13 Best Hot Tubs Consumer Reports in 2021 [Reviews & Buying Guide]
13 Best Hot Tubs Consumer Reports in 2021 [Reviews & Buying Guide]
13 Best Hot Tubs Consumer Reports in 2021 [Reviews & Buying Guide]Tub HQ2021-03-22T14:33:53+00:00
Over the past few years, technology has improved to the point that the best portable hot tubs are now viable long-term alternatives to traditional permanent hot tubs. The best inflatable spa can maintain the same water temperature as their fixed counterparts. They can have the same jets and an equally powerful water filtration system.
Despite all of their similarities, blow up hot tubs usually cost 90% less than regular hot tubs. Some people prefer the blow up jacuzzis over traditional ones because owners are able to easily disassemble and store them during seasons that they aren’t being used. Because inflatable jacuzzis are easy to set up and tear down, they have also become popular with campers and vacationers who enjoy soaking at their destinations.
These products come in all shapes and sizes and with many features. We know that finding the right one can be an intimidating process, so we are here to help. Whether you’re using your tub for camping or as a permanent addition to your back yard, you can rest assured that the one that you find on our site will perform as expected because we have done all the research and testing for you. We know that your time is valuable, and our hope is that we can save you a few precious moments for more important things.
Our inflatable hot tub reviews will present information to you in a way that you can quickly decide which blow up spa is right for you and make a decision without the need to spend hours searching the internet or shopping at your local spa dealer. Our friendly staff welcomes any questions that you may have. We strive to be the experts in the inflatable tub field, and hope that we can share some of that expertise with you. Now go relax and enjoy a much-needed soak!
A brand we’ve all come to know and love for their above-ground pools, airbeds, and inflatable summer gear; Intex consistently exceeds expectations and the Intex 77” PureSpa was no exception. The Intex PuraSpa is the holder of numerous US Patents, mostly related to the massaging air bubble and jetted water system that runs along the bottom circumference of the inflatable Jacuzzi.
The 120 high-powered soothing bubble jets provide a fantastic massage for up to four people; however, we find that to be unrealistic and quite uncomfortable, and maybe even a little awkward depending on whom you’re with. Even though Intex suggests four people can comfortably fit, we would suggest only two to three adults could fit comfortably. At 28” deep an adult can expect to sit on the bottom with their shoulders coming just above to the top of the hot tub and the water coming to about chest level.
Hard Water Treatment– What helps make this particular Intex PureSpa one of the best portable spas on the market is the built-in hard water treatment system that suspends and captures crystals to prevent hard water buildup. Hard water is water that has a high mineral content, primarily of calcium and magnesium deposits. These mineral build-ups can cause clogging of jet systems, stains, and scum on the polyester material, or even lead to dry and itchy skin.
The Intex hard water treatment system retains these mineral deposits in the filter cartridge and helps leave soft water in the spa, which not only is much gentler on the skin but also the entire hot tub system. Intex is the only manufacturer with this kind of built-in water system, something we think everyone will greatly appreciate in the short and long term.
Made with Fiber-Tech Construction– the hot tub is constructed with a lightweight, high-strength polyester material that provides stability and support, unlike traditional vinyl.
One of the best features of the high-strength fiber walls is the lack of distending, or stretching, of the material while having constant pressure of water pushing on all sides. This unit holds 210 gallons of water which weighs about 1,750 pounds.
The ability for the unit to maintain its shape without bulging with the weight of a small car sitting inside of it is quite remarkable. This kind of innovation is what keeps Intex continually outperforming other brands in longevity and customer satisfaction. An easy to use control panel, insulated cover, and thermal ground cloth all come with purchase to help maintain desired temperatures. With a heating pump capable of raising the water temperature at 3 degrees per hour, this unit won’t have a problem maintaining its temperature in colder climates with the insulated cover on. We absolutely love this unit and we feel very comfortable recommending to everyone looking for the best portable hot tub.
The Coleman SaluSpa, formerly the Coleman Lay-Z-Spa, is now licensed and manufactured from Bestway and surprised no one on our team as being one of the top blow-up Jacuzzis that we reviewed. Coleman’s long history of quality and outstanding customer service are a true testament to the trust and relationship built between them and Bestway in creating this product. This Coleman SaluSpa at a 71” diameter is on the smaller side of the tubs that we reviewed, but we actually love that.
Where to Fit– In addition to making it one of the most portable and easy to store, it can fit on small decks or patios without taking up a ton of real estate when it’s in use.
Save Bill– The amount of water needed is much less than that of the 85” Intex, providing efficient savings on the water bill and electric bill to keep the water heated. The water heater only requires a standard 110V outlet, making it easy to run an extension cord if necessary. For these reasons, we think this is the best portable spa for two people.
4 Person– Anything more than two people in this 71” tub we hope you are very friendly with them, because space will be at a premium. This product can make for a great wedding gift or anniversary gift to a loved one to create an affordable romantic getaway in their backyard.
