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Breaking Down the Cost: How Much Are Hot Tubs and Factors That Affect Price
Breaking Down the Cost: How Much Are Hot Tubs and Factors That Affect Price
Written by Kimberly Giraldo
Updated over a week ago

If you’re considering purchasing a hot tub and are wondering about the wide range of buy-in costs, you’re not alone. The initial buy-in of a hot tub can vary greatly based on several factors including features and a stellar warranty. Beyond initial buy-in, there are also additional costs you should be aware of before becoming a hot tub owner. These can include operating costs, maintenance costs, service costs, and repair costs.

When asking the question, “How much are hot tubs?” you should know that there is not one simple answer. The buy-in costs are dependent on several variables. Maintenance and operating costs can also be dependent on unique factors. This article will break down each of these costs to help you further understand the wide price range among hot tubs, as well as prepare you for ongoing costs once you make your initial buy-in purchase.

If you’re like most people, prior to buying a hot tub, you’ve probably entered the question: “How much are hot tubs on average?” into the search bar of your favorite search engine. You may have found that many answers popped up — and that the “average” cost could vary greatly. While this may leave you puzzled, it’s important to understand that there is good reason behind the varying price range between hot tubs that may appear to be similar.

Beginning with the initial buy-in cost, you may have seen hot tubs for $1,000 and others for more than $20,000. Could there really be a $19,000 difference between these two hot tubs? The short answer is yes. This article will further explain the many factors that account for that price jump. Let’s break down some of the important factors that affect price:

Type of Hot Tub

Your initial buy-in cost will vary greatly depending on the type of hot tub you are interested in purchasing. There are several types of hot tubs, each with their own distinct features as well as pros and cons. Some of the hot tub types that you may have seen or considered include inflatable hot tubs, portable hot tubs, and in-ground hot tubs. Their descriptions are as follows:

Inflatable Hot Tubs — Sometimes referred to as soft-sided hot tubs, inflatable hot tubs can be easily inflated and deflated. They are convenient to transport and often have an initial buy-in cost that is less than $1,000, depending on the brand and model.

However, they generally do not offer the same level of hydrotherapy that a luxury spa model can provide. Many do not have jets but rather air bubblers that simulate the water movement of a bubbling hot tub that most people can picture in their heads when thinking of a traditional hot tub.

Inflatable hot tubs do not require any special installation. They can be plugged into a standard outlet, filled with water, and will soon be ready for a soak. While this is a definite “pro,” the flip side is that inflatable hot tubs do not have a very long lifespan. They also don’t enhance the aesthetic of your backyard oasis the way a higher-end hot tub can.

Portable Hot Tubs — Remember that image of the bubbling hot tub mentioned earlier that you envisioned in your head? You were likely thinking of a traditional “portable” hot tub. Jacuzzi® Hot Tubs are examples of this category. Portable hot tubs are dubbed as such because they are self-contained units that can, in some cases, be “plug and play.”

This term generally refers to portable hot tubs with 110v connectivity that can plug into a standard outlet. Other portable hot tubs are 220v, which provides more power for a more comprehensive hydrotherapy experience. Installation of a 220v hot tub may require electrical hookup before installation. To suit any need, the Jacuzzi® brand offers both options across their family of hot tub collections.

As noted above, portable hot tubs are self-contained in that they house all the equipment such as water management systems and filtration systems within their cabinetry and shell. They are often designed with many color and material options to provide a pleasing aesthetic addition to your backyard.

One of the biggest “pros” of portable hot tubs is the high level of hydrotherapy they can provide. Most luxury portable hot tub brands have specialty jets that are precisely designed to provide soothing relaxation for bathers. If you are seeking a hot tub for the benefits of hydromassage, a portable hot tub is your best bet.

Other pros of portable hot tubs are their multitude of seating options for ultimate comfort while soaking and socializing. Excellent insulation excellent insulation, energy efficiency, and high-quality hot tub covers that work together to help retain your water’s heat while keeping energy costs low are additional pros of this hot tub category.

However, it is important to note that “portable” does not mean that you can simply pick up a portable hot tub and bring it home. This is certainly not a one-person job; delivery and installation are best left to the professionals. This, however, will increase buy-in costs.

