7 Worst Hot Tub Brands To Avoid

Any backyard can become a relaxing sanctuary with the right hot tub in it. But note that this is a big investment. We are talking thousands of dollars from the hot tub itself to the installation. Like other things, not all hot tubs are built the same. You need a reliable one that could last for years. For this, you should know which hot tub brands to avoid

In this post, we will roundup which brands not to buy from and their better alternatives. The lists were based on specific factors including overall satisfaction ratings and surveys. If you are looking for a hot tub option, it is important that you read on. 

What red flags help you identify hot tub brands to avoid?

Having a criteria checklist helps a lot in narrowing down which hot tub brands to avoid. Because hot tubs are usually a one-time-big-time purchase, not all of us would know that there are red flags underneath that buy. So, if you still have not gotten one and want to become a smart shopper for this, here are some red flags to help you identify hot tub brands to avoid. 

  • Bad customer reviews: Do not be confused with the consistent 3 out of 5 stars of a hot tub brand. Most often than not, these are lemon brands. 
  • Bad warranty: By this we mean, short or limited coverage warranties. Bad brands do not have accountability. In the next few years, their models might be needing repairs and you would find that you are already out of warranty. Do not choose brands with bad warranty clauses. 
  • No local dealers: If that brand is not around local shops or is not advertised by local dealers, chances are, it is a bad brand. Note that local dealers are the ones you go to for repairs and if they do not advise it, you should not even consider it. 
  • No service agreement: This one is the post-purchase agreement that you and your dealer should sign to ensure that all repairs and maintenance fees thereafter are managed by the dealer with reasonable prices. 
  • Shoddy insulation: The outside shell is convincing but know that the interior insulation is important too. Note that a shoddy insulation would cost you in electric bills so this is a major red flag to research on.

7 worst hot tub brands to avoid

To be objective, this list was based on different factors. On top of these factors would be overall performance. It is also based on features, efficiency, customer rating and reviews. So, here are some of the worst hot tub brands to avoid. 

1. Life Spas

If you have been shopping for hot tubs long enough, you must have found out how inconsistent the reviews are surrounding this brand. Customers note their average build and performance.

Strikingly, almost 45% of consumers complain about the inefficiency of its water heater and its small pieces burning pre-maturely. If you want scalding water for your hot tub, then go for it. 

On top of this, this brand is also complained about due to their poor customer service. Long waiting time and ignored complaints and maintenance requests are the top issues when it comes to their customer service. 

2. Hot Spring Spas

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Speaking of worst customer service, this brand seems to top all brands in that key area. They do have a commendable set of hot tubs, doing what they are hyped up for. But they are always listed on the worst hot tub brands because they do not know how to take care of their customers’ needs. 

A second-hand handyman rakes on labor costs and customer reviews say that some waited for four months just to get a maintenance appointment. With this, it might not be worth the money and risk. 

3. Jacuzzi Hot Tubs

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Like the Hot Spring Spas brand, it has good hot tubs with useful features, but their customers also complain about their bad customer service, specifically not being able to give replacement parts even though the unit is still within the warranty period.

Other anecdotal evidence even points to the brand changing warranty agreements and warranty period to evade warranty claims. 

This has been a major point of complaint because some of the issues are clearly brand mishaps. With all of these, its 3 out of 5 stars in almost all major review platforms is very understandable. 

4. Caldera Spas

While it is a popular hot tub brand, customers say that it is just pure clout. Consumers note that their hot tub models are hard to maintain, and they have experienced a lot of premature repairs in between. It also clogs easily, and they say that the hot tub must be inspected every night or every time you must use it. 

Also, customer service is another issue. 70% of consumers who own a hot tub from this brand notes of defensive customer service agents. Repair and replacement of parts also take months before you could get a return call. 

5. Sundance Spas

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This is a shocker on this list because they are a famous brand like Caldera. However, the quality of their hot tubs has lessened in time. For instance, consumers note that its size quality is just plain awful. Their six-people hot tub in actual use can only accommodate three. Also, the color of the hot tub fades in just a short span of time

Most of all, they do not have the best customer service in town. They also do not have the best post-deal agreement and their warranty is very limited. It would take days before you can get a hold of someone to take the call. 

6. Futura Spas

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For starters, this brand is rated 2.5 and 3 in Google and Consumer Affairs for three years straight. It is majorly complained about advertisements that do not live up to their actual performance. 30% of consumers also complained about defective hot tubs. Most of the problem is about cracked cabinets and busted fuse. 

On top of that, there have also been complaints about their customer service trying to get money out of customers for repair and maintenance even if the product is still within warranty. 

7. Thermospa

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This brand perhaps, has the lowest customer satisfaction rating of all these brands on this list. They only have 1.20 out of 5 rating in their own website and a 3.2 in Customer Affairs.

