Buying a hot tub can seem like a daunting venture; where do you even start? We’re here to help. We’ve compiled our years of knowledge and expertise into this guide, making it easier for you every step of the way.
In this guide, you’ll find everything you need to know, and more, about buying a hot tub.
So, grab a cuppa and let’s dive in.
- Doing your research
- Visiting a showroom
- Buying your hot tub
- Planning for your hot tub’s arrival and installation
- Setting up your new hot tub
- Maintaining your hot tub
Doing your research
The best place to start is to research, ensuring the final decision will suit your budget, family and future. It’s an investment, so we recommend you make an informed decision before taking the plunge.
Is it worth buying a hot tub?
Yes, if you plan to use it regularly. The main benefit of owning a hot tub is hydrotherapy.
Check out our hydrotherapy blog to learn more, but in a nutshell, hydrotherapy is the combination of water and air pushed through the jets to deliver a smooth, targeted massage. It’s great for unwinding and soothing aching muscles after a long day.
Is a hot tub the same as a Jacuzzi?
Jacuzzi® is the brand that invented the hot tub over 60 years ago and is still leading the industry. At Outdoor Living, we are proud sellers of Jacuzzi®.
A hot tub, also called a spa, is a large tub of water used for hydrotherapy or relaxing and unwinding.
Which hot tub is right for me?
It depends on your budget, the size of your garden, how many people you’ll have in the hot tub, how many jets, and whether you want any speakers to play music. Speak to sales staff; they’re the experts and can help you decide.
How much does a good hot tub cost?
In our experience, the cheapest hot tubs don’t work out as the best value, as they cost more to run or need a more rigorous cleaning regime. We recommend doing all the research you can, finding features you can’t live without, and then looking for one that ticks as many boxes as possible.
How much does it cost to run a hot tub?
Another part of owning a hot tub is the running costs, including electricity, water, and chemicals. These vary depending on how often you use it, where it’s situated, the size, capacity, insulation, and heater.
A hot tub costs around £2.74 a day to run, but this may differ based on overall usage, weather, temperature, cover, insulation, changes in energy costs and your tub’s age and efficiency. To help lower your energy costs by up to 50%, check out our air source heat pumps.
What size hot tub should I get?
Hot tubs come in all shapes and sizes. Consider the amount of space you have, plus access to your garden, as this could limit the size of the tub you can accommodate. Think about how many people will be in it at once, and if you’re planning regular hot tub parties, you’ll need more seats than the standard family size. Although a larger tub may not always mean more seats, they’re generally more comfortable with more space to move around.
Think about the height of people using it too. Standard spas are usually around 90cm high, but the lengths and widths differ. If you choose one with a lounge seat, ensure it’ll accommodate taller and shorter people.
How much does a hot tub weigh?
An empty 2 to 3-person hot tub can weigh around 200-350kg, which gets drastically heavier when it’s filled with water, weighing an average of 2000kg, or 2 tonnes. For a larger 6 to 8-seater, the empty weight is around 400kg, and once filled, it can weigh up to 2800kg (2.8 tonnes).
What are hot tubs made of?
Your hot tub’s shell (the inside) can be made of vinyl, rotomolded plastic or acrylic.
What are hot tub shelters?
A hot tub gazebo can shelter users from the typical British weather and create a private getaway in your garden. We have various shapes and sizes made from weather-resistant materials.
When choosing your gazebo, make sure it’s wide enough to cover your new hot tub, but also keep in mind the size of your garden – you don’t want it to take over your entire outdoor space. Standard gazebos won’t be tall enough to allow for the height of the cover lifter, so ensure that you check the internal measurement.
What should I look for when buying a hot tub?
Below are the main things to think about before purchasing your hot tub.
Generally, when a hot tub is well-made with high-quality insulation, it’s better at retaining heat. Better heat retention means lower heating costs.
ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene) makes a good base, as it’s tough, rigid, heat-resistant and prevents garden creatures and outdoor pests from getting inside.
Consider the number of jets you’d like, and find out if they’re adjustable, with the ability to turn them on/off to customise your massage.
There’s a common misconception that the more pumps and jets a spa has, the more powerful it’ll be. Whilst the concept of this is true, there’s a limited amount of power available to the tub through the electrical supply from the house. All our hot tubs provide maximum efficiency without compromising on power or hydrotherapeutic benefit.
Typically, hot tubs use pleated filters to clear dirt, debris and pollutants from the water; however, chemicals are still needed to purify the water. The most common are chlorine and bromine, which come in tablet or granule form.
