Inflatable hot tubs allow you to create a spa-like environment in your own backyard at a fraction of the cost of traditional permanent hot tubs. An inflatable hot tub is a great way to test the waters when investing in a permanent mode. They can also be a long-term solution for those who don’t want their hot tub set up year-round. Their portability allows for flexible use and their easy installation will allow you to be blissfully soaking in no time. Read on to learn more about these outdoor additions and how to choose the best inflatable hot tub for you.
- BEST OVERALL: Intex Simple Spa Inflatable Heated Hot Tub Spa
- RUNNER UP: Coleman SaluSpa Hawaii 4-Person Square Hot Tub Spa
- BEST UPGRADE: Bestway SaluSpa Helsinki AirJet Inflatable Hot Tub
- ALSO CONSIDER: Intex PureSpa Plus 4 Person Inflatable Hot Tub Spa
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Inflatable Hot Tub
When shopping for an inflatable hot tub, there are some key factors to consider. The following sections detail some of the most important qualities to keep in mind when shopping for the best inflatable hot tub for your backyard.
Inflatable hot tubs tend to take up less space than traditional, permanently installed models. If you have limited outdoor space, however, it’s important to be mindful of dimensions when shopping for an inflatable tub to make sure it will fit.
How many people the tub can fit is an important consideration for most shoppers. The majority of inflatable hot tubs on the market are meant to accommodate two to four people, while some larger versions can accommodate six or seven. Hot tub capacity is typically measured in gallons, with most products on the market having a capacity that ranges between 175 and 275 gallons. Manufacturers typically measure the capacity at the point where the tub is 80 percent full.
The material used in the fabrication of your inflatable hot tub will contribute to its durability and longevity. Inflatable hot tubs typically feature layers of sturdy materials like vinyl and PVC. The more layers it contains, the more durable the product will be. Materials labeled as “TriTech” or “FiberTech” are triple-ply and will ensure that your tub is puncture-resistant. Some models offer reinforced walls which makes them even more long lasting.
The majority of inflatable hot tubs on the market are round, but square-shaped models are also available. Square-shaped tubs tend to provide more leg room for bathers and fit better if placed against a wall or tucked into a corner on your deck or patio.
Inflatable hot tubs feature one of two types of jets:
- Air jets (or bubble jets) are air-powered and provide a gentle massage. They typically use a higher number of jets to achieve a more powerful effect and require minimal maintenance. Air jets are the primary style of jet used in inflatable hot tubs.
- Hydro jets (or water jets) are water-powered. Fewer jets are required to achieve a powerful massaging effect. Water jets require more frequent maintenance and should not be paired with aromatherapy oil or bath salts because they risk causing damage to the system. They tend to have a higher price point than air jet tubs. Hydro jets are more commonly found in permanent hot tubs than inflatable hot tubs.
While traditional hot tubs come equipped with built-in seats, most inflatable models do not. They are constructed to be comfortable without the use of individual seats. You can, however, purchase additional, removable seating for your inflatable hot tub. These seats can be moved around to create the ideal seating configuration. Shorter adults and children may benefit from a hot tub booster seat.
Filtration System and Pumps
Inflatable hot tubs come equipped with filtration systems and pumps for heating the water and powering the jets.
- Filtration systems are included with all inflatable hot tub models and keep the water clean and free of dirt and debris. The filters need to be cleaned periodically and should be replaced according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Some models are additionally equipped with hard-water filtration systems to reduce calcium buildup.
- Pumps heat the water and power the jet systems, propelling either air bubbles or water to create a massaging effect. Some multi-functioning pumps also work to inflate the tub.
Most inflatable hot tubs on the market come equipped with an insulating cover, a ground mat, and a digital control panel. Some models have additional features, including:
- Removable headrests
- Customizable jet settings
- Adjustable LED lights
Our Top Picks
Now that you know more about inflatable hot tubs, it’s time to start shopping. The following picks consider all of the features above, including size, material, jets, and additional features. This list offers a variety of choices for a top-notch inflatable hot tub that suits your needs and budget.
Although a bit on the smaller side, this durable four-person inflatable hot tub offers a number of desirable features that make this pick from Intex enjoyable and easy to use, including an insulated cover, thermal ground cloth, inflation hose, carrying bag, floating chlorine dispenser, and pH test strip.
