Hot Tub Buying Guide: Your 8-Point Plan

How to Buy a Hot Tub or Spa

The Hot Tub Buying Guide: 8 Essential Steps to Help You Purchase a Spa

Looking to buy a hot tub, now? Fantastic! Check out this Hot Tub buying guide. I am sure you won’t regret investing in a hot tub. Especially the relaxation and comfort it’ll give you in the long run.

But I know with so many options available, it can be overwhelming to choose the right one for you. When I purchased my hot tub, I didn’t know where to start. That’s why I’ve created this comprehensive hot tub buying guide to help you make an informed decision.
On this page:

Step 1: What do You Want to Achieve With this Hot Tub Buying Guide? Clearly Understand Your Hot Tub Needs

First, identify your needs as they serve as your primary guide to buying a hot tub. What do you want a hot tub for? Is it for relaxation, therapy, socializing, or exercise? From here, you’ll get an idea of what features or inclusions you want your hot tub to have.

Big investment – Get it Right

I always tell people that their hot tub is going to be a big investment so they must get it right the first time. Decide if you want a portable or a permanent hot tub. 

Evaluate the benefits of each option and choose the one that best fits your needs. It’s best to look for energy-efficient models that can help save on electricity costs. So, take time to research each model and make comparisons. Use that as a basis for choosing the best model for your needs.

Step 2: Where are you Going to Locate the Hot Tub?

1. Size and Seating Capacity

When it comes to location, think about maintenance, privacy, and your preferred view. You can install the hot tubs indoors or outdoors. However, indoor installation is more complicated and requires careful planning.

If you have enough space, we suggest you opt for an outdoor location. Choose a level and sturdy surface that can support the weight. Don’t forget to check for any necessary permits and fees you may have to settle in your residential area before you can install a hot tub. The last you’ll want is to demolish your hot tub because of violating some rules.

Step 3: Key Factors to Consider When Choosing a Hot Tub

1. Size and Seating Capacity

How many people do you want to fit in the tub at once? And how much space you’ve got in your place? These two considerations determine the size and seating capacity for the hot tub you’ll choose. Of course, your ultimate goal is the comfort of the users. If you have future needs and potential changes in mind, think of them too before you decide on the final size of the hot tub. 

2. Frequency of Use

Part of the spa buying guide is to determine how frequently you intend to use it. For regular use, consider the accessibility of the hot tub and make sure it’s in the best location. 

3. Therapeutic Needs

If you want to utilize a hot tub for therapy, look for a model that offers a hydrotherapy jet. They provide targeted pressure and heat for muscle pain relief. Give easy access to those individuals with mobility issues. If someone uses a wheelchair or has an injury, your hot tub setup must have enough support for them.

4. Longevity of Your Spa

Since hot tub is expensive, durability is a major concern. I suggest you invest in a hot tub with good insulation because it promotes efficient use of energy. A rotomolded plastic hot tub is an ideal choice because it’s able to withstand the test of time.

It’s also wise to look for hot tubs that offer longer warranty coverage. But make sure to read and understand the terms and conditions of the warranty to avoid problems with claims in the future.

Hot Tub buying guide: Quick synopsis

  • Purpose
  • Location
  • Features
  • Budget
  • Manufacturer
  • Installation
    • Step 4: What is your Budget? What Price point are you considering?

      Your budget is a major determining factor when buying a hot tub. The price range can vary significantly, so have a clear idea of what you’re willing to spend. Consider the type of hot tub, its features, and your long-term investment goals when establishing your budget. If you’re willing to pay more for extra features, the better. But if you prefer to stick to your budget, that’s okay too.

      Swim Spas – $25,000 to $40,000

      If your budget is within $25,000 to $40,000, and you want the benefits of swimming and hydrotherapy in one convenient package, go for swim spas. These hot tubs typically come with powerful jets that allow you to swim against a current instead of just bathing in idle water. It provides an excellent opportunity for workout.

      Elite Luxury – $20,000 to $25,000

      Are you dreaming of indulging in the ultimate spa experience? Elite luxury hot tub is the answer! They’re packed with superb features like advanced hydrotherapy jets, high-end audio and lighting systems, and touchscreen control panels. It’s a perfect blend of relaxation and entertainment in one set-up.

