How much should I pay for a hot tub? This question comes up every day from people shopping for a new hot tub or spa. Most buyers have no preconceived notions about what a hot tub should cost and if they do then they think it’s a $3000-$5000 purchase which is just the starting point for retail hot tubs in recent years. Excluding the swim spa category hot tubs basically run between $1000-$15000. The key elements that determine the pricing have to do with the size of the hot tub, design, features and upgrades, and the big one is quality. Below is the breakdown of the different classifications and retail price ranges of hot tubs.
1. “Off-The-Shelf” Hot Tubs – $1000-2000 – these are typically inflatable hot tubs that can be purchased of the shelf as a cash and carry item. They almost always run on 110v electricity which makes them very simple to use as they are plug ‘n play. They typically have a blower motor that runs air jets which don’t usually provide any therapeutic massage. There are some inflatable models that feature a water pump (and blower motor) that runs between 3-6 water jets which can provide some decent hydrotherapy.
2. Entry Level Hot Tubs – $3000-5000 – hot tubs in this range are usually what they industry refers to as roto-molded hot tubs. These are monolithic hot tubs made of a high density thermoplastic inside and out. Basically the hot tub starts out as a powder and then a liquid which is poured inside a cast (mold) then cooled until the shell hardens. They aren’t the most aesthetically pleasing hot tubs but are very durable, portable, and affordable. They usually have one water pump and between 10-30 jets which delivers better hydrotherapy than inflatable hot tubs at an affordable price. These spas are also 110v plug ‘n play which makes them turnkey for most buyers.
3. Mid-Level Hot Tubs – $5000-8000 – these are traditional hot tubs and what most people think of when they picture a hot tub in their mind. They have an acrylic shell that comes in a variety of color choices and feature a real wood or synthetic cabinet attached to a frame. These tubs come equipped with one or two water pumps (jet pumps) and upwards of 50 jets which is ideal for a quality hydrotherapy experience. These hot tubs are also available with the most features, upgrades, and options. Features can be LED mood lightings, Wifi controls, stereos, water features, and low maintenance water management/filtration systems. Warranties range from 1-3 years on this class of hot tubs.
This is also the most competitive price range of hot tubs in the market and quality can be a big differentiator from one brand to the next so it is important to do your diligence before purchasing. Our hot tub buyers guide section is a great resource for important considerations and education.
4. Premium Hot Tubs – $8000-10,000 – this range basically builds on the class before it with more standard features and less options/upgrades. The quality is usually there and the warranties are longer (up to 5 years). Premium water management and filtration systems are usually standard. This range typically gives you a 24 hour circulation pump versus a 2 speed jet pump (low speed for circulation and high speed for jets). Most buyer’s find that this range gives them everything on their wish list and is ultimately a better ownership experience over the long haul.
5. Ultra-Premium Hot Tubs $10000-15000 – this is a pretty exclusive category with almost all features (bells and whistles) coming with the tub. These spas are also equipped with the most cutting edge industry technology, engineering, and design. You’ll also find unique styling in this class of hot tubs. Styling can be unique water features or radius shapes which can become a focal point of your backyard landscape design.
In addition to the cost of the hot tub itself, there are also several other factors to consider when determining the total cost of ownership. These include the cost of site preparation and cost of installation, which can vary depending on the complexity of the project and the location of the hot tub; the cost of maintenance, which includes things like chemicals and filters; and the cost of energy, which can be higher for hot tubs that are used frequently.
Altogether, the cost of a hot tub can vary widely depending on your specific needs and preferences. It is wise to do your research and consider all of the costs involved before making a purchase.