Inflatable hot tubs are designed to mimic a jacuzzi or a regular spa. They are made from PVC vinyl material internally and externally.
They are put into place via inflation. Once inflated, fill the tub with water and then turn on the heater to make the water hot.
Once the temperature of the water increases, you are free to get in and enjoy a relaxing soak any time of the day.
The water in the hot tub is circulated by a pump that creates air or water bubbles through jets.
Depending on your inflatable hot tub model, it could have a filtration system that helps keep the water clean and the jets free from clogging.
Inflatable hot tubs are a fair compromise to a permanent spa because they are easily portable.
So, you can put it out on your patio, backyard, deck, or balcony. It is an excellent investment if you already own one, but if you don't, there are a few things you should know about inflatable hot tubs before pulling out your checkbook.
Things To Know Before Owning An Inflatable Hot Tub
If you are new to the world of inflatable spas or hot tubs and you are about to purchase your first ever inflatable hot tub, don't just do it because your friends or family own one.
Take time to learn and get to know what you are getting yourself into.
For instance, you should know that inflatable hot tubs are also referred to as blow-up hot tubs, inflatable jacuzzis, inflatable spas, portable jacuzzis, portable spas, or portable hot tubs.
While they are all different names, they all serve the same purpose. Here are things that matter the most when getting an inflatable hot tub.
Whenever someone goes to buy accessories, they most likely already know the most prominent brands selling those products.
That is because the brand name does matter. Hence, where you choose to buy your inflatable spa will matter too.
The inflatable hot tub market has been taking off, especially during these trying times.
With the pandemic locking people in at home without the freedom to go on vacation, people need to find a way to bring the vacation to them. Inflatable spas bring the idea of relaxation closer to home.
With the demand growing, more companies are manufacturing inflatable hot tubs, which means that the quality, design, and value are compromised in some products.
Some companies will focus more on distributing hot tubs quickly and cheaply, which compromises quality.
Going for just any brand could cause you many headaches, regrets, and leave you stuck with inferior hot tub models.
We recommend going with trusted brands when you go shopping for a new hot tub.
Please note the companies that have invested their time and money in developing inflatable hot tubs for many years.
Such companies cannot compromise on quality because their reputation and business brand come from the trusted products they build. Consider companies such as:
- SaluSpa, formerly known as Lay-Z Spa
- Canadian Spa
The GoPlus company is relatively new, but has proven to be a trusted inflatable hot tub seller too.
You can find GoPlus hot tubs on Amazon and at Walmart; these are cheaper and more portable compared to other products.
Even though you are looking to buy an inflatable hot tub on a tight budget, these reputable companies also have brand options that can suit your preferred price.
Don't just settle for a product that will frustrate in order to save a few bucks. Think of buying an inflatable spa as a worthy investment and make a one-time good deal purchase, which brings us to the next point.
Yes, the price matters. The price of a product always matters, even to the richest man.
You can find inflatable tubs from a range of $300 to over $1,000. Models that cost below $500 are budget models for people working with a tight budget.
Those above $1,000 are luxury models, and those that fall in between are mid-range models.
You can buy an excellent cheap inflatable hot tub, but always make sure that they are put to a standard with a good massage and relaxation experience in mind.
If you can find an excellent inflatable spa within your range, you can make it last for years if you take care of it and maintain it regularly.
However, the mid-range and luxury models have unique features like leather-style skins, internal seats, robust massage systems, LED light color shows, among other accessories.
The price of the inflatable spa you are looking to buy should also be influenced by why you need an inflatable jacuzzi in the first place.
For instance, if you are looking for a hot tub to put in your backyard and enjoy with your family during summer, only to take it down and put it away later, then a budget hot tub will work just fine.
However, if you are looking for a more permanent hot tub that is elegantly designed, has an enclosure, or features an indoor room, then you need to aim for a mid-range or luxury model.
Dimensions And People Capacity
Despite the number of people the inflatable spa says it can fit on the box, that number is not always accurate.
We have seen customers complain that an inflatable hot tub that indicated a six-person capacity could only fit four or didn’t have enough leg space.
Most people don't realize that the number given on that box refers to the number of people who can sit side by side, close together in the tub.
The people's capacity on the box doesn't reasonably consider that people want to stretch out.
Enjoying a long hot massage in a spa requires space. The capacity of a hot tub depends on the outer dimensions as well as the inner dimensions.