      Elite luxury tubs are my personal favorite. They’re spacious enough to accommodate up to 8 or more people. These tubs are constructed using the highest quality materials, and you can choose premium finishes like marble or granite. On top of that, elite luxury tubs come with extensive warranties that cover parts and labor for up to 10 years or more! Imagine the vale and peace of mind you’ll get from this purchase.

      Premium Hot tubs – $15,000 to $20,000

      Do you know that you can get a luxurious hot tub experience within the $15,000 to $20,000 budget range?There are premium hot tub models that offer advanced features like Bluetooth sound systems and LED lighting. They’re made with high-quality materials such as acrylic and fiberglass that are built to last. With their larger seating capacity and increased number of jets, premium hot tubs guarantee an indulgent experience. The downside, though, is that maintenance is higher.

      Mid-range – $10,000 to $15,000

      In the mid-range price category of $10,000 to $15,000, you’ll find hot tubs are 4 to 6-seaters with a generous amount of jets ranging from 30-50. These models often come with sought-after features like LED lighting, waterfall features, and advanced filtration systems. They’re constructed using higher-quality materials such as acrylic and durable frames. Added options like sound systems, wifi connectivity, and smart controls may also be available. Such features provide you with an immersive and convenient experience for a friendly budget. A pretty good deal, right?

      Value – $5,000 to $10,000

      You’ll find hot tubs that offer a great balance of features and affordability in the range of $5,000 to $10,000. They come with desirable features such as jets, lighting, and seating capacity. These tubs are a popular choice for those looking to make a big investment in their relaxation and enjoyment. For me, value hot tubs are already a good buy.

      Entry-level and Portable Hot tubs – $2,000 to $5,000

      On a tight budget? Don’t worry. There are entry-level and portable hot tubs within the $2,000 to $5,000 range. You’ll be surprised by the numerous features these hot tubs offer, including adjustable jets and temperature controls. Not only are they budget-friendly, but are energy-efficient and have lower maintenance costs. Portable hot tubs are easy to set up and move around, offering comfort and relaxation.

      Step 5: Select the Right Hot Tub Manufacturer and Brand

      Not all brands are the same. An important piece of hot tub buying advice I have for you is to find the one that has a good manufacturing reputation. It takes a lot of research and comparing but it’s better to spend time finding the best hot tub than to end up buying a low-quality model.

      1. Reviews and Reputation

      The first thing I did was check the internet for reviews. It’s just one click away. Reading reviews is a crucial step to knowing the reputation of the brand. Checking out the experiences of other hot tub owners with a particular brand can provide valuable insights. A brand that has a lot of positive feedback and high ratings from customers is most likely reliable.

      2. Construction and Reliability

      Once you see the actual product, evaluate the construction quality of the hot tub. Inspect features such as sturdy acrylic shells, durable vinyl covers, and efficient insulation. If you’re not knowledgeable, bring someone who is. Also, ask questions to the sales attendant so he/she can explain the product’s features better. Those with long warranty coverage are a great option as they show the manufacturer’s confidence in the product’s longevity.

      3. Energy Efficiency

      Before I purchased a hot tub, I was nervous about electric bills. However, I learned that good insulation is a must-have as it minimizes heat loss and reduces energy costs. My tip is to look for hot tubs with efficient heating systems that can keep the water warm while conserving energy. Models with low-energy filtration systems maintain water quality without excessive energy consumption.

      4. Jet Therapy Options

      Hot tubs have different hydrotherapy jets that target different muscle groups for pain relief. Opt for models with adjustable jets so you can customize your massage experience. If a full-body massage sounds like a good idea, I recommend hot tubs with lounge seats and specialized jets. You’ll never regret buying those.

      5. Hot Tub Warranty and Warranty Coverage

      Each manufacturer has its warranty coverage. My tip is to look for warranties that cover various components like plumbing, heating, and electrical work. It’ll be better if the warranty coverage includes the acrylic shells, jets, insulation, and other essential parts. In that sense, you won’t have to worry if there are manufacturing defects that surface once you use the tub.

      Step 6: Choose a Hot Tub Model

      Here’s how to choose a hot tub model that suits you:

      1. Spa Capacity

      The spa must comfortably accommodate your desired number of people. Whether you’re looking to enjoy the hot tub alone or with friends and family, you want to make sure there’s enough room for everyone to relax. Mine is a six-person spa that I can share with family if they wish to join.

      2. Seating Arrangements & Layout

      There are different seating options and layouts to choose from. It’s yours to decide which design fits your preferences and needs. A well-designed layout can maximize relaxation and comfort for all users.

