As you have probably found out by now, hot tub pricing can vary widely from model to model. It may not make sense, especially when they all start looking the same. It's important to know that there are several factors affecting the final price of your dream spa.
What goes into the price of a hot tub?
The biggest factor in hot tub cost is the construction of the spa. There are essentially two material options out there: acrylic and rotomolded.
Acrylic spas are traditionally more expensive than rotomolded spas due in part to the nature of how they are made. Acrylic spas require more labor and higher material costs which means a more expensive spa for you.
Rotomolded hot tubs, on the other hand take much less time and labor to produce, resulting in a hot tub that is naturally more affordable. But don’t mistake the lower price tag to mean lower quality. Rotomolded hot tubs are extremely durable since they are made of polyethylene resin.
Watkins Manufacturing, the maker of Aquaterra Spas, is the world’s largest producer of hot tubs. In fact, our factory in Vista is ISO 9001:2008 certified, which means we manufacture our spas in accordance with one the strictest quality management systems around.
Energy Efficiency and Heat Retention
Since above ground hot tubs are designed to stay on 24/7, you will want a spa that is fully insulated to will keep the water hot all the time, with minimal energy consumption. Quality hot tubs will always have full-foam insulation. Be careful of spas that have their cabinets filled with bags of fluff – those won’t keep the spa insulated nearly as well as filling the entire body cavity with foam. And if you have poor insulation, your hot tub will have to continually heat the water, using more energy and increasing your electric bills. Aquaterra Spas use only full foam insulation and are certified to the strict guidelines set forth by the California Energy Commission for hot tub consumption (the strictest set of guidelines in the country)!
Heater versus Heat Recovery (Thermal Friction)
It seems odd, but some spas don’t have an actual heater. They use what’s called a "heat recovery" or "thermal friction heating system." This system heats the water by capturing energy from the pump and converting it to heat. The spa water will still get as hot, and stay as hot, as spas with a traditional heating units. The only difference is the base price of the hot tub. Hot tubs with thermal friction units will generally have a lower price tag than those with stainless steel heaters.
Does size matter?
Fire up the Jets!
This one is pretty simple: More jets equals a higher cost hot tub.
Items such as steps, cover lifters, and additional water care systems are usually not included in the base price of a spa, but they make a huge impact on the overall ease of use and enjoyment of a hot tub and are well worth the extra investment.
Placement is another thing to consider. Most acrylic spas weigh upwards of 500 lbs., so you may want to have some local movers place the hot tub for you once it arrives. Rotomolded spas, on the other hand, can weigh less than 300 lbs., and because of their durability, you can easily turn them on their side, put them on a furniture dolly and wheel it into your backyard on your own – potentially saving you hundreds of dollars.
So really, how much does a hot tub cost?
Depending on the construction, make and model, energy efficiency, jets, accessories, etc., hot tub costs can range anywhere from around $2,500 to roughly $20,000.