The first thing that we noticed about this unit, even before we filled it up with water was how comfortable, the bottom especially, was compared to others. Most blow-up spas don’t have seats like a typical hard walled hot tub, so those inside are required to sit on the ground.
Cushion– We found the cushion flooring of this product to be much softer than most, and the pattern even replicates a mosaic typically seen on the lining of a pool. It’s refreshing to see Coleman focus on the quality and experience that users have while in this tub. Often manufacturer priorities lie in the hardware of the blower, water heater, and air jet system; but none of that matters if the product isn’t comfortable sit in.
One potential con in this product that some users might not like is the timer of the water heater. The downside here is that you cannot set the timer longer than 48 hours. In other words, if you intend to leave this unit running for days or weeks at time, this might not be the best portable spa for you. This was intentional and used as an energy saver; however we could see some users frustrated or annoyed with this feature. Simply remember to turn the timer on about 24 hours before use and you’ll have a much lower energy bill at the end of the month, something we think most users will appreciate.A very similar tub to the Bestway Miami Airjet, this unit has 60 bubble jets instead of the 120 bubble jets in the Miami. It is a wonderful message, albeit perhaps not as intense. If you’re looking for a more subtle jet experience this is definitely the one for you.
Bestway impresses again with another best-in-class blow-up Jacuzzi in the SaluSpa line. The Miami Airjet is the smallest SaluSpa with an outer diameter of 71” and it holds approximately 177 gallons of water, which makes this a wonderful 2 person portable hot tub. Designed intelligently with high-quality materials, this unit is constructed with a TriTech reinforced polyester mesh core sandwiched between two layers of PVC laminate. The result is a commercial-grade material that is one of the most durable, puncture-resistant, and waterproof composites available today. A wonderful option to keep on the patio throughout the year or to bring with you on vacation, this tub is one of the most portable friendly units on our list.We really want to highlight the quality of engineering that was incorporated into the design of the SaluSpa Miami Airjet. Bestway differentiates their brand from the competition through innovation in quality, and one of their biggest breakthroughs was the design of the I-Beam support system integrated throughout the sidewalls. These vertical I-Beams allow unrivaled support of the inner and outer walls to help the portable hot tub maintain its shape with thousands of pounds of water pressing against the sides. While other manufacturers use a similar support system, we noticed that the Bestway SaluSpa line outperforms all competitors in observed strength and durability. In terms of performance, the included air pump quickly and efficiently blows up the unit in less than 15 minutes.
Once filled with water, the digital control panel sets the desired temperature (up to 104 degrees) and the Rapid Heating System kicks in to take action. We noticed this unit reached our desired temperature much faster than other units, in total only 14 hours from the hose to 104 degrees compared to the typical 20-24 hours. This is partly due to the smaller size tub of 177 gallons, but also because the water heater seemed much more efficient than most. With the ability to heat the water at 2-3 degrees per hour, the heat pump makes quick and easy work of heating the water. We even tested the Miami Airjet in 23-degree weather, and it maintained its 104-degree temperature with the insulated cover still on. It did however drop 8 degrees per hour with the cover off and the air jets running in this temperature. While this might not be the case for everyone as it depends on location, we found for this reason it has the potential to be the best inflatable hot tub for winter.
The 140 air jets located around the bottom circumference work remarkably well and give adequate pressure to help relax any sore or tight lower back. It’s worth noting the Coleman SaluSpa, which has the same 71” diameter, only offers 60 air jets. This is a remarkable product with the features that everyone looks for in the best portable hot tub. From easy setup to high quality materials, to top-notch performance; the Miami AirJet inflatable spa is well-deserving of all the accolades it receives. We can’t recommend this product enough to anyone looking for a relaxing evening on their patio.
Perhaps the most relaxing portable tub that we reviewed, the Intex 6-person 85” PureSpa was a delight to sit in and we think is the best portable spa on the market today. Sitting on what can only be described as the hot tub equivalent of a cloud, the 140 high-powered air jets create a bubble-infused refreshing soak that will relax virtually anyone. With more air jets than any other unit on the market, they’re intense and a lot more powerful than most would think, and really do relax the body. Intex claims this to be a six-person hot tub, but as with all manufacturer claims you can expect to subtract two from that number. Four adults will comfortably fit inside, and you won’t have to worry about legs touching or crossing in the middle.
Aside from the air jets there were a few features in particular with this tub that we really enjoyed, and we think you will too.The first of which is the included LED light that adds very cool ambient lighting while using the hot tub in the evenings and at night. It gives it more of the authentic feeling that you are sitting in a typical hard-walled hot tub with the same capability. The option to choose between individual colors or the color phasing setting to automatically change the colors is pretty fun as well. It’s worth noting that the light does take AAA batteries and is not hard-wired, so if you expect to use the light often plan to have a pack of batteries ready as a backup. A feature that we found to be thoughtful but not necessary was the inclusion of headrests. While you might think they look comfortable in pictures, in reality, they push the head forward straining the neck, and ultimately make for an uncomfortable posture. On top of that, they tend to float away.
