A hot tub is a must for a perfect backyard sanctuary. And while a quality purchase will provide a relaxing and blissful experience for years to come, a low-grade machine can cause more trouble than it's worth.
We'll point you in the direction of high-quality building materials, energy-efficient designs, reliability and of course a few fun features.
Continue reading to come one step closer to finding the perfect spa to suit your needs!
WORST HOT TUB BRANDS
BAD CUSTOMER REVIEWS
If you are researching a hot tub and you find out that it has less than 3 out of 5 stars in the majority of the reviews, it is more than likely that that particular hot tub should not be your final choice.
You’ll want to make sure to go through different hot tub reviews on different sites so that you can get a consensus of what some of the pros and cons are.
Make sure to read through the warranty section on the manufacturer site before you purchase your hot tub.
You want to make sure that if you have any issues within the first few years of ownership that the company will take care of it for you.
While all hot tub warranties and parts are different, we recommend getting a hot tub that has a warranty of at least five years on the shell or frame, as this part of the hot tub is most susceptible to wear and tear.
You might not want to purchase a hot tub if you find out that they aren’t available through any local dealerships. Local hot tub dealers are able to help you out with different services before and after your hot tub purchase.
If you purchase a hot tub online or at a big box store, you might find that it becomes troublesome when you have an issue and there is no one to turn to.
UNRELIABLE: CONSTANT MAINTENANCE & REPAIRS
Your hot tub should be reliable. There is no question about that. If you are reading reviews and you find that people are having to make constant repairs, know that that is not normal hot tub ownership.
A hot tub that is reliable should be able to last you a decade or more, and shouldn’t require much servicing at all.
NO SERVICE AGREEMENT
When you purchase a hot tub from a dealer, you want to make sure that it is an investment that you can enjoy for many years to come. You’ll want to talk with your dealer to see if there is a service agreement post-purchase.
A good service agreement will come with a lifetime or limited lifetime of service and maintenance after your purchase, meaning you won’t have to worry about burning through more cash to maintain your tub, or paying some half-handed ‘handyman’ to get it done.
If you are ready to see the brands that you should buy, click here for the best hot tub brands to see our guide.
One of the top misconceptions that we see most when it comes to ‘necessary’ hot tub features is the jet count. The majority of people that begin researching hot tubs will look for the models with the highest jet count.
While having a hot tub with a thousand jets might sound cool, the idea of quantity over quality can mislead people into making bad decisions.
Different hot tubs come with different jet configurations, each of which is unique. We’ve actually found that it is much better for a spa manufacturer to strategically place jets in optimal massage areas than to put a ton of jets around the tub.
A hot tub that has a different variety of jets is also much better, as it allows a user to select the type of massage that they want.
Little do most people know, it is actually much cheaper for spa manufacturers to put a ton of weaker, smaller jets around their hot tubs than larger jets. A ton of small jets will only provide an experience that is less stimulating than fewer and larger jets that are manufactured with design in mind.
INSULATION BUYING VIA HOME SHOW
When many buyers go to check out different hot tub designs, they spend a lot of time looking at the shell or the outside.
We don’t blame them, as the aesthetic of the tub is very important to create a certain type of style in the backyard. Unfortunately, many people forget to consider the insulation that is on the inside.
A hot tub with shoddy insulation = a much higher electricity bill.
A quality hot tub will put care into choosing the proper insulation. That insulation should also be designed for the type of climate that you are living in. Of course, if you’re living somewhere where it snows a lot, you are going to want a tub that has full foam insulation.
This is because foam provides the insides of hot tubs with the best protection possible. Not only will you be happier when your electric bill arrives, but you’ll also be confident in the fact that your hot tub is more durable.
TOP SELLING DOESN'T ALWAYS MEAN A TOP QUALITY BRAND
Remember, top selling hot tubs are not necessarily top quality brands. Do yourself a favor. Head over to Amazon and search for “hot tubs”. You’ll likely find a bunch of strange brands that have incredibly high ratings.
This is exactly what most people do when they purchase a hot tub. They search for hot tubs, find the most popular brand, and purchase from them. It is always good to make sure that you research a brand to find out if their popularity translates to quality. The reason so many people might be buying from a particular brand is because they are the cheapest. It might also be because that particular brand is great at marketing their products.
BUYING FROM A HOME SHOW
One of the worst possible ways to buy a hot tub is from a home show. Hot tubs that are sold at home shows won’t come with any type of service agreement, as by the time your hot tub needs service, that home show will be long gone.
Hot tubs at home shows are usually set up outside throughout the year. They are constantly on so that they can be showcased, meaning when you purchase one, you aren’t purchasing one that is new.
Even if buying from a home show seems like a great deal right off the bat, you have to think down the line in the case that your hot tub ever needs servicing (which it will).
SO… WHICH ARE THE GOOD BRANDS?
Below is a list of some of our favorite brands. There is a longer list on our best hot tub brands page here if you would like to see the full list.
When it comes to high-quality design and engineering, Bullfrog Spas is at the top of the game.
Their main goal is to create a unique and relaxing experience for every kind of hot tub customer.
