Best Hot Tubs 2018 – Buyer’s Guide

Hot tubs are a little garden luxury, which can offer both social and health hydrotherapy benefits. The perfect way to make the most of the nicer weather and summer evenings, there is actually a surprisingly huge range to choose from.

When you are deciding which hot tub to purchase, you will have to consider the space you have, the design of your garden (including whether you are overlooked), how many people will be using it at any one time and whether you want it to be transportable.

You will also have to look into how much they cost to run. Some will retain more heat than others, and some will require more water and filtration than others.

There is a good chance you will also want to purchase all of the little extras for your new appliance. Hot tub covers, water care kits and steps can all seem cheap but could end up costing a lot of money when bought together. Bear in mind the overall cost of purchasing your new hot tub.

You may have experienced the indulgence of a hot tub on holiday or while glamping and want to bring the lavishness closer to home. If you have your heart set on buying a hot tub to save spa trips or hot tub hire costs, then look no further than our guide to make your best decision:

The Best Hot Tubs – Our Top Picks

Best Overall: St Moritz 5-7 Person Lay-Z-Spa Hot Tub
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St Moritz 5-7 Person Lay-Z-Spa Hot Tub
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  • Seating Capacity: Up to 7
  • Water Capacity: 1190L
  • Dimensions: H71 x W216 x D216 cm
  • Shape: Round
Best Fixed Spa Hotel Tub: Canadian Spa Co
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Canadian Spa Co. Winnipeg Plug&Play
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  • Seating Capacity: 6
  • Water Capacity: 895L
  • Dimensions: D80 x W198 x H198 cm
  • Shape: Square
Best Inflatable Hot Tub: Monaco 8 Person
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Monaco 8 Person Lay-Z-Spa Hot Tub
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  • Seating Capacity: 8
  • Water Capacity: 1540L
  • Dimensions: Depth 69 x 201 cm
  • Shape: Round

Best Inflatable Hot Tubs

Lay-Z-Spa Vegas Hot Tub

One of the UK’s best selling hot tubs, the Vegas model from Lay-Z-Spa is a great option for both indoor and outdoor use.

It has all the benefits of a fitted tub with the versatility of a transportable, inflatable model. Despite the fact it is inflatable, the build is still incredibly sturdy, and there is little chance of the outer collapsing or not coping with the contents.

The maximum temperature it will heat up to is 40°C, and all you need to get it going is to plug it in and fill it up. Like most other models, it takes around 24 hours to completely heat but holds the heat well once done.

There is no lighting system in place, but nothing to stop you using some extra floating lights if this is an issue. For the price, it is the perfect way to have a hot tub in your garden without giving up tonnes of space and forking out lots of money.

We like

  • Easy to set up
  • Plenty of room

We disike

  • Filter doesn’t work as well as most other models so more care needed

Final Verdict

The reliability of a fixed spa with the portability of an inflatable, and for a pretty great price too. Plenty of room for a small gathering.

+ Specifications

  • Seating Capacity: 4-6
  • Water Capacity: 935L
  • Dimensions: 196 x 196 x 61 cm
  • Shape: Round

+ Downloads

Lay-Z-Spa 54112-BNNX16AB02 Vegas Hot Tub User Manual

Download

Monaco 8 Person Lay-Z-Spa Hot Tub

This hot tub perfectly shows why Lay-Z-Spa is the UK’s leading manufacturer of these items. The Bestway Monaco is the best available 8-person tub that we reviewed.

With sturdy, reinforced walls, you don’t have to protect your new garden accessory from the kids playing or cats claws. Despite this, it is really easy to assemble with the help of the DVD, and the walls are actually thinner than with most other hot tubs – which means more room inside.

There is an electric panel which controls the heating system and massage jets, so you can pinpoint the exact levels of heat and pressure which suit you best. The integrated water filtration will also keep the water at its best in between changes.

Its size means that it will be perfect no matter the occasion, whether you want a relaxing evening and a bit of peace and quiet or are hosting a barbecue.

It may seem on the expensive side versus similar inflatable products, but it is a lot more rigid than most cheaper versions. This will make it a long-lasting product, as long as it is properly cared for all year round.

Taking 12 hours to heat up from cold could seem like a bit too much of a wait but bearing in mind its size it’s actually pretty quick.

We like

  • Large capacity
  • Really sturdy walls and drop stitch material
  • Simple to use

We disike

  • Cushions which come with the product aren’t great

Final Verdict

If you’re after an all-out purchase which will be the absolute focal point of your garden (and talking point between your friends), you can’t do much better than this.

