Hot Tub Cover – How To Buy And Care [Guide 2021]


While every hot tub part is important, having the best hot tub cover is crucial.

I tried to cover this article from different angles and give you a great start with your hot tub cover care process, especially if you are new to this. I am answering some of the most popular answers that hot tub owners have. If it helped them, it will help you as well.

Why Do You Need a Hot Tub Cover

Spending money on your hot tub cover is not a bad idea and you shouldn’t feel bad about it. Considering its size and its function, you want to keep them in great condition all year long.

Ultimately, your spa cover is responsible for:

  • protecting your hot tub
  • maintaining your hot tub water temperature
  • saving money on the electric bill
  • provides sanitary protection
Bonus reading

Did You Know What You Should Be Looking At When Buying A Hot Tub?

The last thing you want to do is to be played for your money. You can save a lot of money when picking your hot tub by simply knowing what is worth having in your hot tub. Some features are simply not needed and you probably don’t need 300 jets. Don’t be a sucker, click here to read more.

How Long Should a Hot Tub Cover Last

Hot tub covers will usually last about 5 years.

Things that can drastically reduce the lifespan of your hot tub cover are:

  • UV radiation from the sun
  • Falling debris
  • Other types of damages
  • Letting hot tub cover become dry and brittle. This can cause a significant change in color as it can fade and start to look really old

Benefits of a New Hot Tub Cover

One might ask why should you get a new hot tub cover when your old, worn-out hot tub cover together with spa cover repair tape, vinyl patches, and many-color duct tape are working perfectly?

It’s the same thing when you wear your shoes for 3 years and it seems that they are still doing great. However, you don’t notice how much they changed over the years. It goes the same for your hot tub cover. You used to look at it day-in-day-out and stopped noticing all the cracks. Not to say that you didn’t notice how inefficient it has become.

Once you look at the new one, the difference will be obvious. New hot tub covers have many benefits and investing in a new cover is a perfect long-term solution that:

  • Saves money every day in operating and energy costs
  • Makes your hot tub and backyard look way better
  • You will be able to open and close your lid with no pain
  • Saves your cover lifter from undue and unnecessary damage from excessive cover weight

What Types of Hot Tub Covers Can You Buy

This is a logical question, especially if you are new to this world. Let’s get straight into it.

Here are the possible options for your new hot tub cover:

  1. Soft Covers
  2. Hard Shell Covers
  3. Seasonal Covers
  4. Solar Covers

Soft Covers

Soft hot tub covers come as two different types:

  1. Based on an insulated foam, that is covered in vinyl that allows your spa to circle the air while keeping the heat inside
  2. The other is really only a vinyl cover that acts as a second layer of extra security, with the purpose of keeping your hard-shell cover in place, especially during extreme weather conditions

Soft covers are far cheaper than most hard-shell covers. However, you could find some models that are reinforced with fiberglass panels that might just be strong enough to hold your full weight.

Most of them, however, is a simple vinyl cover that stretches over your hard-shell hot tub cover, with straps and clamps to keep it in place.

Hard Shell Covers

Hard shell covers are both:

  • durable
  • strong
  • secure

They are strong and secure because they can carry your kids when climbing, meaning it won’t bend, and they won’t slip either. So it is definitely safe for those naughty family members that like to jump on top of the cover.

Hard shell covers offer the highest levels of insulation and their base is made of:

  • aluminum
  • plastic
  • fiberglass

The cost of durability has imposed the cost of weight, so it can be harder to move it around. You might want to consider getting a cover lift.

Solar Covers

Solar hot tub covers are great if you decided to:

  • cut your heating costs
  • avoid the trouble of having a large and well-insulated cover

So, how does hot tub solar cover work? Well, it consists of thousands of tiny bubbles captured on the surface, which is made of plastic resin, that serve as magnifiers. Those small magnifiers capture and magnify light that directly heats up your hot tub water. This is an incredible piece of hot tub that directly affects your monthly bill and is multi-functional.

It is super easy to just throw it in the spa. If you are not aware, they actually float on the water and you can cut the shape and size to what you need exactly. It is not recommended for use in areas with bad weather though.

Seasonal Covers

These are mainly made for hot tubs that are located in areas of extreme weather conditions. And by weather conditions, I mean extremely cold winters. Seasonal covers are a smart choice if you want to keep using your hot tub during winter and protect it from the extremities of the weather.

These spa covers will add an extra layer of insulation around all sides, protecting against significant heat loss while saving you money on heating costs.

Bonus reading

Did You Know What Is The Best Cover Lifter That Wont Cost You Much ?

I was interested to find a single hot tub cover lifter that wouldn’t be too expensive and yet could fit a lot of different covers. You will be surprised by which one I found. It’s super strong and best of all, it doesn’t cost a lot of money. See how it compares to the other 4. You can read the article here.

