
Round hot tub: This shape is typically smaller than the others and can generously fit about two people.
Square hot tub: This is a more popular shape, and it has the same number of jets and seating on each side.
Rectangular hot tub: This is also another common shape. To facilitate more entry points, it has longer sides.
Triangular hot tub: This type of shape is made to fit perfectly against the side of your house.
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.
There are different hot tub brands you can choose from, with each of them having unique features and quality. Some of the best hot tub brands you can go for include Reef spas, Vita spas, Jacuzzi hot tubs, and Lay-Z spas. When you go for any of these brands, you are sure to get the best value for money as they are tough, durable, and efficient.
The hot tub's air jets are very crucial in determining how effective its hydrotherapy massage will be. Going for hot tubs with prices that are on the higher side means that you will get more jets that you can adjust to suit you and deliver the right massage.
So, when you are testing the hot tub, it is essential that you take note of the number of jets and how many combinations they can be utilized in. A hot tub with powerful jets will definitely give you a good massage.
There is a popular misconception that your hot tub will be more robust if it has more pumps and jets. While it is true to an extent, the hot tub only draws a limited amount of power from the electrical source.
The hot tubs have been designed to maximize efficiency while maintaining their hydrotherapeutic benefits and also 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 a lot of time maintaining the hot tub water quality if it comes with good enough filters to keep the water clean. The more filters your hot tub has and the bigger they are, the less you will need to stress to maintain the quality of water. This is why it is advisable to go for a hot tub with at least 100 square feet of filter area per cartridge.
A good filtration system helps you reduce the number of chemicals needed and maintenance required to run the hot tub as it cleans the water on its own efficiently.
The ongoing costs of a hot tub are greatly influenced by its insulation. A hot tub that is not fully foamed will find it challenging to retain heat and will also cost you more to run.
If you are looking for the most efficient hot tub, then you should go for the one that is fully foamed with top-grade foam. This foam will be 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, then it is sure to be a lot more energy-efficient.
If you want to find out how effective a hot tub cover is, you can place your hand on it. If you notice that it is at room temperature, it signifies that the tub is trapping heat as effectively as it can.
If you can, purchase a hot tub that has a cover with lockable clips. This ensures that the little ones cannot gain unauthorized access to your swim spa and will also prevent the hot tub's cover from being blown away due to unstable weather.
Most of the quality hot tubs out there come with LED lighting fixed to their acrylic seating. This can help to set the mood for your soak in the night. So, you can rest and enjoy the light show at the same time.
The hot tub lighting is not a must, but it is also important. Since you will most likely get into your tub at night, it is advisable to look out 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 first know who you are dealing with, their reputation, and how long they have been in business.
If you can bring out positive answers to all these questions, it is a good sign that you will not be disappointed.
Having a warranty is optimal as it protects your hot tub in more ways than one. If you want to buy a hot tub, ensure you go for one with a comprehensive manufacturer's warranty.
You should also keep in mind that a lot of brands of hot tubs come with warranties that differ, so make sure to get a trusted brand to fulfil your warranty and 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 hot tub is dependent on your budget. It is without a doubt that extra accessories will enhance your hot tub experience, but they will come at an extra cost.
You can decide to invest in other accessories and appliances like hot tub gazebos, hot tub steps, floating trays, or a sound system. You can maximize your enjoyment in the outdoor space with a combination of music and refreshing air.
More often than not, you will need to hook up your hot tub to an energy source to heat it up and run. Getting the water heated to the ideal temperature could take some time, and it is advisable that the hot tub stays heated to save energy and time.
With an average hot tub, you will get about $50 added to your monthly electricity bill. However, there are hot tubs that could be run for as low as $10-20 monthly. This guarantees that you can chill out in your tub without worrying too much.
There are a lot of factors that could influence the running costs of a hot tub. So, keep these in mind before you purchase;
Price of electricity
Frequency of usage (pumps, chemicals)
The temperature of the water
The model and quality of insulation
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. Utilize a skimmer to eliminate the debris and dirt that linger inside your tub. Also, ensure that the hot tub filters are cleaned every two weeks.
Opting to maintain your hot tub by yourself means that 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 for a very long time.
You will need to add hot tub chemicals in the right proportion to ensure that the quality of the water remains optimal. You will be required to clean and change the water on a regular basis. You can apply salt water and chlorine to help you with the cleaning and maintaining of the hot tub.
As one of the new hot tub buyers, you should call in a professional for routine services to ensure that your hot tub doesn't stop functioning properly.
Financing a hot tub
If you don't have the money to purchase a hot tub, you can opt for the financing option. 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 are able to cover the cost with affordable monthly payments.
Typically, a hot tub finance repayment terms can 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 new hot tub, you can apply for financing from Aqua Warehouse. It is 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
Once you have gotten your hot tub, you now need to consider the installation costs. Depending on the type of hot tub you go for, you might require professional installation to set up properly. That said, you will need an access point to the backyard, a nearby garden hose, and a levelled solid ground.
Where you are going to install the hot tub?
It is relatively easy to install the 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 up 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.
Proceed to turn on the water, ensuring that 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. Your wait time depends on the water pressure and how big your spa is. Make sure you get it filled up to the minimum safe water level.
Next, take out the garden hose and have the filter replaced, then turn on the breaker.
If you decide to get a high-quality hot tub, there are some important factors you should consider to ensure you get the best hot tub experience. There are different types of hot tubs and brands you can choose from; just be sure that the one you go for really suits you.
What time of year is the cheapest to buy a hot tub?
Shopping for a hot tub can be an exciting activity, and you would want to know the best time to buy one. It is ideal to purchase a hot tub toward the end of the year as it can help you save money. This is because most hot tub manufacturers are looking to clear out their bulky inventory, which would see the cost of tubs at the lower end.
Can you negotiate the price on hot tubs?
You should always negotiate. A general rule is that the initial price you get is not always the best price. While it is possible for managers and even a sales person to drop the price a bit, buying from hot tub owners can make all the difference in terms of cost.