Guide to buying the best hot tub or the best inflatable hot tub

Introduction to buying top hot tubs and spas

Imagine coming home from work and sinking into an outside hot tub, where the bubbling jets gently wash away your stresses and strains. It wouldn’t matter whether it was a summer’s evening or a cool winter’s afternoon, because the warm bubbles would soothe away your worries and help you unwind as you breathe in the fresh outdoor air.

This can be your reality. It’s easy to create the ultimate spa experience in your own backyard where you can enjoy the health benefits of a hydrotherapy spa every day.

Person floating in a hot tub

This is the dream for people who are researching hot tubs and spas for the first time, but all of the research involved in buying your backyard hot tub can feel overwhelming and daunting.

Never fear. You could be sipping wine from your outdoor hot tub sooner than you think. Read through my Guide to Buying the Best Hot Tub and the Best Inflatable Hot Tub and we will help you decide on the best unit for your needs.

When you decide to invest in a home hot tub, there are so many things to consider: are you looking for an outdoor hot tub? A therapeutic hot tub?  Do you want a hassle-free plug and play hot tub? Some people focus on finding an affordable hot tub while others look for the highest rated hot tubs. Everyone has different needs, so it’s important to work out what you will be using it for, and figure out what hot tub features you want. Whether you’re looking for an above ground hot tub or you’d prefer a portable blow up hot tub, there are plenty of options of spas and hot tubs on the market to suit your needs, your space and the size of your budget.

It can be daunting to know what to look for when you first start to do your research, so this buying guide will help you work out the best hot tubs for you and will direct you to the best prices on hot tubs so you avoid wasting time and money.

Why should you buy a hot tub or spa?

This video gives you a great overview of the health benefits of owning your own outdoor hot tub. It’s not just an enjoyable way to spend your free time; it’s also good for you too!

Hot tub comparison guide: Our top rated hot tubs

Feeling confused trying to work out the best hot tubs on the market? In this spa hot tub buying guide, we suggest the best rated hot tubs and help you narrow down the best brand of hot tub for your needs. Don’t buy a hot tub without reading this first as we will help you work out the best spa for you.

Hot tub review chart

There are so many hot tubs on the market. The following comparison chart displays the most recommended hot tubs within the different types, sizes and price ranges. You can then go on to read the hot tub reviews in more detail below.

picture of hot tub with waterfall

Outdoor hot tub spa buying guide: Comparing Jacuzzi hot tubs for sale

What type of hot tub to choose?

Probably the first step, even before looking at hot tub manufacturers, is to consider whether you want an in ground hot tub, an above ground hot tub or a portable hot tub. Do you want something that’s going to stay in place all year round as a permanent fixture or do you want something that is moveable? A soft sided hot tub is going to be less expensive but they aren’t going to last as long as a permanent hot tub (even though many of them are built to last and are puncture-resistant). In this buying guide we’re going to focus on above ground hot tubs and inflatable hot tubs because they are both easy to install.

Style and comfort of your backyard hot tub

Whether you’re looking at round hot tubs or square hot tubs, wooden hot tubs, wood fired hot tubs or in ground hot tubs, you not only need to think about the shape and where they it will fit in your backyard or on your deck (assuming your deck can take the weight!) You also need to think about hot tub designs to make sure you are choosing something that offers comfort. How many people will be using it? How comfortable are the seats? How much space is there in the hot tub? How accessible are the controls when you are seated? An outdoor spa is a luxury item and you want it to be comfortable, durable and enjoyable. If you’re looking for the best therapeutic hot tub then you are going to need something that is ergonomically designed as well as something with more intense jets that can be controlled.

Cost of a hot tub

When you are searching for the best hot tub to buy, it is important to set yourself a budget. The best hot tubs can cost you a few hundred dollars right up to thousands of dollars, and they can be as big or as small as you need (you can get 2- people hot tubs right up to huge hot tubs to seat 15 people!). Of course, there are high end hot tubs if budget isn’t an issue, but whatever amount you’re looking to spend, you want to make sure you get an affordable hot tub that delivers your desired features within your available budget. Set yourself a maximum budget for your spa and try to stick within it as you do your research so you are comparing other similar products within the same price range. Don’t get carried away unless you can afford to!

How often will you use your hot tub and do you intend to use it all year round?

If you plan on using your hot tub all the time then a permanent spa is the best choice as it will last much longer than a cheaper portable spa. Consider whether you are likely to use it all year, and think about how much this will add to your energy bills as some spas can be expensive to run through winter. Does the outdoor hot tub come with a energy saving cover or does this cost extra? How efficient is it at maintaining water temperature?