Jacuzzi® hot tubs have a ClearRay™ water purification system that uses UV-C light to sanitise the water, killing up to 99.9% of bacteria and reducing the need for chemicals by 40%, keeping your tub in tip-top condition.
Ozonator is another water purification system that kills bacteria. It creates ozone which helps break down contaminants in the water.
Bluetooth® music systems enable you to listen to your playlist while relaxing in your hot tub. Some include it as standard, and for others, it’s an optional add-on.
Interior and exterior lighting can bring your hot tub to life at night. Some come with lighting already, or you can add your own.
Water elements like a waterfall can create a calming and soothing environment. Some are for circulation, and some are just for aesthetics.
When you buy a hot tub from us, it has a comprehensive manufacturer’s warranty. For more information, check out our hot tub warranty page.
Please be aware that different brands have different warranties. Check that a trusted brand backs your purchase to fulfil your warranty, not just the hot tub dealer themselves.
Visiting a showroom
If you can’t get to one of our showrooms, our experts can discuss your options over the phone or via email, or with a video tour if required. Or, check out our virtual tour of our award-winning showroom.
Is there an option to try before you buy?
Yes, the best way to help you decide on your all-important hot tub purchase is by booking a wet test. Our showrooms have a private testing area and a changing facility.
Buying your hot tub
Looking at information online about Jacuzzi® spas is generally a good idea. However, don’t be fooled by thinking you’ll get a better deal online. We highly recommend that you physically see the tub in person before you buy it to get a better idea of the quality of the hot tub you’re purchasing.
Read reviews or look at websites to learn what a hot tub lifestyle is like and how it could benefit you.
Hot tub financing
Reputable manufacturers can offer finance packages so that you can spread the cost. Look out for finance offers at authorised Jacuzzi® retailers. If you decide it’s easier to buy now and pay later, we have a range of competitive finance rates, with 0% APR available.
For more information on our latest finance packages, call our sales team on 01482 212322.
Hot tub supplies and accessories
Once you’ve decided on your perfect hot tub, you should consider the different types of accessories to enhance your experience.
Hot tub covers
All hot tubs should come with a cover as standard. If it doesn’t, or the company charges extra for a basic cover, consider looking elsewhere. A good thermal cover will last for two to three years before it’ll need replacing.
Hot tub steps
Hot tub steps provide a safe and easy way of getting in and out. When looking for your steps, research the durability, maintenance, and safety precautions. Reputable companies should include steps as standard.
Hot tub pillows and headrests
A hot tub pillow provides the right amount of comfort to lean back and relax. The headrests need looking after well since they are always partly submerged in water and usually need replacing every two to three years.
Planning for your hot tub’s arrival and installation
Before your hot tub is delivered, there’re a few key considerations:
- Where will it sit in your garden?
- Which direction will it face?
- Will you be overlooked by your neighbours?
- How will it fit in the space?
- How will it complement the overall aesthetic and design of your garden?
How to install a hot tub
To make sure you have an efficient installation, make sure you’ve thought about the following:
- A solid, level base for it to sit on
- A certified electrical supply
- A garden hose pipe
How to get a hot tub in a garden
A hot tub is heavy, so we have special equipment like spa dolly trailers to help us move it safely into place.
The spa is transported on its side to get it into position, and we’ll conduct a site survey to ensure we can get it where you’d like it.
If you have problems with access to your garden, we can advise if it needs a crane.
Do hot tubs need electricity?
Yes, most of our hot tubs need a power supply to function. Typically, tubs with one pump require a 13-amp supply, whereas larger ones need 32 amps or more. Depending on which spa you purchase, you may need additional electrical work to create a 32+ amp power supply.
It’s now a legal requirement that a competent person carries out any electrical work in UK households. We can’t commission a hot tub without an installation or Minor Works Certificate; we need to know your electric supply is safe.
Installations must also comply with section 702 in the Institute of Electrical Engineers Regulations. For more information, check out our electrical installation guidelines.
Or, you could go for a wood fired hot tub, which doesn’t need electricity.
What to put a hot tub on
Your hot tub needs to be on a solid, level foundation to support its weight with water and users. The ideal base is concrete, but you can utilise gravel, patio slabs or block paving as long as it’s flat and level.
Can you put a hot tub on decking?
Yes, you can place a hot tub on decking, but if you already have a deck, you’ll need to consider whether it’s strong enough to hold the weight of your new tub (including water and users).
To determine if your decking can support the weight, the general rule is that most decks can withstand 100 lbs (around 45kg) per square foot.
Can I put a hot tub in a shed?
Yes, but it all depends on the type of shed. Make sure it has the following:
- A strong base that’ll hold the weight of your tub.
