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Hot Tub Buyers Guide

Choosing the right hot tub for you and your family can be puzzling, especially with so many different hot tubs on the market today. We’ve created this page to give you some useful decision-making tips.

Where should I positon my hot tub?

Hot tubs look fantastic whether they are situated indoors or outside. You may be fortunate enough to already have the perfect spot for a hot tub such as a secluded corner of the garden. A hot tub can go on any flat level surfaces, or on raised reinforced decking.If you're struggling for ideas there are a few images below to give you inspiration.

Hot Tub Placement

What size hot tub?

Size matters. This is one of the most important decisions when choosing a hot tub and there a few important points to consider.

How many people will be using the hot tub on a regular basis?
A family will need a larger hot tub than a couple, and will perhaps want different features.

Is the access to your property restricted?
If you wish to have a hot tub indoors then you need to make sure the hot tub you choose will fit through any doorways you have. While certain obstacles can be overcome, you certainly don't want to be taking out windows if the hot tub is going inside

How tall are you?
Perhaps one of the most overlooked factors in choosing a suitably sized hot tub is your height. If you are tall (6ft and over) you will need to choose a hot tub 880mm + deep. The difference in depth is in the foot well section. If you are tall and you purchase a shallow tub your knees would be pointing upwards when seated and this is not a comfortable position.

Other factors to consider are whether you want to use the hot tub for therapy or just social relaxation.

What seating arrangements should I choose?

Hot tubs have advancved a lot since the days of a simple bench seat and now offer a variety of seating arrangements.

The All Seater
These hot tubs have every seat in an upright position. These hot tubs are great for larger tubs where it's going to be used a lot by family and friends.

The Lounger
Some hot tubs also contain lounger seats – this means at least one of the seats will be full length in a laying down position – allowing you the ability to recline and receive the therapy jets allover the body.

Those with more that two lounger seats will have different jets so you can experience different therapies.

You can filter the products on our website to see which hot tubs contain lounger seats.

What is the best shell material?

The three main types of shell material are listed below along with their pros and cons.

Acrylic
These hot tubs have a cast acrylic shell. The shells are supported by a frame structure, and are usually surrounded by a skirt of either cedar or simulated wood-grain plastic. They typically can seat two to seven persons or more.

One of the most important features of an acrylic hot tub are the pipes, jets, returns, etc. being exposed on the underside of the shell. This is great for maintenance or repair needs as means an acrylic spa is a great solution long term.

With frequent draining and filling of hot tubs the shell is stressed on a consistent basis by the cycle of unloading and then filling with cold water, this effect is increased if the shell is still warm. An acrylic hot tub doesn't suffer from this issue as the shell is designed to handle this change in temperature and pressure, also the piping is not stressed along with the remainder of the shell while draining and filling the tub.

Because of the above there are significant savings associated with the purchase and running of an acrylic hot tub.

Roto Molded
Roto Molding is a relatively new process the hot tub world. This innovative process beings with a hollow mould that is then filled with a polyethylene powder. When heated the polyethylene powder creates a high-impact material that is solid. The mould is rotated by a machine that also heats the mould and its contents. This causes the polyethylene powder to soften and evenly coat the inside of the mould before the process is complete. Finally the rotating machine and its contents are cooled; the mild is opened to reveal a uniformly-created hot tub in one single piece.

The process of rotational moulding means the hot tub is created without any weak points. Hot tubs like this won't rot, crack or rust. Roto molded hot tubs are also weather resistant so the hot tub will continue to provide years of worry free service.

Wooden
Wooden hot tubs traditionally come from Arctic areas where they were developed with limited resources so that residents could bathe.

Wooden hot tubs are typically constructed from cedar wood and are then sealed to ensure they remain water tight. They are heated by either a wood burning stove or an electric heater. They don't typically include a bubble system although these can be added.

The tubs are mainly just used for relaxing and not necessarily for hydrotherapy although it is possible to add jetting systems.

Insulation - Which type is best?

There are two main types of insulation full foam and layered/partial.

