Best Inflatable Hot Tubs 2019: Perfect portable hot tubs to relax in
Having a hot tub at home may feel like the ultimate in decadence to a lot of people, but in reality, you can get a great inflatable hot tub right in your garden without it costing you a fortune. Best of all they are also portable hot tubs, so you can put them away when you’re not using them to save space or even take them with you when you move.
And you don’t need as much space as you might think to inject some hot tub luxury into your home. You can get a circular inflatable hot tub that measures just under six feet side-to-side. However, if space is not an issue, your options expand, as we’ve found affordable options that can fit up to six people.
The best inflatable hot tub we found is the Coleman SaluSpa Inflatable Hot Tub. This blow up hot tub is attractive and built for durability with a synthetic leather exterior, polyester-mesh-enforced PVC walls and vertical beams to prevent it from buckling and bending after repeated use. It has 120 bubble jets, can heat to 104 degrees Fahrenheit, and it can fit up to six adults.
Coleman SaluSpa Inflatable Hot Tub
The Coleman SaluSpa Inflatable Hot Tub is an affordable, well-constructed inflatable hot tub that holds up to six people and reaches temperatures of 104 degrees. Coleman has great customer support, but the warranty is shorter than some we’ve seen.
Intex 77 PureSpa Bubble 28403E
The Intex 77 PureSpa 28403E is made of durable materials and has a built-in water softener and nice accessories like a pressure gauge and extra filters, at an affordable price.
MSpa Alpine M-009LS
The MSpa Alpine Bubble Spa M-009LS is a square inflatable hot tub that can comfortably fit a decent-sized family. It is lightweight enough to be quite portable and it has several accessories, including one that makes drainage easier.
Coleman SaluSpa Inflatable Hot Tub
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 measures 6 feet 4 inches across and 28 inches deep. It holds up to 242 gallons of water and is big enough to hold four seated comfortably to six (with a bit of a squeeze) adults at a time.
The exterior is made of a bright green synthetic leather. It comes with a fitted top cover made of the same durable material that helps retain heat. Its vertical beam construction and vertical vinyl panels inside the tub offer plenty of support, 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.
The combination pump and heater come with digital controls and heat the tub up to 104 degrees Fahrenheit. With a heating rate of 2 degrees per hour, the water will need to heat overnight to reach its maximum temperature. 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. The pump’s air blower performs two functions: providing air to the tub’s 120 bubble jets and inflating the tub during setup. An included pressure gauge helps you avoid overinflating, and an included tightening wrench is specially designed to tighten the valve setting to prevent leaking over time.
Intex 77 PureSpa Bubble 28403E
The Intex 77 PureSpa Bubble 28403E is an affordable inflatable hot tub that fits nicely in most backyards and decks.
It 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 measures 77 inches across and 28 inches deep; it 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.
The tub comes with a carry bag for easy storage and portability. Other accessories include a package of three-way test strips (which test pH levels, alkalinity and free chlorine levels), a floating chlorine dispenser and two filter cartridges. Intex backs the PureSpa with a 12-month warranty, which includes both the tub and the combined pump and heater unit.
Best for Families
MSpa Alpine M-009LS
While the MSpa Alpine Bubble Spa M-009LS is roughly the same size as other inflatable hot tubs we looked at, its unique square shape offers extra seating space. It can comfortably seat a family of two adults and three children.
This tub is made of six-layer laminated PVC material called Rhino-Tech. It has vertical interior vinyl panels to give it support and prevent sagging over time. It comes with a carrying case and only weighs 66 pounds, making it quite portable before you inflate it.
The Alpine M-009LS’s combined pump and heater unit is built into the tub wall, unlike most inflatable hot tubs that have external heating systems. The digital control panel extends out from the side of the pool so it’s within easy reach. The heater raises the temperature up to 104 degrees Fahrenheit, but it raises the temperature 2 to 3 degrees per hour, so you’ll have to start heating the day before use.
As with other tubs, the integrated air blower doubles as an inflator and the power behind the 120 bubble jets. It comes with a pressure gauge to avoid over-inflation. It also comes with a protective ground mat that is just a little larger than the tub’s footprint, but it’s not cushioned as mats on other tubs are. This inflatable spa comes with two filter cartridges which attach to the inside of the tub. It also comes with a garden hose adapter for the drainage spout, making it easier to empty the tub.
The Alpine M-009LS has a fitted top cover with a foil lining to retain heat. The cover is secured with locking straps, but instead of being integrated into the tub, as some tubs are designed, it latched to the ground mat.
The Soho 4 Person Jet Bubble Spa comfortably holds four people while looking stylish in your backyard.
The inflatable hot tub can heat up to 104 degrees Fahrenheit, and you can adjust settings via the attached LCD touchscreen. The tub includes a cover that can help maintain the water’s temperature and keep it free from unwanted debris. The inflatable hot tub is easy to set up and doesn’t take long to inflate. The Soho spa is made primarily of vinyl, with fabric, PVC and PU leather. It ships with a one-year warranty.
Best for Small Spaces
The SaluSpa Realtree MAX-5 AirJet 4-Person Portable Spa is an affordable inflatable hot tub.
It’s designed to be easy to set up, and it comes with a cover, spa pump, chemical floater, repair patch and two filter cartridges. The Realtree design on the outside of the hot tub helps it blend in with your backyard, while the mosaic print inside makes it feel more like a traditional hot tub.
The MAX-5 measures 71 x 71 x 26 inches. Its interior floor is insulated and padded, while I-Beam construction provides sturdy support. There is a built-in water filtration system and an automatic start/stop timer, and you can adjust the hot tub via an LED display. The insulated cover helps regulate temperature and has a safety lock.
Why Trust Us
We have been reviewing inflatable hot tubs for more than four years, and have spent more than 40 hours finding the best blow up and portable hot tubs on the market and then did in-depth research to discover their stand-out features. We have contacted manufacturers with numerous questions to clarify issues and discover unique features. We also consulted with professionals and industry insiders to increase our expertise and get informed opinions about the best inflatable tubs out there.
If you're looking for something more permanent then check out our list of the Best Hot Tubs.
How We Researched Inflatable Hot Tubs
The first task in researching hot tubs was finding some of the best inflatable hot tubs on the market, through in-depth online research. We found a lineup of tubs we felt best served our readers and then compared them to discover which was the best overall and which tubs would be best for families. After extensive research we were able to write about them in a way that will help you find the tub that works best for you.
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 tub 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. Out list has great inflatable hot tubs that cost between $300-$700, depending on size and features.
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.
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With proper care and maintenance, an inflatable hot tub can last for months or even years. An inflatable spa is also much more affordable than a traditional in-ground hot tub or above-ground spa. Inflatable models cost thousands of dollars less while still giving you all the bubbles, jets and warmth you want.
Inflatable hot tub 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 & 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.
Change Filters. 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.