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Should I buy a used hot tub?
Should I buy a used hot tub?
Written by Kimberly Giraldo
Updated over a week ago

In your search for a hot tub, you may have come across used hot tubs for sale. The idea of purchasing a used hot tub to save money is a perfectly logical one. However, there is more than meets the eye on the topic of used hot tubs.

This article will answer the question: “Should I buy a used hot tub?” You will also gain tips on what to look for when shopping for a used hot tub and be alerted of potential problems used hot tubs can have. You will also get a comparison of new hot tubs versus used hot tubs and a quick checklist of mistakes to avoid when shopping for a spa, new or used.

Should I buy a used hot tub versus a new hot tub?

You may be thinking about purchasing a used hot tub versus a new hot tub for the sake of your budget. The appeal of a lower initial buy-in is understandable and valid. However, you might be surprised to learn that a new entry-level hot tub might not cost you much more than a used hot tub.

And with a new hot tub, you won’t have any of the “unknowns” that sometimes come with an older hot tub. Plus, today’s new high-quality hot tub models are designed to be energy efficient and virtually hassle-free, making new hot tub ownership less costly over time when it comes to running and maintenance costs.

If you purchase a new hot tub from a reputable dealer, you can likely take advantage of financing options that make ownership budget-friendly and solid warranties that make maintenance and repairs stress-free. These aspects alone can provide you with the peace of mind that you might not be able to achieve with the purchase of a used hot tub.

Another pro of purchasing a new hot tub is that you will have a wide range of choices. When shopping for used hot tubs, you are limited to simply what is available in your area. Today’s premium hot tub models have an extensive array of standard features as well as upgrades to enhance your hot tub experience even further.

Older used hot tubs may not be equipped with the array of features, powerful jets, high-quality water care systems and filtration systems that make hot tub operation and maintenance so enjoyable and easy. Regardless, a new hot tub, even an entry-level model, will likely have an initially higher price tag than an older used hot tub.

However, the “pros” tend to outweigh the “cons.” Plus you can look forward to many years of use with a brand-new hot tub. On the other hand, a used hot tub may already be close to the end of its lifespan, regardless of whether it has any specific damage.

What are some potential problems used hot tubs can have

Used hot tubs can have hidden issues that are not visible or easily detected until it’s too late. When purchasing one from an individual, it’s difficult to determine how much the hot tub was used or if it had previous issues that the seller is not disclosing or may not even be aware of. When purchasing from an individual and without an inspection, you may not know whether the hot tub has damage to its parts and if all the functions are working properly.

Some potential problems include:

-Overall wear and tear from use and exposure to the elements over time.

-The hot tub shell can have cracks, scratches, warping or leaks.

-Damage to the cabinet, which houses and protects the hot tub’s interior components, or to the framework.

-Non-functioning control panel, which allows you to monitor and adjust things such as the thermostat, lights, jets and other features.

-Leaking or damp access panel.

-Non-functioning or ill-performing equipment such as pumps, filters and water care systems. Make sure jet pressure, circulation pumps and other functions are working properly. Listen for odd sounds like grinding. A properly working jet pump should hum in a steady low pitch.

-Worn out or discontinued parts and equipment.

Where to buy a used hot tub

Rather than taking the risk of purchasing a used hot tub with an unknown history from an individual, it is highly advised to purchase a certified pre-owned hot tub from a credible hot tub dealer. Pre-owned hot tubs in this market have typically been fully tested and inspected.

Many dealers have rigorous inspection criteria and water test phases that used hot tubs must go through and pass before they sell them. Some may even offer a short warranty.

Tips for buying a used hot tub

-Whenever possible, opt to purchase a certified pre-owned hot tub from a reputable hot tub dealer.

-Ask to see the hot tub filled and operating.

-Test the hot tub if possible. Just as you would request a wet test from a certified hot tub dealer when considering a new hot tub, an informal wet test in the used hot tub you’re looking at can help you get an idea of how you like the seating configurations, jets and more.

-Ask for an inspection.

-Find out if there is an existing warranty and whether it is transferable.

-Request to see the hot tub’s previous service records. This can help you determine if the hot tub has recurring problems or major issues that could end up costing you in the long run.

-Plan for installation. Unless you are a professional, it is highly recommended not to attempt to move a hot tub by yourself, whether new or used. Professionals can transfer and install the hot tub. This eliminates the risk of your damaging the hot tub or injuring yourself.

-Once your new-to-you hot tub is placed in your home, clean it thoroughly and replace the filters.

-Purchase a high-quality hot tub cover. A good hot tub cover can save you time, hassle and money. It can protect your hot tub from the elements, keep the water free of debris and also help maintain water temperature.

-Measure the hot tub and account for a foundation when taking into account where you will have your hot tub placed.

Regardless of whether you are buying a used hot tub or a brand new hot tubs, there are some common mistakes that people make when shopping for a spa. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you do your hot tub shopping:

-Avoid getting fixated on price. Yes, price matters. When shopping for a hot tub, used or new, you can easily get preoccupied with the idea of a lower price tag. However, an initial low-cost hot tub can potentially cost you more in the long run in running costs as well as maintenance and repair fees. When you budget for a hot tub, consider the energy efficiency and high-technology systems of new, premium spas, which can keep your operating costs and maintenance costs down.

-Don’t forget routine maintenance costs. There is some regular maintenance that any hot tub will require to keep it running in tip-top shape and to keep the water clean* and chemically balanced. Build these costs into your budget as you are planning your hot tub purchase.

-Do your due diligence. Whether you are purchasing a new hot tub or a used spa, education is key. Do some research, visit reputable spa dealers in your area, ask questions and do a wet test on hot tubs you like. These are a few of the things that can help ensure you choose the hot tub that is right for you and your family.

-Don’t underestimate high-quality insulation. Ultimately, high-quality insulation will save you time and help conserve energy. High-quality insulation will help maintain the water temperature for longer while keeping your operating costs lower throughout the lifespan of your hot tub. Always ask about the insulation of the hot tubs you are interested in as well as how it will impact operating costs.

-Ask about customer support and warranties. A reputable hot tub brand and dealer should become a partner in your hot tub ownership. You’ll want to make sure the purchase of your hot tub comes with after-purchase support as well as solid warranties.

Finally, the answer to the question, “Should I buy a used hot tub?” should ultimately come from you. After reading this article, you should now be fully equipped with the knowledge and tips to help you find the best hot tub for you, whether you decide on a used hot tub or a brand-new model.

Affiliations: Jacuzzi® is a registered trademark of Jacuzzi Group. All rights reserved.

Disclaimer: All information, including pricing and product details, was accurate at the time of writing and may change without notice.

Medical disclaimer: This information is not intended to prescribe a particular diagnosis or course of action. We are not medical professionals. Please contact your GP or other medical professional for advice if you have any concerns about your current health or well-being.

*Clean, as it relates to Jacuzzi® water care, is defined as the removal of microscopic (down to 3 micron level, varies by model) debris from the water. The Jacuzzi® CLEARRAY® Active Oxygen® System utilizes various technologies to achieve cleanliness. One of them if ozone, which aids in the grouping of smaller debris to form larger clusters that can be more easily captures in the filtration process.

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