To get it out there from the start – the number of jets is NOT the most important thing to consider when you are going looking for a new hot tub. In this article, I will detail what you need to consider when you are thinking about buying a hot tub – remember I am not selling you a hot tub, so I will be 100% honest with you!
There are many things you need to consider when you look to buy a hot tub, and I would encourage you to talk to your local dealership after you have read some of my articles, so you go there armed with some knowledge.!!
I have broken down the essential considerations into three main groups:
First considerations when buying a hot tub
Below are the first things you will need to consider:
Are you going to use your hot tub?
Hot tubs do not fit in with everybody’s lifestyles. You may feel you do not have time to use a hot tub, or you may prefer watching Game of Thrones of an evening instead of having a quick dip. There is also the regular maintenance of the water that may eat into your precious time.
I would argue that everyone has time for a hot tub in their life!! I have two jobs and a family, but still, find 20 min most days to sit with my wife and let the stresses of the day melt away!
If you are unsure, you may think about buying a cheaper inflatable hot tub before you spend some serious money on a hot tub. In fact – an inflatable hot tub may suit your needs, and you may not have to buy a regular solid hot tub. If you are thinking about inflatable hot tubs, you may like to read this article where I explain the differences.
Do you have room for your hot tub?
A full-size hot tub is 7 foot by 7 foot and about 3 foot high. Most hot tubs have covers that fold up behind the hot tub, so you will need to allow for this in your calculations. Hot tubs are usually delivered on their sides, requiring access of at least 4 foot wide.
If access is a problem, there may still be a way to deliver your hot tub, but you might have to think outside of the box and maybe come through a neighbours yard, and temporarily remove some fence panels!!
Electrical power and flat base
Before the hot tub arrives, you will need to have installed power (often 32amp) and ensured you have a sturdy flat surface to put the hot tub on. Once you decide on your hot tub, the dealership should be able to recommend tradespeople that can help with this. Alternatively, you can read my article on hot tub bases that you can build yourself for a fraction of the cost!! Click here!!
Next considerations before buying a hot tub
Once you have decided you are going to buy a hot tub, you know where you are going to put locate and you know how you will get it where you want it, you are ready to consider which features you want from your new hot tub.
Cost of hot tubs
A plug and play inflatable hot tub can cost as little as $400, but regular solid hot tubs start at about $3000 for a cheap Chinese built hot tub. Known brands of hot tub are more expensive to purchase up front. However, they may have a higher build quality, which will save you money in the long run. $8000 will buy you a beautiful hot tub that will last you for many years to come
How many people will use the hot tub?
Most full-size hot tubs have 5-6 seats or loungers, but most households only have 2-3 people that use the hot tub regularly, so you may think that it is advisable to get a smaller hot tub. This would be a mistake in my opinion.
A good quality hot tub will have different jet configurations to massage different areas on the body; some might be concentrating on the lower back, whereas others focus on the upper back and shoulders. How most people use the hot tub is to move around the different seats during their experience.
So why is the number of users significant?
It will be more challenging to maintain the sanitizer levels if more people use the hot tub. If more than four people are using the hot tub, I would say that built-in primary sanitiser like UV-C or ozone is a must, as opposed to an added extra. Commercial hot tub regulations insist on these extra layers of safety.
13amp plug and play verses 32amp or higher
13amp plug and play hot tubs are convenient as they can be plugged directly into your existing outdoor plug, which you use for garden appliances like the lawn mower. This capability will, therefore, save you money on electrician costs to get a higher power supply installed. All inflatable hot tubs are 13amp, and some regular solid hot tubs are too.
Be aware that there are disadvantages of plug and play hot tubs in that they cannot draw as much power from the mains. Less energy means they run fewer pumps and cannot always heat the water at the same time as running the jets. I discuss this in more depth in another article, but the summary is 32amp are better at hydrotherapy and more efficient in colder climates.
