Pool Heating & Solar
Hot Tubs & Swim Spas
Hot Tubs & Spas
Green & Eco-Friendly
Health & Fitness
Entertainment & Recreation
Outdoor Kitchens, Grills & Appliances
Water Features & Waterslides
Hardscaping & Stonework
Outdoor Heaters & Firepits
Don’t Sweat It: How to Buy a Hot Tub
How to buy a hot tub for your space, lifestyle, and budget
By Kimberlee Courtney
Hot tubs come in various shapes, sizes, and seating configurations so deciding on a model can be overwhelming if you don’t know what you’re looking for. Before you shop, evaluate your space, needs, and budget; this will help narrow your selection and ensure you buy the right model.
Where you plan to install your hot tub will impact how big of a spa you can get. In addition to measuring the space, take note of other factors that may dictate the hot tub’s size or shape, such as the weight capacity and dimensions of a gazebo or preexisting deck. When filled with water, a three-person hot tub can weigh around 1,850 pounds and a six-person model can weigh up to 4,000 pounds. On top of that, you need to account the weight of the maximum number of users. If placing a hot tub in a gazebo, you’ll have to select a size and shape that allows plenty of room for users to comfortably climb in and out of the hot tub. There should also be enough space around the exterior for repairs/servicing when needed.
Hot Tub Function & Seating
Do you plan to use your hot tub for entertaining family and friends or will it be for relaxing with your partner after a long day? How you intend to use the hot tub will ultimately determine the size and shape you’ll need.
rectangular hot tubs
are most common and can seat anywhere from two to 12 people. Square models range in width from 60 to 94 inches while the dimensions for rectangular designs can be 73 inches by 49 inches to 132 inches by 94 inches.
Most rectangular and square hot tubs have sculpted seating, such as captain’s chairs, bucket seats, and loungers, as well as multilevel seating for people of different heights. Models for two to three people typically feature a lounger and two seats that face each other and are great for empty-nesters. Larger models can come with or without a lounger; designs without a lounger boast more seats and are ideal for large families or entertaining.
Round hot tubs
are the more traditional hot tub shape and typically seat four to seven people, depending on the model. Round spas tend to have open seating plans with jets in strategic positions to define the seats. Though some circular models have sculpted seats, those with barrier-free seating make it easy to move from seat to seat. Most round spas measure 78 inches in diameter.
Oval hot tubs
are designed for one to two people and can have bucket seats at either end or two adjacent lounger seats that face each other. Oval hot tubs usually measure 83 – 92 inches long and 34 – 43 inches wide. They are narrower than rectangular two-person spas (which measure at least 49 inches wide) making them a good choice for confined spaces.
Triangular hot tubs
are also ideal for small areas because they easily tuck into a corner. Most models have a two-person capacity but offer three seating positions such as two bucket seats and a lounger or two loungers and a cooling seat. At least one manufacturer offers a three-person model. Dimensions for triangular hot tubs range from 64 – 92 inches in length.
Hot Tub Massage
Some people enjoy the simple pleasure of soaking in warm water while others want a powerful hydrotherapy experience. The type, size, and number of the jets in a hot tub will determine the type of massage you’ll experience. For instance, a few large-nozzle jets will provide a vigorous deep-tissue massage while many small-nozzle jets will give a gentler acupressure-type massage. There are also bubbling systems which use an air blower to produce a lighter, therapeutic full-body massage with less force than most types of jets.
Make sure there are a number of jets strategically placed in the locations you want, such as the neck, shoulders, middle/lower back, wrist, calves, and feet. Some hot tub models have interchangeable jets that allow you to remove the jets from a jet body in one location and place them in another location (with the same-size jet housing) to provide the desired type of massage. For example, you can take 5-inch rotating jets from the wall against your lower back and switch them with 5-inch pulsating jets from your shoulders to give each area a new sensation.
If you and another primary user have different aches and pains, you may want to consider models with adjustable jetting. Adjustable jets can be turned on and off individually, allowing each user to control and vary the pressure of his or her massage.
Hot Tub Features & Accessories
There are a number of hot tub features you can add to personalize your spa and enhance your enjoyment. LED lighting provides illumination during evening soaks for safe and easy access to spa steps, beverages, towels, etc. It can also lend a certain ambience to your spa: soft interior lighting can impart a calm and relaxing aura while a vibrant display of changing colors helps establish a fun and festive atmosphere.
Entertainment amenities, including surround sound systems, iPod/MP3 player docking stations, and pop-up TV/DVD players let you listen to your favorite songs or watch a movie or TV show while you soak or hang out by the hot tub.
If you prefer the soothing appeal of falling water, consider a waterfall, fountain, or laminar jets. Certain high-end water features come with changeable fountainheads to present different effects, depending on your mood.
Aromatherapy systems release fragranced air directly into the spa’s bubbling water through a built-in diffuser. The addition of a scent—such as lavender, eucalyptus, rosemary, peppermint, and vanilla—can help rejuvenate, relax, or soothe your mind and body.
Hot Tub Cost
Setting your budget before you start talking with dealers is essential and can prevent you from purchasing a hot tub that is more expensive than you need. One of the biggest factors affecting the price of a hot tub is size, so it’s important to buy only what you need. Generally, basic two- to three-person models start around $2,000. Mid-size units for four to seven people run around $6,000 – $8,000 and large models can cost $10,000 – $15,000.
The jets and added features also determine the cost of a hot tub. For instance, a two-person spa loaded with extras can cost more than a six-person entry-level model. Putting your priorities in order will help determine which features you can and can’t live without.
Photo courtesy of Marquis
Find a Dealer
© Copyright 2013. All rights reserved