Despite the fact that most inflatable hot tubs are not rated for use in air temperatures below 40° F, it is common for people to use their portable hot tubs in the wintertime. If you are searching for an inflatable spa to use in cold weather, there are some characteristics that you should look for and some precautions you should take.
Testing has proven to us that inflatable hot tubs can maintain their max water temperature in air temperatures well below freezing and can be enjoyed all winter. If you are searching for the best inflatable hot tub for the winter, or are interested in using the inflatable spa you already own in cold weather, consider the following information on performance characteristics.
Before I start talking about hardware, I want to clarify what an inflatable hot tub air temperature rating actually means.
An air temperature rating is the manufacturer’s guarantee that if you fill up your spa with cold water, it will be able to increase the water to max temperature and maintain that max temperature as long as the ambient air temperature is equal to or above the tub’s rating. So, if the inflatable spa is rated at 40° F, and you take it out on a 40° fall day, fill it with hose water, and turn on the pump.
Editor’s Recommendation: Top 5 Inflatable Hot Tub for Winter in 2021
Three Components That Make up The Structure of a Hot Tub:
The shell of a hot tub is used to contain water, provide a mounting point for the water jets, and it’s also used as the seating area in the hot tub. The shell of a hot tub is typically constructed from acrylic and is reinforced with high-density polyurethane foam, fiberglass backing, or a combination of the two.
The cabinet of the hot tub provides structural support to the shell and the equipment. It’s also designed to hide the undesirable appearance of the equipment. The cabinet is also responsible for housing all of the plumbing, pumps, and heaters, which allows the whole thing to be a self-contained unit.
There are one or more pumps in a hot tub that are used to circulate the water. The two main functions of the pumps are to filter the water and operate the jets. The pumps will also have connecting wires and controls that allow you to change the speeds and select other options.
Now that you have a better understanding of how the hot tub works, let’s take a look at some of the best models on the market today!
Here are the 10 Best Inflatable Hot Tub for Cold Weather in 2021
What would it be like to be in possession in a mobile hot tub that you can set up practically anywhere?
If you see a question like this and are suddenly getting excited about all the places that you could enjoy a hot tub at, then you’ll get a lot out of the PureSpa by Intex.
The PureSpa is not your father’s inflatable kiddie pool. Sure, it is inflatable, but it is many degrees more inflatable than the average inflatable pool and even other inflatable hot tubs. It’s Fiber-Tech construction and insulated cover are responsible for this, and you will not worry about any kind of damage to the PureSpa’s surface at all because of it.
Replacing the filter in an inflatable hot tub such as this can be very taxing. To make the process easier, the PureSpa comes with two filters that are much easier to replace than filters that are built into other hot tubs.
There are a few things that you need to be aware of with the PureSpa, however. First, the temperature of the water can only reach 104 degrees fahrenheit. While this can satisfy most, those who desire hotter temperatures will be disappointed.
Outside temperatures need to also be at least 50 degrees fahrenheit in order for the PureSpa to reach its highest temperatures. This can be very troublesome if you plan to set it up in colder climates.
- The built-in hard water treatment system makes the water gentler on the skin.
- Comes with an insulated cover and lock
- Comes with 2 easy to replace filter cartridges
- Easy to use control panel that operates 120 high-powered bubble jets
- The base unit may need to be replaced
- The heater may stop working after a short time
- One user complained that pumps stopped working suddenly
As convenient and amazing as inflatable hot tubs are, carrying them can be taxing and troublesome. This is especially true if you intend to carry your inflatable hot tub around while travelling.
While many inflatable hot tubs do not have handles that make it easy to carry around, Goplus’s inflatable hot tub does, and this makes it very convenient to carry around wherever you need to.
Most inflatable hot tubs do not contain bubble jets, and if they do, these bubble jets are underwhelming in their power. Goplus’s inflatable hot tub contains 130 jets which promise a very strong massage when operated, being comparable to hot tubs that are built-in homes.
It is also very easy to control the temperature in Goplus’s inflatable hot tub. Controlling how hot it can get and how strong you want the jets to be is much easier than it is with most other hot tubs. This is a very nice thing if you and those you are bathing with want to make temperature changes on the fly.
Being over 60 inches in diameter, it is possible for up to 4 people to fit in Goplus’s inflatable hot tub. However, when everything is considered, this number is more like 3. It can fit 4 people, but it will not be comfortable for 4 people since it is not as big as most other inflatable hot tubs that are designed for 4 people.
