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4 Spa Shopping Tips

How to Buy a Hot Tub

Follow these 4 spa shopping tips to make sure your hot tub purchase goes smoothly.

1. Test it out. The best way to ensure that you buy the perfect hot tub is to try it out. Many retailers have hot tubs set up in a separate area of the showroom so customers can experience a particular model before they buy. During your test soak, pay attention to the comfort and depth of the spa's seats, placement and pressure of the jets, and the footwell space. Also try out all of the options so you can easily choose which ones you really want. 

2. Take control—remotely. Having to get up to adjust the settings of your spa can make your hot tub experience less than enjoyable. Consider whether the convenience of a remote control system will enhance your soak. A floating remote control lets you adjust the pumps, water temperature, and any accessories (TV, radio, etc.) from any seat within the spa. An in-home control panel allows you to monitor and adjust the spa settings from inside your home, so you can have a nice warm tub waiting for you. 

3. Select a cover. If the hot tub model you buy doesn’t come with a cover, make sure you purchase one. A cover is essential for safe and efficient hot tub operation. The best covers are made of marine-grade Naugahyde,® resistant to mildew growth, and meet ASTM International (American Society for Testing Materials) standards, which ensures that they not only retain heat but guarantee their use as a safety cover.

4. Ask about upkeep. Maintenance is an important and necessary part of hot tub ownership. Ask your dealer if the model you’re looking to buy includes features that will help make upkeep easier. Many hot tub manufacturers offer automatic sanitizers and dosing systems that reduce the time, effort, and amount of chemicals it takes to maintain your hot tub.

Visit our Hot Tubs & Spas Buyers' Guide for a list of leading hot tub companies and product information.

Photo courtesy of Hot Spring Spas, Watkins Manufacturing

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Guide to Winter Hot Tub & Spa Use

Hot Tub Spa in WinterMany people enjoy using their outdoor hot tub or spa during the cold winter months. There’s nothing like soaking in a warm hot tub as you sip hot cocoa and watch the snow fall around you. If you live in a cold climate, follow these six tips to ensure proper operation and efficiency of your hot tub all winter long.

1. Stock up on Supplies –
Make sure you have an extra filter cartridge and enough sanitizer, chemicals, test strips, and other spa supplies to last you through the winter. The weather can be unpredictable and you don’t want to take the chance of having to go out and purchase these items when the roads are icy or unmanaged.

2. Protect Your Pipes – One of the major risks of operating a hot tub in the winter is that water can freeze in the pipes. Check that your spa’s freeze protection system is activated, which will help maintain a constant water temperature even when you’re not using the spa. If your hot tub doesn’t have freeze protection, set your timer switch to cycle on for 15 – 20 minutes every hour to keep warm water circulating through the pipes.

3. Keep it Covered
– A good insulated cover is essential for reducing the energy requirements of your hot tub during the winter. It is also recommended to use an inexpensive thermal blanket under your regular hot tub cover to help keep the heat in, reduce chemical use, and decrease moisture build-up on the cover. Be sure to spray the vinyl cover with a quality protectant to safeguard against harsh weather conditions and also remove snow before it accumulates on the cover.

4. Watch the Water Level
– Check your hot tub’s water level regularly, especially if you do not use your spa every day. If the water in your spa gets too low, the pumps and heater may stop working which will cause the water to freeze.

5. Maintain the Water Temperature
–The colder it gets, the longer it takes for your spa to heat up. It is less expensive and more efficient to maintain the water temperature of your hot tub on a daily basis than it is to let it get extremely cold and then reheat it when you want to use the spa. It also keeps water from freezing in the pipes and reduces chemical use.

6. Turn off Air Jets
– Running the air jets in the winter uses a great amount of energy because they inject cold air into the spa water. If you do use your jets, make sure you turn them off after every use.

For a list of recommended hot tub manufacturers, visit our Hot Tubs Buyers’ Guide.

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New AquaChek 6-in-1 Test Strip for Hot Tubs & Spas

AquaChek 6-in-1 Spa Test StripHach Company/ETS, the manufacturer of AquaChek® Pool & Spa Test Strips, is pleased to announce the introduction of AquaChek Spa, a 6-in-1 test strip developed specifically for testing in the hot tub environment. AquaChek Spa provides spa/hot tub owners an efficient and comprehensive means of testing the water.


The new 15-second, dip and read AquaChek Spa test strip includes tests for six chemistries: Total Chlorine, Total Bromine, Free Chlorine, Total Alkalinity, pH, and Total Hardness.


Spas and hot tubs present unique challenges to manage healthy, balanced water. The higher temperatures and lower water volume can cause faster chemical reactions and increased evaporation rates. Maintaining ideal levels of active and total sanitizer (Bromine or Chlorine), pH, Total Alkalinity, and Hardness will help ensure that the water is clean and healthy. In addition, it will protect the spa/hot tub against damage from fluctuations in pH, and a build-up of scale formation.


“Owners should test their water before and after each use, and treat the water regularly,” advises Joe Sweazy, Technical Sales and Service Manager for AquaChek. “We recommend tracking results each time the water is tested,” he adds.


AquaChek Spa 6-in-1 test strips are fast, accurate, and easy to use. Simply dip the test strip into the spa/hot tub, compare using the color chart comparator on the bottle, and adjust chemical levels that are not within the acceptable range by following chemical manufacturer’s recommendations. Each bottle includes 50 test strips with instructions in English, French, Spanish, and German.

