What to consider when buying a hot tub

Hot tub mountain view

There are many things to think about when looking for the right hot tub for your family, from basic features such as the number of seats to more technical details such as the number of jets to the water filtration system used.

Buying a hot tub may seem like a daunting venture, which is why the team at Outdoor Living we’ve compiled our years of expertise and knowledge into this buying guide, making it easier for you to filter through all the hot tub brands and models on the market.

Did you know that the term Jacuzzi is a brand of Hot Tubs? People sometimes (incorrectly) use the brand name Jacuzzi to define all Hot Tubs. There are some subtle differences and it's important that our customers appreciate what these differences are.

Here at Outdoor Living, we take pride in being a UK authorised Jacuzzi Hot Tub retailer although we recognise that a Jacuzzi isn't right for everyone, and can supply a range of Hot Tubs from other quality manufacturers too.

Main Considerations

From basic features to more in-depth technical specifications, we’re aimed to guide you through the most important considerations when buying a hot tub:

  • Number of seats
  • Number of jets
  • Number of pumps
  • Filtration system used
  • Overall size of the hot tub or spa (make sure it will fit where you want it)
  • Additional features
    • Audio systems
    • Lighting
    • Water features (waterfalls)
    • Warranty details

We recommend using the above list to guide your journey into buying your hot tub. From our experience, the research phase is the most important to ensure the final decision is not only the right one for your budget but also your family and the future.

Don’t forget that at Outdoor Living we have 2 showrooms, one in Hull and the other in Leeds, for you to pop in and see one of our friendly staff we can answer any questions you might have. Why not also look at booking a wet test to try out a hot tub before you purchase?

Before you make any choices about a Jacuzzi or Hot Tub, have a look through our handy Hot Tub buyer’s guide below to give you some useful decision making tips.

How to choose the right Hot Tub:

  • Research Hot Tubs online

    Searching the internet for information about Jacuzzi, Hot Tubs and Spas is generally a good idea. Lots of people have Hot Tubs in the UK and are enjoying the various social and health benefits that come with them. Read Hot Tub reviews or websites to get an idea about what a Hot Tub lifestyle is like and how it could benefit you. Understanding why you want an outdoor Hot Tub is sometimes a good indicator of what kind of Spa you should research.

  • Caution: buying a Hot Tub online

    Don’t be fooled thinking you’ll get a better deal online. We highly recommend that you physically see some Hot Tubs or Spas before you buy them. The best Hot Tubs are a long term investment and will add value to your home as well as provide family entertainment for many years. Unfortunately internet deals can sometimes fall through meaning you’ll lose your money, or worse still, the Hot Tub you receive is much lower in quality than the one you were expecting and it will end up costing you more to run it or repair it. It’s important to understand the quality of your preferred Hot Tubs by going to a Hot Tub showroom to see them.

    At Outdoor Living we're happy to arrange a Hot Tub wet test for you at one of our showrooms in Hull or Leeds.

  • Manufacturing Hot Tubs

    Not all Hot Tubs are the same. During your research look out for reputable Hot Tub manufacturers and search their websites for information. If they have a good reputation for quality, you’ll be able to see it. Look out for it. Quality Hot Tub retailers and manufacturers will provide detailed Hot Tub product details, technical quality details, where to buy and their service information. Also look for manufacturers who offer a full Hot Tub warranty.

    If you're looking for a high quality Hot Tub manufacturer, consider Garden Spas, South Seas Spas, InnovaSpa, and of course Jacuzzi.

  • Plan for your new Hot Tubs arrival

    Imagine where your outdoor Jacuzzi Hot Tub will sit in your garden. Don’t forget to consider what direction you face, if you are overlooked, how you will fit your Hot Tub into the space and where it will feature in your overall garden design. When preparing your garden for the arrival of a new Jacuzzi Hot Tub, start discussing it with your local Jacuzzi Hot Tub retailer as soon as you can. They will point out all the considerations regarding an efficient installation while helping you make the most of your new Hot Tub.

  • Getting the best from your Hot Tub

    The best Hot Tubs are ones that provide you with years of entertainment and pleasure, without costing you a fortune to run. Make sure you check the quality of the Hot Tub construction. The cost to run a Hot Tub depends on how often you heat the water. Generally, if a Hot Tub is well made with significant insulation, the better it will be at retaining heat. Be sure to choose a Hot Tub with several layers of different types of insulation, which ensures maximum heat retention. Replica models lacking good insulation will ultimately cost more to heat. Other good indicators of the best Hot Tubs include a thick, strong Hot Tub cover to retain heat while you’re not using your Hot Tub and a solid ABS base. As well as retaining heat at the bottom of your Hot Tub, a strong base will prevent garden creatures and outdoor pests from getting inside it too.

  • Does Hot Tub size matter?

