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The right hot tub offers year-round outdoor relaxation right in your own backyard. We researched dozens of models, evaluating them on durability, installation, value, and range of features.
Our best overall pick is the Aquajets 5-Person 29-Jet Plug and Play Spa, which has plenty of seating, is easy to set up, and offers a top-notch filtration system.
Here are the best hot tubs.
Best Overall: Aquarest Spas Elite 500 5-Person 29-Jet Plug and Play Spa with Ozonator and LED Waterfall
Ozone water filtration
LED backlit waterfall
Easy to set up
ASTM-Certified locking safety cover
Doesn't have as many jets as other options
Might be a tight fit for 5
Who else recommends it? BestReviews and Popular Mechanics also picked the Aquarest Spas Graystone Elite Hot Tub.
What do buyers say? 300+ Wayfair reviewers rated this product 4 stars or above.
With the Aquarest Spas 5-Person 29-Jet Plug and Play Spa, you can easily and affordably convert your backyard into a fun place to relax and unwind with friends. This hot tub is great for those who want something they can basically fill up and plug in—it only requires a standard 120-volt outlet, so you don't need to hire an electrician to set it up. With room for five people, it features a lounger with lumbar support and four additional seats. It also features 29 stainless steel hydrotherapy jets along with dual-side adjustable air controls, so you can customize the pressure.
This spa comes installed with two systems that work together to keep the water clean and clear—the EZ Kleen water filtration system filters 100 percent of the water while the Ozone Purification System reduces the need for chemicals. It is also designed to help you save energy with full-foam insulation and an ASTM-certified locking safety cover.
Along with its many practical features, this pick also has a fun LED-backlit waterfall with 9 light settings, so you can create your own ambiance. Keep in mind that it does not have as many jets as other options, and they aren't adjustable as far as targeting certain areas. But we think the relatively affordable price, easy setup, and great filtration system make this worthy of our best overall pick.
Best Budget: Coleman SaluSpa Miami 4-Person Hot Tub
Pro installation not required
Includes plenty of jets and seating
Not good for cold temps
More fragile exterior
Want the relaxation of a hot tub without the cost and permanent installation? An inflatable hot tub is a great solution and the Coleman SaluSpa Miami model is our top recommendation for the cost. It is great for your budget and you can save even more if you are flexible on the plastic shell color. It has jets, enough space for four people, and comes with a cover to keep everything ready for use at a moment’s notice. All you have to do is plug it in and enjoy.
The exterior is made of heavy-duty plastic so you should take extra care, especially when storing it, to be sure that it isn’t punctured. It also has limited use in cold temperatures and should only be used when the outside temperature is above 39 degrees Fahrenheit. But considering the price and features, this is the perfect budget option.
Best Splurge: ThermoSpas Manhattan II 6-Person Hot Tub
If you want the ultimate customizable experience, ThermoSpas Manhattan II is the best you can find. Customizable options include five different shell colors, five different cabinet colors, different jet configurations, a touch screen panel, and Smart features. No matter which custom options you choose, you'll get a spacious hot tub that is roomy for six adults but can seat up to eight comfortably—it even includes an extra-wide lounger, pillow headrests, and a wrap-around corner seat. The jets work to target the lumbar area and it even comes with a mobility railing to ensure that no one slips.
Because it is a custom order, it can take longer to deliver and will require professional installation. If you’re willing to pay top dollar and wait for the hot tub of your dreams to be assembled, shipped, and installed, you won’t be disappointed.
Best Inflatable: Intex PureSpa Plus Bubble Massage Set
Hard water treatment system
Limited temperature options
Shell can puncture
The PureSpa Plus from Intex is a large inflatable hot tub with plenty of great features. It has a 6.4-foot diameter and 140 jets. It works with most budgets and is a great option for those who aren’t ready to invest the money or space in a permanently installed hot tub. It also has two included headrests and a built-in treatment system for hard water so you don’t need to worry about anything beyond plugging it in, filling it up, and getting ready to relax.
Like most inflatable hot tubs, it is more fragile than its cabinet-based counterparts. You should be careful with sharp or metal objects to keep from puncturing the plastic shell. It also has temperature limitations and should only be used in temperatures above 68 degrees Fahrenheit.
Best 2-Person: Aquarest Spas Premium 300 2-Person 20-Jet Plug and Play Hot Tub with Stainless Steel Heater
Uni-body shell for durability
Stainless steel jets
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 that houses 20 hydrotherapy jets. There's a special lumbar arch support for your back while the jets target different muscles.
Thanks to the color-changing LED waterfall, it's easy to create a tranquil, romantic ambiance. Additionally, this spa weighs only 232 pounds when empty, so you can move the hot tub around your space with minimal effort.
Best 4-Person: Sundance Spas Montclair 780 Series 4-Person Hot Tub
Customizable extra features
May not be available in all areas
Extra packages add to cost
If you are looking for a customizable option with room for four, this is the one for you. The Montclair 780 Series from Sundance Spas has five shell patterns and three cabinet colors to choose from. You can also purchase an extreme cold weather package to provide additional insulation, a smart package to integrate your hot tub with other smart devices, or an entertainment package with Bluetooth-compatible speakers. All of these, as well as the required professional installation, do add to the overall cost, however.
