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.

Top 8 Best Rated Hot Tubs

Established in 1979, Cal Spas is recognized as the top global manufacturer of home resort products. The company has 28 trademarks and 48 patents on its catalog of over 250 home spa products.
Founded in 1983, ThermoSpas strives to provide the best hot tubs and spas on the market. The company has won numerous awards, and its products include a 20-year warranty on the shell and a "no fault" warranty on the electronics.
Since 1979, Sundance Spas has focused on the benefits of hydrotherapy, including relaxation and stress relief. The company is the world's largest manufacturer and distributor of acrylic spas.
Using its Pure Comfort, Pure Performance and Pure Style systems, Caldera Spas strives to be the best in residential hot tubs and spas. Its jets and seats are specially sculpted to relieve stress and relax the mind and body.
Dimension One Spas' products feature the exclusive Vision Filter, a sanitizing system that leaves spa water feeling soft on the skin. The company offers a warranty and has special financing for qualified customers.
Hot Spring Spas has used its patented jets, which focus on specific muscle groups, to bring relaxation and stress relief to consumers for decades. Its customer service department strives to give each customer the best experience.
Jacuzzi has been one of the leading manufacturers of home spas and other products for over 50 years. With a number of patents, its catalog of products has lots of design choices from which consumers can choose.
Life Spas is a company specializing in hot tubs and gazebos. They also offer a variety of features to add to the hot tubs. The company, based in Chino, California, sells and services counties all across California and Arizona.

The ConsumerAffairs Research Team believes everyone deserves to make smart decisions. We aim to provide readers with the most up-to-date information available about today's consumer products and services.

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What features matter most?

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 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 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 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 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 tub and the tub surround.
  • Spa pillow: Say goodbye to wet, lumpy towel rests. A spa pillow will cradle the head and neck and can come built into the tub itself.

What are different types of hot tubs?

Vinyl liner hot tub

Also known as soft tubs or portable tubs, these are inflatable 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 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 even contain underwater treadmills for jogging.

Who's it for?

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.

Company 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.

    • Fountain of Youth™: This trademarked product uses micro-bubbles to increase oxygen levels in the water. Cal Spa states that this hydrotherapy rejuvenates the body and skin for a younger and healthier experience.
    • Trade in value: Trade in an old hot tub and get money toward a brand new Cal Spas hot tub. Use the web form to obtain a free, no-obligation trade-in estimate.
    • Exclusive offers: By signing up for the Cal Spas newsletter on the website, consumers gain access to exclusive offers.
    • Cal Spas blog: The Cal Spas blog offers advice on hot tub ownership and repair, as well as a variety of health-related topics.
    • Customer support: Cal Spas offers customer support via phone or email or by using their web form online.
    • Best for Consumers needing therapy, consumers wanting relaxation and consumers needing exercise.
  • 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.

    • Best for Consumers needing therapy, consumers wanting relaxation and consumers wanting family time.
  • 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.

    • Best for Consumers needing therapy, consumers wanting relaxation and consumers wanting family time.
  • 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.

    • Best for Consumers needing therapy, consumers wanting relaxation and consumers wanting family time.
  • 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.

    • Best for Consumers wanting relaxation and consumers wanting family time.
  • 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.

    • Interactive design: From the company website, consumers can design their own hot tub, including model, color and jets. They can even place the tub in a photo of their own yard.
    • Customer testimonials: On the website, consumers can view actual customer video testimonials about their experience with ThermoSpas.
    • Industry awards: ThermoSpas has received recognition from several organizations, including the Arthritis Foundation.
    • Industry leading warranty: The ThermoSpas warranty stands above the competition with a 20-year limited warranty on their hot tub shells.
    • Free on site inspection: ThermoSpas offers a free location review to answer questions and provide personalized professional advice.
    • Best for Consumers needing therapy, consumers wanting relaxation and consumers wanting family time.
  • Dimension One Spas

    Dimension One Spas was founded in La Mesa, CA, in 1977. The company is now located in Carlsbad, CA, and sells hot tubs through its network of independent retailers in the U.S. and around the world.

    • Best for Consumers wanting relaxation, consumers wanting family time and consumers needing exercise.

Hot tub health benefits

So healthy your insurance may cover it.
What are the medical benefits?
Select a body part

Plenty of people enjoy a relaxing soak in the hot tub, but you may be surprised to know there are many medical health benefits that can come from a regular dip in those hot bubbles.

Some of these health benefits are so significant that health insurance companies will even help cover the cost of a patient's hot tub.

Hover over a body part for an overview of related ailments, the relief you can expect from soaking in a hot tub, and, where applicable, information on health insurance coverage.

