Much like purchasing a vehicle, research is needed in order to select the right hot tub. You want to be confident that your money is going towards a spa that will provide enjoyment for many years to come.
You've likely made it here because you're already aware of how beneficial hot tub ownership can be for your health, though the last thing you want is to make a bad investment.
Luckily, we can help you find the perfect hot tub for your needs.
Continue reading as our hot tub buying guide will explain everything you need to know about the selection process.
Hot Tub Buying Tips
Consider Where You'll Put Your Hot Tub
The first thing you need to think of when buying a hot tub is the space that it will be in. What kind of space are you working with?
You may have a patio, a porch, a concrete pad in the yard, or an indoor space where you want to place your hot tub. It's important that the hot tub you ultimately decide on fits in your space, both size-wise and aesthetically.
Start by carefully analyzing your space so you can make sure the hot tub you purchase will gel with the rest of your home.
Find The Right Size and Shape
Once you have a good idea of where you're going to place your hot tub, you'll want to begin looking for a hot tub that's the right size. Hot tubs can range in size from around 5' long to over 9' long. If you get a swim spa, you could be looking at a unit that is up to 25' in length!
Beyond the dimensions of your spa, you'll also want keep the shape in mind. The majority of hot tubs on the market are square or rectangular in shape. They're not as traditional as round hot tubs, though they are great for fitting in corners and making the most out of limited space. Many companies even manufacture triangular spas. Triangle hot tubs are smaller and even more space-efficient.
Size and shape typically go hand-in-hand with capacity. This isn't always the case, though you can usually expect that a larger hot tub will be able to accommodate more people than a smaller one.
We like to tell customers to envision who they'd want to spend quality time with in their hot tub. Maybe a two-person hot tub for you and your significant other is enough. Maybe you'll need a five-person hot tub so that the whole family can be involved. If you enjoy entertaining and plan on hosting hot tub nights at your place with all your friends, then an eight-person large hot tub model is calling your name. Seating arrangements also differ from model to model.
Look At The Seating Options
Bucket seats are what you'll find in most hot tub models. They provide hydrotherapy massage jets while still allowing for free movement.
If you prefer a more relaxing soak where you can stretch your legs, we recommend lounge seating. While one built-in lounger is most common, some manufacturers produce double lounger hot tubs as well. Deep hot tubs are also available.
On the other end of the spectrum, the more traditional hot tubs are built with bench seating. This option allows users to move around the hot tub freely, which is great for interacting and hanging with friends and family.
Plug-n-Play or Traditional?
240V hot tubs are far more common, though hiring a licensed electrician knowledgeable in hot tub electrical requirements will be necessary. It is for this reason that 240V hot tubs are less portable.
If you're renting or planning on moving soon, going with a 240V hot tub might not be the best choice.
However, if you've planted your feet in your current space, know that 240V hot
tubs are much more energy efficient and heat up much faster than their 110V counterparts which do not have as much power. With a 240V, the heat and jets can both run on full blast simultaneously.
110V plug-n-play hot tubs can be plugged directly into your standard home outlet. If you don't want to deal with hiring and paying for an electrician, a 110V tub is a great choice. You can get them up and running much more easily than a 240 V model.
Consider The Various Types Of Hot Tub Construction
Before you dive into features and all of the fun elements of owning a hot tub, you'll need to consider the type of hot tub that you want to buy.
There are a few different materials you can choose from, including:
If you're leaning toward a standard hard-shell hot tub, we recommend going with an acrylic hot tub. Not only do these hot tubs look great, but they're also incredibly durable and can be shaped and molded into unique, luxurious designs.
The internal seating arrangements in acrylic hot tub models are the most comfortable in our opinion, as manufacturers are able to ergonomically contour them to the body's natural shape which results in a very comfortable soak. While you'll likely pay an increased price for an acrylic hot tub, the longevity that they provide is good trade-off.
If you want to save some money and invest in a cheaper hot tub model, you might consider going with a roto-molded hot tub. These types of hot tubs are made out of singular pieces of roto-molded shells. Due to their design, they typically have fewer features than their acrylic hot tub counterparts, and their insulation properties aren't as strong.
