Pick up one of the best inflatable hot tubs and you can secure a slice of paradise in your backyard this summer. Choose from four-person models which are perfect for families, or even larger tubs with LED lights and headrests built-in to make your outdoor space a party hotspot. Plus, inflatable models have a (largely) stress-free installation process, as these tubs can be built and stored away again any time you like.
Beyond just entertaining, the best portable hot tubs are also excellent for providing pop-up hydrotherapy. Just as with the best hot tubs and the best swim spas, the soothing warm waters of these tubs can do wonders for those who suffer from aches and pains arising from conditions such as arthritis, and mimic the effect of jets in more expensive, permanent models. Many user reviews detail how tubs like these can be a good taster of whether you’ll enjoy tub life before you take the plunge with a more costly model.
When it comes to entertaining, many of the top-rated inflatable hot tubs have the party spirit built-in with LED color-changing lights to set the mood. Some even have the capacity for up to seven people, so you can float with your friends whenever you want. And don’t forget that you can even take these tubs on vacation or on your RV trips if you fancy - all you’ll need is a water and electricity supply to get set up.
1. Coleman Lay-Z-Spa 54131E: The best inflatable hot tub overall
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.
2. Intex PureSpa Portable Bubble Jet Spa Review: Best inflatable hot tub with built-in features
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.
3. Bestway Lay-Z-Spa Paris: Best inflatable hot tub for LED lighting
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 inflatable hot tub review.
4. Bestway SaluSpa Miami Airjet: Best inflatable hot tub for two to four people
The Bestway SaluSpa Miami Airjet inflatable hot tub is an affordable tub with nice features, the best of which being the ability to program a timer to change the temperature in advance. That means no more waiting around for your tub to get to optimum temperature; instead, enjoy slipping into the relaxing waters at the exact time you planned.
This model is definitely on the smaller side as inflatable hot tubs go, capable of fitting up to four people, though there’s bound to be more legroom if it’s just the two of you. That means that this is an affordable option for any families who want the tub experience without the hassle.
It’s also good to know that this model comes with a filtration system built-in to the multi-function pump, so that your skin won’t be irritated by anything nasty. It also works to help circulate chlorine, and keep your new oasis in excellent condition.
- Read our Bestway SaluSpa Miami Airjet inflatable hot tub review.
5. Bestway 54190E SaluSpa: Best inflatable hot tub for a touch of luxury
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.
6. Intex PureSpa Greywood Deluxe: Best inflatable hot tub for five to six people
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
7. Coleman SaluSpa Hawaii: Best square inflatable hot tub
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.
8. Intex 77 PureSpa Bubble 28403E: Best inflatable hot tub for value
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
9. Aleko 2-Person 130-Jet: Best two-person inflatable hot tub
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
How to choose the best inflatable hot tub for you
While buying an inflatable hot tub is less commitment than a permanently installed model, you’ll still want to be sure that you’ve picked exactly the right one for you, in order to get as much use out of it as possible. There are fundamental differences between portable and permanent hot tubs, and these are the key, distinctive things to think about when buying an inflatable tub in particular.
Inflatable hot tub spas have a little less range when it comes to capacity, as their nature means they must be able to be packed up with minimal effort. Still, there are tubs that can comfortably fit seven people, so even if you’re set on inviting friends over, or have a large family, then something on this end of the size scale will be ideal. Six-person inflatable hot tubs and four-person inflatable hot tubs tend to be popular, as they suit anyone who wants the flexibility of relaxing or entertaining.
Smaller inflatable hot tubs are best for anyone who wants a private place they can escape to unbothered, with two-person inflatable hot tubs still packing in enough legroom for both to be comfortable. Most inflatable hot tub manufacturers will list both the measurements of their model, as well as the recommendation for how many people it can fit within it. If you know you want more space to unwind in, then be sure to factor in a little extra room, perhaps with a capacity larger than the number of persons you need to accommodate to.
Can inflatable hot tub spas help with hydrotherapy?
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 slight 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.
Best inflatable hot tubs: The features to look out for
- A good number of jets
- Easy to use control panel
- Timer to set temperature in advance
- LED lights
- Add-in seats
Though less expensive than proper tubs, the best inflatable hot tubs still pack in great features and make for excellent garden additions. These features range from practical to aesthetic, so there’s something for whichever tub experience you want.
