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Home » Are Inflatable Hot Tubs Worth It? – The Pro’s & Con’s

Are Inflatable Hot Tubs Worth It? – The Pro’s & Con’s

Are Inflatable Hot Tubs Worth It? – The Pro’s & Con’s

Inexpensive, portable, and an easy set up – what more could you ask for in a hot tub? While inflatable hot tubs might seem like a no brainer, there’s a lot more to consider when looking for an easy and affordable hot tub solution. Are cheap inflatable hot tubs worth the $700-$1,500 investment? Let’s take a look at the Pro’s and Con’s & we’ll let you decide. (Psst: If you’re looking for just a quick pro & con list, scroll to the bottom.)

Are Inflatable hot tubs worth it? Pro's & Con's


Pro’s of Buying A Cheap Inflatable Hot Tub

In the spirit of looking on the bright side, let’s start with the list of Pro’s of inflatable hot tubs.


Most inflatable hot tubs are extremely affordable & pretty much anyone can fit them into their budget. The average range of the popular brand Intex  range from $500 – $1,500. This is significantly less expensive than most hot tubs that are considered to be “entry level”. Entry level hot tubs built from hard durable material usually range from $3,000 – $5,000.


All inflatable hot tubs can be moved anywhere in your backyard that has a solid level surface. It doesn’t take much to move one. You simply pump the water out of the vessel & one person can move the inflatable hot tub to another area of your yard.

Easy set up

To set up an inflatable hot tub is very simple. They ship to you in a relatively small box compared to the size you may think it would ship in. You don’t need much to set your inflatable hot tub up. You’ll need your hot tub, a nearby electrical outlet, a garden hose, an air pump, and a water connection. Simply blow up the hot tub, fill it with a hose, and plug it in. It’s very easy to set up an inflatable hot tub!

Easy Purchase Experience

Most big box home improvement centers sell inflatable hot tub options. You can now even buy them on pretty much any large E-Commerce website. Because they’re all relatively similar in the quality & experience, there’s no real need to shop around too much. You can make a decision and order one relatively quick.

Obviously, during COVID-19, most of these E-Commerce and big box stores are completely sold out or have very limited inventory.


Because of the small size of the inflatable hot tubs, they can fit almost anywhere in your backyard making it a great solution for small backyards!


Con’s of Purchasing A Cheap Inflatable Hot Tub

Now, let’s take a look at the reasons why purchasing a cheap inflatable hot tub might not be a great idea in the short term and long term. Although easy to set up and a low upfront cost, inflatable hot tubs lack the qualities that a hot tub needs to operate efficiently to keep the long term cost affordable.

No Insulation

Because these hot tubs are blown up with air, there is no way to add insulation to the hot tub. This leads to your heater running constantly to keep the water clean in colder months which increases your operation costs tremendously (can cost you several $100’s/mo to run!).

No Sanitation System

Perhaps one of the most important features in a hot tub is the sanitation system. Without sanitation, you run a very high risk of bacterial infections & you spend a ton of money on chemicals trying to keep it “clean”. We all know bacteria loves a warm moist environment to multiply in. If a hot tub is not properly treated with various types of sanitation to kill bacteria, break down organic matter, and provide steady sanitation with either a Salt generation system or Ozone treatment you might end up with a very unpleasant rash. This tends to happen very quickly in hot tubs not sanitized properly and will lead you to empty and refill the hot tub frequently.

Cheap Material

This one is kind of obvious. Just like blow up toys that hangout in your backyard, over time your inflatable hot tub will experience wear and tear and punctures from the outside elements. Although there are repair kits, these don’t tend to hold up as well as we’d like. For these reasons, Inflatable hot tubs are considered to be a disposable product not meant for long term use.

Inefficient Heater

Not only do inflatable hot tubs lack insulation, for $500-$1,500 there’s not much money to have an efficient heater installed. Good quality hot tub heaters aren’t cheap & for good reason. Because inflatable hot tubs don’t have efficient heaters, your heater will be running almost constantly leading to a large increase in your electric bill.

No Seating or Jets

When you sit in an inflatable hot tub, you’re sitting on whatever surface you put the hot tub on. All that separates you from the ground is a thin layer of vinyl material. Sitting on the floor is not always the most comfortable seating position. A lot of people choose to purchase a hot tub for the benefits they provide including physical pain relief. Without any hydrotherapy jets and sitting on a floor, you’re really only getting the benefits of the hot water aspect of hot tubbing.

Not a year round solution

Because of the lack of insulation and lack of efficient heater, most inflatable hot tub owners choose not to run their hot tub in the winter. The cost to run the unit is very high in the winter months.

  • Think about this: If your inflatable hot tub costs on the lower $150/mo to run, multiply that by 12 and you’re spending $1,800 just on electrical costs. Add that to the cost of the unit of say a $1,500 inflatable hot tub and you’re already at $3,300 before tax. That’s enough to buy a FreeFlow Plug N Play hot tub which is built to last years & costs $1 a day to run on average!


This can be a Pro or a Con depending on what you’re looking to get out of your hot tubbing experience. Inflatable hot tubs are very small and because you’re sitting on the floor, there’s really only room for 2-3 people at the very most even for the largest unit like the Intex PureSpa inflatable hot tub. Also, these hot tubs tend to be around 26″ deep which is very shallow for a hot tub.

Here’s a summarized list of Inflatable Hot Tub Pro’s & Con’s

Are inflatable hot tubs worth it? Pro's & Con's

Some other things to consider When Shopping for Inflatable Hot Tubs

Where you’re purchasing from

We cannot stress this enough, we actually wrote an entire article about the Best Place to Buy A Hot Tub. If you’re buying from a big box store or large online E-Commerce site, you’re not going to get the same one on one customer service that you would from a Hot Tub Specialty Store. This can leave you lost without anyone to answer questions, long warranty claim processes, and an “on your own” experience.


Most inflatable hot tubs have a 1 year VERY limited warranty. It’s so limited, Intex inflatable hot tubs don’t even offer much detail on what it covers. They simply outline the steps to file a warranty claim and how to package the inflatable hot tub to return to the warranty claims department for inspection along with a bunch of legal jargon. Having a details and competitive warranty is important when investing your money into something. You want to know the company is going to be there for you should any problems arise.


Other Inexpensive Hot Tub Options

If you’re looking for an inexpensive hot tub option that is a more permanent solution & offers a headache free hot tubbing experience, check out the FreeFlow Plug N Play hot tubs. These portable rotationally molded hot tubs are extremely durable, just as portable as blow up hot tubs, affordable, and they’re manufactured by the #1 selling spa brand Hot Spring Spas. What does that mean for you? You’ll get the same one on one customer service, quality that is built to last, the best sanitation system solutions for affordable hot tubs, a competitive warranty, and a hot tub dealer that stands behind you!

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