|All content presented here and elsewhere is solely intended for informational purposes only. The reader is required to seek professional counsel before beginning any legal or financial endeavor.|
According to MarketWatch, the global hot tub market was valued at USD 1819.1 million in 2019 and is expected to reach USD 2213.1 million by the end of 2026. This isn’t all that surprising since hot tubs are a popular purchase amongst homeowners seeking both the health and entertainment benefits that hot tubs have to offer. But how much do hot tubs cost, anyway? And more specifically, what is the above-ground hot tub cost? Read on for what you need to know.
Highlights & Key Takeaways
- The price of an above-ground hot tub can be as low as $2,000 and as much as $20,000 or more for the unit itself
- When considering the cost of an above-ground hot tub, be sure to consider the costs for delivery and installation plus operating and maintenance costs.
- A pump malfunction is the most common reason hot tubs require repair. These repairs can cost $750 to $1,200 for the pump alone, not to mention the labor.
- There are many ways you can finance a hot tub and related investment. Be sure to shop around for the best terms and rates.
What’s the Average Cost for an Above-Ground Hot Tub?
Perhaps you have been dreaming of a hot tub so that you can take a dip at night to help relax before bed. Or, maybe you made a New Year’s resolution to take more time for some self-care. Or, maybe you just want something to help entertain guests and make your backyard barbecue a bit more fun. Whatever the reason you want to purchase a hot tub, you’re not alone, as hot tub ownership seems to be growing in popularity. But before you dive in, pun intended, just what are the average costs for residential above-ground spas?
Average Above-Ground Hot Tub Cost by Size
The prices for an above-ground hot tub will vary by size, which generally considers how many people will fit. A small hot tub will usually seat two to three people, with prices starting at $2,000. A large hot tub with room for ten or more can easily run as high, if not higher, than $20,000, depending on the bells and whistles that come with it. Here is a simplified way to look at average prices for a hot tub depending on the number of people it seats.
|Small (2 to 3 people)||$2,000|
|Medium (4 to 5 people)||$6,000|
|Large (6 to 7 people)||$11,000|
|Extra Large (10+ people)||$20,000|
Average Above-Ground Hot Tub Cost by Exterior Material
How a hot tub is made can also significantly impact the price. Above-ground hot tubs can be made from various materials such as synthetic wood, acrylic, fiberglass, rotomolded plastic, brick, faux stone, etc. However, acrylic is the most common material you will see a hot tub made out of. Acrylic shells are constructed from a single sheet of acrylic and are then reinforced by resin and fiberglass, creating a strong and supportive structure for the hot tub.
This all said, you can anticipate that your costs for an above-ground hot tub will look like this, based on the core materials used for the exterior.
|Synthetic wood||$2,000 to $9,000|
|Wood||$3,000 to $10,000|
|Brick||$5,000 to $12,000|
|Faux stone||$5,000 to $12,000|
Average Above-Ground Hot Tub Cost by Type
When deciding to purchase a hot tub for your patio or deck in the backyard, you also need to consider the type of hot tub you want. If you want something that isn’t permanent, an inflatable hot tub might be a great option and won’t cost you nearly as much as a jetted hot tub. Not only that, but inflatable hot tubs are lightweight and only require a standard 110-volt U.S. household socket. And remember, too, that the larger the hot tub gets, the more expensive it will be.
Here are some starting estimates for hot tub costs based on types.
|Inflatable||$300 to $2,000|
|Portable||$2,000 to $6,0000|
|Saltwater||$2,200 to $16,700|
|Hard-shell||$4,000 to $16,000|
Average Above-Ground Hot Tub Cost by Quality
The final thing to think about in the price of your hot tub alone is the quality that you are looking for. Perhaps you just want an entry-level unit. Or, maybe you plan to seek hot tub financing so that you can splurge on a luxury hot tub. Depending on the option you want, the pricing will vary greatly.
|Entry Level||$2,000 to $6,000|
|Value Priced||$4,000 to $8,000|
|Premium||$8,000 to $11,000|
|Luxury||$11,000 to $18,000|
Additional Factors that Affect Above-Ground Hot Tub Cost
When it comes to purchasing an above-ground hot tub, there are more things to consider than just the cost of the hot tub itself. This is where the price of your hot tub dream can be far more than you anticipated, especially if you didn’t do your homework.
