There is pretty close to 100 hot tub manufacturers across North America ranging from your smaller regional companies that build in the neighborhood of a thousand spas annually clear up to your larger manufacturers who build thirty thousand spas or more annually. The question always come up, “Who is the biggest? Who is the best?”. First off, most hot tub companies are privately held so data is not very readily available for an objective evaluation. We can, however, identify the largest brands based on sheer number of dealers and retailers carrying each brand. Hot Tub Insider has recently concluded a study to identify the largest brands in the United States. We went state by state and counted up all dealers with physical stores/locations carrying each of the 70 plus brands listed in our manufacturers directory. Each store was counted for dealers with multiple locations in our analysis. We also included sub-brands or lines within each brand if commonly packaged together by the manufacturer. For example, Hotspring Spas, Limelight Spas, and Hot Spot Spas are all usually packaged together (by Hotspring….aka Waktins Wellness) and all of them are displayed on a dealer’s showroom floor and not typically represented as standalone lines. The results are pretty interesting as Hotspring is clearly the most dominant brand in terms of dealer coverage. As of the time of this publication, they boasted over 350 retail locations across the United States. Not far on their heels is Jacuzzi Hot Tubs boasting over 250 retail locations. Sundance Spas is a close third with over 200 retail locations. Another interesting note is that many of these top brands are owned by the same parent company even though they are sometimes built in different manufacturing facilities. For example, Apollo Group owns Sundance, Jacuzzi, and Dimension One which combine for over 500 dealer locations across the United States. Similarly Watkins Wellness owns Hotspring (and all of its sublines), Caldera, Freeflow, and Endless Pools which puts them over 600 dealers locations. Artesian Spas, Bullfrog Spas, Maax Spas, Master Spas, Dynasty Spas, and Marquis Spas all boast around 100-150 retail locations each.
While biggest is typically synonymous with best it is not always the case. In the hot tub industry the top four brands dominate because they do have a reputation for quality product and quality dealers. It’s on these merits that they’ve become the market leaders however they aren’t always the best value. The bottom half of this Top 10 list are manufacturers who may not be as big but they are growing because they are building quality products, quality dealer networks, and adding the element of value. When comparing bang for the buck the bottom half of this list easily wins out in most cases.
Another reason the manufacturers or brands in the top half of this list have become so successful has been the result of years of heavily marketing and advertising their products. Most savvy buyers understand that bigger marketing budgets generally trickle down to the dealer (higher wholesale prices) and ultimately higher retail prices for the consumer or end user. There’s a balance to be found here and it will be up to the consumer to make the final determination as to the “right spa at the right price”.
Furthermore, it’s extremely important when buying a hot tub to make sure not only are you buying a reputable brand but to also make sure you are buying from a reputable dealer that does their own service and ideally their own deliveries (not outsourcing). Always check reviews and take them with a grain of salt as there are two sides to every complaint although the majority of reviews should mostly be good.