They also do not have local dealerships so you can expect a lot of delivery problems in between. The worst anecdotal evidence claims that they received their hot tub three months after their purchase

More importantly, the construction of their hot tubs is not the best. Interior-wise, they deteriorate fast. Rusting has also been an issue for some models. And a B rating from the Better Business Bureau is not a good stamp at any rate. 

5 most reliable hot tub brands 

On the other hand, these five hot tub brands on this list prove that just because they are not as popular as others would mean that they cannot deliver the best performance. Features wise, they are packed and when it comes to durability, they are superb. Hence, here are the five most reliable hot tub brands that you should check out. 

1. Master Spa (Healthy Living Series)

For best value hot tubs, Master Spa is a reliable brand for you to consider. In general, the brand offers model customization and upgrades. The best features of Master Spa models would be their UV-C Sanitation, an Ozone Sanitation, and wireless technology which includes WiFi connection and Bluetooth Audio. 

The Healthy Living series of Master Spa is specifically commendable. It is a therapeutic hot tub with ergonomic, form-fitting seating and a seven-jet configuration. The jets are also positioned strategically in the body’s pressure points for comfortable hydrotherapy. 

This is made more possible by its bio-magnetic therapy system which reduces swelling in the body. On top of that, its dream lighting feature and Fusion Air surround system just make everything relaxing. 

2. Bullfrog Spa (R Series)

This series is the most energy-efficient model of Bullfrog Spa. They come in 2-8 capacity hot tubs with lots of customization options. The main selling point of these models would be their JetPack Therapy System featuring 18 types of massage therapy and 16 seat back options for each of the hot tub seats. 

Aside from this, they are well-rated and have a good reputation for their customer service. They also come in mid-range prices and a lot of upgrades that you can choose from in between. 

3. Essential Hot Tubs (67-Jet Syracuse Hot Tub)

This one is a high-quality tub model rated 4.7 out of 5 in major review platforms. Its main selling point is their comfortable seating with a range of arrangements to choose from.

It has a reclined seating for hydrotherapy and various upright positions for sore body parts in different areas. It is more of a therapy hot tub than one for entertainment. 

On top of this, it is also energy efficient. It has an automatic temperature adjuster so you would not have to stand up and set the temperature down in between uses.

The water is also treated using an ozone system making it chemical-free and its insulation and cover are good in keeping the heat in. 

4. AquaRest Spa (Premium 300)

If you are looking for a well-rated 2-person hot tub and spa, the Premium 300 of AquaRest is a prime choice. In terms of construction, it is fairly indestructible. For a compact hot tub spa like this one, it comes with 20 hydrotherapy jets which are helpful in concentrated hydrotherapy for relieving aches and soreness

Aesthetics wise, it has color-changing LED waterfall, making the vibe more ambient and tranquil. For its size and build, it is also highly portable so you can move it around where the view is beautiful and adds to the ambience

5. Hot Spring (Highlife Envoy)

For one of the best saltwater hot tub experiences, the Highlight Envoy from Hot Spring is a recommended choice. It also comes with a Fresh Water salt system.

Its water sanitation system uses a specially designed titanium cartridge which processes the salinity level of the water. With this, the water in the hot tub does not wreak of chlorine and other skin-irritating chemicals that are usually used for pools and tubs. 

The Highlife Envoy features deep seats with 15 different jet configurations. It is a full body massage hot tub that can accommodate five to six people at once. It also features an easy to navigate color screen control panel to adjust the temperature and setting upon your liking. 

What should I look for when buying a hot tub?

So, what should you look for when buying a hot tub? It is not as complicated as you think but this is the most important set of knowledge that you should have before you go out there and buy the first beautiful hot tub that you see. 

#1. Type

The first thing to narrow down is if you will get an in-ground hot tub or a portable one. Portable ones are more famous, and they are usually made of acrylic, polyethylene, or fiberglass while in-ground ones are made of stones, tile, or concrete.

Portable hot tubs are of course, more cost efficient when it comes to maintenance, and installation process. They are also easier to upgrade and customize. 

#2. Size

It is important to know where the hot tub will be placed and how many will use it regularly for you to determine the size of your hot tub. This is essential because it also identifies the power source, breaker installations, and more. 

#3. Features

Aside from colors and overall aesthetics, there are also noteworthy features that you should look for when it comes to hot tubs. Technologically, here are some features to consider: 

  • Waterproof speakers that are integrated in the hot tub
  • Remote operation and monitoring
  • Changing color LED lights
  • Water purification system
  • Filtration capacity

#4. Jet count

Higher jet count does not mean better. Note that each hot tub has its own jet configurations that are fit for specific locations and their temperatures. Having a hot tub with multiple jets should be considered if you want different sets of massage types.

