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Best hot tubs 2021

Best Hot Tubs 2021
(Image credit: Getty)

Soak yourself in luxury with one of the best hot tubs, which are perfect for creating a haven of relaxation in your backyard. Whether you want to entertain guests at the weekend or soothe your muscles after work, one of these hot tubs will be the perfect addition to your home. And with a selection of tubs from quality, reputable brands, you know that your new purchase will be sure to be around for many years to come. Unlike the best inflatable hot tubs, installing a permanent tub requires a little more thinking about size and location, with this guide helping to get you one step closer to relaxation. 

There’s a range of sizes to choose from with the best hot tubs, ranging from two to nine people. If you want to host your friends and family, then there’s plenty of space and features, including individual seat controls and built-in beverage coolers to keep the party going. Or if you want more of a private retreat, then a tub for two will not only initially cost less, but keep your energy bills down too. 

While the best hot tubs are great for getting the party started, their hydrotherapy features can also work wonders for those who suffer from aches and pains that arise from conditions such as arthritis. Additional jets and massage treatments can be found within this round-up for anyone looking to get a more targeted experience from their new tub. Whatever you want from your hot tub experience, most of the best hot tub brands go a long way with customization, so that you can feel truly relaxed whenever you like. For more outdoor products that specialize in hydrotherapy, check out our guide to the best swim spas.

The best hot tub brands

1. Sundance Spa: Best hot tubs overall 

Best hot tubs: Sundance Spa

(Image credit: Sundance Spas)

Sundance Spas Hot Tubs

The best hot tub brand overall, with premium features and plenty of choice

SPECIFICATIONS

Price range: Entry level - luxury | Sizes: 2-3 seats - 7-8 seats | Energy efficient models: Yes

Reasons to Buy

UV-C sanitation and water features
More color options

Reasons to Avoid

Mostly premium and luxury models
SmartTub subscription fee

Sundance Spas offers the best hot tub features, from standard built-in smart capabilities to its adjustable Fluidix jets. Though most of Sundance’s models fall in the premium and luxury price ranges, the brand does offer a good variety of spas
across the entry- and mid-level price ranges in small, medium and large tubs. 

Even the less expensive models come with multiple shell, cabinet and cover color options, as well as premium features such as UV-C water sanitation and waterfalls that many other companies charge as upgrades. 

All Sundance hot tubs are compatible with the SmartTub mobile app, though this requires a paid subscription after the first year - a bit of a bummer. 


2. Master Spas: Best hot tubs for value

Best hot tubs: Master Spas

(Image credit: Master Spas)

Master Spas Hot Tubs

The best hot tub company for people seeking a budget spa

SPECIFICATIONS

Price range: Entry level - luxury | Sizes: 2-8 seats | Energy efficient models: Yes

Reasons to Buy

Many entry and mid-priced hot tubs 
Unique bio-magnetic therapy
Made in U.S.

Reasons to Avoid

Few customization options

Made in the U.S., Master Spas’ hot tubs offer a good mix of unique standard features and desirable upgrades, especially in the entry-level and mid-level price ranges. The brand has 21 hot tub models, 13 of which fall into the entry-level and mid-level price ranges, and all of which are made in the US. 

These hot tubs span all sizes and represent four product lines: Clarity, Healthy living, Twilight, and the Michael Phelps Legend series. Master Spas offers several premium features standard in all models, including waterfalls and a unique bio-magnetic therapy system to relieve aches and pains. 

Master Spas also has the best hot tub upgrade options, including both UV-C and ozone sanitation options, a Wi-Fi module and Bluetooth audio. 


3. Jacuzzi: Best luxury hot tub company

Best hot tubs: Jacuzzi luxury hot tub company

(Image credit: Jacuzzi)

Jacuzzi Hot Tubs

If you're a fan of luxury living, Jacuzzi has the best hot tubs for you

SPECIFICATIONS

Price range: Budget to luxury | Sizes: 2-9 seats | Energy efficient models: Yes

Reasons to Buy

Iconic brand, with a great reputation
There are budget options, but it specializes in premium tubs
Find anything from two to nine seaters 

Reasons to Avoid

Limited customization options

Considered by many to be the most iconic hot tub brand, Jacuzzi has a range of 26 hot tubs to choose from. Despite its transparent pricing tiers, it is undeniable that you’ll find buying a Jacuzzi tub a lot easier if you have a larger budget. The brand has only two hot tubs in its most budget range, but five in the luxury range. The brand offers hot tubs in two seater models, but it goes up to nine seaters, which is the best option for those hoping to entertain friends and family in their new hot tub. 

