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If you’re thinking of buying a hot tub, you’ll have many options to choose from. With so many hot tub types available, it’s important to choose a hot tub that’s the right fit for your needs and your budget. Understanding the pros, cons, and price points of the different types of hot tubs can help to narrow down your search and save you some shopping time.
- Hot tub types include different sizes, designs, materials, and installation methods.
- Prices can vary widely, with some hot tubs costing $400 and others costing $25,000 and more.
- Identifying the key features and type of hot tub that you want can make it easier to shop for a hot tub.
19 of the Best Hot Tub Types for Your Home
These popular hot tub types offer in-demand design options and features. Whether you’re looking for a residential hot tub for your small family or a larger commercial model, these hot tubs might be the right fit for your needs.
1. Portable Hot Tub
Portable hot tubs can be easily relocated, so you can use them outdoors in good weather and bring them indoors when not in use. Though many are inflatable, some are simply made of heavy-duty tarp and can be packed away into a bag. Others feature soft foam sides that can be rolled through doorways, allowing you to store them and easily set them up again. Costs range from $400 to $1,000 or more.
- Versatile and easy to relocate
- More affordable than most other hot tub models
- Limited durability and lifespan
2. Inground Hot Tub
Inground hot tubs are often custom-built and fully customizable. They add a luxurious touch to a backyard or business, and are often much larger than your typical above-ground hot tub. You can often choose from different seating options, finishes, and designs to achieve a look that works well in your backyard. The installation process is much more involved than above-ground models, and costs for the hot tub and installation can range from $8,000 to $25,000.
- Fully customizable and can be very large
- Attractive and can fit the aesthetic of your backyard
- Can be very expensive to install
- Larger inground models draw more electricity than smaller more traditional models
3. Swim Spas With Hot Tub Features
Certain swim spas deliver a workout in a relatively compact area, but can also double as a hot tub when you’re ready to relax. These spas are often an ideal solution when you don’t have enough space to install a full-scale swimming pool, and they create a current for you to swim against. Spas that function as hot tubs are equipped with seating and jets. Expect to pay between $10,000 to $40,000 for a swim spa with hot tub features.
- Compact, space-saving design
- Enjoy a workout and the relaxation benefits of a hot tub
- More expensive than some more basic hot tub options
4. Rotationally Molded Hot Tub
Rotationally molded hot tubs, also called rotomolded hot tubs, are made of a single piece of plastic, and don’t contain the fiberglass or wood that’s often used in other tubs. As a result, they’re light, so they can be shipped to your home and you can move them occasionally if needed. Rotomolded hot tubs are usually above-ground models, though a few in-ground models exist. These hot tubs cost about $2,000 to $6,000.
- Lightweight and can be moved if needed
- Some people find them aesthetically unappealing
5. Wooden Hot Tub
Wooden hot tubs are constructed in a similar way that wooden barrels are made. They’re often built with redwood or cedar, and they’re heated with exterior stoves or heating systems. While the wood look can be appealing and unique, these hot tubs aren’t as durable as other models that use plastic or fiberglass. These wooden hot tubs cost approximately $2,000 to $8,000.
- Wooden hot tubs offer a distinctly rustic look
- Most wooden tubs are shipped as kits that you must assemble
- Less energy-efficient than traditional modern tubs
6. Inflatable Hot Tub
Inflatable hot tubs are blow-up tubs with soft sides. They’re easily portable and are easy to install. They include a pump, filter, and heater, and can be packed up and stored away when not in use. There is almost no site preparation required, and you can install inflatable hot tubs on flat surfaces like a yard or deck. Inflatable hot tubs cost $400 to $800.
- Easily portable
- Cushioned sides are comfortable
- Can be punctured
7. Acrylic Hot Tub
Acrylic hot tubs feature a shell that’s made of a single piece of acrylic, rather than vinyl or plastic. Acrylic is highly durable and offers excellent temperature retention, which can help to save you energy. Most acrylic hot tubs seat between two and seven people, and they cost $3,000 to $10,000.
- Temperature retention helps to reduce heating costs
- More expensive than vinyl or plastic hot tubs
- Highly durable
- Aesthetically pleasing
8. Fiberglass Hot Tub
Fiberglass hot tubs feature a shell made of fiberglass, a highly affordable material. Most of these hot tubs are designed for an inground installation, which can significantly increase the cost of your tub. These hot tubs can cost $3,000 to $10,000, plus the cost of installation.
- Fiberglass is lightweight and economically priced
- Fiberglass shells are less durable than acrylic shells
- Fiberglass may scratch and fade easily
9. Concrete Hot Tub
Concrete hot tubs are appealing because of their excellent durability. If you’re up for a project, you could build your own concrete tub yourself, or hire a contractor to oversee the project. Depending on the scale of the tub and whether you’re doing the installation yourself, costs can range from $3,000 to $10,000 or more.
