Another important advantage brought by going with an inflating tub is the fact that it offers increased versatility when it comes to location, allowing the user to place it either indoors or outdoors. This is a great benefit to enjoy, especially considering that when the bad weather comes you won’t really want to go outside. When the temperature shifts or the weather turns cold, simply deflate it and move it indoors.
There are a lot of differences between these two types of hot tubs that can cause confusion for those that are looking for a solid purchase. Since inflatable hot tubs have come a long way over the years, they are really starting to cover a lot of the features that portable hot tubs have already covered. This means that deciding between the two has become more difficult than ever since they have a lot of the same pros and cons. Neither one is necessarily better than the other, so it isn’t as easy as saying that portable hot tubs are better than inflatable hot tubs. Below is a short guide on how to differentiate between the two when deciding on a purchase so that you can narrow it down to what you really want.
Before you get into the tub, shower and remove any body lotions, deodorants, perfume, make up and of course, get into the tub with your body properly hygienized and clean. Most of the contaminants of the water are solutions that come from your skin, from natural oil to all these toiletries that must be removed.If the model you are not purchasing doesn’t include a cover, buy one to keep the tub properly closed and avoid the contamination with external debris and insects. Cover the tub everytime after use.
I work part time as an IT security consultant. Luckily I can work from anywhere so I go back and forth between Colorado and Florida. I get my fix of skiing, hiking and camping in Colorado in the Dillion area, and when I am in Florida you can usually find me on the water either paddleboarding or kayaking. My recent passion is scuba diving, I got certified a few years ago and "get wet" as frequently as I can.
In addition to the ground mat, valve wrench and pressure gauge, the Lay-Z-Spa also comes with one filter cartridge, a chemical floater, a patch kit and an instructional DVD that covers set-up and maintenance. The warranty is less generous than other models. It covers the heater pump for one year, but only covers the inflatable tub for 90 days and the accompanying hoses and fittings for a mere 30 days.
One of our friends actually thought of a practical way of circumventing this shortcoming. They live in New York but are still able to use it during winter. Their technique is to use it indoors. They have a spare room in their house dedicated to their portable hot tub. It’s one great way of taking advantage of an inflatable spa’s portability as they would relocate it again outside when winter is over.
Also factor in the mechanical portion and that the parts inside serve a bigger role when in use, so are usually multi-mechanical beasts that have a lot of expensive internals. The more internal moving parts you have, the more expensive the product is, regardless of its origin. It should be noted that although most portable hot tubs end up in the medium to high price point, inflatable hot tubs are not that much cheaper than the bulk of portable hot tubs if you remove shipping costs.
Unlike certain recreational water gadgets, you can maintain an inflatable tub easily. It’s not complicated as all you need to do is keep the water at a specific pH and clean out the filters regularly. It’s also a great consolation that the filtration system comes attached to the tub so that you don’t have to set it up or mess with it in any way. Just clean the filters often, and it will work perfectly.
One of the common gripes about these spa’s is the fact that when you use the bubble massage system you can’t use the heater at the same time. The bubbles have a 30 minute auto shut off and in that time the temperature can drop a few degrees. The bubbles going through the water can make it feel a bit cooler too. To be fair this is an issue with most portable hot tubs with bubble jets. It’s easy to switch the heater back on as soon as the bubbles are finished but the temperature only rises a few degrees an hour.
Once the set is fully inflated, you have to fill it in on your own, making use of a garden hose for example. When the tub is ready to use, you can adjust how much hot you want the water to be and for how long you want it to keep heating. The same goes for the jet heads functioning, all can be adjusted and timed by digital controlling. The main difference between the system of an inflatable and a traditional hot tub is the disposition of the motor/engine that filters, heats and blows water and air. On traditional tubs it will be placed built-in, while on the inflatable one it is a sided appliance.
The walls are made with six-layer reinforced PVC designed to resist tears and leaking, and the inside supports 108 relaxing air jets for soothing hydrotherapy and pain relief. The spa also features a built-in heater for more convenient design, and features an LED control panel close at hand that makes it easy to activate the jets or manage the temperature inside the spa.