It’s a nice option to have in case some users like it, but we found they don’t add much value. In terms of performance, this Intex inflatable spa is worth every single penny. It was very easy to set up and we had this unit out of the box and ready for water in about 25 minutes. Once filled with air, the 65” inner diameter filled with about 290 gallons of water, true to the manufacturer specs. The water heater of this hot tub was also worked described, raising the temperature by about 1.5 degrees every hour to our desired setting of 104 degrees. It did take just about 24 hours to reach the max temperature, which is to be expected with such a large unit. As with all inflatable tubs in the PureSpa line, Intex includes a hard water system to eliminate the build-up of unwanted minerals. We think this is such an underrated feature, and you can actually tell the difference on your skin after a long soak.Overall, this product impressed in virtually every single criterion that we look at. Our team agreed unanimously that this unit is the best portable hot tub on the market today (that doesn’t happen often). With so many outstanding features, it’s difficult to name just one. While it’s not cheapest portable hot tub on our list, the old adage of ‘you get what you pay for’ couldn’t be truer with this Intex inflatable spa.
Bestway might be the biggest name in inflatable gear that you’ve never heard of. In fact, I bet you’ve used their products before without even knowing it. With a vast portfolio of inflatable consumer products, Bestway became so respected with their SaluSpa portable hot tub line that companies like Coleman, Disney, Mattel, Fisher-Price, and many others started to take notice. When Coleman wanted to offer products in the portable spa space, they approached Bestway to license their SaluSpa line because they realized they simply couldn’t compete with their manufacturing and engineering expertise. Slightly larger than the Bestway 71” SaluSpa Miami Airjet, we think the Palm Springs AirJet is the best value portable hot tub on the market today. At a price point significantly less than competitors with similar size spas, Bestway offers this 77”, 242-gallon lightweight spa with quality in mind. In our portable hot tub reviews, we look at a number of criteria that we think will determine the best overall value for our readers. The most important being quality of materials used, expected longevity, required maintenance, ease of use, and price point of the unit.
The Bestway Palm Springs Airjet exceeded just about every bullet point on our thorough checklist during our review. We found the best feature of this inflatable hot tub was how easy the setup was. If you plan to take this unit up and down several times per year, it shouldn’t take you longer than 10 minutes to get the spa inflated thanks to the included pump, which works remarkably well. Once filled with cold water from the hose, it took roughly 24 hours to reach our desired temperature of 104 degrees, which was true to the directions. The pieces fit together and connected without a hitch and the entire process was hassle-free. Overall, even the instructions made the process seem more complicated and time-consuming than it actually was. The jets and bubbles were not the most powerful of the inflatable spas that we reviewed, but they were better than what we anticipated as this price point. In addition, they were also the quietest.
We often come across blowers that work harder than necessary to produce adequate pressure through the air jets which results in a high-frequency pitch of the blower. This was not the case here, and the air jets of this unit were relaxing without being overwhelming. We did notice the temperature of the water drop slightly when the air jets were in use, by about 3 degrees per hour. However, we don’t think this is a big deal as it’s not intended to be used for hours at a time.Overall, we could not be happier with our experience in testing and reviewing the Bestway SaluSpa Palm Springs AirJet spa. It certainly deserves to be mentioned amongst the best portable hot tubs, and we’re certain you can’t go wrong with this unit.
The Intex PureSpa is the product that revolutionized the inflatable hot tub market. There is a reason that it is the highest-selling blow-up hot tub of all time. And that reason is because it delivers high performance at an affordable price. The Intex PureSpa is the template that other companies use as a starting point, when they design their own hot tubs, because it has passed the test of time and has been the consistent market leader for years. The Intex PureSpa is our pick for best overall value and is arguably the top tub on the market right now. Its heat pump has the highest flow rate of any pump that we have reviewed. It is affordable, easy to maintain, easy to set up and tear down, and has proven that it is built with the strength necessary to perform at a high level for many years.
The Intex PureSpa was actually the first inflatable jacuzzi that I ever purchased. It is the product that originally sparked my interest and eventually led me to create this site. I purchased my PureSpa in 2014 and it still sits on my back deck for 8 months out of every year. Four years later it is still delivering the same high-level performance that it did they day I unboxed it. In 2015, I left it up through the winter and the spa maintained max temperature through the whole season. I was able to soak in 104°F water in, often, sub-freezing ambient air temperatures almost every night. This is the product that really opened my eyes to the fact that inflatable tubs really can viable full-time alternatives to traditional hot tubs. I found myself asking a question that was hard to answer.
If I can get this wonderful soaking experience from a blow-up jacuzzi that costs under $400, how could I ever justify spending 10 times that much on a hard-walled hot tub that essentially provides the same experience? The Intex blow-up spa has earned itself a spot at the top of our best inflatable hot tub list because of its quality and affordability. Despite its high-quality craftsmanship and proven performance record, the Intex inflatable spa is actually one of the most affordable products on our list. This is why we are such big fans of it. We recommend this tub to anybody looking a dependable low-cost tub that delivers first-class performance.
