Updated: June 8, 2015
Inflatable Hot Tub Reviews:So you want the feeling of a hot tub but don't want to pay $4000 to $8000 for the real thing. You could consider the newer inflatable hot tubs that are offered on the market. There are several competing brands like Spa2Go, Swim Time, and TheraPureSpa which provide a variety of models to choose from. The big question is - How do they compare to the feeling of relaxing in an authentic hot tub? The biggest drawback on these portable or inflatable hot tubs is that we have yet to find one that comes with seats. Part of the relaxation process to me (most reviews we found online agree with this) is being able to kick back in your hot tub and let your body soak up the hot water. This means you get to sit down, not stand up. To be fair, you can still enjoy the experience in one of these hot tubs, but be prepared to deal with no seats/bench to sit on. I have often thought about putting a chair at the bottom of my neighbors, it would be more comfortable after about 15 minutes of floating and standing in it. Which models hold up best to consumer feedback and opinions? What brands do the experts recommend? We go into all those details below and try to guide your purchasing decision to what best fits your needs.
Choosing an Inflatable Hot Tub - First things first, almost all of the inflatable hot tubs we reviewed had easy to follow directions and installed in less than 1 hour. That doesn't include filling them up with water. That varies depending on the amount of gallons needed (over 300 gallons for some). Then you have to let the heat pump warm the water. Beyond all those details, let's look at what features to look for and which ones tend to be trouble in the long term. Do you want a 4 person model? Be careful what the manufacturers tell you in terms of size or capacity features. Many owner comments online note that the majority of 4 person hot tubs are really meant for 2 adults and maybe 1 kid. You could squeeze 4 adults into some of them, but comfort would not be a priority at that point. Look for inflatable hot tubs with built in filtration systems and LED control panels that are easy to navigate. They should include features like heat, filtration, temperature increase/decrease, and temperature mode. SAFETY - Much like a swimming pool, a hot tub can be dangerous if you have little children running around near it. The water is definitely deep enough you could have a small kid drown. Safety locks and covers are a must. Try to find models with lockable control panels too. The Spa-N-A-Box Portable Hot Tub ($990) is the one model that gets really good reviews online. It looks a bit different than many of the other portable hot tub models. The side panels are more heavy duty than with the true inflatable ones. Yes, you'll pay more for it, but perhaps the additional dollars are well spent given how it compares to other similar products. Once at your desired temperature, they are pretty good at maintaining that zone. Make sure you give the unit plenty of time to warm up - could take hours depending on what the current temperature of the water is. Most max out at 104 degrees. What about leaks? They do occasional occur on several of the models we are discussing. Consumers note that water leaks and inability to hold a temperature are the two biggest issues with inflatable hot tubs. That being said, the vast majority of reviews we found were positive and often the small leaks (often around screw holes) can be sealed properly. As for holding temperatures - keep in mind that if you turn the jets on that water temps are going to come down a bit no matter what. Many of the inflatable spas were priced between $500 and $750 with a few closer to $1000. Read the reviews and be critical when necessary to make sure you get what you want. Inflatable hot tubs are great for backyards, winter cabins, houseboats, RVing, etc. One last note to make about power sources. Many manufacturers say not to plug the tubs into a power outlet using an extension cord. They suggest running power via a GFCI cord right to the hot tub. Check with your electrician to see if you can get the proper plug installed in your yard/house so that you have a stable and reliable power source. Check out the best selling inflatable hot tubs here.