As the weather goes colder, you might be looking for ways of utilizing your backyard in the winter. That's where the best inflatable hot tubs come in.
These handy outdoor entertainment products mean you can relax in the comfort of your own home, and even host parties outdoors in the depths of winter. What could be more relaxing than a soak when you come home from work? Coupled with the best patio heaters (opens in new tab) and solar outdoor lights (opens in new tab), an inflatable hot tub can make your garden a magical place to unwind.
The number of inflatable hot tubs available to purchase is considerable - there is bound to be something for you whatever your needs, budget, or backyard size. We've reviewed a range of these products from big name brands to smaller retailers to help you make the right purchasing decision. If you're unsure where to start, we've also given you some factors to keep in mind when looking for an inflatable hot tub.
It goes without saying that your tub should be comfortable, easy to set up, easy to store, and come with a decent warranty. The more high-end models also have a range of convenient additional features, including multiple massage jets, a control panel, Bluetooth speakers, headrests, and more. Design might also come in to your decision making, as some brands provide models in a variety of shapes, colors, and sizes.
The best inflatable hot tubs(opens in new tab)
The Coleman SaluSpa Inflatable Hot Tub is one of the most popular inflatable hot tubs out there because of its affordability, quality construction and Coleman’s well-earned reputation for customer service. This is a big hot tub that holds up to 242 gallons of water and is big enough to hold four to six adults at a time, though that would be a squeeze.
The exterior comes with a vertical beam construction, so the tub shouldn’t lose its shape over time. A cushioned ground cover adds to the comfort of what is already a very relaxing tub. The ground mat, of course, also protects the tub from debris on the ground underneath as well as retaining the heat of the water.
You’ll have to think ahead to start heating the water a day before you want to use it, unless you keep it at a relatively warm temperature all the time, because it takes a while to heat. An included pressure gauge helps you avoid over-inflating, and an included tightening wrench is specially designed to tighten the valve setting to prevent leaking over time.
- Read our Coleman SaluSpa inflatable hot tub review (opens in new tab)
The Intex SimpleSpa 28481E Inflatable Hot Tub will give you a super relaxing and enjoyable spa-like experience in your own home or yard. It comes with an adjustable heating system to ensure the temperature of the water will stay at your optimal temperature.
Plus, when you purchase this stylish hot tub, you not only get the portable device, it comes with an energy-saving cover, insulated cover, inflation hose, carry bag, floating chlorine dispenser and two filter cartridges, which makes maintaining it easy. The energy-saving cover helps your inflatable hot tub to maintain its temperature. This means it saves energy and there is less time waiting around and more time relaxing.
However, at just over $1,200, this model comes with a high price tag. But, the good news is that Intex is a leading brand in the manufacture of in-ground and above-ground pools. So it’s a brand you can trust. Plus, there are a range of finance options available if you would prefer to spread the cost of the SimpleSpa 28481E over 24 months.
The Bestway Lay-Z-Spa Paris inflatable hot tub is an excellent choice if you want to set the mood with ambient lighting, thanks to its built-in LED lights. That makes it great for creating a party atmosphere and giving you a space where you can entertain yourself and your friends. Beyond the mood lighting, this inflatable hot tub also has a great number of jets, 104 of them in fact, to create a soothing effect.
In terms of design, this tub would be a stylish addition to a household thanks to its chic white exterior. It’s also reinforced with three layers of polyester and PVC. Another excellent feature is that this tub should retain heat thanks to its lids and air pad protector. That will be a saving grace for when you want to take a dip without having to wait hours for the tub to warm up.
- Read our Bestway Lay-Z-Spa Paris review (opens in new tab).
The Intex PureSpa Portable Bubble Jet Spa offers a solution to anyone who wants luxury features that they don’t have to bolt onto their purchase, with both comfort and fun in the inclusion of headrests and LED light. Hydrotherapy features haven’t been forgotten about either, with a bubble massage jet system so that you can soothe your worries away.
One downside to this tub is its small capacity, as it only has space for four persons, meaning that while it can fit a family, there’s not much scope for entertaining. However, it can hold a hefty 210 gallons of water, with user reviews consistently remarking on how comfortable it is to sit in.
The package included with the Intex PureSpa Portable Bubble Jet Spa is extensive, with cleaning materials and a cover and thermal ground cloth to keep your tub ticking along nicely. The walls of this tub are reinforced with an extensive number of beams within the FiberTech construction, so you can rest assured when it comes to quality too.