A wide temperature range of 68 to 104 degrees ensures the water temperature can fit your personal preference, and 100 high-powered air jets provide bathers with plenty of comfort. A strong mesh outer layer provides added protection from the elements.
It has an outer diameter of 77 inches, an inner diameter of 57 inches, a height of 26 inches, and a capacity of 210 gallons.
This square-shaped model is a great pick if you want to position your inflatable hot tub against a wall or in a corner of your deck or patio. It can accommodate up to four people, and its shape allows bathers to comfortably stretch their legs. It features 114 surrounding air jets and comes equipped with a digital control panel that allows you to control the temperature.
The walls are made from 3-ply TriTech, making it durable and puncture-resistant. It has easy-lift handles, making it easier to transport.
Its dimensions are 71 inches by 71 inches by 26 inches. At 80 percent filled, it has a water capacity of 177 gallons. It includes a reinforced cover, a chemical floater, two filter cartridges, a pad protector and a repair patch.
Sophisticated design and large capacity make this inflatable hot tub a luxury choice. Because the exterior material of this inflatable hot tub is meant to mimic wood paneling, it gives the appearance of a permanent built-in spa. With a 297 gallon capacity, this model is the most spacious on our list.
In addition to its triple-ply reinforced walls featuring dropstitch construction as well as I-beams, which offer optimal durability, the Bestway features Freeze Shield Technology which allows for use in colder temperatures. It also includes an insulated cover to maintain water temperatures, 83 soothing bubble jets, and a power-saving timer that can be set up to 72 hours in advance.
Standing 26 inches high, the Bestway has an exterior diameter of 71 inches and inner diameter of 67 inches, allowing it to accommodate up to seven people. It comes with a chemical dispenser and two filter cartridges.
This four-person model from Intex includes 140 high-powered bubble jets—more than most other models on the market. These jets also provide a stronger massage effect than other comparable products. If you live in an area that has hard water, you can benefit from the built-in hard water treatment system meant to prevent calcium buildup. It has 3-ply Fibre-Tech construction which makes the material strong and durable.
It comes equipped with an insulated cover, a color-changing LED light, two filter cartridges, two headrests, a thermal ground cloth, an inflation hose, a carrying bag, a floating chlorine dispenser, and a pH test strip. The inner diameter is 57 inches, the outer diameter is 71 inches and the height is 28 inches. It has a capacity of 210 gallons.
FAQs About Your New Inflatable Hot Tub
Here are some answers to commonly asked questions about inflatable hot tubs.
Q. What chemicals do you need for an inflatable hot tub?
In order to keep the water in your inflatable hot tub clean, look for a sanitizer like chlorine or bromine. Periodically, you might need to oxidize or “shock” your tub. Shocking products typically come in granule form and contain either chlorine or bromine. The chemical you use for sanitizing should match the product you use for shocking, so a chlorine sanitizer should be paired with a chlorine shock treatment, and vice versa. Additional chemicals may also be needed to balance the pH of the water in your inflatable hot tub.
Q. What should you put under an inflatable hot tub?
It’s important that the ground underneath your inflatable hot tub is level. Many hot tubs come with insulated mats to place under them. When putting your inflatable hot tub on a wooden deck, using anti-microbial multi-use deck tiles can help prevent the growth of mildew and bacteria underneath your tub.
Q. How do you drain an inflatable hot tub?
To drain your inflatable hot tub, ensure the power is turned off and then use the attached hose that comes with most models to allow the water to drain. Depending on where you live—and the pH level of the water—it may or may not be recommended to drain the water into your lawn or garden. In some locations, water from hot tubs must be drained directly into a sewage system.
Q. How do you clean an inflatable hot tub?
The cleaning instructions for an inflatable hot tub vary slightly from those for permanent hot tubs. The water in your hot tub should be drained and replaced periodically. When the tub is empty, it’s advisable to wipe down all interior surfaces and lid with a cloth or sponge and then rinse with cold water. The filters should be cleaned regularly by running them under cold water.
Q. How long do inflatable hot tubs last?
With proper use and regular maintenance, inflatable hot tubs should last for approximately five years.