Jacuzzi was founded to offer hydrotherapy for those suffering with arthritis, but these tubs also come with an attractive exterior and numerous color options. Although there’s no explicitly energy-saving hot tubs, Jacuzzi designs its tubs to preserve the heat from the motor and use this to warm the water. The jet system uses a mix of air and water to provide high-pressure massages, and the jet placement targets key muscles from your neck to your legs. 

The Jacuzzi warranty depends on the tub you buy, but they go up to ten years on the shell structure, and five years on the electrical system. It’s not the best we’ve seen, but this is a pretty standard industry coverage. 


4. Bullfrog Spa: Best hot tubs for massage

Best hot tubs: Bullfrog Spa

(Image credit: Bullfrog)

Bullfrog Spas Hot Tubs

A hot tub company that will give you the best massages

SPECIFICATIONS

Price range: Mid-range - luxury | Sizes: 2-8 seats | Energy efficient models: Yes

Reasons to Buy

 JetPak system with interchangeable jets 
18 types of massage therapy
Many customization options

Reasons to Avoid

No salt water or UV sanitation options

Bullfrog Spas’ unique JetPak Therapy System lets you customize your massage with 18 options that each target a different type of massage therapy. Though most hot tubs offer some degree of customization when it comes to color options and even upgradeable features, Bullfrog Spas lets you pick exactly what kind of jets and massage therapy to put in each seat in your new hot tub. 

The interchangeable JetPaks, available for most models of Bullfrog Spas hot tubs, give you 16 seat back options for each seat in your spa that require less tubing and are more energy efficient than many spas on the market. 

Though Bullfrog does sell hot tub models without the JetPak system, the interchangeable jets and customization options are really the big selling point of this brand. Aside from the pre-set models, Bullfrog also enables you to design your own completely custom spa. If you're feeling tense, stiff and sorely in need of a full body massage in water, these are the best hot tubs for you. 


5. Hot Springs: Best hot tubs for compact areas

Best hot tubs: Hot Springs hot tubs for compact areas

(Image credit: Hot Spring)

Hot Spring

A hot tub company that has some of the best hot tubs for small spaces

SPECIFICATIONS

Price range: Entry level - luxury | Sizes: 2-7 seats | Energy efficient models: Yes

Reasons to Buy

Five small hot tubs
Energy-efficient focus

Reasons to Avoid

Fewer shell color options
No UV-C sanitation option

Hot Spring has 20 hot tub models, five of which are built for two or three people. Most of the hot tub manufacturers we evaluated have only three models, so Hot Spring offers a better selection of small spas. Three of these spas are part of the brand’s Hot Spot collection, which fall into the value price range and have 10-17 jets. 

The other two are premium-priced spas from Hot Spring’s top tier Highlife collection and have 14 or 22 jets. Hot Spring also has 10 medium hot tubs and five large spas with various price ranges, all of which come equipped with energy-saving features and are certified by the California Energy Commission.


6. PDC Spas: Best hot tubs with a large capacity

Best hot tubs: PDC Spas large capacity hot tubs

(Image credit: PDC Spas)

PDC Spas Hot Tubs

This swim spa company also makes some great large capacity hot tubs

SPECIFICATIONS

Price range: Entry-level - luxury | Sizes: 2-7 seats | Energy efficient models: Yes

Reasons to Buy

Good variety of price points
Eight six-seven capacity hot tubs
Some great compact models, too

Reasons to Avoid

Not the largest range

PDC Spas has a great selection of hot tub and spa combos, but it also creates some of the best hot tubs with a large capacity that we have reviewed. There's 16 hot tubs in total. The company has two three-person hot tubs, and it has eight models which fit either six or seven people. Each of these hot tubs come with different features and star in a different range of PDC's hot tub series. 

There's three ranges of hot tubs to choose from. The LifeStyle Series is the most affordable of the group, with the Premium Series bridging the gap to the most premium Luxury Series. These tubs come with a 35-year warranty, but the LifeStyle hot tubs get a comparably weaker 10-year coverage. 


7. Marquis Spas: Best hot tubs with built-in features

Best hot tubs: The Marquis Spas logo in blue on a white background

(Image credit: Marquis Spas)

Marquis Spas

The hybrid ranges and updates will be sure to leave you impressed.

