Having a hot tub to enjoy a relaxing bath is a great luxury to have, yet a fairly expensive one if you’re thinking about installing a permanent hot tub. Inflatable hot tubs are an alternative solution that would give you the same experience for a much cheaper and affordable cost.
Before deciding to buy an inflatable hot tub, there are a few things you need to take into consideration. So, here is a guide about what you need to know before you make your decision as well as a review for our top picks for the best inflatable hot tubs.
Top Inflatable Hot Tubs
There are lots of good options when it comes to inflatable hot tubs that you can choose from depending on your budget and your needs. Here are some of the top picks to consider:
1. Coleman SaluSpa
This inflatable hot tub has a capacity of 4 to 6 persons. It weighs 85.9 lbs and its diameter is 77 inches wide when inflated. Its water capacity is 254 gal. (80%) and can hold up to 2,701 lbs when filled. The tub is built from a TriTech 3-ply reinforced polyester mesh core contained between two layers of PVC. It also has walls made using I-Beam construction to prevent bending and buckling. It can heat water up to 104 degrees.
The floor of the tub is padded with an air cushion to minimize heat loss through the base. The digital control panel of the tub is equipped with a start/stop timer to automatically turn off the heater when the desired temperature is reached. The power consumption is around 1.25 kW when the heater and pump are on. The tub has a bubble jets feature to create a relaxing massage.
- Automatic digital control heating system to keep the water temperature consistent
- Reinforced materials for durability and good walls constructions to keep it from collapsing
- Air pad cushioned floor for good insulation, heat retention and seating comfort
- Air jets with good massage feature
- Easy to drain through a bottom plug
- Turns off periodically
- Heater and jets can’t be turned on together
- Long heating time (24 hours to reach max temperature)
2. Bestway SaluSpa Miami
This tub can hold up to 4 persons. It is made from a TriTech 3-ply reinforced material with 2 PVC layers. The walls have I-Beam construction for extra strength and puncture resistance. It weighs 53.9 lbs, has a capacity of 177 gal. of water with a diameter of 71 inches and a height of 26 inches. It has 120 bubble jets to relieve sore muscles.
The tub features a rapid heating system capable of heating the water up to 104 degrees in a short amount of time. It also takes less than an hour to completely inflate it and just a few minutes to fill it with water. The filtration system is reliable and it comes with supplies like two filter cartridges and a chemical floater to keep the water clean and fresh. An inflatable cover is also provided to keep the water warm and protect it from dirt and debris when the tub is not in use.
- Small size and lightweight to fit in any place
- Easy to reach and use the digital control panel to turn up heat from within the tub
- The installation process is easy and fast
- Rapid heating system
- Low electricity consumption
- No extra features
- Doesn’t have spacious legroom
- Weak bubble massage jets
- Low cover quality, deteriorates when exposed to the sun
3. Bestway SaluSpa Siena AirJet Tub
The Siena AirJet tub is best fitted for use by 2 persons or if you want to use it alone. The elongated shape of the tub with an area of 98 x 58 inches makes it easy to comfortably stretch your whole body and be fully submerged in water. It has a Salu-Massage system with 120 all-surrounding bubble jets that combine heat and massaging jets together and can heat the water up to 104 degrees.
The tub weighs 78.9 lbs and can hold up to 2,100 lbs. It comes with a removable table that you can put drinks and plates on. It also comes with 2 filter cartridges, an inflatable cover, a chemical floater, and an air pad protector. There are also handles that help in getting in and out of the tub.
- The vertical boat-like shape makes it comfortable to fully stretch the body
- Contoured comfortable padded seating
- An efficient and quiet heater that maintains the water temperature
- Beverage table included
- More expensive than other options
- Higher electricity consumption
- Big size and vertical shape makes it harder to fit anywhere
- Takes a lot of time to heat the water
4. Bestway SaluSpa Palm Springs AirJet
This Palm Springs version of the SaluSpa tubs has a size of 77 x 28 inches when inflated and a water capacity of 242 gal. It has a circular shape that is spacious and has room for 6 people, comfortably able to fit 4 adults and 2 kids. It weighs 76.5 lbs, made from 3-ply reinforced materials, and has a luxurious leather texture that is puncture resistant. It is very easy to set up, use, and maintain.