- Ventilation – moisture from the water will rot the wood on the shed if it’s not treated.
- Space – leave enough room to reach all the necessary parts of your hot tub and enough height to remove the cover.
We recommend a hot tub gazebo, great for sheltering from the elements while avoiding the hassles of a garden shed installation. For more inspiration on gazebos, check out our range here.
Setting up your new hot tub
How to fill a hot tub
How long does a hot tub take to fill?
The average time to fill your hot tub is usually around two to three hours, but it can vary with different water pressure and capacity.
How high do I fill a hot tub?
The general rule is for the water to ‘kiss’ the bottom of the pillows. Check your manufacturer’s instructions; some hot tubs have a level indication inside the shell. Don’t overfill it – remember you need space for water to be displaced when people enter.
Can you fill a hot tub with warm water?
You can use warm water, but not hot or boiling. Anything above 50°C will cause damage to the shell. The best temperature is around 40°C, meaning that once it’s full and you’ve balanced your chemicals, you can jump straight in and enjoy.
Is hard water bad for hot tubs?
Yes, hard water can prevent efficient heat transfer, cause calcium build-up in your plumbing, create scale deposits that feel like sandpaper, and mark the shell. It can also harm the skin, causing eczema and acne and leaving your hair dry and damaged.
If you live in a hard water area, we recommend using no scale to prevent scale build-up in your spa.
Soft water can also be bad for your tub as it can cause the metal to corrode away – the key is to find the right balance.
What chemicals do I need for a hot tub?
Our hot tubs and swim spas come with one of our chemical starter kits that include all the essentials like sanitiser, test strips, no foam, pH increaser and decreaser.
Check out our chemicals guide for more information.
What temperature should a hot tub be?
The body’s temperature is about 37°C, so it’ll always feel warm above this temperature. Most people prefer between 38-40°C, depending on the outside temperature.
Check out our guide on safe spa temperatures.
How long does a hot tub take to heat up?
Various factors influence the heating of spa water, including the capacity, heater power and efficiency. For example, a 4 person 1,300-litre hot tub with a 2.7kW heater will take approximately 20 hours to heat.
Hot tubs maintain their heat, so it only needs to top up any heat loss, which will be minimal when you put the insulated cover back on.
Maintaining your new hot tub
The main thing people ask us when buying one for the first time is: are hot tubs hard to maintain? The answer is; they aren’t high maintenance as long as you understand basic water chemistry and how to keep on top of your water care.
How much does a hot tub cost to maintain?
The more you use your hot tub, the more chemicals and cleaning it needs. If you’re using it two to three times a week, you’d expect to spend around £200 on chemicals and filters over a year.
How do I maintain a hot tub?
Create a maintenance schedule based on how often you use it. Consider daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly tasks based on the following areas:
Your hot tub filters need cleaning weekly to work effectively. Ensure you have a spare filter for when one is out of use. When rotating your filters, the lifespan should be around 18 months.
Take a look at our handy step-by-step filter cleaning guide.
Interior and exterior maintenance
Cleaning is integral to keeping your hot tub in tip-top condition for years. Different parts need cleaning at different times, depending on how often you use your tub and the products used.
Check out our cleaning guide for more information and step-by-step guides.
Can you leave hot tubs on all the time?
Yes, you should keep your spa hot 24/7, as this will ensure it’s always ready for use. It uses a lot more energy to keep reheating the water from cold than it does to keep it at temperature.
The only time we’d advise you not to do this is when you won’t use it for a few months. In this case, we’d recommend you drain the water to prevent bacteria growth, read more tips on hot tub winterising in our guide. We have a ‘winterise’ service to ensure your spa goes into hibernation safely when not in use.
How do I service my hot tub?
Request a hot tub service through our online form. Once you’ve booked an appointment, we’ll send one of our expertly trained technicians to carry out the service, who’ve all had BISHTA chemical training.
Our hot tub services include a 30-point service check, so any defective or damaged parts will be replaced or repaired under warranty (if applicable) or replaced at an additional cost.
How do you empty a hot tub?
Turn off the power supply and source your drainage spigot. Attach the garden hose to the spigot and open the ball valve to drain the water, ensuring the other end of the hose faces downhill.
Do all hot tubs have a drain?
All our hot tubs have a drain at the bottom or inside the front panel for you to attach a hose or let it drain into the garden. Alternatively, we supply submersible pumps that’ll empty it much quicker.
How long can you leave a hot tub empty?
You can leave your spa empty for as long as you like, provided you’ve followed the steps to winterise it; removing every last drop of water from the shell and pipework, turning off the power supply and securing the cover.