There’s nothing quite like unwinding after a long day with a soak in a portable hot tub in the comfort of your own backyard. The warm water helps to relax tight muscles, relieve stress, and it can even improve sleep and cardiovascular health!
The hot tub market is extremely, well, hot right now. It has continued to grow year-over-year and it is estimated that 5.8 million households in the USA have one!
Interestingly enough, a report from Mordor Intelligence predicts that there will be even greater growth for the next five years. This spike in popularity is a result of the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, where many people spent more time at home and less traveling. More homeowners are investing in a hot tub as a luxury item for relaxation at home!
Plus, buying a hot tub can be a great investment you can use all year long – even in the dead of winter!
But there are some things you need to know before buying to ensure that you get the perfect portable spa for your space.
In this hot tub buying guide, we will cover the most important factors that will help you make an informed decision when buying a hot tub:
1. Different Types of Hot Tubs
2. How To Choose A Perfect Portable Hot Tub
3. Important Features to Consider When Buying a Hot Tub
4. Pre-Installation Factors
5. Mistakes to Avoid When Buying a Hot Tub
Let’s dive in.
Many people get confused with the terms hot tub and spa. Are these two different products or just one?
You may even notice that the name of a hot tub or spa changes depending on the area you live in or the store you’re shopping at.
Both terms hot tub and spa can generally be used interchangeably. Jacuzzi and Whirlpool are specific brand names, but they may also be used to describe a hot tub spa. However, a simple hot tub may not include jets and pumps, whereas a hot tub spa typically does.
The hot tub was invented by Roy Jacuzzi (hence the brand name) in 1968 – however, the technology used to keep hot tubs hot dates back to the 1950s.
In the 1970s, hot tubs started to evolve to include spa-like features, including adjustable jets, comfortable built-in seats, and easily adjustable temperature controls. These days, hot tub spas are fairly common and include lots of neat features, such as Bluetooth speakers and even TVs!
Modern hot tub spas are beautifully designed to fit into any décor and there are plenty of different designs and styles depending on your needs.
Portable hot tubs and spas are stand-alone models which can be installed and removed as needed. It is not built-in to the ground and is self-contained. This means that it includes all of the parts and equipment needed to operate. It is important to note that many portable hot tubs do require a 220-volt connection, which may need to be specially installed. The standard voltage for outdoor electrical connections is usually 120 volts.
There are also portable hot tubs called “plug and play” spas. These only require a 110-volt electrical connection. This means that you can plug it in directly to an exterior outlet and use your hot tub right away.
Portable hot tubs are often made of acrylic, fiberglass, or plastics – and some are even made of inflatable latex or vinyl.
Any type of hot tub spa can be a fabulous addition that compliments your backyard’s overall design. Both styles of the hot tubs are great for different reasons – however, a custom-built design is not something that everyone can afford. Luxury portable designs can be a great alternative that provides many of the same features at a lower price point.
So, let’s cover some of the most important aspects and features to consider when choosing the right hot tub for you and your family.
To find the right size, shape, and overall design of a hot tub spa for your home, you will need to narrow down your options. Purchasing and installing a portable spa can be a big investment – so you want to be sure that you get the right type to fit your needs.
Here are some things to consider before buying a hot tub to determine which type is going to be the best fit:
Having a large hot tub that can fit your whole family or a large group of friends sounds like a great idea. However, it requires a lot of energy to regulate the temperature of a large hot tub.
So, it is highly recommended that you purchase a hot tub that fits the maximum number of people who will be using it the most.
While there are some cheaper hot tub spa models available, remember that lower-quality spas will wear down faster. They also may require more repairs and cost more to heat up – which will end up costing you more in the long run.
There are several key features to look out for to find a top-quality hot tub that meets all of your needs.
The hot tub material from which the tub is made can impact how long it will last, how well it retains heat and the way that the spa looks. The most common materials used to build hot tubs are:
A hot tub cabinet feature can be added to change the appearance of the outside of the spa. These come in a variety of patterns, colors, and textures, such as natural wood, faux stone, or shiny finishing.
If you live in an area with colder temperatures, you might want a more well-insulated hot tub. This will help to retain heat longer when the air temperature is significantly lower than the water. Hot tub insulation is made with different types of foam – and multi-density of full-foam are considered to be the most effective kinds.
