Hot tubs are a fantastic way to improve your home and garden to be a sociable venue, hosting fun events on a long summer day and evening. Many people have installed them as a large garden feature with a bar, TV and music surrounding them to host friends and family a like.
However, the range and cost of hot tubs is not something to be taken lightly, with a large range of complexity to them in terms of both style, size, location, cost and maintenance.
In this lengthy guide we’ll run through the types of hot tub, which is best, running costs and the accessories you’ll need to make the most of your new corner of joy!
Types of Hot Tubs
There’s a few different and overlapping terms used in the industry, all of which do vary slightly. “Hot Tub” is the colloquial term used for most of the below, but they do differ slightly:
- Hot Tub – Quite simply, a tub (usually square or round) that contains heated water. They can be small for 2 people, or take up to 6 or 8 people. They usually contain a small amount of jets to circulate water, but not enough to be considered a Spa
- Jacuzzi – This is a brand term that relates to spa baths. Think “Hoover” vs “Vacuum cleaner”
- Spa Bath – These usually involve a little more luxury and will have jets to move water around aggressively and provide more of a relaxing / luxurious amount of bubbles. They are fixed installations with heated jet pools. However, some Hot Tubs also do this and there’s no real clear distinction and the terms are interchangeable.
Hot Tubs can be installed either as a fixed unit, sometimes with coverings or awnings to make them that big more cosy! Or more commonly (and cheaply) inflatable hot tubs are a great way to enjoy chilling with friends without needing to install a large tub.
So there’s a few main types of Hot Tub in terms of position:
- Fixed – Covered
- Fixed – Freestanding
- Mobile – Inflatable
Let’s look at each of these in detail, and the pros and cons
Fixed Hot Tub Gazebos
Covering your Hot Tub with a Gazebo is a fantastic way to make a feature in your garden, while also protecting and extending the life of your tub. It will keep a bit more heat in, reduce costs and make for a far improved experience.
While most covers are designed for fixed installations, there’s no reason why you can’t just cover an inflatable tub. Make sure there’s plenty of room for ventilation and movement around the tub for getting in and out though!
The Gazebos usually are purchased separately from the main tub giving you a huge amount of personalisation and choice in terms of style and size.
People have got pretty creative with their setups, adding speakers, lights and even full drinks bars!
See below for a gallery of inspiration and potential jealousy!
Some of the best websites to find these Gazebos on are:
- eBay – A huge selection but watch out for poor quality resellers or those without many reviews
- The Garden Furniture Center – They have some fantastic quality Gazebos with service to boot. A range of lighting and accessories is also available offering you the whole package
- Amazon – A surprising amount of choice of large ticket items are now on Amazon. We would advocate also looking at their waterproof speakers and similar items to finish off your Hot Tub Gazebo in style.
Recommended Hot Tub Gazebo Accessories
Inflatable Hot Tubs
The Cheapest hot tub are ones that are portable or inflatable. While they can lack some features of the larger tubs, they are thousands of pounds less and are a great value way of testing if a full installation will be properly used before committing to taking up garden space and a few grand!
Which inflatable hot tub is best?
There are a few brands which have built reputation and trust around. Lazy Spa are the most well reviewed and are usually also the cheapest, offering excellent value for money!
Intex are also a reputable brand, though a bit more expensive. Aldi released a Spa Pool with them a while ago which sold out insanely quickly.
MSPA are also well reviewed and offer similar price points to Lazy Spa.
Hot Tub Brands to Avoid.
Any hot tub that is unbranded, or essentially not Lay-Z-Spa, Intex or MSPA should be well researched before purchase. There are several established industry leaders that offer a good range of Hot Tubs at reasonable prices – go for these!
Best Hot Tub Accessories
Outside of the main purchase, there are going to be a lot of accessories you need to keep your Hot Tub in good condition and extend the life of the unit.
Regular maintenance such as replacing filters and topping up chemical mixtures are vital for safe operation.
However, you’ve probably bought a hot tub for a spot of luxury. So treat it as such! Lets go through some of the best accessories – both vital and luxury!
Hot Tub Filters
Filters are pretty vital – keeping all of the gunk, hair and other nasties out of your tub. Thankfully they’re also pretty cheap.
You should replace filters every 3 months or so if use is regular, but you can probably get away with every 6 months if only using occasionally.
Hot Tub Steps
Getting in and out can be a slippery business.
For the safety of all involved we highly recommend getting a set of steps to make getting in a bit more graceful. When purchasing make sure to check the height of steps so you’re not left with an awkward swing over.
Rattan furniture is popular due to it’s stylish looks but long durable nature. A rattan surround can make your inflatable hot tub look professional and far more expensive than it really is!
Hot Tub Chemicals
Hot Tub Maintenance
How long do hot Tubs last?
Hot tubs are not cheap to run, however investing in a quality, well built one to begin with will reduce costs further down the line.
The main influencing factor is the quality of insulation – more insulation, the less heat is required to get everything nice and warm. By spending a little more up front on a better quality, better insulated hot tub and going with a leading well known brand, you should be able to see costs reduce month to month.
Eagle Leisure and Lazy Spa both quote an average guestimate of £40 a month, or £10 a week to run a hot tub regularly.
Cheaper, poor quality hot tubs, or those that are second hand, can cost much more than this to run.
It’s important to take into account all of the accessories you may need too, such as chemicals, covers and filters mentioned above.
Thankfully, a good quality hot tub should last you quite a few years and reap the rewards in many pleasant summer (and winter!) evenings with friends. They’re much cheaper than attending the gym constantly, and spreading the cost over 5 or 10 years makes it seem much less bad.
Buying from a reputable brand such as Lazyspa ensures that you avoid the “buy cheap, pay twice” rule – where high running costs and maintenance issues means you could have saved hassle and just purchased a good quality tub in the first place.
How much to run a hot tub?
A hot tub should last between 5 years for the cheaper end of the market, all the way up to over 20 years for premium models. Sometimes they can even come with warranties that cover this period,
Inflatable hot tubs will have shorter life spans, but treated according to manufacturer’s guidelines will ensure many years of repeat use.