    Hot tubs are available in all shapes and sizes. Firstly, it’s important to think about how much space you have in your garden – and the access to it. This may limit the Hot Tub size you can accommodate. Ask an authorised Jacuzzi Hot Tub retailer to visit you at home to help you conduct an outdoor site survey. If you have problems with access to your garden, they may suggest a crane to help lift your Hot Tub or Spa over your house.

    Next, think about the number of people you will have in the Hot Tub at once. If you are planning regular Hot Tub parties, then you might need more seats than a standard family size. Although a larger Hot Tub may not always mean more seats, they are generally more comfortable with more space to move around in. Finally, think about the height of the people using the Hot Tub. Most standard Hot Tubs are around 90cm high, but the lengths differ. If you’re choosing a Hot Tub with a lounge seat, make sure they accommodate taller and shorter people comfortably. (The best way to check for comfort is to sit in a dry Hot Tub at a local showroom).

  • What is Hot Tub hydrotherapy?

    According to Wikipedia, ‘Hydrotherapy, involves the use of water for pain-relief and treating illness. The term hydrotherapy itself is synonymous with the term water cure as it was originally marketed by practitioners and promoters in the 19th century’. Since then, it’s become widely known that water soothes aching joints and hydrotherapy products have become popular for de-stressing, unwinding and generally resting our bodies. The development of the first Jacuzzi whirlpool bath in 1956 was a great step forward into domestic hydrotherapy.

    Today, in Hot Tub terms, hydrotherapy is the combination of water and air, pushed through well designed Hot Tub jets to deliver a smooth, targeted massage to the key areas our body demands. Jacuzzi Hot Tubs feature patented bearingless jets with no moving parts. Bearingless Hot Tub jet designs allow a range of swirling, pulsing, streaming or penetrating water flow, which deeply massages like every therapeutic technique. Make sure you check the Hot Tub jets to ensure that they are adjustable and you can turn them on/off to customise your massage.

  • Maintaining Hot Tub water

    When choosing a Hot Tub, you should look at how it filters the water. Typically, Hot Tubs use pleated filters to trap any grease or dirt. Most Jacuzzi Hot Tubs have 1 or 2 pumps that support hydrotherapy massage (the jets) plus a separate circulation pump which pushes all Hot Tub water through a filtration system. The system includes a number of pleated filters, skimmers or filter bags to trap all matter of debris that may enter your Jacuzzi Hot Tub during use. Plus some have ozonators that release ozone into the water regularly. Ozone naturally kills bacteria, so cuts down the amount of sanitiser you need. Hot Tub filters should be cleaned every couple of weeks and replaced every year. Checkout out our shop for the best prices on replacement filters and parts.

    Don’t forget that you need to maintain the Hot Tub water once it is up and running in your garden. Check before you buy your Hot Tub that your installer knows about maintaining Hot Tub water. A Jacuzzi Hot Tub retailer will provide detailed information and training about chemical treatments and water balance once your Hot Tub is installed. It’s easy once you know how. Popular water treatments for Hot Tub water safety include Chlorine, Bromine and for more sensitive skin, Oxidiser. Managing your Hot Tub water is important for your safety. Make sure you choose a Hot Tub retailer or manufacturer who can help you with ongoing maintenance and your chemical questions.

  • Hot Tub covers

    Make sure your Hot Tub is covered when not in use. Not only does this retain heat, but it also stops airborne debris from entering your Hot Tub water. The best Hot Tub covers are solid with insulation and have locks on them which fasten onto the side of your Hot Tub. This stops them from being tampered with while they’re out of use. A good Hot Tub cover will last for a couple of years before you should consider replacing it.

  • Using your iPhone/iPad in your Hot Tub

    If you want your Hot Tub to provide music, make sure you look at the entertainment system that comes with it. Not all Hot Tubs are the same. Jacuzzi Hot Tubs are available with iPod docking stations, MP3 players and even 1GB hard drives to store your music selections.

  • Hot Tub finance

    Reputable Hot Tub manufacturers can offer finance packages so that you can spread the cost of buying your Hot Tub. Look out for Jacuzzi finance offers at Jacuzzi authorised Hot Tub retailers. If you decide it's easier to buy now and pay later, Outdoor Living have a range of competitive Hot Tub finance rates available.

    For further information on our latest Hot Tub finance packages, please call our sales team on 01482 212322.

Frequently Asked Questions…

We often get asked the same questions from customers who are new to the hot tub world and want to know a little bit more before they decide to buy:

  1. How much should I spend on a hot tub?

We really wish we could give you a definitive answer to this question, however there are a lot of things which will affect the price of a hot tub. From experience, we can tell you that the cheapest hot tubs will not always work out as the best value as they may cost more to run or need a more rigorous cleaning regime. We recommend doing all the research you can, finding the features you can’t live without and then finding a hot tub that ticks as many boxes as possible.

Couple in hot tub
  1. What size hot tub do I need?

This question depends on how many people you want to be able to use the hot tub at any one time. If you have a small family then a 4 seat hot tub would more than likely suit your needs, however if your plan is to throw hot tub parties then you will probably need a larger one. At Outdoor Living we sell hot tubs that seat between 2 and 7 people.