Knee
Insurance may cover
  • Relieve arthritis
  • Increase circulation
Ankle
Insurance may cover
  • Reduce strain on joints
  • Aid recovery from sports injuries
Hamstring
Insurance may cover
  • Decrease muscle tension
  • Gain greater flexibility
Back
Insurance may cover
  • Relieve back pain and fibromyalgia
  • Lessen use of anti-inflammatory drugs
Blood Vessel or Nerve
Insurance may cover
  • Improve diabetes
  • Relieve stress
Heart
Insurance may cover
  • Improve cardiovascular health
  • Decrease blood pressure
Nose
  • Relieve congestion
  • Fight common cold
Brain
Insurance may cover
  • Decrease body temperature after hot water soak
  • Improve sleep
Brain
  • Decrease body temperature after hot water soak
  • Improve sleep

Immersion in hot water before bedtime can ease your transition into deeper, more restful sleep. Your body’s internal thermostat drops after you get out of the water, signaling to your body that it is time to go to sleep. Try soaking in your hot tub for about 90 minutes before crawling under your covers and see how quickly your body eases into deep, relaxing slumber.

Insurance May Cover
Nose
  • Relieve congestion
  • Fight common cold

Heated steam from the water enters your nasal passages and shrinks your swollen membranes and loosens congestion. Your body is also defending itself from viruses like the common cold while you relax in the bubbling hot water. Soaking in your hot tub increases your body’s temperature and induces a slight fever, which in turns give your immune system a quick, if temporary, boost.

Heart
  • Improve cardiovascular health
  • Decrease blood pressure

Hot water increases your heart rate, but it can actually decrease your blood pressure. You’re sweating the water in your body into a big barrel of water, and with less fluid in your system, your heart can take a break. Regularly use your hot tub and get the some of the health benefits of exercise with less heart stress.

Insurance May Cover
Blood Vessel or Nerve
  • Improve diabetes
  • Relieve stress

Relaxation and stress relief are the top reasons customers purchase hot tubs. The alleviation of stress occurs when heat from the hot water leads to vasodilation, or the widening of blood vessels. When blood vessels open up, tension and pain loosen their grip on their body.

Insurance May Cover
Back
  • Relieve back pain and fibromyalgia
  • Lessen use of anti-inflammatory drugs

People with chronic lower back pain who soak regularly in their hot tub experience increased back flexibility and less pain. Hot tubs are also beneficial for fibromyalgia sufferers because the warmth and gentle jets massage muscles and relieve spasms. Reducing pain in this way may also reduce use of analgesics and anti-inflammatory drugs.

Insurance May Cover
Hamstring
  • Decrease muscle tension
  • Gain greater flexibility

Hot water raises your body and muscle temperature and makes them more receptive to stretching. With the decrease in muscle tension you can stretch better and farther in the hot water. Time to start practicing those splits.

Insurance May Cover
Knee
  • Relieve arthritis
  • Increase circulation

People with arthritis find relief from pain and stiffness in their joints and muscles from the increased circulation that comes with soaking in a hot tub. Consistent sessions in your hot tub help keep your joints moving and preserves strength and flexibility. Protect your joints from further damage by heading into your backyard and hopping in your tub.

Insurance May Cover
Ankle
  • Reduce strain on joints
  • Aid recovery from sports injuries

The heat from a hot tub activates circulation and reduces muscle spasms to relieve pain. Hot tubs with jets help injured people loosen their muscles and rebuild their strength and range of motion. When submerged, water supports about 90% of body weight which reduces pressure on joints and muscles to aid healing.

Insurance May Cover
Back

Check out these steps to see if your hot tub may be eligible for health insurance coverage

  1. Get a prescription from your physician

    If your doctor prescribes hot tub therapy or a regular program of warm water exercises, your insurance may pay for the equipment, unless your policy explicitly excludes the purchase of a hot tub.

    Be sure to keep a copy of your prescription for tax records - Uncle Sam may ask you for it when it's time to file your return.

  2. Get copies of medical records

    Gather any records that demonstrate evidence of your injury or ailment, including copies of X-Ray, MRI, EMG reports, etc.

    Ask your physician to provide a statement summarizing your condition and stating his/her opinion about why a hot tub would be beneficial and what the treatment is expected to accomplish.

  3. Know that insurance may only cover a one-person hot tub

    If so, check with your insurer and hot tub retailer to see if your coverage benefit could be applied to a larger tub that doesn't cost too much more. In that case, you may be able to just pay the difference out of pocket.

* In the end it’s important to remember that your doctor is your best partner for identifying treatment options based on your condition. If you and your doctor decide that hot tub therapy is the way to go, we hope this information can be helpful.

 

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Plenty of people enjoy a relaxing soak in the hot tub, but you may be surprised to know there are many medical health benefits that can come from a regular dip in those hot bubbles.

Some of these health benefits are so significant that health insurance companies will even help cover the cost of a patient's hot tub.