Inflatable Hot Tub Buyer’s Guide

Sometimes referred to as portable hot tubs, an inflatable hot tub is the closest thing to a nice, relaxing spa if you don’t have a permanent spot to put one. They are also the perfect alternative if you don’t want the hassle of installation and since these are gaining popularity, the number of sizes and features available will only continue to grow.

inflatable hot tub

How to choose an inflatable hot tub

The options available for inflatable hot tubs are vast, and the process to pick one will take time. You will need to consider the size of the tub (footprint size as well as inner tub size for comfort), safety features, and inflatable hot tub covers. The best place to start looking once you have an idea of what you want, is Amazon. Take this Coleman Lay-Z Spa for example. It is the #1 seller and has over 300 reviews, as well as almost 300 customer questions answered. It’s easy to find out everything that you may like or dislike, by reading what others have to say about a particular model. Regardless, this guide should help to ensure you make the best decision when purchasing your own inflatable hot tub. Take a look through the next few sections to get a better understanding of how each will affect your experience.

Inflatable hot tub size and differences

Most inflatable hot tub sizes are described as how many people can fit in the tub. When picking a size for your hot tub, keep in mind that the inflatable variety typically will run a little smaller than the permanent variety, so even if it says “fits 4 adults” this will likely be a little smaller than your average 4 person permanent hot tub. Most hot tubs will fit 2 – 4 people, but there are some 6 person inflatable hot tubs available if you need something larger. When looking at the dimensions for the inflatable hot tub you will want to measure the tub portion (for comfort) as well as the wall’s thickness to ensure the unit will fit in the spot that you have picked out. Lastly, make sure to leave enough room around the hot tub for people to enter and exit the tub safely.

Safety features for your inflatable hot tub

Speaking of safety, several inflatable hot tubs come with special safety features for adults and children. Please note; children should always have adult supervision when in or around water. There is no safety feature that can replace an adult’s reaction to a situation if something goes wrong.

Some inflatable hot tubs have special non-skid flooring and seats. These are quite convenient when you just want to sit and relax and not have to continue trying to keep yourself from sliding further into the tub. The non-skid surface can also sometimes be found on the steps leading into the tub to prevent slip and falls when entering or leaving. If there is no step, a step stool with the safety coating can be purchased separately. Some of the more common features include a maximum heat capacity, so the water won’t get too hot to burn you. As well as locking lids, to prevent pets and children from getting in unsupervised. One extra feature to consider is a filter for your inflatable hot tub pump. Choosing a tub with this will keep the water much cleaner and much more enjoyable.

Portable hot tub jets

The number of jets your inflatable hot tub will hold will mainly depend on it’s size. Typically, the number of jets and how strong they are are all up to personal preference. A 1 jet tub will have a more mild water turbulence whereas a tub with 4 or more will produce a much stronger turbulence. There is also the matter of speed adjustment. Some higher end inflatable hot tubs will feature jets with adjustable speeds so you can adjust the water turbulence to your liking. If you are looking for the strongest jet, you will want a portable hot tub with a strong motor or a high performance pump. The more horsepower the better.

Inflatable hot tub covers

Most modern inflatable hot tubs include covers, however, if yours does not, it is a wise idea to invest in one. A cover will keep kids, pets, and other animals from getting inside when they’re not suppose to be. Inflatable hot tub covers also keep leaves, dirt, bugs, and other debris out as well. All these can be very hard on the tubs filtration system and which could cause it to break down. This will also make your water last longer so the hot tub requires less emptying and refilling. If your inflatable hot tub does not come standard with a cover, ensure that there is one available that fits the unit well. Ideally, a lid that locks on is the most preferred.

How to clean my inflatable hot tub

Some portable hot tubs are going to be easier to clean than others. You can generally figure out how difficult an inflatable hot tub will be to clean by studying the product description. Portable hot tubs that come with filtration systems will require less maintenance, but all hot tubs will need to be manually scrubbed occasionally. The method of cleaning and the type of cleaning solution to use should be found by following the manufacturer’s instructions. It typically depends what material the inflatable hot tub is made of. Take a look at our how to clean inflatable hot tubs article for step by step instructions to follow when cleaning your hot tub.

What chemicals can I use

Different inflatable hot tubs are compatible with different chemicals. Some units specifically require natural or alternative chemicals. It can be detrimental to your hot tub filtration system and other components if the wrong chemicals are used. Even worse, you can damage your hot tub irreversibly if your material is incompatible with a chemical, such as a sodium based cleaning systems. It’s always important to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines to ensure a long lasting, and healthy unit. Check out our article on treating hot tub water for more info on hot tub chemicals.

Additional inflatable hot tub features

If price is no concern, there are many cosmetic options available to enhance your inflatable hot tub even more.from decorative designs to underwater lights, even small waterfalls with and without color changing lights. Some include cup holders, customized colors, and ladders. Also available are digital displays and controls, although the more digital components that you have, the more that can go wrong if something breaks. Most of these at least include manual controls, so if a digital component stops working, you can still use the unit until you can get it repaired.

Inflatable hot tub energy use

When it comes to energy usage, the more powerful the motor, the more energy that will be consumed. If the inflatable hot tub has a thicker insulation, the heater won’t have to work as hard and will use less electricity. In some cases, there are special upgrades available (green upgrades) that use less electricity. These “green upgrades” are generally quieter, and claim to use up to 40 percent less electricity than your traditional inflatable hot tub. Keep in my mind that to save on energy usage, the jets typically won’t produce as much power, but for those who prefer a lower level of turbulent water, won’t be as affected by a less powerful motor. Ideally, there will be a switch of sorts that can flip between the efficiency features or your standard pump whenever you please.

Inflatable hot tubs are ideal for people who rent, frequently move, or plan on moving in the near future. For these reasons, it is in your best interest to find a tub that will last you for many years to come. When in doubt, ask questions. Shopping for an inflatable hot tub should not be a process that is rushed. Take the time to do your research and you will be much happier with your purchase.