They have four main hot tub models, including their entry-level X Series, their second-tier R Series, their modern-style STIL Series, and their luxurious A Series.
See our Bullfrog Spas Reviews for information on specific models.
Hot Spring spas offer a wonderful freshwater system on their upper-tier selections, and they also have some of the most spacious hot tubs around.
In terms of water care, these hot tubs are some of the easiest to take care of on the market.
They have wonderful energy-saving features and provide an unparalleled massage experience.
This manufacturer has decades of experience and provides excellent customer care before and after purchase.
For our full analysis, head over to Hot Spring Spas Reviews.
Sundance has been in the hot tub game for over four decades and they have an incredible variety of hot tubs for just about every kind of consumer.
They have a community-oriented business with some of the best customer service around.
There are four different hot tubs in the Sundance line, including the 680 Series, the 780 Series, the 880 Series, and the 980 Series, which move up in value as you go along.
When it comes to the sheer number of hot tubs in a lineup, Cal Spas is the winner.
The beauty of this brand is that you get a lot of bang for your buck. And beyond their hot tub models, they also have a long line of swim spas as well.
For entry-level hot tub consumers, we always recommend Cal Spas.
You can choose from a variety of upgradable features, which makes crafting your own personal hot tub far more exciting.
Visit our Cal Spas Reviews page for more detailed information.
Marquis has a line of 27 different hot tubs with a variety of different features and accessories.
Their line up ranges from entry-level to luxury hot tubs.
They are well-known for their high-flow therapy jets and their aromatherapy work.
Marquis also utilizes MicroSilk technology, which is a unique skin and beauty treatment, using tiny bubbles to promote cell growth.
To dive into the details, visit Marquis Spas Reviews.
Arctic Spas provides buyers with seven different hot tub models to choose from, including the Hudson, Wolverine, Kingfisher, Ocean, Okanagan, and Athabascan.
They cost very little to operate and have some of the best designs on the market for people that live in colder climates.
Their hot tubs range from entry-level to luxury, providing buyers with tons of features to choose from.
Master Spas provides users with 21 different hot tub models across four unique model lines.
They are most well-known for providing the Legend Series, which is used by Michael Phelps.
They build all of their hot tubs in the United States, so you know you are receiving a quality product.
We recommend Master Spas to entry-level and mid-level buyers. They sell some awesome swim spas too!
WHAT SHOULD I LOOK FOR WHEN COMPARING DIFFERENT HOT TUB BRANDS?
The best way to find your ideal hot tub is to visit a dealer and ask questions to help find the perfect hot tub for you. You’ll have to first consider how you want to use your hot tub, as a hot tub for family entertainment is very different from a hot tub that is for solo relaxation.
Here are some of the top things to consider when you start to compare different hot tub brands:
You’ll want to compare pricing at different tier levels, as it isn’t really fair to compare one entry-level hot tub from one brand to a premium hot tub from another. Find what you believe is a fair market price for a specific style of hot tub and compare from there.
See what types of features that you can find across the board. Compare the types of jets, lighting, entertainment features, and more. Figure out what you want most in a hot tub and search for that specifically. You might be surprised to find out how many brands carry that feature.
The construction of a hot tub is very important. Make sure to look closely and see what kinds of materials each hot tub is made from. For example, there are many inflatable hot tub brands to avoid for the sheer fact that they are susceptible to damage. You can then find more information on the advantages and disadvantages of different types of materials once you have gathered a list.
The warranty says a lot about how you will be able to maintain the integrity of your hot tub as time moves forward. Does the hot tub brand in question provide any sort of customer service once you have purchased your tub? How long do those different warranties last and is there any catch?
Need a Hot Tub?
WHAT ARE SOME BRANDS WITH GREAT WATER CARE SYSTEMS?
Taking care of water with older hot tubs was always a drag. If you left your water untouched for a month, you could expect to come back to a murky tub. Luckily, modern hot tub manufacturers are constantly coming up with unique and innovative ways to keep tubs clean.
Bullfrog Spas has a wonderful Enhanced Ozone System that uses a WellSpring Circulation Pump to keep the water clear. This means that you can cut down on your chlorine use by 75%.
The Jacuzzi brand provides users with ClearRay UV-C technology to keep their spas sanitized. This nifty UV light helps to fight off nasty bacteria. Plus, it is incredibly simple to use!
Lastly, Caldera Spas makes use of a FreshWater salt system, which helps the tubs to generate chlorine automatically.
Now that we have taken you through our list of what hot tub brands to avoid when you are on the hunt, as well as a bit about our favorite hot tub brands, we hope that you feel confident with all the information so that you can go out and buy your own hot tub!
Choosing a hot tub shouldn’t be difficult, though you must keep a few things in mind.
You’ll want to make sure that you find a hot tub that is designed to fit your family, one that uses the proper jet design to give you the proper massage experience, and provide an aesthetic that fits the style of your home and backyard.
Good luck! We wish you the most relaxing hot tub experience possible!
About The Author
Full-time staff writer at wyllz.com and stay-at-home mom.