The Coleman Lay-Z-Spa Inflatable hot tub is one of the top inflatable spas on the market and rivals Intex PureSpa because of how strong and reliable it is. It is the highest-rated and second highest-grossing product on major retail sites like Amazon. We believe that it is the best inflatable hot tub on the market in terms of overall quality and performance. The Coleman Lay-Z-Spa outperformed the competition in our cold-weather tests and is our recommendation for anybody that intends to use their tub in temperatures below 40° F.
We tested this product in sub-freezing conditions and were pleased to see that it is able to maintain max water temperature in air temperatures as low as 20°F. We don’t recommend that you use any blow up jacuzzi in temperatures below 32°F because you risk damage from water freezing in the pump unit. But it is encouraging to see how strong the Lay-Z-Spa’s heat pump actually is. Part our review process, is to reach out to customer service to chat with them about their products. This way we can find out about recalls, new models, etc. In the process we get a better understanding of the quality of customer service that the brand provides. Another characteristic that makes Coleman’s inflatable jacuzzi stand out from the competition is that it is that it is a part of the Coleman brand.
This means that it is backed by the first class customer service that you would expect from the top outdoor retailer in the country. The other brands on our list are smaller and don’t have the ability to dedicate the same resources to customer service that Coleman does. So with this product, not only are you purchasing a high quality product, but your also purchasing the peace of mind that if anything should ever malfunction on your tub that you will be able to talk to a live Coleman representative to help remedy your problem. Coleman has established a reputation as a company that makes durable products at an affordable price. This reputation is evident in their their blow up spa line. We are thoroughly impressed with this blow up hot tub’s overall quality and resiliency to cold air temperatures. Even with all of the other reviews that we have conducted, it is hard to name an inflatable tub that we like better than the Coleman Lay-Z-Spa.
The Bestway SaluSpa Miami is the exact same product as Coleman’s Lay-Z-Spa, which we already have stated is one of the top inflatable hot tubs in terms of overall value. It is manufactured in the same plants under a different brand name, which means that if you can find a SaluSpa at a lower price than a Lay-Z-Spa you can get even more value for your dollar. Coleman outsources the manufacturing of their hot tubs to Bestway, which is a large manufacturing company that specializes in the construction of aquatic goods for large brands such as Disney, Mattell, Fisher-Price, and many more. Bestway typically mass produces merchandise for other brands and doesn’t sell individual products, but they are currently selling individual SaluSpa Mimai’s, which presents us with the opportunity to get the same exact product as the Coleman’s Lay-Z-Spa at a cheaper price. We are huge fans of Coleman’s blow-up hot tub for its quality and performance, and therefore are also big fans of the SaluSpa.
It is capable of high levels of performance in low air temperatures, which is a characteristic that we value highly in a blow up jacuzzi. As part of our practical review, we left the tub running, exposed to sub-freezing temperatures, overnight and it easily maintained max water temperature. Even after we took the lid off and ran the air jets for an hour, allowing the water to drop to 85°F, the tub was still able to increase the temperature of its water back to 104°F in a matter of a few hours. The Bestway SaluSpa Miami is designed intelligently, and is built with high quality. Its TriTech 3-ply reinforced material is extremely durable and will be able to withstand years of abuse without tearing or puncturing. Its internal I-beams will ensure that the walls remain rigid, even if you sit on the sides. We are impressed with the attention to detail in features like additional seam reinforcement, which is often overlooked by other manufacturers who produce jacuzzis in the same price range.
Most people have never heard of Bestway and have no idea that they produce the same inflatable jacuzzi as Coleman, so the demand for SaluSpas are low and so are their prices. This makes it a gem to somebody like you who has done the research, read the reviews, and figured out the similarity between the two products. The SaluSpa Miami is, surprisingly, one of the lowest-priced blow-up spas available. It is significantly cheaper than Coleman’s tub even though it is the same exact product. If you are willing to purchase an inflatable tub from a brand that you are unfamiliar with, then you can get a steal with the Bestway SaluSpa Miami.
9) Intex – PureSpa Plus Hydrojet Inflatable Jacuzzi
The Intex PureSpa Plus Hydrojet Inflatable Hot Tub offers the most lavish spa experience on the market and, in our opinion, is the best luxury inflatable hot tub that money can buy. The distinguishing feature of this blow-up jacuzzi is that it has true hydrojets. Despite being a collection of the top blow-up tubs on the market, the rest of the products on our list use bubble jets instead of hydrojets because they are less expensive and easier to manufacture. Bubble jets push tiny bubbles into the water and give the effect that you are floating on a cloud.