First and foremost, you have to look for a model that has a quality construction. The durable construction is going to ensure that it will be a lasting investment, meaning that you won’t have to replace it for a long time. What we recommend is a tub like our top choice, the SaluSpa Hawaii HydroJet Pro that features polyester laminated PVC for the construction of the tub. Also, to figure out whether you are looking at a top quality model or not, you should search for the I-Beam technology feature as well because it shows increased stability, safety, and durability.
Consumers will also notice that the premium jets are not available in an inflatable hot tub, but are always available in portable hot tubs. Inflatable hot tubs can simulate the jets, but does not provide nearly the same massage quality as the real thing. The last thing to point out is the control panel, which will be a toss-up depending on who you go with. Most makers put the control panel in place so that you don’t have to leave the hot tub to use it. In an inflatable hot tub there are less functions to play with so it inspires the plug and play attitude. So if you’re looking for ease of use, then inflatable hot tubs wins in this department.
It has heavy-duty construction and a good selection of accessories at a very reasonable price. The Fiber-Tech construction combines reinforced laminated PVC with a layer of fibrous material. The tub measures 77 inches across and 28 inches deep; it holds 210 gallons of water and can support four adults at a time. The thermal ground cloth this inflatable spa comes with protects the bottom of the tub while adding a layer of insulation. The fitted cover has child-protected safety locks and a foil lining to help retain heat. It has a combination pump and heater that circulates water first through a built-in water softener then a water filter. This is an uncommon feature for an inflatable hot tub. Using the digital controls on the heater, you can set the temperature to anywhere between 68 and 104 degrees Fahrenheit. You also activate the 120 jets using the digital readout. The jets are powered by the same air pump you use to inflate the tub. An included air pressure gauge helps you inflate the tub to just the right level, and a specialized wrench is included to tighten the valve when needed. The tub comes with a carry bag for easy storage and portability. Other accessories include a package of three-way test strips (which test pH levels, alkalinity and free chlorine levels), a floating chlorine dispenser and two filter cartridges. Intex backs the PureSpa with a 12-month warranty, which includes both the tub and the combined pump and heater unit.
Set up your inflatable hot tub in a flat, even surface so that it could uniformly hold the weight of the tub and the people inside it. Most hot tubs will come with an insulation liner that you can place underneath the hot tub before inflating it. You can read inflatable hot tub reviews to see whether a hot tub brand includes a free insulation liner or not.
The salt cell used for saltwater hot tubs is a titanium coated electrolytic cell, which will eventually lose enough of its coating to stop producing enough chlorine. Spa salt cells usually last 2-5 years, depending on the model. At that point, you can replace just the cell (not the power supply). Keeping your cell clean (some models are self-cleaning), and not using it for cold spa water (below 60° F), are key to a long cell life.
When fully inflated the hot tub has a diameter of 77-inches (note: there's a 85-in option) which gives its bathers a good seating position and enough legroom. The beauty of this feature is that it doesn’t consume much space compared to larger inflatable and non-portable hot tubs. As such you can place it even in your patio or a patch of grass in your backyard.
It costs less than $400, but you do get a lot of value for your money according to many Intex spa hot tub reviews. The setup and the heating won’t take too much time, with the inflating procedure taking only about 5 minutes or so. The bubbles are terrific if you want to sit back and relax. It’s well made and the tub walls are tough enough to support the weight of the users. It can handle about 600 pounds of people, which today means a regular couple and two little kids. If you do have any warranty issues, the customer support is outstanding.
The main issue against saltwater hot tubs is that salt causes corrosion. At levels of 2,000-3,000 ppm, there should be no worry about damage to finishes and pool equipment. There is one material in particular that doesn’t like salt, that being Buna rubber, which some pump shaft seals are made of. Again, at normal levels, there should be no concern. But if your pump seal begins to leak, we do have pump shaft seal made for high salt or ozone conditions.