- Omnidirectional bubble jets
- Easy to use digital control panel can adjust the temperature and set the mode
- Made of high-quality PVC material
- May have a difficult time maintaining the temperature
- The heat pump may stop working
- The cover may cave in from too much snow or rain
Setting up any given inflatable hot tub outside can be risky without proper coverings. This is especially true if you live in an area that is surrounded by trees and other environments where leaves, rain, dirt, and other objects can fall onto your inflatable hot tub.
And unfortunately, very few inflatable hot tubs contain proper covers that are necessary to protect it from such things. You’ll either need to take your chance with covers that you own yourself or waste a lot of time and energy cleaning your inflatable hot tub out.
Bestway’s inflatable hot tub solves this problem decisively. Containing a leatheroid cover, it will be protected from anything and everything that comes in contact with it. You’ll be able to leave Bestway’s inflatable hot tub outside with confidence because of this.
Most inflatable hot tubs can take a very, very long time to inflate to where they are ready for use. This is because their water capacities are well over 100 gallons. Fortunately, Bestway’s inflatable hot tub comes with a pump and can that will inflate it in seconds, as opposed to other inflatable hot tubs that typically take a lot longer to inflate.
The pump and can also hold Bestway’s inflatable hot tub back. You will not be able to carry it around and unlike other inflatable hot tubs, it is designed for home use and nothing else. If you do want to take it somewhere, you will also need to find a way to transport the pump and can. This is very inconvenient, since other inflatable hot tubs do not require you to carry a pump and can alongside it.
- Easy to set up – No tools required
- Seats 4-6 people
- Salute-massage system 114 all-surrounding air jets
- Comes with an automatic start/stop timer-controlled heating system
- There may be issues with the water flow
- May contain low-quality components
- The material may not last long
4. “PureSpa Plus” bubble massage set by Intex
Inflatable hot tubs generally do not accomplish much in terms of accessories. In most cases, what you see is all you get, save for temperature and jet controls.
The PureSpa Plus, by Intex, is one of very few inflatable hot tubs to contain tangible accessories that you can attach to the side of the tub. It contains a headrest which provides much-needed neck support.
As insignificant as this might seem, this is a very useful accessory that you will likely take advantage of again and again.
Carrying the PureSpa Plus around is also very easy. It contains a carry bag, making it incredibly convenient to take it wherever you go. If you want an inflatable hot tub for camping trips or anything related, you will want to seriously consider the PureSpa plus.
Because it is so easy to carry, the PureSpa Plus leaves a bit to be desired in a couple of categories.
The first of these is jet capacity. The PureSpa Plus does contain jets, but they are not nearly as strong as the jets of other inflatable hot tubs. Do not expect a powerful hot tub jet experience with the PureSpa Plus.
The PureSpa Plus is also a little smaller than other inflatable hot tubs, measuring at a little under 60 inches in diameter. Four people can be inside of it at one time, but it will get crowded.
- Comes with an easy-to-use control panel that activates the bubble jets
- The heating system adjusts to personal temperature preference
- Easy-to-replace filter cartridges
- Comes with a built-in hard water system
- May have a problem with water flow
- May have a hard time holding air
Enjoying some time in the hot tub at night is a really nice experience, but it can be made even better by adding a couple of things.
One of those things is making the experience a little more festive than it already is. The SaluSpa Paris AirJet contains an LED light show when turned on, which cycles through 7 different colors. The lights come from the bottom and make the tub flash with a different color every few seconds, which looks very impressive at night.
The SaluSpa Paris AirJet is also much bigger than most other inflatable hot tubs, measuring in at 77 inches in diameter. This will ensure that at least 4 to 6 people can fit in it without any issues at all.
Inflating the SaluSpa Paris AirJet is also effortless, as it contains a pump and can that will inflate to its 250 gallon capacity in a very short time. This is perfect if you need to set it up right away.
The pump and can that the SaluSpa Paris AirJet contains also means that it is difficult to carry around. It is certainly designed to stay in one place. Carrying it around is possible, but it will take a lot of work.
- Easy to set up – pump included
- LED light show cycles through seven colors
- Comes with an automatic start/stop timer and controlled heating system
- Holds 4-6 people
- The cover may not stay inflated
- The liner may develop holes quickly
The Coleman spa includes everything you need to get ready for a night of warm relaxation. Set up this new tub on the included ground cover pad and the tub will reach max temp in about 24 hours. Additionally, the spa also includes 2 replacement water filters to keep your spa water clean and soothing.
This tub maintains its max temp of 104 degrees Fahrenheit well in all kinds of weather. That makes this spa set an excellent choice for those who live in colder weather climates. The soft-touch control panel helps you control the temperature without stepping out into the cold.