SPECIFICATIONS

Price range: Mid to luxury | Sizes: 2 seats to 7 seats | Energy efficient models: Yes

Reasons to Buy

Corner and circular models also available
Lots of luxury features packed in

Reasons to Avoid

No specific prices on the website
Expensive

Marquis Spas offer some seriously luxurious tubs, which not only look fantastic but have a range of hydrotherapy features, and are available in an extensive range of colors. Each tub from Marquis Spas comes with a free cover, and you can upgrade the models they have available even down to the finest details, from LED lighting to an amped-up audio system. 

The price range for these tubs begins at the mid-range, which means anyone on a tighter budget may struggle to keep costs down. They also have ranges, such as their Crown Collection, which are luxurious upgrades of previous collections, so you can really feel like a celebrity with your new outdoor purchase.

Marquis Spas tubs have energy efficiency in mind, with each of the specifications on their website letting you know exactly how much each will cost to run every month, so you can get your finances in order.


8. Cal Spas: Biggest range of hot tubs

Best hot tubs: Cal Spas

(Image credit: Cal Spa)

Cal Spas

A top-rated hot tub company with the biggest range of spas

SPECIFICATIONS

Price range: Entry level - luxury | Sizes: 2-7 seats | Energy efficient models: Yes

Reasons to Buy

51 models and multiple shell colors
Salt water, UV-C and ozone sanitation

Reasons to Avoid

Overwhelming options for features and models 
No pricing info

With so many options, the website is difficult to navigate, and Cal Spas does not have pricing guidelines for its products, which makes narrowing down your options without speaking to a dealer inconvenient. However, Cal Spas has the most hot tub models available across its six hot tub product lines. The manufacturer has 51 hot tub models and several color and upgrade options as well. 

Cal Spas is one of the only spa companies we evaluated with a salt water sanitation option, as well as UV-C and ozone options. This spa brand is a great option for different hot tub shapes as it offers oval and triangle spas in addition to the usual square options. All models are made in the US which makes any necessary repairs super convenient. 


9. ThermoSpas: Best hot tubs for customizable jets 

Best hot tubs: The ThermoSpas logo in deep blue

(Image credit: ThermoSpas)

ThermoSpas Hot Tubs

You can design your ThermoSpas hot tub to suit your hydrotherapy needs exactly, with hundreds of jets and contoured seats.

SPECIFICATIONS

Price range: Mid to luxury | Sizes: 2 seats to 7 seats | Energy efficient models: Yes

Reasons to Buy

Great warranties across their tubs
Around 70 jets per tub on average

Reasons to Avoid

No pricing information online
Limited range of tubs

ThermoSpas aim to give their customers a truly customized hot tub experience, with an emphasis on hydrotherapy that means that more jets than most other manufacturers are available. They also offer free onsite inspections and have a real push towards tailored customer service, so you’ll feel relaxed before you’ve even ordered your new tub.

They only have ten models available across their collections, which is quite sparse, but given that the tubs are highly customizable, the range of tubs you could potentially create is much wider.

They even have a feature that allows an individual within a hot tub to have total control over the jets in their seat, without impacting anyone else. If you’re intent on getting a customized hydrotherapy experience, then ThermoSpas might be the best hot tubs brand for you. 


10. Catalina Spas: Best hot tubs for customization

Best hot tubs: Catalina Spas

(Image credit: Catalina Spas)

Catalina Spas

Catalina Spas have plenty of options for jazzing up your hot tub

SPECIFICATIONS

Price range: Mid-range - luxury | Sizes: 3-8 seats | Energy Efficient models: Yes

Reasons to Buy

A large variety of features 
Models spread across two ranges 

Reasons to Avoid

No specific pricing info 
No option to change shell color 

Catalina Spas was established in 1978, and has a lucrative history of providing hot tubs and swim spas across the nation. They have two ranges of tubs available, with their more affordable Classic line containing six different hot tub models, alongside eight more Luxury tubs. 

This is quite a sparse selection compared to other leading hot tub brands, but there is an added bonus with Catalina Spas: each of these hot tubs have a standard set of features, even in the Classic collection, including stainless waterfalls, LED lighting and Bluetooth speakers. 

All of Catalina Spas’ hot tubs are made within the US, and they have plenty of cabinet color and tile options to choose from too, if you have a specific color palette or style in mind. For all the customization options you could ever want, Catalina Spas is worth checking out. 