Portability: another great benefit of the inflatable hot tubs is the portability. Since you can inflate and deflate it, the set is very easily assembled anywhere. Some models can endure cold weather so you will be able to use it even during the fall and winter seasons, while installing a traditional hot tub in the open is a scenario unlike to many of those models and often has a higher cost. Most of the inflatable hot tubs also have a thermal insulating cover for that kind of use, so even during summer nights when you need to leave the tub for a while, you can cover it and keep it warm for longer.
Portable spas used outside tend to lose heat quicker than those inside, while you would also use less power if you used it every day. The initial heating up of the water takes some time and pushed up your heating cost, whereas the more often you use it, the more the water temperature stays the same as you would only be increasing heat when the water cools down.
Salt systems, for pools or spas, have trouble producing chlorine at low water temperatures. When water temperatures drop into the 60s, very little chlorine output is generated, even though your salt cell is working overtime. Many salt systems will shut down, in a self-protection mode, when low water temps are sensed. This of course, is not a big deal for spas and hot tubs, so long as you keep the water 65° F or higher. Do this, and you’ll have no problems.
We hope that we have given you some information that will help you in your decision to purchase an inflatable or hard hot tub. Part of our research was in reading actual reviews of verified owners, and we encourage you to do this too. Also, make sure you know the return policies and the manufacturer’s warranties too. Have fun in your hot tub, we sure are!
The Lay-Z-Spa Vegas is a superb way for adults to have fun, as well as having the option of use as a family spa. It is the ultimate in convenience, unlike having a permanent hot tub, which stays where it is wherever the sun goes. The walls of the inflatable are also extremely strong and puncture resistant, so you don't have to worry too much about where you put it.
Inflatable hot tubs consume a lot of water, up to 250 gallons (almost 1000 L) so people will not be happy changing it every week as the water bill will become quite salty. On the other hand, the same water can’t be used forever, so soon or later you will have to replace it, but it all will depend on how often the inflatable hot tub is used and how well you treat the water.
A water test kit makes testing your water easy. If your inflatable hot tub does not come with such a kit, you can easily find it at any store that carries pool and spa supplies. Once you have tested the water, adjust it using the necessary chemicals. A good pH range for a portable hot tub is between 7.4 and 7.6. A pH that is too low may damage your hot tub’s vinyl and thus damage the tub.
EDITOR’S CHOICE: For sheer luxury and class, the Lay-Z-Spa Monaco is the Rolls Royce of blow up Jacuzzi hot tubs. It has the benefits of a fixed hot tub, and you can move it to where you want in your garden. Made for entertaining, this best value inflatable hot tub holds six adults, and will manage eight if everyone likes getting cosy. It looks great, feels roomy and comes with loads of great hot tub accessories. Being very affordable, this is a premium hot tub.
It measures 71 inches in width, 71 inches in length, and 28 inches in height, being easy to find a location for it on your porch or patio. As it weighs only 76.5 pounds, you won’t have any trouble moving it around. The tub is made with polyester laminated PVC, a construction which ensures this is a puncture-resistant product that you will benefit from using for many years. For your comfort in use, the floor is cushioned, so you will feel like you are sitting on a cloud when you are inside it. Furthermore, it features a digital control panel that enables you to easily change the temperature and other settings as you please.
Cartridge System: the more cartridge filters a hot tub implements the better. When you have several filter cartridges the maintenance of the tub gets easier as you don’t have to replace them that often. While this kind of build is more often seen on hot tubs that have big capacity of water and people, whenever you spot them give it special preference. The replacing of cartridges on these tubs can take almost 2 years, a lot of time you save money and the bother.
Savings – Here was a big one for us and our budget. An in-ground hot tub or spa can cost from $12,000 to over $20,000 by the time you are done with cranes, excavation, landscapers, masons, plumbers and construction crews, and we are not even talking about the maintenance costs. Acrylic or prefab hot tubs are more cost effective, but you still have the cost of installation. See How To Look After Your Inflatable Hot Tub.