If you’re planning to purchase a hot tub, you may want to know what the best features are or the difference between an average and a quality hot tub. These are common inquiries when it comes to making an investment in a hot tub, especially if you are looking for a brand and model that is reliable and comfortable.
In this article, we’ll share information to help you make an informed decision including what questions to ask a salesperson when shopping for a hot tub. We’ll also cover the top five key features that can help ensure you choose the right hot tub for you and one that will provide many years of enjoyment and comfort.
What are the Essential Hot Tub Features?
While there are more than just five essential features, we’ve narrowed down the ones you should make top priority when searching for a hot tub. Here are the top five hot tub features to consider first:
Jets - Quality of hydrotherapy
Water sanitization and filtration - Clean and safe water
Materials (and insulation) - Durability and efficiency
Controls - Simple to use
Seating - Fit everybody in
These features are focused around getting the most out of your hot tub for a long period of time. Which is why quality is essential.
Other features such as lighting and sound systems are also important to many hot tub owners. However, in the initial stage of hot tub shopping, the standard of engineering and build quality should be at the top of your list. There will be plenty of time to opt for add-on amenities.
1. Quality of Hydrotherapy and Hot Tub Jets
While it’s easy to think that the jets just pump the water, the real importance is the balance of air and water coming through the jets. If it is just water, the quality of the hydrotherapy experience will not be as enjoyable. You will only feel true hydrotherapy when air is combined with the jet output of water. The lightness of touch that this combination provides is what ensures a soothing massage rather than shooting water, which can be very unforgiving when it is simply blasted against the body.
Is Jet Placement Important in a Hot Tub?
Simply put, yes. When you look inside a hot tub in a showroom, it’s easy to be overwhelmed by hot tubs packed full of jets. Lots of jets dotted all around the shell does not equate to a better experience. It’s key to choose quality over quantity.
Rather than how many jets are featured in a hot tub, the key is where they are placed. Fewer jets in more strategic positions deliver targeted hydromassage to the parts of your body that need it the most.
When looking at the jet placement of a hot tub, you might consider what parts of your body that you want to feel the most targeted hydromassage.For example, you likely want them aligned with the soles of your feet, calf muscles, thighs, lower back, shoulders, and neck. Look at the jet position in relation to those key parts of the body. Superb hydrotherapy is not a more-is-better approach. It’s about precision and jet placement. Comfort is also key when shopping for a hot tub. Fully recessed jets mean smaller jet covers. The smoother these are, and the more flush to the seat’s surface, the less discomfort you’ll feel when trying to relax and enjoy your hydromassage.
2. Quality Hot Tub Water Cleaning Systems
Every time you get into a hot tub, you want to see crystal clear water. More importantly, you want to know that the water is free of hidden germs and debris.
As a hot tub owner, you will need to do some simple maintenance of your hot tub to ensure clean and clear water including using sanitizing products and then testing and adjusting the water pH and alkalinity as needed.
But the mechanisms ‘behind the scenes’ can help. These include filters, baskets, and additional
clean water systems.
When shopping for a hot tub, you want to look for pleated filters that have easy access, whether
they are polyester or ceramic. Pleated filters remove debris from the water before it’s pulled through the jetting system. This is vital and helps avoid any damage to the pump and heater (in turn elongating the product’s lifespan).
It’s important to remember convenience is key when it comes to maintenance. If it’s easier to get to the filters, cleaning them is less of a chore.
To ensure clean water you should use a complementary system that will run alongside the hot tub’s standard filtration. These clean water systems work in conjunction with the filters and baskets already in place. You want to achieve additional cleaning through:
Chlorine or bromine sanitizers
Ozone and UV systems
Many of the top hot tub suppliers choose these systems because they offer peace of mind for the user and supplier. Clean hot tubs means less hassle for you and fewer returns for the manufacturer.
The Jacuzzi® CLEARRAY Active Oxygen® water system with UV-C technology and up to 5- stage ProClarity® filtration system is one example of modern water care systems that layer multiple technologies.
When it comes to automated clean water systems, the bottom line is they clean more, so you can clean less.
Do -Look for a hot tub with an automated clean water system.
Don’t -Think that adding more chemicals and incorrect dosages will keep the hot tub water clean instead of considering automatic water systems. The wrong chemical dosage can lead to skin irritations and damage components in a hot tub.
3. Hot Tub Materials and Insulation
When it comes to the build quality of a hot tub, it is quite simple — the better quality materials that are used, the better the durability of the product and the longer it will last.
Quality of the materials used goes a long way in helping with energy efficiency through insulation. You’ll want to consider both the outside and the inside of the hot tub.
The hot tub shell —
Hot tub shell options include acrylic, fiberglass and rotomolded resin. Each has its own set of pros and cons. Consider the following:
-Acrylic is durable, sturdy, and has excellent temperature retention. However, it may be more expensive than fiberglass.
-Fiberglass is more affordable but also prone to scratches and fading over the duration of use.
-Rotomolded resin has a different feel and look than acrylic. Being a single-molded unit, it is more affordable and less prone to cracks than a multi-layered acrylic counterpart.
Tip: Quality hot tub shells often consist of multi-layers of different materials. For example, Jacuzzi® Hot Tubs are made with vacuum-formed acrylic with a bonding layer that holds fast to a fiberglass layer which increases the overall strength and durability of the shell.
The reason the bonding layer is important is it helps prevent blistering and delamination of the acrylic from the fiberglass. Delamination is when the back of the acrylic loses adhesion with the layers underneath, allowing air to get in and causing the acrylic to crack. This can also cause water to leak from the hot tub. This will require a repair or the hot tub may be beyond repair, depending on the damage done.