- Read our Intex PureSpa Portable Bubble Jet Spa review (opens in new tab)
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The luxury of the Bestway 54190E SaluSpa Inflatable Hot Tub can be seen across its massaging jets and hydrotherapy features, rapid heating system, and integrated water filtration system. And you’d be forgiven for assuming this tub is the real thing, with its ultra-stylish wood paneling design elevating the look of any backyard instantly.
If you love entertaining, then this inflatable hot tub would be an excellent choice given its seven seats, which means the whole family and guests can kick back and relax. This tub’s digital control panel is also excellent for ultimate ease of use, meaning you can set the temperature and control the jets at just the touch of a button.
Another massive bonus of the Bestway SaluSpa is that the control panel can be used to set the temperature up to 72 hours in advance. That means no waiting around for your water to heat up, and makes scheduled use ultra-easy. Having to wait around for your inflatable tub to be ready to use is a common complaint within user reviews, so if you want more control over the temperature, then this feature will be great for you.
- Read our Bestway 54190E SaluSpa Helsinki AirJet review (opens in new tab)
The Intex PureSpa Greywood Deluxe range is highly rated and offers both four-person and six-person inflatable hot tubs. It’s designed with a faux grey woodgrain exterior, with a hard-wearing 3-ply construction to ensure it stands up under heavy use. (The walls are reinforced with a number of beams.)
User reviews are largely very positive for this Intex PureSpa model, though a handful of existing customers do caution that it takes a while to warm up. Still, it’s widely held up as one of the best inflatable hot tubs for ease of use, and will comfortably fit five people - six persons if you’re happy to be sitting close to one another.
When you buy the Intex PureSpa Greywood Deluxe Six-Person tub, you also get a range of cleaning materials, plus a cover and a thermal ground cloth. All in all, this is a decent package, but it is one of the more expensive options in our inflatable hot tubs roundup.
- Read our Intex PureSpa Greywood Deluxe review (opens in new tab)
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While the Coleman 90454 SaluSpa Hawaii Square Inflatable Hot Tub is smaller in size than other inflatable hot tubs we looked at, its unique square shape offers extra seating space. It can comfortably seat a family of four, with room for stretching your legs out too.
This inflatable tub comes with an impressive 114 bubble jets and a cushioned floor. It has vertical interior vinyl panels to give it support and prevent sagging over time. It only weighs 73 pounds, making it quite portable before you inflate it compared to larger tubs.
When you buy this tub online, it comes with one pool liner, a pool cover, spa pump, chemical floater, and two filter cartridges. The digital control panel is within easy reach and the heater raises the temperature up to 104 degrees Fahrenheit. With a cord which is only 12 foot long, you may need to consider carefully the location you have in mind. However, its powerful jets and sturdy construction make the Coleman SaluSpa Hawaii a worthwhile investment.
- Read our Coleman 90454 SaluSpa Hawaii Airjet review (opens in new tab)
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The Intex 77 PureSpa Bubble 28403E has heavy-duty construction and a good selection of accessories at a very reasonable price. The Fiber-Tech construction combines reinforced laminated PVC with a layer of fibrous material. The tub holds 210 gallons of water and can support four adults at a time.
The thermal ground cloth this inflatable spa comes with protects the bottom of the tub while adding a layer of insulation. The fitted cover has child-protected safety locks and a foil lining to help retain heat. It has a combination pump and heater that circulates water first through a built-in water softener then a water filter. This is an uncommon feature for an inflatable hot tub.
Using the digital controls on the heater, you can set the temperature to anywhere between 68 and 104 degrees Fahrenheit. You also activate the 120 jets using the digital readout. The jets are powered by the same air pump you use to inflate the tub. An included air pressure gauge helps you inflate the tub to just the right level, and a specialized wrench is included to tighten the valve when needed.
- Read our Intex PureSpa 77 Bubble review (opens in new tab)
The Coleman SaluSpa Tahiti AirJet Inflatable Hot Tub is a brilliant portable investment, if you want optimal control over your tub all year round. That’s because the temperature of this device can be controlled up to 72 hours in advance.
The Coleman SaluSpa Tahiti also comes with battery-powered LED lighting that can alternate between 7 different colors for up to two hours. After this time, the LED lighting will automatically shut off by itself. The portable investment also comes crafted with a brilliant air jet system to help surround you and your guests with streams of bubbles and soothe achy and tired muscles.
The walls of the Coleman SaluSpa Tahiti AirJet Inflatable hot tub are made from Tritech – this means it has three heavy-duty layers of PVC and polyester to ensure its durable and weatherproof. To heat the water up to 104F, you do so by using the digital control panel, which also has built-in cup holders.