Water treatment

There are all kinds of selling points when it comes to water treatment options. All outdoor Jacuzzi hot tubs involve some water maintenance, so this is something you are going to need to learn about. You want to own a hot tub that is easy to maintain, and one that is healthy and safe to use for you and your family. Options such as salt water hot tubs, Ozonators, enzyme systems UV systems, and mineral systems all offer their own unique selling points. Make sure you take note of the water treatment system when comparing your shortlist as it is an important feature.

Hot tub extras

Once you’ve decided on your basic requirements for your spa or Jacuzzi, you can start to think about the extras you want your new hot tub to offer. Things like colour changing lights, whether it has an MP3 player installed, how many jets you want and whether these can be controlled individually. These extras will allow you the opportunity to indulge in a few luxuries and tailor your spa to your own preferences.

Which are the best hot tub brands?

There are many hot tubs brands on the market, like Coleman hot tubs and Canadian hot tubs, but what is more important is focusing on the features you’re looking for and making sure the reviews for that item are positive rather than just picking a spa because it is made by a well-known hot tub brand.

What is the best hot tub on the market?

To answer this question fairly, we need to recommend the best inflatable hot tub and the best fixed hot tub as they are two very different items and it’s not fair to compare the two different types against one another. Read on to discover my top hot tub brands and to read my hot tub reviews.

cocktail by the hut tub

Our top inflatable hot tub

We think the best portable hot tub is the four-person Intex 77-Inches PureSpa Portable Bubble Massage Spa Set.

Read our full review here.

We chose this model and brand for so many reasons. It has a Fiber-Tech construction which gives it superior stability and makes it way more comfortable to sit in – it goes beyond the industry standard with its enhanced, light-weight durable fibres that makes the sides sturdy yet soft. You are buying a hot tub for relaxation, so we believe comfort is a huge part of the decision-making process. It may ‘just’ be a portable hot tub, but it still allows you to pamper yourself in heated jet streams that are easy to operate from the control panel. The 120 high-powered jets are strong enough to provide a revitalising massage and the hard water treatment system ensures the water stays gentle on your skin. The puncture-resistant material ensures your inflatable spa is going to last a long time so you don’t need to worry about your kids piercing it. It is super easy to maintain, with water cartridges that are simple to replace and the lockable insulated cover ensures it stays toasty warm which saves you energy costs (as well as keeping it safe from little ones). When you’re done with it, you can deflate it with the inflation hose and store it in its own handy carry bag. There are add ons to make your hot tub experience even more comfortable (like this beverage holder, spa seat and a padded headrest).

– Affordable
– Add ons can make the experience even better
– Great customer service from Intex
– Easy to set up
– Holds temperature well

– Can be expensive to run
– It’s not going to last forever
– Heats at around 2 degrees an hour
– Needs to avoid direct sunlight
– Not advised to keep running all the time (as not good for the pump) making it difficult for spontaneous use

Check it out on Amazon now:  Intex 77-Inches PureSpa Portable Bubble Massage Spa Set.

Our top hot tub

The best hot tub to buy, in our opinion, is the American Spas AM-630LS 5-Person 30-Jet Lounger Spa with Backlit LED Waterfall, Sterling and Smoke.

Read our full review here.

Blending a classic style with cutting-edge tech, this hot tub comfortably seats five people to provide a total body hydrotherapy experience with 30 stainless steel jets in each seat that follow the contours of your body. This means the jets give you maximum relaxation as they hit you where you need it most – and the flow control means you can control the precise pressure flow and direction to target specific areas of stress. It’s energy efficient with a great insulation system so won’t cost the earth to run, and it is built with the toughest acrylic so you don’t need to worry about longevity. The hassle-free HydroClear Ozonator keeps your water pure and clean, and the Bio-Clean filter system ensure your water stays sanitized.

This spa will exceed your expectations with its back-lit cascading waterfall feature and multi-color light system that can be programmed to change to suit your mood.

– Luxury extras like the waterfall and lighting
– Economical to run
– Quiet heater
– Built to last

– The tub is deep so shorter users may need to adapt the water depth to suit
– Consider how the delivery process will work as the item will need mechanical assistance

Check it out on Amazon now: American Spas AM-630LS 5-Person 30-Jet Lounger Spa with Backlit LED Waterfall, Sterling and Smoke.

Considerations for buying the best budget hot tub

If you’re looking for cheap hot tubs for sale, then it’s likely you’re searching for an inflatable hot tub as these cost much less than the more expensive acrylic hot tubs.

Pros of buying a soft hot tub

– You will be able to pick up a cheap portable hot tub for just a few hundred dollars, and Amazon has some of the best hot tub deals around at the moment.
– Cheap hot tubs come in all sizes – so whether you’re looking for a small portable hot tub or a 6 person inflatable hot tub, you will be able to find something to suit your needs.
– Inflatable hot tubs are great if you only want to use them for a few weeks a year. Set them up, enjoying using them and then put them away again until next season. It keeps your yard space flexible.