Hot tub site location
The location of your hot tub can greatly impact the price of the overall project. If you want your hot tub inside, you’ll need to consider the following.
- What kind of flooring do you have or do you need? Since water will inevitably be splashed over the sides and you’ll be wet when you get out, carpet or slippery tiles aren’t the best options. We recommend ceramic tiling with an anti-slip or matte finish.
- Do you need to remove any doors or windows to get the hot tub inside the house?
- Do you have a drain in the floor? If not, you’ll need to seek a special plumber that can add a drain to the floor where the hot tub will be situated. Or, you will want your hot tub situated near an exterior door or window so that you can use a hose for cleaning, filling, and emptying the unit.
- Consider the electrical situation. Most full-size hot tubs are designed for 240 Volt electrical service and require a 40 to 60 Amp breaker. Most homeowners aren’t able to do the hardwiring independently and must hire a licensed electrician.
- How are you planning for the moisture that will fill the room? Your typical gypsum walls with paint or wallpaper aren’t best suited for the moisture a hot tub will bring. You may need a contractor to install greenboard, a type of water-resistant drywall that can better withstand humid environments. Greenboard costs between $14 and $18 a panel.
- Fans are a must when you have an indoor hot tub. Not only do fans help keep you cool, but they can also help dry the space if water splashes over the edge and can help keep the chemicals smells under control. Be sure to consider both exhaust fans and ceiling fans.
- Where there is a hot tub there must be chemicals of some kind to keep it clean and to prevent the growth of mold. Most consumers use either chlorine or bromine to keep their hot tubs clean. But, if your hot tub will be indoors, you may prefer an alternative such as biguanides, a saltwater generator, or an Ozonator.
Hot tub brand
When you buy tennis shoes, you know that certain brands cost more or less than others. The same holds true with hot tubs. So, be sure to consider the type of brand that you want, and look at consumer reviews to see what others have said about their experience with the product.
For example, if you want a luxury hot tub, brands and models such as the Luxema 8000 can easily cost $26,000. The Platinum Spa’s “Big Chief” will run you about $25,000 but has some unique bells and whistles such as illuminating lights, powerful jets, a waterfall, and a lounge area. Of course, there are more affordable options too such as those in this list from Better Homes & Gardens. As an example, you can purchase the LifeSmart Coronado (LS600DX) Hot Tub - 7 Person, 65-Jet, 220v Spa, Sea Salt/ Espresso Brown unit from Walmart for just $3,999.
Hot Tub Design and Shape
Hot tubs come in all types of shapes and sizes, with many designs. Most above-ground hot tubs are square or round in shape. But, depending on the space you have to work with, you might prefer a rectangular shape that has lounge seating or even a static swimming space. If you have a small space, a triangular-shaped hot tub that can be situated in a corner might be the better option. It all depends on what you are looking for.
Number and Type of Hot Tub Jets
Though not all hot tubs have jets, many consumers prefer them because of their relaxing and massage-effect qualities. Essentially, hot tub jets work by using the outside air to push our reused, hot water. Think of it this way:
- The water from your hot tub flows through a filtration system and then moves through a pump towards the opening of the jet
- Air valves inside the jet let in air from the outside which compresses the water and heats it
- The pump pushes that water back out of the jet
The number and type of jets can greatly influence the cost of the unit itself. Here are the types of jets that your hot tub might have.
- Massage jets
- River jets
- Volcano jets
- Adjustable jets
But you should know that the number of jets doesn’t necessarily mean better. Instead, compare the type of jet and placement to how you want to use the hot tub.
Voltage of the Hot Tub Unit
As we mentioned above, to operate your hot tub, you must ensure you have the appropriate electrical requirements in place. Most full-size hot tubs are designed for 240 Volt electrical service requiring a 40 to 60 Amp breaker. And, these systems must be professionally hardwired by a licensed electrician.