#5. Pumps

The hot tubs pumps are measured in horsepower and for you to conserve energy, it needs to be on an ideal ratio with your hot tub’s jet count. Powerful pumps do not always mean better massage so you should be knowledgeable of the right amount of pumps for your hot tub.  

#6. Construction and energy efficiency

When it comes to hot tubs, these two are correlated. Modern models of hot tubs are now manufactured to have materials that are geared for energy efficiency. As such, you must always check the energy star rating of the hot tub model and brand that you are considering. 

#7. Warranty and customer service

As have been previously mentioned, short and limited warranty hot tubs should be scrapped out of the options immediately. Usually, warranties should last for more than 10 years.

Extended warranty covers are also good investments too. Aside from that, choose a hot tub brand with great customer service. They should be responsive and willing to give extra support whenever needed. 

#8. Cost

Depending on the brand, type, size, and features of the hot tub, expect to shell off a lot of money.

The true cost of your hot tub does not just begin and end in installation because there is also the monthly electric bill to think of as well as maintenance costs and repair costs down the road. As such, you should be a smart shopper so you do not land on subpar hot tubs. 

FAQs

How much is a brand-new hot tub?

It depends on the type, size, and features of the hot tub that you are buying. Here is a breakdown of how much a brand-new hot tub costs. 

Entry level hot tub$3000-7000
Best value hot tub$6000-9000
Premium range$9000-12000
Luxury range$12000 and above

The upfront price of hot tubs is really shocking for the first-time buyer. This is the reason why you must look for features that could give you the long-term value of having a hot tub and of course the enjoyment and therapeutic promise that it offers. 

What brand of hot tub is in the White House?

The only known brand of hot tub installed in the South Lawn of the White House was the Grandee model of the Watkins company. It was a seven-seater hot tub donated by the manufacturing company to President Bill Clinton in 1997. During that time, the hot tub model had a retail price of $7500. 

What is the best brand for hot tubs?

This was based on the 2021 ranking of Consumer Reports for the best brands of hot tubs. As such, it would be the following brands: 

  • Cal Spa
  • Marquis Spas
  • Master Spas
  • Hot Spring Spas
  • Bullfrog Spas
  • Coast Spas
  • Nordic Hot Tubs
  • Soft Tub
  • Artesian Spas

What is the best brand of hot tub in Canada?

In a list made by Northern Hot Tubs, the following brands made it to the best hot tubs in Canada for the year 2021: 

  • Jacuzzi Hot Tubs
  • Hydropool
  • Beachcomber 
  • Coast Spas
  • Arctic Spas
  • Canadian Spa Company
  • Coleman
  • Bullfrog Spas
  • Dynasty Spas
  • Sundance Spas

When is the best time to buy a hot tub? 

According to Consumer Reports, the best time to buy a hot tub would be promotional sales two weeks before and after the holidays, during Labor Day and Memorial Day. Local dealerships also give significant discounts during state fairs so also look out for that time. 

What temperature should I keep my hot tub in when not in use?

It should be at 30 C if you do not intend to use it for an extended period of time. Turning it on and off every time you get out of the tub results in an energy consumption hike. 30C is the ideal temperature for an idle hot tub. Too low or too high could also affect energy consumption. 

How much energy does a hot tub use per run?

The average electric consumption of a hot tub using a 120V heater would be at 3000W when used for at least two hours while a larger heater would consume at least 7500W. If you need figures on how much this costs, Consumer Affairs note that energy efficient hot tubs and good models would only cost $1.50/day of running. 

How high maintenance are hot tubs? 

According to anecdotal evidence and popular reviews, hot tubs usually require 12-hrs of maintenance checks every time they need to be inspected. Per year, you also need to spend $175 on annual filter replacements. On top of that, you still need to buy chemicals for the purification system which costs $230 on average. 

How long do hot tubs last? 

Cheaper hot tubs could only last for five years at most. This is the reason why you must look for the best quality hot tubs because they can last from 10-25 years. Of course, proper maintenance is required for it to last. For what it is worth, you should also know hot tubs should be drained and then refilled once every three months. 

Conclusion

Hot tubs are investments of relaxation and they do not come cheap. As a big purchase, you must be meticulous about the features you are looking for, the construction and the overall performance of the hot tub you are buying. In this sense, cross-checking and looking for reputable reviews are always the most important tip to get the best choice. 

The aesthetic value of the hot tub is important but note that it is just secondary. Focus on the functional side of the product as well as its warranty clauses and of course, reviews on the brand’s customer service are essential. With all of these in mind, you are set on your hot tub shopping.

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