In-Ground Hot Tubs —Inflatable hot tubs and portable hot tubs sit above ground on a sturdy prefabricated pad, concrete or concrete foundation or pavers, or deck. However, in-ground hot tubs, as the name suggests, are built into the ground. They are sometimes adjacent to or connected to an in-ground swimming pool and are often designed in conjunction with the swimming pool to enhance the overall backyard aesthetic. They do have jets, but they are not typically as advanced as those found in a premium portable hot tub model.

Generally built from concrete, in-ground hot tubs often do not provide comfortable seating options either. Like a swimming pool, they can be custom designed and built, which gives you creative license when developing your personalized backyard sanctuary. However, that aspect certainly affects the price as well.

Another aspect to keep in mind is that in-ground hot tubs tend not to retain heat as well as portable hot tubs. This is both because they sometimes “share” water with the swimming pool and also because they don’t have advanced hot tub covers that can form a tight seal around them to lock in heat. In-ground swimming pools also do not have the same level of insulation that premium hot tub brands do. Lack of high-quality insulation can contribute to heat loss in your hot tub water as well.

Based on the various hot tub types, it’s important to compare “apples to apples” when looking at price. An inflatable hot tub will cost many thousands less than a custom-built in-ground hot tub. But these two fall into very different categories. When comparing “apples to apples” in the category of portable hot tubs, for example, it’s easier to comprehend the price differences of each. Here are a few factors that you should consider, regardless of what type of hot tub you desire.

Reputable Brand — As with any financial investment, it’s key to factor in the value of a high-quality product from a premium brand versus a lesser-quality product from an unknown brand. You want to ensure you have a solid warranty and a loyal customer service outlet that can help with service or repairs on your hot tub down the line.

Quality of Materials and Design — Craftsmanship starts at the beginning with engineering, design, and materials that are made to last. When shopping for a hot tub, you may notice that a product made with top-of-the-line materials is more expensive than one that is not. However, consider the lifespan of your hot tub. You’ll want to purchase one that will stand the test of time. Materials and design make all the difference when it comes to longevity and a product that can withstand the elements.

True Hydrotherapy — Premium hydrotherapy hot tub brands focus deeply on the placement and power of their jets. The jets are truly what sets a top-notch hot tub apart from a subpar one that has weaker jet functions. A higher-performance hot tub may cost more. However, if you are seeking a hot tub specifically for hydrotherapy, this is money well spent. Jacuzzi® Hot Tubs, for example, feature a variety of PowerPro® Jets, each which serves a unique function and purpose to provide soothing relaxation during your hydromassage.

Advanced Technology — Another aspect that can affect the price of a hot tub is its technology. This can impact many aspects of the hot tub — from ease of use and energy efficiency to nearly hassle-free water management systems and filtration systems. Top-of-the-line luxury hot tub brands, such as Jacuzzi®, have models that are precisely designed with advanced technology to make using your hot tub simple from start to finish.

Factors that affect hot tub operating and maintenance costs

Beyond the initial question of, “How much are hot tubs?” and the factors that affect the cost, you may wonder what else determines the cost of a hot tub. Once you’ve made your initial buy-in purchase, you will have additional operating and maintenance costs. These will be determined by a number of factors such as:

- How often you use your hot tub and for how long

- What time of day you usually use your hot tub

- The size of your hot tub

- The temperature you like your water

- The insulation of your hot tub

- The energy efficiency of your hot tub, and whether it has a smart system to manage usage

- What type of hot tub cover you have

- Chemicals and supplies

- Routine maintenance

- Service and repairs

As you determine your hot tub needs and do your research, these are all vital aspects of ongoing costs to consider. With so many variables, it’s difficult to say exactly how much your operating costs will be. However, it is important to know that they can be managed, and often lowered, through these very factors.

What you can do to manage operating and maintenance costs

The good news is you have the power to mitigate high operating and maintenance costs. You can do so by purchasing a high-quality hot tub with excellent insulation that meets or exceeds energy efficiency requirements. You can also help manage operating costs by purchasing the best quality hot tub cover. This is often an underrated way to help you lock in your hot tub water’s heat. You can also check into your electric company’s “off-peak hours.” Electric companies sometimes offer lower rates during these hours. To save money and conserve energy, you can align your hot tub usage during those times.

As you are doing your hot tub research and comparing prices, take these factors into consideration. If you’re specifically wondering, “How much are Jacuzzi® hot tubs?”, visit to a local authorized hot tub dealer near you. A professional and knowledgeable spa dealer can help guide you through the price of various models and the factors that affect the initial costs.

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.

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