Hot Tub Heating Method
The goal of a hut tub is to have hot water, typically between 100°F and 102°F. Some users prefer a temperature of 104°F which is the standard maximum temperature, but the best temperature is generally personal preference. The actual temperature of the water in your hot tub is influenced by various factors, including:
- The condition of your hot tub’s hardware
- Whether or not you have the hot tub covered when it is not in use and the type of cover itself
- The ambient temperature surrounding the hot tub (if you are heating an outdoor hot tub in northern Minnesota in January, as an example, the hot tub will need to work a bit harder to maintain that 100°F temperature.
Hot tub owners should plan regular hot tub maintenance independently or by paying a local hot tub maintenance professional. These efforts will ensure that everything working at peak efficiency.
Features, Accessories, and Add-Ons
Today’s hot tubs are far more customizable than the hot tubs of years past. When planning for the full expense of your hot tub project, be sure to consider the following popular accessories and feature add-ons. Here are some typical accessory items and potential costs.
|Spa steps and handrails for safety and ease of access||$150.00+|
|Covers and mounts||$350 to $500 (will vary based on size and components)|
|Headrests and water-safe pillows||$50 to $200|
|Booster cushions for children||$48+|
|Spa lights||$15 to $300|
|Spa appropriate waterproof games||Varies|
|Spa soaks and therapies||Varies|
|Hot tub test strips||$12 to $20 per kit|
The geographical location of your hot tub will matter when it comes to the overall price to maintain it. For example, if you are living in a colder climate and the hot tub is outside, you’ll have higher energy costs to keep it at the ideal hot temperature. Further, installation costs will vary from region to region based on labor cost, where your home is located, etc.
For example, if you live in a remote area, you can anticipate an extra $.50 to $3.00 per mile just to deliver the hot tub itself. And, before you can take your delivery, you’ll need to ensure you have a space large enough for the hot tub plus any related equipment. You’ll also need a concrete pad for the hot tub to sit on. And, in a remote location, all of these costs can be far more than in a typical suburban setting.
Other Above-Ground Hot Tub Costs to Consider
We’ve discussed the average costs of hot tubs based on the size and materials used. We’ve also explored the costs for the many add-on features and accessories that you might need to make the hot tub exactly what you want it to be. But many consumers don’t properly research the costs to maintain their hot tub once it is set up. The truth is that a hot tub is not a set-it-and-forget-it type of item for your home.
Here are some general guidelines on what you can expect regarding the additional costs related to your hot tub.
Though you might want to install your hot tub itself, it is often a project best left for professionals. You’ll need a certified electrician to manage the electrical hookups, but you may also need a general contractor to level the ground, create the pad, move the hot tub, and get it accurately placed.
Once your hot tub is set up and in place, you will need to be for the ongoing operations. The average hot tub uses approximately 7.5 kW per hour. So, if you use your hot tub 30 hours a month, it would easily get to 300 kW for the month. Depending on how much you pay per kW, you should be prepared to spend an incremental $20 to $60 per month to operate it and keep the temperature where you want it.
Because of the very nature of how a hot tub works, your hot tub will require ongoing maintenance. And since water evaporates, one of the most common expenses will be the water to keep the hot tub full. Typically, you can anticipate losing about one inch of water per week. And, the average mid-sized hot tub holds about 400 gallons. As a result, be prepared to top off your hot tub about once per month. If your hot tub seems to be losing more than one inch of water per week, this could indicate a hidden leak.
To better understand how much the increased water will cost you, use a five-gallon bucket to refill your hot tub the first few times. You can determine how many gallons are needed each month that way and can thus predict the added expense. However, in addition to the costs to refill the hot tub every month, you should plan to completely empty and refill your hot tub every four to six months. Water costs vary by state, so if you live in West Virginia, California, or Oregon, for example, where the water prices are high, you can anticipate to pay much more than those who live in Vermont or Wisconsin where the water costs are the lowest in the country.
Finally, as it relates to maintenance, you will need to budget for the costs related to shock and chemical treatments. Budget about $20 to $30 per month for this expense.
According to Angie’s List, the average cost to repair a hot tub is around $348, though most repairs fall between $164 to $533. The most common reasons for a hot tub repair include:
- Leaking water
- Broken jet
- Heater malfunction
- Pump malfunction
- Circuit board malfunction
- Hot tub blower is not working
- Frame or cabinet damage
The most expensive repair for a hot tub is for the pump and these repairs can cost $750 to $1,200 for the pump alone, not to mention the labor. Most hot tub repair professionals charge between $75 to $125 per hour and the repair itself will take three to four hours over the course of two visits.