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The Aleko 2-Person 130-Jet Inflatable Hot Tub is designed to be a perfect escape for two people. Easy to set up, and complete with an inbuilt drink tray, it's easy to imagine kicking back in this tub without a care in the world. And its affordable price means that you can justify this little slice of relaxation, even if it is just for the two of you.
This two-person inflatable hot tub is also excellent for anyone who's tight on space and wants to still integrate hydrotherapy into their routine. Its cushioned floor creates a comfortable experience meaning you can sit back and relax while enjoying the 130 high-powered bubble jets. The underside of the cover also has a foil coating to keep water extra warm and to lock in heat.
The Aleko heats up to a maximum temperature of 108° and the digital panel controls temperature, bubble jets, and filter options. If you're dreaming of sipping on a beverage in a private tub in your backyard, then this could be the one for you.
How to choose the best inflatable hot tub for you
If you've decided to invest in an inflatable hot tub, the sheer amount of choice may be overwhelming. Below, we've outlined a few factors to consider when making your purchase, so you can be sure you spent your money wisely.
Obviously, prior to buying an inflatable hot tub, you're going to want to make sure it fits in the space you're intending for it. Inflatable hot tubs have the advantage of being deflatable and more easily stored, unlike their permanent counterparts. However, they still come in a range of sizes, from smaller 2-person ones to larger tubs. If you're intending on hosting larger parties and you have the yard size for it, you could invest in an 10-person tub!
Don't forget to consider where your hose and outlets are, as your inflatable hot tub will have to be plugged in to operate. Additionally, it could be worth noting how small you can get the tub to be once it's folded up, to ensure it fits in your garage for storage.
Shape and design
While the design choices aren't massively varied, you can still choose between a round, oval, square or rectangular inflatable hot tub. Rectangular ones are best for taller people or those who want more legroom. Some tub models come in a wide range of colors, styles, and designs. While you can get simple colored ones, you can also find luxury wood-paneled items or models with a fake stone exterior to blend into your decor.
Price and warranty
Last but not least, your budget will be a deciding factor in purchasing your inflatable hot tub. Prices vary widely between models, but the smaller ones tend to retail around $300, while premium and larger model will be closer to $1,000.
Apart from the upfront cost, there's also running costs to consider. Especially at a time when water and electricity costs are on the rise, it's important to take efficiency ratings and any maintenance costs into account.
A good warranty is also an indicator of both the quality of the product and the confidence a brand has in it. Most inflatable hot tubs tend to have a 1- to 5-year warranty that tends to be split into the motor, parts, and manufacture. As this purchase is quite a large investment, you'll want to make sure it's well guaranteed to ensure peace of mind.
Aside from the basics, some inflatable hot tubs come with a wide range of additional features to make your tub even better. While the exact options will vary depending on the model and brand, some extra features to consider in your desired model include:
• LED lights
• Add-in seats
• Water temperature timer
• LCD control panel
• Floating drinks holders
• Bluetooth speakers
• Multiple massage jets
• Integrated water filtration
• Child protection locks
• Decent maximum temperature
Best inflatable hot tubs FAQ
Do inflatable hot tub spas offer hydrotherapy?
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The advantages of hydrotherapy treatments within hot tubs is well known, and you may be wondering if the same soothing effects can be found within inflatable models too. While the good news is that inflatable tubs can mimic the experience of a real tub, with an interchangeable number of jets and warm temperatures, there is a difference in the intensity of the massage available.
Usually, rather than inflatable hot tubs with hydro jets, portable models tend to use air jets in order to create bubbles. The same high-pressure and high-flow jets used within hot tubs aren’t found in these more portable models, which keeps the price down and portability possible.
This compromise on the jets doesn’t mean that relaxation through hydrotherapy isn’t possible with an inflatable tub, as the warmth and the buoyancy of the water alone can help with stiffness and pain.
The number of jets will vary between each inflatable hot tub spa, so if the sound of more bubbles is especially appealing to you, look for over 100 jets within your new purchase, rather than a model which doesn’t prioritize that massaging feeling.
How much do inflatable hot tubs cost to run?
The cost of running an inflatable hot tub depends on a few major factors: electricity, water, filters, cleaning and chemicals. To a lesser degree, other factors will contribute to hot tub maintenance costs, like its size, where you set it up, how often you use it and how strict you are about cleaning it. Electricity costs vary by state, so running a hot tub may be less expensive in Louisiana residents than in Alaska or Hawaii.