 Read our full Catalina Spas review 


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How to choose the best hot tub for you

How to choose the best hot tub for you

Before buying a hot tub, there are some key considerations you need to make to ensure you choose the right one. It’s a subjective process - everyone’s space, taste and budget is different. Here are the key things to think about to make sure you buy the best hot tub for you… 

How big should a hot tub be?

Make sure you choose the right hot tub size by considering, firstly, how many people will be using it, and secondly, the space you have available. Small hot tubs will fit two-three people; larger hot tubs can fit eight or more. Most hot tub manufacturer’s websites list both the dimensions of each hot tub and how many people can sit comfortably within the tub, so you can be sure you're picking the right size. 

Hot tub therapy options

The number of jets in the tub, in addition to the placement and type of hydrotherapy the jets deliver are important features to think about when purchasing a hot tub. Hot tub manufacturers use different techniques to imitate a variety of massage types from deep tissue to light caress. 

Some use a combination of water and air, some use high-pressure and others use high-flow jets. If you want a full-body massage, look for a hot tub with lounge seats and leg or feet jets. Some spa models combine hydrotherapy and aromatherapy for a more relaxing experience. 

Best hot tubs: An image of a woman with brown hair soaking in a bubble-filled hot tub

(Image credit: Getty / iStock)

Hot tub build quality

When shopping, look into the materials used in the hot tub’s construction. Most hot tubs use an acrylic interior shell supported by a frame made of either treated wood or metal and surrounded by a wood or synthetic cabinet. As long as it isn’t exposed to elements, the frame should last the lifetime of your hot tub, no matter what it’s made of. 

Pay more attention to the hot tub’s insulation, as this directly affects operating costs. A poorly insulated spa costs more to heat because the heater has to run more to keep water at a set temperature, and overworking the components can lead to early malfunction. Getting a well-insulated hot tub is particularly important in locations that reach low temperatures. To this end, look for a full-foam insulated hot tub rather than a model with partial foam insulation or one that just uses a thermal wrap. 

How much do the best hot tubs cost?

Hot tub prices: How to get a rough idea

Do your homework. We’d recommend viewing a hot tub in person, if possible, to do a wet test. It is best to try the hot tub out before buying it, as the moulded seats are designed for an average size person and if you are on the smaller or taller size these seat can become uncomfortable. 

However, there are lots of features to consider when buying a hot tub, from seating style (do you want lounge-style seating, therapeutic seats or cool-down seats?) to jet type, the water filtration system (salt, ozone or UV-C?) and more. Try to choose an energy-efficient hot tub, too. Here are some areas to think about...


How much does a good hot tub cost?

The cost of a hot tub can be anywhere from $3,000 for a budget-priced tub to over $16,000 for a top-of-the-line spa with custom upgrades. Generally, inflatable hot tubs are the cheapest; above-ground hot tubs are more moderately priced; and in-the-ground hot tubs are the most expensive. 

Your budget will dictate which options are available to you, so first consider how much you have to spend on your new hot tub. Also, it's a good idea to research how much a certain hot tub might cost to run and maintain (and make sure you choose an option with a lifetime guarantee).  

Hot tub manufacturers rarely list the prices of hot tubs online because there are several factors that affect the price of each sale, including geography, dealer promotions and even the time of year. Of course, this also allows retailers to negotiate a higher price with people who don’t have good bartering skills. 

Best hot tubs: A woman and her two young children have fun in their new hot tub

(Image credit: Getty)

Many hot tub companies will categorize their selections into price ranges: budget, entry-level, mid-level, premium and luxury. However, some won't provide price guidelines unless you enquire. Bear in mind that the final price of your hot tub might differ significantly from the price of the tub itself, after you've included any upgrades or extras, installation and operating costs. 

Are hot tubs expensive to run? 

How much it costs to run a hot tub depends on your situation. Your running costs will depend on your energy supplier, where you live, and your hot tub of choice, as well as how often you plan on enjoying those gorgeously warm bubbles. Obviously, the bigger your tub, the more capacity it can hold, meaning the more energy it will use to heat the water. If you want to avoid hefty bills, take some time to consider exactly which size of hot tub is right for you, so you can prevent potentially unused space from racking up running costs unnecessarily.

Better insulation is the key to energy efficiency, so choose a reliable hot tub manufacturer who goes the extra mile with their materials to ensure heat stays inside. That includes insulation within your tub’s shell as well as the cover you choose for whenever it’s out of use. Another external factor that will affect your hot tub running costs is your location, as energy prices vary across states, as well as climates; in colder places, your hot tub will have to work extra hard to maintain a warm water temperature. 