This is pleasant, but it is also very different from the massaging jet streams that people who are familiar with permanent hot tubs are used to. In order for a hot tub to have hydro jets, it requires the manufacturer to add additional internal pipes in the walls. It also requires an additional pump to push water from the cistern through the pipes and out the jets. These additional materials cost money, which is why deluxe inflatable jacuzzis with hydro jets cost more money than regular models. Hydrojets have benefits over bubble jets, which help justify the additional cost. The air that bubble jets pump into the water is drawn from the atmosphere around the blow-up spa. If it is cold outside, then cold air will be pumped into the water which will result in your spas water temperature dropping. Hydrojets draw hot water from the cistern and pump it right back into the tub. This means that there won’t be any drop in water temperature as a result of using hydrojets. The jet streams of water that are pumped back into the tub through hydrojets have therapeutic value. You can position these jets against sore muscles to loosen them and promote healing.
If you are looking for the best tub for hydrotherapy, this tub might be your best option. There are three variations in the Intex PureSpa line, all crafted with high quality and attention to detail. The base model has bubble jets, the Plus Model has hydro jets, and the Deluxe blow-up hot tub has both. We are big fans of the Plus model because it bridges the gap between permanent and inflatable tubs, while not climbing out of what we consider an affordable price range. When you spend an evening soaking in your PureSpa Plus with your hydrojets on, you find yourself wondering why anybody would spend thousands of dollars on a permanent jacuzzi when they could get the same experience from a blow-up jacuzzi that cost a fraction of the price.
10) Bestway – SaluSpa Siena Airjet Inflatable Tub
The Bestway SaluSpa Siena is the perfect tub for a couple. Its long shape minimizes volume, while still providing comfortable space for 2 people. Smaller blow-up hot tubs have advantages. They are easier to set up and tear down, easier to maintain, and less expensive to operate. Despite being smaller than the circular tubs on our list, its smart design actually provides more legroom for a couple than a larger circular inflatable tub provides because it is longer than a circular tub is wide. This hot tub comes with a tray that extends across the center of the tub, providing the perfect table to hold a pair of wine glasses. This product is well designed to provide a lovely soak for 2 people.
The Bestway SaluSpa Siena is also our top pick for elderly people, or people using the tub for physical therapy because it is the easiest blow up jacuzzi to enter and exit. The Siena is the only inflatable spa with handles located on the top of the walls so it is perfect for anybody who needs support while climbing over the edges of the walls. While you are lying in the tub, you can reach out and touch both walls, which means you can stabilize yourself if you begin to shift in the water. We also think it is the safest inflatable jacuzzi on our list because, while you are in the tub, the handles are within reach in case of an emergency. The handles are positioned on top of the walls instead of on the sides which makes them accessible while you are in the tub as well as when you are climbing in and out of the tub.
The Bestway SaluSpa Siena has the highest performance measurements out any of our inflatable hot tub reviews. It is smaller than the rest of the spas on our list, so the heat pump is able to operate more effectively at lower temperatures. Since it is less volume than the other blow-up spa on our list, there is less water that needs to be heated. This means that the pump can cycle the water quicker, which is one of the reasons that it performs so well in cold weather. Also due to its reduced volume, it is the lightest tub on our list, which makes it more suitable to be used on less stable foundations like wooden decks. We recommend this tub over all other tubs on our list for anybody who believes they will be spending most of their time soaking alone or with their significant other.
Do you want an inflatable hot tub that is very easy and convenient to use? If so, then the Bestway 54124 may be the perfect choice for you. This hot tub can hold up to 4 adults at one time, and since it heats up quickly, it shouldn’t take long for you and your friends to be able to enter the tub. There is a digital control panel on this hot tub that makes it easy to operate, and since there is a massage system, you can soothe your tired, achy muscles in this tub after a long day at work. Finally, this system is exceptionally easy to set up and doesn’t require any tools, so you can take it out of the box, put it together, and start using it in minutes.
Many people like the simple setup associated with this hot tub. They also appreciate the fact that this hot tub is quite durable and able to withstand extensive use.
Yet another amazing inflatable hot tub is the Coleman 54131E. This unit has amazing bubble jets that help massage your body so that you can relax in luxury after a long day at work. The outer walls of this hot tub are coated with fabric for durability, and since the pool cover has a coating of aluminum foil on it, it keeps the water extra warm. The hot tub heats up fairly quickly after you set it up, and since there is an integrated water filtration system, there shouldn’t be any bad components inside this hot tub that could make you sick. The drain valve inside this hot tub makes it easy to empty when you don’t want to use it anymore, and since there is an included instructional DVD with this hot tub, figuring out how to set it up and begin using it shouldn’t be too difficult.
People like the fact that this hot tub is portable and very easy to use. They also seem to like the way in which this hot tub soothes your aching body if you have a sickness or if you have just had a long day at work.
The outer shell and surrounding areas of the LifesmartFF-SMPLCTY are made out of sandstone for good looks and durability. Since the tub can hold up to 4 people at once, it may be the perfect investment for you if you want to be able to entertain all kinds of guests in your backyard with this tub. There are 12 therapy jets that will soothe your muscles, and there is also a waterfall for the same purpose and for good looks. You can change out the caps on the spa lights to set different moods as you desire, so you can have just about any effect that you want while using this hot tub.
