Thinking of Buying a Hot Tub in 2018 ?
One or two good reasons to.take the plunge
You’ve probably used a hot tub before. Could have been at a friends home, the local fitness centre, or even some holiday rentals and hotels have them installed.
If you’re thinking how great it would be to have one at home. Then there are a few decisions to make, and a few questions to answer.
This buyers guide should help to set things out, and set things up.
|Hard Water Treatment|
WHY WE LOVE INFLATABLE HOT TUBS
Well there are lots great reasons to purchase your own personal hot tub.
Everybody who has been in a hot tub knows how great you feel afterwards. De-stressed and relaxed. If you are suffering from aches and pains from various causes, including arthritis, then warm water and jet massage can be really beneficial for helping to calm the symptoms.
If you are a sporty type, half an hour stretching in bubbling 104º water is a perfect post work out warm down.
If you have been used to using a gym or health spa hot tub or jacuzzi, then you know the worst part is getting home. You’ve just had a great workout and a great jacuzzi, then the grind of the trip home. Sound familiar?
How nice to have the tub in your own home to use when you want, for as long as you want, and of course, most importantly with who you want.
The dynamics of family life has pretty much changed these days.
If the time of everyone all sitting together in the same room and having some family fun, are just a distant memory. Crazy as it sounds a hot tub could change that a little for you. When you’ve got the hot tub running then every one wants to climb aboard.
Forget having to Whatsapp your children to talk to them, you can speak to them face to face, across the hot tub. How cool is that?
So stow the smartphones and tablets, clear your schedules, jump in and spend some quality time together.
Summer days around the pool are great to invite friends around, having a hot tub is going to add an extra dimension to the fun, for you, and your children.
Warm summer nights are a great time for you and your partner to connect, get the kids to bed early and share a quite glass of wine with your loved one inside a warm bubbling tub, making some memories.
Taking half an hour in your tub in the evening is going to help you have a better more sound sleep too. Spend just thirty minutes in your hot tub before bedtime and you will enjoy a deeper more restful night’s sleep.
WHICH PORTABLE HOT TUB TO CHOOSE
If anything above ticked any boxes, then it’s time to think about which hot tub to choose.
If you are ready to get at the builders in, tradesmen, electricians and plumbers, walls knocked through, dust, rubble or maybe digging the garden up and spend upwards of of ten thousand dollars, then a built in jacuzzi would be the way to go.
That’s why portable spas are so interesting, you don’t have to put yourself through any of that. Just un-box, pump up, connect up, fill up, heat up and then soak.
Or in the case of “Plug and Play” tubs, it’s even easier, just plug it in!! They are the ultimate no fuss tub.
In recent years though things have really moved on in the home spa world. Now there is a really wide range of portable inflatable tubs to choose from. Many of them can produce an almost authentic jacuzzi experience.
To help you with your research, we have put together some information that should help you make a purchase that you wont be disappointed with.
How Large: How many people is it for? Of course this is a fundamental, and has a number of consequences.
To most buyers bigger is always better, and it’s true, a more spacious tub gives a nicer spa experience. But along with size comes more water, and that means more energy to heat it, and keep it heated.
It also means more pool chemicals. While the larger model may only be $100.00 more to purchase, it’s running costs per month could be double a smaller one.
What Shape: With inflatable hot tubs there are really only two choices, round or variations on a square. A few companies have managed to produce nice looking octagonal spa’s that have been reviewed here.. The square based spa’s are useful if you have a space restriction. For example when you are bringing it indoors for winter use.
Plug and play tubs in particular can come in a sometimes bewildering number of shapes and sizes.They are the Cadillacs of the portable spa world, and have a price tag to match. Plug and play tubs are a brilliant hassle free way into real home hot tubbing. Many people correctly feel the higher price tag is well worth the money invested.
Jet types: All inflatable spa’s come with a bubble jet feature, usually ringed around the base of the tub. Bubble jets are certainly good enough to give a very pleasant spa treatment.
But if you need hydro-therapy, then you will need a high range tub that offers them. Hydro massage jets are a premium feature that just a few inflatable tubs offer. They are a great feature but come at a cost, they can significantly increase the price of the hot tub, but again many owners think it is worth it.
Tub Features: A pump and a heater are a given, without them we don’t have a hot tub.
There are of course differing power outputs, between models. These are fundamental components, we signed up for a hot tub, we don’t want just a warm one. They generally all manage to reach and keep. More power means faster heating and stronger jet velocity. In our tub reviews we have picked the picked the best in delivering both.
More Features: Many medium to premium models have built in hard water systems that help to soften the water, providing a more refreshing tub experience. Much kinder on the skin, you certainly notice the difference when this is running.
