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Hot Tubs To Avoid – The Bad & The Ugly

Our worst nightmare is a hot tub that sits in a backyard, the water turns green, and it becomes a major eye sore instead of a place of relaxation & decompressing. Unfortunately, when homeowners don’t do their research & purchase the lowest price hot tub, this nightmare becomes a reality. Today, instead of brand bashing like most of the articles we’ve read on this topic, we’re going to talk about what hot tubs to avoid by educating you on exactly what to look for & avoid while shopping. With endless hot tub brands out there today, this article should make that green hot tub nightmare easy to point out & run away from!


What Hot Tubs to Avoid – What to look for

Little to No Insulation

Hot Tubs To Avoid By Insulation Type

Hot tubs with little to no insulation are definitely hot tubs to avoid. What does little to no insulation look like? Foam board against the cabinet with no other insulation is too little to keep your hot tub energy efficient and protected in New Jersey’s winter months. 1 layer of spray foam against the shell is also a hot tub to avoid. This minimal insulation is not going to be enough to run your hot tub efficiently in colder months & your electric bill will be sky high (Upwards of $450/mo additional!). Zero foam insulation is obviously a major red flag and you should run away with your money right away! Your best option is Full Foam Insulation. This means there is foam in every crevice between the back of the hot tub shell & the cabinet wall. Even better is if the full foam hot tub is 2lb spray foam or more! See the image above for a visual of what these hot tub insulation types look like.

Tip: Hot Spring, Caldera, Aspen, & FreeFlow Spas are all full foam insulated hot tubs. Hot Spring High Life hot tubs are known for their commercial grade freezer insulation, the best option for hot tubs that experience freezing temperatures.

Inefficient Water Sanitation

Hot tubs without proper water sanitation are hot tubs to avoid, 100%. Remember that green hot tub nightmare we talked about? Yea, we’re cringing, too. It is totally necessary for your hot tub to have one of the following water sanitation systems: Ozone Sanitation, Salt Water Sanitation, UV Sanitation, Mineral & Chlorine Sanitation. If your hot tub does not have any of those sanitation options, it’s a hot tub to avoid.

Tip: Salt Water is the easiest water care system in terms of maintaining clean sanitized water. This system regularly generates natural chlorine in your hot tub water keeping it clean 24/7. If your hot tub only has a Mineral & Chlorine Sanitation system, you MUST have a LARGE filter to keep the water clean. We’ll talk about this below.

Small Filter(s) or Poor Filtration

If your hot tub has a single small filter, it’s definitely not the hot tub for you. If your 7 person hot tub has one small filter, chances are, it will not keep up with cleaning your hot tub water. In order for this filter to clean the water effectively, your hot tub would need to be running all day long and the filter would need to be rinsed nearly everyday. Make sure larger hot tubs have either one large filter or multiple smaller filters. Also, ask about filter bypass. Filter bypass is water that is not passed through filtration. Some hot tubs have 2-3 bypass areas whereas others have 6-8. The less bypass, the better water clarity.

Tip: HotSpring Spas have 100% No-Bypass filtration. This means that every single drop of water is passed through filtration before it goes back through the jets. This is the only brand of hot tubs that has this capability. Expensive? Yes. Worth your time and energy and the amount of money spend on chemicals in one year? 100%!

Poor Structural Support

Believe it or not, some hot tubs are built with very minimal support! The frame of your hot tub should either be made with PVC, treated solid wood 2″x3″ or thicker, or heavy gauge steel. It should also be supported with full foam insulation. Hot tubs without full foam insulation are solely relying on the framing to keep the shell stable. This is how shell cracks near supports happen, which we want to avoid. The bottom of your hot tub should also be sealed in some way. Whether that is with a plastic covering or some type of seal coat. Your foam should not be exposed as this will cause rotting.

Thin Shell

Hot tub shells are something that sometimes might be overlooked. When you shop for a hot tub, you want to make sure the shell is made with quality, comfort, & life expectancy in mind. Your shell should be about a 1/4″ thick or thicker. You also want to avoid too many layers in a shell to avoid delamination. A solid acrylic shell with a fiberglass backing is optimal quality! Also, ask your sales person if the shell is self supporting. This means the shell is strong enough to withstand substantial weight without cracking.

Removable Parts

Hot tubs with too many removeable parts are hot tubs to avoid. Being able to customize your hot tub might seem fun or it may seem overwhelming. The ability to interchange too many parts can get expensive, and dirty! Removeable seats, for instance, can cause build up of mold behind the seats with water not easily flowing through these small spaces. Try and keep it simple and let the brand reputation speak for itself in providing you with the best experience.

Poor Warranty – It’s In the Details

Warranty’s are often not posted online on hot tub websites. Why? Because usually they don’t cover much & are pro-rated to cover less and less over time. If a brand believes in their product, they should offer a strong warranty. Make sure to get in writing & in detail what your warranty is. There are certain parts & accessories that will have a shorter warranty period than others. Make sure you’re fully informed! The most important parts to warranty are the shell, structure, pumps, heater, plumbing, and no-leak warranty. Also, ask if labor is covered as well.

Tip: Entry level hot tubs will generally have a shorter warranty period than luxury hot tubs. This is because when you’re purchasing a higher end hot tub, you’re also buying into that longer warranty period. It doesn’t necessarily mean the hot tub is lesser quality.

Hot Tub Expo Spas & Big Box Store Spas

Where should you avoid buying hot tubs? Hot Tub Expo’s & big box stores typically carry lower quality hot tub brands because of their appealing price points. The goal of a Hot Tub Expo is to sell as many hot tubs as possible. They may even list a hot tub at $10,000 to make it seem like a better quality hot tub and offer you the Expo deal of $4,995 and really make you feel like you have won the golden ticket! Usually, it is a deal that is definitely too good to be true. Same thing with big box stores – they’re going to offer a deal that seems appealing to the every day person that maybe never really considered a hot tub but the deal is too good to pass up. For more details on this, you can visit our blog “Best Place to Buy A Hot Tub

Hot Tubs To Avoid – The Bad & Ugly

Now that you know what hot tubs to avoid, you should feel pretty confident in starting or continuing your search for the best hot tub. The best hot tubs are sold by companies that solely produce hot tubs & other aquatic fitness items like Swim Spas. Their main focus is on creating the best products for aquatic therapy & fitness & their entire business relies on the success of these products. Also, they’re going to be the most innovative companies as well always trying to enhance your hot tub or swim spa experience. Have questions? Feel free to call us (732) 424-0030 or comment below, we would be happy to help you understand exactly what to look for and what to avoid in your hot tub shopping journey!

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