According to several popular reviews, users like the plug-and-play design of this particular hot tub. They also like the overall build quality of the tub, as well as the fact that it heats up within 24 hours so that you can use it right away.
An inflatable hot tub is a significant purchase. It is important to research ahead of time so that you are prepared to find the best product for your given situation. There are a wide variety of blow-up hot tubs, with various levels of quality. It would be easy to unknowingly purchase a tub with lower quality components if you didn’t do the proper research ahead of time. Researching any consumer product can be a tedious process, though. If you are like most of our readers, you probably don’t have much experience with pool and spa heat pumps or filtration systems, and it would take a lot of time to thoroughly research each individual component. At Tub Headquarters, our goal is to equip our readers with the tools that they need to efficiently pick out which product is best for them. We’ve researched and tested numerous spas and have compiled a list of our top picks as a great starting place for your research. In addition, we wanted to put together a list of recommendations for what to look for when conducting your own hot tub reviews and research. Feel free to reference our in-depth tub buying guide for more detail on each of these components. But, if you are looking for higher-level advice, check out our recommendations below.
How long is your inflatable jacuzzi going to last before it starts deteriorating and you are forced to purchase replacement parts? This is an important question that you should ask because it impacts overall cost. A tub that is less expensive than a competitor but won’t last as long, might not be a less expensive purchase in the long run. There are two major characteristics that affect tub longevity. So examining these components should give you a good idea as to how long the jacuzzi you are looking at can be expected to last. As I mentioned before, portable spas are significant purchases because of their price tag. If you bought a spa and it failed the following year. You would be justifiably angry because of the financial waste. Not all spas are constructed with the same level of quality and attention to detail. Poorly manufactured spas begin to fail within a few years, but a high-quality portable spas can be expected to last for 5-10 years without issues easily. There are two main components that influence the overall longevity of the spa: material and the pump unit. By taking the time to research and selecting a spa with quality material and pump components, you can ensure that your spa sees many seasons of enjoyment without failure.
One of the most common failures is a rip in the tub basin material. Many times this is the result of an inevitable accident such as bumping into the tub with a sharp object. Events like this are going to happen no matter how careful you are, so it is smart to purchase a tub with the strongest material that you can find. The best fabric currently being used by jacuzzi manufacturers is 3-ply material which is three layers of strong synthetic vinyl and polyester combined into one durable material. Typically the strongest tub materials come from third party manufacturers that specialize in designing and manufacturing this 3-ply material. Look for spas who outsource their material to companies like Tri-Tech or Fiber-Tech, who are among the top manufacturers of 3-ply material in the world. The most common portable jacuzzi failure is a ruptured basin. The material is the most vulnerable component of the whole product, so you should invest in a jacuzzi with the highest quality tub material. The best portable jacuzzi fabric is 3-ply fabric which is a combination of three layers of material. The core of the fabric is thick woven polyester, which provides strength and resistance to puncture and tearing. A layer of vinyl is added to each side of the polyester, creating a total of three layers. Vinyl is airproof and waterproof because it is a plastic. It is the reason that 3-ply fabric maintains air pressure because woven polyester is not waterproof or airproof. These layers complement each other perfectly, providing exception strength and durability.
Top-rated portable jacuzzis have internal support within the tub walls often referred to as I-Beams. I-Beams are the fabric that connects the inner wall to the outer wall and prevent the tub walls from expanding in opposite directions when increased pressure is applied. You should be able to sit on the walls of the tub basin without the walls bulging.
Water Filtration and Heating Unit
The water filtration system and heating unit are more difficult to evaluate because there aren’t any metrics that you can look at to evaluate quality. Two pumps with the same output potential may be completely different in terms of quality and longevity. For mechanical components like these, we always recommend leaning on others who have had experience with the part you are researching. Read user reviews, and start out with the worst reviews. Consult the experts by reading advice from people who have years of experience in spa and pool parts. This is the whole reason TubHQ exists. Check out what our experts have to say. And if you don’t find an answer to your question in one of our buying guides, then send us a message and let us answer it for you personally. Evaluating the pump and heating unit is tricky, but there are some simple things that you can do to check some of the common failure points. Start by taking the cover off of the pump housing unit and check out the connection points. The pump unit usually has three large connections to the cistern, all of which will have stress put on them during operation. Make sure that they are constructed out of thick plastic that is going to be able to withstand years of tightening and loosening in hot and cold weather. The internal pipes should be thick plastic as well. Connection points are usually the first place that blow up tubs start to leak. Inflatable spas use high amounts of electricity, usually around 1300 Watts. Make sure that the power cord is thick and heavily insulated.