These dimensions are also affected by the shape of the inflatable spa. Round spas don't have the exact same dimensions as square spas.
You should also check the depth of the hot tub if you want to sit and stretch out in the tub comfortably. The deeper the spa, the smaller the floor space because you don't need to stretch out so much to have your shoulders covered by the water.
The weight of the tub when empty and filled with water also matters. Remember that the water capacity of the hot tub is not the weight of the tub when it has water or people in it.
The tub's weight is influenced not only by the tub itself, but also by the motor unit and people in the tub. Hence, if you combine all that then the weight will triple.
This means that you cannot move it when you fill up the hot tub unless you drain all the water.
The weight of the hot tub also determines where you should set up the tub. The weight helps you decide whether to put it indoors or outside depending on how much weight either of these features can handle.
Inflatable hot tubs are relaxation tools, so you need to pay close attention to the type of massage system the spa uses.
Most inflatable hot spas have small circular holes at the bottom of the tub walls.
When the massage system is turned on, air blows through these holes to create an all-over massage.
We call this an air jet or bubble jet massage system. The strength of the massage system is what gives you a good deep muscle massage.
However, this also depends on how robust the massage motor unit is.
There has to be enough power for the air to blow via the holes, so the number of air jet holes should also complement the motor unit strength.
You can also opt for a hydro jet massage system, which is more vigorous and more relaxing.
Electricity And Safety
Inflatable hot spas are plus-and-play tubs. Most will run off 110-120 V, which means that they should be plugged into a socket to get them running.
So, while they may not require special tools, specialist wiring, or any specialist knowledge, please pay attention to what electric outlets they need.
We recommend setting up the inflatable jacuzzi at least 12 feet away from the outlet or socket for safety.
Water splashing into the socket could cause a short circuit or electrocution, both of which should be avoided. For this reason, you should avoid using extension cables with hot tubs too.
As the name suggests, setting up these hot tubs requires inflation, and the amount of time you need to set up the spa matters.
You don't need special tools or expert knowledge with inflatable spas since you can do it yourself.
All you need to do is lay out the tub, attach it to the motor unit, plug it into a socket, and then inflate the hot tub.
You should make sure that the tub is in the position you need it to be before you fill it with water.
It should take you roughly one hour to take the inflatable spa out of the box, set it up, fill it with water, and put it on the cover once you turn the water heater on. It will probably take longer if you are doing this for the first time, but it gets easier with time.
If you are getting it set up for the first time, we recommend referring to the manual or tutorial as much as you can until you get it set upright.
If you plan to use the hot spa consistently, you can leave it out and replace the water whenever it needs changing; if not, we recommend deflating it and storing it away until you need to use it again.
Accessories And Features
Inflatable tubs come with a range of quality accessories and basic features like a digital control panel, an insulated hot tub cover, a spare filter cartridge, an insulated ground mat, and a repair kit.
Some hot tubs have added features like an underwater LED light display, headrests, a drinks tray, digital locks, internal seats, and a floating thermal blanket.
While you need to assess your budget before purchasing an inflatable hot spa, you also need to think about how much money also goes into running the spa.
There are three areas that will affect the spa running costs: energy costs, water costs, and chemical costs. All these are essential in keeping your tub water hygienic and clean.
Filling an inflatable spa with water is not enough; the water needs to be hot, so you need to heat the water to a maximum of 104 degrees Fahrenheit or your desired temperature.
Achieving this for most inflatable hot tubs takes an average of 24 hours, sometimes more depending on how much water the tub can hold.
When the water heats up, you also need to run the massage system to have a massage.
You also need to run the motor unit to keep reheating the water as it cools down. All these tasks take energy, which costs money and translates to energy bills.
Inflatable hot tubs are designed to hold a lot of water. The most significant models have a water capacity of almost 300 gallons, while the small models can hold up to 184 gallons of water. Hence, to fill the inflatable spa to your satisfaction, you need to also consider the water costs.
The water costs should also factor in the draining, cleaning, and refilling of the tub. These costs should be taken into account if you want to save money and still own an inflatable jacuzzi.
You have to buy chemicals, such as chlorine and bromine, if you want to treat your tub water and keep it clean and safe.
Though these may seem like small costs, they are not expenses you can ignore because an untreated tub only causes problems.
9 Money-Saving Tips For Inflatable Tub Owners
The cost incurred by owning an inflatable hot tub may seem tiny at first, but with time you will notice that they are expenses you cannot ignore.
