A hot tub is one of the best investments you can make in your personal wellness. It’s also an addition to your home that will provide a break from the chaos of the day. You might even find some unexpected, unforgettable moments with friends and family amongst the warm water and bubbles that will feed your soul.
With all that you know awaits you and your family, you might be wondering where to get started. There are so many details to take into consideration, like jet count, size, seating options, water care, aesthetics, power, not to mention price. It can be daunting to truly narrow down all the choices to the perfect spa. Let us help you out!
Here are the top 5 questions you should always ask yourself before buying a hot tub for your home.
- What type of power will you use? There are two options when it comes to hot tubs electrical configuration: 110-volt Plug-N-Play and 230-volt hardwiring, both have their benefits. It just depends on what you’re looking for in a soak, and in your overall hot tub ownership experience.
A 110v Plug-N-Play hot tub makes set up super simple. You can plug it into a standard outlet without any special wiring or electrician required. Plug it in, fill it up, and in 24 hours, your water will be toasty warm and ready to soak. Another benefit to a 110-volt hot tub is you can easily move the spa around your backyard or with you if you relocated, because there’s no hard wiring required.
Keep in mind, while a Plug-N-Play spa provides the same amount of power to the jets as a 230v configuration, you can only run the heat or jets on high at the same time meaning if you’re located in a colder climate you will see a few degree temperature drop during your soaks.
A 230v configuration does require the spa to be hardwired, which means you’ll want to contact an electrician for assistance. Once hooked up, your spa will heat up to your preferred temperature within 6-8 hours, so you can start soaking quicker. And, you can run the jets and heat on high at the same while you soak. A con to 230v is once you install it, unless you want to reconfigure your electrical again you typically leave it where it is.
- Are you a jets person or not? That might not seem like an obvious question to ask yourself when looking for a hot tub. Of course, you like jets, however not all jets are created equal.
If jets aren’t your thing, then you don’t need to worry too much about the type of jets available. If you are a jets person, keep an eye on how many jets each spa has and the type. Are the jets fixed or can you adjust the head to target specific muscles? Are there big jets or mini jets? Each one offers a different water flow. Another thing to mention, in a 110v hot tub high jet count is not necessarily better. Plug-N-Play hot tubs have one-pump whereas 230v have two meaning a 110v can only handle powering about 20 jets before the quality of the massage is sacrificed.
- Where are you going to put your spa? You’ll want to place your spa somewhere with easy access so that it’s convenient to hot tub whenever you want. For Plug-N-Play models it needs to be within 13’ of an outlet and, you’ll need roughly 18” of clearance around the spa for safe operation and access to the control box in case of service work. But one of the most important details to your spa placement is a solid, level foundation like a concrete pad, balcony, patio, or even a deck.
Once you’ve found the perfect spot, you also need to think through how much weight that spot can hold. Consider the weight of the spa filled with water and hot tubbers. Can your preferred location handle that much weight?
Lastly, how easily can you get the spa from the delivery truck to that final spot? Are there steps, gates, or tight walkways in your way? Any obstacles will add to the complexity of the delivery, which can add to your overall installation cost.
- Do you float in water or sink? This might seem like an odd question but hear us out. People naturally float or sink in water. Think about it. If you are trying to sit in a hot tub (or pool or bath), are you able to stay in a seated or lounge position? Or, do you float above the seat just a little bit? If you naturally float, you might not be terribly comfortable in a lounge seat because you won’t ever achieve that relaxed, reclined position. You might prefer a spa with open seats or captain-style bucket seats. If you are more of a “sinker,” and you want to lay back and let the water and jets envelope you, then you might prefer a spa with a lounge seat. It all comes down to personal preference. What will you enjoy most?
Don’t forget about your fellow hot tubbers and what they might want, too! Can’t decide? There are plenty of spa options that offer both lounge and open or bucket seats to offer a seat for every preference.
- How long do you want to own your hot tub? This might strike you as an odd question, too. If you’re investing your hard-earned money into something like a hot tub, you want to make sure it’s the best bang for your buck, built to last and perform the same in 10 years as it did on day 1. That makes sense, and you should seek out the quality you expect in your purchase. But there are some variables that you may want to take into consideration.
Are you new to hot tubbing and not entirely sure this is something you’ll use regularly enough to justify the purchase? If so, maybe you want to consider a rotomolded spa, made from polyethylene resin (durable plastic) so it is sturdy yet lightweight, reducing the amount of material and labor needed as compared to acrylic spas.
Those savings are passed on to the customer in the form of a less expensive spa that still offers the hot tubbing experience you expect with deep, jetted seats, features like LED lights and waterfalls, and full foam insulation to keep the water warm and ready for your next soak.
Rotomolded spas usually offer a 110v configuration so you can plug them in anywhere without the expense of an electrician or hardwiring. These are the perfect option for those just getting into a hot tubbing lifestyle.
Are you a hot tubbing expert who has been a regular soaker for as long as you can remember? Or, are you looking for a long-term solution to your hydrotherapy and self-care needs with all the bells and whistles on the market today?
There’s a hot tub for you, and it’s probably a 230v acrylic spa with 50+ jets, built-in music systems, and other fun add-ons.
Regardless of the spa you choose, always look for a strong warranty backed by a manufacturer who has been around and will be in business for as long as you intend to own your spa. History is the best indicator of future performance, so look for that reputable hot tub manufacturer who has been delivering high quality for many years. They are the ones who will be most likely to support your spa in the years to come, should you need service work.
- How much do you want to spend? You knew this question was coming, right? You can compare specs, research electricity costs in your hometown, and explore different retail options for buying your spa. In the end, you need to know what your budget is. The good news is that there is a spa for every budget. There are some simple decision points that will impact your cost, starting with electrical configuration.
110v Plug-N-Play can cost anywhere between $3,000 - $7,000 whereas 230v acrylic spas can cost $7K+. With a Plug-N-Play spa, you’ll save on upfront costs because you won’t need an electrician to install the hot tub, but you trade off using heat and jets on high at the same time.
Other costs to consider:
- Features like more jets, lights, music, Wi-Fi, and accessories can add to your purchase price.
- Curbside delivery means you will need to move your spa from your driveway to your backyard. You can usually move a spa with a furniture dolly and a few strong friends; however, if you have steps or obstacles along the way, it might not be worth your effort. Paying for white glove delivery entails a spa professional delivers, installs, and sets up your spa for you. It’s super convenient and everything is taken care of for you.
- Purchasing from an authorized hot tub retailer affords you a personal hot tub concierge to help you find the right spa for your needs and budget. They usually handle the white glove delivery and you can purchase your accessories, water care needs, and extended warranties from them directly. Purchasing from a big box retailer or online outlet is usually cheaper for a comparable product; however, it’s more DIY. You need to do your own research and purchasing, possibly source accessories and water care from another retailer, and you need to manage the installation yourself.
You’ve taken an important first step for yourself and your health. Kudos! Once you answer these top questions, you’ll be ready to embark upon your shopping trip.