The digital control panel features options to adjust the heating and massage systems and can be operated while sitting inside. The height of the tub makes it hold more water and can heat it up to 104 degrees. A filter cartridge and a chemical floater are included to keep the water clean.
- Sturdy high-quality materials make it last longer
- Luxurious circular design with soft walls and a leather texture
- Has more height to hold more water
- Easy to use digital control panel with intuitive heating and massage settings
- Short warranty period
- The pump makes a loud noise when operating
- Tight fit when holding 6 people
5. Bestway SaluSpa Paris AirJet
This tub is 77 x 26 inches in size when inflated, weighs 84.4 lbs. It has a water capacity of 250 gal. (80%) and can hold up to 2,687 lbs. It has a capacity of 4 to 6 persons. The tub is made from 3-ply materials with PVC layers and has a cushioned air pad floor as well as a built-in air chamber for more comfort and better insulation.
It features Bestway AirJet’s technology with 87 bubble jets for massaging and relaxation. The rapid heating system can heat the water up to 104 degrees with a rate of 2 to 3 degrees per hour. It also comes with an inflatable leatheroid cover with double safety lock clips. The unique feature of this tub is the LED light show that cycles through 7 colors and can be controlled through remote control. It adds a nice experience with a soothing effect.
- Affordable price
- Easy and fast set up
- Easy draining through a convenient drain valve
- LED light show with 7 colors
- Good heat retention and insulation with the cushioned floor and the built-in air chamber
- Not very durable
- Light could attract bugs
- Fewer bubble jets than other tubs
6. Bestway SaluSpa Hawaii HydroJet Pro
This tub is the only one on this list that comes with water jets in addition to the air jets. It has 8 adjustable hydrojets and 120 air jets that provide a superior massage experience comparable to that of regular tubs and spas due to the focused pressure of the water coming through the nozzles at high speed.
The tub is 71 x 28 inches in size, has a water capacity of 210 gal. (80%), and can hold up to 6 persons. It features a water filtration system as well as a built-in saltwater system which uses natural-form chlorine and eliminates the need to use chemical floaters to soften the water. It uses a rapid heating system with a rate of 2 to 3 degrees per hour and can reach 104 degrees. It also has a cushioned floor for better insulation, a drain valve and 2 handles for easy transportation. It comes with 2 filter cartridges, a chemical floater, a pressure gauge, and a leatheroid cover with double lock clips for safety and heat retention.
- Adjustable hydrojets provide better massage experience than air jets for pain and stress relief, don’t cool water and make less noise
- Versatile massage styles with the hydrojets as well as the air jets
- Built-in saltwater and hard water systems
- Sturdy 3-ply reinforced materials make it more durable with a built-in air chamber and the cushioned floor for better insulation
- Efficient and powerful pumping and heating systems
- The hydrojets and air jets can’t be used simultaneously
7. Intex 77in PureSpa Portable Bubble Massage Spa Set
This PureSpa tub is 77 inches in diameter and 28 inches in height. It weighs 87.2 lbs, has a seating capacity of 4 persons, and a water capacity of 210 gal. It has a Fiber-Tech construction made from high-strength 3-ply laminated polyester fibers including 48 fiber beams tech beams with an ergonomic design that is firm and does not stretch over time. The tub comes with a built-in hard water treatment system to make water gentler on the skin.
It also has a digital control panel to adjust temperature which could reach 104 degrees and to activate the 120 bubble jets around the interior of the tub. Additional supplies include an insulated cover and lock for safety and heat retention, a floating chlorine dispenser and a filter cartridge to keep water clean, a 3-way test strip to check the water quality, a ground cloth for insulation, and a carry bag for safe storage and transportation. The power consumption of the heater is around 1,300 W and has a heating rate of 2 to 3 degrees per hour.
- Built-in hard water treatment system helps keep the water clean and prevent limescale build-up
- Convenient inflation hose and easy water drainage using the built-in pump
- Fast heating rate with good insulation for heat retention
- Ergonomic design with good structural stability to prevent bending and collapsing
- Really cheap
- The pump makes loud noises
- Fewer bubble jets than other tubs
- Chemicals are not included
This tub also has a bigger model which is 85 inches wide with a seating capacity of 6 persons and a water capacity of 290 gal. It also has 140 bubble jets instead of 120. It is a better choice if you need the extra size, have more space, and can pay a little more.