      3. Jet Count & Options

      Since hydrotherapy jets can provide pain relief, it’s ideal to find a hot tub that offers different jet options to target different muscle groups. It’ll provide you with a customizable massage experience. It’s a fun way to unwind after a long day and reap the health benefits of warm water therapy.

      4. Hot Tub Insulation

      Your nice hot tub should come with insulation that enhances energy efficiency and minimizes heating costs. Proper insulation helps maintain warm water temperature, so you don’t have to heat it once more.

      5. Exterior Cabinet

      A durable and weather-resistant cabinet that can help your hot tub last long. Select a hot tub with a stylish and aesthetically pleasing exterior cabinet but at the same time, low maintenance. My hot tub cabinet is made of synthetic stone which fits in the overall design of the outdoor landscape. It looks pretty nice.

      Step 7: Determine What Additional Features and Accessories Interest you

      For some additional features and accessories that might interest you, check the following:

      1. Lighting

      Lights create a relaxing and visually appealing atmosphere, especially during nighttime use. Even adding simple LED lights creates different moods and ambiance. I installed rope lighting around my tub and it looks dreamy every night.

      2. Water Features

      You can also add water features like waterfalls or jets will make your hot tub more appealing. They make the atmosphere more soothing. It’s also a great way to make your hot tub stand out and reflect your style.

      3. Hydrotherapy Jets

      Hydrotherapy jets are my personal favorite. After a long day, you can relax in warm water and let the hydrotherapy jets work their magic to bring pain relief – a perfect add-on to your hot tub.

      4. Cover

      Hot tub cover prevents heat loss, debris accumulation, and water evaporation from your tub. Make sure to choose one that fits perfectly.

      5. Cover Lifters

      To avoid struggle when lifting a heavy cover on your own, add a cover lifter. It’s a small accessory that can make a big difference in your hot tub experience.

      6. Audio System

      Built-in speakers or Bluetooth connection? You can choose which one to include in hot tubs. Built-in speakers provide a seamless audio experience while enjoying your warm water soak, while a Bluetooth connection allows you to easily connect your own devices.

      7. Wi-Fi App

      Even hot tubs now have built-in Wi-Fi apps for remote control and monitoring. You can easily adjust temperature and jet strength, using just a smartphone or tablet. You can also stay connected to your hot tub even when you’re away from home and have the settings ready before you arrive.

      8. Water Care Options

      For water care options, you can choose among traditional chemical treatments and alternative methods like saltwater systems or ozone generators.

      Step 8: Pre-Installation Considerations

      To avoid delays and problems in setting up your hot tub, keep in mind these considerations.

      1. Local Codes and Permits

      I suggest you consult your local government first to familiarize yourself with the local laws. For sure, they have set requirements to comply. Always adhere to safety barrier standards or electrical requirements that may be mandated by local codes.

      2. Safety Measures and Barriers

      If you need safety barriers or fencing, install one as a safety precaution. This will help prevent accidents and ensure a worry-free experience.

      3. Electrical Requirements

      It’s best to seek the expertise of an electrician who can assess your current electrical system setup to see if it can handle the hot tub. If not, make necessary upgrades or installations.

      4. Concrete Pad

      Invest in a well-built concrete pad for a long-lasting foundation. Its purpose is to support the weight of the tub and act as a barrier against leaks.

      Frequently Asked Questions

      What are Some Features to Look for in a High-quality Hot Tub?

      High-quality hot tubs have a reliable filtration system, energy-efficient insulation, and a durable shell made of acrylic or thermoplastic. These are the important features to look for.

      What is the Average Cost of Purchasing and Maintaining a Hot Tub?

      The cost of buying a hot tub can range from $2,000 to $40,000 or more, depending on size and features. Delivery, installation, and electrical work are also added costs. Maintenance will range from $500 to $1,500 annually including chemicals, water testing kits, and filters.


      Buying a hot tub is an exciting journey that requires careful consideration and planning. By following the hot tub buying tips I mentioned above, you’ll have the advantage of knowing what exactly to look for so you’ll get the value for your money. So, go and start looking for your dream hot tub!

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Emily Williams

Emily is a passionate Hot Tubs researcher who loves writing about all things Hot Tubs! She has years of experience and a knack for simplifying complex concepts, these articles are here to answer all your burning questions in a simple and easy to read style.
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