The 6 Best Hot Tubs of 2021

A spa-like experience right at home

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Best Hot Tubs

The Spruce / Sabrina Jiang

Hot tubs are an ideal accessory for your patio or deck, providing at-home relaxation for you, your family, and your friends. Aside from helping you decompress, hot tubs and spas can provide soothing hydrotherapy through strategically placed jets.

When shopping for a hot tub, consider the type and size that suits your space. In-ground, portable, and inflatable hot tubs all offer various advantages and have specific installation requirements. Within each type, consider the material the tub is constructed from, as it will affect aesthetics, durability, and maintenance. Finally, don't forget to make a list of the extra features that matter to you, including lights, adjustable jets, a wireless control panel, and more. We found the top picks in every size and price range to help you select the right hot tub for you.

Here are the best hot tubs on the market.

Our Top Picks
This high-quality hot tub has room for up to six people with a reclined seat and upright options.
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This uber-relaxing tub has double-wide seats, sculpted armrests, and 57 jets, which you can adjust for an utterly dreamy massage.
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Best Inflatable:
Intex PureSpa Plus at Amazon
This pick comes with an inflation hose and can be blown up within 20 minutes to get you relaxing in no time.
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With hydrotherapy jets and a cascading, backlit waterfall, this tub was made for quality one-on-one time.
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The saltwater system sanitizes the water and brings it to the ideal salinity with fewer chemicals.
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A convenient floor valve and side handles make it easy to drain and transport.
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Best Overall: Essential Hot Tubs 67-Jet Syracuse Hot Tub

Essential Hot Tubs

Dimensions: 85 x 85 x 36 inches | Shape: Square | Voltage: 240 | Water Capacity: 400 gallons | Number of Jets: 67

What We Like
  • Ozone water filtration

  • 51 of the 67 jets are adjustable

What We Don't Like
  • Electrical panel is hard to access

  • Single lounger seat

If what you're looking for is a high-quality hot tub with lots of seating arrangements to choose from, you've found it here. This 67-jet model has a reclined seat and a few upright options to help massage muscles. With room for up to six people, this hot tub is ideal for households that plan to use it often but aren't necessarily entertaining lots of people at once.

While you will need an electrician to set up the 240-volt hot tub, it's energy-efficient enough that you won't need to turn the temperature down between uses. So you don't have to worry as much about planning hours in advance if you want to soak. The cover and insulation help lock in the heat, so you're ready to go whenever you like. The water is filtered using an ozone system, which means you won't need to manage as many chemicals to keep your hot tub safe and clean.

Best Splurge: ThermoSpas 5-Person 57-Jet Hot Tub with LED Light and Ozone System

5-Person Hot Tub

Dimensions: 87 x 79 x 39 inches | Shape: Square | Voltage: 240 | Water Capacity: 430 gallons | Number of Jets: 57

What We Like
  • Extra wide lounger

  • Includes underwater light

  • Ozone purification system

What We Don't Like
  • Direction of jets isn't adjustable

  • No speakers

If you're interested in a high-end option with all the bells and whistles, check out the ThermoSpas 5-Person Hot Tub. Designed to be the most comfortable, relaxing home spa in the world, it has oversized seats, sculpted armrests, cup holders, and 57 pillow jets. The user-friendly controls allow you to adjust the jets for a perfect full-body or deep-tissue massage.

This hot tub has a built-in underwater light, an air blower, and an ozone generator. It's constructed with thermal walls and comes with an insulated locking cover to keep heat in while conserving energy.

Best Inflatable: Intex 28429E PureSpa Plus 4 Person Portable Inflatable Hot Tub

 Intex PureSpa Inflatable Round Heated Hot Tub Spa

Dimensions: 77 x 77 x 28 inches | Shape: Round | Voltage: 120 | Water Capacity: 210 gallons | Number of Jets: 140

What We Like
  • Fast set-up

  • Uses filter cartridges

What We Don't Like
  • Limited heating ability in temperatures under 50 degrees Fahrenheit

  • Subject to punctures

Intex is known for high-quality above-ground pools, so it's no wonder the brand makes the best inflatable hot tub. The Intex PureSpa Plus comes with an inflation hose and is quick and easy to set up. It's ready for water in just 20 minutes and deflates just as quickly. Considering it's a blow-up option, we're impressed by the 140 water jets and built-in LED light.

This hot tub seats up to four adults. It comes with two headrests, a thermal ground cloth, an insulated cover, and a carry bag. You'll also get a built-in heating system, air blower, hard water treatment, floating chlorine dispenser, and a test strip to keep the water clean and clear for as long as possible.

Best for Two People: AquaRest Spas Premium 300 2-Person 20-Jet Plug and Play Hot Tub with Stainless Steel Heater

Premium 300 2-Person Hot Tub

Dimensions: 80 x 68 x 31 inches | Shape: Triangle | Voltage: 120 | Water Capacity: 160 gallons | Number of Jets: 20

What We Like
  • Uni-body shell for durability

  • Stainless steel jets

  • Space-saving design

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

  • Jets aren't adjustable

  • Control panel hard to see in dark

The AquaRest Spas Premium 300 is perfect for one-on-one relaxation. This two-person hot tub has a virtually indestructible polyethylene shell, which houses 20 hydrotherapy jets. There's a special lumbar arch support for your back, while the jets target muscles.

