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How Much Does a Hot Tub Cost?
2017-2018 Hot Tub Pricing Guide
How much does a hot tub cost? Well, the simple answer is: it depends on your hot tub. A bare-bones rotationally-molded hot tub, at the absolute lowest end of the spectrum, can cost around $2,500. At the other end, the best portable hot tubs commercially available might exceed $16,000. The reason there’s such a large difference is that there is a broad range of hot tub sizes, features, materials, designs, and performance available.
Pricing can also vary based on warranty, ongoing service, and customer location. So basically the answer is that the price of your hot tub depends on what you want in your hot tub. Do you value low energy bills, powerful jets, and durable materials? Do aesthetic considerations, like a streamlined and comfortable design, multicolored lighting, and waterfalls make a big difference to you? Here’s a quick guide to the major features available in different spas that can affect their price:
Hot Tub Size
The bigger the hot tub, the bigger the price tag (generally). Larger hot tubs require more materials to build, and require larger pumps to power their jets. They also take up more space in delivery trucks and on showroom floors. What size hot tub you need depends on how you’re looking to use it. If you only expect to use a hot tub individually or as a couple, or for therapeutic reasons, you may prefer a more intimate spa. On the other hand, if your family expects to use a hot tub together, or you plan on regularly entertaining, then a more spacious hot tub likely makes more sense.
If you’re into entertaining, the 8-person Utopia® Series Cantabria® may pique your interest.
A variety of powerful jets targeting different areas of the body can be ideal if you’re seeking rejuvenating hydrotherapy from your spa.
Hot Tub Features
At its most basic level, a hot tub is simply a container for hot water. But most of us expect quite a bit more from our spa experience, and most hot tubs offer some level of that. High-end spas will come with both functional and cosmetic features such as advanced jet systems, powerful, silent pumps, intuitive control panels, entertainment options, and premium water care systems that reduce the need for chemicals. In addition, top-tier hot tubs often come standard with multicolored lighting and beautiful waterfalls. The more features a spa includes, the higher the price will be. To decide which features may matter most to you, think of how you’ll be using your spa. If you expect many guests, a state-of-the-art built-in audio entertainment system and colored lighting might make a big difference. If you’re looking for single-person hydrotherapy, powerful, varied jets might be more important.
Hot Tub Materials
Lower-end hot tubs are typically made of rotationally-molded plastic. These spas are easier to transport and install than higher-end acrylic models, and are less expensive to produce. However, the higher-priced acrylic is stronger, lasts longer, and insulates better than rotationally-molded plastic. At the low end, some hot tubs have no insulation at all. Better hot tubs have at least one type of insulation, while the best hot tubs use multiple types of insulation, including a full foam that doubles as structural support. This is more expensive than using a single type of insulation, but is more energy efficient. That increased energy efficiency can actually save money in heating costs over the years. High-end exterior siding is resistant to the effects of sun, wind, rain, and snow, while top-of-the-line interior surfaces are resistant to scratches, stains, and sun damage. So, if you know you want to enjoy your hot tub for years and years, it might make sense for you to invest upfront in high-quality, durable materials.
Higher-end spas like the Utopia Tahitian® feature acrylic shells that are durable, fade-resistant, and insulate well.
Take a test soak in a hot tub from the Utopia® series, and you’ll feel the effectiveness of deliberate seat and jet design.
Hot Tub Design
Not all hot tubs are designed equally. In many lower-end hot tubs, a user has to struggle to not constantly float to the surface, or must squat with their feet on the bottom. By contrast, higher-end spas are designed with ergonomic seats that keep users optimally located, even during hydromassage sessions from their powerful jets. Their control panels will be placed within arm’s length, and seats will be arranged to fit the maximum number of occupants spaciously and intuitively. These hot tubs are designed to be aesthetically appealing as well, serving as the backyard’s centerpiece with inviting colors, textures, shapes, lines, and interior and exterior lighting. A good hot tub is more than just an amusement, it’s part of its owner’s lifestyle. When debating how important design is, think of how it impacts both your experience and your perception of your spa.
Hot Tub Performance
Although it may not seem so at first glance, there are many differences in performance between low- and high-end hot tubs. Though low-end spas might have many jets, their pumps are likely underpowered, providing a less intense and less satisfying hydrotherapy experience than the strong pumps in high-end hot tubs allow. The best hot tubs include quiet yet powerful circulation pumps, which move water through the filters and the heater. Cheaper hot tubs run on 110 volts, which take a while to heat up. Once hot, these spas have difficulty maintaining temperature while also powering massage jets. More expensive hot tubs upgrade to 220 volts, which can easily power jets while maintaining temperature and even running an entertainment system. High-end spas are engineered more efficiently as well, with multiple layers of dense foam insulation. These hot tubs also include base pans, which protect interior components while keeping heat from leaching into the ground. Performance can make a big difference in how much you enjoy your hot tub over the years, and the level of satisfaction you can enjoy from it.
Strong pumps that power a variety of innovatively designed jets can provide an elevated hydrotherapy experience.
Your hot tub dealer will be your partner through your entire spa experience, from installation to maintenance years down the road.
Hot Tub Warranties and Service
Not all hot tubs come with quality guarantees from their manufacturers. While these may be less expensive up front, should the hot tub fail because of a defect, the customer will be forced to pay for repairs or purchase a new one at full price. A good hot tub warranty will cover the product for five to ten years after purchase, ensuring that its owners can enjoy their spa without any cause to worry. Likewise, premium and luxury hot tubs can come with comprehensive service agreements from your dealer, including delivery, installation, relocation, water quality testing, repairs, maintenance, and cleaning. While hot tubs without service agreements are less expensive, you may end up paying the difference in the time and labor you must put in to keep a low-end spa running smoothly. Simply put, the easier, quicker, and more effective your hot tub is to use, the more likely you are to want to use it regularly. By keeping your water clean and safe with regular maintenance or an in-line water care system, you’ll be making sure your spa continues to be a regular, relaxing part of your everyday life.
