THINKING about upgrading your garden? Why not get a hot tub that you can kick back and relax in all year round.
The best hot tub doesn’t have to be expensive though, so we’ve rounded up a range of options to suit different budgets.
How much is a hot tub?
The price of hot tubs can vary enormously depending on what features you’re looking for.
On the bottom end of the scale you have inflatable options, which will come in at somewhere between £150 to £500.
For a basic hard shell hot tub, you’ll be looking at something upwards of £3,500.
And on the premium end of the scale, you might splash out as much as £20,000 or even more.
With that in mind, here are some of the hot tubs that might work for your budget.
Best hot tubs at a glance:
- Best budget-friendly hot tub: Lay-Z-Spa 60011 Vegas 4-6 person hot tub
- Best for families: Lay-Z-Spa Miami 2-4 person hot tub
- Best for small spaces: MSpa Nest inflatable 2 person hot tub
- Best large hot tub: Lay-Z-Spa St Moritz 7 person hot tub
- Best for design: MSpa Soho premium series P-SH069 6 person hot tub
- Best premium inflatable hot tub: MSpa Tuscany frame series F-TU061 6 person hot tub
- Best spa experience: Canadian Spa Company Calgary 4 person Plug & Play hot tub
- Best for parties: Jacuzzi J235 5-6 person hot tub
- Best luxury spa: Vortex IKON 6 person spa
Best budget-friendly hot tub: Lay-Z-Spa 60011 Vegas 4-6 person hot tub
- Lay-Z-Spa 60011 Vegas 4-6 person hot tub, £215.15 from Amazon – buy here
This budget-friendly inflatable hot tub is designed to be used year-round and can be set up without any additional tools.
It’s equipped with Freeze Shield technology and comes with an insulated protective cover.
And thanks to a scheduling function, you can set the heating on a timer so the water is always ready when you are.
Type: inflatable, Seats: 4-6 person, Capacity: 775L, Jets: 140 airjets, Dimensions: 196 x 61cm, Weight: 40.4kg
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Best for families: Lay-Z-Spa Miami 2-4 person hot tub
- Lay-Z-Spa Miami 2-4 person hot tub, £350.65 from Amazon – buy here
This compact hot tub will comfortably fit up to four people and can be used year round.
Assembly is easy – you don’t need any additional tools – and it can be fully inflated in about five minutes.
Once on, it’ll heat your water up to 40 degrees so you can just sit back and relax.
Type: inflatable, Seats: 2-4 person, Capacity: 669L, Jets: 120 airjets, Dimensions: 180 x 66 cm, Weight: 30.9kg
Best for small spaces: MSpa Nest inflatable 2 person hot tub
- MSpa Nest inflatable 2 person hot tub, £399.99 from The Range – buy here
Designed for couples, this bath-shaped hot tub is ideal for smaller spaces.
The tub is made from antibacterial material and it’s been fitted with a UVC sanitiser to keep your water clean.
You can control the bubbles using a remote control while the side table that comes with the tub means your drink is never far away.
Type: inflatable, Seats: 2 person, Capacity: 550L, Jets: 104 airjets, Dimensions: 186 x 68cm, Weight: 29kg
Best large hot tub: Lay-Z-Spa St Moritz 7 person hot tub
- Lay-Z-Spa St Moritz 7 person hot tub, £550 from Argos – buy here
Need a hot tub with plenty of capacity? Try this roomy 7 person one from Lay-Z-Spa.
Like other models from the brand, you can set it up without any additional tools and it’s ready to fill in about five minutes.
Once on, it’ll keep the waters at a balmy 40C and you can adjust the bubbles from the side control panel.
And thanks to the rattan design, it’ll match your garden furniture too.
Type: inflatable, Seats: 7 person, Capacity: 1,190L, Jets: 180 airjets, Dimensions: 216 x 71c,, Weight: 45kg
Best for design: MSpa Soho premium series P-SH069 6 person hot tub
- MSpa Soho P-SH069 6 person hot tub, £399.99 from MSpa – buy here
This premium inflatable hot tub is ideal for those looking for a modern design.
Unlike the usual round hot tubs, this one is in a cube shape with leather straps marking out the geometric pattern.
You can control the bubbles using a wired remote control, and it has a timer as well.
Type: inflatable, Seats: 6 person, Capacity: 930L, Jets: 132 airjets, Dimensions: 185 x 68cm, Weight: 35.5kg
Best premium inflatable hot tub: MSpa Tuscany frame series F-TU061 6 person hot tub
- MSpa Tuscany F-TU061 6 person hot tub, £1,499.99 from MSpa – buy here
This is an inflatable hot tub with the durability of a premium one.
It comes with wood-effect plastic panels that help protect and support the hot tub while the inflated interior ensures comfort.
As well as antibacterial material, the hot tub also has an in-built UVC sanitiser to reduce the need for chemicals.
Type: inflatable, Seats: 6 person, Capacity: 1,100L, Jets: 138 airjets, Dimensions: 193 x 73cm, Weight: 72kg
Best spa experience: Canadian Spa Company Calgary 4 person Plug & Play hot tub
- Canadian Spa Company Calgary 4 person hot tub, £6439.99 from Argos – buy here
Hard shell hot tubs are a pretty big investment but this option from the Canadian Spa Company has certainly got a lot going for it.
As well as 24 hydrojets providing spa therapy, the hot tub features a cascading waterfall that lights up at night.
Even better, there’s an aromatherapy feature that you can use to elevate your spa experience.