8. Intex Pure Spa 6-Person
This Intex tub can hold up to 6 persons. It has an 85 inches diameter and a 28 inches height. It weighs 115.3 lbs and can hold up to 290 gal. of water. Its pump has a flow rate of 460 gallons per hour and can inflate or deflate the tub within 15 to 20 minutes. It has Fiber-Tech Construction with puncture resistant 3-ply laminated PVC and 48 fiber beams in the side walls to make it durable and sturdy.
The tub includes 170 bubble jets surrounding its base on the inside for effective massaging. It has a heater with 1,300 W power consumption able to heat the water up to 104 degrees with a rate of 1 to 2 degrees per hour. It also includes a 10 W hard water treatment system and a colored LED light. Extra supplies include two headrest pillows for added comfort, an insulated cover and lock, 2 filter cartridges and a chlorine dispenser, a 3-way test strip, a thermal ground cloth, an inflation hose, and a carry bag.
- Quick inflation and deflation rate through the included pump
- Has an extra number of bubble jets for better massaging
- The LED light gives a nice effect under the water
- Lots of supplies including the 2 headrest pillows
- Spacious and can comfortably hold 6 persons
- Slow heating rate
- Can’t be used in temperatures under 39 degrees
- Doesn’t include an automatic timer
- Maintenance accessories not included
9. Goplus 4-6 Person Outdoor Spa
The Goplus offers two options: a 4-person tub and a 6-person tub capacity. The small one weighs 50 lbs, is 71 inches in diameter and 26 inches in height, and has a water capacity of 210 gal. The large one weighs 57 lbs, is 82 x 26 inches in size, and can hold up to 264 gal. of water. It is made from PVC with foil material and the outer walls are made from fabric coated material and it comes with a thermal ground cloth to improve heat retention.
The tub is equipped with 130 high-powered bubble jets in a 360 all-around design with 600 W power for a relaxing massage experience. It also includes a hard water treatment system to prevent limescale build-up and keep water gentle. The heater power is 900 W and can heat water up to 104 degrees with a rate of 2 to 3 degrees per hour with its rapid heating system. The tub comes with a PU cover, an inflation hose, a filter cartridge, and a carry bag.
- Comes in 2 different sizes
- Lightweight and easy to transport with the grab handles
- Good bubble jets system providing a soothing and relieving massage
- Easy to use digital soft-touched control panel for the pump
- The large model can comfortably hold 6 persons without touching each other
- Energy inefficient
- Doesn’t include floating chemicals dispenser
- Filters need to be changed more often
It could be a little confusing to distinguish between the different terms and names used when talking about hot tubs, as you might also hear the words “Jacuzzi”, “Spa”, “Jetted Tub”, or “Whirlpool Tub”. Some of these terms are also used interchangeably sometimes, although they’re not exactly the same. So, let’s clear the confusion.
The term “spa” mainly originates from water treatment and hydrotherapy in natural hot springs which benefits from the minerals found in underground water to treat different illnesses. The modern term spa is used to describe hot tubs that are equipped with jets that mix air with the water in order to massage the muscles and provide relief from stress, a way to mimic the benefits of spa resorts at home but without the mineral salts naturally found in springs water. The spa usually has molded seats for individual persons with each seat having concentrated jets directed at it.
It could be constructed as a part of an in-ground swimming pool or separately in an indoor floor or an outdoor deck. This is a permanent spa that would require planning and installation as well as dedicated plumbing and electrical outlet. Otherwise, there are portable spas that need no special construction.
A hot tub is a large tub or a small pool with heated water. Like a spa, it could include jets and bubbles for massage and hydrotherapy. The difference is that in hot tubs, the jets are distributed all around the tub instead of being directed at specific places or persons and the tub will most probably have bench seating for several people instead of individual molded seats, although a lot of hot tubs have various ergonomic seating options.
The term “hot tub” usually refers to the portable one, which is a stand-alone tub combining all the parts needed together such as the pumps, heater, and filters. Hot tubs have several features and come in different materials and designs that we will discuss later.
Not to be confused with hot tub and spa, which are quite often referred to as “Jacuzzi”, it is actually the brand name of one of the first and most widely known manufacturers of hot tubs and jets used in bathtubs. They currently manufacture jetted tubs and hot tubs, but they’re not the only ones. So, unless you’re looking for that specific brand, it’s better to use the term hot tub instead.
