A Portable Hot Tub Buying Guide
Traditional hot tubs are expensive. The cost is a major deterrent for many people who would otherwise benefit from the relaxation and hydrotherapy. Enter portable spas – a much more affordable alternative with most of the same benefits.
The term ‘portable hot tub’ can be confusing. It can be used to describe several different types of tubs, although many people use it too broadly to refer to traditional acrylic spas. Read on to learn more about portable hot tubs, their pros and cons, and how much you can expect to spend.
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About Portable Hot Tubs
Many portable hot tubs are inflatable; others have insulated panels for quick setup and takedown. Less often, portable hot tubs are made with an acrylic base. However, these are very small hot tubs that are much lighter and easier to transport than traditional acrylic spas, which are not portable.
There are several ways to differentiate a portable hot tub from a traditional hot tub. Portable hot tubs plug in to standard outlets, while traditional tubs need to be wired by an electrician. Portable hot tubs can be placed on almost any surface, from grass to driveways, while traditional tubs need a perfectly flat and level surface such as a concrete patio. Portable hot tubs are smaller than traditional hot tubs, so they fit into tighter spaces. They’re easy to deliver, set up and transport, and they use far less energy. No surface preparation is required.
On the downside, portable hot tubs are much less powerful and typically accommodate only 2-4 people at once. They’re not as rugged and won’t last as long. The water is not as hot and loses heat faster than traditional spas. Depending on the model, portable hot tubs may or may not have seats and jets.
Cost of Portable Hot Tubs
Most inflatable and self-assembly portable spas cost $600-$1,200.
- The Comfort Line Spa 2 Go inflatable spa sells for $600-$800. It has an inflatable bench seat and more than 100 micro-air jets. It seats up to four adults.
- The Comfort Line Spa-N-A-Box, a faux-wood spa that sets up in about 20 minutes, costs $900-$1,200. It accommodates 4-5 adults and also has micro-air jets. The spa comes with a digital temperature readout and an insulated cover.
More sophisticated one-piece portable spas are significantly more expensive.
- A two-person acrylic and plastic spa that is sold in one piece might cost $2,500-$3,500. At that price point, expect digital controls and lots of high-powered jets. However, the spa will be much smaller and less durable than traditional acrylic spas.
Taxes and shipping can add $100-$400 to the total price, although sometimes shipping is free. A cover, if it is not included, usually costs $100-$200. An ozonator, which helps sanitize the spa, cost $100-$200 extra. A warranty is sometimes included; other times it costs extra.
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