Cons of buying a portable hot tub spa

– If you’re looking at inexpensive hot tubs, it is important to understand that they won’t last forever. Although they are often made with durable materials, they can be prone to punctures and leakage around the seams.
-They may not be built to run all the time, and this means using your blow up hot tub may not be a spontaneous event as you may need to set it up and wait for the water temperature to heat.

There are plenty of budget friendly hot tubs on the market and they are generally very easy to set up and start using. However, the bonus is that if you’re looking for a hot tub cheap, then there are plenty on the market and they make a great entry product so you can see if you get a lot of use out of your spa without a heavy investment.

Which is the best cheap hot tub on the market

In our opinion, if you’re looking for a budget spa, the best choice is the Coleman Lay Z

It’s an inflatable hot tub from a trusted brand, with many positive reviews across the internet. It’s a fair price and has a great capacity (seating 4 – 6 people). It’s super easy to operate using the digital control panel and it is made with reinforced material for advanced comfort and durability. It is really easy to set up and start using – no specialist tools are needed. We love that the sides are made using a special construction that means you can sit on them without bending or buckling the shape.

– Easy to set up
– Comfortable material that is durable and holds it’s shape
– Trusted brand
– It is quiet to run

– It has the limitations that come with it being an inflatable hot tub
– Filters can clog quickly (so keep an eye on them)
– Isn’t recommended in very cold conditions

Check it out on Amazon now: Coleman Lay Z

Best small hot tub for sale

Hot tubs don’t have to be huge: you can find a 1 person hot tub, a 2 person hot tub, a 3 person hot tub or a 4 person hot tub. There are lots of awesome small hot tubs and spas on the market. Sometimes known as a mini hot tub, a small outdoor hot tub will suit you even if you are looking for a single person hot tub, so there is no need to miss out.

Although at the outset, you may be searching for the best 2 man hot tub, I would urge you to think about your long term use. A hot tub for two sounds like a great idea for a couple, but it restricts your usage meaning you wouldn’t be able to use it when friends come to visit. A four person hot tub definitely gives you more flexibility, and the extra space also gives you more room to spread out where there are just two of you making use of it.

If you really are sure you only want a tiny hot tub, then our favourite is American Spas AM-628TM 2-Person 28-Jet Triangle Spa, Tuscany Sun and Mahogany

This gives you a compact but luxurious hot tub without skimping on the features. It’s a simple plug and play kit and you can control the flow for individual seats and directly target your specific areas of stress.

– Perfect size for couples.
– 28 jets soothe the entire body.
– Durable build quality.
– Energy efficient.
– HydroClear Ozonator keeps water clean, clear and sanitized.
– Heats up quickly.

– Panels around the pool could be better quality.
– Difficult to fully drain if needed.
– Skimmer isn’t easy to access (requires unscrewing).

Check it out on Amazon now: American Spas AM-628TM 2-Person 28-Jet Triangle Spa, Tuscany Sun and Mahogany

Best large hot tubs for sale

There are lots of large spas & hot tubs for sale. You can easily find a 5 person hot tub and a 6 person hot tub. If you’re looking for a 7 person hot tub, and 8 person hot tub or even a 10 person hot tub, your options are more limited but it is still possible to find big hot tubs to suit large family groups. A huge hot tub would make a great centrepiece for your backyard if you have a large family.

Our top pick of the large hot tubs is the Home and Garden Spas 6 Person 90 Jet Spa with MP3 Auxiliary Output and Ozone Included

This is because it is a comfortable 6-seater hot tub that works for all the family. It has 90 jets plus a premium sound system. There’s little details like LED lit cup holders and it is a low energy.

– Large enough for all the family.
– Sturdy design and materials.
– Luxury extras like sound system and lights.
– The spa has a wooden, pressure treated frame that comes with a 10-year warranty.

– Speakers are on the inside of the tub which can case them to get wet and disturb the sound.

Check it out on Amazon now: Home and Garden Spas 6 Person 90 Jet Spa with MP3 Auxiliary Output and Ozone Included

Best energy efficient hot tubs

It’s important to consider buying an energy efficient hot tub. You want to be able to use it without it costing you a fortune or wasting energy.

Best luxury hot tubs

If money is no object, and you want to go all out, then start considering high end hot tubs. The most expensive hot tub isn’t necessarily the most luxurious, so make sure it includes the features you’re looking for such as colour changing lights, ergonomic seating, padded head rests and check they come with a good warranty.

kids in a hot tub