+ Specifications

  • Seating Capacity: 8
  • Water Capacity: 1540L
  • Dimensions: Depth 69 x 201 cm
  • Shape: Round

+ Downloads

Monaco 8 Person Lay-Z-Spa Hot Tub user manual

Download

Lay-Z-Spa Saint Tropez Hot Tub

Portable and inflatable, the Saint Tropez by Lay-Z-Spa is so easy to set up in just 10 minutes. You can even plan your hot tub use up to 72 hours in advance using the handy delay timer – perfect if you have a social event coming up.

The Tritech material ensures the hot tub is strong and sturdy when in use, yet easy to deflate and inflate without using its shape. This means it can be used anywhere, as long as there is a flat surface.

A floating LED lighting system adds to your atmosphere. With Lay-Z-Spa’s new and improved dual operating heating system, you don’t have to compromise between water heating and running the massage system.

The DVD included will assist you in getting up and running as soon as possible, as well as helping you get the most out of your new piece of equipment. As long as you keep the PH levels maintained, the water will stay clear for weeks.

We like

  • Price
  • Feels strong for an inflatable

We disike

  • Cover is difficult to fit with so many fastenings

Final Verdict

For an affordable way to bring the luxury of the hot tubs you use on holiday or in spas into your back garden, this is a pretty good pick.

+ Specifications

  • Seating Capacity: 4-6
  • Water Capacity: 966L
  • Dimensions: H196 x W196 x D58 cm
  • Shape: Round

+ Downloads

Lay-Z-Spa Saint Tropez Hot Tub user manual

Download

Lay-Z-Spa Paris Hot Tub with LED Lights

Able to cycle through seven different colours, this hot tub will help you create the perfect atmosphere for any occasion. It will comfortably fit up to six people and rapidly heats to around 40 degrees so you can relax in comfort, helped along by the 87 air jets which surround you at all angles.

I-Beam construction keeps the entire build strong and sturdy, so you don’t have to worry about it suddenly collapsing or getting burst. It also makes it soft for you to relax into, as well, feeling as though you are lying back on a cushioned surface.

A DVD will talk you through how to set it up and get the best use out of it – make sure you do watch it, or things such as getting the chlorine tablets right/lights fitted may seem incredibly unclear. It is great for the price, rivalling some costing almost twice as much.

We like

  • Well built
  • Easy to set up with instructions
  • Price

We disike

  • Chlorine tablets need changing rather regularly

Final Verdict

A great price for what you get - the perfect introduction to the hot tub world

+ Specifications

  • Seating Capacity: 4-6
  • Water Capacity: 945L
  • Dimensions: 74.5 x 54.5 x 60.5 cm
  • Shape: Round

+ Downloads

Lay-Z-Spa Paris Hot Tub with LED Lights User Manual

Download

Intex PureSpa Hot Tub

Perfect for anybody who wants their hot tub to act as a bit of a bubbly therapy tub at the end of a hard day, this Intex model includes a built-in hard water treatment system to make water gentler on skin.

The cost of running the hot tub is kept really low by the extra-efficient heating system, which is all controlled by the simple control panel. The two filter cartridges are also really easy to replace, keeping your water fresh at all times.

To minimise heat loss, simply use the provided cover. It can be installed either indoor or outdoor on any flat surface.

Outer fibre-tech laminate PVC innovation means the frame may feel soft and flimsy but is actually incredibly stable, maximising comfort for all users. You also don’t have to worry about squashing the sides as you get in.

With a massive 140 powerful jets, you can choose just the right pressure for your needs. The inflation hose means you don’t have to waste precious time getting it blown up before you’re good to go either.

Built it up in the wrong corner of the garden or want to chase the setting sun? Don’t worry – just grab the handles and some help, and you can be on the move in no time (water weight dependent). There is also a carry bag included for when the product is deflated, and you want to store it away for winter.

We like

  • Easy to get in and out of
  • Relatively cheap to run
  • Chemical balance easy to maintain

We disike

  • Can be noisy in use
  • Uses filters up very quickly

Final Verdict

A great medium-sized hot tub which offers ultimate luxury.

+ Specifications

  • Seating Capacity: 6
  • Water Capacity: 1098L
  • Dimensions: W216 x L216 x H71 cm
  • Shape: Round

+ Downloads

Intex PureSpa Hot Tub user manual

Download

St Moritz 5-7 Person Lay-Z-Spa Hot Tub

With a ridiculously easy 10-minute pump set-up, this Lay-Z-Spa model will have you relaxing in no time.

The 40°C Rapid Heating System will ensure you can use your hot tub no matter the outdoor weather, as there is no risk of you having to hang around and feel the cold. There is also a 140 AirJet massage system so that you can find just the right pressure for you.

A soft-touch control panel regulates the digital pump, and you can easily access this at any point. It is also spacious enough to hold up to 7 people, making it one of the largest in the Lay-Z-Spa range, so there is enough room for all your friends and family if necessary.