For more info, visit www.AquaChek.com or call 888-278-2243.

Holiday Gift Ideas for Pool, Spa & Backyard Lovers

Wave Hammock by Outback Chair Company

The holidays are right around the corner and if you’re like most people, you probably have a few friends or family members left to buy presents for. To help ease the stress of last-minute holiday shopping, we’ve put together this holiday gift guide full of great gift ideas for the pool, spa, and backyard lover on your list.

Photo courtesy of Outback Company

Gifts for Hot Tub Lovers

Spazazz RX Therapy Spa Scents

    • Spa Fragrances – Enhance their hot tub experience with an aromatherapy gift basket filled with an assortment of liquid or crystal spa fragrances such as calming Lavender, refreshing Eucalyptus, and soothing Chamomile.

Photo courtesy of Spazazz Global LLC

Brookstone Towel Warmer

    • Towel Warmer – Any hot tub user will be thankful for the cozy embrace of a warm towel when stepping out of the hot tub on chilly nights or during the winter months. They can also use it to heat mittens, hats, and blankets.

Photo courtesy of Brookstone

Gifts for Pool Lovers

AquaFit Pro Bells from AquaJogger

    • Aquatic Fitness Equipment – A pair of water dumbbells lets fitness fanatics get a great workout right in their pool.

    Photo courtesy of AquaJogger®

        Audio Unlimited Pool Pod by Cables Unlimited

          • Floating Pool Speakers – Swimmers will have a rockin’ good time listening to their favorite tunes while lounging in the pool or relaxing in a hot tub. These waterproof wireless speakers use a base station to transmit tunes from an iPod, iPhone, MP3 player, or other audio source right to the pool.

        Photo courtesy of Audio Unlimited by Cables Unlimited.
        Photography by Brian Esterlin.

          • Pool Party Gift Basket – Beach towels, sunblock, flip-flops, and pool floats—a pool owner can never have enough of these items on hand when entertaining family and friends. Put together a gift basket filled with these items, plus a few bottles of shampoo and conditioner, a beach ball, and a gift card for the local pizza or sub shop for a thoughtful gift they’ll surely appreciate.

Gifts for Backyard Lovers

Hatteras All-Weather Wicker Roman Arch Hammock

    • Hammock – This present is sure to please. According to the Journal of The American Medical Association, woven cotton and nylon hammocks provide excellent back support and are an excellent tool for relieving stress. (You may want to keep this one for yourself!)
Photo courtesy of Hatteras Hammocks/The Hammock Source

Lexington Firepit from Brookstone

    • Firepit - An outdoor firepit is an excellent purchase for outdoor entertainers. It gives them a great spot to relax and gather with family and friends and can also extend their outdoor living season.

Photo courtesy of Brookstone

Vienna Wind Chime by Gooserocksdesigns.com

    • Wind Chimes – With a range of musical tones and eye-catching designs to choose from, you’ll be sure to find the perfect wind chime for that special someone on your holiday gift list. You can even get them engraved for a truly unique and personalized gift.

Photo courtesy of gooserocksdesigns.com.
Photo by Heath Paley.

Wireless iPod MP3 player_Eton

    • Wireless Sound System –  A wireless unit makes it easy for music lovers to enjoy their favorite tunes while lounging by the pool or entertaining friends. Though not weatherproof, these sound systems typically include a plastic covering to protect your iPod or MP3 player while in use.

Photo courtesy of OSD Audio, Stereostone, Inc and Etón Corporation

Caldera® Spas Introduces New Value-Priced Hot Tub


Caldera Spas Vantro Hot TubCaldera® Spas, a leading hot tub manufacturer, has introduced the Vanto™ hot tub to its Vacanza™ series. The Vanto offers a fresh approach to the value-priced category, delivering a distinctly stylish spa experience.

The Vanto is a generous 84-inch square, comfortably seating seven adults. This model features 35 jets, trimmed in a sleek stainless steel, plus the highly functional foot pod with four Euro jets. The jet patterns in each seat provide the signature Caldera Spas Hot Tub Circuit Therapy®. This system directs powerful jets at all of the body’s major muscle groups for a satisfying full-body massage.

"Value conscious shoppers appreciate the option of this open-seated, non-lounge spa,” said Shelly Roberts, Caldera Spas Brand Manager.

LED lighting placed around the spa and above the waterline creates a visually stunning appearance. The Acquarella® waterfall provides a soothing backdrop of sound and color. An optional Integrated MP3 sound system can add to your hot tub enjoyment.

The Vanto spa uses the SPA FROG® water care system, which continually doses the spa water with bromine, providing carefree maintenance and using up to 50 percent fewer chemicals than traditional water care. The optional Monarch CD Ozone system is also available.

Full-foam insulation and a custom spa cover with an installed hinge-seal help ensure the Vanto is CEC-compliant.

About Caldera® Spas

Established in 1976, Caldera Spas is one of the world's most trusted hot tub brands, and is part of Watkins Manufacturing, an industry leader in the production of premium spas. Watkins is a division of Masco Corp., a Fortune 500 company, whose fine home products include Delta® faucets, Merillat® cabinets, Behr® paints, and many others. Caldera hot tubs are widely distributed throughout the United States, Canada and abroad. More information and Caldera spa dealer locations are available online at www.calderaspas.com.

Photo courtesy of Caldera Spas

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