Soft Vs Hard Vs Solar Vs Seasonal Covers

Spa covers are an obvious necessity. However, as with anything else in life, you have to make sure to get the best one for your needs. Luckily, choosing the right spa cover should be a straightforward process, considering all the details we shared above.

Depending on where you live, it’s best to start with considering a hard shell hot tub cover. These covers provide:

  • reducing your heating cost
  • trapping the heat inside
  • protecting your family members when climbing the cover

The major flaw of hard shell spa covers is that they don’t always stay in place. A solution for this is to also get a soft hot tub cover, especially if you live in a windy area, that just might get loads of snow as well. Soft hot tub cover will provide an additional layer of protection to help keep your hard hot tub cover in place, using additional straps and clamps to secure it in place.

And finally, seasonal spa covers are usually only recommended in case you live in an area that gets extreme winters or you are simply trying to maximize the energy efficiency of your spa. Not only do they help to trap in heat from every side of your hot tub, but they can also extend the life of your spa.

Solar hot tub covers come simply handy if you want some ‘free energy’ to help maintain the heat of your spa water.

What Can I Use To Protect My Hot Tub Cover

The downside of spa covers with poor maintenance habits is that they become extremely dry and brittle which leads to many problems such as fading, deterioration and cracking, and will probably end up with you disposing of your cover.

Bonus reading

Do You Have An Old Cover ? Here Are Some Ideas On How To Dispose Your Old Hot Tub Cover!

I thought about this list for a long time and I found several ways that you can reuse your hot tub cover for. Some of them are actually funny. You can read the article here.

Vinyl Hot Tub Covers

Those of you who have vinyl hot tub covers will need to be handling the vinyl like the would handle any leather material. The risk of damaging your spa cover using bad products is greater than the risk of losing a couple of minutes to read about how to protect it.

For starters, you need to be regularly cleaning your hot tub cover, if you want to protect it from any wear and tear. What will help is that you stop using any detergent-based soaps or alcohol products. Pretty much any dishwashing soap or cleaning products that contain bleach.

Oil-based products or protectants are proven to be extremely damaging because they amplify sun rays, essentially turning your hot tub cover into huge frying pane.

Abrasive cleaners, on the other hand, will tend to strip the clear top coating of vinyl. It will cause the cover to fade, crack, deteriorate and eventually require replacement.

What products to use then?

Well, what proved to be the best choice is using the products recommended exactly for a hot tub cover or simply use warm water and some elbow grease. A good way to help extend the lifespan of your cover is to maintain it clean and conditioned with a product such as Ultrashine Vinyl & Leather Cleaner or Spa Boss Restore.

The use of these products not only will keep the cover clean, they will also condition and apply UV protection.

Applying a high-quality UV vinyl protection to your hot tub cover should be done 3 to 4 times a year. UV protection is meant to protect your cover from the harmful effects of exposure to the sun rays.

How Much Does a Hot Tub Cover Cost

You can expect to pay anywhere between $50 and $400 for a decent hot tub cover. These are simple, regular hot tub covers. However, you have to know that event there you can go wild and spend around $9000 on an automated hot tub cover.

When it comes to some of the best hot tub cover brands out there you can expect to run into these:

CoverMates: These covers go as low as $50 online, and it has a thick vinyl covering that protects the foam core and it comes with a 2-year warranty. On the negative side, the insulation isn’t superb really and most often you will need an additional insulator if you are covering an outdoor hot tub in a cool climate.

The Cover Guy: Customers have great things to say about The Cover Guy especially when it comes to customer service, fit and quality. Prices start at $299.99 to $379.99.

BeyondNice: This brand specializes in a thick, well-insulated cover that performs incredibly good when it comes to keeping heat inside the tub, which saves on your energy costs. Prices start around $408.88 for 6” foam insulation.

How Much Space Do You Need for a Hot Tub Cover

A good rule of thumb for a hot tub is to give it about a foot of space on each side of the tub.

What you want is to leave some room for things like opening the cover. Most of the covers require at least 18 – 20 inches of space behind the tub and possibly a few additional inches on the left and right side for the arm that helps you lift the cover. Don’t forget that you also need some space to walk around the tub when you do the cleaning and maintenance.

How To Implement Proper Cover Care

While quality hot tub covers are made to last, nothing lasts forever. Providing the best care for your hot tub cover will only prolonge the retirement for so long. Eventually, you will need to replace it.

Now when we got that covered, let’s see what else we can do to make sure we give the best possible care.

In addition to what we said above about what to use for cover cleaning, it is also recommended to use only a mild solution of dish soap and warm water, letting it dry, and then applying a vinyl protectant such as Cover All or Swirl Away II.