Now that you have a good idea of which features matter the most to you in a hot tub, here’s a guide to determine which level of spa comes with those features. With your preferred tier in mind, you should have a good idea of how much your ideal hot tub may cost.
Pricing Guide for Hot Tub Quality Tiers
Luxury Hot Tubs - $9,000 - $16,000+
A luxury hot tub is for the customer who wants the ultimate personal wellness accessory. This type of hot tub usually comes equipped with top features, accompanied by the most extensive warranty protection. It will generally offer high design, low operating costs, maximum comfort, minimal maintenance, the best massage jets, and efficient operation. On a luxury spa, you are likely to find:
● The best water care options. Premium systems for hot tub water care require fewer chemicals to maintain sparkling and clean water. These systems reduce heavy chemical use so your skin feels soft and refreshed, not dried out.
● The best components. Luxury hot tubs are made with great care to minimize unwanted noise and maintenance. Luxury hot tub components are built to perform reliably for a long time and are backed by a comprehensive warranty.
● The best construction. Hot tub construction is directly correlated to durability and energy efficiency. On a luxury hot tub, the base pan protects the components, enhances the look of the spa, and minimizes ground contact to promote heat retention. All-climate cabinetry withstands exposure to the elements without cracking, splitting or chipping. Acrylic resists stains, scratches, and sun damage.
● The best and most advanced jets. In addition to greater numbers of jets, the best hot tubs offer jets that are well-placed, more powerful, and customizable, allowing you to adjust the strength, sequence, or combination of jets in use depending on your needs at the time.
● The best energy efficiency. An energy-efficient spa costs less to run. Often, lower utility bills offset a higher purchase price over time.
● Advanced design. Relaxation and rejuvenation involve all the senses. Elegant lines and colors complement the flow and calm of the water. The luxury spa is an aesthetic focal point, with colors, textures, and lighting to enhance the mood.
● Advanced control options and entertainment Luxury hot tubs often include control options on the spa bar, wireless controllers, and even Bluetooth control options that allow you to ready your spa before you enter. Advanced features include audio and visual entertainment systems.
● Strongest warranties. The various components of your spa will have different warranties, but you can generally expect warranty coverage to last between five and ten years or longer for top-quality hot tubs.
Premium Hot Tubs - $6,000 - $10,000
On a premium spa you’ll see advanced engineering and robust features for long-lasting owner satisfaction. These spas don’t come prepackaged with every bell and whistle available, but they are designed for the hot tub owner who wants a nice hot tub and the option to add preferred upgrades.
These are some of the features you might see on a premium hot tub:
● Energy-efficiency. Dense, multi-layered insulation preserves heat in most premium hot tubs, reducing the energy it takes to keep your water at the temperature you desire.
● Water care options. Filtration systems on premium hot tubs are thorough and long-lasting, reducing but not eliminating the need for chemical cleaning agents.
● High jet counts. Depending on the model, some premium hot tubs have a large number of jets, run by a powerful motor.
● Control system options. Control systems on premium models will be easy to use and conveniently located. However, they may not be as advanced as luxury controls, and Bluetooth may not be available.
● Comfortable interior. At the premium level, well-designed seats will keep you at rest in the spa without floating to the surface.
● Beautiful exterior. Streamlined acrylic shells make premium hot tubs a feast for the eyes, serving as the centerpiece of a backyard or porch.
Value-Priced Hot Tubs - $4,000 - $8,000
The lower sticker price on a value-priced hot tub comes with trade-offs. There are value-priced spas with enticing features but poor performance, and those with quality performance likely lack flashier features. For example, a spa in this price range may feature a glossy acrylic shell and multicolored lighting or a high jet count, at the cost of less powerful jets or louder operation.
And be aware: big, visible jets are not in themselves evidence that a spa is great. A flashy jet escutcheon can hide small jet bodies or ports—and if they’re powered by a small pump, the jets won’t give you the water flow you need for a good hydromassage.
What meets the eye may not be the best measure of value in a mid-level hot tub. The best value-priced hot tub models will have excellent performance but few showy bells and whistles—not the other way around.
Entry-Level Hot Tubs – $2,500 - $5,000
Entry-level hot tubs are usually rotationally-molded, and the cabinet and shell are all one piece. The surface may be durable, but it won’t have the shiny appearance and smooth feel of acrylic. Options at this level are very much scaled back, with few or no lights, small, weak jets, a simplistic design, and basic controls.
Most entry-level spas are plug-and-play—you can plug one into any existing electrical outlet with no upgrade to your wiring. Their durability makes rotationally-molded spas a big quality step above inflatable hot tubs, while still being fairly portable. These hot tubs give you the opportunity to enjoy a spa without investing heavily, though their lack of higher-level features makes them less than ideal in the long term, and offers a subpar experience that might influence your likelihood of regularly using and enjoying your spa.
We’ve been talking for awhile about all the different components that make up a spa. But a spa is more than the sum of its parts. It’s an experience that you will share and enjoy—hopefully for years to come. When choosing the right hot tub, picture yourself soaking in it early on a weekend morning five years from now, or hosting summer barbecues with your friends over and over again through the years. Just like those you plan on enjoying it with, your hot tub is going to be with you for a long time. Find one you’re going to want to spend a long time with.
Article Courtesy of Caldera Spas and published online at www.calderaspas.com For more information or to shop any of these hot tubs, visit one of Crystal Pools three showrooms in Lancaster, Elizabethtown/Hershey or Mechanicsburg.