Full foam insulation consists of filling the area between the hot tub shell and under structure with a layer of solid foam. Over 70% of hot tubs manufactured today use this method of insulation because it is a very effective way to insulate, as well as support, hot tubs and the plumbing. This method also reduces noise from any pumps.

Full foam insulation can make it difficult to correct problems that may occur. This is because the insulation completely fills the hot tubs under structure and covers the plumbing and fixtures. However the likelihood of a component failing is very slim and pumps are positioned so that they are easily accessible. The chances of leaks are virtually not existent due to the methods of construction used.

Layered/Partial insulation is the method of installing layers of insulating material between the cabinet walls and the hot tub shell.

Manufacturers can create layered insulation in many different ways using a number of materials. If you are considering a layered insulated hot tub it is important to look for materials with high insulating values. It is best to look for manufacturers who use multiple layers of insulation.

Hot tubs designed with removable walls allow easy access to move the layers of insulation aside if the hot tub requires any maintenance, this makes locating a problem easy. Although this method of insulating may appear to be the best, please be aware that most manufacturers do try to cut corners. If poor insulation material is used or only a few thin layers are present heating bills will be costly.

How many jets is best?

Many people consider a large number of jets to be better. Unfortunately it's probably some of the biggest hype in the industry. Many manufacturers and retailers will try to persuade you that more jets matter, when in fact it's the type, quality and orientation of those jets that really matters.

Jets should be designed and positioned for hydrotherapy action, comfort and efficiency. A well-engineered hot tub will provide you a soothing hydrotherapy experience. A good hot tub design will also incorporate a seat without jets or where jets can be controlled/switched off for people who just want to soak and relax. A good example of this is the Villeroy & Boch Premium hot tub line. These hot tubs have auxilliary controls in every seat postion and the manufacturer also offer interchangable jet packs so you can customise your therapy.

Are there any essential accesories that I need?

There are a few things your hot tub should definitely have:

Chemcial Pack
Keeping your hot tub water clean and ready to use is paramount to bather safety. There are various chemical paclks on the market but they all do the same thing, it's essential that you keep up with water maintenance.

Cover
Ensure your hot tub is covered when not in use. This is vital for retaining heat and stopping debris entering the water. The best covers are thermal rigid with solid insulation and lock to your hot tub. A good cover will last a number of years before needing replacement.

Steps
This will be dependant on your installation, however you need to ensure that you can enter and exit the hot tub safely. Some manufacturers will include steps as standard while other will not. Check before purchasing what is included with the hot tub.

Other accessories are available, such as hand rails, sun screens and caddy's

Do I need to prepare a base for my hot tub?

Hot tubs can be heavy without having water in them and with some of the larger hot tubs weighing over 2000 kg when filled a suitable level base is essential. The most common base is that of standard concrete, it should be slighter larger than the footprint of the hot tub and a minimum thickness of 4 inches (depending of the size of hot tub you choose).

Decking is a very popular choice when it comes to bases. If you are going to use decking you must ensure that any new or existing decking is able to take the additional weight of a fully filled hot tub. Reinforced decking is required and if your decking is laid directly on soil extra bracing may also be necessary.

A modern alternative to the above is Smart Deck from Leisure Concepts. Smart Deck is an easy to install base, which just requires the area to be flat and level and no other special preparation is required. The innovative SmartDeck patio system provides a perfect solution to the problem of establishing a flat and level hot tub base. Each panel locks together allowing the creation of small or large decks if desired. The beauty of this system is that you can remove the base if you choose to move the hot tub.

Smart Deck

What electrical supply will my hot tub need?

Your hot tub will need an electric supply and some hot tubs use more electricity than others. Generally there are 2 electrical supply requirements. 'Plug and Play' hot tubs run off a 13 amp power supply. These hot tubs are supplied with a normal 3 pin plug that is common on other household appliances. All you will need for these tubs is a sutiably place waterproof outdoor socket.

More powerful hot tubs will nomrally require 20 amps or above and a cable from your electrical fuse box needs to run direct to the hot tub. Building regulations apply to this type of electrical work and this should only be carried out by a suitably qualified and certified person. Generally this will need to be carried out once the hot tub has been situated.