Number of pumps
The pumps are the engine of your hot tub, and they are used to push water through your filtration system and also for the hydrotherapy jets. Before buying a hot tub, you will need to find out about the pumps. A good hot tub will have at least two pumps of 2HP or above.
The quality of the pump is a more important consideration than the number of jets.
The best analogy I can think of is a shower. Putting more holes in your showerhead will not improve your shower experience. But if you increase the water pressure with a high power pump, then your shower turns from dribble to POWER SHOWER!! It’s the same with a hot tub, increasing the number of jets if your pump is weak will not improve the hot tub.
Consider the quality of the jets, not the number
If you have checked and the hot tub has suitable pumps, then you can start to look at the jets. I said look – not count!! The more variety you have, the better the hydrotherapy is going to be. You may have jets for the surface massage and jumbo rotating jets for deep tissue relief.
The best way to test what jets suit you is to have a wet test at a dealership. You may get a bit of a hard sell, but if you have read my articles, you will have enough information to determine if what they are telling you is the whole truth!! If you find a dealership that sells, multiple brands, then you may get to wet-try a couple of hot tubs.
Primary sanitation installed
In my opinion, this is essential for a regular solid hot tub. The technology has been around for over ten years and is relatively cheap compared to the overall price of the hot tub. The leading manufacturers use UV-C bulbs, but other options are available such as ozone.
Having this installed in your hot tub gives you two options. You can run your sanitiser level at a lower concentration which will reduce the likelihood of skin irritation, or you can keep your sanitiser chemicals the same and use the primary sanitiser as a back-up
Remember UV-C bulbs will need changing annually, and ozone generators will need checking to make sure they are still working.
Check the Warranty
I think the warranty is an excellent indicator of how confident the manufacturer is in their product. I remember when the car manufacturer KIA brought out their seven-year unlimited mileage warranty. What they did was effectively shout out to the world how reliable and well built they thought their cars were.
Hot tub warrantees vary significantly, from 12 months to 10 years. The leading brands with the highest retail price, tend to have the most extended warranty. But you need to read the small print as not all parts of the hot tub have the same level of guarantee. Jacuzzi, for example, has a 10-year warranty on the shell structure, 7 years on the shell surface and 5 years on the plumbing! They are not alone in spitting the warranty like this.
Also, double check the warranty on the Bluetooth sound system. This warranty is often very low which I suppose is fine if the sound system comes as standard, but some companies can charge more than $1000 to install a sound system that is only guaranteed to work for 12 months!! Outrageous in my opinion.
The last considerations; the fun stuff!
The last consideration before buying a hot tub needs to be fun stuff. By this I mean the fancy waterfalls, color changing LED’s, sound system, and even TV’s. If you are prepared to spend the money, hot tub manufacturers are happy to install practically anything into the hot tub!!
The fancy extras are fabulous fun, and they are always nice to have, but they shouldn’t be your primary consideration or even your second!! Manufactures install cooler extras on each price increment to encourage you to spend more. For example, an entry model may have beautiful LED lights, the next model up has LED water jets, and the top model has a LED waterfall.
Sound systems may be included in the price, while other manufacturers charge a small fortune ($1000) to have them added. If the hot tub model you have chosen does not have a Bluetooth speaker system, try to get them to throw it into the package deal for free. If they will not, don’t worry, a floating waterproof speaker may suit you. I have written an article on a couple here.
Buying a hot tub can be a significant investment, but I believe the health and improvement of life benefits outweigh the cost. After you have considered everything in this article, I would recommend you go and talk to your local dealers. Yes, they will try and sell you their brand, but you will now have some knowledge that will help you pick the best hot tub for you.
The last thing to remember is that the flash sales, that dealerships have are there to get you to hand over your money before you visit other retailers! Don’t fall for it – my advice – visit at least two dealerships before you buy.
I hope this helps guys – If you think I have left anything out, please tell me in the comments below, or contact me directly.
Happy Hot Tub-in,