Insurance and Permits
Most cities and municipalities in the U.S. will require homeowners to maintain a permit to operate their hot tub, and most homeowner’s insurance policies will require that the hot tub is added as as line item. Your hot tub permit will typically cost under $300.
To keep your insurance premiums as low as possible and to keep family members (especially children and pets) safe, ensure that the hot tub cover has a lock. And, ensure your water heater and filter are properly secured.
Types of Financing Available for Hot Tubs
Though many homeowners choose to purchase their hot tubs with cash, more homeowners will seek out some sort of financing to pay for the unit itself plus the delivery and installation. Here are some of the main ways that you can finance your hot tub.
- Home equity loan - When done right, hot tubs can actually add value to your home. But this assumes your hot tub is high-quality and is properly maintained. For this reason, many homeowners will take out a home equity loan to pay for their hot tub and the associated costs. A home equity loan allows you to borrow money using the equity in your home as collateral.
- HELOC loan - HELOC stands for home equity line of credit and is a similar concept to a home equity loan. However, in this situation, your lender gives you a revolving line of credit based on the equity in your home. You can use this line of credit as you wish, including for investments such as a hot tub, swimming pool, etc.
- Credit cards - Though a credit card can be an expensive way to purchase a hot tub and all that comes with it, occasionally you might be privy to a special offer that makes it worth the time and expense. However, remember that if you use your credit card to purchase something sizeable like a hot tub, it can push your utilization over 30% and cause a dip in your credit score.
- Personal loans - Personal loans are an excellent way to seek hot tub financing. Be sure to shop around for the best rates and loan terms, and ensure the lenders you look at are flexible in how you use your loan funds.
How to Save on the Cost of an Above-Ground Hot Tub
Adding a hot tub at your home can provide so many benefits. Not only are they a great item to have when you are entertaining, but hot tubs are great places to relax at the end of a long day. Further, hot tubs can help aid in weight loss, aid in muscle relaxation, improve your cardiovascular health, and help you get a better night’s sleep.
But regardless of why you want a hot tub, you may want to take some steps to save money on the overall transaction. Here are some of the best ways to keep your hot tub investment costs as low as possible.
- Check with Various Hot Tub Dealers - Be sure to look at three or four different dealers before you decide on the one you want. Ask specifically about their delivery and installation programs, warranties, and any special features that their hot tubs might offer over the competition.
- Look for Off-Season Sales on Hot Tubs - Many homeowners get the best deals on their hot tubs during the end of the summer when dealers are trying to move the remaining inventory. Another great option is to check for special deals at your state fair. And don’t be afraid to negotiate a little, as many dealers will be desperately trying to get out with the old and in with the new.
- Get Multiple Quotes on Above-Ground Hot Tubs - Just as you should check with three or four different dealers, get multiple quotes too and compre everything from the features and benefits of one unit over the other to costs for installation and delivery. Different units come in different shapes and sizes, so it may cost more or less to deliver and install one unit versus another.
- Be Willing to Purchase a Small-Sized Hot Tub - Buying a hot tub is one of those exciting endeavors that many homeowners aspire for. It’s not uncommon for one spouse to say to the other, “I’ll use it every day,” to help seal the deal. And while many homeowners do indeed get their money’s worth with regular usage, hot tubs are one of those items that are exciting at first, and then the enthusiasm wears away. A great way to help you save money is to purchase a small-sized hot tub or an inflatable one at first. Then, assess how much you use it.
- Cut Back on Customized Hot Tub Features - When you order a custom hot tub from the dealer, it can be easy to say yes to all of the different add-on features. But before you know it, your hot tub can cost several hundred, if not several thousand dollars more than where you started out. Think carefully on whether or not you really need the built-in top-of-the-line stereo system or all the changing colors.
All in all, the average cost of a hot tub can range from $2,000 to $20,000, not including the costs for the delivery, installation, operations, and maintenance. Before purchasing a hot tub, be thoughtful on how you want to pay for it and how often you plan to use it. When it comes to a big expense such as a hot tub, bigger is not always better.