  1. How many pumps and jets do I need?

There is a common misconception that the more pumps and jets that a hot tub has, the more powerful it will be. Whilst the concept of this is true, there is a limited amount of power available to the hot tub due to the electrical supply from the house to the hot tub. All the hot tubs we sell have been carefully selected to provide maximum efficiency without losing out on power or hydrotherapeutic benefit. Think of it like a car, does more wheels make it go faster? No. But a better engine does. Look at the pump quality and specification in the hot tub rather than the number of jets.

  1. What is the best hot tub purification method?

Clearray logo

All hot tub filtration systems have both good and bad points. Some of the most common filtration systems are:

Standard – Basic hot tubs use a filter to capture part contaminants in the water, however chemicals are needed to purify the water with the most common being Chlorine, Bromine tablets or granules.

CLEARRAY - A water purification system which uses a UV-C light to sanitise the water in a hot tub helping to prevent the growth of bacteria. Therefore there is an average of 40% fewer chemicals needed to sanitise the water. The UV-C light kills up to 99.9% of bacteria in the water ensuring your hot tub stays in top condition.

Ozonator - Another water purification system that kills bacteria reducing the amount of chemicals needed. The system works by creating ozone which helps breakdown contaminants in the water.

  1. How do you install a hot tub?

Before installing a hot tub, there are 3 main considerations:

  • A level solid base for it to sit on
  • An electrical supply
  • A hose pipe
Crane lifting hot tub

With regards to the base and water supply, we will cover these in our site survey to make sure everything is perfect for your new hot tub.

Depending on the hot tub you purchase you may need additional electrical work to create a 32amp supply or greater. You can read all about the details of electrics in our Hot tub Electrical Guidelines article.

Hot tubs are heavy, which is why we have special equipment such as spa dolly’s and trailers to help us move the hot tub safely into place. The hot tub is transported on its side to get it into position. We do a site survey to ensure we can get the hot tub where you would like it but we will also advise if a HIAB or crane is needed and be able to recommend suitable companies.

  1. How much will it cost to run my hot tub?

Hot tubs range in running cost depending on their size, insulation, capacity and heater. A genuine Jacuzzi® Brand Hot Tub will cost approximately £7/£10 a week to run (more in winter, less in summer) and our other hot tubs cost up to £20. However, these figures are an approximation. The cost varies depending on your use of the hot tub and the environment it is located in. If your hot tub is in the open or a cold environment and you use it a lot, it will cost more. If your hot tub is inside a building and you only use it once a week, it will cost a lot less. It is impossible to give a completely accurate figure.

  1. Should I keep my hot tub hot, or just heat it up when I want to use it?

You should keep your hot tub hot 24/7 as this will ensure it is always ready for use. It uses a lot more energy to keep heating a hot tub than it does to keep it at temperature. The only time we advise not to do this is when you may not use it for a few weeks/months. In this case we advise you to drain your hot tub to prevent bacteria growth. We perform a ‘winterise’ service to ensure your hot tub goes into hibernation safely when not in use.

  1. What is the best temperature to run my hot tub at?

As body temperature is about 37°C it will always feel warm above this temperature. Most people prefer the temperature between 38°C and 40°C depending on the outside temperature.

  1. How long will it take to heat my hot tub?

Kingston Lifestyle Hot Tub

There any many elements that affect the heating of a hot tub. Depending on the hot tub you buy it can have a heater from a 2KW to a 5KW. The hot tubs also have a range of water volumes and the time of year (winter to summer) will also affect the heating rate.

An example would be a 1,300 litre hot tub with a 2.7kw heater will take approximately 20 hours to heat. Once heated they are designed to stay hot 24/7 and the hot tub will only need to top up any heat loss. A 2.7KW heater will heat up 3 degrees every hour which means for every ½ hour you use the hot tub it will take approximately 20 minutes to get back up to temperature once you have put the insulated cover back on.

  1. How long should I stay in my hot tub?

It is recommended by some authorities that you should not spend more than 20 minutes in the hot tub at any given time. However, this is only a recommendation. If you keep hydrated and maintain your hot tub sanitation we see no reason why you cannot stay in for several hours.

  1. How long will it take to fill my hot tub?

Hot tubs are filled using a hose pipe so the filling time can vary depending on the capacity and water pressure. An average is two to three hours.

  1. How do I drain my hot tub?

Our hot tubs have a drain at the bottom or inside the front panel for you to attach a hose to drain it or simply let it drain into the garden. Alternatively, we supply submersible pumps to pump the water out much quicker.

  1. Can my baby go in the hot tub?

It is not recommended that any child under the age of 4 go in a hot tub as they cannot regulate their temperature when in water that is hot. If you want to take your child in the hot tub, we recommend dropping the temperature to at least 30°C.

If you have any further questions about your hot tub purchase, why not drop in and see us in either our Hull or Leeds showrooms.