If a power cord isn’t able to support the current that flows through it, then it will overheat and melt. 1300 watts is more current than a regular extension cord can handle, so keep in mind that if the tub’s attached cord isn’t long enough, you will need to invest in a high-quality extension cord to be able to support the increased current. Make sure you factor this price into the overall cost of the product. The last check you can make is in the quality of the construction of the pump housing unit. The components that the pump housing contains are heavy, so you would expect the pump housing unit to be constructed of plastic thick enough to support that weight. The second most common portable tub failure is a leak inside the water filtration unit. It’s difficult to properly evaluate the internal filtration components, but you can give them a visual inspection to observe overall quality. The filtration and heating pumps are within the hub that houses all of the internal mechanisms.
Part of the hub’s outer shell should detach, so that you can access the internal components. Take a look inside and do your best to evaluate crucial points such as where tubes connect to pumps. Do these connection points look sturdy? Do they seem like they will remain fixed after a few years of use. Take note of the thickness of the tubes and wiring. Are they thin and brittle? Or do they seem like they will be able to withstand moisture and freezing temperatures? Grab the motors and give them a shake to see if they are solidly mounted. If they easily rattle around, this could be a sign that the manufacturer cut corners in areas that they don’t think consumers are aware of.
Once you confirm that the spa is built with enough quality to perform for a long time without breaking, you want to make sure that the levels of performance meet your requirements. What good is a heater that will last forever, if it doesn’t get hot enough for you? Once you have narrowed down your list to a select few quality portable tubs, then it is time to figure out which is the best portable hot tub for your specific needs. Evaluate each tub’s measurable performance specifications and figure out which one suits you best.
Blow-up spas come in all shapes and sizes so start by figuring out how many people you believe will be in the tub at once. If you are unable to decide whether to get a larger or smaller tub, always go smaller. Smaller tubs are less expensive to operate and maintain. It’s better to have an extra person squeeze in with you occasionally, then to pay for more tub than you need in the long term. Next, decide which shape is best for you. If you will only be soaking with one other person, or by yourself, pick a narrow oval-shaped tub so that you can reduce volume. If your tub will be in a corner, a square tub might be most appropriate for you. If the volume-to-size ratio is most important to you, go with a traditional circular inflatable tub. We always urge our readers to purchase a smaller spa then they think they will need. The smaller the spa, the easier it will be to maintain, the easier it will be to clean, the quicker it will warm up, and the less expensive it will be to operate. Also, consider where you want to keep your spa set up. If you want to keep your spa on a deck, you will need to make sure that the deck can support the weight.
The spa’s shape should complement the area where you intend to set it up. If you will be keeping your spa in a corner, then a square-shaped spa will fit the best without wasting space. If you aren’t limited to a corner, then you will be able to get more volume from a circular basin. Oval basis are the best option if you will be soaking with just one additional person because it limits volume, while allowing both people to stretch out comfortably.
The heater is the heart of your tub, so you should pay extra attention when evaluating this component. The performance of your heater will determine how quickly your tub will heat up, how hot it will be able to get the water, and how low of an air temperature you will be able use your tub in. There are a couple of metrics you can look at to get an idea of how powerful the heat pump will be. The most important metric is heat rate. Heat rate is a measurement of how many degrees the pump can increase the water temperature per hour.
The higher this number is, the more powerful the pump is. Look for a pump with at least a 1-2°F/hr measurement. We like 2-3°F/hr pumps better, though. Heat rate will be even more important for people using their tub for travel. Somebody using their tub to during a weekend camping trip will place much higher value in a pump that can increase its temperature quickly versus somebody who sets up their spa once and leaves it running for a whole season.
Heat rate is also the metric that best describes how cold the air temperature, that the tub will be effective in, can be. The higher the heat rate, the lower the air temperature can be without dropping the water temperature. Pretty much all of the jacuzzis that we review have been rated for use in 40°F air temperature and above. But, we found that smaller tubs with higher heat rates are capable of operating in significantly lower ambient air temperatures. When you are evaluating performance specifications, pay extra attention to the water heater. The strength of the water heater will directly influence how fast the water will heat, the max temperature that the heater will be able to maintain, and how cold of an ambient air temperature it will be able to maintain that max temp in.
The best portable spas that we have reviewed have had water heaters capable of heating water at a rate of 2-3℉ per hour, which is a measurement relative to the spa’s volume. The higher this number the better. We recommend you don’t dip below 1-2℉ per hour at the least.
The filtration system is what keeps the water clean. The filter sucks water from the tub reservoir, removes debris, and then sends the clean water back into the cistern. The filtration system has its own pump, which you can evaluate to make a determination of how powerful the filter will be. Manufacturers list the filter pump’s power in gallons per hour, describing how many gallons it can filter and return to the tub per hour. It is important to consider the volume of the tub when determining how powerful the pump must be. The larger the tub, the strong the filter pump must be to remain effective. We use a rule of thumb that the filter pump should be able to filter 1.5 times the volume of the spa per hour. For example, if the tub you are looking at is 200 gallons, then the filter pump should be rated at least 300 gallons/hr. Another spec that you should take a look at, is the rating of the water pump. The water pump takes dirty water from inside the tub, cleans it, and sends it through the heater and back into the cistern. The strength of the water pump is important for two reasons. The stronger the pump, the greater its ability to keep the water clean. Also, the quicker the intake rate, the quicker the tub can circulate water through the heater which increases its overall ability to heat the water.
