Best Hot Tubs

Updated December 2021
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Buying guide for best hot tubs

At the end of a long day, soaking your troubles away in a heated spa can be the ideal way to unwind. With your very own hot tub in your yard, you can relax whenever the mood strikes without worrying about privacy.

A hot tub can be a somewhat costly investment, so you want to be sure to get the most bang for your buck. That means choosing the right material, size, jets, and other features, so you buy a hot tub that’s comfortable, durable, and highly effective at melting your stress away.

If you’re eager to buy a hot tub and start soaking up the benefits, check out our top picks. To learn more about hot tubs in general, just keep reading.

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Soaking in a hot tub for as little as 20 minutes before you go to bed can help you sleep more soundly.

Why buy a hot tub?

  • Relieve stress: Soaking in a hot tub can help you relax after a long day, and it may even be able to lower stress-related high blood pressure.

  • Relieve pain: If you suffer from arthritis, back issues, or a recent injury, soaking in a hot tub can help soothe aches and pains.

  • Improve mobility: Because the hot water and massage jets can help relieve stiffness, a hot tub can help improve joint flexibility and make it easier for you to get around.

  • Reduce inflammation: If you’re dealing with nerve or muscle damage, a soak in a hot tub can help reduce swelling around the problem area.

  • Improve sleep: By reducing stress and relaxing your muscles, a hot tub can make it easier for you to fall asleep at night.

  • Improve circulation: A hot tub’s warm water can help dilate your blood vessels to increase circulation.
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For your safety
If you plan to use a hot tub to treat a joint or muscle injury, consult with your doctor first to make sure it’s the best course of treatment.

Where should you place a hot tub?

Most homeowners enjoy having their hot tub outdoors, but you can also install it indoors, such as in a shed or pool house. When you’re choosing a location, make sure it is flat and level. A concrete patio or wooden deck works well, but paving stones can be uneven.

A hot tub requires access to both water and power connections. For safety reasons, a hot tub should be wired by a licensed electrician. The area should also have adequate drainage because you’ll need to empty and refill the tub several times a year.

Hot tub materials


Hot tub liners, or the portion of the tub that you actually sit in, are always made of plastic, a durable, waterproof material that holds up very well to wear and tear.

The hot tub cabinet or frame is usually made out of wood or composite.


  • Offers an attractive, warm appearance

  • Requires maintenance to keep it in good shape

  • Can fade in the sun

  • Lacks moisture resistance, so may not last as long as a composite frame


  • Lasts longer than wood; highly durable

  • Requires no maintenance

  • Can fade in the sun

  • Doesn’t blend in with the landscape as well as wood

Hot tub sizes

Choosing the right hot tub size is key if you and your family are going to enjoy it fully. Hot tubs come in a variety of sizes to accommodate a range of people. Bear in mind that the more people the hot tub can hold, the more space you’ll need for it.

  • Two people: If you plan to use the tub by yourself or with your partner, a two-person tub may be sufficient. It’s also the best option if you have limited space.

  • Three or four people: If you plan to invite a friend or two over to use the hot tub regularly, a three- or four-person tub could work well.

  • Five or six people: If several people in your household will use the tub, or if you want to be able to invite a few friends over to enjoy it, consider a five- or six-person hot tub.

  • Seven or eight people: If you have a large household or regularly entertain bigger groups, a seven- or eight-person hot tub should provide enough room. Keep in mind that you’ll need plenty of space in your yard or on your deck for a hot tub of this size.

It’s also important to consider the operating costs associated with your hot tub size. The larger the tub, the more it will cost to run.

Other hot tub features to consider


Plastic hot tub liners feature molded seats to make it more comfortable to sit in the tub. We advise consumers to choose a hot tub with seats that are at least 30 inches deep for maximum comfort.

Some tubs also offer cushioned headrests and a lounge space so you can stretch out your legs while in the tub.


Consider the placement and adjustability of the jets when selecting a hot tub.

  • You’re better off with fewer higher-quality jets than lots of inferior jets.

  • The jets should be positioned so each molded seat is exposed to the same number of them.

  • Jets should be spread out over the length of the seat to allow for a full-body massage.

To customize your hot tub experience, look for a model that allows you to adjust the direction and force of the jet spray so you can target specific injuries or muscles.

" The electricity costs for operating a hot tub with high-quality insulation can run as little as $15 a month."