With a unique rattan design, this hot tub offers not only style and comfort but also strength. The 3-ply reinforced TriTech material which the rattan conceals is durable and hard-wearing, so there is no worry about it becoming damaged.

It takes approximately 12 hours to heat up with the lid covered, so you can set it all up in the morning before you go to work using the energy-saving timer and come home to find it ready for a relaxing evening.

As a bonus, the lid and floor mat are included in the purchase, so you don’t have to worry about the cost rising too much. All you need is a chemical starter kit and any extra luxuries you desire.

We like

  • Durable outer material
  • Easy to operate
  • 5-7-person model

We disike

  • Extras (pillows/chemical starter kit) are expensive

Final Verdict

In our opinion, this is the best hot tub on the market, which will cover every eventuality and fit into any environment.

+ Specifications

  • Seating Capacity: Up to 7
  • Water Capacity: 1190L
  • Dimensions: H71 x W216 x D216 cm
  • Shape: Round

+ Downloads

St Moritz 5-7 Person Lay-Z-Spa Hot Tub user manual

Download

Bestway Lay-Z-Spa Miami Inflatable Hot Tub

With a fashionable black exterior and white interior, the Miami will fit perfectly into any garden or outbuilding. As a bonus, it is very good value.

The 81 AirJets combine heating and bubbling to provide the perfect experience, and the soft insulated floor works with the timer-controlled heating system to keep your desired temperature regulated.

The floor also has a convenient drainage system, making it easier than ever to empty the contents so you can either get fresh water or move the hot tub elsewhere. The two handles make it easy transport when empty, too.

Using the included air pump, it can be quickly inflated within 10 minutes. The automatic pressure detection ensures you won’t overinflate, either. Tritech material keeps the hot tub strong and sturdy, no matter how much it is taken up and down.

Just in case your hot tub does suffer from a small puncture during use, there are also repair patches included, so there’s no need to suffer for too long without it.

The integrated water filtration system silently runs in the background when in use, keeping the water clean and fresh.

We like

  • Price
  • Easy to use
  • Modern looking design and colours

We disike

  • Gets louder with prolonged use

Final Verdict

This hot tub is a great option for anyone wanting to purchase their first hot tub or who wants the ultimate luxury of a spa without breaking the bank.

+ Specifications

  • Seating Capacity: 2-4
  • Water Capacity: 669L
  • Dimensions: H65 x W180 cm
  • Shape: Round

+ Downloads

Bestway Lay-Z-Spa Miami Inflatable Hot Tub user manual

Download

Best Fixed Spa Hot Tubs

Canadian Spa Co. Winnipeg Plug&Play

For something a lot sturdier and secure than most inflatable hot tubs, the Winnipeg Plug&Play by the Canadian Spa Company is ideal.

With therapeutic seating and an Mp3 audio system built in, you have everything you’d possibly need for an entertaining evening. The two speakers are discreet, so won’t disturb your evening, and perimeter lighting adds to the atmosphere.

The hydro-massage jets are specifically designed to target your calves, feet, legs and back, and the aromatherapy system includes a canister which mixes scented beads with warm air to create the perfect aroma.

The water capacity may seem small for such a large tub, but this is because the water is not too deep. It allows you to almost float in the water without being overwhelmed by it – and also makes it perfect for families who are concerned about safety.

There is a hard-top safety cover included, which speeds up the heating process and also keeps the water clean and safe in between uses. The tub is also made from microban acrylic, which helps to inhibit the growth of microbes, and the ozone generation system reacts to and kills bacteria, reducing the need for chemicals.

With a waterfall feature of cascading water, there is little chance of you being disturbed by the sound of water when the hot tub is in use. Once the temperature is set, the tub will maintain this within 0.5°C without you lifting a finger.

We like

  • In-built Mp3 system
  • Coffee coloured outer casing
  • Directional jets

We disike

  • Limited manual for instructions

Final Verdict

A brilliant buy if you want a permanent, hard-casing hot tub which saves you trips to the spa

+ Specifications

  • Seating Capacity: 6
  • Water Capacity: 895L
  • Dimensions: D80 x W198 x H198 cm
  • Shape: Square

+ Downloads

Canadian Spa Co. Winnipeg Plug&Play user manual

Download

Canadian Spa Co. St Lawrence Deluxe 16ft 71 Jet Swim Hot Tub

Is your household facing the ‘hot tub vs swimming pool’ debate?

This revolutionary item could be your perfect answer. With a swim section for exercise plus a massage area, you really are getting a lot for your money.

This 16ft long hot tub can provide a powerful swim current for resistance swimming, and a hot tub using the 71 hydro-massage jets. You can even remove just one of the two bi-fold hard top covers if you only want to use a particular section.

