Hello and welcome to this Ultimate Inflatable Hot Tub Buyer’s Guide. As you know, on this blog we normally cover building your own Hot Tubs but we also know that this is not an option for all our readers. So, in this post, we thought that we would look at the booming market for Inflatable Hot Tubs. In this post we will try and cover all the considerations that you should think about before you purchase an Inflatable Hot Tub.
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Hot Tubs, in their “traditional” form, even the ones that you build yourself are quite a financial investment. Whilst there are lots of interest free options to purchase traditional hot tubs, sometimes, it is just not possible.
You may not have the space. Like me, you may not have the access to get the tub where you need it. This if you remember was the exact reason that I build my own tub and wrote this blog. Or, you might not have a suitable property – you rent for example. Moving a “traditional” hot tub when you want to move house can also be an expense in itself. So, bring on the ever increasing popularity of Inflatable Hot Tubs.
First things first. You are in fact buying a little more than a paddling pool with bubbles! These inflatable hot tubs come with heaters and filtration systems so for all intent and purpose actually work in the same way as what I keep calling “traditional” hot tubs. before we look at the considerations in greater details, let’s cover the advantages of inflatable hot tubs.
What are the advantages of Inflatable Hot Tubs?
This has to be one of the biggest draws to Inflatable Hot Tubs is the cost. The price of entry can to the market can be as low a few hundred dollars (which is still a considerable amount of money, just a lot less than the “traditional” hot tubs which run into the thousands)
Being able to have the benefits of a hot tub at home for a fraction of the cost is a huge advantage to Inflatable Hot Tubs.
Inflatable Hot Tubs are much easier to move around than the “traditional” hard shell type. Once deflated, they roll up into a small package that can easily be moved from place to place. Ideal if as we mentioned before, you rent your home so don’t want any permanent or even semi permanent fixtures in the garden.
The heaters and filters are size of a regular cool box so perfect for those of us that want to have the flexibility to move around.
Indoors or Outdoors
Given the portable nature of this product, it also gives us the flexibility to have this product indoors or out. This flexibility could be ideal if you wanted to put this into a small summer house or even shed that you have in the garden already.
Whilst not impossible with “traditional” Hot Tubs, it certainly presents some challenges that Inflatable Hot Tubs do not.
Shut it Down and Pack It Away
Many Hot Tub users are seasonal and Inflatable Hot Tubs lend themselves very nicely to seasonal usage. When you are done, empty the tub, dry it and pack it away for the winter for example.
This is ideal to preserve and look after the tub when you are not using it rather than leaving it out in the elements all year round. Also saves money on filter cycles or chemical cleans when you bring a “traditional” Hot Tub back into service.
Things to consider when buying and Inflatable Hot Tub?
We’re now going to move onto probably the most important part of this article and it is the purchasing considerations for an Inflatable Hot Tub.
Size of your Inflatable Hot Tub?
How big should your Inflatable Hot Tub be? Clearly, this is going to be down to your own personal preference, space and budget. All I would like to say on this matter is that 4 people in a 4 person inflatable hot tub is a bit of a squeeze so go for the biggest one that you can!
Not only the physical size needs consideration, but the weight too. Water weighs a lot! The physical inflatable hot tub will not weigh too much at all but fill that with water and there will be some considerable weight to bare. Can the area where you are planning to put this take it? If you think that most “traditional” hot tubs are situated on a thick custom built concrete slab! Food for thought.
Forgive me if I am stating the obvious here but, the more powerful the heater, the faster the water will heat up but the more it will cost you to run.
Therefore, you need to balance speed versus efficiency. One of the downsides of inflatable hot tubs is that they do not have the same insulation that a “traditional” hot tub does so will loose more heat and need to be heater more.
This is similar to my point about the heater above. The more powerful the pump, the stronger the gets as the pump can move more water, but it will cost you more to run.
My advice on both these points is go for the largest that you budget permits.
Inflatable Hot Tubs do come in all shapes and sizes. Consider where this is going to go, what space you have available and go from there.
The cover is in integral part of the inflatable hot tub. It is the cover that will prevent most of the heat from escaping from the water and trap it in. Cheap thin cover, more expensive run costs as you will be heating the hot tub more.
With covers, go for the thickest and best quality that you can. More insulation will save you money in the long run.
More jets, more bubbles, better user experience. This is so true so again, if you have the option for more jets, then take it as you will for sure be happier in the long run.
What are the downsides to Inflatable Hot Tubs?
This would not be a balanced article if we didn’t cover the downsides to an Inflatable Hot Tub. There are not too many but there are a few things that you should think about, in the spirit of producing a balanced and fair article of course
As the filter and the pump are external parts to the Inflatable Hot Tub, there is the inevitable noise that you will hear from these parts, especially when the jets are on.
This should not be a deal breaker for you, it is just part and parcel of the way these products are designed and will certainly not dampen your enjoyment.
Lack of Seating
For some, the lack of seating may be an issue. Although remarkable comfortable to sit in, there is no formal seating in Inflatable Hot Tubs. Some may see that as an advantage, but I would have to say this is probably the one thing that would put me off an inflatable hot tub.
Due to the fact that all the inflatable Hot Tubs are plug and play (13A socket) that means you cannot have the heater running at the same time as the jets and pumps. This is not a huge issue and is something the crops up all the time on forums. That said, it will cool down quicker when you are in it as there is no heat going into the tub.
Also, I have heard that Inflatable Hot Tubs actually take longer to heat the water as the heaters that are supplied are lower capacity to those that you can find in “traditional” hot tubs.
Warranties that are supplied with Inflatable Hot Tubs tend to be a lot shorter than those of “traditional” Hot Tubs. Is this a problem? Well, I will leave that up to your own judgement. That said, given the cost is lower, one could argue that the ‘financial risk’ is lower so a long warranty is not needed.
Personally, I would be of that opinion. You are definitely going to want some kind of considerable warranty when you are spending a few thousand on a “traditional” tub.
Short Filter Life
The filters that you find in inflatable Hot Tubs are smaller than their traditional counterparts and as such, they dont last as long. That said, they are relatively inexpensive as you can see below. Check out the link to see what other options are available.
A Few examples of Inflatable Hot Tubs.
We’ve picked a couple of examples below that you can click on for more information. We have tried to look at both ends of the Inflatable Hot Tub price scale here.