Also a salt water system is available on some models that will chlorinate the water so less chemical treatments are needed to keep a sparkling healthy tub. It’s just a matter of keeping the salt granule reservoir topped up.
A timer is a great feature that is added to some models. The Saluspa / Lay-Z spa range have had a timer function added to their new range. It allows you to set the water heater time to bring the tub up to the temperature you want, when you want. Now that’s cool. Or hot maybe a better way to look at it. The spa is waiting for you, you’re not waiting for the spa.
Cover Type: Covers may seem just extras, but they are fundamental when building the water temperature, and for reducing heat loss when the tub is not in use. Look for ones that are inflated and have a good thermal element like an aluminium foil layer. See our guide to Solar blankets >>
Avoid just a simple PVC cover. Covers should come with child proof locks on the straps as a safety feature. Check they are on the tub you are buying if you are going to need them.
Cleaning: The filter cartridge along with the disinfecting chemicals are both fundamental to good and safe tub maintenance. If the water is becoming cloudy and dirt is visible after chemical treatment it’s time to change the water. We have covered this under a separate guide.
Chemicals: Treating your spa with chemicals need not be a difficult task. There are many very effective products on the market to make your tub a safe and enjoyable place to be. We have covered adding chemicals to your tub under in a separate guide >>
Energy Use: The answer to energy use and costs has too many variables to give a real guide. Some inflatable hot tubs are fitted with a 1300 Watt heater, which is the main drain on electricity and your wallet. So as pointed out in the “How Large” note above the hot tubs physical size is important. The bigger the tub the higher the maintenance and energy costs. This is where a tub timer can be important.
Many people live in areas where the electricity provider gives “off peak” tariffs. It’s a no brainer when to time the heater for.
Price: The inflatable hot tub buyer has a large range of prices and features to choose from so it is important to list the features you need and the size you want. Given the wide range available you will certainly be able to find what you need.
We have reviewed what we consider the best portable and inflatable hot tub options for 2017. They have incorporated what we believe to be the best features at their particular price points.
THE TOP PORTABLE HOT TUBS FOR 2017
HYDRO JET HOT TUBS HYDRO TUBS
SaluSpa Hawaii HydroJet Pro
It is their top of the range flagship model. The Saluspa Hawaii is as near a built in jacuzzi experience as you can find in a inflatable hot tub.
Included on board are eight powerful hydrotherapy jets, and an additional ring of 120 bubble jets for the relaxing massage experience. The host of other high-end features, include built in hard water water and salt water treatment systems.
Excellent build quality, it’s made with Bestway TriTech puncture proof material. The internal architecture of the tub uses an “I beam” construction. That makes the walls strong enough to easily seat an adult without buckling. We think this tub is top of the class of 2017.
SaluSpa Miami AirJet Hot Tub
A compact tub, it is not really suitable for more than two adults in our opinion, although it is marketed by Bestway as a four person tub. It stands just 26 inches tall with a diameter of 71 inches, so if basketball is your sport; best look elsewhere!!
That said, the Miami is a really affordable tub coming in at less than $350.00. And for that price tag you get many of the features of the more expensive tubs, including the same heater and pump unit, which is of course the second most important thing to consider after the size.
The tub has 81 bubble jets spaced around the base perimeter, which is plenty to give a powerful bubble massage. The larger model tubs have 120 bubble jets, so given that the Miami has the same pump. the Miami benefits from a 30% increase of jet power. Small can be beautiful!!
Other features include a digital control panel with a built in timer, a tri-tech 3-ply puncture resistant carcass. A thick insulated top cover and an insulated floor.
Although not suitable for everybody we have included the SaluSpa Miami in our best buys, for its price point, and the features it has on offer.
BUBBLE JET HOT TUBS
JET HOT TUBS
Coleman Lay-z-Spa Hot Tub
The manufacturer claims it seats 4-6 people, but in reality four is plenty. Because of its budget price the “bells and whistles” that the high-end tubs offer are not included. So no water softener, or hard water treatment with this tub. These omitted features are not a show stopper though, they can easily be picked up during routine chemical treatment.
A nice features of the hot tub that is the cushioned base. More comfortable, and helps with the thermal insulation.
The built in timer allows you to program the water heating schedule to suit your use. This is a feature that other inflatable tub manufacturers don’t offer. As a bubble massage hot tub the Coleman is hard to beat, and because of its budget price tag, it’s a best seller in inflatable tub market. Nothing here not to like.
SaluSpa Palm Springs Hot Tub
Having a good heater is fundamental to a hot tub. If it’s inefficient, what we’ve got is a warm tub! That’s not we signed up for.