A jetted tub is similar to the bathtub that you usually find in a master bath but it includes jets that are connected to a pump and an air blower. It might also include a heater to keep the water hot and you fill it like a normal bathtub. It differs from hot tubs and spas in the fact that you drain it after every use, which means it doesn’t need chemicals, a filter or a cover.
The same with Jacuzzi, “Whirlpool Tub” is the trade name of the jetted tubs manufactured by the brand Jacuzzi.
Why Use a Hot Tub?
Other than using them for entertainment purposes like parties, family and friends gathering, hot tubs have great health benefits and could positively impact your lifestyle.
- Stress Relief: The combination of hot water and the massage increases blood circulation and helps the body relax which relieves the stress and pressure on the body, gives pleasurable feelings, and enhances the mood.
- Improved Sleep: the relaxation and relief of body and mind tensions due to the hot water and the massage help prepare you for a good night sleep by calming both your mind and body
- Muscles and Joints Relaxation: Hot water massage is like regular massage, it reduces the pressure on the muscles and joints and helps relieve the soreness in them. The buoyancy effect for being in the hot tub lifts the weight of the body and relaxes the muscles and joints.
- Hydrotherapy: The previous benefits leading to the relaxation of the body, muscles, and joints also help in treating some ailments like shoulder blade pains, back pains, tail bone pains and other pains related to inflammation. Adding salts and other chemicals as well could increase the therapeutic effects of hot tubs.
Inflatable vs Non-Inflatable Tubs
Hot tubs come in two different types: inflatable hot tubs also known as soft-sided hot tubs, and non-inflatable or regular hot tubs also known as hard-sided hot tubs. While both parts are portable, they vary in features and each has pros and cons.
This type of tubs uses a pump to get filled with air. You can transport it wherever you want to, inflate it, fill it with water and the necessary chemicals, use it, and then deflate it to move it to another place or store it until you need it again. It usually comes with a built-in filtration system and the control unit is attached to the side but most probably has external pumping and heating systems, sometimes having only one mechanism that is used to both inflate the tub and heat the water.
- Portability and Durability: Being inflatable, they are built from materials that are not very durable, but due to the fact that they are easy to move around and people usually transport them a lot, manufacturers have improved their durability over the years by using sturdier materials that can resist being punctured to a good degree which extends their lifespan. Nevertheless, with the ease of portability, comes the downside of having to inflate, fill with water, drain, and deflate every time you want to move the tub to a new place, which consumes time, power, and water.
- Features: Inflatable tubs don’t come with a lot of the features that are available in hard tubs. They don’t have seats. They use air jets or air blowers at the bottom of the tub to create bubbles, but no customized jets for massage or hydrotherapy. They might include lights and are usually plug and play as they have fewer functions. In some occasions, you might find inflatable tubs that have more luxury features like the ones available in hard tubs and permanent tubs such as massage jets but for a higher price.
- Heating: Due to the power restrictions, the heaters used in these tubs are not as powerful as the ones in hard tubs which makes them slower to heat up and prevents them from reaching higher temperatures. They also can’t maintain heat very well as the materials they are built from are not very good insulators. This is why these tubs are not very suitable to be used outside during low temperatures.
- Price: The price of the inflatable tub being cheaper is lower than that of a standard-featured hard tub. Though, be aware that it might not be as efficient when it comes to the costs of electricity and water.
- Cheaper initial cost
- Easier to transport due to being inflatable and made from lightweight materials
- More comfortable feel because of the cushiony soft surface of the inflatable material
- Have no seats
- No massage jets for hydrotherapy, only air jets to create bubbles
- Fewer features
- Inefficient heating due to power restriction and non-insulant material
- Can’t be used in temperatures below 40 degrees Fahrenheit
Inflatable hot tubs are a good option if you want something affordable with a lower budget, need a temporary hot tub, will most probably use it inside the house, in higher temperature places or during high-temperature seasons, or if you don’t care about the extra features. They are the best choice if you’re tight on space and will store them away after use.
This tub is made from more hard materials. It has a hard base plate, side panels, a hard internal shell, and an outer enclosure. Contrary to the inflatable type, its pumps and heater are internally built-in. It also has a better filtration system. All the jets and features are also built-in so no need for plumbing but it requires the availability of a suitable power supply. It could be moved around, bolted to the ground or placed in a deck.