Being able to adjust and set the temperature and bubbles within your tub means no clambering in and out of the water, so look out for digital control panels which are intuitive and placed within good reach. Certain panels have tilt screens to make them more accessible, and if you struggle with smaller buttons, then opt for something where making changes is as easy as pressing on one larger interface.
A good addition to the best inflatable hot tubs is a timer. Being able to set your tub’s temperature in advance is a measure of convenience that will mean you can use your tub exactly when you want to, rather than waiting all day for it to heat up. It also means that if you’re going to be away from your house that you can make plans in advance, with no detriment to your leisure time. Top-rated tubs will have timers that can be set up to three days in advance, so consider one if you hate to be kept waiting.
If you’re planning on entertaining, then there are also some fun add-ons to get everyone in the party mood. Inflatable hot tubs with LED lights built-in mean that you can keep the party going well into the nighttime, while others opt for headrests so that you can lie back more comfortably. Floating drinks holders, whilst not a compulsory purchase, can also create a party vibe.
How much do inflatable hot tubs cost to run?
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.
What you should know before buying a hot tub?
Are inflatable hot tubs any good?
Investing in one of the best inflatable hot tubs is enticing for many different reasons, most of all their low initial cost and hassle-free installation. They’re also an excellent way to test-run the experience of having a tub altogether, meaning that anyone who’s thinking of buying a permanent model can assess if they’ll get enough use from it. But, you might still be wondering whether you should take the plunge, even if it is for a less expensive product.
The popularity of outdoor inflatable hot tubs, especially during the Coronavirus crisis, is telling as to how entertaining and fulfilling they can be. Spending more time at home needn’t be boring with an inflatable hot tub, as they create a zone in which the whole family can unwind, or have fun, with tubs usually having enough space for guests too.
Outdoor inflatable hot tubs are also good value in terms of maintenance, cleaning and storage. If you are using your inflatable tub as a test run for buying a hot tub, then 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 the real deal.
If you don’t fancy regular maintenance and would rather pack up your tub, then look for a model which has enough durability to bounce back after being stored away multiple times, and you should be able to have even less hassle with your tub.
One drawback is that inflatable hot tubs with seats are rare, if not impossible to find. 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 inflatable bottom of the tub, rather than actual seats available for sitting on.
As with capacity, the portable design of inflatable tubs means that seats, especially built-in ones, would not be capable of being packed away. However, if you’re set on it, then there are additional seats available to buy online, with manufacturers often having specific compatible seats.
Another benefit of inflatable hot tubs is how low effort they are to install. If you fancied, you could take an inflatable hot tub from a retailer such as Walmart, Home Depot or Lowe’s, and have it set up within your garden on the same day, with your water heating up nicely. There’s also a range of shapes to suit different tastes, such as square inflatable hot tubs so you can capitalize on extra legroom.
What makes a good inflatable hot tub?
The design of an inflatable hot tub is simple. It consists of an inflatable tub made of PVC or vinyl, as well as 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. Most of them can heat water up to comfortably hot temperatures overnight. Even though the basics are the same across the models listed here, there are some key factors to consider in your buying decision.
Layered vinyl or PVC is standard for inflatable hot tubs, but many models reinforce the walls of the tub 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 of the tub is just as important as the materials used to make it. Many manufacturers use a segmented inflatable design, reinforced with a vertical I-beam structure inside. These internal vinyl panels make for a sturdier tub, one that can support users leaning against it or even sitting directly on the outer wall of the spa.
Premium portable hot tubs add another level of stability and protection with interlocking panels that surround the inflatable tub. Made of waterproof composite materials, these panels provide a rigid wall that protects and insulates the hot tub.
All inflatable spas include a locking top cover for safety reasons. Some, however, 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 your portable spa and enhancing the experience, from chemical dispensers to inflatable seat cushions. Any hot tub you consider should include the basic filter cartridges necessary for use, if not an extra filter or two.
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. Other accessory manufacturers offer a ground mat to protect the bottom of the tub, built-in water softening, and built-in or attachable seat cushions and cup holders.
Best inflatable hot tubs: Maintenance tips
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 emphasis. 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.