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Best Hot Tub Brands

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by ConsumerAffairs

Research Team

Updated on 11/02/2017

The hot tub industry has several major players and is quite a competitive market. Companies have stepped up in recent years with innovative technologies, especially around hydrotherapy used in treating diseases like arthritis.

Whether they need a hot tub for recreational or therapeutic purposes, consumers should take time to learn about current trends in the hot tub market in order to find a tub that fits their budget, as well as their personal and health needs.

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ThermoSpas Hot Tubs
Read 234 Reviews

Choose colors, jets and accessories to custom design your hot tub. Models hold two to 12 adults and include an air-cleaning system and co-generated heating system. 20-year warranty. Financing available. Prices start around $4,000.

Cal Spas
Read 634 Reviews

These American-made, award-winning hot tubs include customizable therapy options and adjustable jets. More than 250 product models available. Models hold 2-12 people.

Master Spas, Inc.
Read 397 Reviews

American-made, energy-efficient portable spas; patented system applies magnetic therapy to pressure points across your shoulders, back and neck. Choose from 26 models that seat two to eight. Prices start around $3,200.

Marquis Spas
Read 468 Reviews

These American-made, award-winning hot tubs seat one to 10. Choose from triangular, square, rectangular or round. Customize your hot tub with accessories including benches, shelving and storage areas. Prices start around $3,000.

Hot Spring Spas
Read 48 Reviews

These hot tubs provide traditional, Hydromassage and directional water jets. An ACE saltwater system automatically generates chlorine and other cleaners. Pricing starts at $3,000. Models hold two to eight people.

Caldera Spas
Read 10 Reviews

Choose from 15 models that hold two to eight people. Create a customized ambiance with details such as LED illumination, the sound of waterfalls and entertainment systems.

Jacuzzi Hot Tubs
Read 49 Reviews

Hot tubs come in 26 models and hold two to nine people. Jets provide full neck and back coverage. Ergonomic seats and headrest maximize the benefits of hydromassage.

Sundance Spas
Read 25 Reviews

Patented jet technology means no moving parts and less wear and tear. Adjust temperature and energy efficiency via a smartphone app. Choose from 25 models that seat 2-8.

Dimension One Spas
Read 10 Reviews

Seats in spas are based on more than 100 measurements of the human body. Patented shell carries a lifetime warranty against cracks, leaks and fading. Choose from 21 models that hold two to eight people.

Life Spas
Read 18 Reviews

These American-made hot tubs are priced as low as $25 a month. Choose from 28 models that seat two to nine. Ergonomically designed with wide bucket seats and deep foot wells. Some models offer cool-down seats.

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Hot tub features to consider

Cost

Hot tub prices range from less expensive portable spas to eight and 10-person acrylic tubs. In addition, items such as tub surrounds, stairs, decking and even landscaping and lighting can add to cost. Price is highly dependent on brand, size and options, so shopping around is a good idea.

  • Low: Portable spas generally fall into this category. They can be collapsed and moved, and they don't require many of the extras of a more permanent spa, such as decking.
  • Medium: Smaller two to four-person hot tubs will run in the medium range of pricing. Among these, unicast spas are less expensive than a traditional acrylic hot tub.
  • High: The larger six to 10 or more person tubs and more specialized models, such as swim spas, will come in on the high end. The more jets and features that are added, the higher the cost will be.

Water filtration

There are several types of water filtration systems used to keep a hot tub clean and clear. The choice depends on a combination of cost, maintenance requirements and water-feel preference.

  • Salt system: Salt systems use chemistry to produce the needed chlorine to kill germs. Many prefer this method to adding chlorine or bromine tablets to the water and say that the water feels softer and silkier with a salt system.
  • Ozone system: Ozone works in combination with chlorine and bromine to kill germs and bacteria. In addition, ozone breaks down residues of soap, shampoo and makeup that find their way into the water.
  • UV-C system: A relatively new player in the hot tub filtration market, this method uses a high-intensity UV germicidal light ray to kill germs.

Seating options

Hot tub seating is one of the most important things to consider when purchasing a unit. Depending on how the hot tub will be used, whether for relaxation, therapy or family fun, different types of seating options will make the experience more pleasurable.

  • Lounge: Lounge seating allows for lying nearly vertical in the water, creating an almost weightless feeling. Lounge seats are for those who are seeking a relaxing experience.
  • Therapy: These seats provide extra massage points, usually at the neck, back and shoulders. Jets are usually strong for a deep-tissue massage.
  • Cool-down: Cool-down seats allow the body to remain partially out of the water. These are good for transitions in and out of the tub and usually provide leg, ankle and foot massage jets.

Jet options

When it comes to jets, more is not always better. Many hot tub manufacturers and professionals recommend having a variety of jets, with the ability to control the intensity of each.

