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7 Expert Tips To Choose A Hot Tub

Hot tubs are perfect to splash your way into an upgraded lifestyle! These luxurious outdoor gems will allow you to make the most of your summer afternoons and even of the coldest winter evenings: as long as you're immersed in their bubbling warm water, nothing's stopping you from enjoying a well-deserved drink under the stars!

Whether you're after one of these bad boys to de-stress after a long day at work, to enjoy a romantic evening with your partner or to organize a party that your closest friends will forever love you for, there are a few things that you should consider in order to choose a hot tub that matches your patio and needs.

Don't worry: we've got all the best and bubbliest tips for you!

What Should I Consider Before Choosing a Hot Tub?

This is a long-term investment that will last you for many years, so you'd better spend some time understanding exactly what you need before rushing into purchasing a stunning hot tub that doesn't really match your available space or budget (no, we're not just talking about the obvious price tag!).

  • Where are you going to place it?

    • Hot tubs are rather versatile when it comes to installing them, but you must keep in mind that, when full, they'll be incredibly heavy, so you need a solid surface that can sustain them (avoid placing a hot tub on soil or a lawn!);
    • Because you must drain and refill your hot tub periodically to ensure that the water is clean and promote its longevity, you should either place it near an existing drain or install one;
    • Measure that space to know exactly how much room you've got to play with; we recommend allowing around 1m clearance around your hot tub's edges to allow you to access it comfortably;
  • How many people do you want to fit in your hot tub?

    • As well as size, keep in mind that most hot tubs have specific seats; you must consider whether you only want it to be for the members of your household or if you'd like to have some extra room for regular guests;
    • hot tubs are usually square, but, if you're after a model for 2 or 3 persons, you'll be able to opt for more space-optimizing triangular models, or even longer dual tubs that allow you to lie down in them;
  • What is your budget?

    • This goes beyond the actual price tag! Hot tubs need to be maintained, so spending a bit more for higher-quality insulation that will help keep the water hot will probably save you a lot of money in the long run.

What Is the Best Kind of Hot Tub to Buy?

One of the first differences that you'll encounter when choosing hot tubs is that they can be made of various materials. This isn't just an aesthetic matter: some can be better suited for hydrotherapy, some might be better or worse at retaining heat, and, either way, the material will influence the cost of your hot tub.

Here's what you can choose from:

  • Acrylic: these hot tubs are strong, durable, scratch-resistant and specifically designed with hydrotherapy in mind. It won't come as a surprise that they're the most popular!
  • Vinyl: this is a more affordable option that could work better for you if you haven't got a lot of money to invest right now, but keep in mind that vinyl hot tubs aren't as well insulated and durable as acrylic ones, so they'll probably result in higher energy bills;
  • Rotomolded plastic: this is a much lighter, cheaper option and easier to install and maintain, which makes it relatively portable. While the fact that they aren't as aesthetically pleasing as other hot tubs can easily be overlooked depending on personal preference, do consider that they'll use more energy to heat up the water and that they aren't built to withstand particularly cold temperatures;
  • Wood: back in the good old days, this used to be the only type of hot tub that you could find, but they then got replaced by synthetic options. Wooden hot tubs are now much rarer, as they require more maintenance, aren't as well insulated as other materials, and aren't really built for hydrotherapy (you can sometimes find them with a limited number of jets); however they could be a better choice for you if you're after a natural, sustainable and beautiful alternative that complements the style of your patio and garden;
  • Inflatable: made of vinyl or PVC, these hot tubs are a budget-friendly alternative that could work for you if you're not ready for a permanent option, if you're only planning on using it during certain times of the year, if you're currently renting and aren't allowed to install one, or if you haven't got a lot of room in your garden or patio.

What Type of Hot Tub Filtration Should I Choose?

Are you ready to get into the nitty-gritty? When comparing and choosing hot tubs, you'll probably bump into these terms, so make sure you know which one would work best for you:

  • Standard filtration: this involves using the large jet pump to filter the water; it's usually the most affordable option, but could result in higher electricity bills since the jets have to run frequently for both heating and filtration;

  • Circular pump: this involves a smaller pump that runs 24/7 and circulates water through the main filters (hence the name); even though it's more expensive and always running, it actually uses less energy than standard filtration systems, so it will translate into cheaper maintenance costs;

  • No-bypass: this option is for those who want the best of the best! While traditional filtration allows only a small amount of water to go through the filter before going back into the hot tub through the jet, this system filters 100% of the water; that's why no-bypass filtration is the cleanest option.