- A custom build means you can custom design your hot tub
- Concrete is highly durable and long-lasting
- Suitable for aboveground and inground installations
10. Tile Hot Tub
Tile hot tubs are usually inground hot tubs that are custom built. You might choose a tile hot tub for your backyard, or you’ll often find them in commercial spaces, like resorts. Tiles add a distinctive, aesthetically pleasing look to a hot tub, and these hot tubs can cost $10,000 and up.
- Durability varies depending on tile type
- Tiles enhance a hot tub’s aesthetic appeal
- Tiled hot tubs tend to be larger, more expensive, and custom-built
11. Saltwater Hot Tub
Rather than rely on chemicals to clean and maintain the water, saltwater hot tubs use salt to keep the water soft and pure. The salt generates natural chlorine, making for less water maintenance. These hot tubs look just like traditional aboveground tubs and cost $6,000 to $18,000. Rather than buying a saltwater tub, you can convert an existing hot tub to saltwater using a kit for $500 to $1,500.
- Saltwater is more environmentally friendly than chlorine and chemicals
- Salt can be corrosive to metal components, so you’ll need to wipe down metal regularly to protect it
- Salt is gentler on bodies than chlorine, and your tub won’t have a strong chlorine smell
12. Waterfall Hot Tub
Waterfall hot tubs feature a waterfall feature that’s often about 24 inches long. The waterfall feature continuously creates a flowing aesthetic, adding to the relaxation of the hot tub. Some of these features also have lights to accentuate the waterfall. Waterfall hot tubs cost approximately $5,000 to $10,00.
- Waterfall features can be aesthetically appealing and relaxing
- You can potentially add a waterfall feature onto an existing hot tub
13. Wood-Fired Hot Tub
Wood-fired hot tubs are wood-sided tubs that are powered by a wood-fired stove. That stove can be submersible or external, and it doesn’t use any electricity, making these tubs versatile. These tubs take three to four hours to heat up and are usually designed for four people or less, but they can be relaxing and ideal for locations where electricity isn’t accessible. They can cost $2,000 to $7,000.
- Rustic tubs ideal for locations without electricity
- No need to worry about a utility bill
- Heats relatively slowly
14. Soft-Sided Hot Tub
Soft-sided hot tubs aren’t inflatable, but they do have soft, semi-flexible foam sides. These hot tubs are portable and can be rolled into place and assembled in your yard. The assembly process is DIY-friendly, and the tubs are designed to be repeatedly removed and then reinstalled. They are more durable than inflatable hot tubs, but at prices ranging from $4,000 to $7,000, they’re also more expensive.
- Soft sides are comfortable and forgiving
- Can be rolled into place and removed
- Not as durable as hot tubs designed with harder materials
15. Custom-Made Hot Tub
Custom-made hot tubs mean you can specify the design and features you want. These tubs are available for inground and aboveground installation. Expect to pay $10,000 and up for a custom-made tub.
- You can decide all the details, from features to seating and more
- Can be more expensive than factory-made hot tubs
- Wait periods may vary depending on the manufacturer
16. Therapeutic Hot Tub
Therapeutic hot tubs, often called hydrotherapy hot tubs, include special features for benefits like reduced blood pressure and pain relief. These tubs may have special ergonomic seating, targeted massage jets, and the ability to add cold water. They can cost between $5,000 and $20,000.
- Features help to maximize therapeutic benefits, ideal for injury recovery or general health
- Highly relaxing
- More expensive than traditional hot tub models
17. Large-Capacity Hot Tub
Designed to hold eight or more people, large-capacity hot tubs are ideal for large families or commercial settings. These hot tubs feature generous seating, and it’s possible to find models that hold 12 or even 14 people. These hot tubs can cost $8,000 to $30,000.
- Can save money and energy compared to buying multiple smaller hot tubs
- Requires more space than traditional hot tubs
- Requires 850 or more gallons of water to fill
18. Indoor Hot Tub
Most types of smaller hot tubs can be installed indoors, as long as you have a space that is easily accessible. An indoor hot tub offers convenience and year-round use without interference from weather. A smaller indoor hot tub can cost about $2,000 to $8,000.
- Indoor use offers more privacy than outdoor hot tubs
- Ventilation and drainage can be challenging
- Installation may require an electrician, and your space needs to be able to support the hot tub’s weight
19. Hard-Shell Hot Tub
Hard-shell hot tubs are highly durable and have lifespans of 20 years or more. They tend to be deeper and larger than soft-shell models. Hard-shell hot tubs have significant weight to them, so they can be difficult to install. They can cost $3,000 to $15,000 or more.
- Highly durable
- Generous seating, including bench or lounge seating
- Well-insulated and energy-efficient
- Higher initial cost than smaller or portable hot tubs
What is the Difference Between a Hot Tub Spa and Jacuzzi?
The terms “hot tub spa” and “Jacuzzi” are often used interchangeably, but they refer to two different products. Hot tubs are large tubs of water designed for relaxation, while Jacuzzis are a particular brand of hot tub.
