A decade or so ago, hot tubs and spas were the preserve of luxury resorts and hotels. The only way you could enjoy luxurious spa moments was by visiting said resorts or dedicated rejuvenation spa centres, and then paying through be roof for the services. How things have changed! Because today, you can enjoy your very own spa experience right inside your home environment. And you won’t have to go the traditional spa way to enjoy this exceptional indulgence. Thanks to rapid growth in the inflatable hot tub market, in 2017 you can now enjoy a homegrown spa experience anywhere in Canada at a very pocket friendly price. As in other regions of the western world, inflatable spas have taken over Canada, and an increasing number of Canadians is buying portable not tubs every month. Should you jump in? Probably. We’re yet to identify anyone who doesn’t find the idea of a home spa appealing. Even if you as an individual are not given to soaking in spas, someone else in your household is bound to enjoy using them. The chain of people who will eventually appreciate your home inflatable hot tub is bigger than you may imagine – friends and family when you host them on a visit, dinner or party; your kids’ friends when they come over for the afternoon, weekend or night sleepover; or you can carry your portable spa along when attending a friend or neighbour’s party. A good percentage of attendees from these three crowd scenarios will want to soak in the tub and have an enjoyable splash time.
We hope this guide to choosing the best inflatable hot tub will make it easier for you to pick the right spa when you eventually decide to buy one. It is imperative to understand how each inflatable hot tub differs from the other when they look so similar from afar. But first, is the modern inflatable hot tub or spa any different from the traditional, fixed spa? Only in design and form. In function and application, the two types of spas are the same. Evidently, an inflatable spa does have some obvious advantages over a conventional, built-in one. For one, being permanent fixtures, conventional spas can only be installed in large, spacious areas. Owners of smaller homes would have to permanently carve out space for the hot tub and this may not always be possible, given than you can’t just up and dig out the spa when you need to use the floor space on which the spa sits. This locks out a significant number of people who would like to have a refreshing place at home to soak in after putting in long hours at work. Portable inflatable spas provide a ready, practical, and effective solution to this. Those who are yet to own a house can now enjoy the luxury of an own hot tub in rental homes without built-in spas. When changing houses or relocating, take your hot tub with you and continue enjoying the same luxurious treatment in your new abode. This is a major comfort and customization that you don’t get from a traditional spa. Using one is as simple as placing it in the room where you plan to use it, plugging its inflation pump into power to inflate it, filling it with water as advised by the manufacturer, and allowing the water to heat. After this, your inflatable hot tub is ready for use.
The first thing you need to consider when choosing an inflatable hot tub is size, a factor made all the more important for two reasons: it determines the maximum number of people that can use the hot tub at any given time and whether the chosen tub is right for the space available in the house or patio. Some inflatable spas are tiny, built for two users max. If you suspect that your hot tub will often be used by three or more people at the same time, consider buying one of the bigger varieties instead. There are bigger models in the market that can hold six to ten persons. Ensure that there is enough room indoors or outdoors, wherever you intend to put the spa during use, so that you don’t end up with a lovely spa but no room to place it. One of the best things about using inflatable hot tubs is that you can fold it and store it away when you’re done using it, minimizing demand on space. As long as you have sufficient room to put your hot tub during use, you can buy one. The tub can be placed anywhere indoors or outdoors, provided the surface is flat and sturdy enough to support the weight of the water-filled hot tub.
An inflatable hot tub is far more affordable than a traditional, fixed spa. Basic models are selling for as little as CDN$300, which is a good price by any standard. Granted, the inflatable spa may not have the permanence of a built-in spa, but it sure offers a lengthy service for the price. High-end models cost more, but they are still cheaper than built-in spas. When you’re short of cash, the inflatable hot tub is the best alternative to a permanently-built hot tub that you can get.