How Many Jets Should a Hot Tub Have?

When thinking of the number of jets, keep in mind that more doesn't automatically mean more powerful! You should consider the number of jets in your future hot tub in relation to that of its pumps:

  • Hot tubs are still limited by their power supply: each of the pumps in a 4-pump hot tub will probably be less powerful than those in a 2-pump model; this means that having lots of jets powered by a 'weaker' pump will result in less powerful jets;
  • For the best result, look for hot tubs that stick to around 20-30 jets per pump.

What Type of Hot Tub Jets Should I Pick?

As well as the number of jets, you might want to look for a specific type:

  • Rotatory: very common, they are great at loosening your muscles in a rhythmical way and focusing on a more targeted massage;

  • Directional: these jets provide a consistent flow and are more customizable, as you can adjust their direction to better hit that sore spot on your body;

  • Moving: a higher-end but more deluxe option, these jets move up and down and are particularly impeccable at massaging your back.

Keep in mind that a hot tub can include a combination of two or three types of jets. To achieve a specific result, look at where they're placed and what part of your body they will reach.

Do Hot Tubs Really Need Covers? How Do I Choose One?

Yes, your hot tubs do need covers! Not only are they essential to protect the water from leaves, animals and debris, but they help keep it warm, lowering your energy bills.

  • Look for hot tub covers that are light-weight, energy-efficient and highly insulating, between 3 and 6 inches in thickness;
  • Go for a thicker cover if you live in an area that gets a lot of snow, as it will need to withstand its weight during the harshest winters;
  • If you have particularly curious young children, you might want to consider lock straps, too;
  • Some covers can be quite hard: if you think you'll struggle to move yours, make your life easier by purchasing a hot tub that comes with a cover lifter.

What Features Should I Look for in a Hot Tub?

Now that we've gone over all the basic and technical things that you should consider when choosing a hot tub, it's time to spoil yourself! Depending on your preference, needs and budget, one⁠---or more⁠---of these features could improve your hot tub experience even further:

  • LED lighting: are you mainly buying a hot tub to use it once the sun's gone down? LED lighting makes them even safer and more glamorous to enjoy in the dark;

  • Sound-system: ready to party with your friends in your brand-new hot tub? Looking forward to enjoying your favorite tunes while you destress on your own? Either way, connecting your smartphone or MP3 player to an integrated sound-system will upgrade your soaking time and avoid ruining it by accidentally dropping your phone into the water;

  • Waterfall: if you want your experience to be as soothing as possible, why not look for hot tubs that include a cascading option?

  • Ozonator: by converting oxygen into ozone and killing contaminants and bacteria, ozonators help keep the water clean using less chemical-based options such as chlorine;

  • Steps: if someone in your household is elderly, not too agile or you simply want to access your hot tub as effortlessly as possible, you should look for a model that includes steps.

Quick Tips

We know: you can almost hear the bubbling sound of your new hot tub! To be a hundred percent sure that you find the right one for you, though, let's quickly recap the most important things to consider when choosing a hot tub:

  • Find a solid surface that can sustain its weight and is near a drain, and measure that space to avoid unpleasant surprises: leave at least 1m around it to access it comfortably
  • Consider how many people (in your household or guests) you want to fit in it, and choose the most space-optimizing shape accordingly
  • When considering your budget, don't overlook the expenses associated with its maintenance: higher-quality insulation can help you lower them
  • Materials like vinyl or rotomolded plastic are cheaper, but not as durable and well insulated as more expensive acrylic hot tubs that will result in lower energy bills overtime; wooden hot tubs are less versatile and more expensive to maintain, but are the best natural and sustainable options; if you're not ready for such a big purchase, consider inflatable hot tubs instead
  • When it comes to filtration, circular pumps are a more expensive alternative to standard systems, but are more energy efficient; no-bypass filtration will give you the purest water;
  • Consider your jets in relation to your hot tub's pumps: for the most powerful results, look for models that have no more than 20-30 jets per pump
  • Choose among rhythmic rotatory, directional (consistent and customizable) and moving jets, or a combination of two or three of them
  • It's essential to choose a hot tub that comes with a cover or purchase one separately, as it avoids debris and hazards while helping keep the water hot
  • As well as the essential features, some hot tubs come with handy extras such as LED lighting, an integrated sound-system, a cascading waterfall, an ozonator or steps

Jessica started out as an interior photographer, but her love of pretty settings took her to the field of interior design, where she can combine two of her greatest passions, creating and then capturing the beauty of homes.