The best hot tub covers protect your hot tub from leaves, dirt and other flying debris. It holds in heat and prevents excess evaporation (which keeps energy costs low and conserves water) and prevents children and pets from making it into the tub unsupervised.
Most manufacturers of high-end brands, like Cal Spas, offer hot tubs that come with a cover. ThermoSpas allows you to interactively design your hot tub and hot tub cover, and Marquis Spa specializes in selling replacement hot tub parts, including covers.
Start your search by seeing what hot tub covers your hot tub company offers, and then decide which one has the features you need to protect your hot tub.
How to buy a hot tub cover
Durability, function and aesthetics are essential factors to consider if you want the best hot tub cover. Here’s what to look for:
- Look for a high-density foam core
Foam density is the weight of foam per cubic foot and provides insulation to your hot tub. A higher foam density means greater insulation. Experts suggest a density of a 1.5 to 2 pounds, especially if you're living in a colder climate.
- Know the weight of the vinyl covering
A higher weight per square yard indicates a stronger vinyl. A good hot tub cover is encased with a durable marine-grade vinyl and treated to withstand the brunt of sun, rain, snow, dirt, chemicals, UV rays and extreme temperatures that threaten the safety of your hot tub.
- Consider the hinge heat seal
Pay attention to how the two halves of the hot tub cover meet. The outer edge of each side of the cover hinge should be sealed to prevent heat loss. Ideally, the hinge heat seal should have an R-value of 12 to 13. (R-value is the capacity of an insulating material to resist heat flow, with a higher R-value having greater insulating power.)
- Decide if you need a hot tub cover lift
Even the best hot tub covers can be bulky. A hot tub cover lift helps you remove or attach your hot tub cover with ease. Below are the three standard styles of cover lifts:
- Shelf cover lift: This lift allows you to easily fold your hot tub cover, then slide it onto a shelf mounted at the back or on a side of your hot tub.
- Manual pivot cover lift: A long metal bar is fitted across the middle of your hot tub cover with each end of the bar mounted to the sides of the hot tub on a bracket that pivots. To remove the cover, fold the cover in half, lift it upwards and push it back to one end of the tub.
- Hydraulic cover lift: This works like a manual pivot cover lift but uses hydraulic pistons built into the arms of the lifter to carry all the weight of the hot tub cover for you.
- Avoid cheap hot tub covers
Popular stores like The Home Depot and online stores like Amazon and eBay sell hot tub covers between $50 and $400. Inexpensive or cheaply made hot tub covers are more likely to fall apart and can result in a less energy-efficient hot tub. Always be sure to confirm a cover is compatible with your hot tub’s make and model before purchasing.
Types of hot tub covers
Vinyl coverings aren't the only type of cover available for your hot tub. Hot tub covers come in soft and hardshell varieties, and options are available to protect your investment against extreme weather and boost energy efficiency.
Soft covers: Soft covers are a popular choice among consumers for their ease of use and affordability. Soft covers are made of vinyl and easily roll over the hot tub to provide cover and roll up for easy storage when not in use. They are best for use on indoor hot tubs.
Hardshell covers: Hardshell covers are ideal for most outdoor hot tubs, and are known for durability. These covers are heavier and can be harder to move around, a double hinge is present to provide easier lift and one-sided access if needed.
Seasonal covers: Those in a colder climate might want to invest in a seasonal hot tub cover. These covers encase the entire hot tub, rather than just acting as a lid like soft and hard shell covers do. Seasonal covers are built to withstand freezing temperatures, snow and ice and help to prolong the life of your hot tub.
Solar covers: Solar hot tubs are ideal for those concerned with energy efficiency and savings. If the sun is out, a solar cover will keep your tub hot, even with the power off.