Basic inflatable hot tubs, which are also the cheapest in Canada, do not have many add-ons. Other than the tub holding the water and the heating mechanism, they have little else, and this is fine for individuals who only want a charming place to soak in and relax. Some people want odes of accessories and amenities in their spa. For this category of folks, inflatable spa manufacturers offer a variety of models super packed with accessories. Pick a hot tub based on what you want your spa to have. Attractive add-ons you may want in your hot tub are raised seats, cup and bottle holders, moulded seats and headrests, steps to aid in climbing in and out, waterfalls, and lighting. The highest quantity of accessories is found in high-end hot tubs. Inevitably, these are also the highest priced. A number of hot tubs give a balance between basic and extreme high-end quality through the modest number of features they come with. For a lot of people, this moderate quantity of featured is sufficient. The key thing to remember here is to know what features you would like your hot tub to have. Then it will become easy to pick the hot tub that offers these.
Portable, inflatable hot tubs are largely made from vinyl and vinyl blend materials, faux leather and a range of other synthetic materials. Although not as hardy and tough as the wood, glass fibre or porcelain used to make permanent hot tubs, this material is hardy enough to support the weight of a limited number of people plus water. With good care, your vinyl hot tub will stay in good form. Only be careful to keep away sharp objects and pointed surfaces away from the tub as these can easily prick and puncture it.
Some inflatable hot tubs require an electric source of power, while others can be powered using gas. Choose the mechanism that is most convenient for you depending on where and how you intend to use the hot tub. If you’re buying the spa primarily for outdoor use but don’t have power connections on the outside or you won’t be able to connect power cables to the outside area of your home for whatever reason, a gas powered hot tub is a more practical solution for you. The same applies if you would like to take your tub with you on outdoor events where electric power may not be present.
Ease in inflating and deflating
Different spas inflate at different rates. When picking a portable hot tub, you want to choose one that will inflate quickly so you don’t have to wait hours for it to balloon. The same goes for deflating it. While it may be difficult to ascertain how quickly a spa inflates just by looking at it (you’ll have to go with what the seller or manufacturer says), you may be lucky to see a live demonstration or video of the spa model getting inflated. Manufacturers also indicate the approximate length of time it takes for the spa to inflate on average so this should give you rough idea of how long the whole process will take. You can also look at what others who’ve used the spa are saying about it. Usually, other people’s experiences paint a near accurate picture of what using the hot tub is like.
Heating process and heat retention
While the heating mechanism behind inflatable hot tubs is similar in principal, each manufacture varies the specifics and components of their brands. That said, a good spa should have an efficient and reliable heating system which kicks in as soon as you power it and turn it on. Additionally, the spa should be able to retain heat for a reasonable period of time so that there is controlled and efficient use of power. For enhanced heat retention, choose an inflatable hot spa with a thermal ground cloth or lining and top cover.
Every inflatable spa will be easy to carry even though the weight may differ from one model to the other. Check the weight of the spa you’re interested in buying so that you’ll be comfortable carrying it, especially if you plan to take the spa with you a lot when you travel. A carry bag is an added advantage and makes transporting the hot tub very easy. Check that the tub you want comes with a carry bag so that you do not have to shop for a fitting bag separately. Most inflatable spas fold easily. Just deflate to fold and store in the bag, which you can then keep away until your next use.
If you’ll have children using the hot tub, choose a model with raised seats which will accommodate them comfortably. In some models, this option is given but in others, you’ll need to buy the seats separately. Again, hot tubs with raised seats often cost more but this is a price you may be willing to pay, especially if your children will use the tub a lot.
Sanitation and treatment
Look at what the water treatment guidelines for the spa you’re buying are. For many spas, just like in swimming pools, chemical and green water treatment products can be used to keep the water clean. This is in addition to filters that keep the water clean. Choose a spa model with a replaceable filter cartridge so that you only buy a replacement filter when the filtration system needs a touch up. Understand what is required to keep your spa hygienic and you’ll have a more enjoyable time using it.
Inflatable hot tubs don’t take much to maintain. However, check that the material you pick is easy to clean and hard to stain. Many portable hot tub models come with a repair kit or patch and the necessary instructions of what to do in case of a puncture.