Previously we did say that you should stay away from all the dish soaps, mainly because all of them are strong and we tend to use too much of it. However, if you want to put a pinch of it just enough to make some soap bubbles, and use a cloth dipped in warm water, that will do as well, as long as you apply the protection afterward.

The number one and two enemies are dry vinyl and exposing to UV light that causes it to become dry. As long as we stick to these rules, we should be fine.

How Do You Maintain a Hot Tub Cover

You have to know that the maintenance of a hot tub cover is minimal. There isn’t a lot to do, but you have to do it often.

First, always be removing any debris from your hot tub cover such as leaves, branches, snow, and ice as soon as possible.

The next thing is to rinse, wipe down and condition your cover. The purpose of rinsing is simply to remove the dust from the surface and it can be done with a garden hose. Owners recommend doing it every 2 weeks or whenever you feel it is the right time to do it.

Once the cover has been rinsed, then you should wipe your cover down with a cleaner specially designed for hot tub covers. Be careful as some regular vinyl cleaners can cause a lot of damage to the vinyl of a hot tub cover.

After you are done with rinsing and wiping down your vinyl surfaces, make sure to apply a protectant. Protectant is a special treatment that will help your hot tub cover be more resistant to dirt and dust, as well as protect it from UV damage, which can cause discoloration and cracking of the vinyl over time.

While you’re cleaning, don’t forget the bottom side of your cover. The bottom side is constantly exposed to heat, moisture and water treatment chemicals. In addition, you want to wipe down the plastic underside as well using a 10% bleach solution (9 parts water / 1 part bleach). Remember to first take the cover off the tub.

How Do You Clean the Inside of a Hot Tub Cover

  • Find a non-abrasive surface such as grass to set your cover down
  • With a hose wash off any dirt, leaves and any other debris
  • Scrub any stubborn spots with warm water mixed with mild soap and a sponge or soft cloth
  • Once the top is clean, rinse thoroughly, flip the cover over and repeat this process on the bottom. If stains have developed, that don’t respond to soap and water, then we will need something stronger.
  • In the case above, mix one 1 cup of bleach with 1 gallon of water and apply it to the stain. Don’t forget to thoroughly rinse afterward.
  • Also, keep in mind that the best way for this side to stay in tip-top shape is to keep your water clean and chemicals balanced.
  • Using a soft and absorbent towel or chamois dry the bottom.
  • Then flip the cover and dry the top.
  • The final step is to condition and protect the vinyl. For this, you can use a product made for hot tub covers and any marine-grade vinyl.
  • Do not use Petroleum, silicon or citrus-based products. Follow the instructions of the product you are using, but typically, just rub it in.

How Do You Get Rid of Mold in a Hot Tub Cover

Look for black spots on your hot tub cover that indicate mold. Spray disinfectant cleaner or a mixture of bleach and water on any evidence of mold. Allow it to sit from 15 to 25 minutes and then scrub with a clean, damp rag. Later on, just wipe and rinse to get the new, fresh look.

Your hot tub cover will need proper drying. For that, the best thing to do is to leave your hot tub cover in the sun for several hours.

Repeating this process every month or so will prevent any future mildew smell. Another good investment would be an inexpensive tarp to put over your hot tub cover when it starts to rain. This will help the cover from absorbing excess water, which inevitably leads to mildew odor.

Things You Will Need

  • Hard brush or broom
  • Bucket
  • Cloth
  • Cleaning solution

How Do You Dry out a Hot Tub Cover

Hot tub lids have their core, that’s made of foam, tucked inside a vinyl cover. It is completely normal and expected to have small amounts of water trapped inside a cover, however, when that happens with larger amounts of water, then it can really destroy the foam.

Then what happens is that mold and mildew start to grow inside the hot tub lid and the foam becomes waterlogged and extremely heavy. Your hot tub lid could be damaged long term in case it has been holding too much water for too long. However, before you completely replace it, you might want to try air-drying it first following the next steps:

  1. Remove the hot tub lid. Unzip the vinyl cover and start removing each piece of the foam core.
  2. Line up several of the planks in a shade and then put the foam pieces across the planks so the air is able to pass under them.
  3. Turn the vinyl cover inside out. Use the towel to remove any water excess. Lay it in a sunny spot.
  4. Allow all the surfaces to fully dry. Use a recommended mildew inhibitor to spray the inside of the vinyl cover as well as the foam surfaces.
  5. Put the foam pieces back inside the vinyl cover and zip it back up.

Editorial Staff

I'm Adnan Sabanovic, the guy behind Hot Tubs Report. I've had a chance to enjoy hot tubs last few years and have really become interested in owning one of them. Nearly every weekend you'll find me spending time with my family or playing sports. If I am not doing that then I'm here writing about tubs on Hot Tubs Report. This blog is a research for my first hot tub which I decided to document and share publically so others can benefit from it as well.

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