With one of the best hot tubs you can feel blissfully relaxed after a long day at work, all within the comfort of your own home. There are many different shapes and sizes of tubs to choose from, so whether you want a private two-seater or a new social hub for the whole family, these top picks have got you covered. Unlike the best inflatable hot tubs, deciding on a permanent model requires a little more thinking, which is where this guide can step in to help.
Capacity should be your first consideration on your journey to securing one of the best hot tubs, according to how many people will regularly use the tub. Factor in whether you’d like to make space for guests and entertaining, or simply just give yourself a bit more legroom. Then you can start to think about any additional features to create the tub of your dreams, with built-in beverage coolers, LED lights, and speakers, all available to create a slice of paradise in your backyard.
Hydrotherapy is another central component of the best hot tubs experience. Those suffering from pain stemming from conditions such as arthritis will find that warm water and soothing jets can alleviate their aches, and massage them into comfort. That’s why many tubs have an emphasis on customizable jets to target any problem areas. For more specialized hydrotherapy products, check out our guide to the best swim spas.
The best hot tub brands
1. Sundance Spa: Best hot tubs overall
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.
- Read our Sundance Spas Hot Tubs review
2. Master Spas: Best hot tubs for value
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.
- Read our Master Spas Hot Tubs review
3. Jacuzzi: Best luxury hot tub company
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.
- Read our full Jacuzzi review
4. Bullfrog Spa: Best hot tubs for massage
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.
- Read our Bullfrog Spas Hot Tubs review
5. Hot Springs: Best hot tubs for two people or more
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.
- Read our Hot Spring Hot Tubs review
6. PDC Spas: Best hot tubs with a large capacity
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.
- Read our PDC Spas Review
7. Marquis Spas: Best hot tubs with built-in features
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.
- Read our Marquis Spas review
8. Cal Spas: Best hot tub company for the biggest range
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.
- Read our Cal Spas Hot Tubs review
9. ThermoSpas: Best hot tubs for customizable jets
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.
- Read our ThermoSpas review
10. Catalina Spas: Best hot tubs for customization
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
11. Intex Hot Tubs: Top-rated inflatable hot tubs for all budgets
Intex is one of the most popular inflatable hot tubs brands in America, and makes a range of superb tubs for couples and families. The cheapest Intex hot tub, the SimpleSpa Bubble Massage, has an MSRP of $824.99, while the flagship model, the PureSpa Jet and Bubble Deluxe Set, is priced $1,799.99.
Intex hot tubs are built to last longer than the average inflatable, and utilize tougher materials to help them withstand plenty of use outdoors - and in different climates too. You’ll find that Intex uses 3-ply puncture-resistant material on many of its hot tubs, and reinforces them with horizontal beams to ensure they don’t flop over if you rest against the sides or sit on them.
As for the bubbles, Intex is well known for its use of bubble jets, fitting its top-rated model, the PureSpa Jet and Bubble Deluxe Set, with 140 individual bubble jets. These work together to provide a relaxing water-based massage, and while they aren’t as powerful as the jets used on other models in our guide, for the money they’re effective at soothing aches and pains.
In short, if you don’t have the space or budget for one of the models made by the very best hot tub brands featured above, yet you want in on the soothing spa tub action, an Intex inflatable hot tub is a smart choice.
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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.
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.
Chlorine vs salt water hot tubs: Which type is right for you?
Spa water purification plays a vital role in the health of your hot tub, and whichever one you choose, it will need to be maintained, so it’s important to get to know the difference between these two types.
Chlorine has been used to keep hot tub water clean for decades, and helps to eliminate bacteria and other nasties from the water in your tub. Chlorine (a combination of oxygen and hydrogen in water) usually comes in a liquid or dissolvable solid form, and is effective at killing salmonella, bacteria, some viruses such as influenza, and E.coli.
Sounds good, right? Yes, but chlorine in hot tubs also has some drawbacks. Firstly, it smells. Secondly, while weak, hydrochlorous acid is still an acid so it can irritate your eyes and skin. It also needs a lot of upkeep, so you’ll have to test your chlorine level at least once a week, but far more if you use it regularly. You’ll also have to test the pH level of the water. Thankfully, many of the best hot tub brands package their tubs with water care kits, with full instructions included, making it easy for you.
Any hot tub can become a salt water hot tub if you add a salt chlorine generator. Salt water hot tubs have far less salt in them than seawater, and are regarded by some to be a more natural solution. Some salt water systems claim to clean and sanitize your hot tub water for up to a year, so you can soak and forget about that side of things.
The benefits of a salt water hot tub include increased water softness and buoyancy, and how it’s far gentler on your skin and eyes compared to chlorine. It doesn’t smell either, and it’s cheaper to run and maintain overall compared to a chlorine system.
However, there are some salt water hot tub disadvantages to note, and these include an initial higher cost on the saltwater system, and the higher risk of corrosion to any metal parts in your hot tub. The water temperature also needs to stay about 60℉ to work effectively when killing microorganisms, which could push up the cost of your energy bills.
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.
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.
Which hot tubs have the best warranty?
Investing in a hot tub for your home will bring boundless fun and relaxation into your home, but how can you feel reassured about your purchase for years to come? A sturdy warranty will give you peace of mind when it comes to your tub, and mean that there’s help on hand if you run into a range of issues.
In the top-rated brands we looked at, warranties can stretch from one year to 35 years and often, the type of warranty attached to a tub will depend on how high-end it is. For example, a luxury range of tubs within the PDC brand has a 35-year warranty to back it up, so that you can feel reassured when splashing the cash that there’s a hefty guarantee to back your purchase up. Other brands offer a blanket warranty on all of their models, such as ThermoSpas, which will provide cover for ten years after purchase.
Taking the plunge and installing a hot tub is a major financial decision, so it’s well worth factoring in a good warranty for your purchase. Be sure to look at the small print of any guarantee too and suss out whether it covers the shell, plumbing parts, or the whole model.
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.
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.
Are hot tubs safe?
Purchasing a hot tub will be sure to inject fun into your home, and given that they are maintained properly, they shouldn’t be a cause for concern when it comes to health. Keeping a routine of cleaning will prevent hot tubs from becoming a prime place for bacteria to grow. That includes checking the disinfectant level and adding chlorine at regular intervals, as well as keeping checks on the pH of the water. Your hot tub manufacturer should provide you with all the necessary information when it comes to cleaning, but if you’re ever in doubt when it comes to the cleanliness of your water, take precautions and don’t use it until the problem is remedied.
Aside from cleaning, there are practical things, such as showering before each use, that you can do to limit the bacteria entering the tub’s water. You should also never enter your tub if you have symptoms of infection or illness, and wait until you’ve been symptom-free for at least 48 hours until you do so.