Some inflatable hot tub manufacturers heaters are frustratingly inefficient. Not so the SaluSpa Palm Springs, it is fitted with a super efficient 1,300 watt unit. Given an ambient temperature of 20º, it could be able to raise the tub water temperature at 2-3º/hour. Which while it sound slow, is actually greased lightening in the hot tub world. The ring of bubble jets around the base give a powerful massage effect, The extra capacity and efficient pump gives a really worthwhile spa experience. Again no added extras with this tub, but the price reflects the build and equipment quality.
PLUG AND PLAY HOT TUBS JET HOT TUBS
LifeSmart Rock Solid Simplicity Hot Tub
The hot tub comes completely pre-assembled, ready to just plug in and use. Plug and play, that’s what it’s called, and it means just that.
This hot tub is built around the quality Rocksolid uni-body shell construction The construction material is well proven, long lasting. Virtually indestructible in fact. The tub has 12 powerful hydro jets, first class internal components and is completely insulated between the outer carcass and moulded interior.
Bridging the gap between the fully installed built in spa, and a high end inflatable hot tub. The LifeSmart Simplicity offers an instant, well designed, well specified tub at your door. You just fill it with water and enjoy. Oh and plug it in of course!!
WHAT MATERIAL ARE INFLATABLE SPAS MADE FROM?
When we hear the words; inflatable and water together; most of us have an image of some kind of small beach ball, or a cheaply made children’s floatation device.
Put that out of your mind when you are thinking of an inflatable hot tub.
Todays generation of inflatable hot tubs are made from a puncture-resistant 3-ply laminate that provides comfort with support and durability. A polyester mesh core is encased in two layers of laminated PVC. The tub walls incorporate an I-Beam construction that allows users to sit and lean against the sides without the spa bending or buckling.
HEALTH BENEFITS OF HOT TUBS
The effects that hot tubs have on various conditions are well documented.
Homehottubguide is not a guide to medical treatment. And we do not make any specific claims or recommendations about the therapeutic treatment value of using a hot tub. What is clear though is that any potential benefits are natural, non invasive and non toxic.
“ Soaking in warm water is one of the oldest forms of alternative therapy, and there’s good reason why this practice has stood the test of time. Research has shown warm water therapy works wonders for all kinds of musculoskeletal conditions, including fibromyalgia, arthritis and lower back pain” Source: arthritis.org
Arthritis Relief: Warm water can be helpful in fighting the stiffness and pain of arthritis and fibromyalgia. Studies of patients with both conditions found that when they participated in warm water exercise programs two or three times a week, their physical function increased and their pain decreased as much as 40 percent. Source arthritis.org
Improved Sleep: Your body works to lower your temperature after getting out of the tub. This will help you feel sleepy. The tub can help you to relax and slow down, ready to sleep.
Massage: The bubble jets and in particular the massage jets that some premium hot tub offer can provide a gentle or more forceful targeted massage.
Stress Reduction: The spa’s warm water can greatly reduce stress and anxiety, promoting your ability to relax naturally.
Diabetes: Sitting in your tub lowers blood sugar levels for people with Type 2 Diabetes. Dr Steve Faulkner of Loughborough University found that a soak in the tub reduces peak blood sugar levels by 10 per cent more than an hour cycling, and increases energy expenditure levels by 80 per cent burning 126 calories per hour.
Headaches: The hot water provided by the tub helps vascular dilation and can provide tension related pain relief associated with some forms of headaches.
Back Pain: Hot tubs stimulate blood flow. This helps to brings healing nutrients to the affected area of the low back. Warming the body in the warm water inhibits the pain messages being sent to the brain.
OUTDOORS or INDOORS?
Well thats the beauty of owning an inflatable hot tub, you get to choose when ever you want to re- locate your spa. You can move it with the seasons.
Outdoors: Obviously in the summer months outdoors is going to be great. If you are in a particularly hot region then, although it is tempting to leave the spa unprotected in the sun to keep water temperature up. Be cautious of too much hot a sun, as the tub can deform with exposure to excessive prolonged heat. Setting up or putting it inside a gazebo is a perfect solution to overcome this. See our guide to the best gazebos >>
Indoors: Temperatures of below 40ºF are not recommended by the hot tub manufacturers, Freezing temperatures will ice up, and ruin heater and pump. So it is time store the tub away for next year or even better set it up indoors.
If you have space inside for your inflatable hot tub, great news. Lets make sure its the right space.
Firstly will the interior floor cope with the weight of the tub? Fundamental! Will your tub really fit into the space, and can you enter and exit the tub safely?
Ideally you should be able to walk around the tub, and have easy access to the pump and heater unit. Check the electrical connection you are plugging into, and remember that your hot tub produces a lot of heat and humidity, so be sure the ventilation is sufficient to cope with it.
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