Thanks to the color-changing LED waterfall, it's easy to create a tranquil, romantic ambiance. Additionally, this spa weighs only 232 pounds, so you can move it around your space with minimal effort.

Best Saltwater: Hot Spring Highlife Envoy

Highlife Envoy

Dimensions: 93 x 91 x 38 inches | Shape: Square | Voltage: 230 | Water Capacity: 390 gallons | Number of Jets: 43

What We Like
  • Customize color of cabinet and shell

  • Wireless remote control

  • Motorized jet in lounger seat

What We Don't Like
  • Salt cartridges require frequent replacement

  • Can be awkward to enter without optional steps

Saltwater pools have gained attention over the past few years, and the trend has made its way into the hot tub market. The Highlife Envoy from Hot Spring comes with the option of a FreshWater salt system. It uses a special titanium cartridge to sanitize the water and process it to the perfect salinity level.

This means you can use less chlorine and enjoy clean, clear water without skin-irritating chemical levels or odors. The Envoy accommodates up to five people. Its full-body massaging jets and deep seats make for a seriously soothing experience. Also, the high-tech control panel has a color screen and large icons, making it easy to adjust the settings precisely to your liking.

Best Portable: Coleman 15442-BW SaluSpa 4 Person Portable Inflatable Outdoor Square Hot Tub

Coleman 15442-BW SaluSpa 4 Person Portable Inflatable Outdoor Square Hot Tub Spa with 114 Air Jets

Dimensions: 71 x 71 x 28 inches | Shape: Square | Voltage: 110/120 | Water Capacity: 177 gallons | Number of Jets: 114

What We Like
  • Handles make it easier to move the tub before filling

  • Square shape provides more space for soaking

What We Don't Like
  • Not for use in temperatures below 40 degrees Fahrenheit

  • Jets can be noisy during operation

If you're looking for a portable tub to set up and take down when you need it, we recommend the Coleman SaluSpa. It inflates within minutes and then quickly warms up to a nice 104 degrees Fahrenheit, allowing you to sit back, relax, and decompress from anywhere you can plug it in. The handy valve on the floor makes it easy to drain when you're ready to pack it back up. Side handles add to its portability as well.

This four-person tub has 114 air jets, which you can activate with the touch of the button. With three-ply inflatable walls and a plush floor, it's durable yet endlessly comfy. The SaluSpa comes with a liner, a cover, a pump, a chemical floater, two filter cartridges, an air pad protector, and a repair patch.

Final Verdict

Our top choice is the Essential Hot Tubs 67-Jet Syracuse Hot Tub (view at Amazon) because of its comfortable design, 67 massaging jets, and insulated body. If you are looking for an option with all of the bells and whistles, the ThermoSpas 5-Person Hot Tub (view at Wayfair) is a great choice. It boasts lots of features including oversized seats, sculpted armrests, and 57 pillow jets.

Best Hot Tubs
Michela Buttignol / The Spruce

What to Look for in a Hot Tub

Type

There are several types of hot tubs to choose from, depending on your installation options and budget. In-ground hot tubs, commonly referred to as spas, are usually built adjacent to or close to an in-ground swimming pool. Building an in-ground hot tub isn’t cheap, but it provides the ultimate choice of options regarding materials, size, shapes, and features. 

Portable hot tubs are free-standing complete units made of a variety of materials. They typically include a shell and cabinet or are a single piece cast from a mold. This type of hot tub ranges in size from a small two-person soaker to larger six- or eight-person models.

Inflatable hot tubs are a type of portable hot tub. Designed to be easy to set up and taken down, these hot tubs can be used outdoors or indoors. Also known as plug-and-play hot tubs, they usually only require a 110V electrical outlet. However, they typically don’t work well in temperatures under 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

Size

The size of a hot tub is determined by its dimensions and seating capacity. If you’re tight on space or have a specific location for hot tub installation in mind, you’ll want to carefully check the dimensions of any model that you are considering. When it comes to seating capacity, hot tubs usually accommodate from two to six people, though smaller single soakers and larger party-size options exist. 

Material

Because they’re usually custom-built, the materials of an in-ground hot tub can vary based on your builder’s recommendation. Cement, fiberglass, and gunite are common materials for in-ground hot tubs.

For portable hot tubs, common materials include fiberglass, acrylic, and polyethylene. Fiberglass tubs are inexpensive but heavy. More and more hot tubs on the market today are made of acrylic, which is lightweight and durable but can be scratched. Both fiberglass and acrylic hot tubs will typically have a cabinet made of wood or plastic surrounding the tub insert, mechanics, and electronics. Polyethylene hot tubs are frequently seen as well. This material, which is a thermoplastic polymer, is often used for one-piece hot tubs that are cast from a mold.