- Portability and Durability: Hard tubs are more durable as they are made from solid materials like metal or strong plastic, which eliminates the risk of punctures or any other damages that could occur during transportation and contributes to a long lifespan, but also makes them heavier and harder to transport. Some hard tubs must be moved as a whole which makes some places impossible to access, while others could be disassembled and moved as parts to be assembled again at the desired place. This is a good portability option but it requires more effort.
- Features: Hard tubs have more features than inflatable tubs. They have ergonomically designed seats with customizable jets with various styles that provide different massage techniques and could target specific body parts, which enhances the hydrotherapy process. Other extra features could also be included like light arrays, air blower system and speakers among others. The tub has a control panel to adjust all the features like choosing the power level of the jets and the massage style.
- Heating: Hard tubs are made from materials that have high heat retention and are insulated from the inside with foam and insulation layers. Combined with better heating systems, it means they reach high temperatures efficiently and could be used outdoors in cold temperatures as they are able to keep the water hot.
- Price: The initial price of a hot tub is higher than that of an inflatable tub and adding extra features would increase the price. The shipping cost is also most likely to be higher due to the heavier weight. On the other side, the running cost of electricity is lower as it’s more efficient and you probably won’t use as much water as in the case of an inflatable tub cause you won’t move the hard tub that often.
- Ergonomic seats
- More durable and will last longer due to the more solid materials
- Extra features and configurations for a better experience
- More efficient power consumption
- Better insulation and heating makes it usable even in cold temperatures
- Heavier weight makes it harder to transport, mostly needs more than one person
- Steps are needed to enter the tub
If you care about having extra features for a well-catered experience and you don’t mind paying the extra bucks, then a hard tub is a good choice. It is also better suited for outdoor use or if you have enough space indoors. It is better if you don’t plan on moving it that often.
How to Choose the Suitable Inflatable Tub for You?
In order to find the best inflatable hot tub for you, there are important features and specs you need to consider:
- Size and Seating Capacity: Inflatable hot tubs come in different shapes like round, rectangular, square, octagonal, and even a duck shaped tub is available. They also have different sizes that can hold from 150 up to 300 gallons of water. The seating capacity also differs from 2 persons up to 6 persons for the large tubs. The tub uses several pieces of equipment like a heater and a blower which take additional space but some models have them built within the structure of the tub to reduce space.
- Jets: The number of jets increases the massage quality but the type is also important. There are two types of jets:
- Air jets, which is the type most commonly found in inflatable tubs, use the same air blower that inflates the tub in order to create the bubble massage with a soft soothing feeling. It pumps air through a hose into holes distributed around the floor of the tub. Using air jets makes the tub cheaper but less efficient as the water cools faster and the blower tends to be noisy. They also often can’t be used at the same time as the heater.
- Water jets, which are rarely found in inflatable tubs, benefit from the use of a water pump to push water through a water piping system and create a strong more focused massage style that is good for relieving muscles and joints pain and soreness. It is less noisy, more versatile and adjustable but more expensive.
- Water Treatment Systems: These systems are really important as they help keep the water as well as the tub clean and sanitized. Common systems include filter cartridges and hard water systems that prevent limescale build-up to keep the water gentle on the skin and avoid blockage of the pump. Saltwater treatment systems are also used to maintain the pH level of the water within the safe range. Floating chemical dispensers are that contain sanitizing solutions and chemicals like chlorine are also used.
- Construction Materials: The construction materials not only determine the durability of the tub but also how comfortable it is and more importantly its insulation quality and ability to efficiently reduce heat loss. PVC and multi-layer materials are commonly used with outer coatings, non-slippery textures and cushioned air pads to achieve the goal of building sturdy yet comfortable and heat efficient tubs.
- Extra Features: Some fun features are also included sometimes like LED light arrays with different colors or hybrid tubs with a joint pool for children.
There are lots of good options, so it’s up to you to decide the best one for you depending on the features suitable for you. The SaluSpa Hawaii provides the best features and best massage experience as it’s the only model with hydrojets, but it’s also the most expensive. The Intex 77in PureSpa has the best value as it’s the cheapest one with very decent features and you can also buy the larger 85in model for just a little more money. The Coleman SaluSpa is the best all-rounder with a good price, high performance, and durability.
Finally, whichever tub you choose, remember to always maintain it to keep the water clean and safe. Wishing you a relaxing hot dip.
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