In our research, we found that the average cost of running an inflatable hot tubs is $600 per year. If you purchase a larger hot tub and use it more often than three times a week, you’ll see a higher electricity bill among other costs.
The cost of buying an inflatable hot tub is another consideration. Our list of the best inflatable hot tubs features models costing between $300-$700, depending on their size and features.
Are inflatable hot tubs any good?
Investing in one of the best inflatable hot tubs is enticing for many reasons, most of all the low initial cost and hassle-free installation. Outdoor inflatable hot tubs are also good value in terms of maintenance, cleaning and storage. If you're using your inflatable tub as a test run for buying a proper hot tub, the process of cleaning and maintaining the pH levels of the water, as well as keeping unwanted debris out, is an excellent learning curve before owning the real deal.
One drawback is that inflatable hot tubs with seats are rare. Though manufacturers may advertise a model with a certain number of seats, this most likely means the number of persons that can sit on the bottom of the tub, rather than there being actual seats for sitting on. However, if you’re set on having seats, they can be bought online, with manufacturers often having specific compatible seats.
Inflatable hot tubs are made from PVC or vinyl, and come with an external combination pump and heater unit that controls both water temperature and jets. Inflatable hot tubs can generally be set up in 15 or 20 minutes and filled from a garden hose, and most can heat water up to comfortably hot temperatures overnight.
Layered vinyl or PVC is standard for inflatable hot tubs, but many models reinforce the walls with fabrics like polyester or nylon. This is usually indicated with a proprietary name: Intex calls its unique blend of materials Fiber-Tech, while Coleman uses the name Tri Tech 3 Layer Material for its mix of polyester mesh and layered PVC.
The design and structure is just as important. Many manufacturers use a segmented inflatable design, reinforced with a vertical I-beam structure inside. These internal vinyl panels make for a sturdier tub that can support users leaning against it or even sitting directly on the outer wall. Premium models add another level of stability and protection with interlocking panels that surround the inflatable tub. These also provide a rigid wall that protects and insulates the tub.
All inflatable spas include a locking top cover for safety reasons. Some also use the cover to insulate the tub and speed up the heating process. Some models include inflatable covers that fit into the top of the tub like a stopper in a bottle, while others use insulating materials like foam or foil lining to keep the heat inside. Regardless of insulation style, you’ll want a cover that’s more than a fitted piece of fabric.
There are all sorts of accessories available for maintaining and enjoying your portable spa, from chemical dispensers to inflatable cushions. If you plan to leave the tub filled for days or weeks at a time, you’ll also want one that includes chemicals like chlorine or bromine, along with the necessary dispenser and test strips to monitor the pH levels of the water.
How to care for an inflatable hot tub
With regular maintenance, you can keep your inflatable hot tub running optimally all year round and use it whenever you want. Inflatable hot tubs also require a cadre of accessories, tools and cleaning equipment to maintain. But if you invest in quality equipment and regularly clean your hot tub, it will last longer and develop fewer problems during its lifetime.
Empty and clean It
Cleaning instructions vary slightly from hot tub to hot tub. However, most need to be drained and physically cleaned on a fairly regular basis. This process isn’t too difficult, luckily – a sponge and some mild dish soap does the trick in most cases. Let the tub fully air dry after rinsing before filling it back up.
Test pH Levels
It’s critical that you regularly test the alkalinity of the water in your hot tub. The pH may change very little when you’re not using the tub and more sharply during times of frequent use, especially if more than one or two people use it. If the pH levels drop too low, the hot tub’s interior materials, or even the entire tub, could deteriorate.
Keep it covered
When there’s water in your hot tub and you’re not using it, keep it covered. This serves two purposes. First, it keeps out leaves, debris and animals so your inflatable hot tub stays clean. Second, the lid helps hold in heat. Although a cover won’t maintain the water at a temperature comfortable for soaking, keeping it as warm as possible shortens the time it takes to heat it up when you want to use it.
Just as you would with a standard pool, you should change your inflatable hot tub’s filter once a week or so to keep it clean and debris-free. Most models have a filter you can clean and reuse, though you may want to replace it if it’s old. Consult the user manual that came with your hot tub for filter replacement recommendations.
Add a sanitizing solution
This should seem obvious, but it bears emphasising. In addition to regularly draining and cleaning your hot tub and changing its filters, you should also sanitize it. You can add in a sanitizer before each use or on a less frequent yet regular basis if you don’t use it often.