Traditional hot tub covers have been used since the beginning of hot tub manufacturing and have improved very little over time. Although there are differences in covers, they are still made of foam and vinyl. The industry is in need of innovation and there have been some recent initiatives to come up with longer lasting, better insulating, and more environmentally friendly alternatives discussed at the end of this section.
When it comes to traditional hot tub covers there are several important criteria to consider. First, make sure that the cover you are getting is tapered (ie. 4”-2”). A tapered cover is important especially when the hot tub is outdoors because it allows the rain or snow to run off and not puddle on the surface. Second, make sure that the cover is metal reinforced along the hinge since the middle of the cover is the most vulnerable to heavy loads like snow. Third, make sure that the cover is air tight when closed. A long skirt around the perimeter and a bladder that runs down the hinge is instrumental in making an air tight seal. Fourth, make sure that the styrene foam inserts are sealed in plastic and not exposed. Exposed foam can quickly absorb water and become waterlogged making the cover very heavy and difficult to take on/off.
One myth regarding hot tub covers is that they are an added cost when purchasing a hot tub. This is not true in most cases as a standard hot tub cover usually comes with the hot tub when the dealer purchases it from the manufacturer (almost always built into the dealer/retailer’s cost). That being said, some manufacturers offer different grades of covers which can be had for a small up-charge or premium. For example, a standard hot tub cover might be a 4”-2” tapered cover that would come with the spa and for a fee you could upgrade to a 6”-4” tapered cover.
ELITE HOT TUB COVERS
There are some newer hard covers on the market today such as the Smartop made by Leisure Concepts, Advanced Spa Cover, End 2 End Cover (rollup cover) , and the SpaCap. These covers boast a rigid structure that you can walk on, don’t absorb water, and never need to be replaced according to the manufacturer(s). They also have better insulation value and maintain their “R Value” over time because they don’t absorb water. Although these covers are appealing they are equally expensive. A typical hot tub cover lasts 3-5 years before needing to be replaced so it’s safe to assume that you might replace 2-3 covers over the lifetime of your hot tub at roughly $400 each which would be between $800-1200. The Smartop, for example, retails for around $1600-$2000 which is more expensive than purchasing 3 covers over the life of the spa. We are hopeful that the industry will continue to innovate on the cover front and come up with more cost effective, higher quality, and better performance covers in the near term.