When you start to look at the cabinet that the shell fits into, you’ll want to look at how durable it
is. remember that the cabinet serves to protect your hot tub (as well as its plumping and engineering) from the elements — and extreme cold or hot weather.
Acrylic Cabinets, Insulation and Covers
The cabinet of a hot tub hides the shell and engineering, but it goes beyond that. The cabinet is a protective barrier and provides added heat retention and a visual aesthetic that can be tailored to your preferences.
Modern-day acrylic cabinet sides use heat-retentive materials that may not offer total protection.
But when they are used in association with insulation, material or foam, they form a dual barrier
to heat loss.
Material insulation panels are pliable, easily fitted and easily removable. They are a lower-cost
alternative to foam but may not provide the total coverage that foam can.
Foam insulation is sprayed into the hot tub covering the base of the shell and the majority of the
pipe and engineering. This forms an insulating second skin within the hot tub cabinet. You can
also have the foam insulation pumped into all the cavities to reduce the area where heat can
Most modern spas now use synthetic panels comprised of sun- and weather-resistant materials
that both reduce maintenance as well as keep your spa looking great much longer than earlier
The hot tub cover is another item to consider. Ideally, you want a foam-filled cover that is tailored fit to your chosen hot tub model. This level of insulation is on a par with what’s inside the cabinet and prevents heat loss from the large surface of the hot tub water.
Do - Think of the unit as a whole. Make sure the shell, cabinet, and insulation are of the best
quality they can be.
Don’t - Skimp on the shell. In the long run, acrylic tends to be more durable, attractive, and
easier to maintain.
4. Hot Tub Control System
You want your hot tub experience to be relaxing and stress-free — so it’s important that your control system is both easy to use and reliable. The simpler the controls, the less frustration you feel and the more time you spend relaxing. Ideally you want fewer buttons, clear indicators and a one-touch approach that feels natural.
The brands we recommend you keep top of mind while looking at hot tub options are Balboa® and Gecko®.
When shopping for a hot tub, ask the salesperson for a quick run-through of how the control panel on each model you are considering. Keep in mind that if it looks overly complicated or difficult to use, consider other models with more intuitive controls.
Look for that “press and play” mentality that you already have on many of your other appliances and tech around the home. This easy-play approach allows us to simply control the experience
at the touch of a button.
Many hot tubs are starting to offer app technology as standard to give you total control in a format that everybody understands. The idea is to allow you to control them from wherever you are, whenever you choose.
Do -Get a full demonstration on how to control your hot tub in the showroom and inquire about
Don’t –Underestimate the value of control and convenience delivered by control panels that have phone App integrations. They can save you money on energy, remind you of any maintenance due, and give you early alerts to critical issues that may need immediate attention.
5. Hot Tub Seats
When it comes to the seats in your hot tub, think of everyone who will be using the hot tub on a regular basis. Whether there are two, four, or six of you in your family, you are single, or if social entertaining is your thing, it’s a good idea to picture exactly how many people you could see enjoying a hot tub at any one time.
Once you’ve figured out the number of seats, consider whether a lounge seat or child/cool down
seats would get a lot of use. If you have children, chances are the latter seats will be put to great use. If hydrotherapy is a top priority for comfort, sports therapy, or to relieve aches and pains, then a hot tub with a lounger is probably the best option for you.
When considering lounge versus open seating, one key is how you intend to use the spa. Lounge seating places you in a position where eye contact with others in the spa is more difficult. If you plan on using it socially and want to talk with others while in the spa, then open seating gives you the advantage of allowing people to look at one another while they are having conversations. If you want maximum relaxation and will have fewer occupants then lounge seating may be preferred.
Do -Consider hot tub seats based on who will be using the hot tub now and in the years to
come as well as other types of relaxation you want to enjoy.
Don’t -Get focus too much on price, dimensions, or jets until you understand who will be using
the hot tub and how it will be used.
What Other Features Should I Consider?
As you can see, there are many features that make up a hot tub. And while we covered the top five features you should consider when shopping for a hot tub, there are some additional factors
to keep in mind, including:
-A Base pan -For protection from elements and rodents as well as for improved energy efficiency
-Quality plumbing components and equipment -For longevity and reliability
-Useful and ergonomic topside controls -Such as drink holders, aromatherapy, bottle cooler and water features
What’s The Next Step?
Now you’ve reached the end of the article, you should have a better understanding of the top five features to keep in mind when shopping for a hot tub. While budget is always important to keep in mind, remember that the investment in a quality hot tub, with these key features. will be worth it in the long run. A quality hot tub can actually serve to save you money in the long run as they retain heat better and have higher-quality components.
When visiting the showroom, remember these top five features —
Jets for hydrotherapy
Water cleaning systems
Materials and insulation
With an understanding of the features you need to remain aware of, it’s worth thinking about the showroom visit. No matter the brand or the model you consider, everything you’ve read here is
of real relevance.
Wondering where your closest Jacuzzi® Hot Tub dealer is? Click below to find a store near you.
Although transferring this knowledge into real time conversation when faced with a showroom sales rep may feel a bit daunting, you can sound like a hot tub expert by asking these simple questions based on what you’ve read here.
“Are they hydrotherapy jets?”
“Does the hot tub have an automatic water cleaning system?”
“Is the hot tub shell acrylic, fiberglass, resin or a combination?”
“Is the hot tub control pad simple to use and does it work with an app?”
“Can I fit (think of the people who will likely use hot tub) in this model?”
Disclaimer: (The following registered trademarks are owned by companies not affiliated in any way with Jacuzzi Group. Balboa® trademark is owned by Balboa Water Group. Gecko® trademark is owned by Gecko Alliance Group) Affiliations: Jacuzzi® is a registered trademark of Jacuzzi Group. All rights reserved.