The tub is lined with relaxing bubble jets and cushioned floor. Though advertised as a four-person hot tub, for ideal enjoyment of these features, its best to only seat 2-3 at one time. Four can enjoy the warmth of the tub sitting closely together. Bubble jets are not as massaging as typical hot tub jets, but can be excellent for relieving pain in sore muscles.
- Simple set up
- 104 degree temp maintained
- ground cover pad included
- Bubbles not jets
- Tight fit for 4 people
- Bestway 54124E Hot Tub Miami
Choose the Bestway Miami for a relaxing and energy-efficient experience. Surrounded by 120 bubble jets, this tub is ready for a warm, soothing soak with a light massage. Set the power-saving timer up to 3 days in advance to make sure it will be at your ideal temperature when you’re ready to relax. This means that you don’t have to leave the tub running at all times to maintain the best temperature.
A puncture-resistant exterior ensures your hot tub will maintain its shape for years of use. This sturdy construction is an ideal choice if you have children or pets that will be playing around the hot tub. A sturdy, safe cover is also included to ensure children, pets, or debris are not able to get in the tub.
With a 71-inch diameter, this tub is a tight fit for four, but a very relaxing fit for 2-3. Choose this tub if you only need to fit yourself or a few others. After you’re done for the day, place the cover over to use again soon or deflate into a compact package for easy storage.
- Energy efficient timer
- 120 soothing bubble jets
- Ground cover pad not included
- Tight fit for 4 people
- Coleman SaluSpa 4 Person Square Spa
With 114 air jets, the Coleman SaluSpa is ideal for a home spa experience. This spa is easy to set up and will be ready to use at a maximum temperature in about 24 hours. Whether you’re looking to wind down on your own or enjoy a spa night with friends or a loved one, the SaluSpa is an excellent choice.
Unlike other inflatable hot tubs, the SaluSpa is in the shape of a square instead of a circle. This means more space for relaxing in the corners and a more comfortable fit for four. Though there are not seats like a traditional hot tub, the cozy corners provide a similar feel.
The SaluSpa also works on it’s own to save energy and keep the water clean. An auto start/stop timer works to maintain your preferred temperature with the least amount of energy. Chemical floaters are included with the inflatable spa to keep the water clean and gentle on your skin.
The main downside with the SaluSpa is that all of these perks come at a higher price point than other inflatable hot tubs. A similar experience can be achieved with more affordable options. Treat yourself to the SaluSpa for a luxurious experience.
- Square shape for more space
- Auto start/stop timer
- Chemical floaters
- Higher price point
- GoPlus 6-Person Outdoor Spa
If you’re looking to entertain, this 6-person tub is ideal. With an 82 inch diameter, this is the best choice for fitting multiple people comfortably. A 360-degree bubble design ensures that everyone is getting the best hot tub experience.
Available in four different colors, you can choose the one that matches your yard or entertaining space the best. Colors include beige, black, coffee, and white. Each color version is made from the same durable material to maintain its shape and condition over time. These colors are more reflective of a spa experience as opposed to others only available in black.
When you’re done entertaining, use the insulated cover to minimize heat loss while its not in use. Though the cover keeps heat in, it’s relatively thin compared to other hot tub covers. In the case of rain, this cover has been known to cave in from the weight of the rain rather than the rain running off the sides.
- Fits more people
- Multiple color choices
- 360 degree bubble design
- Thin cover material
- GoPlus 4-Person Outdoor Spa
This spa-like inflatable hot tub has all the benefits of the 6-person version in a smaller size and at a more affordable price. If you need a hot tub just for yourself or a few others, this smaller tub is still a great buy. This 4-person option is 71 inches in diameter.
This inflatable spa includes a built-in hard water treatment to ensure the water is gentle on your skin. With this treatment, there is no need to worry about soaking and relaxing for too long. Accessories are also available from GoPlus such as headrests and cup holders. Use these accessories to take your spa experience to the next level.
The GoPlus spa is easy to assemble and is relatively quiet in set up and heating relative to other inflatable spas. This spa will provide a simple and relaxing experience from the very beginning. With a 104 degree max temperature and full-tub bubble jets, this inflatable spa is sure to provide a soothing experience.
- Quiet and easy assembly
- Available accessories
- Hard water treatment
- Smaller size
- Thin cover material
Buying Guide of Winter Hot Tub
Our testing has confirmed this theory. We left a few of our spas out through the winter and found that they are able to maintain max temperature in cold weather. Our testing facility is in Pennsylvania, and evening temperatures often get into the low 20s. We found that as long as the water is hot going into the cold months, the best inflatable spas can maintain hot water temperatures through the whole winter, which make an inflatable hot tub worth it in the long run.