- Hot tubs are also called spas.
- Hot tubs can be for recreational use, but they also provide some therapeutic benefits like pain relief.
- Jacuzzi is a brand of hot tubs, and those hot tubs were so popular that “Jacuzzi” became a household name.
- While Jacuzzis are hot tubs, not all hot tubs are Jacuzzis.
How to Select the Best Hot Tub Type
With so many hot tubs available, it’s important to choose the type that fits your needs. While you might be tempted to choose a hot tub based on price, a less expensive hot tub that isn’t the right fit for your home won’t ultimately be a good deal.
Factors to Consider When Choosing a Hot Tub Type
When buying a hot tub, consider the following factors to help you make your decision.
- Size and capacity: Think about how many people you want the tub to comfortably seat. While a large hot tub may be appealing, remember that you will need more water, chemicals, and electricity to operate and maintain it.
- Location and installation requirements: Consider the location you have available for a hot tub. If you have limited space, a portable hot tub might be ideal. If you’re considering an in ground vs above ground hot tub, the cost of an in-ground installation will be substantially more.
- Budget and affordability: Hot tubs are available at a wide range of price points. Don’t forget to factor in the hot tub installation cost when deciding what you can afford.
- Maintenance and upkeep: Maintenance and upkeep costs will depend on the size and type of hot tub that you select. Larger hot tubs are generally more expensive to maintain than smaller ones.
- Energy efficiency and operating costs: Certain hot tub types, like hard-shell tubs, are better insulated than others. Consider how much power a hot tub requires and how well-insulated it is.
- Design and aesthetics: Hot tubs are major elements of your home. Choosing a hot tub that’s aesthetically pleasing and that fits in well with your existing decor can lead to a better overall result.
- Features and accessories: Think about any features and accessories that you would like, like a certain number of jets, a waterfall feature, or particular lighting options.
Where to Purchase Different Types of Hot Tubs
Where you buy a hot tub can impact your overall purchase experience. It’s important to choose a vendor with a strong reputation. That vendor should offer the services that you need, such as delivery and installation, and you should feel comfortable asking plenty of questions during the purchase process.
- Spa dealer: Spa dealers have some of the highest prices on their floor models, but they also provide the most support once you’ve made a purchase. Spa dealers provide warranties, delivery, and installation. They’re highly knowledgeable about the products that they’re selling. If you’re planning to buy from a spa dealer, take your time and explore your options. If you’ve found a hot tub that you like, go home and think about it for 48 hours before making your decision. Spa dealers often offer holiday sales, so you may be able to get the hot tub at a lower price.
- Big box store: Big box stores can be appealing because they often offer hot tubs at low prices. Unfortunately, staff at these stores won’t know much about the hot tubs that they’re selling. Delivery and installation generally aren’t options, so depending on the hot tub you buy, you may need to find a local service that’s able to help with the installation.
- Online: You may be able to find some good deals on hot tubs online, but you won’t be able to ask questions about the products, and support will be minimal. Your inventory will also be limited, since most online retailers can’t sell large above-ground hot tubs because of delivery challenges.
Types of Financing Available for Hot Tubs
Hot tubs can cost thousands of dollars, and you may also need to pay for the site preparation and installation. Rather than paying for everything upfront, you can explore different types of financing available to help you buy a hot tub.
- Home equity loans: A home equity loan, also sometimes called a second mortgage, allows you to borrow against the equity that you’ve built up in your home to make a larger purchase, like a hot tub. You can usually borrow no more than 80% of the equity in your home, and you will repay that money over a specific term, with interest. If you’re unable to repay that money, you could risk losing your home.
- Home equity line of credit: Similar to a home equity loan, a home equity line of credit (HELOC) also involves borrowing against the equity in your home. With a HELOC, though, you can borrow money, repay it with interest, and then borrow additional money as needed. A HELOC can be helpful if you know you will be making several large purchases, such as if you’re planning to build a custom hot tub and don’t yet know all of the costs involved.
- Credit cards: With a credit card, you can pay for the hot tub upfront, then gradually pay off the balance on your card. Be sure to consider your interest rate, since a high interest rate can substantially add on to what you’ll ultimately pay for the hot tub. If you have good credit, you may be able to pay for a credit card with an introductory no-interest period. These periods are sometimes as long as two years, and can give you a chance to pay off the hot tub without paying extra for interest.
- Personal loans: Personal loans can help you to pay for a hot tub, but they often have higher interest rates ranging from 6% or higher. Personal loan terms can range from one to about seven years, and you will often need a good credit score to get approved for a loan.
You can learn more about hot tub financing options and decide which option is right for you.
With so many hot tub types to choose from, there’s sure to be a hot tub that’s right for you. As you shop for a hot tub, having a clear idea of your budget, your available space, and the types of features you want your new hot tub to have can help you to make the right choice. Putting some thought into your buying decision before you go to a spa dealer or retailer can make the process less overwhelming and save you time, too.