However, you can still save a couple of dollars and enjoy your inflatable jacuzzi. Here are some tips that will help:
1. Cover The Hot Tub
Heat rises, so you should always put a cover over your hot tub whenever you step out of the tub.
Keep the cover on unless you have to go back in. Leaving the hot tub uncovered causes the heat to rise and the temperature to lower.
Leaving the tub uncovered also makes the motor work double time in order to maintain the correct temperature, which affects your energy bills.
You should also make sure that the insulated cover is placed correctly and fastened down. Check any signs of wear and tear because holes also lead to the temperature lowering.
2. Leave The Motor Running
Aren't we trying to reduce energy costs? How can you do that if you leave the motor running?
If you regularly use the hot spa, it is better to leave the heater on because once you switch it off, the water temperature drops within 24 hours.
This means that you have to reheat the cold water in order to use it again and raise it to your desired temperature.
This makes the motor work even harder than if you leave it running to maintain the water temperature.
Therefore, though it may seem counteractive, leaving the motor running will help you avoid an increase in your energy bills.
However, this only applies to people who use the inflatable hot tub at least three times a week.
If you only use the tub once, then you will save more on energy bills if you switch it off.
3. Think Of The Target Temperature
The maximum temperature for most inflatable spas is 104 degrees Fahrenheit.
However, you can save so much energy and money if you set the temperature a notch lower to about 102 degrees Fahrenheit or less.
Doing this will save you money on starting up the hot tub and reheating the water when need be.
4. Insulate The Bottom
Though the heat rises, it also transfers to colder surfaces.
If you heat the tub to 104 degrees Fahrenheit but the ground beneath the tub is cold, the heat will transfer from the spa to the ground, causing the water to cool.
It’s best to prevent your tub from losing heat because it will only cost you money to keep reheating the water.
Find an insulated ground mat and put it under the hot tub before you start heating the water.
Not only will this keep you from losing heat, but it will also increase the tub's lifespan, as it will also protect the tub from rough surfaces too. This will save you more money in the long run.
5. Have A Windbreak Around The Tub
Placing your hot tub in a windy place will only increase your energy bills because the wind lowers the water temperature very fast.
When you sit in the hot tub and the wind blows, it blows to the surface, which then cools and evaporates the water.
This will require you to keep adding more water to replace the evaporated water, which only translates to using more energy to reheat the water.
Hence, find a windbreak to put around your tub.
You can either set it up near a wall, fence, or hedge to keep the wind from reaching the tub.
6. Fill The Tub With Hot Water
Instead of filling your inflatable spa with cold water and then heating the water, try filling the tub with hot water to save on energy costs.
However, before you do so, make sure to cover the tub's floor with a thin layer of cold water before you fill the tub with hot water.
Also, make sure that the water is not hotter than 104 degrees Fahrenheit to avoid damaging the liner.
You can also save on water costs by filling the tub to a minimum. This will also save on energy costs because your motor won’t need to use so much energy to heat the water.
7. Buy Chemicals In Bulk
After buying an inflatable spa, you also need to purchase chemicals. Like with a pool, tub water needs to be sanitized, maintain pH levels, shock the water when it turns cloudy or green, and more.
Buying these chemicals in bulk will save you a bit of the money you spend on chemicals because they will last a while.
8. Clean Your Tub Regularly
Keeping your hot tub water clean is dependent on keeping the tub itself clean. Cleaning the tub regularly also means that you won’t need to use lots of chemicals to fix unnecessary issues that are caused by unclean water.
It will reduce how many times you replace the water, saving you on water costs and chemical costs.
Keeping the hot spa clean lengthens its lifespan by limiting the number of repairs and replacements.
9. Keep Monitoring Bills
Even after enforcing these tips, you need to keep checking your energy, water, and chemical bills every month.
You should especially do this if you are a first-time inflatable spa owner.
We recommend checking how your bills were before installing a spa and continually monitor how the bills surge for the next six months.
This will allow you to see how much having an inflatable jacuzzi is costing you, and after assessing, you will be able to decide if you are okay with the new bill. From there, start acting according to any increases and keep saving money.
Owning an inflatable hot tub is a worthy investment, but it can come with added expenses you initially may not have accounted for. Luckily, you can still enjoy a relaxing massage session in your hot tub and still save or reduce your costs without breaking the bank.
These money-saving tips for hot tub owners will give you a loophole and help you find a balance between owning a hot tub and keeping your credit score high. Start saving money by following these tips.