There is limited availability based on your location, though. If you don’t live in an area where they deliver, you may not be able to purchase this hot tub or may have to wait and make other arrangements for installation. The costs for the extra packages can also add up, turning this from an affordable option to a high-end item very quickly.
Best 6-Person: Jacuzzi J-365 Large Comfort Open Seating Hot Tub
Customizable shell, cabinet, and packages
Limited seating options
The J-365 Large Comfort Open Seating Hot Tub from well-known manufacturer Jacuzzi is a great option at a fantastic price point for its size. It doesn’t have quite the level of luxury that some of Jacuzzi’s more expensive 6+ person hot tubs have, with fewer jets and limited seating options. But it has everything that most people will want and offers this large capacity for more budgets. It does offer customization with the interior shell and exterior cabinet as well as entertainment, smart home, and cold weather packages (which cost extra) if you do want to spend the extra money.
Because this is an expensive and large purchase, it’s nice to be able to see it in a Jacuzzi showroom. The website makes it very easy to explore customized options, pricing, and set up an appointment to see options in person if you live nearby.
Best Saltwater: CalderaSpas Martinique 5-Person Hot Tub with FreshWater Salt System
Salt water system
Foot ridge has great design
Not very many jets
Salt water system adds to cost
If you are specifically looking for a saltwater option, look no further than The Martinique 5-Person hot tub from CalderaSpas. It comes with the FreshWater Salt System that keeps the water clean and clear up to a full year without additional treatment. This system also monitors the water of your hot tub and provides details and instructions on the attached screen.
The jets in the hot tub are also great, although there aren’t as many of them as in other hot tub options. The jets that are part of the foot ridge are notable as they can provide comfort to your calves and feet. The hot tub also comes with a cover that is custom-built for each hot tub and has a child lock.
Our top pick is the Aquarest Spas 5-Person 29-Jet Plug and Play Spa it offers an excellent water filtration system, comfortable seating options, and is easy to set up. If you’re looking for a more roomy option, the Jacuzzi Large Comfort Open Seating Hot Tub is a great value for its size and can seat 6-7 people. It also offers entertainment, smart home, and cold weather packages at an extra cost.
What to Look for in a Hot Tub
The best type of hot tub for you will depend on your budget and available space. In-ground hot tubs are usually the most expensive but will last the longest and have the most customization available. These are often built in conjunction with an in-ground pool.
Portable hot tubs are well-made and durable, with a molded shell interior and exterior cabinetry-style enclosure. If you have space for a hot tub but don’t want to dig into your yard, this is a great option. Prices can vary, depending on the size and extra features that you want.
Inflatable hot tubs are the most affordable type of hot tub but are also prone to the most wear and tear. These hot tubs require a 110V electrical outlet and you can start using them almost immediately. They do have some temperature limitations, however, so make sure to read the specs before purchasing if you live in a particularly cold area.
All hot tubs provide the assembled dimensions of the unit itself so that you can be sure it will fit in your space. You should also consider any extra space needed to set up lines or hook up to electricity for your hot tub. Generally, hot tubs with smaller seating capacity (2- or 4-person hot tubs) are smaller than hot tubs with a large seating capacity (6 or more people), but this is not always the case. Lounge seating can make the dimensions of even a small capacity hot tub quite large.
Fiberglass is one of the most common materials for hot tubs due to its strength. Other materials used can include acrylic, cement (for in-ground hot tubs), or polyethylene. Inflatable hot tubs are often made of a thick plastic. Hot tub enclosures can be made of plastic or wood, which can be treated to work well with the high levels of moisture.
To make the most of your lounging hot tub experience, consider spending some extra money on a model that has the features you want. This can include jets, multi-colored lights, or even built-in speakers. Lounge seating is another popular feature, although it does often make the hot tub larger. Some companies even offer customized hot tubs that you can design yourself.
When looking into extra features, some are included to increase the lifespan of your hot tub. Balancing chemicals, a hot tub cover, or routine maintenance can all come as part of a hot tub package or purchase. While an extra cost up front, getting these extras may save you money in the long run.
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 filling it 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 the lining. 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 your 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, then install the skimmer and filter. Next, 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). Finally, set the hot tub to your desired temperature and begin heating the water inside before dispensing 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 chlorine or a 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 buildup of hot tub scum.
- Filter cleaner: This is a special cleaning formula that helps to rid the filter of debris and buildup, 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. 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 less than half the cost of a hard-side hot tub, justifying the shorter lifespan.
Why Trust The Spruce?
This article was researched and written by Katie Begley, a freelance writer specializing in home and family products. Katie has been writing for The Spruce since 2019. For this list, Katie considered top recommended products that had popular features like jets and lounge seating as well as those with customizable setups. She also consulted with St. Louis-based hot tub salespeople to find out which hot tubs their customers like and which they use themselves.