If portability and budget-friendliness are top priorities for you, you may consider going with an inflatable vinyl spa. The beauty of these kinds of hot tubs is that they are totally portable and often go for half the price or less of their hard-shell cousins.
It's important to note that inflatable hot tubs are quality pieces of equipment. Many of them come with jets and digital control systems for temperature and lighting. They aren't as feature-rich, though can certainly provide the health and entertainment benefits that hot tub owners love.
For the traditional route, you may consider getting a wooden hot tub. Most wooden hot tubs are made out of cedarwood, which offers a uniquely natural smell and feel that can excite any rustic outdoor enthusiast. Cedar hot tubs are the least customizable hot tubs in the lineup and often don't come with all of the modern bells and whistles, though they can provide a uniquely traditional hot tub experience that you won't find anywhere else. These come in wood-fired, gas and electric versions.
Hot Tub Features - What You Should Know
After you have an understanding of the basics you're looking for, the fun begins. Let's take a look at some hot tub features you might consider when purchasing a hot tub.
One of the main reasons people purchase hot tubs is to take advantage of the hydrotherapy jets.
These jets have the ability to provide soothing massage therapy, which can deliver several physical and mental health benefits, not least of which is melting away stress.
Each hot tub brand utilizes its own unique jet system.
It's up to you to compare the various manufacturers to find the right hot tub with the right jet system.
Crafting energy-efficient hot tubs has become a top priority for many hot tub manufacturers in recent years. However, there are still different forms of hot tub insulation, depending on the company you purchase from.
Most large hot tub brands use full-foam insulation. While full-foam insulation is highly energy-efficient, it can also make it more difficult to perform repairs and maintenance on your tub in the future. That said, leaks are less likely to occur with full-foam insulation.
The wool-like fiber utilized in FiberCor Insulation allows for easier access when repairing leaks.
Reflective-backed insulation is the best for those who want to make the most of energy efficiency. The hot tub cabinet is filled with foam that has a reflective back, acting like a mirror to radiate heat back into the hot tub.
Hot tubs that have insulated bases are a good investment. Spas lose a lot of heat from the underside. With an added bit of protection underneath, your hot tub will be able to retain heat better, allowing you to save money on energy consumption over the course of the year.
The last thing you want is a dirty hot tub that you have to clean all the time, which is why it's important to have a high-quality filtration system.
Good filtration systems can keep unwanted particles out of your water and keep your equipment safe over the course of your hot tub ownership.
You will have to swap filters out for new ones every year, so take note of how many filters your spa requires.
Need a Hot Tub?
Many high-end hot tub manufacturers are starting to implement tech-heavy digital control systems in their hot tubs. If you want to have total control over temperature, jets and more, using an intuitive system to navigate the ins and outs of your hot tub, then you have to look for spa brands that offer these types of systems.
Some hot tub makers, such as Bullfrog Spas, offer Wi-Fi systems that allow you to control the various parameters of your hot tub, even when you aren't at home.
Of course, we're just hitting the tip of the iceberg with these features. Additional aspects to consider when you buy a hot tub include:
How Much Does A Hot Tub Cost?
Hot tub prices can range from around $2,500 to $20,000+. There are many different types of hot tubs with different features and levels of brand recognition.
As with anything, the more you pay for a hot tub, the better features you'll get, the higher-quality materials you'll have access to, and the longer it will last.
Of course, calling around to different local dealers to get price quotes on your favorite hot tubs can be incredibly time-consuming. Luckily, we have a free service that allows consumers to fill out their hot tub preferences to get price quotes sent to them at no cost!
Click the button below to take advantage of this FREE service and find the spa of your dreams today!
The Bottom Line
We understand that buying a hot tub can feel like an overwhelming process, which is why we want to help. With our hot tub buying guide and the expertise found on our site, you can start searching for the best hot tub for your needs with confidence.
Make sure to click on the button below and fill out our free questionnaire so we can send you the best price quotes from local hot tub dealers near you. There is zero pressure to make a purchase. Let sore muscles and stress be a thing of the past with a new hot tub in your home!
About The Author
Full-time staff writer at wyllz.com and stay-at-home mom.