If you want a more spa-like experience, look for hot tubs with massage jets or directional jets. These are designed to hit specific muscle points for ultimate relaxation. Some jets are designed to add stronger pressure streams, while others rotate for a gentler experience.
If you want to use your hot tub during the evenings, you may want a tub with built-in lighting. Some models have recessed lighting below the water’s surface that can be adjusted depending on the brightness or color you want.
Some newer portable hot tubs allow you to adjust the temperature remotely. This allows you to turn the heater off and on from a distance. You can also control the force of the hot tub jets, the lights, temperature, or be alerted of any maintenance issues.
If you want to enjoy your hot tub as a pool or need to cool the temperature for smaller children, consider purchasing one with a cooling system. This will chill the water down quickly by jetting in cold streams as needed.
One way to enhance your spa experience is by purchasing models with entertainment features. Some hot tubs allow you to play music through audio plug-ins or via Bluetooth. You can even watch TV while soaking in your hot tub, as some models have all-weather HD video monitor attachments.
One benefit of buying a brand-new instead of used is that the hot tub warranty and support will be included. Different brands and stores offer warranty coverage with new spa purchases.
These are designed to cover any issues that are the fault of the manufacturer – not damage from misuse or general wear and tear. Some companies also offer customer support lines to answer any questions or schedule maintenance.
While different sizes and types of hot tubs are designed to fit just about any space, there are some things to check on and consider before buying a hot tub.
Some neighbourhoods, cities, or counties have legal requirements and code restrictions for hot tub spas. Additionally, HOAs may have set restrictions on the style or size of hot tubs allowed. Be sure to check with your area’s codes and see if you need to apply for a hot tub permit before installing a spa in your home.
You may want to consider installing safety barriers, especially if young children will be around your hot tub. For instance, it may be a good idea to add fences or gates around the tub to keep children or animals out.
You may need specific electrical equipment installed depending on the style or voltage of the hot tub. Some smaller models will connect to a standard outlet, but others require special wiring that needs to be installed by an electrician.
There needs to be a firm and solid foundation that will support your hot tub. The surface must be completely levelled – so putting it directly on the ground is not always the best option. For additional support, it is highly recommended that you only place a spa on a strong foundation, such as a concrete slab. Any raised surface (i.e. a deck) must be rated to hold at least 150 pounds per square foot.
Unfortunately, many people get so excited about owning a spa that they fall victim to common oversights. This can sadly ruin your experience and wind up costing you way more money than expected – so be sure to avoid these common mistakes.
To keep your portable hot tub running efficiently for years to come, you need to keep up with routine maintenance, which includes:
Keeping up with hot tub maintenance is actually easier than you may think. Thankfully, advances in mineral filtration systems and ozonators make it really easy to keep your hot tub’s water clean. If you are using the right equipment, then your spa should only require the occasional chemical additions as needed if the water becomes cloudy.
Although having lots of pumps and jets can create a spa-like experience in your hot tub, remember that they do require a lot of energy and maintenance. Take this into consideration and go with a model that provides you with enough jets for a comfortable, relaxing soak without going overboard.
It can be tempting to add lots of neat features to your hot tub. But think about which features you will actually end up using the most.
High-tech features can be impressive, but they are also quite expensive and tricky to repair. Instead, go with the features that matter most to create the kind of experience you want in your portable hot tub.
There are plenty of hot tub suppliers that promise to sell amazing spas at low prices. But, you need to purchase from a trustworthy supplier in case anything goes wrong. Be sure to ask them about return or replacement policies, installation and delivery costs, and hot tub warranty options.
Another huge mistake that many homeowners make is failing to prep their hot tub for cold winter weather. If you are not going to use your hot tub spa over the winter, then you will need to winterize it. This involves:
Getting a hot tub to put in the backyard is a dream that many of us have – but you can easily make it a reality. There are plenty of hot tub models available to fit any size, décor style, and budget!
If you are interested in buying a portable hot tub for your home, contact our team at Family Leisure. We offer factory direct pricing from the top-rated brands with free shipping in the United States!
Reach out to our team today to receive a personal quote and learn more about our options.
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