The seating is ergonomically curved, so there is no risk of anybody floating out of their seat during the hydro-massage.

With a premium underwater LED lighting system and backlit waterfall streams of water, the perfect atmosphere is at the touch of a button.

The microban acrylic will inhibit the growth of microbes, keeping your water fresh and clean and reducing the need for a lot of harsh chemicals.

As you’d expect, the galvanised steel frame and fibreglass reinforced shell provide an unbeatably strong structure. It will withstand frequent use, UV, harsh weather, household chemicals and mould. The fade resistant surface also feels pleasant against the skin.

The St. Lawrence Deluxe is one of the largest Swim Spa’s available on the market, and the unique 5-jet swim lane system will keep you centred in the pool to ensure you get the maximum workout potential. Due to the design, you won’t have to go far at all to relax after your workout.

There is quite a high price tag – and it will be out of reach for most people – but if you want the ultimate luxury, then this is your answer. It may seem expensive, but for what you get it’s actually one of the most affordable swim spas available.

We like

  • 3.0 kW Balboa heater with smart sensors to maintain temperature
  • 2 bi-folding hard top covers
  • iPod/Mp3 music system built in
  • Great aftercare from Canadian Spa Company

We disike

  • Price (but it is good for what you get)

Final Verdict

If you love the benefits of swimming (considered the best form of aerobic exercise), but you’ve been put off by the price of installing a swimming pool, the St Lawrence is definitely your answer. It is the dictionary definition of the best of both worlds.

+ Specifications

  • Seating Capacity: 7
  • Water Capacity: 6475L
  • Dimensions: D138 x W229 x H501 cm
  • Shape: Rectangle

+ Downloads

Canadian Spa Co. St Lawrence Deluxe user manual

Download

Hot Tub Buying Guide

First of all, consider how many people you’d want to use the hot tub at any one time. If you have a family of four, a hot tub which only sits two people would be too small, but one which seats eight people may be unnecessarily large. Consider how roomy you’d want the hot tub to be if it was at maximum capacity.

As well, where would it be used? If it would be used outside, think about whether you’d want to be able to deflate it to store it over winter, or whether you’d want it to remain outside if you still want to use it. Most inflatable hot tubs are portable and really easy to inflate and deflate.

You may also be wondering how much it costs to run a hot tub. Every model differs, but the larger the size, the more water there is to heat and the longer the hot tub is in use, the more it could cost in electricity bills. Bear this in mind if you are cost-conscious – they’re expensive appliances to run.

Price

The cost of a hot tub generally ranges from £300 to over £800 for standard, inflatable models. For spa hot tubs which are plastic and permanently set, you could spend anywhere between £4000 and over £20,000.

Don’t forget that this isn’t the end of your spending, though. Hot tubs use electricity to run, so it is worth researching how much this would be per hour/year.

Another tip is to check the price of any replacement parts – if a light or AirJet stops working and affects your experience; you don’t want to struggle with repair costs.

Accessories

Purchasing all the extra bits and pieces is another cost to consider.

You won’t necessarily be ready to go as soon as you’ve bought your hot tub. Every model is different, but generally speaking, you will also need a water care kit to maintain pH and water treatment levels.

Other extras could include steps, pillows, floor mat protectors to sit under your hot tub, and covers to keep it safely stored and assist in heating when not in use. Check these aren’t included before you go out and buy them, though.

It is worth looking at the price of all of these extras before you go ahead and click to buy the main product. A cost of around £500 could quickly increase to nearly £700.

Also, research into how much the water filters cost and how often they’d need to be replaced. A filter which costs £5 but needs to be replaced with every use could add a big annual bill to your hot tub use.

Temperature

All of the hot tubs we have featured have a minimum temperature of 26°C and maximum of 40°C. This is standard across most hot tubs.

You can choose your preferred temperature with all models. They usually take about 10-12 hours to heat fully, but this factor depends on how big the tub is, the starting temperature and the amount of water used.

FAQs

Which manufacturers make the best hot tubs?

The Canadian Spa Company, Arctic Spas, Lay-Z-Spa and Intex all make the industry’s leading hot tubs. The former two tend to specialise in bigger, more permanent hot tub spas whereas the latter two commonly make inflatable, transportable hot tubs on the smaller side.

How do I care for my hot tub?

Always refer to manufacturers guidelines for the best care process.

Generally, you will need a water filter care kit, and you will need to use particular chemicals and cleaning methods to keep the surfaces of your hot tub clean when not in use.

Always get in and out of the hot tub carefully, to not damage the sides (and hurt yourself). You commonly have to be more careful with inflatable tubs as they can be easily burst depending on the outer material – watch out for sharp objects (such as stones and sticks) on the floor, kids playing nearby and pets claws in particular!