  • Rotary jets: Also known as therapy jets, these are used for therapeutic massage and are the most versatile jets.
  • Relaxation jets: These jets have a larger and gentler flow and create a gentle and relaxing bubbling motion.
  • Pressure point jets: Pressure point jets provide a tight, intense water flow that can be used to stimulate pressure points on the body.

Ambiance options

Today's hot tubs come with some options for creating ambiance for bathers, creating an immersive experience.

  • Sound system: Hot tubs can be equipped with a sound system. Generally the speakers are built into the top lip near headrests, and they can often be controlled wirelessly via Bluetooth.
  • Decorative lighting: Lighting can be placed in the hot tub as well as along the top or outside. Lighting can change the mood from soft and relaxing to exciting and energetic.
  • Hot tub color: The color of the hot tub should not only match the environment but can be used to set the tone of bathers. From blues and browns to black, the hot tub color can set the mood in many ways.

Hot tub accessories

There is a nearly endless list of accessories available for hot tubs, from items that make owning a hot tub more convenient to those that protect the hot tub or add comfort.

  • Remote monitoring: Many home systems, such as security and heating systems, are now taking advantage of remote access. Hot tubs are no exception, and consumers can now turn the hot tub up to the desired temperature to be ready when they get home.
  • Coverall: Hot tubs come with a cover, but for tubs that are left unattended for long periods of time, such as those in a second home, a coverall can greatly increase the life of the hot tub and the tub surround.
  • Spa pillow: Say goodbye to wet, lumpy towel rests. A spa pillow will cradle the head and neck and some hot tub manufacturers offer these luxurious pillows built into the tub itself.

Types of hot tubs

Vinyl liner hot tub

Also known as soft tubs or portable tubs, these are inflatable hot tubs that are easy to move. These tubs are usually less expensive than other types but still provide the same features.

Unicast hot tub

A unicast tub consists of the tub and the surrounding cabinet which are molded as one single piece. There can be limits on size for unicast tubs.

Acrylic hot tub

This is the most popular type of hot tub. They are especially durable for outdoor use and come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes.

Swim spa hot tub

A swim spa hot tub is specifically designed for exercise with a rectangular shape and jets that create a continuous current to swim against. Some hot tub manufacturers even offer models with underwater treadmills for jogging.

Consumers who would benefit from a hot tub

Consumers needing therapy

Some consumers purchase hot tubs for health reasons, including soothing an aching back, sore muscles or for other aches and pains. Under some conditions, a health plan may contribute to the cost of a hot tub purchased for therapy use.

Consumers wanting relaxation

Consumers often purchase a hot tub for relaxation. A tub placed in a serene environment, such as in a quiet spot outdoors, is the preferred method of relaxation for some.

Consumers wanting family time

A hot tub can be a fun family activity, especially for those with small children. The effort and cost required for a pool may be too much, and a hot tub can be a nice alternative.

Consumers needing exercise

Consumers who are wanting to exercise in water but don't want the expense or commitment of a swimming or lap pool are often attracted to a swim spa.

Hot tub expert reviews

Cal Spas

Founded in 1979, Cal Spas is an innovator in the hot tub business. The company holds 28 trademarks and 48 design patents. Cal Spa offers a wide variety of patio hot tubs, in-ground hot tubs and Swim Pro swim spas.

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ThermoSpas Hot Tubs

ThermoSpas has been manufacturing hot tubs since 1983 and selling directly to consumers since 1995. ThermoSpas is based in the U.S.

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Master Spas, Inc.

Headquartered in Fort Wayne, Indiana, Master Spas is the world’s largest swim spa manufacturer and is among the largest portable spa and hot tub manufacturers. It offers a number of hot tub brands for sale across the United States.

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Marquis Spas

Marquis makes hot tubs and, through its subsidiary Aquatic Training Vessels, swim spas. The company has been in business since 1980 and is headquartered in Independence, Oregon. All its hot tub are manufactured in the United States and are sold at dealerships throughout the country.

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Jacuzzi Hot Tubs

Jacuzzi headquarters is located in Chino, California. Jacuzzi is considered the gold standard in hot tubs, and they're sold in more than 1,000 locations in 60 countries throughout the world.

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Sundance Spas

Founded in 1979 in Costa Mesa, CA, Sundance Spas now has 750 retail locations in the United States. In addition, Sundance can be found in more than 60 countries through its International Dealer Network.

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Hot Spring Spas

Founded in 1977, Hot Spring Spas is the world's top selling brand. They're made by award-winning hot tub manufacturer, Watkins Manufacturing.

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Caldera Spas

Caldera Spas, part of Watkins Manufacturing, an industry-leading producer of premium spas, is a member of the Masco family of home products.

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Dimension One Spas

Dimension One Spas was founded in La Mesa, California, in 1977. The company is now located in Carlsbad, California, and sells hot tubs and swim spas through its network of independent retailers in the United States and around the world.

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