We also tested filling a tub with hose water and attempting to heat the cold weather in temperatures below its rating, and found that the rating is accurate. The pumps struggled and were not able to increase the water temperature. During the daytime the temperature increased to the high 60s, but as soon as night came the temperature drop back into the low 40s and 50s. The pumps were never able to reach max temperature. If need to fill your tub during the winter months, you have options though.
There are adapters that connect to your sink spigot that enable you to fill your tub with hot sink water. This will allow you harness the power of your home hot-water heater and minimize the effort that your inflatable hot tub pump will need to exert.
50 Gallon Range
Most residential hot water heaters are in the 50 gallon range, so the best way to fill your spa in cold weather is to fill the spa with 50 gallons and run the heat pump to keep those 50 gallons hot. In an hour or so, once your home hot water heater has heat up the next 50 gallons, add that water. Keep following these steps until your inflatable spa is full.
- It is important to note that there is another reason that inflatable spas are usually only rated for 40° F air temperatures. Their mechanical hardware is not insulated and the plastic plumbing is susceptible to cracking if water is allowed to freeze and expand inside the pumps. Many fixed hot tubs are not rated for use in sub-freezing temperatures, either, which is a fact that most owners don’t even know. This isn’t a game-changer by any means, though. All this means is that you should take a few precautions if you intend to use your inflatable hot tub in the winter.
- The first measure you should take is to insulate your inflatable hot tub’s heating unit. All you need to do is purchase insulation, completely wrap your pump hub in this insulation, and run your pump. When the heat pump is running, it generates a small amount of heat which is sufficient to keep the internal mechanical parts thawed if the hub is properly insulated. This heat pump is only generating heat when it is running, though.
- So, the second precaution you should take is to make sure you are always running the heater. If the air temperatures are below freezing, your heat pump will be running constantly. The only thing you need to worry about is your tub shutting down. If it hub shuts down, then the pump will shut off and not heat the internal mechanics. If water freezes in the pumps, they can crack.
- The final point we need to make in regards to this topic is that if you intend to store your hot tub in sub-freezing temperatures, make sure that all water is drained from the pumps and pipes.
What You Should Look for When Purchasing an Inflatable Hot Tub to Use in The Winter?
We have established that it is possible, and actually pretty common, to use your inflatable hot tub in the winter as long as you take a few precautions. Next we will explore what features you should look for when shopping for the best inflatable hot tub for winter.
1. Ability to Heat the Water
When you are shopping for an inflatable spa to use in the cold weather, the most important characteristic that you want to evaluate is the tub’s ability to heat the water. This performance metric is directly affected by the quality of the spa’s heat pump, which means that it is possible to evaluate how effective the spa will be in the winter time by researching a single part. All inflatable hot tubs should have quantifiable performance metrics listed and you should look at these when shopping. If you can’t find this information, then we advised that you don’t even consider the spa because the best portablehot tub make these statistics readily available.
2. Pump’s Flow Rate
You should first look for information on the heat pump’s flow rate, which is a measurement of how much water the pump can process in a given time. You should look for a pump that is rated at or above 320 gallons/hr. The reason that we use this as our benchmark is because the Coleman Lay-Z-Spa uses a heat pump with this flow rate, and it is one of the hot tubs that we have witnessed maintain max water temperature in winter months. The Intex PureSpa has a heat pump that is able to process 460 gallons/hr and is also a great inflatable hot tub for the winter. Flow rate is a good indicator on how powerful your pump is, but it doesn’t tell the whole story.
3. Power Rate
The next metric that you should consider is power rate which is a measurement of the potential heat that the pump can put into the water. This is actually a more important rating than flow rate. Using a car heating system as a metaphor, think of flow rate as how hard you can blow air through the vents and power rate as how hot you can get the air. Both of these rates need to be high in order to have a strong pump. Power rate can be measured in various ways because measuring power can get complicated. Maybe I will get into measuring power in another blog post, but for now I am just going to give you benchmarks to look for. If the pump’s power is measured in Watts, you should look for a pump that is 1300W or greater. If Watts are not listed, but Volts and Ampheres are, you can multiply (Amps x Volts) to get Watts. Once you multiply these together, you can check to see if this value is greater than the 1300W benchmark. Keeping consistent with using Coleman and Intex as examples, because they are two brands that we recommend for the winter, here are each of their pump power ratings. The Intex PureSpa has a 1300W heat pump, and the Coleman Lay-Z-Spa has a pump that is rated at 12A and 110-120v. Using our multiplication trick we can calculate the Lay-Z-Spa’s power rate as (12A x 110V) 1320W. The increase in the Watts is why Coleman performs similarly to Intex in cold air temperatures despite having a lower flow rate.
