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Hot Tub 101

Hot Tub Buying Guide - For New Hot Tub Buyers

If you are shopping for a new hot tub, it can be difficult to sift through all the information available. Deciding which factors are the most important and choosing the right hot tub for you can seem impossible. You need a hot tub buying guide to help.

For those looking to buy their first hot tub there can be a lot of guess work regarding how often you’ll use the tub and for what. If you are looking to replace your old tub it can be a bit easier. At least you know how you will use it. Even if you’re looking for a replacement tub, though, you probably bought your last one quite some time ago. Features, styles, and materials have come a long way. You might just find yourself second guessing what options are right for you.

This post aims to un-muddy the waters somewhat, to help you focus on the important parts of buying a new hot tub.

Where is the Hot Tub Going?

The first consideration is where you are going to put the hot tub. First of all will it be outdoors or indoors? If outdoors you’ll need to make sure the thermal properties and build quality of the hot tub can stand up to your climate year round. If indoors, it won’t need to be quite so sturdy. You will need to make sure that it isn’t too big to pass through doorways and hallways on its way to its final location though.

Once you’ve decided on out or in, you need to make sure that the place you intend to install the tub meets all the requirements. The surface the tub will rest on needs to be flat, level and solid. A poured concrete patio or a solid deck is fine, but paving stones are a bad idea. They can shift and cause structural problems for your hot tub’s frame. In-ground hot tubs are, of course, dug in. They still need to be level, though.

Concrete pad for a hot tub

The hot tub will also need power and water, so should be conveniently located for both. Hot tubs come in 110V, 220V and mixed voltage varieties. You’ll need to make sure you have the correct wiring in place to run the hot tub. You will also need to empty and refill the tub a few times a year. This is much easier to do if you have a convenient source of running water nearby. And speaking of draining and refilling, the site for the hot tub also needs to have adequate drainage.

It is also important to make sure that there is enough room on all sides of the hot tub to service it when necessary.

How many People do You Know?

It goes without saying your popularity will increase once you take the splash into a new hot tub. All kidding aside, you need to consider how many people are in the family and how many will use the spa. If your a family of four or more you will want a 7′ to 8′ hot tub that will fit your family. If you are just a couple, a smaller hot tub might do the trick but do consider you may have some friends over at some point.
Family in a hot tub

Hot tubs come in all shapes and sizes, you just need to choose the right one for you and your guests. The other thing that may help make your choice is the power source you can dedicate to your new hot tub. If you only have a 110v available you will be looking at a smaller hot tub or sacrifice the hydrotherapy in a larger tub.

What’s it For?

There are a few reasons people buy a hot tub.

  • Recreation
  • Fitness
  • Relaxation/stress management
  • Medical treatment

Your main reason will determine the type of tub you want, and what features you’ll need. If you are buying one for fitness, you may want to look into models with built-in exercise equipment or maybe get a swim spa. If you are interested in hydrotherapy*, you’ll be most interested in temperature controls and the variety of jets the different models have. Your use for the hot tub will determining the features you need.

Woman exercising in a hot tub

There are portable hot tubs and then there are really portable hot tubs that you can put up and take down in minutes. You will want to decide if that is the type of portability you want in your hot tub. The blowup tubs or the soft-sided tubs can be taken anywhere and moved easily. However, you do give up a little in the hydrotherapy department and the aesthetics of the unit.

*Please also remember that any medical treatments that involving your hot tub should also involve the advice of a qualified physician.

Consider the Cost

It’s important to consider the purchase price of your hot tub. It’s even more important to consider the total cost of ownership. Especially for an outdoor tub, you should be asking how efficient the heating system is, how well the tub retains heat, and how effective the water filtration system is.

It might be a bit more for the model with solid foam insulation, for example, but many people will recoup that extra money in the first year through lower heating costs. More efficient heaters means less energy, and money, spent getting the tub up to heat. More effective filtration means less time and money spent on chemicals and adjustments to water chemistry.

Sometimes spending a bit more can actually save you money.

Also included in the cost of ownership are accessories and chemicals. You will need a hot tub cover that fits your tub, and a cover lifter is never a bad idea. You’ll probably want some sturdy steps to help getting in and out easily as well. None of these things are generally included in the purchase price of a new hot tub, but you should certainly include them in your budget.

Hot Tub Buying Guide – Try before you Buy

It’s a great idea to do your research into the different models, features and specifications online. It’s also a great idea to make a list of a few models that meet your needs on paper, and then go to a local dealer if possible to try them out. Most reputable dealers will be able to arrange for you to test a few models and see how they feel “in the flesh”. And if you can not try them out in your trunks, then just sit in them dry it will still give you an idea. You will want a tub with different seating levels because not everyone is six foot tall. Consider the kids, smaller, or large adults when trying the seating in the hot tubs.
Woman sitting on edge of hot tub watching family in the hot tub

When it’s time to buy you can either buy from a dealer or online, but make sure to ask about warranty service, and only buy from a seller that’s been in business for a while – they are more likely to still be around a year or two down the road.

New or Used

I am a big believer in looking for used hot tubs! For whatever reason you can find hot tubs on Craigslist or other classifieds all the time. Whether people are moving or looking to change their backyard you can find used hot tubs and a lot of times people just want them moved and are not looking to make much or anything back in return. The secret to this is to be patient and find the right tub, you don’t want someone else’s problems. If you take your time and wait for the right hot tub to come along you may save yourself a bunch of money and be just as happy as you would be buying new.

A few things to look at if you are buying used is moist and wet foam insulation means it has a leak steer clear of this. The hot tub cover is really heavy, you will have to replace it with a new hot tub cover. The jets fallout when the tub goes on means you will have to replace a few jets make sure they are still available.

That’s most of what you need to keep in mind while shopping for a new hot tub. There are other factors and details that you can think about, but if you stick to these bases you can’t go too far wrong. We hope are hot tub buying guide will be helpful in your search for the perfect hot tub for you. The hours of stress relief and the soothing of aching muscles, the better sleeps and full range of motion in the morning will make the hours invested in picking out your perfect hot tub worthwhile!