Blow-up jacuzzis come with two types of jets. The economic variety of jets are called bubble jets, which are essentially perforated tubes that run along the bottom of the tub and pump tiny bubbles into the water, which float to the surface. Bubble jets are cheap, but effective. The bubbles produce a sensation that you are floating on a cloud, and provide excellent privacy by clouding the water. They are a perfect option for anybody shopping on a budget. If you want the most luxurious spa experience, you might be interested in investing in actual hydro jets. Hydro jets are what you think of when you think of jacuzzi jets. They take water from the cistern and send it back into the tub in powerful jet streams. These streams can be focused on muscles to produce a massaging sensation. Hydro jets require additional ductwork and their own water pump, though. So a spa with hydro jets will always be more expensive than their counterparts with bubble jets.
If you are willing to spend extra money, you have the option of purchasing a deluxe spa with hydro jets. The typical portable spa has a perforated tube that runs along the bottom of the cistern. Air is pushed through the tube, escapes through the holes, and rises to the surface. These bubbles create a sensation of floating on air and are quite pleasant. Some people prefer the traditional water jet streams over these bubble jets, though.
Top rated portable spas have hydro jets that are able to produce these jet streams.
These deluxe models completely bridge the gap between portable and fixed spas because they are able to create the exact same soaking experience. Hydro jets require additional internal duct work as well as an extra water pump, so a spa with hydro jets is always more expensive than one with bubble jets. But, if you are looking for the most lavish experience, they are worth the cost.
It is impossible to inflate a blow up hot tub with your lungs. You need some sort of air pump. Most pump housing units have an attachment that allows you to use the built-in air pump to inflate the tub. This is a must-have, so make sure this attachment and feature comes with the tub you are interested in.
Four Features That Affect Hot Tub Prices
When you are out looking for a hot tub, you want to get the best hot tub prices that are out on the market. You want to hurry and purchase one but you don’t want to spend a whole lot of money to just soak in a “tub”. This is why you should continue to shop even if you find a great deal at one store. You may find another great deal at another store with a completely different hot tub that you just absolutely fall in love with. You’ve probably have had similar experiences with other products. Keep in mind… there are so many models and brands of hot tubs that you can almost assuredly find the best hot tub prices at any hot tub store. You will even find great hot tub accessory prices at these stores too. The kinds of features you end up getting on your hot tub will affect the best hot tub prices. Remember that the more features it has, the more your hot tub is going to cost.
Acrylic vs. Wood
When you start looking at wooden hot tubs, you’ll notice they cost less than acrylic hot tubs. They usually cost about $1,000 for a three-person hot tub. Compare that to the acrylic hot tub of the same type. You’ll notice a $1,000 increase in the price. Wooden hot tubs are usually much more desirable than their acrylic counterparts because they give off a wonderful aroma that is tantalizing to the senses. Wooden hot tubs do have the best hot tub prices.
Size of Hot Tub
The size of the hot tub you go with can also affect your best hot tub prices. If you choose a small hot tub that’s just for you and a few other people, you will probably pay around $1,500 to $2,500. Don’t forget that the amenities you add to it will increase the price. However, if you can catch your hot tub on sale, you can lower the price you pay by a great deal. Hot tubs designed for eight or more people will cost in excess of $10,000. Prices for tubs such as these are very reasonable. You’ll probably want to add in amenities to these types of hot tubs too.
Number of Vents
Not only will the size and kind of hot tub you get affect the best hot tub prices, but the number of vents you decide to go with will also affect the price. If you want the average number of vents, which is five, in your hot tub, then you’re likely to get a better deal than a hot tub that has more than that. If you have certain bodily ailments such as joint, skin or muscle ailments, then you don’t want more than five jets anyway. More jets in the hot tub can aggravate the condition. In this case… less is more.
The last thing that will affect your best hot tub prices is the kind of heating unit you go with. If you want a wood heating unit like the Chofu, you’ll pay less for your hot tub. More common heating units like the natural gas, electric or propane heaters will increase your price over the wood-burning heater hot tub. However, the most expensive hot tub heating units are tubs being heated by solar power.
We know that choosing the right inflatable hot tub can be a difficult task, so we always urge you to check out reviews from people who own the product that you are looking at. But, it is also important to remember that most of the people writing the reviews are uneducated, when it comes to evaluating mechanical jacuzzi components. So, combine first hand testimony with your own personal research. And lean on the experts as much as you can. The TubHQ team wants to be recognized as experts in this field, so we are always willing to answer any questions that you might have. Check out our top rated spas, read our reviews and buying guides, and if you still have questions, reach out to us. We wish you the best of luck in your research!