The term “portable hot tub” may conjure up different images for different people. If someone invites you over for a soak in their portable hot tub, you might be picturing one of those inflatable spas that blow up like an air mattress. Or, maybe you’re familiar with the nicer, sturdier plug-and-play models. Both types are portable hot tubs. However, when it comes to quality and performance, they are definitely not equal.
Inflatable Hot Tubs
Beside price and portability, many people who consider buying an inflatable hot tub are drawn to them because they think they can be set up anywhere. That’s not quite true. Even though inflatable hot tubs weigh much less than premium hot tubs, they can hold a lot of water. When filled with water and bathers, an inflatable hot tub can weigh 2,000 – 3,000 pounds or more. So, just like other hot tubs, it needs to sit on a surface that can bear the weight. A flat spot in your yard or a concrete patio is okay. If you want to place it on your deck, you should have a contractor check your deck to see what load it can bear.
Inflatable Hot Tub Pros:
- An option for renters who have flat yard space or a concrete patio.
- When emptied, it can be rolled and stored
- Easily moved when you relocate
- Requires no hardwiring or plumbing
Inflatable Hot Tub Cons:
- Most are only rated to work in temperatures above 40°
- The vinyl construction is not nearly as durable as other hot tubs
- Weak heating capabilities
- Do not have real jets. (They use a fan to blow air around, which cools your water even more)
Plug-and-Play Hot Tubs
Plug-and-play spas are a great compromise between the least durable inflatable hot tub options and traditional hardwired hot tubs. These spas aim to give renters (and others who need a portable hot tub) a good option. These hot tubs are lightweight, especially compared to traditional hot tubs. But, add in the weight of water and bathers, and your site is bearing thousands of pounds. If you choose a plug-and-play spa, carefully select the spot where it will sit. A concrete patio works. Before placing it on a deck, you should have a contractor inspect your deck to see what load it can bear.
Plug-N-Play Hot Tub Pros:
- Requires no plumbing modifications
- Most will require no electrical modifications. Many models come as a 110-volt/240-volt convertible so they can work with the existing electrical set-up in your home or future home. (When using the 110 V version, you do want to make sure it is a GFCI protected plug for safety. When using your plug-n-play hot tub outdoors in harsh WI winters, we recommend going with the 220 V plug.)
- Lightweight and compact, so for those renting or planning to relocate, moving your hot tub is easier
- Perfect for inside or outside use
- Since they’re lightweight and easily maneuvered, they’re the ideal option for those adding a hot tub to their three season room or inside their home
- Lower initial cost
- Quick and easy set up
Plug-N-Play Hot Tub Cons:
- They are smaller. Even plug-and-play hot tubs that seat 5 people or more are smaller than a traditional hot tub with the same amount of seats.
- While there are some great plug-and-play options available on the market, their lightweight quality affects the type of construction materials used. So, an energy-efficient plug-and-play model, like an Artesian Garden Spas® from The Pool People, is more efficient than many other types of plug-and-play models.
Choosing a Portable Hot Tub
When it comes down to it, the hydrotherapy benefits of owning a spa are what matter most. Truthfully, an inflatable hot tub doesn’t offer much in the way of hydrotherapy benefits. When it comes to enjoying all the hot tub benefits you’re looking for, a nice-quality plug-and-play model or a premium hardwired hot tub will give you the most bang for your buck. That’s why we’re proud to offer a variety of hot tub brands and models…so that we always have the perfect one for YOU!
You don’t have to take our word for it, though. Come visit any of our locations and let us show you the ideal hot tub for your needs. Then when you’re ready, we can arrange a private test soak so you can compare the models you’re interested in and find out which features and amenities are most important to you. There’s no better place to find the hot tub of your dreams than The Pool People.