  • Filter: A hot tub filtration system helps remove dirt and other impurities from the water to keep it clean and clear.

  • Chemicals: Even with filters, you still need to use chemicals like chlorine to maintain the purity of the water.

  • Ozonator: An ozone-based water-care system can reduce your use of chemicals and make maintenance a little easier. It creates ozone through a corona discharge unit or intense ultraviolet (UV) light. The ozone works as a natural sanitizer to kill bacteria and other impurities in the water. Used in conjunction with chlorine or other sanitizing chemicals, it can keep the water clean and safe.
" Don’t use the same chlorine tablets that you use for your pool in a hot tub. Choose chlorine that’s meant specifically for sanitizing hot tubs. "


Keeping the water in your hot tub warm is obviously a priority. As such, tub insulation is an important feature to consider. Look for a model that offers full-foam insulation rather than basic or layered insulation to prevent heat loss. This type of insulation also works well to soundproof the tub’s motor and provide additional support for the tub.

"If you plan to use your hot tub in the winter, keep an eye on its water level. Allowing it to drop too low may cause the pump and heater to freeze, particularly if you haven't used the tub for a few days. "


A good hot tub cover is essential to keep out leaves and debris and prevent children and pets from falling in. Look for a model that comes with a tight cover that boasts durable, well-sealed hinges, as well as several tie-downs that allow you to secure the cover in place.

"Hot tub warranties usually require using specific repair technicians or services, so make sure you know who to call if there’s a problem with your tub."


While a basic hot tub can definitely help you unwind at the end of the day, some models offer special extras that make the experience even more memorable.

  • Lights: Some hot tubs have LEDs to backlight the tub and create a more relaxing atmosphere.

  • Waterfall function: If the sound of falling water helps you relax, look for a model creates a soothing water cascade in the tub.

  • Beverage holders: Some hot tubs have cup holders, so you have a convenient place for your soda, beer, or glass of wine.


A hot tub is a pricey investment, so you want to protect it as much as possible. Always check a model’s warranty before purchasing it. Look for at least five years’ coverage for the structure, two years for the parts and labor, and one year for the cabinet.

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For your safety
For safety reasons, don’t use your hot tub during thunderstorms. If lightning strikes the water, it’s possible to get electrocuted.

Hot tub prices

Hot tubs vary in price based on how many people fit inside and what features are included. Prices typically range from $2,000 to $12,000.

Two- or three-person hot tubs

  • A basic hot tub of this size typically costs between $2,000 and $3,000.

  • A tub of this size with many special features can cost up to $5,500.

Four- or five-person hot tubs

  • A basic hot tub of this size typically costs between $2,500 and $3,500.

  • A tub of this size with many special features can cost up to $5,600.

Six- or seven-person hot tubs

  • A basic hot tub of this size typically costs between $2,700 and $4,000.

  • A tub of this size with many special features can cost up to $9,500.

Eight+ person hot tubs

  • A basic hot tub of this size typically costs between $5,300 and $7,000.

  • A tub of this size with many special features can cost up to $12,000.

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Hot tubbing in winter? Have your bathrobe or a warm towel within easy reach so you can get out without catching a chill.


Q. Are hot tubs safe to use?
If you follow the safety guidelines outlined by the manufacturer, a hot tub is usually very safe to use. (Make sure not to heat it above 104°F.) However, there are some groups that should exercise caution before getting in a hot tub. If you’re pregnant or have a heart condition or other health issue, consult your doctor before using a hot tub. Children under five should never use a hot tub, and older children shouldn’t stay in a hot tub for more than five to ten minutes.

Q. What type of maintenance does a hot tub require?
To keep the water in your hot tub clean, you’ll need to test the chemical levels at least once a week to make sure it has enough chlorine and the pH is between 7.6 and 8.2. Add the necessary chemicals based on the testing, and clean the tub filter according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Every three or four months, drain your hot tub and clean the interior thoroughly before refilling it.

Q. Can I leave a hot tub out year-round?
Most hot tubs are designed to withstand the elements, including snow, so it’s fine to leave them outdoors all year long. Some people close their hot tubs for the season at the end of summer by draining them, but others leave their tub operational so they can enjoy a hot soak on even the coldest days. Make sure to change the water for each new season and invest in a sturdy cover for the colder weather.

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