The heat pump is the most important mechanical part to consider because it is the sole provider of heat for the spa’s water. Other than the pump, the only other characteristic you should look for is the tub’s insulation. This is more difficult because inflatable spas hardly have any insulation, but a few small features can make a big difference. First, you want to make sure that a ground mat is included with the tub. A small barrier between the floor of the tub and the ground can go a long way. If you have a sturdy deck and have the ability to set up your tub on the deck, this is an advantage over setting it up on the ground.
4. Tub Cover
Next you should examine the tub cover. Most likely it is inflatable and you want to make sure that it can seal tightly. We recommend purchasing an additional insulation blanket that floats on the surface of the water underneath the cover. This small investment will pay itself off very quickly in the amount of money you will save on energy bills. The biggest insulation that the tub has is its inflated tub walls. Make sure that the walls are thick 3-ply material and always keep your tub inflated with sturdy walls. Sturdy walls provide more insulation than saggy ones.
The Dos and Don’ts of Winter Hot Tubbing
Winter is upon us, which means that it’s to get comfy and warm while relaxing in your brand new hot tub! While hot tubbing in the winter is great, there are certain things to keep in mind in order to hot tub safely!
Protect Your Head
It’s important to make sure that you’re regulating your body temperature while taking a dip in the hot tub, which is why it’s so important to wear some sort of hat while you’re in the hot tub.
Cover Your Feet
No one wants dirt, crumbs, or leaves in their hot tub, so make sure that wear shoes on your feet to and from the hot tub if it’s located away from the house.
Open the Waterfall Valves
There’s a bit of a risk that the plumbing lines that supply water to the waterfalls could freeze during the cold months. This commonly occurs when the lines are closed and water isn’t able to flow freely through them. To prevent this from happening, make sure that all of the jets and waterfall valves are open when you’re done using the hot tub. This will allow the newly heated water to flow through the pipes.
Care for the Cover
The cover of the hot tub prevents the heat from escaping, which is why it’s best to always keep the cover locked when it’s not in use. Also, make sure that you never allow snow or rain to accumulate on the cover for long periods of time. This could cause your cover to cave in, so make sure that you frequently clear the cover of any debris that may be on it. It’s also important to mention that you should never use a shovel to get the snow off of the cover because it could rip and damage the cover of your hot tub.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. Should You Shower Before Using a Hot Tub?
- While some people believe that it’s an old wive’s tale to take a shower before entering a hot tub, it’s actually pretty smart to do. Showering removes the dead skin, sweat, and personal hygiene products from your skin. This allows your filter to work a little easier and it also keeps your water clean and balanced.
2. Is it Dangerous to Stay in a Hot Tub Too Long?
- If you stay in a hot tub for too long it can cause your body to overheat. When your body overheats you can feel symptoms of hypothermia, especially if it’s cold outside. It can cause fainting, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, and in extreme cases, death.
3. Is It Bad to Go in a Hot Tub in Cold Weather?
- While it’s not necessarily bad to go in a hot tub while it’s cold out, the amount of time spent in the hot tub should be limited. Because moving from extreme heat to extreme cold can put your body through tremendous stress, try to limit your soak to approximately 20 minutes.
4. What Do You Do With a Hot Tub in the Winter?
- If you have no plans of using your hot tub in the winter, then you should properly follow your model’s winterization instructions. If you are planning to use it, just make sure that the valves are open so the water doesn’t freeze in the pipes.
5. Can You Get Sick From Going in a Hot Tub in the Winter?
- Yes, a hot tub can actually help make you sick, especially in the winter. If a person were to go into a hot tub while they were sick, there’s a good chance that the water could become contaminated and then the next person in the tub could become ill, as well.
6. What Temperature Should a Hot Tub Be Set at in the Winter?
- Typically, people like to keep their hot tub at 102-104 degrees, especially during the cold winter months. It’s highly recommended, though, that you never set the temperature below 90 degrees at all times.
Testing has proven to us that it is possible to use an inflatable hot tub in the cold weather, or in the winter. This is great because many people rely on inflatable hot tubs for health benefits. The best hot tub pumps are strong enough to maintain max water temperature in ambient air temperatures that are below freezing. Freezing temperatures can be potentially dangerous for mechanical parts in the pump because water can freeze and expand, which can cause pipes to crack. But, insulating your pump unit can mitigate this risk. With a few additional modifications, it is possible to safely use your inflatable hot tub in the winter.