If the whole idea of using an inflatable hot tub is a little foreign to you or perhaps you have some misgivings about these types of tubs (at times we like to cast some doubt when a product comes laden with so much good to offer), these benefits may convince you that the future indeed, is in portable hot tubs.
You don’t have to save for years before you can finally afford to get a spa of your own. With less than CDN$500, you can get yourself a good quality inflatable spa which will tremendously improve the quality of your lifestyle. Compare this to the CDN$10,000 you need at the very least to set up a fixed spa and it becomes clear just how much of a convenience an inflatable hot tub really is.
Enjoy a real life spa experience in a familiar environment. An inflatable hot tub offers the exact relaxing benefits of a traditional hotel spa. Only this time, you enjoy it all without ever leaving your home or spending extra for it. Some models, particularly those with water bubble jets, offer excellent hydrotherapy, massage and relaxation. Bear this in mind when buying an inflatable hot tub. Liaise with your physician about using your inflatable hot tub for hydrotherapy for aching muscles and joints so they can give you an outline of the best way to reap maximum benefit from the spa.
A portable hot tub gives you the flexibility of using it wherever and whenever. Unlike a fixed spa which cannot be uprooted and affixed elsewhere at will, an inflatable spa can be placed in any location of your choice, indoors or out. You can carry it with you to camp or to a friend’s as well. There is no better way to spice up a party than with a custom made spa. Inflate yours as the host and keep your guests entertained or take it along when attending a friend’s party and help keep the happy mood going.
With an inflatable spa in the house, your family will have an extra way of bonding during family moments. Settle in the spa with your partner and kids and create moments that will be treasured throughout your lifetime. Make your home spa the centre of romance in the home for your partner and yourself. Soak in and enjoy intimate moments whenever you feel like it, whether early in the morning, late afternoon or nighttime. With your own spa, romance is not only relegated to dinners out of town, candlelit dinners at home or weekend getaways; simply make yourselves comfortable inside your spa and cultivate intimacy uninterrupted. Your kids too will appreciate having a place to splash around and play.
An inflatable hot tub allows you to carry on with your favourite wind down activity while relaxing in the spa. Set it up in the TV room or family room and catch up with your favourite TV show or that movie you’ve been meaning to watch. You can read while in the tub, enjoy a drink or have snacks, even a complete meal. No time is wasted when one is in the spa. Even just soaking up the water and doing nothing else has health benefits and is therapeutic.
Installing a permanent spa takes time, effort, and the input of professionals. You’ll need to find a qualified technician of two to fix it for you and it won’t be a ten-minute job. An inflatable tub doesn’t require any of this. Simply buy your tub, carry it home, place it in the desired spot and inflate it ready to use. You don’t need extra hands to set it up, neither does it take lots of time or a special set of equipment to set up.
The variety of inflatable spas in the market is impressive. There is a wide choice of type, size, and colours to choose from. Best of all, there is one for every budget. These spas can loosely be categorized into basic, mid-range, and premium. Among the best you can invest in are the Intex 77in PureSpa Portable Bubble Massage Spa Set, Radiant Saunas Simplicity Inflatable Spa, and Aero Spa 4 Person Inflatable Portable Heated Hot Tub Spa.
Intex PureSpa Bubble Massage Spa Set
The Intex PureSpa Portable Bubble Massage Spa Set is big enough for four and provides a comfortable, luxurious spa experience. The spa comes with an control panel that makes it easy to navigate. Made from a 3-ply material, the Intex PureSpa is one of the strongest and most durable inflatable hot tubs in the market. The soothing massage rhythm is provided via 120 bubble jets which hit the body in a well- timed motion to provide the soothing effect you so desire. It also comes with a built-in water treatment system comprising of a chemical dispenser and a filter. This water treatment systems works efficiently to soften the water so that it is gentle on the skin. It also prevents the build up of hard water, which can affect the functionality of the spa in the long run if left unchecked, and ensures that the spa stays clean and fresh.
