The features on your hot tub can have a huge impact on the benefits you and your family experience. Here we’re going to look at what the market has to offer, so that you can decide which will be valuable to you.
A hot tub can be a great way to unwind after a long, stressful day. It can also be ideal when relaxing with friends and family. But before making a hasty purchase decision, there are a number of factors to consider, such as:
- The number of people the tub can accommodate – will it just be yourself and your immediate family who use it? Or will you invite friends to use it too?
- The type and number of jets – some hot tubs offer sophisticated massage functions, and the number of jets could impact on how effective they are for relaxation.
- The size and shape of the tub – will it fit comfortably where you are planning to situate it?
- Ease of access, particularly for older and less physically-able bathers – this is an important factor as there is some physical agility required to get in and out of a hot tub.
What Features Does Your Hot Tub Need?
Another important factor is the price. Hot tubs can range in price from a few hundred pounds to over twenty thousand pounds.
Decide on what you’re looking for from your purchase, see how that fits with what you’re willing to spend and then start shopping for the best hot tub that fits your budget.
A good retailer will be able to discuss functions and features so that you can determine which would be valuable to you and your family.
Once you’ve settled on the features you want, it’s time to start shopping.
What Are the Different Types of Portable Hot Tubs?
There are four main types of portable hot tub on the market: inflatable, wooden, roto-molded and acrylic.
Inflatable Hot Tubs
Inflatable hot tubs are made of PVC. They are the cheapest type of hot tub and offer a glance of the hot tub lifestyle. They are quick to set up and can be moved around easily, but are not as sturdy as other types and can be more difficult to maintain as filtration and circulations tend to be rather basic.
Inflatable tubs offer very little insulation and so heating and running costs will be higher. The filtration systems are very basic also, meaning that water issues are commonplace, resulting in frequent water replacement and problematic episodes with water clarity and quality.
Wooden Hot Tubs
Wooden hot tubs are made from a number of wood types, and also offer wood-fired options to heat water rather than electricity. They are sturdy and long-lasting, but due to the nature of the material they can prove difficult to clean, especially the organic ingress into the wood. This type of hot tub usually has far fewer jets and limited water circulation, with the typical water temperature higher than usual and so care would need to be employed with bacterial growth.
Roto-Molded Hot Tubs
Roto-molded hot tubs are rotationally-molded spas made from a high-density thermal plastic and offer a cost effective option to an acrylic hot tub. They are typically smaller than their acrylic counterparts, offer less functionality in terms of number of jets, etc., and are lightweight in comparison. For these reasons they are usually cheaper than acrylic hot tubs.
Acrylic Hot Tubs
Acrylic hot tubs are the best quality available, coming in a variety of colours, and offering excellent heat retention. They are typically very well insulated with good quality materials and tend to be covered with a well-fitted cover when not in use. Acrylic tubs provide the best quality available if cost efficiency, finish options, beneficial features – such as massage jets – and durability are important to you.
What Size Hot Tub is Right for You?
There is no one definitive answer to this question. It will depend on how much space you have available, how many people you want your tub to accommodate, and how much money you have available to spend.
Smaller hot tubs (4-6 feet) typically hold 2-4 people, while larger hot tubs (6-8 feet) can hold 4-8 people.
The best way to determine the right size for you, your family and the space you have available is to visit a local retailer who can discuss options with you, and who will be able to offer a ‘wet test’, which is an industry term for a test run of your chosen tub.
What Additional Features Should You Look for in a Hot Tub?
There is a wide range of features that can be included in a hot tub, so it’s important to decide what is important to you before making a purchase.
It should be noted that many features below will not be available on inflatable hot tubs.
Some of the most common features include the following:
Jets are excellent for massaging the body – some models offer wellness programmes that will enable specific types of massage for the bather, such as insomnia relief, leg and back pain, metabolism boost and stress relieving.
A good cover will help retain heat and keep your heating costs down. You may wish also to consider a cover lifter to make removing and replacing it easier.
Standard upright seats are typical in most roto-molded and acrylic hot tubs, with some also offering lounger seat options which are particularly effective when coupled with massage jets.
Good insulation has a big impact on running costs by improving heat retention. It is a vital consideration for anyone wishing to use their tub year-round, and who plans on making the most of their hot tub through regular use. Insulation is housed inside the cabinet shell of roto-molded and acrylic hot tubs. Ask your retailer to demonstrate the location and extent to you.
Water Filtration and Heating Systems
In terms of keeping your hot tub clean, safe and comfortable, these are the most important features to consider. Filtration removes waste product and particles, ensuring that bacteria and pathogens do not multiply in the water; it is a continuous process that shouldn’t be overlooked. Heating keeps the water at a pleasant temperature for your bathers, ideally this should be between 34º and 37º.
The addition of background music is attractive to some hot tub owners, but consideration should be made to neighbours and surrounding properties.
A very attractive feature to bring a striking look to your hot tub at night!
Cup Holders and Other Accessories
There are many optional accessories to consider when purchasing a hot tub, so do ask your retailer to show you what is available for your chosen model.
How Much Does a Hot Tub Cost?
The cost of a hot tub can vary significantly, depending on the size, features and specifications of the model. Generally, you can expect to pay anywhere from £500 for an inflatable hot tub to £22,000 for a state-of-the-art acrylic tub. There will, of course, be valid reasons for such a price variation, so do be careful to ensure that any features that are important to you are included on your chosen model, such as good internal insulation to lessen ongoing running costs.
Second-hand models may be available at a lower cost, but it is important to check that any used hot tub has been well maintained and is in good condition. For this reason it is better to purchase second-hand tubs from a retailer who can service and thoroughly clean the tub along with its internal pipework before you take possession.
When considering the cost of a hot tub, it is important to also think about the ongoing running costs as well as the initial purchase amount. Heating the water in a hot tub can be expensive, so it’s advisable to choose a model with an efficient heating system. Treatment chemicals and test kits will need to be purchased to ensure your water is clear and safe to bathe in. Filtration systems also require regular cleaning and filter replacement, which will add to the overall cost of ownership.
One factor that most potential buyers overlook is the cost of the water itself, which is also an environmental concern. In order to minimise the water costs it is essential that the hot tub is well cared for by testing the water regularly (daily and weekly tests are recommended). In order to lessen the risk of water pollution it’s highly recommended that bathers take a shower before they take a dip to remove lotions, natural body oils, etc. Keeping the tub covered when not in use also helps keep pollutants out, and keeps heat in the water.
If the water is well looked after, the need for replacement can be up to 14 weeks whereas ‘problem’ water brought about by poor water care will need replacing much sooner.
Where Can You Put a Hot Tub?
When purchasing a hot tub, it is important to keep in mind the size of your garden, access for the installation and the amount of space you have to site it.
The base must be firm and able to withstand the weight of the hot tub when filled with water – and bathers! Well-constructed decking and patios are ideal. Make sure the base is level also.
Give consideration to the cover and how it’s stored, as many require extra clearance along one side when the tub is in use. You also need to make sure that there is an electrical outlet nearby that can handle the power requirements of the tub (for the UK a single phase, 32 amp supply will suffice).
A hot tub can be a great investment, enabling you to relax, soak the stresses of the day away, and spend quality time with friends and family.
When choosing the hot tub that’s right for you, be sure to consider which features will be most valuable to you and see how your budget can accommodate them. If in any doubt, consult with your retailer to see how this can be achieved.
You should also consider the initial purchase price, ongoing running costs (electricity, and water treatment chemicals). Purchasing from a reputable supplier is also highly advisable. This will mean your hot tub is up and running quickly, with continuing support and service packages available too.