Inflatable hot tubs are made of thick plastic and have air chambers that fill to maintain the tub’s shape and structure. 

Extra features 

You can elevate your hot tub experience by choosing a model with additional features, including specialized jets, integrated lighting, and speakers. The options vary by manufacturer and model but can increase the comfort and ambiance of your hot tub experience. 

Another item that is often listed as an extra feature but is more likely to be considered a must-have is a hot tub cover. This item is important for most portable hot tubs, but it isn’t always included in the purchase price. The cover will assist in maintaining the water temperature, which conserves energy. Additionally, a cover keeps leaves and debris from landing in your hot tub and reduces maintenance tasks and time. 

FAQ
  • How do you set up a hot tub?

    Setting up your hot tub for the first time isn’t as daunting as it may sound. Assuming you have the proper electrical outlet available (either 110V or 240V) and a level surface (preferably concrete or a specially designed hot tub pad), the process is as simple as having the tub delivered to your yard, freeing it from the delivery crate, and getting it filled with water.

    In the case of an inflatable hot tub, take extra steps to ensure that there are no objects on the ground that could puncture it. Remove any rocks, sticks, or debris before inflating the hot tub. A ground cover is often included with inflatable hot tubs and serves as an additional layer of insulation and protection, but it is no substitute for a careful site evaluation before set-up. 

    Before you break out the hose, turn off the power to the circuit in the breaker box. Clean the hot tub using a mild, nonabrasive formula. Verify that all jets and knobs are in place. Open gate valves and close drain valves, and install the skimmer and filter. Then, use a garden hose to fill the tub with water. Restore power to the breaker. Power on the hot tub, and prime the pump. Usually, there will be an option for this on the hot tub’s control panel. Then, set the hot tub to your desired temperature and begin heating the water inside. Dispense chemicals into the water for proper hygiene and water maintenance. 

  • How often should you clean a hot tub?

    It’s usually recommended to drain and clean your hot tub every three to four months; adjust based on your frequency of use. A deep clean of the hot tub involves flushing the lines; draining the water; and scrubbing the tub shell with hot tub cleaner, white vinegar, a diluted bleach solution, or an all-purpose nonabrasive household cleaner (consult manufacturer guidelines for specific cleaning product recommendations). Thoroughly wipe the shell, seats, and jets to remove any grime or bacteria. Be sure to rinse well and dry the tub with a towel to avoid chemical contamination. Refill the tub with water. 

    You should also remove the filters occasionally and spray them with a garden hose or hot tub cleaner. Rinse well before reinstalling. This should be done more frequently—even up to once per week for frequent hot tub users. 

  • What chemicals do you need for a hot tub?

    Hot tubs need regular cleaning to maintain safe, clean water and proper functioning of the system. Test your water frequently, and keep these hot tub chemicals on hand.

    • PH adjusters: Muriatic acid or sodium bisulfate are used as pH decreasers. Muriatic acid (or a replacement product) also can lower alkalinity. Take note that sodium bisulfate can raise alkalinity. 
    • Alkalinity increaser: Alkalinity and pH are closely related, so adjusting the pH levels of your hot tub can also impact alkalinity. If you need to raise the alkalinity of your hot tub, use an alkalinity increaser. 
    • Shocking agent: Use either a chlorine or non-chlorine treatment that breaks down organic compounds in the water and also converts chloramines back into the active form of chlorine.
    • Sanitizer: The most popular options include chlorine and bromine. Bromine is sometimes recommended for people with more sensitive skin. Other sanitizing options for your hot tub include biguanide (a non-chlorine and non-bromine chemical sanitizer), a salt system, or an ozone generator.  
    • Calcium hardness increaser or decreaser: Depending on your water hardness, you might need an additive to either increase or decrease the amount of calcium in your hot tub water. This will give you clearer water while also prolonging the life of mechanical components.
    • Enzymes: While not an absolutely essential chemical for your hot tub, enzymes help to slow the build-up of hot tub scum. 
    • Filter cleaner: This is a special cleaning formula that helps to rid the filter of debris and build-up, extending its life. Use it when you do a deep clean of your hot tub every three to four months.
  • How long do hot tubs typically last?

    You can usually expect a hot tub to last between 10 and 15 years. Build quality, regularity of maintenance, and environmental conditions can all play a role in determining the lifespan of a hot tub. Some components can be repaired or replaced if they malfunction or wear out. But if the cost of repair exceeds the value of the tub itself, it might be time to replace the entire hot tub. 

    For inflatable hot tubs, the expected lifespan is much shorter. You can expect about five years from one of these models if you take excellent care of the tub and its components, but it could also need replacement after just a few seasons of use. However, the purchase price for an inflatable hot tub is usually at least half the cost of a hard-side hot tub, justifying the shorter lifespan.

Why Trust The Spruce?

Theresa Holland is a Portland-based homeowner and professional writer with substantial experience covering home improvement and self-care products. She regularly contributes to MyDomaine in addition to The Spruce. To make this list, she considered the price, style, and size of each hot tub.

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