Some of the outstanding features in the Intex PureSpa are quick water heating, excellent heat retention capacity, an efficient thermal cover, puncture-resistant laminated material, and solid Fiber-Tech construction for lasting durability. The tub has a capacity of 210 gallons and a water temperature range of 68-104 degrees Fahrenheit. The spa stands at 28 inches and can comfortably be used by both adults and children. Its 77-inch diameter when inflated means it won’t take up much space and can be placed in a number of places. Priced at CDN$ 643, the Intex offers very good quality for money. If you are lucky to catch one of the special offers at leading spa sellers, you may enjoy a discount of up to $200. But you’ll need to act quick because this particular model tends to disappear from the stores real fast. Else, you’ll have to wait for the next shipment, and it may be a few weeks before it’s available.
Radiant Saunas Simplicity Spa
Slightly higher priced than the Intex at CDN$ 984, the Radiant Saunas BP5760 Simplicity Inflatable Spa features sturdy construction, thanks to the cross-laminated 3-ply PVC material used to make it. To enhance its lifespan, the manufacturer has used the patented Dura-Tech technology to produce a puncture-resistant, long lasting tub. For added strength, an exterior cover made from leather is carefully added to the tub body. This hot tub heats pretty fast and has a good heat retention rate, which is further enhanced by the matching polyester laminated cover. The Simplicity Spa uses integrated bubble jet therapy through the action of 88 air jets to provide relaxation. A built-in water filtration system keeps the spa clear and clean.
At 65 inches when inflated, this spa has a water capacity of 150 gallons and is big enough for four. It’s worth nothing that the tub has been designed to offer sufficient space for the feet such that even when four adults are occupying the spa, each is comfortably seated with adequate personal space. Because the spa is not overly wide, you’ll find it possible to fit it in a room without having to move things around a lot.
Aero Spa 4 Person Inflatable Portable Heated Hot Tub Spa
One of the finest buys at the lower end of the price scale is the Aero Spa 4 Person Inflatable Portable Heated Hot Tub Spa from SunSolar. Selling at slightly under CDN$ 500, the Aero Spa is your best answer for a comfortable yet affordable spa experience. The tub plugs into a 110V socket and will present no extra demands on power for you. Plug it inside the house or connect to an outdoor power source and enjoy an unlimited, relaxing spa experience. The hot tub has a water capacity of 211 gallons and can comfortably seat four. It comes with a heater blower and filtration pump for efficient operation. Its heater is thermostatically-controlled for enhanced safety, and heats water up to 104 degrees Fahrenheit. Setting it up involves an easy 4-step process – plug in, inflate, fill and heat – that will see you enjoy soaking in the spa in just minutes.
The Aero Spa is a true actualization of convenience. It can fit just about anywhere, both indoor and outdoor. Most homeowners with ultra spacious bathrooms are happy to add the tub in the bathroom as a personalized comfort tool. Even without a large bathroom, you can place the Aero Spa in any other room. Its 73.7 x 53.3 x 45.7 cm dimensions are modest and won’t obstruct movement in any average sized room. Outside, you can place the spa in your patio, garden, or backyard. The accompanying 12-foot power cord is long enough to ensure a safe connection anywhere in the compound. It’s also a perfect tag mate in any outdoor adventure, be it a picnic, outdoor party or camping event. Installing the tub is easy and doesn’t require any special know-how. You only need to plug it into power and connect the inflating pump to get started.
These few extras will make your choice of inflatable hot tub exceptional:
• A long power cord. Long here is relative because what may be acceptably long for one person may be considered short by another. Pick the cord length that works for you. The outdoor environment will likely place a higher demand on the use of a cord, especially if the location where you’re placing the hot tub is a distance away from the power source.
