Choosing size can be a little tricky with a hot tub. The hot tub industry builds some standard sizes such as 7 foot square and 8 foot square. There are some in-between sizes that vary from manufacturer to manufacturer and if you are limited on space then it might require additional research and time to find the right hot tub.
Seating configuration is another important consideration. Although from a bird’s eye view a hot tub might have seats for 6 people it is much more difficult to physically fit that amount of people due to lack of footwell space and water displacement. In essence a 7 foot spa with six seats might fit four adults comfortably or an 8 foot with eight seats might fit six adults comfortably. Furthermore, hot tubs can be purchased with all bucket or bench seats which allow you to maximize the seating capacity and accommodate as many bodies as possible. Conversely, a same size spa can have some seats that recline or lounge which take up more space in the hot tub and can limit the number of bodies. Statistically, first time hot tub buyers tend to buy hot tubs with a lounger/recliner seat because they want the variety of seating and they like the full body therapy that a lounger can provide since there are jets placed under your legs and feet. The problem with most loungers is that people float out of them when the jets come on and result in a wasted seat that doesn’t get used. Most second time hot tub buyers choose to eliminate the lounge seat and prefer all bucket seats. All bucket seat models are also more conversational since all of the seats face each other. If you are going to choose a seating configuration with a lounger it is important to find one that is not totally flat because you are more likely to float out of a flat lounger. A more ergonomic lounger will keep your back further forward and legs elevated. This keeps your center of gravity low and can help keep you from floating.
Another consideration is to find a seating configuration with one or two elevated areas that can double as a cool down seat and also a step for getting in and out of the hot tub. Elevated seats are also good for small children.
The last and arguably most important part of choosing the right hot tub is to actually sit in it and make sure it fits your body properly. It can meet the size requirement, seating configuration, and aesthetic requirement but if it doesn’t feel comfortable when you sit in it then it won’t get any better when you add water. We would also advocate wet testing a hot tub (test drive), however, we don’t feel it’s a requirement as long as you sit in it dry and it fits and feels comfortable.
Finally, it is very important when considering size to think about how many people and how often all of those people will be in the tub at the same time. For instance, if you are a family of six and four of your children are teenagers then you probably won’t be in the tub all at the same time. It more than likely will be you and your spouse using the tub together and the kids using it together in which case a four person hot tub (7’) would work just fine versus going with a six person hot tub (8’).