Maintenance is an essential part of owning a hot tub, and the cost of cleaning materials is also worth factoring in when it comes to finances. Whilst some tubs have self-cleaning systems, others require traditional bottled chemicals to be added in on a regular basis, which in turn creates monthly expenses. If your hot tub dreams are dampened by the idea of regular cleaning, then self-cleaning systems may not cost too much more than buying products each month to keep your appliance in good shape and are worth investigating. 

What you should know before buying a hot tub

Plan where you want to put your hot tub

Where will you hot tub go? This will be a major factor in deciding which type of hot tube to get and the features you'll need, so plan the location of your hot tub carefully. If you are placing a hot tub outside, it is best to choose a model that holds heat well, so you’re not wasting energy by constantly reheating it. 

You might also want to consider the view, the distance from your house, and even how visible you will be to your neighbors. If you are placing your hot tub indoors, you might want to choose an area that is well ventilated so condensation doesn’t damage your home. 

Best hot tubs: Three women relax and drink champagne in a hot tub overlooking a lake

(Image credit: Getty)

Hot tub filtration and sanitation

The filtration and water sanitation systems in your hot tub keep the water sparking and clean. Spa models use different combinations of chemicals, filters, ozone and UV-C light to make sure your water stays clean. Most of the models we evaluated use multiple filters to remove dirt and small debris from the water. Many also offer ozone or UV-C sanitation options as standard installation or upgrades. These systems eliminate or neutralize bacteria as well. 

The best hot tub upgrades and extras to consider

When it comes to getting the hot tub of your dreams, upgrades and extras can make a real difference. So whilst jets and pumps are essential, there’s also a bunch of add-ons available to take your comfort to the next level. Unsurprisingly, one favorite among hot tub users is Bluetooth-connected speakers, because everyone wants to blast out their favorite tunes as they soak. 

That, plus LED mood lighting that you can change to create different types of ambience. These aesthetic features will definitely get your hot tub party off to a great start, and get your guests into the spirit of fun and relaxation.

If you like the convenience of controlling your appliances from your phone, then naturally the best hot tub for you is one with smart features. For example, luxury hot tubs often have touch screen controls so you can get your temperature and cleaning settings just right, as well as compatibility with your smartphone, so you can control your hot tub from wherever you are. If you don’t want to lift a finger when it comes to your tub, also look out for models with self-cleaning programs to make maintenance a breeze.

Waterfalls and water features are other additions that can add real pizzazz to your new hot tub, with the look and sound of running water adding a further element of peace and relaxation. And don’t forget about making space for snacks too, with cup holders and coolers available for those who like to keep both their food and beverages close to hand while relaxing in an outdoor tub.

Hot tub appearance

Most of the hot tubs we reviewed come in multiple shell and cabinet styles, with manufacturers offering more options for higher-tier product lines. Though not necessarily the most important aspect of your hot tub, appearance does play a role in the relaxing effects of your spa. Choosing a shell and UV-resistant cabinet in colors that blend in with your backyard creates a more laid-back setting, rather than an eye-sore. 

What’s the environmental impact of owning a hot tub? 

There’s no denying how the best hot tubs can quickly turn your backyard into a peaceful oasis, but the eco-minded among you might be wondering about the environmental effects of your new purchase on the planet. As with keeping running costs low, having a lesser environmental impact is all about good hot tub maintenance. The less frequently you need to drain and refill your tub the better, so keep a good routine when it comes to adding sanitizers and cleaning fluids, as they will keep your water in better condition for longer. The same goes for regular maintenance of your hot tub filter, which is the way to keep detritus out of your water.

Though some environmentally-minded folks may already have homes powered by solar panels, getting a new hot tub may inspire you to think about where your energy comes from and push you to invest in a more eco-friendly source. And as with expenses, well-performing insulation and appropriate sizing (ie, picking the best hot tub size for how many of you will regularly use it) can do wonders when it comes to not draining energy resources.

Proper handling of waste materials is another step you can take on a journey to having a more sustainable hot tub. Be sure not to empty any chlorinated/chemically altered water into clean water supplies, and recycle chemical-free water from your tub by using it to water your plants or to clean your decking. For the sake of the planet and your backyard, it’s also worth being cautious about disposing of hot tub water onto grass, as any chemically treated water may kill off your luscious lawn.