• A top cover. Many manufacturers ensure that their spa covers are insulated to boost heat retention. Hot tubs with no covers may be sold for less, but they have a lower heat retention rate than tubs with covers this will no doubt have a negative effect on your power bill. Best to avoid the extra expense altogether by choosing a spa with a good cover. Beyond helping in heat preservation, a hot tub cover is a safety amenity too. Does a fine job in keeping little ones and pets away from the hot tub, who unsupervised, can easily fall into the tub.
• Heat preservation mat or cloth. This goes on the bottom surface of the tub and helps conserve heat so that the water stays warm for longer. Other than helping you enjoy a lengthier spa session, this also means you do not have to heat the water very often, thereby minimizing power consumption and, in effect, the cost of electricity. The quality of the ground cloth or mat varies from one manufacturer to another, so check the kind of insulation used along with the material, as this has a huge impact on how effective it becomes in preserving heat.
• Automatic water filtration. The best inflatable hot tubs have an in-built water filtration system that is designed to operate automatically, as long as the hot tub is powered. This is a far more convenient option than a tub that requires you to manually filter the water. Other aspects to consider when assessing the filtration mechanism is whether the spa has a replaceable chlorine/chemical dispenser and filter. It helps to know that you can get new ones should the ones that come with the spa be one obsolete.
• Massage system. Pick a hot tub with a bubble jet massage system to soothe and rejuvenate the body. Most tubs have between 80 and 120 bubble jet streams. The more jet streams the inflatable hot tub has, the more soothing and relaxing it usually is. This is crucial for individuals hoping to use the spa specifically for therapy, as this massage action is what provides relief from aches, pain, and tension.
• Digital controls. This is what makes the hot tub such a luxury. The digital controls allow you to easily regulate the temperature of the water and may be equipped with a number of other technological features. The inflating pump in most models is also digitally controlled, and this allows for quick, uniform inflation. Most manufacturers offer an LCD panel controller to make operating the system easy. This is often also replaceable. In case of malfunction, getting a new one will not be a problem.
• Foam filled bottom and air filled, inflated cushions. These ensure extra comfort when sitting in the hot tub. Your loved ones and friends will appreciate the extra effort taken to keep the tub cozy.
• Manufacturer’s warranty. This varies from brand to brand. Some manufacturers give a warranty period that is as long as two or three years. Others offer a three or six month warranty. The most important thing to consider when picking a portable hot tub is to check that there is a level of commitment from the manufacturer, no matter how small. It’s a sign that they stand by their product, which is a great indicator of quality.
• Brand. Some brands are renowned leaders in the pool and spa industry. Getting an inflatable hot tub from one of these almost always means you’re buying the best quality there is in the market. Even though you may pay slightly more for these brands’ top spa models, what you get is true value for money; the tub will serve you well for long. But this is not the only way to sift hot tubs. Some brands may not necessarily be considered the cream in the industry, but they still manage to make very good quality inflatable hot tubs. In this case, read user reviews to find out what others have to say about the tubs. If a specific model from a not so familiar brand receives plenty of positive feedback, chances are it is worth considering for purchase. Likewise, just because a brand is popular doesn’t necessarily mean all their products are good. Approach each hot tub individually, checking whether it has all the features that matter and that it is well designed.
Whichever portable inflatable hot tub you eventually settle for,it will serve you better and longer when you take some steps to keep it in good shape. Always remember that inflatable hot tubs are a lot more fragile than fixed, above-ground hot tubs. Apply the requisite precautions when handling it and you won’t have any disappointments. Some important points of action in this regard are:
• Ensuring that you only place the hot tub on flat surfaces. Avoid pointed surfaces and keep any pointed objects that may prick the tub away to ensure that your spa does not get punctured.
• Drain the tub completely before keeping it in storage.
• Clean and dry your hot tub completely before folding it and keeping it in its box or bag.
At the end of the day, your inflatable hot tub spa is more than a place to soak up some fun. It becomes your little corner of relaxation and provides the much needed rejuvenation you require after a long day of activities. With this in mind, buy the best quality that you can afford, knowing that premium quality inflatable tubs in Canada cost more than those of a lower quality but the returns – comfort, durability, ease of use – are twofold.