Type: hard shell, Seats: person, Capacity: 700L, Jets: 24 hydrojets, Dimensions: 213 x 160 x 79cm, Weight: 230kg
Best for parties: Jacuzzi J235 5-6 person hot tub
- Jacuzzi J235 5-6 person hot tub, £8,299 from Outdoor Living – buy here
Jacuzzis need no introduction and this is one of the most popular models around.
You can sit between five to six people inside or use it on your own – it has a full lounger.
As well as a waterfall feature and LED mood lighting, you also have the option of upgrading it to include a Bluetooth Stereo sound system.
Type: hard shell, Seats: 5-6 person, Capacity: 1,325L, Jets: 35 hydrojets, Dimensions: 214 x 90cm, Weight: 347kg
Best luxury spa: Vortex IKON 6 person spa
- Vortex IKON 6 person spa, £18,999 from Outdoor Living – buy here
Considered a spa pool, this option is perhaps the ultimate in at-home relaxation.
Designed to fit up to six people, the seating in this tub is moulded so you can sit in different positions for serious comfort.
Everything from the lighting and bubbles to water temperature can be adjusted via the in-built control panel or from your phone.
And thanks to in-built UVC treatment and water clarifying systems, there’s minimal maintenance required.
Type: hard shell, Seats: 6 person, Capacity: 1,159L, Jets: 18 hydrojets, Dimensions: 343 x 225 x 90cm, Weight: 430kg
What is the best hot tub?
The best hot tub will depend on your budget and what you’re looking for.
On the budget end, Lay-Z-Spa’s hot tubs are much more affordable and they’re easy to set up.
Plus, they have lots of different sizes available.
But if you’re looking for a permanent solution, Jacuzzis are always popular and they have lots of different sizes available too.
How much does it cost to run a hot tub?
Keeping a hot tub in good condition and running regularly can be expensive, especially with electricity prices going up.
You also have to factor in the cost of refilling it and all the cleaning materials.
In general, you might expect to spend around £800 to £1,075 a year on it according to recent estimates by WhatSpa?.
It’s worth bearing in mind that the cost will vary depending on things like how energy efficient your hot tub is, how well it’s insulated, how often you use it and how big it is.
And if you regularly use it in winter, costs may be even higher.
How long does a hot tub take to heat up?
This depends on how efficient your hot tub is, the amount of water inside, how hot you want it to be, and the temperatures of the water and the outside temperature.
In general, you can expect to wait at least three hours for your hot tub to come up to a good temperature but in some cases you may have to wait for as long as 24 hours so plan ahead if you’ve just refilled your hot tub.
What's the best thing to clean a hot tub with?
This depends on the type of hot tub you have.
For inflatable options, a non-abrasive sponge or a cloth with some mild soap should do the trick.
You can also give it a once-over with some white vinegar before rinsing it clean.
For permanent hot tubs, a few different products are recommended.
To keep the water sanitised at all times, chlorine or bromine is needed; chlorine is generally preferred as it’s kinder to the skin.
You can get these at places like Argos but make sure you pick up some testing strips as well so you can regularly check the pH of the tub water to make sure it’s good to go.
For the hot tub surface, a magic sponge or cloth and white vinegar should be enough to get any limescale and other grub off.
Some hot tub brands such as Jacuzzi also recommend getting special surface cleaners – such as this one – so check with your manufacturer as depending on the material your tub is made from, you might have to use different products.
You’ll also need to regularly “flush the lines” as the warm and moist environment is perfect for growing bacteria in the pipes.
Special chemicals are recommended for this as the formulation needs to be strong enough for a thorough clean without leaving a residue.
Pro-Kleen’s hot tub and whirlpool complete system flush cleaner is a popular choice for this.
How to empty a hot tub
Different hot tubs might have different instructions but assuming you have a standard hot tub, you’ll need to “flush the lines” to get rid of any bacteria build up in the pipes first.
This involves removing any filters and floating dispensers from your hot tub first and then turning the jets on full.
With the jets running, pour in your chosen cleaning solution and wait for it to completely run through the system.
This could take anywhere between 15 to 30 minutes.
After that, switch off the jets and the power to your hot tub.
Place an immersion pump at the bottom of your hot tub and allow the water to be pumped out to the nearest drain.
Then you’re ready to give your tub a good clean.
How to stop rain pooling on hot tub cover
A hot tub cover is essential for protecting your investment as it stops dust and debris from getting into your tub when it’s not in use.
But when it rains, water can pool on the surface and sometimes pull the cover down if it’s very heavy.
The easiest way to fix the problem is to store your hot tub somewhere sheltered so it doesn’t see a lot of rain.
But if your hot tub is fully outside, you can also reduce pooling by making sure the cover is taut before raising it slightly on one side.
This slight slope will help the rain drain away from the lower side.
How to increase alkalinity in hot tub
When you use your hot tub regularly, the pH of the water can drop – essentially the water becomes acidic, which can irritate your skin and corrode the pipes in your machine.
That’s why it’s important to regularly check the pH of your water with testing strips like these.
If the water is showing as too acidic, you can raise the pH by simply adding baking soda (rather than baking powder).
How much you need to add will depend on the size of your tub and the acidity of your water but in general you’ll need 1 tablespoons of baking soda per 100 gallon (450l) of water.
It might be a case of trial and error but you should be aiming for an alkalinity level of 80 to 120 ppm.
Can you go in a hot tub when pregnant?
There’s limited research around using a hot tub when pregnant but the NHS recommends avoiding them, especially during the early stages of pregnancy.
This is because there is a risk of dehydration, fainting or overheating while using them.
Enjoyed our roundup of the best hot tubs? Check out Sun Selects home for loads more great recommendations.
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